There are many different methods of divination that you may choose to use in your magical practice. Some people opt to try many different types, but you may find that you’re more gifted in one method than others. Take a look at some of the different types of divination methods, and see which works best for you and your abilities. And remember, just like with any other skill set, practice makes perfect!
It may seem that someone who reads Tarot cards is “predicting the future.” However, most Tarot card readers will tell you that the cards offer a guideline, and the reader is simply interpreting the probable outcome based upon the forces presently at work. Tarot, like any divinatory practice, is a highly intuitive process, so while books and charts come in handy, the best way to actually learn what your cards mean is to handle them, hold them, and feel what they are telling you.
Tarot cards come in decks and there are hundreds of different styles available. Some are based upon famous artwork, movies, books, legends, and mythology. There is no perfect deck out there, choose a deck that feels right for you. This is the deck I use, but I have felt an affinity with nocturnal energies since I was a five year old obsessed with vampires and ghosts.
A typical Tarot deck consists of 78 cards. The first 22 cards are the Major Arcana. These cards have symbolic meanings focused on the material world, the intuitive mind, and the realm of change. The remaining 56 cards are the Minor Arcana and are divided into four groups or suits: Swords, Pentacles (or Coins), Wands and Cups. Each of the four suits focuses on a theme. Sword cards generally indicate conflict or moral issues, while Cups reflect matters of emotion and relationships. Pentacles focus on the material aspects of life, such as security and finance, while Wands represent things like jobs, ambition, and activity.
Tarot Cards are used in any number of different spreads, or layouts, which can affect the reading. Some readers use elaborate layouts, while others may just pull out three to five cards and see what they need to see. In addition to standard tarot cards, there are spirit or oracle cards that are used similarly to tarot, but there are no suits, just a different meaning attached to each.
Long ago, according to the epic sagas of the Norse people, Odin created the Runes as a gift to mankind. These symbols, sacred and holy, were originally carved into stone. Over the centuries, they evolved into a collection of sixteen letters, each with a metaphorical and divinatory meaning. As the Norse people spread out around Europe, many of the runes changed in form and meaning, which led to new alphabet forms. For instance, the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc contains 33 runes.
Today, runes are used in magic and divination by many Pagans. Although their meanings can sometimes be a bit obscure, most people who work with runes find that the best way to incorporate them into divination is to ask a specific question based upon your current situation. Although you don't have to be of Norse ancestry to use the runes, you'll have a far better understanding of the symbols and their meanings if you have some knowledge of the mythology and history surrounding them; this way you can interpret the runes in the context in which they were meant to be read.
Much like reading the Tarot, runic divination is not "telling the future." Instead, rune casting should be seen as a tool for guidance, working with the subconscious and focusing on the questions that might be underlying in your mind. Some people believe that the selections made within the runes drawn are not really random at all, but choices made by your subconscious mind. Others believe that they are answers provided by the divine to confirm what we already know in our hearts. Rune casting or drawing can be as simple as selecting runes from a box or satchel and reading their meaning in the order drawn.
The pendulum is the arguably easiest method of divination. Using a simple weight on a string or chain, it allows you to divine Yes/No and Either/Or style answers. Although you can purchase pendulums commercially, it's not hard to make one of your own. Typically, most people use a crystal or stone, but you can use any object that's got a bit of weight to it… a family ring on a thread can work better than the $50 quartz point on a silver chain from the New Age shop in town.
To make your own pendulum, take a crystal or stone and wrap it in a length of jeweler's wire. When you're done wrapping it, leave a loop at the top. Attach one end of the chain to the loop. You'll want to make sure the chain isn't too long, because you'll probably be using it over a table or other surface. Generally, a chain between 10 - 14" is perfect. Also, be sure you tuck in any poky pieces of wire so you don't jab yourself later.
Before using your new pendulum, whether you made it or not, it is a good idea to cleanse and charge it. Simply wash your pendulum in water and visualize it’s energy becoming clean and pure. Alternatively, you can use smudging, or passing objects through sage or other incense smoke, to cleanse your pendulum as well. To charge and calibrate your pendulum is similar to any other magickal tool. Leave the tool exposed to a natural energy source you have an affinity with (sunlight, moonlight, wind, in fresh earth) and visualize it absorbing the raw untainted energy. This process is usually done over a 24 hour period but you can decide what’s right for your purposes.
Next is calibration and it is far easier than you think. You simply use your pendulum (or cards, runes, wand…you get the idea). Hold your tools and meditate on them for a few minutes, visualize your energy flowing into it and back, sharing freely. Next, ask simple questions you know the answers to and allow the tool to access your inner energies in a deeper manner.