Friday, March 14, 2014

Hydromancy or Water Scrying

(c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2007

Scrying is a practice that dates back to the ancient Arabs and Egyptians which makes it one of the oldest forms of divination. Scrying using a Crystal Ball is one of the best known forms of fortune telling and often one of the first images stereotypically used regarding Divinatory practices. We are not restricted to the Crystal Ball as a tool for scrying: shiny stones, mirrors and any reflective object or surface can be utilized. Nostradamus used a brass bowl of water on a tripod and this method is called Hydromancy. The tool utilized to scry is called a Speculum. Scrying is used to answer questions, resolve problems, find what is lost or to solve criminal acts.

Water scrying was very popular with the Celts and other Shamanistic traditions. The Cup of Jamshid was used in Ancient Persia to divine. The liquid in the cup was said to be an elixir of immortality and looking into the cup allowed you to view the seven layers of the universe and deep truths were revealed. The Mirror of Galadriel in J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" was used to see past, present and future: the mirror was a pool of water.

If you would like to try your hand, or your eye, at Water Scrying, it is relatively simple to set up, getting results is somewhat more complicated. You need a bowl of water. A brass, silver or glass bowl would be nice but you have to use what you have on hand, so your favourite cereal bowl or tea cup is also a nice option here. I think a Tibetan Singing Bowl would work well for scrying as well. It is preferable to use water collected under a Full Moon from a stream or river. I am not a purist, tap water while the moon is full would certainly be adequate. If you are able to construct a tripod to set your chosen bowl on, please do. If you have access to laurel, bay or hazel branches use them to construct your base. If you aren't construction oriented, don't worry about it, a nice flat spot on your table or altar will do - like I said, I'm not a purist. A couple of candles appropriately coloured or charged for the issue you are scrying on should be placed about a foot from your scrying bowl.

Colour the water with dark green or dark blue food colouring - or whatever colour or combination of colours has appeal for you. It has to be dark enough that you can't see the bottom of the bowl. If you have a magic wand or a favourite crystal, you can wet the edge of the bowl and use your wand or crystal to rub the edge of the bowl - following the edge of the bowl all the way around. You can even just use the index finger of each hand and do alternating circles around the edge of the bowl. Each of these methods will create ripples in the water and energize it. You can use your hands to energize the bowl if you prefer. Using your left hand first, then your right, pass your hands, palm down, in a clockwise circular motion over the water an inch or two above to the surface - do three passes with each hand before switching (a bit of an upper body cardio workout, you always have to look for the hidden benefits). Pay attention to your breathing, breath slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus on your intuition and your issue while watching for any images reflected in the water. You will have to trust your own intuition for interpretation. Keep it as simple as possible.

Don't be discouraged because it may take time to actually see anything. View it as a form of deep meditation and relaxation. Make sure you have grounded and protected yourself properly as you would before undertaking any type of divination. A nice cup of tea before and eating something of the earth after to return you to ground will round out the divination. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Celtic Numerology

'...I have been a word among letters.'
--the Book of Taliesyn, VIII

What's in a word? Or a name? What special power resides in a word, connecting it so intimately to the very thing it symbolizes? Does each word or name have its own 'vibration', as is generally believed by those of us who follow the Western occult tradition? And if so, how do we begin to unravel its meaning? Just what, exactly, is in a word? Well, LETTERS are in a word. In fact, letters COMPRISE the word. Which is why Taliesyn's remark had always puzzled me. Why didn't he say he had been a 'letter among words'? That, at least, would seem to make more logical sense than saying he had been a 'word among letters', which seems backwards. Unless...

Unless he was trying to tell us that the word is NOT the important thing -- the critical thing is the LETTERS that make up a word! The Welsh bard Taliesyn was, after all, a pretty gifted fellow. He certainly put all the other bards at Maelgwyn's court to shame. And over the years, I've learned never to take his statements lightly -- even his most enigmatic statements. Perhaps he was really suggesting that, in order to understand the true meaning of a word or name, one must first analyze the letters that comprise it. Of course, this is certainly not a new theory. Any student of arcane lore would at once recognize this concept as belonging in the opening remarks of any standard text on numerology. But to read the same meaning behind a line of poetry penned by a 6th century Welsh bard may be a bit surprising. Is it possible that the Celts had their own system of numerology?

