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Ouijia, Tarot, and Toil: Witches Guide to Divination

by Lilli Behom 6 days ago in how to / religion
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A small guide to help those starting out in divination tecniques

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Divination is forms of seeking knowledge of the future or unknown through supernatural means. The word divination is Latin and means "to be inspired by a god". There are many different forms of divination and we will touch on these throughout this article. As you may have guessed it is used to gain insight into the future but it is also used to help people prepare for daily struggles, give ideas of possible paths/options the person can follow, and show things the person may need to work on to be their best self. No matter why you decide to do it there is one thing that is very clear; you have many many options open to you.

Divination is a long-standing practice that has been seen for centuries all across the world. One of the most famous uses of these is the ancient Greeks with their Oracles and seers. However, it can be seen as far back as 332 BC when Alexander the Great visited the Siwa Oasis and saw the Oracle of Amun who he then made famous. Divination has spanned many forms over the years from dream interpretations to scrying or divining mirrors. The definition of what exactly qualifies as divination is a little squed but for the purpose of this article we'll be discussing tarot, oracle, cartomancy, ouija, spirit boards, rune casting, and palmistry.

There are many forms of divination that span history and even more controversy and misinformation about it. For instance, in the show, Paranormal Survivor, one of their so-called "experts" claimed that by using tarot cards a woman brought a maleficent spirit into her house (season 1 episode 3 approximately 1:20:00). While much of the information can be incorrect and hurtful to those who actually practice it there are many benefits to having some awareness about divination tools in the general public.

Tarot and Oracle Cards

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Tarot is likely one of the most famous forms of divination out there. It is also likely one of the safest and easiest methods for dabblers or beginners. At least in my opinion. The first deck for occult purposes was introduced around 1789 by Etteilla, otherwise known as Jean-Baptiste Alliette, and contained themes related to ancient Egypt as the belief was prominent at that time that the cards were from the Book of Thoth. There are about as many types of tarot cards as there are stars in the sky but really they all follow the basic pattern of cards. There are 78 cards in the deck all with a specific meaning.

The deck is split into two distinct sections. The first is the Major Arcana or Greater Secrets and consists of 22 cards without suits. These cards include The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement, The World, and The Fool. These cards are marked with Roman numerals, except The Fool which is often the only unmarked card in the deck.

The second section is Minor Arcana or lesser secrets and consists of 56 cards, divided into four suits of 14 cards each. Ten numbered cards and four court cards. The court cards are the King, Queen, Knight, and Page/Jack in each of the four tarot suits. Kind of like a deck of regular cards. This is where things split as the traditional Italian tarot suits are swords, batons, coins, and cups but in modern occult tarot decks, the batons suit is often called wands, rods, or staves, while the coins suit is often called pentacles or disks.

But in modern witchcraft, the belief is that the cards themselves hold a spirit or an energy that is able to be used to answer questions of the asker. To use the cards one must first find a deck that seemingly resonates with them. You can use any deck but most people feel that finding a deck that calls to you will give you better readings as it's easier to form a bond with the cards. Many people are also hesitant about letting other people use or play with their cards for too long as it's seen that the cards will bond with the energy of the user. You can bond with your cards by putting them under your pillow, shuffling them, or generally being around them.

In fact, it's very important to shuffle your cards at the beginning and end of your reading. You do this at the beginning as a way of mixing your energy with the energy of the cards. It's also to do a quick cleanse of any lingering readings or energies it could have picked up on from disuse. It will also help to prepare you for your reading. You do it at the end to help cleanse the cards from the reading you just finished. If you don't then your readings may start to get harder to read and possibly even misfire. Think of your cards as a vacuum. The more you use it the more dust and hair gets trapped in both the bag and the inner workings until you can't use it anymore. To fix this you should make sure to clean the vacuum bag and any hairs stuck in the brush roller. Eventually, you'll have to do a bigger clean but the little ones are fine for now. There will be more ways to cleanse your cards further down in this article.

