What are the different methods of divination? What are the different types of fortune-telling? Which kinds of psychic reading tools were practiced by diviners in both historical and modern times? If you’d like to know the most common and uncommon, both easy and hard methods of predicting the future, look no further!
Below is an A-Z list of 62 methods of divination and fortune-telling. There are many types of prophecy in this world, so this list has grown relatively easily! Sometimes, less popular systems become more mainstream, so I will continue to add to this article over time.
Methods of Divination: Overview
The first thing to note, is that these methods of divination appear in no particular order. All entires are alphabetical. However, I have grouped each system into one of the following ten subsets:
- Body parts
- Bones, shells and animals
- Casting and lots
- Fire and burning
- Random patterns
- Signs and spirit
- Sky and stars
- Words and numbers
Please also keep in mind that this is not a complete list. I have been working on this list of methods of divination for the last few years. I will add to it as time goes on. If there is a method which has not been included, you can write a comment in the comment section at the bottom of this post and I will add it to the list.
Finally, some of these methods of divination are reflective of the times. Some may appear to be pretty disgusting to us, but try not to be judgemental. People of the time had their reasons for adopting a particular fortune-telling tool.
Methods of Divination Using Body Parts
Far back into history, humans have obsessed over their own bodies. Some of the first objects d’art were so-called Venus Figurines. Venus figurines – small statues of faceless women, often depicted nude (see photo). While our ancestors probably did not use these artefacts as divination tools, they most likely did have religious and ceremonial uses.
It is very difficult to say how and when diviners began using their bodies within methods of divination. What is known, is that palmistry was used by diviners in ancient Babylon, India, and China.
Chirognomy is a form of hand divination, and is the practice of reading someone’s personality based on their hand shape, fingers, etc.
As there are many readers who prefer to practice a more holistic approach to reading, chirognomy is currently the most common form of palmistry. If you buy a modern palm reading book, you’ll find that it focuses heavily on reading the shape of the hands and fingers, not the lines themselves. Therefore, chirognomy is very easy to master. (For more info, scroll down the page to palmistry.)
Chiromancy is another form of palm divination – this time, it’s the art of reading the lines in order to divine the future. Fortune-tellers read these palm lines in order to give predictions about the future.
Previously in palmistry, line reading and forecasting were the most popular, but in modern times, readers have taken a more holistic approach. Many modern palmistry books look at reading the hand shape (chirognomy) rather than the lines. However, you can still get books that look at line reading. (For more info, scroll down the page to palmistry.)
Dactylomancy is a Greek term that translates as ‘finger divination.’ Traditionally, dactylomancy is practiced using a ring. However, technically, any form of divination that uses the finger could count as dactylomancy, but most people know dactylomancy as the type of divination that uses rings.
To practice dactylomancy, you first need to tie a ring to a piece of string. You’ll then think of your question and lift the string so that the ring is suspended in the air. Finally, you will interpret the sway of the ring as being a yes, no, or maybe.
Moleosophy is a system of divination that assigns special significance to moles. The shape or body part on which a mole appears is interpreted as symbolizing good fortune or bad luck in that area. For example, a mole on the face is often called a beauty spot or beauty mark because it’s considered to be a sign of beauty.
Birthmarks are also interpreted as part of moleosophy, and are said by diviners to be particularly noteworthy.
Palmistry is divination by reading someone’s hand. Today, Palmistry is certainly one of the most popular methods of divination.
While the earliest instances of palmistry can be dated back to India, for as long as there has been recorded history, humans have attached spiritual significance to their hands. Some of the earliest forms of art are hand stencils.
Palmistry can be separated into two main branches: chirognomy and chiromancy. Chirognomy is the practice of reading someone’s personality based on their hand shape, fingers, etc. Chiromancy is the art of reading the lines to divine the future. Fortune-tellers practice the former while holistic readers practice the latter. However, many readers practice both.
If you want to practice palmistry, good eyesight (or glasses) is a must. Already an astrologer? Then you’ll learn the basics of palmistry (mounts, fingers) relatively quickly, as the planets correspond to different parts of the hand. I should say that not having good eyesight and a lack of astrological knowledge can be worked around, but they certainly do help. You can learn about the palmistry mounts and palmistry mounts between the fingers on this website.
