Monday, September 27, 2010

Xylomancy - divination using trees

Xylomancy, reading trees, is so old a technique that no one actually knows today how it is done. If you look at the definition, you will see that it is an "old Slavonian divination method" using twigs.
Some say that a xylomantist read the formations of fallen twigs.
Some others say that people used to ask advice of logs instead of twigs. (This probably means watching how the logs behave in the fireplace, and the Yule Log superstitions are reminiscent of this.)
Yet some others say that it is the predecessor of arrow divination, Belomancy. It could have been something like I Ching - in one form of I Ching dried stalks of yarrow are used.
It could also have involved having a bag of odd pieces of wood and sticks and tossing them on the ground, like runes or stones.

As no-one knows how this is done, you have very free hands to create your own method. I would use the Omen Walk, as described by Callia Underhill in her wonderful book, Witch's Book of Divination. Basically, what she says is that all the symbols we use in divination are quite personal and self-created. We LEARN to know the tarot cards and others, even though we already have enough experience and understanding to read them subconsciously. She suggests that you write your own book of symbols, by writing in your own meaning to the symbols.
To me, dreaming about flying and horses have nothing to do with sex, but everything to do with freedom and happiness. To me squirrels are not thieves, but slightly mischievous pranksters.

Go to the woods, walk around and see what there is. Trees could have boughs and twigs that look funny, or interesting, or something. When I was young there was a pine tree by my school road, and it looked as if there was a pony locked inside, trying to escape. I could see the head and neck, and two legs. The twigs of another formed a word "isi", which is "daddy" in Finnish.

There is also an old sign language. Almost all native peoples who live in a forested area have a tradition of using twigs and stones put in certain formations to convey messages to those who pass by. The Boy Scouts have adopted some of them to make their “trail signs”.


I think it would be beneficial for your efforts to understand what the woods are trying to tell you, if you learned these and both runes and Ogham. The more symbolic languages and pictograms you have in your mind, the easier it is for you to interpret the omens around you.

Write in your symbol journal all the possible ideas you get when walking in the forest, so that when you need to start reading the trees, you are prepared.

General tree symbolism

Almond: Divination, clairvoyance, wisdom, money and business.

Alder: A water loving tree, but is highly combustible, often used as a symbol of appearance used in glamour spells and has protection against oracular powers.

Apple: One of my favorite trees associated with healing, prosperity, love and perpetual youth, innocence. The juice is used to infer strength and beauty. Also represents a choice.

Apricot: Love.

Ash: Toughest , most elastic wood. Represents the linking of the inner and outer worlds. Wood for purification, good for removing and cleansing internalized strife. Mental purification, protection and sea magic.

Beech: Stability and flow of energy. Beech is an incredible conductor of energy.

Birch: The first tree to grow on bare soil represents the rebirth of the forest. The inner bark of the tree provides a pain reliever that is used to treat arthritis. Represents protection, purification and new beginnings. Useful in spells involving structure support shielding warding and cleansing.

Blackthorn: A winter tree representing unexpected change, realization that you and your life have changed radically, enter life reborn.

Cedar: Prosperity and longevity. Used to repulse energies. Best if used to drive of negative energies.

Cypress: A sad tree, A tree of mourning, often used to build funeral pyres.

Dogwood: Charm and finesse. Used to enhance one's social abilities and increase personality. The flower is good to cleanse wounds.

Elder: Represents the end in the beginning and the beginning in the end.

Elm: Protection often planted in tainted areas to warn off others.

Fig: Symbol of fertility, strength, energy and health.

Fir: Symbolizes malleability, cleverness and ability to change.

Hawthorn: Hottest fires. A symbol of strife and harshness, tool for protection, Its energies will work for defense, use to dispel energies, excellent for banishing strife.

Hazel: Divination marriage and protection. Skills in poetry divination and meditation, inspires others.

Hazelnut: Symbolizes attraction, loss of inhibition or will power or drowsiness.

Heather: Listen to your bodies message.

Hemlock: Do not use.

