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Divination is the practice of ascertaining information by supernatural means. If a distinction is to be made with fortune-telling, divination has a formal or ritual and often social character, usually in a religious context; while fortune-telling is a more everyday practice for personal (or commercial) purposes. Divination is often dismissed by skeptics as being mere superstition. However, advocates say there is plenty of anecdotal evidence for the efficacy of divination. Divination is a universal cultural phenomenon which anthropologists have observed as being present in many religions and cultures in all ages up to the present day.

Beyond mere explanations for anecdoctal evidence, there are some serious theories of how divination might work. One such theory is rooted in the nature of the unconscious mind, a theory which has some empirical scientific basis. Based on this theory, divination is the process by which messages from the unconscious mind are decoded. The belief in a supernatural agency or occult force as the source of these messages is what distinguishes this theory from a scientific explanation.

Some Popular and Arcane Methods of Divination

  • Astrology (divination by stars)
  • Bibliomancy (divination by pointing randomly into a book)
  • Cartomancy (divination by cards such as tarot cards)
  • I Ching (ancient Chinese system of cosmology and philosophy)
  • Geomancy (interpreting a series of marks made on the ground)
  • Catoptromancy (seeing visions in mirrors)
  • Crystallomancy (seeing visions in crystals)
  • Scrying (a generic term for visionary divination)
  • Haruspicy (reading the entrails of a sacrifice)
  • Tasseomancy (reading tea leaves)
  • Kledomancy (oracular interpretation of stray remarks)


  • Wikipedia. (2004). Divination. Retrieved Sept. 23, 2004.

Document Source

  • This page was originally sourced from Thelemapedia. Retrieved May 2009.