Another facet of my Druidry study is divination, the actual practice as well as history behind it and theory to it’s supposed future-telling. There will only be three essays for my divination study, but every Friday I will be hands on, actually practicing some form of divination. Probably with every new form I try, I will write about it. I will choose a certain practice of divination for a season and practice only it on Fridays, so that I can get used to it and see how it actually works.
First is tasseography, the art or fortune telling through tea leaves. Yes, like in Harry Potter, but there’s more to it than wizarding fantasy! It’s a legitimate form of divination, not a fictional construct of Rowlings. Tea reading has always been something I’ve wanted to try. I drink a lot of tea, and I was interested in how it’s told through shapes and connotations in those shapes.
The second will be scrying. Water scrying. This one interests me because of it’s “witchy” looks. I imagine someone draped in black and lace hovering over her bowl of water in the moonlight, Stevie Nicks’ face reflecting out of the ripples. Very fantasy and mystical, beautiful and dangerous. This one I had never heard of. Scrying, yes, but I thought it was bones and teeth tossed into a bowl and read. Not so.
The third is Molybdomancy, which is done by melting metal or wax, and dumping it into water to flash-harden it, making a shape of sorts. These shapes are interpreted either as is, or by it’s shadow. This is actually a popular tradition in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the Nordic countries during New Year’s. Another shape interpretation form of divination, I think it’s very cool, and I’m excited to try it.
Finally, I’ll try my hand at Cartomancy. You’ve all heard of this one most likely: Tarot cards. I myself have tried multiple times to get into tarot reading, but never set up time to actually study and pursue it. Now I will. This kind of divination I think will be more challenging than the rest, mostly because of the number of cards in a deck and their meanings, which you have to learn by heart. They’re also up to interpretation, where some things mean something good to one person, and bad to another.
So what is divination, you may be wondering? By definition, it’s “the practice of seeking knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means” (from a quick google definition). Divination has been done the whole world over throughout the ages! Ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greek, and Mayans did it. It’s prevalent in Africa and Europe and North America. Kings and Queens would request a omen-telling before making any large movements in their kingdom, seeing how their decisions might play out. Some smooth-sayers searched through the entrails of a bird to tell an expecting mother how her child would turn out and what kind of life they would have. This shows how important divination was (or is, depending on what you believe) to people, how true it was, and how scared people were. The unknown future is scary and threatens the mind with thoughts of dread and what-ifs. You could be dead tomorrow. Then again, maybe not. Maybe you strike it rich tomorrow.
Divination is the notion that the strangest patterns, the smallest imperfections in life have meaning. So many things nowadays can be explained by science, but in the past everything was about connection and mystical meaning. It’s neither good nor bad, just life. But symbols do have meaning. We assign them meaning, even in todays technological age. This symbol +, can mean many things. It’s a plus sign in mathematics, but take it out of that context and what is it also? A cross. Religious connotations and crucifixions, holy power and faith, protection. Turn it just a little and it’s an x. Now meaning a sign for a name for someone who’s illiterate. Or to indicate that something applies (think ‘paperwork’), or that you can’t do something (something CROSSED out). You can put your index fingers into an x or cross to ward off malevolent things. That’s one symbol! New ones form throughout the years and old ones fall out of use, but that doesn’t mean they have nothing left to offer.
I think a lot of people are probably interested in divination, also skeptical, and see it as just a bit of fun. A quick carnival ride of omens to jab each other in the ribs about. Seeing fortune tellers and fairs and carnivals may make it seem like it’s all fake, because divination must not be that hard if so many people know how to do it, and if so then why isn’t everyone getting their fortune read and making millions or avoiding death or meeting their soulmate? But in the far past when only highly educated scholars could read, they were bowed to for being able to make sense of shapes and squiggles on a page or tablet. Now a huge percent of the population knows how to read. Just an interpretation of symbols.
I for one am very excited to get started. Every Friday is Future-Casting Friday! Stay tuned to see my divination exploits and if I forecast my impending doom!