Phrenology was once classed as a science, and involved reading someone’s health, character, and temperament based on measurements taken of their skull. Originating in Great Britain, the system has fallen out of favor in recent years.
Methods of Divination Using Bones, Shells, & Animals
After body parts, it is only natural that humans would take to using animals in their divination. There are probably as many methods of divination using animals as there are any other system.
Below, I have outlined some of the fortune-telling tools which, one way or another, use animals, shells, or other animal produce. However, the vast majority of divination methods use animal symbolism in one way or another. For example, there are animals in oracle cards. So, in a way, all methods of divination could fall under this animal section.
Augury is the practice of divining the future based on the movement of birds. Birds have been given special status by humans throughout history, possibly because many cultures have believed that birds are messengers of the gods. Therefore, because they fly between our world and heaven, they should know things that man does not!
There are several methods of augury. One form of augury involves birds in flight. Diviners would watch the way birds were flying and interpret their movements, interactions, speed, etc.
Another type of augury consists of interpreting the actions of birds on the ground. A diviner would ask a question, throw some corn, and interpret the way the bird ate. As time progressed, diviners would lay feed in an alphabet and record the letters that the birds pecked (a bit like an ancient form of ouija!).
In modern times, augury is not widely practiced by diviners, so this will be difficult to master if you feel called to it. If you wish to be an augurer today, you’ll either need to go over ancient texts or invent your own system.
Osteomancy – aka bone reading divination – has seen a massive surge of interest in recent years thanks to the internet and an increased interest in traditional African religions.
Perhaps one of the most ancient forms of divination to include the use of tools, bone casting has been around for thousands of years. It has been practiced in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and everywhere in between. The symbolism of each piece of bone used is dependent on the culture of the diviner and the traditions they follow.
As bone reading is becoming popular, more and more teaching blogs and articles are springing up online, making the art easier to learn in recent years than it once was.
Conchomancy is a fortune-telling method using seashells. Placing a seashell on your ear and analyzing the sound counts as conchomancy. You can also use seashells in casting divination.
If you want to use shells to cast with, you will assign special meanings to each shell based on its type, color, etc., then cast and interpret them as you would casting charms. Because shells are easy to obtain, conchomancy is accessible if you want to give it a try.
Haruspicy is a very ancient form of divination thought to have originated in ancient Mesopotamia. A compendium of writings from 900-600 BC known as The Bārûtu contains instructions on the practice of haruspicy. The Bārûtu is one of the most significant and earliest known mentions of the method in detail; however, the texts are said to have been based on even earlier writings.
Haruspicy involves analyzing the entrails (mainly livers) of sacrificial animals (goats, sheep, chickens) as a means of divination. The Babylonians believed that blood contained the life force and that this originated in the liver, hence the liver’s special status. They separated the liver into different domains and assigned each a god/goddess. During an important event, an animal would be sacrificed and its liver examined. The reader, or Bārû, would give their interpretation based on the size, shape, color, and texture of each liver area.
Along with Mesopotamians, the Greeks were well-known for their practice of haruspicy. In the Bible, the book of Ezekiel (21:21) mentions haruspicy, belomancy, and possibly teraphim together.
Many spiritual religions involve animal sacrifice, even in modern times, but haruspicy as a divination practice has died down. There are texts on ancient religions that look at the subject of liver divination, so you could learn if you’re willing to dig deep into history. However, due to the effort, time, animal killing, and animal cruelty laws in many countries, I advise you to look for another type of fortune-telling unless you like a serious challenge!
Nggam is a Cameroonian method of divination that interprets the movement of crabs or spiders. While it’s possible to come up with your own system and ‘rules’ using the movement of spiders or crabs, this is not true for Nggam. Unless you’re willing to travel to Cameroon to learn directly from the Mambila people, practicing Nggam is going to be difficult, if not completely impossible.
Plastromancy is a type of divination that involves burning the shell of a turtle and interpreting the burn makes or cracks made as a result of being exposed to the heat.
Scapulimancy is a type of osteomancy (bone divination) that uses shoulder blade bones (scapulae). In ancient times, the shoulders of sacrificed animals were examined, and messages from the gods/spirits were deciphered from any shapes or markings found.
Methods of Divination Using Cards
It is official – fortune-telling cards are ‘in’. At the time of editing this post, Tarot cards have seen a revival. Cards have mass mainstream appeal because they are both pretty and practical.
