The Seer's Guide To Seeing
A beginner's guide to the many-faceted field of divination.
As marvelous as a book covering all disciplines of Divination in such detail would be, such a book would be so large and thick that it would be impossible to read in any practical way. However, Diviners have been studying and recording the various methods of Divination for as long as written languages have existed, so no matter what discipline one decides to pursue, there are lifetimes of knowledge, mountains of books to be read, covering The Art from the rise and fall of past empires to the current day, through the lenses of every differing culture from every corner of the earth. There will always be a future to look towards, and there will always be a way to do so.
The Second Wizarding War ended over a decade ago, but for many, it feels as if it were only yesterday that they heard The Dark Lord was vanquished, and the relief and pain they feel in equal measure continues to this day just as strongly as it did when they first heard it in May of 1998. Since then, all diviners who look to the future have seen peace, a reading that should be bringing comfort to the hearts and minds of wizards and witches all over the world, and yet, public opinion against Divination has perhaps never been stronger. Enough time has passed that there are wizards and witches who were too young, or were not born yet, to remember any of it, and they have the precious gift of never having to. But for those of us who remember, we need as many Eyes on the future as we can place if we are to move on. Doubters can hope for peace all they want; but a diviner; a diviner can see it for themselves.
So. Provided that one is not a doubter, with eyes rolling during the lessons, and who filled out the coursework with nothing but lies produced whole cloth (which is considered even lower than cheating, by the by; if one has another divine their future for them, at least it is an honest future). If one is interested in pursuing one of the other subjects covered, however, than there is a wealth of material one can find, and this author is particularly interested in brave young Eyes following the paths of The Art, at a time when judgment from doubters has never been higher. If I may briefly break the scholastic tone, what follows are my personal recommendations on each subject covered:
Educational material on omens are as wide and as varied as Cryptography itself, although there are some particular works by talented and knowledgeable Cryptography scholars that one should look for. The Northing’s Field Guide to Portents, Second Revised Edition, by Hereward Northing, is a relatively small book that lists an unassumingly large variety of portents in a masterfully concise fashion. It is ideal for keeping on one’s person wherever one goes, either for study or for reference, and is perfect for long journeys where one is likely to see large swaths of nature at a time. The author, Hereward Northing, is a rather eccentric and paranoid fellow who lives alone in the South English countryside. He has many interesting theories on Divination and can talk for hours on end, seemingly to himself, but be warned - he usually does not take kindly to visitors. The Rat and The Blackbird - Apantomancy Around the World by Xiao Dongwu is an informational text on Apantomancy (encounters with wildlife), which, while very specific, is an inspirational and well-written travelogue, with good information on the nature of portents to be found as well. The author, Xiao Dongwu, graduated with high marks in Divination in the Chinese equivalent of the O.W.L.s, but was met with scorn in her home community when she decided to be a fortune teller and professional diviner. She left her hometown behind and went to the wilderness, where she decided she would travel around the world, observing the wildlife in every biome on every continent. Such a task had never been done by a single witch or wizard, and she continues to travel and write to this day.
Palmistry remains one of the most widely practiced methods of fortune-telling around the world, and there is a surface layer of questionable material that one must dig through to get to the real body of academic work, but it does exist. Palm Lines and Leylines by Peyton Leigh Garrett compares and contrasts the ways Palmistry is practiced in the west and the east. Garrett is a rather charming wizard who lives in San Francisco, California, and in addition to his travelogues and works on eastern magic, he owns an extensive collection of magic carpets and traditional silk garments. Lines of Unity: The Age of Aquarius in the Palm of Your Hand by Edmee Bringwhinge is a study of the astrological mounts of the palm and, despite being a bit dated, is still the most sound, in-depth analysis of the subject to date. Edmee Bringwhinge wrote several noted texts on Astrology before disappearing some time in the late 1970s, but her scholarly, matter-of-fact tone lives on in her work, and is a welcome relief from the typically flowery, whimsical script that others in the field of Astrology tend to affect when they speak of the coming ages, planetary alignments, and terrestrial humors.
Tasseography is seen as an older and more “British” form of Divination, and isn’t as widely practiced by modern diviners. That does not mean there is a dearth of material on the subject, however. Fortunes in Tea Leaves: The Official Guide to Sharma Tea Co. Brand Tea Leaves, Ninth Revised Edition by Lakshmana Sharma is an unusually educational text on tea leaf-reading that is nominally promotional material for Sharma Co. Tea Leaves, a tea company founded in India in 1948. Ever since the founding of the company, they have advertised their product as “fortune-telling tea”. Their first products had a charm placed on them to produce fantastic shapes that predicted wild, but ultimately fake, fortunes, but after coming under fire from the Divinations community, they started selling normal tea leaves, along with a clear, accessible, and more importantly, well-researched how-to guide on Tasseography. They still claim that their tea leaves are more accurate at divining the future than other brands, but opinions vary. An Annotated History on Fortune-Telling By Means of Tea Dreg Reading by Algar Formishwarmersbund is a very long and exceedingly dry academic look at the history of Tasseography. The tone of it is enough to put many diviners off, but it is still the most comprehensive, and surprisingly non-judgmental analysis of the history and general methodology of Tasseography ever written, and by a magical historian, as opposed to someone within the practice of Divination itself.
Being the most widely practiced discipline in Divination today, it is not hard to find books on the subject, but selecting a small number is considerably more difficult. Crystals of Past and Future: A Modern Diviner’s Guide to Hellenistic Scrying by Nell D. C. Early is a remarkably comprehensive work on both Crystallomancy theory, as well as the history of its practice, from its conception in the Assyrian empire to its study and advancement in ancient Greece. Nell D. C. Early is an authority on Bronze Age Divination, has contributed to dozens of archaeological expeditions in the Mediterranean region, and is a founding member of the Ancient Greek Magical Historical Re-enactment Society in Boston, Massachusetts. Finding the Future: A Practical Guide to Advancing Your Crystallomancy by Keelin O’Sullivan is a book on Crystallomancy aimed towards beginners, in particular on inducing and maintaining trance-states, and transitioning from seeing shapes and colors to symbols and visions. Crystallomancy takes practice and sometimes turns off newcomers with its learning curve, but the author, Keelin O’Sullivan, approaches it with simple exercises and an amiable tone. The Sullivans are a hearty and widespread magical bloodline with the roots of their family tree coming from druids, gypsies, and nobility, and yet, whenever one sees a publication come from a Sullivan, one knows that it is aimed at the common witch or wizard, and they won’t care much for academic or scholastic recognition. However, Finding the Future is the perfect point for Crystallomancers who are just starting out.
Astrology used to be perhaps the most widely accepted and highly regarded fields of Divination hundreds of years ago, but declined during the Renaissance. However, in the past century, it has slowly made a comeback, and its popularity is ever-rising still. Of course, with this popularity comes throngs of questionable material on the subject in magazines and pamphlets, but there is still plenty of academic material on the subject, and some of the best publications in the field of Astrology are over three thousand years old, and are just as relevant then as they are today. Days of Destiny: A Pocket Compendium of Horoscopes by Edmee Bringwhinge is a small reference book for the astrological significance and statistics of every single day of the year, and the people born on them. A rather straightforward book, but one whose portability and thoroughness are invaluable to any practicing astrologer. Look to the Stars: An Annotated Compendium of Ancient Astrological Documents, Second Edition by Delphia Nestlepin is a large book containing painstakingly copied star and planet charts from ancient astrologers long ago, covering the fundamentals of Astrology in detail. Look to the Stars is perfect for those starting out in Astrology, or those who wish to learn the basics as the first Astrologers understood them.