Let us begin the quest by asking ourselves what we know about numerology in general. Most of our modern knowledge of numerology has been gleaned from ancient Hebrew tradition, which states that the true essence of anything is enshrined in its name. But there are so many names and words in any given language that it becomes necessary to reduce each word to one of a small number of 'types' -- in this case, numerological types from 1 to 9 (plus any master numbers of 11, 22, etc.). This is easily accomplished by assigning a numerical value to each letter of the alphabet, i.e. A=1, B=2, C=3, and so on. Thus, to obtain the numerical value of any word, one simply has to add up the numerical values of all the letters which comprise the word. If the sum is a two digit number, the two digits are then added to each other (except in the case of 11, 22, etc.) to obtain the single digit numerical value of the entire word, which may then be analyzed by traditional Pythagorean standards.

The problem has always been how to be sure of the numerical value of each letter. Why SHOULD A equal 1, or B equal 2, or Q equal 8? Where did these values come from? Who assigned them? Fortunately, the answer to this is quite simple in most cases. Many ancient languages used letters of the alphabet to stand for numbers (Roman numerals being the most familiar example). Ancient Hebrew, for instance, had no purely numerical symbols -- like our 1, 2, 3, etc. -- so their letters of the alphabet had to do double duty as numbers as well. One had to discern from the context whether the symbol was meant as letter or number. This was true of classical Latin, as well. Thus, in languages such as these, it is easy to see how a number became associated with a letter: the letter WAS the number.

It is a bit more difficult to see how the associations in 'modern' numerology came into being. The modern numerological table consists of the numbers 1 through 9, under which the alphabet from A through Z is written in standard order:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9





This arrangement seems somewhat arbitrary, at best. At the very least, it is difficult to sense any 'intrinsically meaningful' relationship between a letter and its numerical value. After all, our modern alphabetical symbols and our modern numerical symbols (Arabic) come from two completely different sources and cultures.

For this reason, many contemporary numerologists prefer the ancient Hebrew system because, at least here, there is a known connection between letter and number. However, when we attempt to adapt this system to the English language, a whole new set of problems crops up. For one, the entire alphabet is arranged in a different order and some of our modern letters have NO Hebrew equivalents. Thus, based on the Hebrew alphabet, the only letters for which we have numerical values are the following:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8





Obviously, a modern numerologist wouldn't get very far with this table. In order to compensate for the missing letters in the Hebrew system, most modern textbooks on numerology 'fill in' the missing letters by 'borrowing' numerical values from the Greek alphabet, thus mixing cultural symbols in an eclectic approach that is not entirely convincing.

Another problem is the exclusion of the number 9 from the table -- which modern textbooks often 'explain' by saying that the Hebrews did not use the number 9, since it was a 'sacred' and 'mystical' number. The real truth, however, is far less esoteric. The fact is, the Hebrew alphabet DID have letters with the numerical value of 9 -- the letters Teth and Sade. But, since Teth and Sade do not have equivalents in our modern English alphabet, the 9 value must be left out.

And finally, it is once again difficult to see any INTRINSIC relationship between a Hebrew letter and the number it represents. Why should one symbol stand for 1, or another for 2, or yet another for 3, and so on? The whole superstructure seems somewhat shakey.

But let us now turn our attention to a Celtic alphabetic system called the 'Ogham'. This alphabet is written by making a number of short strokes (from 1 to 5) below, above, or through a 'base line' (which in practice tended to be the edge of a standing stone). Thus, A, O, U, E, and I would be written, respectively:


Of course, in this system it is easy to see how a letter becomes associated with a number, since the numerical value of each letter is implicit. Thus, A=1, O=2, U=3, E=4, and I=5. (It is true there is much disagreement and confusion among modern scholars as to how the Ogham alphabet should be rendered. Further, a number of different Oghams seem to have been employed at various times by different Celtic cultures. But this confusion usually centers on whether the strokes should be above, below, or through the base line -- NOT on the number of strokes used. On that point, there is general agreement. And though orientation to the base line is important, it is not essential to our discussion of numerology, since we need only concern ourselves with the NUMBER of strokes used.)

Thus, based on the work of such scholars as P.C. Power, S. Ferguson, D. Diringer, I. Williams, L. Spence, and D. Conway, I have synthesized the following table of Celtic numerology:

1 2 3 4 5









Using this table, the student of Celtic numerology would then proceed to analyze any word in the generally accepted manner. One should not be concerned that the numbers 6, 7, 8, and 9 do not appear in this system, as the Ogham alphabet had NO letters with these values (as opposed to the Hebrew alphabet which DID have letters with the missing 9 value, as mentioned earlier). Another consideration is that the Ogham alphabet is just that -- an alphabet. It never represented any particular language, and historically it has been employed by many different languages. Again by contrast, the Hebrew alphabet was structured for a particular language -- Hebrew -- and many problems arise when we attempt to adapt it to a language for which it is not suited.