There are several different types of card systems which you can use to predict the future and gain advice. If you do not find a system you are familiar with below, it will probably fall under the heading of ‘Oracle cards’.
I’m placing Etteilla Tarot as a system separate from the regular Tarot. Firstly, they are not the same thing. My second reason for doing so is because Etteilla is not very popular in modern times. The Etteilla system is also hard to master with regular Tarot cards, and there are cards in this system that aren’t in regular Tarot at all.
In some respects, the Etteilla Tarot is like regular Tarot. Etteilla has four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Coins. Each has ten pips, plus a Page, Knight, Queen, and King. Etteilla also comes with twenty-two Majors with some familiar faces (Justice, Temperance). However, that’s where the similarities end.
Many of the interpretations of Etteilla Tarot are wildly different from regular Tarot. For example, the Five of Coins in Etteilla is a positive card of love, whereas in modern Tarot, the Five of Pentacles is a card of poverty. There are also cards in Etteilla that aren’t found in decks today, such as Chaos and Birds & Fish. In addition to these challenges, Etteilla cards are always read with reversals, which have their own unique meanings. There are 156 interpretations to learn in Etteilla compared to the 78 of modern Tarot.
The vastness of Etteilla card meanings makes the system very trying to master. There’s also a lack of Etteilla information in English. However, it’s a super fun system to learn, and the card meanings are brutally honest. If you want to learn, luckily for you, we have the most substantial Etteilla card meanings in English on the entire world wide web here at Divination & Fortune Telling!
Gypsy Fortune-Telling Cards
Gypsy fortune-telling cards are a subset of cartomancy. The cards in a Gypsy fortune-telling deck may or may not depict several things such as:
– Items from everyday life, such as a cat or a chair
– Feelings, such as happiness or despair
– Events, such as weddings or funerals
Although called ‘Gypsy fortune-telling cards,’ I have to say that as a Romany Gypsy myself, I’ve never actually seen any Romany Gypsy person use these cards for divination and fortune-telling purposes, and I suspect they’re an Eastern European invention.
Kipper is a 36-card divination system that originated in Germany. Although it’s currently most popular in German-speaking communities, it’s begun to be picked up by English speaking diviners in recent years.
I liken this system to Gypsy fortune-telling cards and Lenormand. Many of the cards from both decks are like Kipper cards. If you can read Gypsy fortune-telling cards and Lenormand, you’ll be right at home with Kipper meanings. However, keep in mind that Kipper is its own system, and learning will still require study time and research even if you’re are well-versed in other methods of cartomancy.
Lenormand is a 36-card reading system that uses Lenormand cards. Like several other forms of cartomancy, Lenormand began as a card game (Game of Hope) and developed into a kind of divination.
Each Lenormand card depicts an object such as an anchor, ship, or mountain. Each of these objects has a symbolic meaning – for example, a mountain represents a problem and a ship represents travel, among other things. For reading, the cards are combined to form definitions known as Lenormand card combinations, so a mountain and ship combination could be interpreted as representing an issue with travel.
Lenormand can be learned very quickly. Depending on your talents as a reader, you can get very detailed information from reading Lenormand cards, and the system is excellent for giving predictive readings or readings where your client doesn’t want to give too much away (if you read for others). I generally recommend that you learn Lenormand if you plan on readings lots of people, but Tarot if you intend on reading mainly for yourself. You can find out how to read Lenormand on the Lenormand Oracle website.
Mahjong is a card game that’s popular in China. As with playing cards, dominos, and dice, mahjong cards can be employed for divination. Traditionally, mahjong is played (or read) using mahjong tiles. However, in modern times, it’s possible to buy them in card form, and this adds to its appeal for diviners.
Oracle cards are a form of cartomancy. While most other types of card divination are used for fortune-telling, Oracle cards tend to focus mostly on giving advice. Oracle cards are readily available online and in shops, so this is an accessible method of divination. Here at Divination & Fortune Telling, we have an article that outlines how to read Oracle cards.
Yes, even an ordinary pack of playing cards can be used for fortune-telling. Many card readers read with playing cards before they move onto other methods of cartomancy (card divination).