Holly: Symbolizes a challenges of the will to be overcome with unity and concerted effort. Sometimes symbolizes combat and defense often used has symbol of life.

Honey suckle: Pursue your desire, allow yourself to experience pleasure.

Ivy: Represents your links with others, the search for ones inter self.

Lemon: Divination and healing.

Lime: Chastity and neutrality.

Juniper: Protection

Maple: Divination and love. happy tree, luring, drawing in bringing together.

Mulberry: Knowledge divination, wisdom and the will.

Oak: Healing strength and money. King of the forest grows slowly, the doorway to mysteries. Symbol of widow and strength and endurance, good for storing and conduction power. used in spells involving authority, majesty, power strength wisdom and endurance.

Olive: Peace, fruitfulness, security and money.

Orange: Love and marriage.

Palm: Strength.

Peach: Love, divination.

Pine: Purification health, fortune fertility and prosperity.

Reed: Symbolic of music.

Rowan: Protection and strength.An aid and protection against enchantment.

Sequoia: Symbolize eternity longevity and vast wisdom.

Silver Fir: What you seek shall be found.

Spruce: Symbolize north and cold.

Sycamore: Symbolize growth and persistence. North American holy tree.

Vine: Release of prophetic powers.

Walnut: Healing and protection.

White popular: The challenge you face will be endured and conquered with determination.

Willow: Healing protection from enchantment, wishing and easy delivery of babies. This tree is strongly linked to lunar rhythms and feminine aspects. Ability to banish depression and sadness. The bark contains w used to treat rheumatic fever and various damp diseases.

Yew: Symbolizes death and rebirth, transformation, great age and reincarnation, good shield.

(c) Ravenfox

I Ching

I Ching is The Book of Changes, is one of the oldest Chinese texts. It is believed to be several thousand years old, though the oldest copy is probably from only some hundred years before current reckoning. I Ching is also a divination method, when combined with coins or sticks. The idea of this is, that you get "lines" by throwing the coins or sticks according to a certain method, and these lines read in 64 different ways, thus referring to 64 different strofes in the book. These words are rather mystical, weird for a person who hasn't grown in the old Chinese culture, and was the origin of fortune cookies' messages. Some of these words have become Chinese proverbs. I Ching has strong influence in the Chinese culture, as the text was interpreted not only as a collection of proverbs, but as a philosophy of life and a system of cosmology - basically, I Ching was the picture of the world as the Chinese people knew it 2000-3000 years ago. The basic principle of this world order was that everything changes, flows from one event into another, everything is built on the balance of opposites, the eternally swirling disc of yin and yang.

The oldest divination method used yarrow stalks, but as it was replaced with the more reliable (that is, all the possibilities are as possible, while with the yarrow stalks some combinations are more probable than others) coin method during the Han Dynasty, it was also forgotten. The modern yarrow stalk method is a reconstruction and recreation.

You are to have 50 (or 52) yarrow sticks.
You are to take one from the bunch and lay it in front of you.
You are to divide the rest randomly in two piles, and set the piles right and left from you.
Take one stalk from the right hand pile and place it between the ring finger and little finger of your left hand.
Remove the stalks from the left hand pile four stalks at a time until you have only four or less stalks left. Tuck these between the ring finger and long finger of your left hand.
Do the same with the right hand pile and tuck the remaining 4 or less between the long finger and index finger of your left hand.
You should now have 5-9 sticks between your fingers. (Why not 3? Because if you have only one stick left in one of the piles, you will have 3 sticks in the other. Anything else just isn't possible.)
Now you lay these sticks across the first one you removed from the pile, and take the rest of the sticks and repeat what you just did - divide in two, remove sticks 4 at a time, stuck between fingers and so on, twice. This time you will end up with 4-8 sticks.
You should end up with 3 piles of sticks across the first one.
Now, there's only three possibilities here.
All piles are small (4-5 sticks). This is a changing yang line. (draw a cross over the long line)
All piles are large (8-9 sticks). This is a changing yin line. (draw a circle between the two short lines)
Two are small and one is large. This is the unchanging yin line. (two short lines)
or
two are large and one is small. This is the unchanging yang line. (a long line).