There are many spreads that you can do. Most people have a question when using the cards that they want to be answered. It's important that your question is NOT a yes or no question as the cards can't answer those. Use general questions like "what are things I need to look out for to guarantee this job". There are many different spreads that you can do for specific questions and the book that comes with your cards likely has a few that you can try. The most common for beginners is the three-card spread. This is when you pull three cards from your deck and place them on the table one at a time. Your first card is your past: things that happened that may still be affecting you or how you got to where you are. The second will be your present: things affecting you most now, obstacles you may be facing, and paths you can take. And the third card will be your future: things you need to remember or watch out for. As always the meaning behind the cards will change but this is a general way to consider them.

When you first start out you will most likely need to fall back on the book to read the descriptions and meanings behind the cards. While this is good and fully acceptable try to rely on your own instincts as much as you can. As cheesy as it sounds tarot reading comes from within not without. Let your intuition guide you.

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There are many ways to cleanse tarot cards. You really only have to find what works best for you and the cards you're using. For a quick cleanse (30 seconds to 7 minutes) try: sprinkle with salt , pass through smoke/incense, knock on a wooden table 3 times , put selenite on it, shuffle while focusing on cleansing, and sound/music cleansing (each deck “likes” different kinds of music). For a deeper cleans use one of the above methods plus organize the cards and put them in order or leave them in the moonlight. For the best result for cleansing in the quarter, new, or full moonlight.

If you're looking for a new spread to try then perhaps the element spread is good for you. Start off by placing five cards in a semi triangle, the top of each card should reach about halfway up to the next card on both sides of the third. The first card is fire: The big fire showing you your greatest power that you possess or is trying to come through. The second is water: The mirror of water that reflects yourself letting you see what you truly are and what you might need to accept to be fully yourself. The third card is spirit: The great ether that flows through you and your Soul, connecting you with higher realms so you can see what you need to know or want an answer for. Fourth is Earth: The crystals and living roots on earth that energize you and give you what you need to be grounded and fulfilled with the energy of all living. And the final card is air: The streams of wind above the clouds cleansing you from all negative and things you might should let go of.

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Oracle cards are similar to tarot cards in many ways. They both rely on the spirits within the cards to answer a question the user asks, usually about the future. However, oracle cards are more freestyle. The creator decides how many cards are in a deck, their imagery, and what meaning each card holds. Because of this most users rely more heavily on the reference book for a little longer than with tarot cards who are more set in the various decks.

There are a variety of ways to use them. The spreads can be the same as tarot decks or there are even some that use them within their tarot readings as "clarity cards" to deepen their understanding of what the tarot cards are saying.


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Cartomancy is divination using a regular 52 deck of cards. Different forms of it were seen around Europe shortly after playing cards were introduced in the 14th century. While it first showed up all across Europe some consider it to be originated in France. There is a very unique form of cartomancy that is wholly French called piquet stripped deck in which the user uses the regular 52 card deck where you remove all cards with the numbers 2-6 making it a 32 card deck instead.

Each card is assigned a meaning that the reader interprets. Unlike tarot where you do one specific, open question, cartomancy can answer yes or no questions and as many as you'd like at a time. Depending on how you learned this particular technique the spreads might be a little different but most of the time after a good shuffle you place all of the cards out and whichever cards are by each other answers different aspects of your life. While you can use a regular pack of cards there are also specific cartomancy cards that have the imagery of what those cards specifically represent.

Ouija and Spirit Boards

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Ouija is likely one of the most widely known and popular forms of divination. It's been seen in countless horror movies, teen drama TV shows, and popular media throughout the years. The ouija board first started out a little different from the one we now know in that it was used for fast communication with spirits by exclusively spiritualists in Ohio in 1886. However, Elijah Bond commercialized it on July 1, 1890, and it quickly became an innocent parlor game with no ties to the occult. That is until American spiritualist Pearl Curran used it as a divination tool during World War 1 and popularized it as an occult tool once again.

The main theory of the board is that the users place their fingers on a heart-shaped tool called the planchette and calls upon a spirit to come and sit with them. The spirit then places its hand on the planchette and moves it to spell out words in answer to questions the user asks. However, just like tarot cards, it is believed that the board has its own spirit which can often entice and addict people to repeatedly use it. It is also said that the board often lets different spirits through that the user didn't ask for and can often trick the user into communicating with negative spirits or demons.

