Divination for a Spirit Guide

I’m currently reading The Witch’s Workbook by Ann Grammary, an old book from the 70s that I discovered in an article by Mat Auryn listing book recommendations from authors on traditional witchcraft. It’s full of odd old gems, including a whole section of advice, poignant in light of the modern, relatively entitled take on spellwork and spirits, on how to divine what kind of offering or sacrifice is required before a given working is undertaken.

But what I’m going to share here is a system for divination about one’s tutelary spirit. This is done through a Tarot spread — it has to be a standard Tarot deck, not any other sort of oracle deck, because letters are assigned to the cards.

Sit down in your reading space with your deck and whatever other ritual bling you use to make the space feel cleansed and blessed. For real, even if you don’t normally bother, because the point of this exercise is that the spirit shows up and tells you things, and that can be needlessly alarming if you haven’t gone through your proper procedures. (As see below.) Focus on the idea of a helpful spirit, one appropriate to you, stepping forward to reveal themselves to you. Then shuffle and lay out the cards, from right to left: a row of seven on top, then a row of five, and then one card at the bottom.

Each of these is assigned a letter or a phoneme (one sound that isn’t necessarily written in one letter, like “th”). These, two, will be read from right to left, not left to right. Note that in the Majors are cards for “stop.” These just mean that the name is shorter than fifteen letters long, and stops at that card–unless “stop” is one of the first two cards, in which case the reading is discarded, as it is if you get The Fool anywhere in the reading.

Majors

  • The Fool: discard reading
  • The Magician: M
  • The High Priestess: I
  • The Empress: E
  • The Emperor: O
  • The Hierophant: Stop
  • The Lovers: O
  • The Chariot: Ch
  • Strength: E
  • The Hermit: I
  • Wheel of Fortune: E
  • Justice: U
  • The Hanged Man: A
  • Death: Stop
  • Temperance: T
  • The Devil: V
  • The Tower: O
  • The Star: St
  • The Moon: O
  • The Sun: S
  • Judgment: Stop
  • The World: W

Swords

  • 1: A
  • 2: I
  • 3: Z
  • 4: U
  • 5: Th
  • 6: G
  • 7: V
  • 8: N
  • 9: Y
  • 10: O
  • Page: A
  • Knight: T
  • Queen: Y
  • King: E

Wands

  • 1: B
  • 2: I
  • 3: M
  • 4: J
  • 5: T
  • 6: O
  • 7: Y
  • 8: U
  • 9: L
  • 10: A
  • Page: Z
  • Knight: E
  • Queen: V
  • King: P

Cups

  • 1: E
  • 2: K
  • 3: Y
  • 4: Q or H
  • 5: A
  • 6: Z
  • 7: S
  • 8: W
  • 9: L
  • 10: D
  • Page: U
  • Knight: R
  • Queen: Y
  • King: U

Pentacles

  • 1: I
  • 2: O
  • 3: L
  • 4: F
  • 5: Z
  • 6: E
  • 7: A
  • 8: D
  • 9: I
  • 10: Sh
  • Page: Y
  • Knight: R
  • Queen: U
  • King: L

If all has gone well, these letters spell out the spirit’s name. Ann Grammary tells us not to be surprised if it is hard to pronounce; she suggests introducing hyphens where needed to improve the flow, and to experiment with it until it sounds right to you. In addition or instead, you might find that there is a message, or a name you know from elsewhere, in which case the spirit is telling you something else. In that case, you will not have to do any strenuous contortions to be able to see the message, although it may not be spelled “correctly.” If the message does not include your spirit’s name, you can simply perform it again.

The next thing to look at is any Major cards that appear. These are pointers to what spheres of influence the spirit has. For example, a spirit whose reading includes The Lovers might be expected to be helpful in spells concerning love, winning people over, and so on. The remaining cards can be taken as further messages the spirit has for you at the moment, their thoughts on your current situation.

In the interest of providing an example that would be neither a total lark nor an invasion of privacy for a spirit whose acquaintance I should keep to myself, I did a reading to show you in which I asked for a spirit appropriate and willing to work with whoever might happen upon them on this blog. This is what I got. (The deck is Dreaming Way.)

11.27.17 dreaming way debut 1

5 Pentacles     Priestess     Empress     8 Swords     Emperor     5 Cups     Knight Wands

9 Pentacles     7 Wands     Lovers          King Cups     Temperance

Page Pentacles

…which translates to…

Z – I – E – N – O – K – E

I – Y – O – U – T

Y

…which, turned around into normal reading order, makes Ekoneiztuoyiy.

Which looks like a mouthful at first. So I started experimenting. Ek-one-iz-tuo-yiy. Ek one is two…ye? Ekwanis to ye. “Ye” being the plural of “you,” because this is a spirit invited to appear to a group — all of us who read this entry of this blog. (A Google search, by the way, suggests that Ekwan or Ekwanis is an Indonesian name, if you’re interested.)

By this time I distinctly felt the presence of someone not in my usual sphere of working, and since, to be totally honest, I hadn’t really taken any special precautions versus plain ordinary card reading (see above warning) it was a little alarming, and I did several side divinations to make sure this was all still a good idea. Apparently it is. Let us carry on.

You will see that Ekoneiz/Ekwanis drew a good several Major cards, suggesting a nice range of talents.

11.27.17 dreaming way debut 2

E’s interests seem to lie dominantly in the areas of down-to-earth physical and emotional needs, an idea supported by the fact that only one sword appeared in the reading, and that one meaning “you think too much: open up.” The lonely card at the bottom, the Page of Pentacles, is a sort of capper to the reading: in this case, I take it as meaning that E prefers to work with people who are just moving into this kind of spirit or magical work.

If you try this reading yourself, or if you decide to strike up a conversation with Ekoneiz/Ekwanis, do let me know how it goes!

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