Wiccan Reads: Divination for Beginners by Scott Cunningham

div for beginners

The author starts by saying nature is not “out there” but part of us as we are of it.  That sets the tone for the whole book.  If you don’t understand that divination is natural and not a “gift” then everything else will fall into place.  If not, then this book will do nothing for you.

That being said, Cunningham then describes the term “natural divination”.  It’s the observation of occurrences in the natural world.  He also discusses that casual observations of omens are not true divination.  A request for information must precede an (provoked) omen.  Astrology originated in Mesopotamia as a form of omen observation

Cunningham then goes over different types of divination throughout the world in history.  The ancient Germanics (pre-viking) relied heavily on divination, especially from females.  Some Asian philosophies view time as an illusion or a tool to organize our lives but it doesn’t really exist.  “Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.”—Albert Einstein

The next section of the book deals with divination via the 4 elements.  I like that he included this for people that work with the elements.  Apparently, wells were considered sacred with spirits or attendant deities and are very potent divinatory tools.  I never would have guessed that, because wells are man-made.  I suppose it would be silly of me to assume something inanimate is not “divine”, for lack of a better term.  It’s just hard to grasp.  I suppose the water in the well is what I find more relatable as a divination tool.  Cunningham states that herbs are the most accurate element in divination ‘cause they were once alive…Heavy, huh?  I would mention air and fire here, but in short, if it goes to the left the answer’s no, to the right, the answer’s yes…And that’s about it.

While discussing the different methods of divination, he gives us an interesting piece of trivia.  The word “lottery” derives from casting lots.  The most fascinating method (I think) is the use of crystal ball gazing.  The author writes that diviners used to hold the crystals up to the sun and then gaze at them.  This makes me think of Tiresias, the blind prophet.  I’m guessing seers had a tendency to become blind because of this practice.  Cunningham is very adamant about the fact that the crystal is responsible for producing the images one sees and not the mind.  He recommends to be sure of no noises disturbing you while using the crystal and don’t concentrate.  Supposedly the crystal will turn milky-white, then black before you see images.  He says crystal-ball-gazing is one of the most evocative and truthful forms of divination.  I now have one, and I will get the chance to use it, very soon.  When that happens I will post my results.

We move on to explore mirrors and he warns us not to underestimate their power…I’m not going to dispute that fact.  I’m quite terrified of them and I think there was a reason why people used to cover them back in the day.  What is seen cannot be unseen.  Anyway, he says that a round frame is used for metaphysical divination, whereas a square one is for physical divination (I’m thinking that’s simply scrying).  I like that he notes that lakes were the first mirrors and until the last century or so, people were not very aware of what they looked like.  They only had semi-reflective surface, depictions, and other people’s descriptions to rely on.  I find that ironic, how we are more aware of what we look like, now, yet it’s becoming more and more irrelevant.  Our ancestors seemed like they were much more in touch with their bodies than we are now and they weren’t even as visually aware of them…

Speaking of bodies, the author goes over palm-reading a bit.  He mentions 6 different types of hands and what they say about a person.  But that’s just the beginning.  He says palm-reading is so complex that most students who study it end up giving up on it because there’s so much to know.

Moving on to pendulums, Cunningham says they’re rather effective.  Mostly they’re used to find things but they can be used to answer questions as well.  I find that I end up influencing the pendulum too much and just make it swing whatever direction I want.  For me, they’re a good tool for practicing energy-directing.  Finally, he mentions sand divination which means you hold a pencil in some sand and let it move wherever it wants.  This sounds similar to automatic writing…or maybe even a spirit board.

At the end of the day, this book is a good survey of all the forms of divination ever used.  It’s definitely for beginners because it is just a sampling.  It gives a good history of divination and why it was used, what methods were used for what.  It’s written in typical Cunningham style almost like a collection of folk stories.  Each section of information could stand alone as its own article but still flows like a scrap book of the cohesive subject.  I’m noticing Cunningham is good at providing the basics of things for those new to the craft.  This book is definitely in that same category.


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