Although the Ogham alphabet only has letter values from 1 through 5, all of the numbers from 1 through 9 (plus any master numbers of 11, 22, etc.) will be used in the final analysis (just as in the Hebrew system). To understand how this works, let us try an example. We will use the name of the Welsh goddess Rhiannon:

R + H + I + A + N + N + O + N

5 + 1 + 5 + 1 + 5 + 5 + 2 + 5 = 29

2 + 9 = 11

Most numerologists will agree that 11 is a 'master number' or 'power number' and therefore it is not further reduced by adding the two digits (although, if one does this, 1 + 1 = 2, and 2 is considered the first even and feminine number in the numerical sequence, certainly appropriate for a Welsh Mother Goddess). Viewed as an 11, the analysis is usually that of someone who is on a 'higher plane of existence' (certainly appropriate for a goddess), someone who brings 'mystical revelation'. Often this is someone who feels slightly distant from the people surrounding him or her, and who has trouble feeling any real empathy for them (which seems to fit a faery queen who has come to live in the land of mortals). Also, this is sometimes the number of the martyr, or of someone unjustly accused (which is certainly true of Rhiannon's story as told in the 'Mabinogi', in which she is falsely accused of destroying her own son).

By way of contrast, the 'modern' system would have Rhiannon be a 3, a somewhat inappropriate masculine number (not that all feminine names should always yield a feminine number -- but one would at least expect it to do so in the case of an archetypal mother goddess). The Hebrew system would yield an even more inappropriate 4, that being the number of the material world and all things physical (and since Rhiannon hails from faery, she is definitely not of this material plane.)

By now, some of my more thoughtful readers may think they see some inconsistency in my approach. Why have I gone to so much trouble to point up the flaws in traditional systems of numerology (even going so far as to suggest an entirely new system), only to fall back on interpretations of the numbers that are strictly traditional? The reason is this: all of my objections thus far have been limited to METHODOLOGY. When it comes to interpreting the meaning of the numbers, I have no quarrel with the traditional approach, since here we enter the field of universal symbolism. All systems of numerology, be they Hebrew, modern, Oriental, or whatever, tend to attach the same interpretive meaning to the numbers. When Three Dog Night sings, 'One is the loneliest number that you'll ever know...', it is a statement which is immediately understood and agreed upon by people from widely diverse cultures. And the same holds true for all other numbers, for we are here dealing with archetypal symbols.
It is worth repeating that, although I believe this system to have a firm theoretical basis, it is still in an embryonic state -- highly tentative, highly speculative. To the best of my knowledge, it is also an original contribution to the field of numerology. While some writers (notably Robert Graves in 'The White Goddess') have dealt with the numerical values of Ogham letters, I believe this article is the first instance of employing it specifically as a system of numerology. I have spent many long hours working with Celtic numerology -- putting abstract theory to use in practical application -- but much work remains to be done. For this reason, I would be happy to hear from readers who are interested in the subject and who would like to share their own experiences and thoughts.

Document Copyright © 1978, 1998 by Mike Nichols HTML coding by: Mike Nichols © 1998

This document can be re-published only as long as no information is lost or changed, credit is given to the author, and it is provided or used without cost to others.

And for clarification

The standard order:

1 - A J S
2 - B K T
3 - C L U
4 - D M V
5 - E N W
6 - F O X
7 - G P Y
8 - H Q Z
9 - I R

The Hebrew order:

1 - A Y Q
2 - B K R
3 - G L S
4 - D M T
5 - H N
6 - V W
7 - Z
8 - P

The Celtic order:

1 - A B H M
2 - D G L O X
3 - T U V W
4 - C E F J K S
5 - I N P Q R Y Z

Tea Leaf Reading

Although telling fortunes by consulting the patterns formed by tea-leaves on the base and sides of a cup is often regarded as drawing-room entertainment, it is not purely an amusement. The tea leaves can act as a medium through which the clairvoyance of the reader is stimulated so that he or she is able to reveal truths that would otherwise remain hidden; or the figures formed by the leaves may be believed to reflect patterns that exist in the astral. The method used in tea-leaf reading is time honoured and simple. The client inverts her cup, turning it round three times; she places it on the saucer and then taps the bottom three times with her left index finger. The clairvoyant, who is in a light trance, picks the cup up and turns it round so that the leaves can be inspected.

All tea leaf readers have their preferred methods of interpreting the patterns made by the leaves, and only some general indication of their meaning is given here:

Chain of small leave: A journey, travel; if two larger leaves are in close proximity, the excursion is mental and not physical.

