Crystal balls, scrying bowls and pools, the reading of tea leaves. Most of us are familiar with these images, and usually associate them with wizards and witches. But what can you actually do with these tools? What can you actually read with them?
All of these tools, and more, are used for different forms of divination. Divination is the obtaining of information not readily available to the usual five senses of the body by psychic or magical means. In other words, divination is using tools to extend your perceptions beyond what you can take in with your bodily senses of touch, taste, feel, sight and smell. There are two forms of divination: direct and indirect. Direct forms of divination provide a visual field onto which the mind can project information and images. Direct forms of divination include the waterbowl, firebowl smoke and chalice. Indirect forms of divination provide no visual field, but must be interpreted through symbols. The tarot, I-Ching and runes are forms of indirect divination.
Now that you know about direct and indirect divination, the question becomes, what do you use them for? Most magicians and shamans use divination to locate the major forces in their lives or in particular situations. The 12-card tarot layout, for instance, maps out major lines of negative and positive influence. Using these probability lines, we can more accurately and knowingly create desired effects in life.
In doing divination, you must first of all understand and believe that our lives are not pre-destined or fated. Fate and divination are mutually exclusive! While certain lines of influence may operate in our lives (such as astrology), we are not bound to any particular fate. More importantly, divinations assume that nothing will change from present to future. A divination is the future predicted on present-time data. If you make any changes in the present, then the future will also change.
Ouija boards and crystal balls are not safe tools for divination, since Ouija boards offer no form of control (you can get all types of spirits coming through) and crystal balls can trap you inside. Other forms, including firebowl, chalice or waterbowl divinations, tarot and pendulum, are safer to use provided that precautions are taken to prevent other beings from influencing your divination!