Like many metaphysically-inclined folk, when I have an issue to contemplate or a decision to make, I prefer not to be empty handed. Rather, I like to employ one or more divination tools. As an intuitive counselor and energy worker, divination tools also important work supplies for me. (In addition to Staples, a good portion of my expense receipts are from my local New Age bookstore.)
Divination tools work on the principle that everything is connected, and our consciousness is in fact one with the Universal Consciousness. So when we set the intention to receive guidance, and open ourselves up to doing so, we always will.
…These are my four all time favorites, as well as what I’ve learned over the years about how to best put them to use.
Of course, before each these (with the exception of the pendulum, which I often use in a less formal way throughout the day), I take a moment to calm and center myself. I might also light a candle and/or incense to help me get in the zone.
I use oracle cards regularly to tap into loving wisdom about how to best approach a situation, and to uncover the lessons that my (or my client’s) soul most wants to learn by going through any given challenge. My favorites are (of course) my very own Magic of Flowers Oracle and Colette Baron-Reid’s The Wisdom of Avalon Oracle.
For my deck, I shuffle until it feels right (I can feel it in my hands and body) and then draw the first three cards from the top, which signify past, present, and future. For The Wisdom of Avalon Oracle, I shuffle until it feels right, divide the deck into five piles, and without thinking too much about it, draw one or two cards from each pile to line up a spread of five cards. These cards represent (1) your current situation, (2) your expectations, (3) hidden influences, (4) advice, and (5) outcome.
I sometimes feel drawn to work with one or the other, but quite often I will use both at once and look for threads of similarity between the two spreads. After I’ve drawn the cards, I relax and take a good, long look, letting the images speak for themselves and sometimes referring to the guidebooks for further clarification.
It took me a long time to finally bond with tarot cards, but when Ellen Dugan’s Witches Tarot came out, I finally found my in. The evocative imagery combined with the straightforward card descriptions really helped me click with the whole tarot thing. Also, I love the spread of seven cards she recommends: after shuffling until it feels right and then cutting the deck, I deal seven cards, left to right. These signify (1) past, (2) present, (3), future, (4) advice, (5) people, (6) obstacles, and (7) outcome.
Once I deal the cards, again I sit back and let my mind wander through the imagery, noticing what stands out and the feelings I receive. I might also look in the guidebook just to see if anything stands out related to the situation at hand.
It might seem like a lot, but for in-depth readings I actually like to do a tarot spread along with a spread of both of the oracle decks mentioned above. I find this gives me a very clear picture of the subtle details of the situation and everything related to it.
And then there is my pendulum, which – while I’m at home – is never far from my side. Even when I go out in the world I like to bring one, just in case: I have been known to stand in the supplement aisle at the health food store while using a pendulum to check in with my body about what it wants.
…Because pendulums are great for accessing your full body wisdom and deep inner knowing! In our culture, we are really big on intellectualizing everything, but our body is giving us messages all the time. By holding a question in your mind and checking in with your pendulum, you can access your holistic inner knowing – not just the knowing that comes from your brain alone.
Pendulums also help us access the Akashic records, or the omnipresent energy field that links everything together. This means they can help us tune into the energy of other people, places, and situations, even when we’re not in close physical proximity to them.
To begin using a pendulum, hold it loosely with one hand. Tune into the pillar of light that connects you to the core of the earth as well as the cosmos, and request that the Divine shield you in a protective sphere of light. Then, mentally or aloud, ask to be shown and answer of “yes.” If you make sure not to hold your arm too rigidly (the movement does come from you, after all), you will likely begin to see it move in a forward and backward motion or a clockwise motion. Then, ask to be shown an answer of “no.” Again being sure to hold your arm somewhat loosely, you’ll likely begin to see it move in a side to side motion or a counterclockwise motion. In time, it will become much easier and more natural, and you can experiment with other ways of receiving guidance with your pendulum.
The I Ching
Translated as “The Book of Changes,” the I Ching is literally among the most ancient of known books. For many centuries, it was accessed by kings and war leaders for help with facilitating diplomatic relations and devising successful military strategies. While it’s the oracle tool I use least often at this time in my life, I find it invaluable for times of great change or when deep, longstanding, and/or fundamental issues present themselves.
At this point, my favorite translation is Total I Ching by Stephen Karcher, but this is not the translation I recommend starting out with, as it can come across as rather abstract. If you’re new to the I Ching, you might like to start with a briefer and more straightforward version, such as Brian Browne Walker’s I Ching or Book of Changes: A Guide to Life’s Turning Points.
But no matter what version you’re working with, the penny method of doing a reading should work. I start with three shiny pennies and a notebook. In the notebook, I write out my question, which is usually something like “What guidance will best support me in such-and-such situation.” Then I number 1-6, starting with one on the bottom and moving upwards to 6. Holding the question in my mind and body, I roll the three coins. Then I write a straight line or a broken line near the number one, using the following guidelines. I then repeat the process five more times, moving upwards toward 6.
If I roll two heads and one tails, I draw a broken line.
If I roll one heads and two tails, I draw a straight line.
If I roll all tails, I draw a broken line with an “x” in the middle.
If I roll all heads, I draw a straight line with an “o” in the middle.
I then check the diagram in the back of the book to find the number of the hexagram (the pattern of six lines), and turn to the correct page in the book and read the description, looking deeply at all the ways it applies to my current situation.
When it gets to the “changing lines” section, I only read the descriptions for the lines with an “x” or an “o.” (If there are any.) I then change the lines with “x’s” and “o’s” to the opposite, check the back of the book again to find the new hexagram, and read the description for that one. This helps me understand the dynamics – or changes – at work in the situation, i.e. where it is and where it’s going. (Any given I Ching translation should have similar instructions somewhere in it – so you’ll be able to investigate further if this isn’t totally clear.)
…So those are my faves! If you try any of them out, let me know how it goes!
…And what about you? Do you have other faves, or other helpful hints you’ve found for using these ones? I’d love to hear!