Divination tools are a way of using instruments or mediums as ways to “look into the future” or “find the answers to our questions”. Because divination is a relatively broad spectrum and has a hand in many different cultures and religions, divination tools can range from tarot cards to smoke patterns from incense. How you decide to dive into divination will depend on your experience, spiritual awareness, and curiosity.
There is no one overall “best” divination tool, but there are ones that would fall into “most common” in certain areas around the world. However you decide to explore divination and its connection with yourself and the future will be entirely up to you.
Our team tests, researches, and carefully curates all our recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. We may receive commission on purchases made from our links at no additional cost to you.
1. Tarot Cards
Tarot cards are a classic style of divination used to address potential futures and understand one’s feelings. There are 78 cards in a tarot deck, broken into two groups; the major arcana which consists of 22 cards, and the minor arcana which has the remaining 56.
To use tarot cards as a form of divination, you first shuffle the deck and ask a query related to your life or situation. You’ll then lay out the tarot cards in a spread of your choosing, which can range from a single card to as many as 10 cards in a Celtic Cross tarot spread.
Now, tarot cards tend to be rather direct with their answers unlike other forms of divination, so expect more blunt answers to the queries. It’s up to you if you want to use your tarot cards for your own readings on divination or if you’d rather connect with a professional tarot reader. A tarot card reader can help you understand your tarot spread and how it relates to your life.
Tarot Decks We Recommend
Picking a tarot deck is a personal decision and should be decided on based on your intuition. Which deck are you drawn to? This can be done in person or via an online shop. We do recommend getting started with The Rider Tarot Deck which is the traditional deck most others are based on. However, there are plenty of other options available that fit different aesthetics and themes. We personally like Tarot of the Divine and the Everyday Witch Tarot.
2. Oracle Cards
Oracle cards are an off-shoot form of tarot card divination. They can be used alone as their own type of divination tool or even as a form of help to tarot cards to assist in further clarifying answers from the divine. There is no set standard for oracle card deck sizes, as the number of cards can range from 10 cards to upwards of 100, bringing the average to around 55 cards per oracle card deck.
You can use an oracle card the same way you would use a tarot card deck for divination. However, unlike tarot cards which are rather direct with answers, oracle cards tend to be more open-ended and up to interpretation. Though this does depend on the oracle deck, as there is no set guidance for how someone designings their oracle cards and their interpretation.
While you can generally use the same guidebook and meanings for any tarot deck, every oracle deck is bound to be a little different. Consult the guidebook provided with most oracle decks to better understand the meaning of your divination queries when asking oracle cards a question.
Oracle Card Decks We Recommend
Much like tarot decks, oracle decks should be selected based on what you are drawn to. This may be a particular theme, color, or aesthetic. You’ll also likely find that over time you have a favorite deck author or illustrator whose world you consistently find yourself drawn to. Today I’m going to recommend a few decks that I’ve been personally drawn to.
The Modern Goddess Oracle Cards is a feminist deck that features vibrant illustrations surrounding the theme of modernizing goddesses (bet you guessed that already). This deck is perfect for fans of the Awakened Soul Oracle Cards as they are by the same creators. This deck features 65 cards making it on the larger side for most oracle decks.
Two other oracle decks that we like to recommend are The Spirit Animal Oracle which is a 68-card deck that features animals. The artwork is phenomenal and the overall feel of the deck is rather calming. The other is called The Herbal Astrology Oracle. This is a 55-card deck with artwork that is earthy and focuses on ancestral wisdom and flora.
3. Lenormand Cards
Lenormand cards are another form of cartomancy that correlate more with traditional playing cards rather than tarot or oracle cards. They use a set number of 36 cards that can all be found in a playing card deck, such as the 9 of Hearts representing The Rider or the Queen of Hearts representing The Stork.
Like tarot cards, Lenormand cards offer blunt answers to divination queries. This means even if you wanted to, you could pull out a deck of playing cards and use the cards correlated with each Lenormand card to get started in divination. But it might not convey the same feelings as seeing the pictures that the Lenormand cards first used.
Lenormand Decks We Recommend
Lenormand decks are the more pragmatic sister of tarot and oracle decks. There are also fewer available to pick from. We recommend the Grand Tableau Lenormand which featured reproductions from the original Lenormand deck. It’s a rather tiny deck but has a rather vintage look if that’s something you vibe with.