The boards you buy tend to have three basic rules to follow but many modern witches tend to recommend following these 22 rules:

  1. Never use the board alone
  2. Never use the board if you are depressed, stressed, irate, upset, bored, furious, sad, trepidations, afraid, shocked, overconfident, or drowsy as you could let a demon in. No negative emotions.
  3. If you get a demon, blessing the house could make it worse
  4. Don’t give the board to someone else to get rid of the problems, never use the board if you think it is a game
  5. Never let the spirits countdown the numbers or go through the alphabet as they can get out of the board this way
  6. If the planchette goes to the four corners of the board it implies you have reached a wicked soul or evil presence in your life
  7. Never use the board if you are a doubter or Atheist as you increase the chance of getting a negative soul or demon
  8. If the planchette leaves the board the soul will be released
  9. If the planchette continuously makes a figure 8 it means a negative soul has control of the board
  10. If you get a negative soul rapidly flip around the planchette and utilize it that way
  11. The board must be closed before anyone takes their hand off the planchette or spirits can remain in the household.
  12. Never use the board when ill or in a debilitated condition or you will be vulnerable to possession
  13. The spirit of the board created “wins” for the user, causing them to become increasingly dependent on the board. DO NOT USE OFTEN
  14. Negative spirits will try to win your confidence with flattery and prevaricates
  15. Always be polite and never upset the spirits
  16. NEVER use the board in a graveyard or where a death has occurred
  17. Sometimes a negative spirit can inhabit a board making it so no other spirits are able to use it. If this happens break the board into several pieces, cleanse it with Holy Water, and bury the board in the ground. If the board is burned it is said to scream and those who hear the scream have less than 36 hours to live. If the board is disposed of improperly the spirit can haunt the owner.
  18. If making a homemade board arrange the letters and numbers into circles so whatever is trapped within the circle can’t escape
  19. If you place a pristine silver coin on the board no negative spirits can come through
  20. NEVER leave the planchette on the board if the board is not in use
  21. NEVER ask the board about god, when you are going to die, where the gold is buried, when the spirit died, or the manner in which the spirit died
  22. NEVER leave the board or take your hand off the planchette without saying goodbye and moving the planchette to the goodbye position
  23. NEVER use the board between 2-4am or during the Witching Hour

Spirit Boards are often time seen to be the same as Ouija Boards. However, some believe the Spirit Board is a different type of board. They are often used for the same purpose but with slight differences such as being homemade, being different shapes, and missing the "yes" or "no" options. Some boards also are missing the "goodbye". Certain witches also believe that using spirit boards is also safer than using Ouija Boards. However, the two boards are used the same way and follow the same rules.


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If runes make you think of ancient Viking warriors with symbols in their hair you wouldn't be far off. The runes themselves are an ancient alphabet called the Futhark which was used in Germanic and Scandinavian countries before they adopted the Latin alphabet. Each symbol has meaning(s) behind it that can be interpreted into specific messages. In Norse mythology, Odin himself discovered the runes after great ordeals and therefore represented great cosmic forces and the gods themselves. These runes were found on staves that Roman historian Tacitus recorded the Germanic people used for divination.

Much like tarot cards, runes are used as a guidance tool to assist the user in divining their path, usually focusing on a particular issue. Also like tarot, the runes will likely have multiple meanings and it is up to the caster to interpret the meaning. While you can buy a set of runes people often find that they get the best results by making them themselves. Classically they were made from chips of any nut tree and carving the runes into the wood. In more modern times people might use stones, paint, wood-burning, or even permanent markers with a clear coat as materials.

To use them some start out with a three rune set, much like the basic "past, present, future" tarot spread. This is done by mixing the runes together then pulling out three at random. The castor places each side by side and reads the meanings of those runes to relate to the issue or question you need guidance on. The first will be the general overview, the second is challenges and obstacles, and the third is potential actions you can take.

Those just beginning can also try a nine rune cast. This should be done with a cloth as it will aid in your casting. In this you once again mix the runes, select nine all at once, close your eyes, and cast them onto the cloth. There will be many things you need to focus on, including the way the runes are facing. Those facing up are the ones you need to focus on most or the ones that are most relevant. Those facing down are ones that haven't come up yet and can take a back burner. Similarly, those that are closest to the center of the cloth will be the most important things while those further away will be a little less significant.

