Reckoning the Rewards: Divination in Review

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’ve acknowledged before that I don’t consider myself much of a psychic, although every form of divination certainly involves some level of mystical perception in its skill-set. (If it didn’t, we would call it “science.”) Here I’m going to examine and to some extent rank my own experience with the practices I’ve used over the years. (I should mention that there are scores of predictive techniques with the suffix “-mancy” in the title; as a student of the Western Mystery Tradition I’ve barely scratched the surface of the more shamanistic gifts and mainly pursue those that are cerebral and philosophically profound. My overarching goal is to “get under the skin of objective reality to see what makes the Universe tick;” prediction of events and circumstances at a personal, interpersonal or socio-political level is merely an engaging side-trip.)

Horary Astrology: This stands at the head of the class for accuracy and authenticity. There is very little “wiggle room” for intuitive guesswork. I’ve used it to good effect for finding lost items and missing people, for predicting world events and, in its “elective” mode, for selecting the most advantageous time to undertake a project. As astrologer John Frawley has said, either a lost item is where the chart said it is, or it isn’t. It won’t do much for our credibility to say “I almost found it.”

Lenormand Cards: The Lenormand cards are for the most part entirely pragmatic in their application. There isn’t much psychological expressiveness in their outlook, and they are therefore excellent for the “action-and-event-oriented” readings I tend to prefer. (Although I haven’t used them nearly as much, Lenormand’s close cousin the German Kipperkarten are of the same persuasion.)

Tarot Cards: This forms the bulk of my forecasting activities. Once again, I prefer to use it for exploring “situational awareness and developmental insight” rather than for any kind of psychological profiling or mental/emotional mind-reading. Although I worked with it over several decades for self-awareness and self-development, I now consider tarot to be primarily of fortune-telling value.

I Ching: Although I’ve barely begun a serious study of the Tao, I’m intrigued by ancient Chinese thought and sometimes work the I Ching into my self-designed tarot spreads. There is much to learn and contemplate.

Mixed-Media Divination: In addition to I Ching, I’ve added dice, coins and board-game spinners to my cartomantic repertoire. I use these mostly as “either/or” pointers and don’t place narrative importance on the binary result.

Geomancy: I don’t use the historical “patch of dirt and stick” method of casting geomantic figures, instead defaulting to Israel Regardie’s “bowl of stones” approach, but this is another entirely pragmatic method of prognostication. It’s main disadvantage is that doing it right is a highly complex operation (as thoroughly explained by John Michael Greer). I’ve mostly used the straightforward derivation and interpretation of the initial 16 figures in my own work without going deeply into the finer points of their meaning.

Astrological Transits and Progressions: I don’t use predictive astrology in the popular sense of “Uh oh, Mercury is about to go retrograde, what am I going to do?” What I call moving “sky patterns” don’t have much value at a personal level unless the planets involved tie in closely to something significant in the natal chart of an individual or other entity. The same goes for major but temporary transiting arrays like Grand Trines and Grand Crosses; there is little point in getting worked up about them unless the natal chart is directly impacted. Consequently, unless I’m planning or anticipating a significant future event, I use these techniques more casually for a quick take on upcoming circumstances.

Lithomancy: I’ve done a little with “divination by lots,” but the main thrust of my practice has been in developing my own “astro-lithomancy” tools.

Crystal Ball: I have one and have tried to use it, but I’ve found that if there is too little light in the room I can’t see anything, and with slightly too much there are distracting reflections on the surface of the ball that make it impossible to concentrate. More to come with this one as I try to figure out the best way to work with it.

Astral Vision (“Scrying in the Astral”): I’ve explored astral projection off-and-on over the years (including Edwin Steinbrecher’s Inner Guide Meditation) but, as I mentioned above, I’m not much of a psychically-inclined mystic. As a graphic artist I’m more of a “visual” diviner, so I think the crystal ball holds more promise.

In summary, this is where I’ve been to date, loosely ranked according to usefulness, but I’m always on the lookout for my next adventure in divination.

Originally published at on January 24, 2023.


I’ve been involved in the esoteric arts since 1972, with a primary interest in tarot and astrology. See my previous work at

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Parsifal the Scribe

I’ve been involved in the esoteric arts since 1972, with a primary interest in tarot and astrology. See my previous work at