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.
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.
Why use oracle cards: to tap into loving wisdom about how to best approach a situation and to uncover the lessons that your soul most wants to learn by going through any given challenge. Examples: my very own Magic of Flowers Oracle and Colette Baron-Reid’s The Wisdom of Avalon Oracle.
How to use oracle cards: shuffle until it feels right (you might feel it in your hands, hear it in your mind, or know it in your gut). Then draw the first three cards from the top, which signify past, present, and future. Or if you want to do a 5-card reading, 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.
Why use tarot cards: To see the overarching paradigms at work in any given situation, providing a sturdy infrastructure of insight.
How to use tarot cards: after shuffling until it feels right and then cutting the deck, try the spread Ellen Dugan recommends in her guidebook, which involves dealing seven cards, left to right. These signify (1) past, (2) present, (3), future, (4) advice, (5) people, (6) obstacles, and (7) outcome.
Sit back and let your mind wander through the imagery, noticing what stands out and the feelings you receive. You might also look in the guidebook just to see if anything stands out related to the situation at hand.
3. A Pendulum
Why use a pendulum: because it’s 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.
How to use 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.
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.
Why use the I Ching: it’s invaluable for times of great change or when deep, longstanding, and/or fundamental issues present themselves.
How to use the I Ching: currently, my favorite translation is Total I Ching by Stephen Karcher, but this is not the translation I necessarily 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.
No matter what version you’re working with, the penny method of doing a reading should work for your I Ching reading. Start with three shiny pennies and a notebook. In the notebook, write out a question, like, “What guidance will best support me in such-and-such situation.” Then number 1-6, starting with one on the bottom and moving upwards to 6. Holding the question in your mind and body, roll the three coins. Then write a straight line or a broken line near the number one, using the following guidelines.
If you roll two heads and one tails, draw a broken line.
If you roll one heads and two tails, draw a straight line.
If you roll all tails, draw a broken line with an “x” in the middle.
If you roll all heads, draw a straight line with an “o” in the middle.
Repeat the process five more times, moving successively upwards toward 6.
Check the diagram in the back of the book to find the number of the hexagram (the pattern of six lines). Turn to the correct page in the book and read the description, looking deeply at all the ways it applies to your current situation.
When it gets to the “changing lines” section, only read the descriptions for the lines with an “x” or an “o.” (If there are any.) 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 will help you 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 don’t suffer in confusion! Ask the Divine for guidance and see what answers you receive.
…Did you try any of these divination tools? How did it go?