Divination for Beginners: 3 Pillars (The Basics)
By definition, divination is the practice of seeing the future and answering questions by supernatural means. This definition is correct, but it leaves out the fact the word divination has the word divine as the main syllable. Divination also means to communicate with the divine (God, the Universe, Source). Divination is practice at receiving the Divine’s messages and learning lessons along the way. Divine messages are answers to questions about life, love, the past, the future, and more. Because the Divine knows all, there’s no limit to the questions that can be asked through DIVINation. Learn divination for beginners here.
Divination for Beginners: The Three Pillars
Because of the lack of simple instructions for divination for beginners, I came up with the concept of Three Pillars of Divination. This is a concept that will help the beginner learn how to divine, step by step. Focus on one pillar at a time and take your time learning each. This is an ongoing process. The more you learn about divination, the more you will apply these learned concepts to your practice. And if things get confusing, you can always return to the basics. The Three Pillars of Divination are: Observation, Symbolism, and Intuition. If you are studying divination for beginners seriously, I suggest writing these down in a journal or notebook.
1st Pillar of Divination: Observation
The first pillar, and probably the most important, is Observation. You can’t receive a message if you’re not listening, right? You can’t interpret a sign if you miss it. Observation is being open-minded and mindful at the same time. Open-minded to any and all messages or images you receive from the Divine through divination. Which means you’re willing to receive messages in whatever form. This also means you don’t allow the “logical” side of your brain to block out the intuitive (we will get more into this later).
The majority of people walk around on a daily basis, totally oblivious to their surroundings, totally oblivious to the fact that the Divine is trying to speak to them. By being mindful of your surroundings and by being in the present moment, you allow the Divine to speak to you in whatever form that might be (through nature, symbolism on TV, random conversations, etc). People wonder why they can’t hear God or speak to God, and yet they truly aren’t listening. Observation, mindful observation, is key to hearing the Divine speak to you.
How to be Observant
When learning divination for beginners, be observant. If outside and awaiting a sign from the Divine through nature, be open to whatever appears. Take in the world around you—the environment, the sounds, sights, smells, and sensations. Be observant of yourself—your emotions, your physical sensations. By being present in the moment, you are being mindful of what messages the Divine sends you. This is the same if you are using tarot cards, crystal balls, runes, scrying mirrors, etc. First observe before moving on to symbolism and interpretation.
2nd Pillar of Divination: Symbolism
The 2nd Pillar of Divination is Symbolism. Symbolism is the use of symbols to represent concepts or ideas. Symbolism is used in many ways: in mainstream media, literature, religion, politics, etc. The human brain uses symbolism without even realizing. Symbolism is so ingrained in our way of thinking and living. For this reason, symbolism is a big part of divination. The Divine uses symbolism to speak to us. It is an inherent part of divination and should be in the forefront of your mind when you are Divining.
Symbolism in Divination
Symbolism is seen in all forms of divination: tarot, oracle, the Elder runes, the Ogham, numerology, astrology, and more. For example, if we take a look at the runes, the rune Algiz is a symbol (or letter) that represents the concept of protection (among others). This is symbolism in its simplest terms. In oracle, we are presented with various images that each represent a moral or concept of some kind. For example, in the Goddess oracle, the card with the goddess Baba Yaga represents wild freedom. The point is, whatever form of divination you choose, dedicate time to studying and learning the symbolism. As you become more experienced in divination, you’ll realize many of these symbols carry over to other forms of divination. At this point, divination will become easier and easier to you.
3rd Pillar of Divination for Beginners: Intuition
The Third Pillar of Divination is Intuition. Often when we are beginning to learn divination we’re told to use our intuition. But what does this mean, exactly? Intuition is defined as something one knows immediately without conscious reasoning. You know that feeling you get before walking into a place that tells you not to go in? Or that feeling when you meet someone and your gut tells you not to trust them? Your logical mind will say this is illogical. But this initial feeling is your intuition, your god-given instinct, that will keep you safe in many situations.
How to Use Your Intuition in Divination
Use this instinct, your intuition, when practicing divination. It’s as easy as drawing an oracle card, and letting your first initial thought or feeling serve as the divine message. Practice this so that it becomes natural, as your conscious brain will try to shrug off your intuition at first. Be aware intuition comes to us in different ways. For example, when I divine and use my oracle cards, I will draw a card and look at the image. Typically I get a “flash” of an image or scenery in my mind, this is how I use my intuition. But you might draw an oracle card and hear a word in your mind. Or you might get a particular emotion.