This is your first or bottom line of your hexagram. You need to repeat this five more times to get the rest of the six lines.

You can really use anything, it doesn't necessarily need to be yarrow sticks. It could be long matchsticks, pieces of bamboo, pick-up sticks or even strips of paper.

The coin method is a bit easier.
You need three coins with a distinct head and tails side. Any coins, even buttons or tokens will do, even though the old chinese coins are preferred.
You toss the coins for each line.
Heads give you 3, tails 2, so you will get any result from 6 to 9.

6 (all tails) is a changing yin line. (draw a circle between the two short lines)
7 (two tails, one head) is the unchanging (or young) yang line. (a long line).
8 (one tail, two heads) is the unchanging (or young) yin line. (two short lines)
9 (all heads) is a changing (or old) yang line. (draw a cross over the long line)

Here is explained some probability and a method of using only two coins or 16 marbles, beads, stones or anything else, that is of 4 different colors but otherwise the same.

Now, what do these hexagrams "say", then? That will be explained later :-)

Collected articles about divination

I have been interested in divination for over 20 years now, and I am one of these people who collect every available piece of information there is, the more obscure it is, the better.

I won't be talking much about Astrology or Tarot cards, as there already is tons of information about those subjects. I will be speaking of the divination methods that are more unusual and less used.