Serpentine chain of small leaves: a visit to the mountains; if two larger leaves are in close proximity, there will be ups and downs in daily life; inability to settle down.

Three small leaves close to one leaf: A man.

Two leaves close to a small leaf: A woman.

Group of small leaves in a triangular pattern: A child or children.

Heart: Love; a heart broken or crossed by a chain of leaves represents a broken love affair or divorce.

Triangle: Emotional involvement; jealousy; rivalry. If pointing downwards this shape indicates a menage a trois, if upwards, ambition and success are suggested.

Square: Several different possibilities are suggested by this formation; it may mean that the person concerned is well-established, conservative and solid character. Bit it can also imply a need for protection, or the client's failure to excel in his career.

Star: Great success; a sign of genius; spiritual enlightenment. However, if it falls on or near a heart formation, the passions may be crushed and replaced by a life of asceticism.

The appearance of more complicated symbols or geometric signs needs profound study; because of their rarity they are extremely significant.

Many leaves spread all over the cup: A rich or confused character; extravagance; negligence; generosity.

Very few leaves in the cup: Clarity; direct action in the future. However, this also indicates poverty in emotional life, and if the
leaves seem to arrange themselves in a provocative way they must be read with great care so that they offset the poverty of the all-over pattern.

Cross: This means that the client is at a crossroads in life, and that a personal sacrifice may be necessary. If this pattern is in conjunction with one large leaf, it can signify death. However, care and tact should be exercised in making such an interpretation, and it should be remembered that the possible death is not necessarily that of the client. Other leaves close by will ward off danger, and show a remedy for whatever ill is likely to befall him.

Circle: Marriage; a close partnership; fame. A good omen.

Circle with a cross on it: Enforced confinement, possibly in a hospital, prison, or other institution.

Two parallel lines of leaves: A propitious journey; dreams that will come true; a long and happy life. Reinforcement of all else seen in the cup.

Dots: Letters; messages; thoughts.

Stars: Good luck.

Dashes: Surprises.

Flowers: Joy; an engagement and marriage.

Fruit: Good fortune; children.

Daisy: Simple happiness.

Gun or dagger: Danger; strife.

Scythe: A good harvest; a death warning.

Musical instruments: Good company.

Scales: Justice; success at law.

Ladder: Increasing success.

Key: Secrets revealed; knowledge.

House: Stability.

Bottle: Excess; flirtation at a party.

Envelope: News.

Fan: An indiscreet love affair.

Teapot or kettle: Good cheer; contentment.

Pair of scissors: Angry words.

Hammer: Hard work.

There are other general indications:

Time is represented by the different levels of the cup. The rim is the present, and below this lies the near future, while patterns formed on the base refer to events that are many years ahead.

Place is indicated by the parts of the cup in which the leaves settle. Those nearest the handle tell of events that affect the home; the leaves on the sides suggest distance according to their proximity to the handle, and those on the base show the place of birth, nationality and hidden nature of the client.

Letters of the alphabet represent the initials of people concerned in the reading; the hearer they are to the handle, the closer their relationship to the client.

Clear symbols are lucky, with the exception of those that represent illness or death.
Faint symbols tend to be unlucky, suggesting a weak character or lack of purpose.

Man, Myth, and Magic Volume 20, Article by Basil Ivan Rakoczi

How To Develop Your Own Psychic Abilities

Everyone has innate psychic abilities. There are some who are born with a more developed gift than others, but everyone has potential.

There are three basic modes of psychic receptivity

Being aware of facts or situations that you have no concrete way of knowing by experiencing them emotionally. In other words, a clairsentient can feel the emotions of others, can feel the presence of spiritual entities and feel that a situation will turn out a certain way. This happens to be the mode I work most from.

This is the ability to hear sounds (music, voices, names) from other realms. Joan of Arc is a famous example of a clairaudient.

A clairvoyant experiences psychic awareness in the form of visual images. Sometimes these images are of actual scenes, sometimes they are symbols. Clairvoyants can sometimes see spiritual entities. The child in the movie "The Sixth Sense," for instance, was an extremely powerful clairvoyant.

The majority of people will find that their psychic abilities lie primarily in one of these areas. Working within the area in which your natural abilities lie makes the process of strengthening those abilities easier.

If you are intuitive and empathic, your primary mode will likely be clairsentience. If you are a very visual person, chances are your primary mode will be clairvoyance. Experiment and see which works best for you. Practice! These are not skill you can master with a minimum of effort. It is like exercising a muscle; You have to work it to make it strong.