These are all forms of intuition, and depending on the person will be different. With practice, you’ll learn how your intuition speaks to you. Each time you practice using your intuition, write down your experience. Did you let your intuition speak to you and show you the answer? Did your conscious mind try to block? Were there symbols or images in your mind? What words did you hear? Did you feel any emotions?
Putting it All Together
Applying intuition to the other Two Pillars of Divination: you will observe, apply the learned symbolism, and use your intuition. Intuition and symbolism will eventually mix together cohesively, and sometimes you might not know where your intuition and symbolism separate. That is the beauty of divination and receiving messages from the Divine. Keep in mind it will take time to get in tune with your intuition…sometimes it can take years to fully connect. Be patient and keep practicing.
Choosing a Form of Divination for Beginners
With the Three Pillars of Divination in mind, choose a form of divination to study. By focusing on one form, you can apply the three pillars and hone in on your divination skills before moving on to another form of divination. For beginners, I recommend using nature to learn divination. This could mean interpreting the cloud patterns in the sky, going for a walk and allowing certain birds or insects to come to you then interpreting those signs, or scrying with fire or water. These may seem very basic, but you will find it isn’t always easy. However, learning how to read patterns and symbols in nature will teach you mindfulness (observation), as well as symbolism and how to use your intuition flawlessly. Then you can move on to other forms of divination that take even more study and time such as tarot or the runes.
Study One Form for One Year
I recommend studying one form of divination for at least a year. You can’t fully connect with that form of divination unless you’ve given it considerable time and study. Spending a month on the runes or tarot will not do. The same goes for other all divination. These forms of divination have been used by our ancestors for hundreds (sometimes thousands) of years and thus have developed their own personalities. You will give honor to your ancestors and to those forms of divination by putting in the time and effort to really connect. Divination for beginners isn’t as difficult as it may seem – it just takes time and practice.
We all have our own way of doing things, particularly when it comes to magick and ritual. It’s taken me many years to solidify my way of setting up sacred space and performing ritual – be it honorary ritual for the ancestors/gods, casting magick, or practicing divination. In this article, I am giving members only my FULL personal magical divination ritual that I use whenever I practice divination for others. I also use it if practicing a large or more complex reading for myself.
Creating Your Own Personal Divination Ritual
It’s best to develop your own personal divination ritual to get full benefit of your divination studies and practice. You’ll need a quiet, safe space free from distraction. As well as any objects that make you feel relaxed and get you into an alpha state of mind (relaxed but ready to receive).
Understand that if you decide to use my ritual, you can always adapt it to fit your needs and preferences. I am very much aware that most witches and most people are not attuned to the Reiki energy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate your own way of setting up sacred space in substitution for the parts of ritual where I use Reiki. Again, make it your own but feel free to use any part of it. I do ask that you keep it to yourself and other CLOSE members of the craft to retain its sacredness.
Setting Up Sacred Space
Before setting up sacred space, I make sure I have everything I’ll need for the divination ritual on my table or in the middle of my space. Things I usually have ready include: incense stick (2) and burner, lighter/matches, offering bowl w/ offering, candles for light, selenite wand and clear quartz point (to speak to my guides and for clarity in divination), pen and notebook/grimoire, and a means of divination (oracle cards or rune stones).
- To set up sacred space, the first thing I do is turn on some ritual music. Typically I play Celtic flutes, shamanic drumming, or Wardruna to set the mood.
- Next, I light my rosemary smudge bundle and smudge the space I’ll be using in ritual. I move in a counter-clockwise (widdershins) circle and repeat “Negative energy must go away. Only positive energy can stay.” If I don’t have a smudge bundle or can’t use smoke, I sometimes use a smudge spray as a quick means of cleansing the space and again walk in a counter-clockwise fashion while spraying and chanting.
- To further set up sacred space, instead of casting a circle in the typical Wiccan way, I use Reiki to charge and protect the space. There are certain symbols you are given when you are attuned, of which I typically use one of these symbols which is a power symbol.
- I move in a clockwise fashion to set up sacred space, I then draw my power Reiki symbol in the air in the 4 corners/directions. You can substitute with a protective/power rune or symbol that resonates with you.