There’s a lot of information out there about reading with playing cards, but it’s not a simple system to master. Learning with playing cards requires a better memory than reading with other types of cards because playing cards usually lack artistic flare. Playing card meanings are also a bit less flexible than, say, Tarot card meanings. However, don’t let these points put you off: playing-card divination is both fun and rewarding.
Tarot divination is a form of cartomancy (card divination) that uses special Tarot cards. Similar to playing cards, Tarot has four suits (Wands, Cups, Swords, and Coins) plus Court cards (Kings, Queens, Knights, and Pages). Unlike playing cards, Tarot cards have 22 extra cards, including Death, The Devil, and The Lovers.
Tarot card decks usually come in two types: illustrated and unillustrated. Unillustrated means that the pictures are not detailed, so a Ten of Swords only depicts ten swords. However, illustrated cards describe a scene, so a Ten of Swords in an illustrated pack might show a man lying on the ground with ten swords in his back. The most popular unillustrated deck is the Tarot de Marseilles, and the most popular illustrated deck is The Rider-Waite Tarot.
There are plenty of resources that will assist you in learning Tarot, especially my free guide, Tarot for Beginners, which will teach you everything you need to know to learn Tarot. Tarot does require a lot of commitment, but it’s also possibly one of the most useful types of divination to learn.
Methods of Divination Using Casting & Lots
Casting and lots have their similarities, but they are quite different, so I am going to explain this first.
Casting is a method of divination which involves a diviner throwing an item (usually a stone, charm, bone or crystal) and interpreting the way in which it lands. The diviner may throw down one or several items at once.
Lots are groups of objects. During a lot reading, the diviner will select one item from a group of items at random. The selected item can then be interpreted by the diviner. For example, in Greek mythology, Zeus became the God of the sky because he pulled the longest stick out of a group of lots.
I have included lots and casting in the same section because things which are casted can also be used as a lot. You can cast charms, but you can also randomly select them from a bag.
Belomancy is the correct name for fortune-telling using arrows. Throughout history, Tibetans, Greeks, Arabians, and Chaldeans all used arrows as a tool for fortune-telling.
There are a couple of ways ancient man predicted the future using arrows. One method was to put special arrows in a quiver (arrow bag), ask a question, and randomly select one, just as you would when drawing lots. Another method involved shooting arrows into the sky and interpreting how they crossed paths and landed.
Belomancy is one form of fortune-telling mentioned in the Bible. The book of Ezekiel (21:21) mentions belomancy, along with haruspicy and possibly teraphim.
Unless you can obtain a bow and arrow, belomancy is challenging to practice nowadays. However, it’s not impossible. Belomancy was frequently discussed by the Greeks in their texts, so if you’re willing to do some research, you could become a belomancer!
Similar to osteomancy (bone reading), charm casting involves throwing charms and interpreting how they land in relation to each other and/or reading how they fall on a divination board. Technically, osteomancy can be called casting, but casting cannot be called osteomancy unless the diviner uses bone.
Casting charms can be made up of those that have been created specifically for this purpose (such as the Magpie Oracle), or you can create your own set using keys, thimbles, nuts, seeds, bone, or anything else you find. You can go all out and buy 9ct gold charms, or you can wait until charms make their way to you in the form of lucky finds when you’re out walking – it’s really up to you.
Dice divination is a method of divination that uses dice. You can use regular dice or special fortune-telling dice created for the purpose.
If you’re using standard dice, it’s customary to use two or three dice, not just one. Once you have your dice, all you have to do is ask your question, roll them, and take note of the answer. If all dice contain an odd number, the answer is no. If all dice have revealed an even number, the answer is yes. However, if there’s a mix between odd and even numbers, the answer is uncertain or unclear at this time.
Domino Divination is similar to dice divination, but the system involves using regular dominos. Two domino tiles are pulled and the numbers of each are interpreted. For example, two blank tiles together predict great misfortune, but two sixes together predict happiness, success, and a good family life.
Favomancy is a type of divination that interprets the way beans, or sometimes peas, fall. Historians believe Favomancy to have Middle Eastern origins. It’s currently practiced in Bosnia and has historically been practiced by Islamic groups who reside in Russia.
The I-Ching is the most well-known Chinese form of divination in the West. This method involves throwing coins multiple times, taking note of how they land, and interpreting the pattern created based on the Book of Changes.
