A Divination to Clarify a Message

One of the interesting (and occasionally annoying) things about being a mystic is getting messages. By messages, I mean sudden flashes of images across the mind’s eye, words and phrases popping up in the mind, sudden “knowings” of information, hearing sounds or whispers with the inner (and occasionally outer) ears, etc. Sometimes, a consistent source of messages reveals itself to be a particular guardian spirit, deity, or ancestor. Sometimes, it seems like we just land on the right radio signal. 

No matter the source, those messages are passing through our very busy brains. This means that interference in messages is always a factor to consider. I’ve written on the subject and have an online workshop coming up on Friday, May 31st, that explores discernment of messages in more depth. The TL:DR is that messages need to pass through a clarifying practice in order for us to get the best and most accurate information. Our brains, by their very nature, frequently distort messages, so having some sort of quality control is important. 

Divination is frequently a good option for getting a clearer take on a message, especially since it can be performed individually and in privacy – we don’t always want to have a conversation about our messages or seek out someone else’s guidance. Although there are a few tarot spreads that focus on this area, none of the ones I’ve found cover all the information I want to get. So, I designed my own spread.

This spread is laid out in the shape of the rune Kenaz, but you could change the layout if you’d like less Heathenry mixed in with your witchcraft (but why would you? We’re fun!). In contemporary rune divination, Kenaz is the illuminating fire: a torch whose light reveals knowledge and wisdom. This spread could be used with any sortilege based system: tarot, runes, ogham, oracle cards, etc. 

To perform this reading, hold the message in mind as you shuffle or otherwise mix your sortilege system, then lay the cards or objects out in the pattern below. 

The Clarifying a Message Spread

1 – An overview of the message

2 – My own interference distorting the message

3 – What am I missing?

4 – What am I meant to do with this message?

5 – What help should I seek?

6 – What impact of this message should I be prepared to manage?

7 – What is the ultimate outcome of acting on the message?

Interpreting the Reading

I’ve been experiencing a set of images that pop up in my mind regularly of late, one of the ways messages appear for me. So, I used this spread to examine the message. Here’s my interpretation of that message so you can see how this spread works in practice. 

1: An overview of the message: The 6 of Wands. This message, at its core, is about claiming success that I have worked for and earned. It also indicates that this message will include public recognition of my efforts and abilities. 

2: My own interference distorting the message: The Devil. This message plays directly into some of my self-destructive personality traits and patterns. Resistance to the message is almost entirely rooted in shadow, unfortunately. (Greeeeeaaaaaat) I don’t like change and have Big Feelings about this particular area, and I’m just going to have to work through those. 

3: What am I missing? The Hierophant. Depending on the person asking the question, the Hierophant is a message either about seeking a teacher or guide, or about being a teacher and guide to others. The Hierophant demonstrates the benefit of the tried-and-true method, of repetition, and the power that comes from experience. Since this message is about learning a new skill, the “follow the established route to learn” part of this card seems most applicable. 

4: What am I meant to do with this message? The 9 of Swords modified by the 8 of Wands. Ah, 9 of Swords, my old friend. I have an anxiety disorder, which means I draw the 9 of Swords a LOT – it’s all about fear, and the way fear can get the better of you. The 8 of Wands, in contrast, is a card of dynamic movement, making progress, and benefitting from the momentum. I’m meant to latch on to my own enthusiasm to power through the fear and anxiety that are trying to prevent me from implementing the message. 

5: What help should I seek to implement the message? The Knight of Swords. I either need to find someone ambitious, focused, and decisive to help me, or I need to tap into those traits within myself. The Knight of Swords dives straight in and trusts themself to make the right decisions along the way. 

6: What impacts of this message should I be prepared to manage? The Page of Swords. Although there’s enthusiasm now, maintaining it for the long haul will be more challenging. Along with that, I’ll be learning some new skills along the way and will definitely make mistakes as I learn. 

7: What is the ultimate outcome of acting on the message? The Sun. Abundance in all forms. Joyful connection with others, enough food, drink, and shelter, and all other manner of support for a good life. Hard to say no to that. 

I hope this adds another useful tool to your discernment kit. Please let me know how it works for you if you try it! And, if you have any message-clarifying spreads you really love, feel free to share them in the comments. You never know when your own technique is exactly what another witch needs to see. 

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