Divination Magick : Expectation vs Reality

Hi and hello my fellow Witches and Witchlets! The next post in our Expectation vs Reality Series features divination magick. There’s some common misconceptions surrounding divinatory practices, thanks largely in part to the media. Having said that, let us dive in!


divination (n.)

late 14c., divinacioun, “act of foretelling by supernatural or magical means the future, or discovering what is hidden or obscure,” from Old French divination (13c.), from Latin divinationem (nominative divinatio) “the power of foreseeing, prediction,” noun of action from past-participle stem of divinare, literally “to be inspired by a god,” from divinus “of a god,” from divus “a god,” related to deus “god, deity” (from PIE root *dyeu- “to shine,” in derivatives “sky, heaven, god”).



Divination (from Latin divinare, ‘to foresee, to foretell, to predict, to prophesy’) is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic, standardized process or ritual.


There are hundreds of divinatory methods. While most are archaic in nature and no longer in use, systems like the Tarot, I Ching, Runes, pendulum readings, palmistry, Tasseomancy (tea leaf readings), numerology and scrying are still very popular.



The first documentation of divination that we have comes from Sudan-Nubia, known then as Kush around 16th century BC. From there, most civilizations developed their own methods and techniques depending upon their locality and customs. It is believed that divination has been around for much longer but without record.



The simple answer here is get a glimpse into the future. While that may be true, divination is also utilized by those seeking guidance. By consulting a chosen divinatory method, querents gain insight on how they should move forward in their life.


  1. Expectation: Divination is based in Satanism
    Reality: Divination has been around long before Satanism

Prior to the 20th Century, Satanism did not exist as a real organized religion but was commonly claimed as real by Christian churches. These claims surfaced particularly when persecuting other religious groups during events like the Inquisition, various witch hysterias in Europe and Colonial America and the Satanic Panic of the 1980s.


This expectation really isn’t based in anything other than ‘Satanic Panic’ and those looking to paint divination as a sinful practice. When we look to history concerning divination, it has been employed by kings and rulers, holy men, laymen, people in general, etc. And as we see above, Satanism wasn’t really based in any kind of viable organization until the 1960s with the Church of Satan, a counterculture group founded in the United States by Anton Szandor LaVey (1930–1997). The reality of the matter is that divination and its practices have been around much, much longer before any kind of Satanism even existed.

  1. Expectation: Divination can be used to change the future
    Reality: Divination itself can’t accurately predict the future, let alone change it

While it’s easy to believe that divination is a reliable source of fortune-telling thanks to how it is portrayed in media, it’s really not. You see, divination provides a snapshot of where the energies in our life are currently. It shows us possibilities – not concrete outcomes.

Messages from the Divine can be thought of the crossroads in our life where we make choices. These messages offer guidance when it comes down to which path we take. Because we are autonomous creatures with free will, we do have control over our lives and in turn, the ability to make decisions that will affect situational outcomes.

Putting everything on Fate turns Fate into an enabler – it let’s us stay stagnant, shirk responsibilities, and gives us permission not to try. While Fate does play a role in our lives, not playing a role in your own life is a cop-out.

  1. Expectation: Divination is a catalyst for bad luck
    Reality: Blaming divination for bad luck is easier than accepting its true source

Does bad luck exist? That depends on who you ask. With everything in this life, there are opposing sides that believe one thing over the other. The same goes for bad luck. But to believe that a Tarot card or Rune is the catalyst for your bad luck says more about your psyche than anything else.

You could be suffering from what’s known as psychological reversal. This is where things are going really well in your life and as a result, those expectations of yours is starting to get too high. This makes you feel uncomfortable because you feel like you’re constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Instead of allowing things to play out on their own, you subconsciously self-sabotage in order to gain control over your level of expectation.

Another mental block you could be experience is a phenomena known as learned helplessness. This can come about after coming face-to-face with repeated stress-inducing events. These events are out of your control and are more often than not traumatic. If you’ve suffered years of traumatic experiences such as abuse of any kind, severe financial problems, health conditions, etc. learned helplessness is a common side effect. This makes it very difficult to believe that a better life is possible.

Again, divinatory practices are not a source for bad luck, good luck, or anything in-between. It is not a way to tell the future, but instead a guide that offers a way to light our path at the crossroads in our life.


I can only hope this post has cleared up some common misconceptions surrounding divination. How about you? Have you heard any of these misconceptions before? Do you practice divination or consider yourself to be a divination witch? Let me know in the comments!

Published by Pie

Pie Ankiewicz is the Resident Witch of Printable Witchcraft and sister-site Candle Cross Coven. She is a seasoned Eclectic Witch whose practice spans over three decades. Residing in Massachusetts, Pie designs printable Book of Shadows and grimoire pages, blogs about the Craft, and teaches others how to pursue being a practitioner.

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