Unlike other Chinese methods of divination, there’s plenty of information on I-Ching in English. The I-Ching is also easy to practice and can be used for most types of questions. However, there’s a lot of learning involved, as there are many possible ways the coins can fall.
Poe is a form of divination popular in Taiwan, particularly in Taoist temples. The system involves asking a question and then throwing two ‘moon blocks’ on the ground. The position in which the blocks land will give you your answer, which will typically be a simple yes or no.
Kau chim is a type of fortune-telling that originated in China and is popular in Buddhist and Taoist temples. Known as Chi Chi Sticks in the West, this method involves asking a question, drawing a kau chim stick from a tube, and interpreting the meaning concerning the issue.
Kau chim sticks are wooden sticks that are housed in a tube. These rods are inscribed with numbers and characters. Altogether, there are 100 sticks, each with a different number, character, and meaning. Depending on how the diviner reads them, the interpretation of each rod may be long or short.
Mi Kayu Ura
Mi kayu ura is a Japanese fortune-telling method that uses rice or beans and is traditionally performed fifteen days after the new moon.
Ogham is a type of divination that claims ancient British origin (although some historians discredit this), and which uses sticks to predict the future or gain advice. Each rod in ogham is engraved with a letter from the Ogham alphabet (which, unlike our Latin alphabet, actually is ancient in origin).
Rhabdomancy is divination using rods or sticks. Belomancy and dowsing rods come under the subdivision of rhabdomancy.
Rune divination is a prevalent method of divination that uses runes to predict the future or get advice. The system originated in Northern Europe. According to Scandinavian mythology, the god Odin hung himself from a tree for nine days to learn the secrets of the runes.
Due to their popularity, runes are one of the most available types of divination to learn in modern times. You can also buy visually appealing sets of runes made from crystals, such as amethyst and quartz.
Teraphim were small idols used in divination that were popular enough to be mentioned several times in the Bible, although their exact function has been lost to time. It’s possible they were either selected as a form of lots, consulted in mediumship, or both. Probably the closest you can get to teraphim nowadays is fetishism.
Methods of Divination Using Crystals
It is quite common for fortune-tellers to believe that their crystals omit energy. Lapis Lazuli is associated with psychic development. Carnelian is associated with healing. Larimar is associated with ocean magic. It is no surprise that humans have taken to using crystals and minerals in their divination.
Crystal Ball Reading
Sometimes called ‘scrying,’ crystal ball reading is a method of fortune-telling that uses crystal balls. Crystal balls come in all shapes and sizes and can be made from actual crystals, such as quartz, or glass.
To read a crystal ball, you’ll need to clear your mind and stare into one. You may see shapes within the ball itself, or you might get ideas forming in your third eye. Reading this way takes some time to get used to but is rewarding.
Crystal ball reading is one of the most famous types of divination, so it’s possible to learn. However, although there’s information out there on reading with crystal balls, much of it isn’t very modern. Real quartz crystal balls can also be expensive, and mastering one requires a very particular psychic skillset (and plenty of dedication).
There are two popular types of dowsing. One type uses rods and is usually performed for the purpose of locating areas where there may be water or oil. Sometimes, divination rods are employed to find missing objects.
The other type of dowsing divination uses a crystal, glass, or metal pendulum as a tool. The diviner asks the pendulum a question, holds the pendulum in their fingers, and waits for it to sway. The sway of the pendulum is interpreted by the diviner to represent a yes, no, or maybe in precisely the same way a ring would be deciphered in dactylomancy.
Lithomancy is the correct term for divination using stones. Although the term can apply to any rocks, in modern prophecy, it’s usually reserved for divination using crystal-tumbled stones such as amethyst and tiger’s eye.
The meaning of each crystal will correspond to your understanding of that crystal. So, amethyst might mean that you need to work on your spiritual development. Rose quartz could say that you will soon find love.
To practice lithomancy, all you need to do is put 10 or more crystals into a mojo bag, shake them up, ask a question, then pull one out. The crystal you draw will guide you or may symbolize a possible outcome.
Mirror Scrying, especially using black obsidian mirrors, is mainly associated with Mesoamerican culture. Before mirrors, scryers used bowls of water to divine the future, but the use of water never went out of fashion. Water was still being used as a form of divination by the Mayans and Aztecs when the Spanish invaded in the 1400s. Mirrors and water hold the same symbolic meaning for many people from the region; they act as portals to the spirit world.