Prepare Yourself

The state of mind you should be in for divination is close to a meditative state. Your mind and body should be relaxed. Sit comfortably and breathe deeply. Slowly let your mind open.

Physical Tools

Having a divinatory tool to work with is an excellent idea because it gives you something tangible to interpret. It stimulates your intuition and unconscious mind by serving as a screen for them to project upon. Some useful divinatory tools are The I Ching, a form of stichomancy (the practice of seeking insight into the world by reading a random passage in a book), Runes (a tool that dates from at least 300 AD when they were used by the Goths) and The Tarot. Then there is:


This is the use of a crystal or crystal globe or, more economically, a bowl of water with a few drops of ink (not India ink so in case you spill it, it won't be a disaster).

In order to scry, you should sit comfortably, preferably inside a cast circle, in a darkened but candlelit room. Then, without straining, gaze at the surface of your scrying tool. You may be able to discern a blue light emanating from it. Out loud, say the question you want information about. Continue to gaze at the scrying tool. At a certain point, you will notice its surface has become hazy. Then it will come sharply back into focus. This is the point at which the vision may open. If it doesn't, don't be impatient. It may take lots of practice before you have a breakthrough.

The vision may be symbols or scenes. When you are a beginner, they may not be easily discernible. Resist the temptation to shift your line of vision in an attempt to try to make them out. Keep your eyes on the scrying tool. Perhaps the images you see won't make much sense to you, but make sure you write them down in your notebook along with the question you asked so you can assess their meaning from the vantage point of a later date.

Meditation and Automatic Writing

Have a friend give you a question on which to meditate. Or ask a question yourself. For learning purposes it should be a question you do not know the answer to but will be able to verify later. Get a pen and a piece of blank paper. Relax. Breathe deeply and slowly. Find your centre. Ask your spirit guardian for assistance in guiding your hand. Let your mind drift. Hold the pen lightly in your hand. Focus on the question and on the charge of energy that is building up in your hand. At a certain point, the pen may begin to move, seemingly of its own accord. Don't let the excitement you feel at what is happening disrupt the delicate connection between your everyday consciousness and your deep mind. This last point is probably the most difficult instruction to follow, particularly when you are just starting out.

Your first few efforts will likely result in a collection of squiggles and chicken scratches. Again, don't be disheartened. With practice you will be able to write legible words. Save even your most illegible efforts in a binder or notebook so that you can keep track of your progress.

Brief note of warning: Keep your perspective. Don't allow your psychic abilities to dominate your life. In order to be a balanced person, you have to listen to all of your senses (including your common sense), not just your sixth sense. So develop your psychic abilities but find a balance between them and your other abilities. Don't overindulge.

Thoughts on tarot

by Anne-Marie Krone

"I have put tarot first because it's my favorite form of divination. So let's dive into the mechanics of using tarot. The first step is acquiring a deck. When I first started using tarot finding a deck was a lot more difficult than it is now. Back then they were only available in occult book stores and the selection was fairly small (Rider-Waite only usually). Now tarot decks can be picked up in nearly any bookstore that has a New Age section and the variety of decks is amazing! This is a fantastic development, but it can be confusing to a beginner. Which deck to use? I use Aleister Crowley's Thoth deck, but I own an Aquarian Deck, a Sacred Rose Deck, and a Rider-Waite Deck. (I used to own more but I have this tendency to give them away to people who need a deck LOL). My daughter uses the Unicorn Tarot deck. So we are still at the question of which deck? The answer is any deck will work, but the one that you find visually and symbologically appealing to you will work better, so take some time and check out the pictures.

A standard tarot deck consists of 22 trump cards and 56 suit cards. The four suits are generally wands, cups, swords, and pentacles, but there are design variants like rods, staves, clubs, coins, disks, etc. There are now Dragon tarot, Fairy tarot, Womyn's tarot, Wolf tarot, Animal tarot, Witches tarot, Egyptian tarot, Celtic tarot, Magic the Gathering tarot, and many others too numerous to name. It is now possible to find a tarot deck that suits your taste and personality more exactly and this is a very good thing, as divination works best when the symbols are appealing. So the best tarot deck for you is the one that you like the pictures on's that simple.