Some people cast runes by using a selected number or the whole bag, mixing the runes, and casting them on the cloth. Whatever runes are face down remove or discount than from the reading and use do their reading from which ones are closer to the center and facing up. Others mix the runes and select them in specific patterns much like a tarot spread. It is really up to the castor what you do and what works best for you.

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Another form of rune casting is to wear them in your hair. This method involves having hair accessories with runes on them, mixing the bag, and selecting one from the bag each day. This rune will represent what your overall day will look like or what will be brought into it as you carry that rune in your hair.


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Like most other forms of divination palmistry, otherwise known as palm reading or chiromancy, blew up in the 19th century and quickly became a staple of American pop culture at the time. Palmistry is much older than that, although how old is still unknown along with its origins. It is thought that the practice began in ancient India, quickly spreading throughout Eurasia. It was even mentioned by Aristotle's "History of Animals" written about 2,500 years ago.

The art of palmistry utilizes every aspect of the hand including nails, shape, mounts/planes, lines/creases, and regions. The shape of your hand is connected to an element while the regions correspond to the planets. The general idea of palmistry to incorporate these aspects is the ever-present "As Above, So Below" in thinking your palm is yet another window into the universe. In this, nothing should be overlooked including the texture of the hand. The most important part of palmistry, like all divination, is intuition. You interpret what you see and connect it with innate feelings you might have to give the reading.

Many modern palm reads believe that in order to get the full picture one must use both hands. One thought is that the non-dominant hand reveals the natural personality and character, while the dominant hand shows how these traits have been used and actualized. The point of this is to find the full potential in life and find out how to maximize it.

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There are four designated shapes to the hand as seen above. Each shape is seen to have insight into the complexities of the person's personality, which will help you when it comes to the final reading. Despite most people associating their element to their astrological sign, this is really about the shape of the hand.

Earth Hands

Earth hands are identified by square palms and short fingers. These hands are often firm, solid, and fleshy. Individuals with earth hands are known to be practical, logical, and grounded. While secure and reliable, they can become too consumed with their immediate realities, which can ultimately hinder long-term planning and achievement.

Fire Hands

You can tell a fire hand by its long palm and short fingers. These hands often have distinctive creases and defined mounts. Individuals with fire hands are known to be passionate, confident, and industrious. They're driven by their desires and on a bad day, they may lack tactfulness and empathy.

Air Hands

Air hands have square palms and long fingers and are often boney, with protruding knuckles and spindly fingers. This hand type signifies intellectually curious individuals with innate analytical abilities and communication skills. Those with air hands are easily distracted and, if not stimulated, can become anxious or edgy.

Water Hands

Water hands are distinguished by their long palms and long fingers. These hands are often soft to the touch and a bit clammy, with an overall narrow appearance. Those who have them are in tune with their emotions, intuition, and psychic ability. Fueled by compassion and imagination, these individuals are often creatives. They're also extremely sensitive and their feelings are easily hurt, causing undesirable interpersonal stress.

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The fleshy areas of the palm are called mounts and plains and each of these has a different life theme. The classic mounts correspond to the seven classical planets in astrology; the first seven planets that our ancestors tracked. These planets are the sun (Apollo), the moon (Luna), Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. When reading the mounts pay attention to the elevation, prominence, and proportion. Rounded, slightly elevated mounts reveal well-proportioned and balanced attributes. Mounts that are prominent reveal dominant characteristics which may be more exaggerated or overemphasized. Finally, sunken mounts reveal a person's underdeveloped qualities or blind spots.

Mount of Jupiter

Located at the base of the index finger and above the Mount of Inner Mars, the Mount of Jupiter symbolizes confidence, ambition, and leadership. It reveals a connection to the spiritual realm, along with divine aptitudes.

Mount of Saturn

The Mount of Saturn is located at the base of the middle finger. This area corresponds to wisdom, responsibility, and fortitude. It reveals an individual's integrity, as well as their deep understanding of the ups and downs of life.

Mount of the Sun (Apollo)

Found beneath the ring finger, the Mount of Apollo derives its name from the sun god of classical antiquity. Within palmistry, this region of the hand corresponds with an individual's optimism, vitality, and essence. Just as zodiac sun signs expose individuals' innate spirits, the Mount of Apollo showcases artistic inclinations, happiness, and success.