In modern times, mirror scrying is practiced by the Huichol (Wixaritari) of Mexico and diviners across the world who possess a mirror. The techniques behind divining using a mirror are very similar to crystal ball divination, if not the same. You can use a regular mirror, but black obsidian ones are readily available online.
Methods of Divination Using Fire & Burning
We can never really know how long our ancestors have used fire as a fortune-telling tool. It is safe to say that probably around the time fire was invented, humans have assigned special meanings to flames, smoke, and ashes.
Capnomancy is a form of fortune-telling that assigns meaning to the shapes formed in smoke from candles, fire, or burning herbs or incense. Accessible to most, Capnomancy is performed in the same way you would interpret the shapes of clouds. Therefore, if you have a particular talent for making out shapes in clouds, capnomancy should be a breeze.
Ceromancy is divination using the shapes formed from the melted wax of a candle, and is essentially a type of candle divination. The easiest way to practice ceromancy is to solidify the wax with water.
Ceromancy is rather simple to get the hang of. Basically, you just need to ask your question, then light a colored candle. Wait a few hours for the wax to gather. Next, fill a bowl of cold water, then slowly pour the candle wax into the water. Give the wax a couple of minutes to fully harden, then take it out and interpret its shape in relation to your question.
Libanomancy is divination using incense smoke. To practice this method, all you must do is petition a spirit, light incense as an offering, and interpret the movement of the smoke as a message from that spirit. Some diviners would even take the way in which the incense has burned and the patterns in the ash left behind as significant.
Pyromancy is divination using fire. Technically, candle divination, xylomancy, and any divination involving burning fall under the more general category of pyromancy.
Xylomancy is a type of divination that involves burning wood. There are two main methods of practicing Xylomancy: creating a fire or burning wood. Because of its accessibility, xylomancy can be easily practiced in modern times.
If the matter you’re divining on isn’t too important, you can simply scorch a piece of wood with a lighter while focusing on your question.
If the matter you’re divining on is of great importance, you can create a massive fire for your xylomancy session. While building a fire, focus on your issue. As you light the fire, say out loud that you wish to receive guidance from the spirits on the matter. Stand back and watch the fire burn and die a natural death. Once the fire has calmed down, look for a stick or piece of wood that you’re especially drawn to, or which is sticking out further than the other parts.
For both of the above methods of xylomancy, you’re going to have to interpret the symbols within the scorch marks. You would interpret the scorches and scores on the wood in the same way as you would read shapes in clouds, tea leaves, etc.
Methods of Divination Using Random Patterns & Symbols
An understanding of symbolism is needed if you want to practice divination. And that goes for all systems of fortune-telling. However, there are some divination methods which rely mainly on patterns and symbols and they have made this list.
Abocomancy is a method of divination that uses dust, sand, or salt. Historically, diviners have practiced abocomancy in many places. In modern times, and in some parts of Africa, abacomancy is performed by readers rather frequently.
In Mali, Dogon abacomancers read the future in the earth. They may take a fox walking over certain parts of the ground to be significant. A grid would be divided over the affected area, and the movement of the animal interpreted.
Abacomancy and geomancy (divination using earth as a tool) are similar, if not exactly the same. It’s still possible to practice these forms of divination today, as there has been a resurgence of interest in recent years.
Geomancy is a class of divination method that involves interpreting markings on the ground. A geomancer may interpret marks made by animals or lines that have been randomly drawn by themselves or their seeker (the person getting the reading). It was once common to employ geomancy when deciphering the meaning of a dream.
Because dreaming is natural, Oneiromancy, or dream interpretation, is possibly one of the most ancient methods of divination out there. It’s only human nature to have a dream and then wonder what the significance is behind it.
Assigning spiritual significance to dreams has been practiced throughout history. The Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose IV claimed that a sphinx visited him in a dream and told him he would become king if he unearthed it from the sand. In the Bible, Joseph was made second in command to the pharaoh thanks to his dream interpretation skills.
Although it seems easy, interpreting dreams is a somewhat tricky fortune-telling method to master, because most would-be interpreters try to memorize every symbol from a book. However, the easiest way to learn dream interpretation is to design your symbolism.