So now you have a deck, how to use it?
The first and most important step is to learn the meanings of the cards. All decks come with a little booklet that gives a brief description of the meanings of each card and this is perfectly good to get started on. You can purchase a book on tarot (my fav is the The Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley, but this is specifically designed for the Thoth deck) to learn more complete meanings, but this is not necessary to start off with. Some good exercises to learn the meanings is to use the cards like flash cards, going through the deck and trying to name the meaning from memory. After some practice you should have at least the generic meanings down, the more specific and subtler meanings will come with practice, also the pictures themselves should give you mnemonic hints. Another way to fix the meanings in your head is to take each card and study it, then copy the meaning down by hand in your book of shadows. Whatever method you use, once you have become familiar with each cards meaning you are ready to begin using the cards for divination.

This is done by means of a "spread". Just as there are lots of tarot decks there are lots of spreads. One of the most common (and probably the one that is shown in your little booklet) is the Celtic Cross Spread. This is a 10 card spread laid out in the form of a cross.

The first card is laid in the center and this card represents either the question or the questioner. It can either be deliberately chosen before the reading or picked at random.
The second card is laid across the first. This card represents that which is "crossing" the question or questioner. In other words...whatever it is that caused you to do the spread in the first place, the problem to be resolved or the unknown information you are seeking.
The third card is placed below the first card and represents the "foundation" or the basis of the question or the starting state of the questioner.
The fourth card is placed to the left of the center. It indicates the past...the circumstances that led up to the present question.
The fifth card is placed above the center and represents the "crown". This is how the question or the questioner appears to the outside world.
The sixth card is placed to the right of center. This represents the immediate future in respect to the question..trends that will soon manifest.
The seventh card is placed beside the cross to the lower right and is the first card in a line that will be made beside the cross. It represents the subconscious...something that pertains to the question but that you might not have been consciously aware of.
The eight card is placed immediately above the seventh. This card represents external relationships with friends and family that might pertain to the question.
The ninth card is placed above the eighth. This is the card that describes the hopes and fears that are related to the question.
The tenth and final card is placed above the ninth and represents the final outcome of the question.

As you can see the Celtic Cross is designed to foretell the general future of a person and really doesn't lend itself well to more specific questions or questions about the properties of a magickal substance. It also only places one card for each area, thereby limiting the nuances that could be expressed.

Another spread which I find more specific and effective is the Pentagram spread.

Starting at the top you lay three cards next to each other. These represent the Spirit of the matter. And all three should be read together as a combined progression. (This is where knowing the magickal elements comes in handy) with the left-most representing the past the middle representing the present and the right-most representing the immediate future)
Next you lay three cards together at the bottom left (you are outlining a pentagram with each point marked by three cards). These three cards represent the Earth of the question...the foundation or basis of the question.
Next you lay three cards in the upper right. These cards will represent the Water of the question...the emotions that lie in the question.
The next set of three is placed in the upper left and represent the Air of the question...the thought or intellectual properties of the question.
Finally the last set of three are placed in the lower right (completing the pentagram) and represent the Fire of the question...or what actions should be taken.

A third spread I call the Yes/No spread, is fairly simple. The question should be phrased as a yes/no question. You lay five cards in a row from left to right. Reversed cards mean no, forward cards mean yes. You count the yes's and no's to get the overall yes or no (majority wins). The cards then can be read as farthest left~past, left-immediate past, middle~present, right~imediate future, furthest right~future.

There are many more spreads and you should feel free to investigate others or make up your own. As long as you know what each place is supposed to mean the spread will "work".

Mechanics or the Care and Feeding of a tarot deck:)

You can shuffle as little or as much as you like in any fashion you like, as long as you do it the same way every time. This allows your dream consciousness a chance to "stack" the deck.

Reading a spread:
Beyond the specific meanings of each card you should look for predominations. For example a spread that is mostly trumps indicates great powers at work, a spread that is mostly swords indicates intellectual matters, cups emotional, disks earthly or material matters, wands physical or life matters. Also look for oppositions like swords and disks or rods and cups..this may indicate conflict or opposing forces at work.

You can keep your tarot deck in the box they came in, but I find it aesthetically pleasing and conducive to my belief in their power (which is what makes them work) to wrap them in a swatch of silk and put them in their own box (I have one in a stain glass box, one in a stone box carved with celtic knotwork, one in a wicker box and one in an orange silk pouch). I keep my favorite deck on my altar, but any place where they aren't going to be upset or casually man-handled is okay.