Two other Lenormand decks that we like to recommend are the Thelema Lenormand Oracle and the Gilded Reverie Lenormand. Both of which have stunning artwork. The former of which clearly leans on its playing card roots.
Pendulums as divination tools are often used for answering “yes” or “no” questions. So you don’t want to ask the pendulum questions that need further clarification such as “What’s the best move for me to make for my career path?”. Instead, keep it simple and ask “Have I made the right choice with my career choice so far?”.
There are different pendulum shapes and different pendulum materials you can choose from to further connect with your pendulum. Some people may want a hexagonal, obsidian-based pendulum while others may need a teardrop, gold-plated pendulum.
With the use of a pendulum board, you can then further expand the type of questions you can ask your pendulum. Extended pendulum boards often include days of the week, the month, or zodiac signs that you can then ask the pendulum to point toward.
Pendulums With Pendulum Boards We Recommend
You can find pendulums in metaphysical shops or online stores. Some of my personal favorites based on looks alone are the Top Plaza Reiki Healing Crystal Pendulum in labradorite and the Top Plaza 6 Facet Hexagonal Point Pendulum featuring the 7 chakras. The pendulum we use, however, is a simple black tree of life one. As with many items used for divination, what matters is that you are drawn to the tool.
5. Incense Smoke Patterns
Incense smoke patterns, or really any smoke patterns for that manner, are known as libanomancy. This involves the reading of smoke and the way it moves to answer divination inquiries. So think of the smoke patterns moving in certain directions as the answer to the query.
The thing with smoke patterns is they require more ideal conditions to read. Depending on weather and climate, smoke patterns can easily become erratic and lead to poor readings. For incense in particular, you may want to do the opposite of normal and find a room without wind or drafts to provide a clear understanding of the smoke patterns.
Items You Can Use for Smoke Pattern Readings
You can use any form of incense for reading smoke patterns. However, it is often easiest to use incense sticks. You can get a variety pack and use different scents depending on your intentions. We like the set from Folkulture which comes with different options and includes 120 sticks in total.
Another option is to read smoke patterns from smudge sticks.
Tasseography, mainly referred to in simpler terms as a tea leaf reading, is the divination art form of using loose-leaf tea leaves in a teacup to look into your future or for self-reflection. This teacup may be one you just pulled off the shelf or you can use a specific cup that specializes in tea leaf reading.
Rather than reading the tea leaves at the moment you put them in, you’re meant to reflect on the question or query at hand while you drink your tea. Once you finish the tea and the loose-leaf tea leaves are all that’s left, you then read the position of the tea leaves stuck to the bottom or the sides of the cup.
Due to the lack of popularity, it’s a little easier to get started in reading your own tea leaves. It’s easier to read and you’ll find it’s much simpler to reflect when performing the ritual yourself.
Teacups We Recommend to Start Tasseography
Keep in mind that not every cup is suitable for tasseography. You’ll want to find a teacup that has sloping sides and no interior patterning. You can purchase The Cup of Destiny which contains a fortune-telling teacup or go with an option like the Yesland Royal Tea Cups which are devoid of any interior designs and have sloping sides.
Palmistry, commonly referred to as palm-reading, is one of the most widely known forms of fortune-telling throughout the world. Whether it’s from cultural practices to having seen it done in movies, it’s relatively common for people to know you’re talking about divination when you mention palmistry. As it doesn’t require any “tool” per se, rather than your own hand to read your future.
When it comes to palm-reading, it’s not all about reading the palms of your hands either. You can dive in deeper when it comes to the texture of your skin or the shape of your fingers. This is known as chiromancy, but it’s essentially two sides of the same stone.
Books on Palmistry We Recommend
If you’re interested in testing out palmistry, we recommend checking out a book dedicated to this form of divination. We have The Modern Palm Reader by Johnny Fincham and Tiny Palmistry: Read Your Future on our shelf. The former is my top recommendation as it is thorough, illustrated, and even comes with a set of cards. Another solid option is A Little Bit of Palmistry from the Little Bit series.
8. I Ching
I Ching is a classic form of Chinese divination. It’s actually a book, which is typically translated into “Book of Changes”. The I Ching form of divination consists of sixty-four hexagrams using line figures to represent yin and yang. These lines can be made up of 50 yarrow sticks or three coins.