Tasseomancy, also known as tea leaf reading, is one of the best-known types of fortune-telling thanks to in part to its popularization due to the Harry Potter franchise.
Tea leaf reading involves interpreting the shapes of loose tea leaves as they appear in a cup. You can buy special fortune-telling equipment, but you don’t have to; just a regular teacup and tea leaves are fine. However, it’s best if you use real tea leaves and not tea from tea bags.
Tasseomancy is relatively accessible and easy to practice. However, it does require a bit of knowledge of symbolism, so in that way, it’s similar to dream interpreting, crystal ball reading, and other symbolic forms of divination.
Methods of Divination Using Signs & Spirit
It could be argued that all divination methods use signs or messages from spirit. Without some type of spiritual communication, your readings do not mean anything special. However, there are some divination methods which are highly focused on spirit communication and they have made this list.
Apantomancy is a divination method which uses things you come across by chance, usually animals. In general, you would interpret the things you see as being a sign from the spirits, the universe, God, or gods/goddesses.
Many beliefs about what certain symbols mean have made their way into mainstream consciousness. For example, if you believe that black cats crossing your path is bad luck, you’ve practiced apantomancy. However, the meaning of signs and symbols is usually personal.
Apantomancy requires no special equipment and can increase your psychic development. You can learn more about apantomancy divination on this website.
Cledonism is when you take things that you hear to be significant. For example, while writing this post, I heard the word ‘fortune-telling’ on TV and took this as a divine sign that I’m on the right path with this post!
Cledonomancy should not be confused with so-called ‘clear hearing’ or clairaudience. If you’re clairaudient, you have the ability to hear spirit using your psychic senses. By contrast, a cledonomancer will hear things in real life, such as words spoken by people, something on TV, or a significant song that comes on the radio during a crisis.
Cledonism is in a class with apantomancy in that it can be a form of seeing/hearing signs from Gods and the spirits. Cledonism was popular among the ancient Greeks. In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus hears thunder after asking for a sign and takes this as a mark of approval from Zeus.
Both a religious system and method of divination, Ifá originated in Western Africa. Ifá divination is a component of several traditional African religions and is practiced by priests and priestesses.
Necromancy is a method of divination that uses the spirits of the dead. Because there’s usually some ritual component involved, necromancy is also classed as a type of magic or witchcraft.
Technically, one could argue that any spirit communication is necromancy. Necromancy, therefore, has its roots in Paleolithic times. However, necromancy is often distinguished from natural mediumship due to its ritualistic nature, so they may or may not be as old as each other. Necromancy is also a feature of shamanism.
There are historical references to necromancy as a ritual practice. In Homer’s Odyssey, after learning spells from the sorceress Circe, Odysseus raises the spirits of the dead. Although not condoned in some places, necromancy is actually practiced in the Bible, when King Saul enlists the so-called Witch of Endor to perform a ritual to conjure the spirit of Samuel.
Although spirit boards and automatic writing can be traced back thousands of years, ouija boards are relatively new divination items. The ouija boards that are most famous today were patented by Hasbro 1890.
Despite their short history, ouija boards have many legends and superstitions attributed to them. In popular culture, they’re associated with demon conjuring, possession, and poltergeist activity. Therefore, due to their demon-attracting reputation (however false this idea), they’re often avoided by those who are new to divination or especially superstitious.
Methods of Divination Using the Sky & Stars
There is something in human nature which drives us to check our horoscope. Even those of us who do not believe in fortune-telling are quick to flip to the back of magazines and read their entry. This innate drive, which is in us all, is why divination methods which use the sky and stars are eternally popular.
Aeromancy is fortune-telling using the weather. You can practice this method using thunder, lightning, rain, or wind – whatever you choose. It is highly personal and requires no special equipment.
Astrology is divination using the movement of the planets and stars. Of all the methods and forms of fortune-telling, astrology is probably the most famous and widely practiced. It dates to at least 2000 BC (and most likely earlier) – the Mayans, Indians, and Chinese have all had their own systems of astrology. The modern system of Western astrology has its roots in Mesopotamia.
If you want to master astrology, the first thing to learn is the meanings of the planets. Once you’ve done this, you learn about the signs of the zodiac and then the houses. Finally, you can eat up more advanced stuff like aspects, squares, etc.