I keep one set that I use on/for other people (the Aquarian deck) and I allow whoever I am reading for to touch this deck, but all others are off limits. I do this because I have found that keeping your decks attuned only to you makes them more effective. If someone touches your personal deck though, all is not lost. Simply put them back in order (0-21 trumps, 1-King suit cards) this "clears" the deck and you can reset it to your own personal attunement thereafter. (course I still get upset if someone touches my personal deck cause I have been tuning that baby for years LOL)

Most important when doing a reading is how and what you are thinking as you do the spread. Before beginning any tarot reading, I place the deck in my left hand and say a prayer to the Goddess, then I spend a few moments in meditation to bring myself to a light trance state. While I shuffle and lay out the spread (and still in a light trance) I keep the question as the only thought in my head (sometimes chanting the question out loud helps maintain the purity of the thought). If you do not do this your spread WILL reflect whatever happened to be floating around in your head...for example: you asked a question about the best time to do a spell, but your mind kept popping over to the car needing new tires. Chances are really good that the spread will be more about the new tires your car needs than about the spell timing, so it is very important to remain focused.

As with everything else, practice is absolutely necessary to getting "good" with tarot. The more familiar you are with your deck and the more readings you have done, the better your readings will get and the more accurate they will become. It is a good idea to keep notes on readings in your book of shadows, as I have found, sometimes readings I thought I had blown proved to be very accurate (scary accurate) when I reviewed them months or years later."

Copyright Anne-Marie Krone 1999.


Copyright Anne-Marie Krone 1999

Divination is defined as the art or practice that seeks to discover hidden knowledge. The word divination springs from the word to divine or to discover or perceive intuitively. Part and parcel of performing magick and doing so ethically is knowing when, where, with what and for whom. We have studied some symbols and how they interrelate, but to properly investigate the symbols and to answer the above questions we need to understand divination.

There are many systems of divination. A short list is tarot, astrology, crystallomancy (crystal balls), geomancy (poking holes in a box of earth and combining the results into a set of symbols..I'll be explaining geomancy fully in another lecture), pyromancy (using flame or smoke to divine), dream interpretation, hydromancy (scrying with a liquid reflective surface like water or ink), runes, tea leaves, palmistry, I Ching and astral projective investigation. There are many, many more forms, but what they all have in common is a set of symbols that the diviner combines in a specific (often ritual) fashion and by "reading" the relationships and order of the symbols to acquire hidden or esoteric knowledge. Some sets of symbols are more detailed than others (tarot, astrology, geomancy, I Ching) and some rely heavily on the reader's own intuition and imagination (tea leaves, crystallomancy, hydro and pyromancy).

But how does it work? If you will recall, we discussed how the God and Goddess are present in all things and all things are part of the God and Goddess. This includes our minds. Your mind is part of the Divine Mind of the God and the Goddess and under the proper circumstances you can gain access to all of the Divine Mind. But this access must of necessity be limited or as a human being you would be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information and not be able to find the specific info you need. The conscious mind keeps us sane by filtering out most of the imput of the Divine Mind (this is also why many tribal peoples regarded insane people as holy people), divination works by selectively dipping into the subconscious or dream consciousness (I dislike the word implies that this state of consciousness is less than normal consciousness when it is in fact incredibly more, so from now on I will call it dream consciousness). And via the use of symbols presenting our normal consciousness with the information we are seeking.

Let me give you an example. There is a online tarot reading service that I like to goof around with. The layout is generated randomly by a computer, and as such is not particularly applicable to me (but still fun to do *grin*). A completely random spread is like casting a net into the will get a fish and it just might be the fish you were looking for...but more than likely it will not be. No, divination works by cheating. Don't be aghast. Not conscious cheating (which will only tell you what you want to hear), but by your dream consciousness stacking the deck when you shuffle a tarot deck, or by causing your hands to twitch when you use a divining rod or pendulum, or by influencing the selection of runestones that fall, because your dream consciousness already knows the answer. It just has to have a medium by which to communicate with your consciousness ( a set of symbols), and that's how divination works.
As a side note: all the scientific research into divination will never find anything that they can prove works LOL..because they go to great lengths to eliminate any conscious or unconscious cheating, thereby reducing any results to purely random and ensuring that it doesn't work. It would be like before you went to attempt to prove that your car starts, you removed the battery.