It’s the process of self-reflection and meditation that helps bring clarity to your queries and questions. They’re relatively open-ended, but still, help you develop a path that may lead you to the answers you need.
I Ching Books and Materials We Recommend
I Ching is a relatively straightforward idea that requires time to learn and understand. It’s best to read a book or two and practice with the three coins and yarrow sticks first before fully developing a form of divination.
You can start with an I Ching divination set such as I Ching Complete Divination Kit by Emily Anderson or The I Ching Workbook Gift Set. However, simply purchasing a set of I Ching divination coins and yarrow sticks and then using information from online to begin practicing this form of divination is also an option.
Runes, which are sometimes referred to as the Alphabet of the Gods, is a divination process that stems from Nordic and Viking traditions. When using rune divination for queries, you typically have two different methods to choose from.
The first method is to simply interpret the letter you pick up after the query. How many runes you pick up after shuffling will depend on how in-depth of an answer you’re looking for.
The second method is a more precise and intermediate level of rune divination. Runes don’t only represent feelings, but also time and dates. This is better for times you need to answer specific questions and you can want time frames for those answers, rather than being open-ended.
Runes We Recommend
You can actually make your own runes but many will buy a set for simplicities sake. Both ABHISUBYA and TGS Gems produce lovely sets of runes. TGS Gems has amethyst, black obsidian, and rose quartz options. ABHISUBYA rune sets are far more varied with a set of aquamarine, carnelian, clear quartz, green jade, lapis lazuli, opalite, prehnite, purple amethyst, and a mixed chakra set.
Bibliomancy is just what it sounds like, using a book as a divination tool to understand feelings or queries. It involves asking a question and then flipping open the book to a random page and then picking a random passage from the book.
The old, spiritual method is actually done by balancing the book on its spine and then letting it fall open. From there, you then close your eyes and then pick from the phrases, quotes, or passages in the book. You’ll find this commonly done in many religions.
Bibliomancy Books We Recommend
This can be realistically done with any book, but it’s recommended to use books that resonate with you or that you have fond memories of. There are also books out there that are only used for bibliomancy divination such as The Portable Disruption Generator: A Bibliomantic Oracular Device.
Numerology is the divination tool that coincides numbers and their values with future and even present events. This is done through the use of Life Path numbers, angel numbers, and other corresponding important numbers to the querent.
Funny enough, numerology isn’t only about numbers, but can also include number combinations, letters, and even symbols. You can typically use numerology for horoscopes in place of astrology.
Numerology Resources We Recommend
Numerology has many books and online resources to learn more about how this divination tool works. Like I Ching or Runes, expect a decently high learning curve when approaching numerology divination. A Beginner’s Guide to Numerology by Joy Woodward is a good place to start learning and practicing numerology.
It’s pretty common to check your zodiac’s horoscope for the day and determine how the day may play out. Astrology is the process of using terrestrial events to determine the future and feelings and has been a part of many different cultures throughout the world, ranging from Ancient China to the Mayans.
Unlike other forms of divination, astrology doesn’t always answer queries for in the present, but answers questions related to how your day is going to go or how your day was. You’ll find astrology in just about every form these days, ranging from jewelry to online apps for horoscope readings.
Astrology Resources We Recommend
You can find anything from astrology books to calendars to learn more about how divination and manifestation correlate with the stars. We encourage you to not only learn the traditional Greek zodiac signs but also other cultures as well. The Stars Within You by Juliana McCarthy is a good starting place for diving into astrology.
13. Ouija Boards
Despite mainly being known for the occult and scary movies, ouija boards are a decently common divination tool for answering one’s questions. Rather than a ghost possessing the board, it’s actually more of the process of connecting with the planchette and allows you to answer simple “yes or no” questions or even spell them out directly.
Because the process of a séance is a little more closely to contacting spirits or the dead, you are not required to do the same thing to ask questions. Oujia boards still hold quite a bit of stigma around them from religious folk to occultists alike, but if you believe there aren’t any ill intentions in using one, we say go for it.