Mount of Mercury

Situated underneath the pinky finger, the Mount of Mercury is connected to communication and intelligence. This region is linked to wit, adaptability, and social skills, revealing an individual's strategic mind and resourcefulness.

Mount of the Moon (Luna)

Named after the ancient Roman goddess who personified the moon, the Mount of Luna symbolizes imagination, intuition, and psychic powers. Located toward the bottom of the palm on the pinky side, this area reveals an individual's empathy, compassion, and imagination. While the moon illuminates the darkness, the Mount of Luna is linked to the insight found within magic.

Mount of Venus

Located at the base of the thumb, the Mount of Venus is linked to love, sensuality, and attraction. This zone showcases natural magnetism as well as an individual's emotional connection to romance. Sexuality, passion, and indulgence are all under the auspices of this region.

Inner, Outer, and the Plain of Mars

Named for the Roman god of war, these three distinctive sections represent aggression, resilience, and temperament respectively. Inner Mars (Lower Mars) is located above the thumb and symbolizes physical strength and bold tenacity. Outer Mars (Upper Mars) represents perseverance and emotional bravery. The Plain of Mars occupies the lower center of the palm and demonstrates how the other two qualities are balanced. Because the Plain of Mars is usually flat, its significance is determined by which lines occupy this section.

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The lines are likely the most well-known part of palmistry. Almost every media appearance of palmistry contains someone reading the lines and making a quick prediction. Instead, you must analyze the length, depth, and curvature of each line. Make sure to pay attention to where the line begins, ends, the mounts it crosses, and where the creases intersect. This is also the area that your intuition will be the most needed. Don't be afraid to ask questions either if something doesn't make sense.

Head Line

Located in the center of the palm, it reveals our intellectual curiosities, pursuits, and the lessons we need to learn in this lifetime. The complexity of an individual's mental pursuits corresponds with the line's depth, while the line's length reveals the breadth of the topics they explore. A wavy line signifies progressive thinking, while a straight line reveals more of a traditional approach. Breaks in the line can signify mental strife or monumental breakthroughs/epiphanies.

Heart Line

Located above the head line, the highest horizontal line on the palm is the heart line. Also known as the love line, this crease governs all matters of the heart. This includes romance, friendship, sexuality, and commitment. After identifying it, note whether it begins below the index or middle finger. If the heart line begins below the index finger it reveals content or joy in relationships. If it begins below the middle finger it reveals the potential for restlessness.

The depth of the line signifies the significance of interpersonal relationships in an individual's life, while the length corresponds with time spent as a couple. Breaks or forks in the heart line can suggest multiple lovers, transformative bonds, or even infidelity.

Life Line

Despite many beliefs that the life line represents the duration of one's life that's not actually accurate. The life line is used to gauge your journey. It's located underneath the head line, it reveals your experiences, vitality, and zest. The depth of the line suggests the richness of your experience, while the length reveals others' influence on your individual path. So that means a short life line signifies independence and autonomy. Some palm readers actually believe that it's unethical to attempt to predict someone's mortality with palmistry, especially without many years of practice, training, and consent from the "client".

Fate Line

Also known as the line of destiny, the fate line is a vertical crease in the center of the palm that reveals the degree to which an individual's life will be influenced by external circumstances beyond their control. Our palms naturally evolve over the course of our lives, but the fate line transforms the most frequently. Whenever you're experiencing a massive shift, whether personal or professional, take a quick peek at the fate line. Has it changed? Some believe that itchy hands are a sign of upcoming changes, so stay attuned to this physiological clue, as well.

Sun Line

The sun line, or Apollo's line, is the vertical crease furthest toward the pinky side of the palm. It reveals public image, legacy, and fame. The sun line varies greatly in length, depth, and position, and alongside the fate line, it demonstrates how and when an individual will achieve success. If the sun line and fate line intersect or run parallel, they signal that an individual's prominence will be a byproduct of external events outside their control. If the sun line and fate line aren't close in proximity, they suggest that an individual's legacy will be built more independently of outside influences.

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About the author

Lilli Behom

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

--Ernest Hemingway

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