7_swansSeven Swans a-Swimming: White swans, black swans, baby swans, trumpeter swans… such variety brings elegance to the lake where they all glide along the water.

There is the saying that variety is the spice of life, which I could support with a bunch of similar platitudes, but I’m going to get right to the point. Yes, really! A little variety in your divination practices can inspire you, renew waning interests and enhance your facility with divination in general.

Older Cartomancy Systems

My main system has always been tarot. Yet there was a period of time where I experienced burnout. I was tired of online “big-mouths” who seemed to drain the soul and joy out of my experience with their veiled negative attitudes. Perhaps I had personal tarot fatigue and they were just the outward trigger. In any case, I was moved to work more with playing cards, which led me to study old cartomancy techniques and the 32-card piquet deck, and even a 36-card variant. It also led me to the Lenormand cards (back in 2008), which further inspired me to start this blog.

As I’ve mentioned, Lenormand work honed my sense of questioning and led to this blog’s tagline through a fun journey of reading experiences. I even dabbled briefly into making a Lenormand deck, although I only created a handful of images.    Lenormand Snake Sketch

Horary Astrology

I worked at horary astrology for a while. I heartily recommend anyone take at least a basic look at this system of classical astrology, especially if you have a basic knowledge of astrology. (I’ll bet you know more than you think you do!) I sometimes call horary the grandfather of divination systems. It will give you a better understanding of why astrology was so respected as late as the Renaissance; although you may also be saddened to realize how modern astrology seems watered down in comparison. Finally, it can give you an idea of how prediction was — and can be — approached where definite answers are expected. I recommend anything by John Frawley as an entertaining way to explore this topic.

Geomancy

Closely aligned to horary astrology is geomancy, another practice popular during the Renaissance which was sometimes called terrestrial astrology. I got quite good with geomancy, in terms of getting specific answers and information. It can get incredibly deep if one is willing to put in the time, and charts can be created and read in a manner similar to horary astrology. In fact, there was a system (by Gerard of Cremonensis ) to generate a chart complete with variable house positioning, while the geomantic figures stand for planets. [PDF link here]

One thing I like about geomancy is that it can be done without dedicated tools, which is useful in a pinch or where discretion is required. Sometimes it’s good to have a divination method that is versatile in this fashion. I have done geomancy charts in a shared office at work, using a dice app on my phone to help generate the figures, and writing the chart on a notepad or large post-it note. And again, the skills of auguring with geomancy did improve my overall skill at forecasting in general, or so I believe.

Playing Card Oracles

PCO_Pampero

Of course, working with playing cards and geomancy while being very familiar with elements in tarot all intertwined in the Playing Card Oracles of Ana Cortez. I found this a good system that mixed in my preferred style of elemental interactions in a tarot spread, plus a simple yet ingenious way to incorporate geomancy, while giving me a framework which could also be used with regular playing cards if I chose. While I rarely do so, it’s nice to have that flexibility. And once again, I had some ideas that could come back to my tarot practice.

Tactile Divination Systems

Lastly — and the thought that inspired this post — I recommend that everyone try out a “tactile” divination system. For many of you, this is likely to be the runes, which are generally the Elder Futhark. These can be read in spreads just like cards, but it’s also fun to play with a system where the stones are cast, or randomly tossed to see how a pattern looks. It can also be a bit intimidating, hence a reminder to tell yourself this is creative play. There’s no stress in playing, right?

Something like the runes may require a little more work upfront to learn the basics of the symbols, but they can boost your general reading skills and increase your confidence when you realize you can produce a satisfyiing divinatory reading from these bare-bones, non-illustrated symbols. You may even enjoy the creativity of making your own set. You may even branch out and make a set based on some other system, as I did with my “Egyptian Runes” which are symbols based on the Cartouche Oracle (which incorporates some hieroglyphics).

preview-cartouche-stones-20140623

Tarot or Lenormand Stones? Who knew!

If you are at home with the tarot, you could make your own system of tarot stones. There are books on this and various forms of lithomancy, but you could roll your own (no pun intended). If I were to do this — and I may eventually, after pondering it a bit here — I would make symbols for each of the trumps, plus four for the elements of fire, water, air and earth. If you prefer Lenormand, you could make a slightly larger set by creating symbol stones for each of the 36 cards. I know of at least two artists who sell tactile Lenormand sets: there is the Magpie Lenormand from Carrie Paris, and the Lenormand Stones by Chronata (of Minute Tarot Deck fame).

In Closing

A tactile set stretches different mental muscles, I believe, by forcing you to focus on sparse symbols instead of lush (or overly lush!) visuals and on their relationships. And there is something about handling physical tokens that is satisfying in a way that cards are not. Plus, if you are going to a venue where you are concerned about wind or other things that could damage cards, you may not have to worry about your stones being lost or damaged the same way! I wanted to take my Egyptian set to the last winery outing for that reason, as it was a windy day.

So there you are, some different ideas of things you might try to expand your divination horizons, based on things that I’ve explored and that worked for me. Let me know what you think in the comments.

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