So which system of divination to use? This is yet another thing that you need to try several and see which works best for you, what feels most comfortable. Obviously some systems are fairly easy to pick up, and others require study and practice before you are familiar enough with the symbols for it to work truly well (tarot and I ching are good examples of these). I personally use tarot almost exclusively for divination (it isn't always possible or practical to carry a deck around all the time and do spreads, so I do practice more portable forms of divination when I am "on the road"). And some forms of divination require a lot of "equipment" (which you either have to purchase or make) so that might influence your choice as well. Whatever system or systems you finally decide on, it is important to practice often and become thoroughly familiar with the symbols in it. Until you do, the results while not entirely inaccurate won't be as specific as they will when you are. A good way to determine/ practice your accuracy is to do divination on things that you already know the answer to. Keep records of these practice sessions in your Book of Shadows, and try to take note of all factors like time of day, state of mind, background noise/activity, physical position, moon phase, any helpful factors like candles, incense or music. After a time you will be able to review your records and see that for example you were most accurate when you were playing an Enya CD, burning jasmine incense and doing the reading on a full moon in the late evening wearing your purple feather hat (I kid you not, that is when I am most accurate LOL). With this information, when you seek truly unknown answers you can set the conditions to those most favorable to you and be assured of obtaining a reliable answer.

So what kinds of things do you divine for? Beyond the run of the mill, "what will my future hold?" (which will give you the most probable extrapolation of how things will go based on the prevailing factors at the very instance of the reading provided that no changes are made ). Divination can be used to determine if using a spell would be correct and for the best, or determining currents in your life, or helping you to make decisions about jobs, people, places, money, health care, etc. It can also be used to explore new symbols (or old for that matter) to enhance your understanding of them. Like doing a tarot reading on the properties of quartz, or using your crystal ball to enhance your understanding of the Empress card. I will be giving a blow by blow on several major divination systems in the next few lectures, but don't be afraid to go out and buy a book on any that seem appealing to you. I have been reading tarot for 15 years, but I still find new insights and meanings every day. Tarot, astrology and I Ching books are widely available in the New Age sections of bookstores (more available than books on Wicca for that matter).

Ouija Board

How to use a Ouija Board
So, you have your new Ouija or talking board. Now what?
Here are some suggestions:

Wipe your board clean with a soft cloth
Smudge your board with a sage bundle or any purifying incense (like rosemary). Smudging is the Native American equivalent of a "smoke bath".
Light a white candle.
Affirm, in a clear strong voice, that no negative or harmful energies be attracted to your Ouija Board. State that any negative forces present are now banished and dismissed. You may want to ask for a helpful and beneficial entity to make itself known to you

The traditional and time honored original William Fuld Ouija instructions:
1st - Place the board upon the knees of two persons, lady and gentleman preferred. Place heart shaped table in center of board, resting fingers lightly upon the table so as to allow it to move freely and easily. A question may be asked, and in from one to five minutes the table will commence to move, at first slowly, and then faster. As the table passes over the board, a transparent window and pointer in the top indicates each letter of a message as it is received.

2nd - Care should be taken that only one person ask questions at a time so as to avoid confusion.

3rd - To obtain the best results it is important that the person present should concentrate upon the matter in question and avoid other topics. Have no one at the table who will not sit seriously and respectfully. If you use it in a frivolous spirit, asking ridiculous questions, laughing over it, you naturally get undeveloped influences around you.

4th - The Ouija is a great mystery, and none claim to give exact directions for it's management and use, and the Ouija will not work equally well under all circumstances. With reasonable patience and judgement the Ouija will satisfy your greatest expectations.

5th - The board should be kept smooth and free from dust and moisture, as all depends on the ease with which the feet of the table can glide over the surface of the board. Rubbing with a soft dry cloth just before using is advised.

Here are a few time honored BlackRaven suggestions:

Have a 3rd person act as the scribe. Many times the letters and numbers spelled out will make no sense at the time. By using a 3rd participant, or a tape recorder, you will be able to go back over your session at any time.
Use your Ouija at night. Is it the darkness that helps set the mood? Who knows! It just seems to work a lot better.
Feel uncomfortable with any information that you are receiving? Tell the "messenger" to leave! Use a strong clear voice and banish the troublemaker. Most "spirits" are bored silly, and will do ANYTHING to attract your attention.
Always Ask for information from the board. Never Tell the talking board what you want. How would you respond to a demand instead of a polite request?
Planchette won't move? Begin again by making slow circles on the Ouija and the "spirits" will usually take it from there!
There is no such thing as a 'broken' Ouija board. Are you serious about your intent? Are you using the board with someone who is giggling and/or not concentrating? All of these things will inhibit your enjoyment and results.
If you're really scared then here's the best advice: Put the Ouija Board Away! Duh.
You can use a Ouija or talking board by yourself. Some people are simply unable to get results when working with the board alone.

Ouija boards DO work.
They will NOT bring evil spirits or bad luck into your life.
Unless of course, you really believe that they will...heh heh heh
Ouija boards are not the tool of the devil. Satan certainly has better things to do then hang around your Ouija board.
Besides, everyone knows that the tool of Satan is a Phillips Screwdriver...