What is divination: a beginners guide

Divination in its purest form is a way to gain insight into a question or situation or seek understanding of the future. Here is what you need to get started.


by Ellen Kinsey |
Updated on

What is divination? Divination is an ancient practice of energetic communication, serving as a bridge between our world and the spiritual realm. It's one of the best rituals to tap into our intuition and connect with our guides. Throughout history, cultures worldwide have sought knowledge, guidance, and messages from higher consciousness using various divination tools, from the I Ching in China to the Runes of Norse tribes and the cowrie shells in African and Caribbean traditions.

At its core, divination isn't just about fortune-telling or predicting the future, as often depicted in magical movies or literature. Instead, it's a profound spiritual tool that facilitates a deeper connection with our intuition and guides. Tarot reading, astrology, and the use of pendulum boards are popular methods in this category. Speaking of which, what is a pendulum? It's a tool often used in dowsing, swinging in response to questions, tapping into the user's subconscious knowledge.

Best divination tools at a glance:

• Best tarot card deck: The Original Rider Waite Tarot Deck - Buy now on Waterstones
• Best divination kit: Witchcraft Pocket Pendulum Divination Kit - Buy now on Etsy
• Best rune stones: Rune stones gift set - Buy now on Etsy

A well-structured divination system not only provides insights but also hones your intuition. Over time, you may find yourself instinctively divining insights from everyday situations. As you embark on this enlightening journey, consider exploring tools like the best ritual spoons and pendulum boards to enhance your experience.

What is divination: tools to get started

Best divination kit

This pocket pendulum divination tin has all you need to tap into spirit to receive guidance. It contains an altar tin, crystal pendulum, moon water mist, crystals, tea light and pendulum board.

Review: "I was very excited to open my tin, and it did not disappoint! All the items included are packaged carefully and nicely presented and perfect for divination purposes. I especially like how it includes a little informational scroll which is perfect for beginner witches. I would recommend it to any practising witch!"


  • Comprehensive kit with multiple items.
  • Includes a crystal pendulum and moon water mist.
  • Portable with an altar tin.


  • The small size of items might not be suitable for all users.

Best tarot card deck

No divination tool round-up is complete without mentioning the classic original Rider Waite Tarot cards, which many say are still the best. First published in 1909, this traditional set is perfect for long-standing tarot loyalists who like to do things by the book. This deck is actually also perfect for beginners.

Reviews: "My very first deck! I'm in love with it-although I can see what other users are saying about its re-print being sub-par. Since this is my first deck and I don't know any of the cards, it doesn't bother me because I am not yet reading the detail. If you are a season tarot reader, you may be disappointed!"


  • Classic and widely recognized tarot deck.
  • Suitable for beginners and professionals.
  • Rich in symbolism and history.


  • Lacks modern artistic interpretations.

Best rune stones

This Rune Stones gift set comes with 24 ancient alphabetic symbols and is hand-carved into stone. It comes with a lovely velvet pouch with a satin lining. You will also find a book with instructions included explaining the symbols.

Review: "I am so impressed by the runes I ordered; they are absolutely beautiful. Packaged beautifully in a velvet pouch complete with a good quality guidebook. I would highly recommend it. Thank you very much."


  • Hand-carved with ancient symbols.
  • Comes with a velvet pouch and instruction book.
  • Suitable for various divination practices.


  • May not be as versatile as other divination tools

Best pendulum board

This pendulum board is laser carved on genuine Portuguese cork leather, which is 100 per cent vegan and eco-friendly and perfect for asking questions that need a more concise answer. It can be rolled up for easy transportation and 'divination on the go'. There are two sizes available: small (15cm) or large (21.5cm).

Review: "Way more beautiful than I expected! It’s nice and compact, easy to carry around if needed. Thin and lightweight. Very well made. Highly recommend."


  • Eco-friendly and vegan material.
  • Laser-carved for precision.
  • Compact and easy to use for concise answers.


  • May not be as versatile as other divination tools.

Best crystal pendulum

Crystal pendulums are excellent for healing purposes as they are more complex as each type of crystal has a different kind of energy. While crystal pendulums are best used for healing, they can also reveal answers to you. Crystal pendulums can provide you with reliable answers with proper care and cleansing.

Review: "I absolutely love it. Fast delivery too. I would recommend."


  • Each crystal type offers different energies.
  • Suitable for healing purposes.
  • Can be used for various types of divination.


  • Requires knowledge of crystal properties.

Best divination coin

Made of high-quality metal, this Yes or No Skull Commemorative Coin can provide you with straight-to-the-point answers when tossed in the air with intention. It comes in a plastic cover for protection too.

