A couple of months ago I was invited to teach a workshop on divination anchored in the context of hoodoo, which is a primary source of magical services I offer to clients. The specific focus of this course was learning to asses magical conditions, i.e. evil eye, by using a divinatory instrument — be it cards, bones, omens, or what have you.
The workshop was a success, and I’ll be offering a more elaborate version at the Hoodoo Heritage Festival held by Lucky Mojo and the Missionary Independent Church next year.
Although this workshop ties directly to the conjure and Southern folk magic traditions, I believe the “Core Rules” I use in my practice are relevant across the board and help polish any forms of divination.
Below is an excerpt focused on the core principals helping me to get a grip on multiple layers of information that often appear in a single consultation. Please keep in mind that the workshop was designed to help individuals assess a magical (usually personal) case.
A Method to My Madness
1. Pick & Stick:
Don’t jump between various systems, but learn the Ins & Outs of one, preferred method. Practice does makes better! Especially when the questions move away from mundane, and inquire the critical. If you want to know whether a neighbor’s son, who is in the hospital because of a terrible car accident and is in critical condition, will live through August— you probably shouldn’t divine on it with the Bunny Tarot you got for Christmas, and have used only once on Easter.
2. Keep it Simple:
Especially in the beginning — diving into a complicated system of divination tends to span more confusion, discouragement, and eventually stasis. Making something more complicated than it needs to be will not make it better.
3. Set Parameters:
Decide what means what BEFORE you sit down to read… For example, lets say that you are concerned about being jinxed by a co-worker, and your preferred divination method is the Lenormand. You decide to pull two cards on the matter at hand, and you pull first the Dog card, followed by the Lady card. So does this draw mean that a female co-worker is throwing for you, or does it proves your suspicion to be groundless?
The answer completely depends on the parameters you’ve set prior to the reading. If you’ve decided that positive and neutral cards always return a solid YES (without looking into the context of the draw), and your question was: Has Molly been jinxing me? Then the answer is Yes, she was. However, if you decided that positive and neutral cards stand for positive/pleasant outcomes (basing your answer on the context of the draw), then Molly isn’t jinxing you. On the contrary, she is a loyal and supportive colleague.
The reader is the one responsible for setting the parameters. How you set them is completely up to you. But be sure to make these executive decisions prior to a divination session.
4. Formulate CLEAR Questions:
Formulating clear questions is the most important “core rule,” in my opinion. If your questions are generalized and fuzzy, the answers you’ll get will ALWAYS be shrouded in doubt and uncertainty!
Just yesterday an email client has asked to see if “she and her guy” will ever be together. It’s a common way people ask questions. And as a diviner and a rootdoctor it is my job to correct some MAJOR issues with involving the formulation of this question, prior to presenting it to my oracle.
Lets look at the word ever, and how long it lasts. For instance, a young adult might consider a period of three months to last for ever. Now an adult, a Taurus for example ;-), might be willing to wait for a loved one for decades. While a client who believes in reincarnation, and has recently lost a partner, will consider ever to be a lifetime or two.
And what about the word together? To one person it might mean hanging out together at the same space. To another it represents spending time together as platonic friends? Most likely a statement like that refers to a romantic relationship. But in order to clarify what exactly together means, some input and clarification is needed on a case-to-case basis.
Indeed, ever should be framed as an exact period of time; while together needs to be spelling out the type of a desired relationship. So a better question might look like: “Will I and John Doe be in a committed, romantic, and intimate relationship within the next 3 months?” This way both my client and I share the same understanding of the query, and can interpret the results of the consultation appropriately.
5. Question Everything:
A common misconception circulating within the spiritual community for years states that repeating the same question, or asking too many questions will result in confusing the oracle, or even worse, offending it.
If you hold this belief, please ask yourself the following:
Do you really want to work with an oracle, a system, or an entity that is so capricious that it gives you grief for asking for clarification? Or maybe it has a spiritual ADHD, and it cannot retain focus when asked a series of three to five relating questions?
So what’s going to happen if a client comes to you because have a $50,000 and they want to invest it in one of four aggressive portfolios. I don’t know about you, but in cases like this I tend to confirm, reconfirm, and re-reconfirm my answer. So give your oracle a dose of spiritual Adderall, to keep it in focus and in check
6. Assess Your Mental State — Can you read for yourself?
Finally, it’s important to acknowledge that even the best of diviners under certain circumstance is incapable of producing meaningful, and “true” readings when looking into a personal issue of high priority. The fact of the matter is that if a certain situation in our lives gives us anxiety, it renders detachment largely impossible and throws objectivity out the window.
Personally, when I cannot interpret the message of my own divination because there’s just too much going in my life in relation to a specific situation — I choose to pamper myself, and turn to other readers for a second opinion.
No matter what the situation is, I enjoy getting readings from others. It’s a great opportunity to get a different perspective, learn a new technique, and support the diviners’ community by purchasing a reading. And I highly recommend you do it too!