Ouija Boards We Recommend
With ouija boards or spirit boards, you have one of two options: mass market or handmade. You can get some downright gorgeous boards from Etsy. However, for an easy board, you can pick up a Winning Moves Classic Ouija Board or Hasbro Gaming Ouija Board Game. However, if you don’t want to go through Etsy but you aren’t a fan of mass market, you can purchase a more aesthetically pleasing board from a maker like CM Originals through Amazon.
Oneiromancy, or more commonly referred to as dream analysis, is a divination tool based on analyzing your dreams to understand one’s feelings or to predict the future. Our dreams are often a strong form of personal feelings that allow us to draw upon to make decisions.
Dreams are often the reason we experience the phenomenon known as déjà vu. This little French phrase meaning (and I give a rough translation based on a few years of speaking French) “already seen”. This occurs when you feel as if you’ve already lived through an event while it’s happening.
Dream Journals and Resources We Recommend
It’s not often that you immediately forget what you dreamt a few minutes after you wake up. This is why we recommend keeping a dream journal next to your bed so you can immediately write down what happened as soon as you wake up. This makes dream analysis easier.
Dreamer’s Journal: An Illustrated Guide to the Subconscious is a gorgeous dream journal that includes information on dream symbols. This is a great way to begin recording your dreams and practicing oneiromancy.
15. Crystal Ball Gazing
Crystal ball gazing, a form of scrying, became a popular form of divination around the same time that palmistry and astrology did. It is said that the rock crystal produces images meaningful to the question or situation at hand.
Unlike the household magician or scam artist that the crystal ball is often associated with, the act of scrying typically means interpretation of the images within the crystal ball. How you interact with the energies in the ball is completely up to you. These images may be vivid and clear or whimsical and up to interpretation.
Crystal Ball Gazing Resources We Recommend
As a beginner, you should start with a smaller crystal ball that is made of glass. As you become more advanced you can begin working with opaque crystal balls that are larger. The Amlong Crystal Store 6-Inch Crystal Ball with stand is a good place to start. We recommend going with the clear but you can try to move straight to a more opaque option like pink, yellow, or purple if you feel comfortable.
It is incredibly important to note that crystal balls can be a fire hazard. You should keep your crystal ball tucked away or covered to prevent it from acting as a magnifying glass and starting a fire when not in active use.
Your crystal ball will rest on a stand. Most will come with a stand. For example, the one we recommend comes with an elephant stand. You can always shop around for a set with a stand you prefer or purchase a stand on its own like the malas wood display pedestal from Goldy & Wendy. Just check to be sure you’re purchasing the correct size for your crystal ball.
16. Kipper Cards
Kipper cards are another form of cartomancy and like Lenormand, also feature 36 cards in a standard deck. Thanks to the simplicity of spreads, where you lay out the cards on either side of the querent card. There can be up to two querents per spread.
The cards in front of the querent or the way their facing often represent the things that they can expect to come up in life. While the cards facing the opposite direction of the way the querent is facing will represent things they’ve overcome.
Kipper Cards We Recommend
Kipper card decks can be a bit more difficult to track down than other cartomancy decks. We recommend checking out Kipper Oracle Cards by Alexandre Musruck or the Mystical Kipper Deck by Regula Elizabeth Riechter and Urban Trosch.
If you want to explore the world of Kipper and Lenormand at once, we recommend taking a look at The Sirens’ Song when it releases in August 1, 2023. This book set includes a Lenormand and Kipper deck alongside a 144-page full-color guidebook. This looks like it will be an excellent option for those looking to expand their knowledge of cartomancy into the less common practices.
17. Dowsing Rods
Despite being well known for their supposed ability to locate underground water or rare ores and minerals, dowsing rods are a divination tool commonly used for answering yes or no questions. Unlike pendulums, which can be paired with a board, can even produce “maybe/maybe not” answers or specific months.
It’s rather simple to utilize dowsing rods and understand them, rather than needing to perform a connection ritual like you would with pendulums. Simply put, if the divine rods (which is simply another name for new-age-based dowsing rods), move inward, then they indicate yes. While if they move outward toward your shoulders, then the answer indicates no.
Dowsing Rod Resources We Recommend
To get started with dowsing rods you can turn to a kit such as the Paranormic Copper Dowsing Rod & Pendulum Board Kit which includes copper L spirit rods, a quartz pendulum, and a pendulum mat.
Another option is the FM&OT Copper Dowsing Rod set which comes with the two rods, a storage bag, and a single pendulum.