Friday, February 17, 2012

How Divination Brought Me Here

Ages old and used in many forms by many cultures, divination is still extremely popular today. Perhaps you've dabbled here and there with Victorian versions, such as peeling an apple into a single slice and tossing it over your shoulder to look for the first initial of your true love? Maybe you've used a fortune teller machine at the boardwalk or had your palm read at a fair? You may also read cards, use a pendulum, or divine signs from clouds, smoke or fire.

For me, divination was the door that opened and helped me begin to walk the path that had been unfolding in my heart since youth. As a young child I felt inclined to spend my afternoons in the woods, tracking animals, burying the dead when I found them, talking to trees, collecting rocks and making mud potions. As an older child (a tween, I suppose) I began to worship the Greek pantheon, in my own way, after devouring at least two dozens books on differing ancient mythologies. I built shrines, painted and continued my outdoor adventures and rituals, never knowing what exactly to call myself. When I entered my teens and religion became something folks discussed on occasion, I would say - I believe in something, but can't put my finger on what to call it exactly.

Then, when I was fourteen, something new was introduced to my path. A friend (who I later lost from my circle due to teenage stupidities) gifted me with a deck of Universal Waite Tarot cards. And they were magnificent. The images on them were gorgeous, softly colored and expertly drawn. The pattern of stars on the back delighted and captivated me; I was enamored of them. I immediately began to methodically memorize the 'little white book' (as many first timers do, I'm sure) and following my friends advice, stuck only to the major arcana. After a while, I deviated from the book with my readings, I would spread the cards out on my bed, draw one or two and make note of them in my huge notebook or ask the cards yes or no questions, shuffle and then turn them over, putting them into piles of right side up and reversed; more reversed meant 'no', more right side up meant 'yes' and an equal number meant they couldn't say.

This went on for a year or so and then I began to want to know more. I began working with the full set yet I hungered to learn new spreads and found that a lot of the cards didn't resonate well with me; their meanings in the book and the feelings they gave me didn't sync up. I hit the libraries (we had *just* gotten dial-up internet, so that was the slooow method of learning) and began to devour books on reading tarot. And the more I read, the more this one word kept popping out at me; 'Wicca'. Being curious, I began to read books on that subject and while it didn't exactly fit with my own feelings, it was closer than I had ever been to giving a name to my beliefs. From there I went on to learn more about other forms of paganism and witchcraft and it led me to here; 15 years later. All because of a set of tarot cards.

Divination still factors into my path today, though I have no strong knack for reading the tarot these days. I fell out of practice right around the end of high school and they sat unattended for many years. Now, when I pick them up I no longer feel intuitively connected to them; it's as if we've had a falling out. I'm making attempts to repair our connection but it has most definitely been a slow moving process. I've tried other sets of tarot cards while working this out, but to the same end. The cards, while beautiful, don't sing for me the way that they used to.

That being said however, I've had tremendous success in reading the heart of faerie oracle deck I picked up on a whim a while back. Each day I pull a card and read with them at each new moon; asking what I need to keep in mind during the coming cycle. Sometimes I do a larger reading because something tugs at me to do so.

For quick yes or no questions these days, I use my pendulum. As it is made of red variegated agate, I will sometimes carry it in my pocket if I'm having a day when I'm not feeling so hot or when my eye condition is flaring up.

On occasion, I also read tea leaves, which I find to be both tasty and fun. I drink my tea down to nearly the last drop (which involves a fair amount of slurping!) then give the cup a good swirl, three times round, before turning it upside down onto a plate. I flip the cup back over and look at the shapes the tea leaves have formed and how they relate to each other. Typically, I don't focus on anything in particular when I do this - I just let them say whatever they feel the need to say. Thus far I have never seen a Grim. ;)

So loves, now you know a bit more about my relationship with divination and how it plays into my path. How about you? How did you come into it? What forms do you prefer?

As a bonus, have any of you a falling out with a form, where it no longer seemed to work for you? Were you able to repair it or did you need to let it go?


  1. I'm on the path to reconnecting with my tarot cards. I love my Celtic Dragon set and feel horrible that I've neglected them for so many years. I love my Sodalite pendulum, the veining is gorgeous.

  2. It's funny, but my path is really similar to yours. My first deck was a gift, about 12 years ago, and came to me before I really found a path (though I had always had certain leanings). I then started reading all the time and felt really connected with my deck.

    I don't do much reading now, but it's still the one thing that I feel the most comfortable with. I've certainly had decks that didn't get along with me, and a few I just had to let go of, but I will always have my primary deck, (Dragon Tarot, btw), and while we aren't as close as we used to, I'm not sure that we'll ever truly be apart. It feels similar to reconnecting with an old friend or family member. Someone who loves you, no matter what, but it may take some time to get the conversation going.

  3. I too have a similar story. Tarot was my first step on this path. Over the years I have had many many decks and sold/gave away some. I love the rider deck and was lucky enough to get an old one from ebay which is my favorite.

    Like you again, I love the heart of faery oracle - I usually pick a card a day from that deck. It's quite accurate and the messages are very personal, so I've not tried reading with them in the traditional way.

    I loved the Witches Runes cards and wished I still had them....

  4. I've tried to connect with and read Tarot for about 5 years now. I just can't get my head out of it, it's so complicated for this simple Witch to understand. Now give me some Oracle cards and I'll read the shit out of those ; )

  5. I liked reading your story here, thank you for sharing it. Tarot was also my first step into paganism, and the one thing that has continued the longest in my practice. Also, I was happy to see the Heart of Faerie mentioned, I use that deck quite a bit and love it. I also use The Faeries' Oracle, which is almost the same deck but strikes me as having a more wild and masculine vibe where I see Heart of Faerie as slightly more feminine and hearth-focused.

    I went through a phase where the cards no longer made sense, and I let go of the practice for a few years. I only picked up a deck again when I found myself giving advice to people on a forum when they asked about how to read Tarot. I realized that I understood it better now despite having put distance between myself and the cards, and I was ready to start again. Apparently the space was what I needed!

  6. I love the Heart of Faery Oracle and the sister deck- The Faery Oracle. Pretty much the only cards I ever use. I really enjoyed this post and hearing about your youth. I can so imagine a young Dani out in the woods. :)

  7. What a fun read! I agree with Violet Marbles, I love the image of you running around the woods making mud potions. :)

    I tried to get into tarot, but the cards never spoke to me. Also tried to use a pendulum, but I am too good at using the pendulum. I can make it swing anyway I think of, left to right, back and forth, in a circle and even sometimes in square (roughly). So it doesn't work very well to use for divination since I can answer any question anyway I want! LOL The only thing I've ever really been drawn to is palm reading. Now hands, those speak to me! :)

  8. I also received my first deck as a gift when I was a teen. It was the Arthurian Tarot by Caitlin and John Matthews. I loved it and started doing readings for anyone who would ask. I too was then led to read more about wicca and paganism and started down my path. I am still a reader and love my decks more than anything, though some work much better for me than others. I love my Robin Wood. This is the only form of divination that I have ever been great at, but since I love it everything works itself out.


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