Review: "Really good quality."


  • Simple and straightforward method.
  • High-quality metal construction.
  • Provides direct yes or no answers.


  • May not be suitable for every question

Best dowsing pendulum

These beautiful hand-turned and polished wood pendulums can be currently produced from holly, oak, ash, yew, cherry and holly. Each type of tree holds its own meaning - with the 'oak' being the mighty and most powerful of trees, it will offer protection to even the beginner truth-seekers, while 'cherry' is a heartfelt wood, which is lovely for working with compassion and forgiveness.

These tools are a beautiful way to tune into your intuition, and all come with a little homemade pouch for safekeeping and a note from the seller.

Review: "I'm over the moon with my pendulum and feel a real connection to it. It is beautiful and so well made and more than worth the money. Joan enclosed a lovely note which I keep with my pendulum in the little bag that it came in. Postage was super fast, and communication was excellent. If you're tempted by a pendulum, then I can highly recommend these; they are gorgeous. Mine has already answered a few questions for me, and that has bought me real peace of mind."


  • Hand-turned and polished with various wood types.
  • Each wood type holds its own meaning.
  • Aesthetic and functional for dowsing.


  • Requires understanding of wood symbolism.

Best yarrow stalks

Gathered on sunny banks and meadows in Derbyshire, UK. These yarrow stalks are a natural product and vary in colour and diameter. You can also get the I Ching book here.

Review: "Amazing yarrow stalks! Very fast delivery and from the careful packaging and the handwritten note - you can tell everything is done with love and care. Thank you!"


  • Suitable for I Ching divination.
  • Offers a unique method of insight.


  • Requires knowledge of I Ching.

Divination guide

Before embarking on this endeavour, you should carefully consider why you would like to attempt this art. It is in our nature to want to understand and know the future. We may be in a crisis and want to know when we will make it through the other side - so we may ask questions like, "will I ever find a soul mate" or "will I be rich?"

In asking these questions, we are depreciating ourselves. We create our own reality, and seeking answers to these questions means we are not taking power into our own hands and manifesting our desires, hopes and dreams.

Divination, in its purest form, is a way to gain insight into a question or situation and seek an understanding of the future. From horoscopes to tarot reading - there are various ways to uncover this knowledge using tools and crafts.

I ching ancient Chinese oracle with Yijing hexagram, old coins and stalks

What are some different types of divination?

There are various methods of divination that you may choose to use in your spiritual practice. Some practices may draw you in more than others, so see which one works best for you.

Skills take time to perfect, so like with any craft, practice makes perfect. Types of divination include pendulums and dowsing, rune stones and cards, astrology, crystal balls, I-ching and more.

In this article, we will run through some of the more common types of divination and how they work.

Tarot cards

Tarot is one of the most popular divination practices. A common misconception is that tarot cards are there to predict the future: the true purpose of tarot is to tap into your intuition to see what is falling away, what is working for you now and how to manifest your goals. Here is a beginner's guide on how to read tarot cards.

Pendulums and dowsing

pendulum necklace is one of the simplest forms of divination. It's a matter of yes/no questions being asked and answered. Typically, most people use a crystal, wood or stone, but you can use any object with a bit of weight to it. There are several ways you can use a pendulum for divination — you'd be surprised what you can learn with "yes" and "no" answers. The trick is to know to ask the right questions. Here is our guide on how to use pendulums for divination.

Rune stones

Runes are an ancient form of oracle used by those seeking guidance. This tool has a long history, as it was used by Germanic and Nordic tribes. Here is a guide on runes meanings.


I-Ching is an ancient Chinese divination text, and among the oldest of the Chinese classics. As a divination text, the I Ching is used for a traditional Chinese form of cleromancy known as I Ching divination, in which bundles of yarrow stalks produce sets of six random numbers ranging from 6 to 9. Here is a guide to I Ching for beginners.

Palm Reading - Fortune And Future Teller - Palmistry Fortune Teller Reads Lines On Man Hand

How do I choose what method to use?

Every system works and has its place - they all carry magic and are fantastic tools you can use to tap into your intuition. Finding a practice that works best for you takes some time but works wonders. Ask yourself this, "is this craft only concerned with the highest good?", "Does it feel right and at home with me?" and "Does it carry some wisdom that you can learn from"?

Ellen Kinsey is a senior health and wellness product writer for Spirit & Destiny, specialising in natural health, beauty, and self-development. She lives and breathes all things spirituality, travel, holistic health and wellness.

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