acultomancy     divination using needles

aeromancy     divination by means of the weather

ailuromancy     divination by watching cats’ movements

alectormancy     divination by sacrificing a rooster

alectryomancy     divination by watching a rooster gather corn kernels

aleuromancy     divination using flour or meal

alomancy     divination using salt

alphitomancy     divination using loaves of barley

alveromancy     divination using sounds

ambulomancy     divination by taking a walk

amniomancy     divination by examining afterbirth

anthomancy     divination using flowers

anthracomancy     divination using burning coals

anthropomancy     divination using human entrails

apantomancy     divination using objects at hand

arithmancy     divination using numbers

armomancy     divination by examining one’s shoulders

aspidomancy     divination by sitting and chanting within a circle

astragalomancy     divination using dice or knucklebones

astromancy     divination using stars

austromancy     divination using wind

axinomancy     divination using an axe or hatchet

batraquomancy     divination using frogs

belomancy     divination by means of arrows

bibliomancy     divination by opening a book at random

botanomancy     divination using burning branches or plants

brontomancy     divination using thunder

capnomancy     divination by means of smoke

cartomancy     telling fortunes using playing cards

catoptromancy     divination by examining mirror placed underwater

causimancy     divination by means of fire

ceneromancy     divination using ashes

cephalonomancy     divination by boiling an ass head

ceraunomancy     divination using thunderbolts

ceraunoscopy     divination using lightning

ceromancy     divination by means of wax drippings

ceroscopy     divination using wax

chaomancy     divination by examining phenomena of the air

chirognomy     divination by studying the hands

chiromancy     divination by means of palmistry

chronomancy     divination by means of time

cleidomancy     divination using keys

cleromancy     divination using dice

conchomancy     divination using shells

coscinomancy     divination using a sieve and a pair of shears

crithomancy     divination by strewing meal over sacrifices

critomancy     divination using viands and cakes

cromnyomancy     divination using onions

crystallomancy     divination by means of clear objects

crystalomancy     divination using a crystal globe

cubomancy     divination by throwing dice

dactyliomancy     divination by means of a finger

dactylomancy     divination using rings

daphnomancy     divination using a laurel

demonomancy     divination using demons

dririmancy     divination by observing dripping blood

emonomancy     divination using demons

enoptromancy     divination using mirrors

eromancy     divination using water vessels

extispicy     divination using entrails

floromancy     belief that flowers have feelings

gastromancy     divination by sounds from the belly

geloscopy     fortune-telling by means of laughter

geomancy     divination by casting earth onto a surface

grafology     divination by studying writing

graptomancy     divination by studying handwriting

gyromancy     divination by falling from dizziness

halomancy     divination using salt

haruspication     divination by inspecting animal entrails

hematomancy     divination using blood

hepatoscopy     divination by examining animal livers

hieromancy     divination by studying objects offered in sacrifice

hieroscopy     divination using entrails

hippomancy     divination using horses

hydromancy     divination using water

hypnomancy     divination using sleep

ichnomancy     divination using footprints

ichthyomancy     divination by inspecting fish entrails

iconomancy     divination using icons

idolomancy     divination using idols

kephalonomancy     divination using a baked ass’s head

keraunoscopia     divination using thunder

knissomancy     divination using burning incense

labiomancy     lip reading

lampadomancy     divination by flame

lecanomancy     divination using water in a basin or pool

libanomancy     divination by watching incense smoke

lithomancy     divination by stones or meteorites

logarithmancy     divination by means of algorithms

logomancy     divination using words

macromancy     divination using large objects

maculomancy     divination using spots

margaritomancy     divination using pearls

mathemancy     divination by counting

meconomancy     divination using sleep

meteoromancy     divination by studying meteors

metopomancy     divination using the forehead or face

metoposcopy     fortune-telling or judgement of character by the lines of the forehead

micromancy     divination using small objects

myomancy     divination from the movements of mice

narcomancy     divination using sleep

necyomancy     divination by summoning Satan

nomancy     divination by examining letters of name

odontomancy     divination using teeth

oenomancy     divination by studying appearance of wine

oinomancy     divination using wine

ololygmancy     fortune-telling by the howling of dogs

omoplatoscopy     divination by observing cracks in burning scapulae

omphalomancy     divination from the knots in the umbilical cord

oneiromancy     divination by dreams

onomancy     divination using a donkey or ass

onomancy     divination using proper names

onychomancy     divination by the fingernails

onymancy     divination by the fingernails

oomancy     divination using eggs

ophidiomancy     divination using snakes

ophiomancy     divination by watching snakes

ornithomancy     divination by observing flight of birds

oryctomancy     divination using excavated objects

ossomancy     divination using bones

osteomancy     divination using bones

ouranomancy     divination using the heavens

pedomancy     divination by examining the soles of the feet

pegomancy     divination by springs or fountains

pessomancy     divination using pebbles

phyllomancy     divination using leaves or tea leaves

physiognomancy     divination by studying the face

psephomancy     divination by drawing lots or markers at random

psychomancy     divination by means of spirits

pyromancy     divination using fire

retromancy     divination by looking over one’s shoulder

rhabdomancy     divination using a rod or stick

rhapsodomancy     divination by opening works of poetry at random

scapulomancy     divination by examining burnt shoulder blade

scatomancy     divination by studying excrement

scatoscopy     divination by studying excrement; scatomancy

schematomancy     divination using the human form

sciomancy     divination using ghosts

scyphomancy     divination by means of a cup

selenomancy     divination by studying the moon

sideromancy     divination using stars; divination by burning straws

sortilege     divination by drawing lots

spasmatomancy     divination by twitching or convulsions of the body

spatilomancy     divination by means of feces

spheromancy     divination using a crystal ball

spodomancy     divination by means of ashes

stercomancy     fortune-telling by studying seeds in dung

stichomancy     divination by picking passages from books at random

stolisomancy     divination by observing how one dresses oneself

sycomancy     divination using fig leaves

tephromancy     divination by ashes

theomancy     divination by means of oracles

thrioboly     divination using pebbles

thumomancy     divination by means of one's own soul

tiromancy     divination using cheese

topomancy     divination using landforms

trochomancy     divination by studying wheel tracks

tyromancy     divination using cheese

uranomancy     divination by studying the heavens

urimancy     divination by observing urine

xenomancy     divination using strangers

xylomancy     divination by examining wood found in one’s path

zoomancy     divination by observing animals

Paper divination

Traditional divination by ashes You need: - a plate (a white china dinner plate is perfect. It should have no pattern, it should b...