It’s relatively easy to become an astrologer, as there are plenty of books, courses, and online resources out there, and you can even track the movement of planets on the internet. You can access your birth chart in seconds using an online calculator and begin to predict your future. You can find out more about astrology planetary correspondences on this website.
Brontomancy means divination using thunder. This natural method of divination is pretty much a cross between divination using signs (apantomancy), divination using the weather (aeromancy), and divination using sound (cledonism). According to diviners, to hear the sound of thunder is a message of approval from the gods.
Dobutsu uranai is a modern type of fortune-telling horoscope that originated (and is popular in) Japan. There are 12 signs in dobutsu uranai, and like in other types of astrology, you’re assigned your sign based on your date of birth. Also like other systems in astrology, your sign is said to tell you a lot about your personality.
The 12 signs in dobutsu uranai are based on animals: lion, sheep, koala, panther, wolf, cheetah, monkey, tiger, pegasus, elephant, raccoon, and fawn. As well as the standard 12 animals, some diviners also assign colors to their clients, as this can give a more detailed horoscope.
Nephomancy is a method of divination that involves seeing shapes in clouds and interpreting those shapes as being signs of spiritual significance. For example, you may know the form of an anchor and take this as a message that your life is about to get more consistent.
Methods of Divination Using Words & Numbers
You can practice divination with a pen and a piece of paper. By using a quick equation, you can work out if your relationship is likely to last thanks to artihmancy. Or, you can tap into your subconscious through the use of automatic writing. As long as you can read and write, these methods of divination are open to you.
Most types of divination that use numbers are usually known as numerology. Technically, numerology is when you assign spiritual significance to numbers, and arithmancy is when you analyze those numbers. However, when people talk about number divination, they usually refer to it as numerology. The Assyrians, Babylonians, and Greek systems are known as gematria or isopsephy.
Arithmancy and numerology are relatively easy to practice and learn because they’re still prevalent in modern times all across the world. If you want to practice number divination, you can find out more about it on this website under arithmancy and numerology.
Automatic writing is a straightforward type of divination. All you have to do is grab a pen and paper, clear your mind, and let the words flow out of you. Some practitioners claim that during automatic writing, they channel messages from spirits, their true selves, and even otherworldly beings. There’s much information available on automatic writing, and it doesn’t take any special tools to get started (other than paper and pen).
Bibliomancy is divination using books. To practice bibliomancy, all you must do is ask for guidance, open a book, and read whichever page or paragraph you feel drawn to; this is your message.
Typically, you would use a religious or spiritual book such as the Bible or even The Egyptian Book of the Dead. However, don’t overcomplicate bibliomancy; any book will do just fine.
If you make judgments of someone based on their handwriting, you’re practicing graphology. Although it still counts as a form of divination (and many consider it a pseudoscience), graphology has now evolved into the science of graph analysis.
Fortune Cookies are little edible shells with paper messages inside. Each message contains a prophecy that may or may not be relevant to the seeker. For example, “hold your tongue and open your ears” would be the type of statement you could find inside a fortune cookie.
One could argue that using fortune cookies isn’t a type of divination one can truly practice. However, I will say that there are people who go out of their way to get fortune cookies for the sole purpose of obtaining advice in the same way they would hunt down their daily horoscope in the newspaper! Therefore, in some respects, fortune cookies can count as a method or tool of divination.
If you wish to receive a prophecy from a fortune cookie, they are easy enough to obtain; they’re typically sold in Chinese restaurant by restauranteurs. Fortune cookies are popular in the West.
Numerology is a method of divination using numbers. (See arithmancy above.)
A Japanese method of divination, O-mikuji involves randomly selecting a scroll of paper that has a pre-written prophecy on it. O-mikuji scrolls are available to visitors at many Japanese temples and shrines, and you can receive one after donating. The message you receive could be viewed as being fortunate or unfortunate; it just depends on your luck on the day.
Closing Thoughts on Methods of Divination
I hope that you enjoyed this list of methods of divination. Hopefully, you found something new!
How do you feel about this list of methods of divination? Did it surprise you? Did I include everything you would have expected? Or, was there a method you would like to see included? Feel free to share your thoughts with your fellow diviners in the comments section below!