Chartomancy cards

An Introduction to Chartomancy

I have been invited to talk a bit about a type of divination I term ‘chartomancy.’ It’s one part of the answer to a question I posed to myself after I’d finished reading the Harry Potter series, that question being, “If I was going to design a divination curriculum, how would I do it?”

Pondering the whole field of divination, it occurred to me that all divination methods, systems, or tools could be divided up into several different categories.  This led to the creation of my website, Divination Lessons, of which a large chunk is devoted to what I call ‘chartomancy.’

Chartomancy I define as being all those methods of divination that involve the consultation of charts or answer keys, the use of charts, or the filling-out of forms or answer sheets in connection with the consultation charts or answer keys.

Chartomancy methods of divination usually have an established procedure or set of rules for arriving at an answer. I further sub-divide chartomancy into the following categories: numerological, ‘booklet’-style, magic tablets, wheels of fortune, arabian squares, and gyromancy charts.

NUMEROLOGY

While I always encourage the divination practitioner to say a prayer or set an intention that they are guided to the proper answer by whatever Higher Power they honor, in some chartomancy methods, that step is irrelevant because the answer basically pre-exists, and you, the practitioner, are simply uncovering it.

A classic example of this is the numerological method. ‘The Egyptian Protocol’, is a basic method of forecasting how the day is going to proceed, and it’s basically an arithmetic problem.

It’s the same thing with the Gematrian Table, the Fadic Numbers, the Square of Nine/General Course of Life, & Natal numerological chart. You do the arithmetic, the answer pre-exists, and prayers and good intentions won’t change it, but the answers do make things more understandable.

BOOKLETS

Less set-in-stone and just a little more vulnerable to random chance are the ‘booklet’ chartomancy methods such as the Wheel of Pythagoras, and Napoleon’s Book of Fate (both abridged and unabridged editions), and the Oracle of KAZ. With these methods, you follow a set procedure to arrive at an answer code.

With the answer code in hand, you flip through the pages of the answer key to find your actual answer. With these divination tools, no one can accuse you of making the answer fit what you want it to, because your answer isn’t readily apparent.

You need the answer code to find the prediction. In fact, with Napoleon’s Book of Fate and the Wheel of Pythagoras, you don’t even get to formulate a question. There’s an established set of questions from which the inquirer must select.

MAGIC TABLETS AND WHEELS OF FORTUNE

Akin to these methods, but not as extensive, are the Magic Tablets and Wheels of Fortune. With these, you have a simple chart in front of you featuring an image, wheel or shape festooned with numbers or letters.

These require you only to simply point at random to one of the numbers or letters, then take your selection to the accompanying answer key.

You’re supposed to be blindfolded or have your eyes shut when you point, and your companions are encouraged to give the chart or tablet in front of you a few spins before you point (a lazy-susan is excellent for this), to make sure your answer is completely random.

Yes, a mischievous friend could always play games with this, so you’re more likely to land on a certain answer, but that’s assuming they know where you’ll point.

ARABIAN SQUARES

Arabian Squares are a simpler form of a magic tablet. No separate page of answers is needed, for the answers are all on the chart in front of you, scrambled up and slotted into the various boxes of the square.

With the Arabian Square, you point at random to a letter on the chart. Writing down that letter, you then count every fifth, eighth, or tenth letter on the chart and write it down, until you arrive back at the letter where you started.

You then need to figure out where the sentence begins and ends in order to read the answer.

 Each Arabian Square deals with a different topic, such as business, love, and general fortune. There are reportedly a great number of Arabian Squares in existence, but I’ve only been able to track down a few.  

So I created a few myself. As the name implies, this type of divination tool originated in the Middle East. Traditionally, consultation of the Arabian Square was to be preceded by a ritual in which prayers and passages from the Quran were recited, imploring Allah to guide the inquirer to the proper answer.

So this is one chartomancy method where preceding its use with a prayer or intention is completely in keeping with the spirit of the divination tool.

GYROMANCY

At the bottom of the list of chartomancy, methods are the gyromancy charts. Gyromancy originally involved a person spinning themselves dizzy in a circle, the perimeter of which was lined with letters, while an observer equipped with note-taking equipment was supposed to write down at which letters they staggered, and hopefully, this would spell out a message.

Think of it as alectryomancy with humans instead of chickens. The downside of this approach is having to spin yourself sick in order to receive a message. Then, in Madame Endora’s Book of Fortunes, I was introduced to the idea of gyromancy as a chart you could use instead of spinning yourself silly.

In chart gyromancy, a top, gyroscope, or coin is spun on a chart festooned with letters, numbers, or symbols. The inquirer then observes where the spinning object travels and lands because that will constitute their answer.

Of all chartomancy methods, this one is the most open-ended in interpretation, because of the spinning object’s behavior. Did it make a feint toward one symbol, and land on two others? Did it spin on nothing, then land solidly on one symbol? The behavior of the spinning object dictates the answer.

THE BENEFITS OF CHARTOMANCY

Chartomancy methods of divination generally aren’t open-ended in their answers like some other divination methods are. You follow a specified procedure and you get a definitive answer.

In chartomancy,  you’re not having to interpret some signal from nature, translate a message from the ethers, or string a set of images into a story.  It doesn’t require the user to have any intuition or psychic ability, just the ability to follow directions

Chartomancy divination methods store flat. They’re shelveable items. Print ‘em out, stick ‘em in a binder, folder, or portfolio and you’re golden. They don’t take long to learn, and you can use them immediately.

You get a definitive answer, the accuracy of which you can check later, which makes it a good testing tool for skeptics on the subject of divination.

 I think chartomancy divination methods lend themselves well to group use. Some divination methods, such as book divination, dowsing, bird/animal divination, and axanomancy, are solo-use practices.

They work best alone, indeed, practically demand solitude. The Tablets of Fate, the Magic Tablets, Napoleon’s Book of Fate, the Wheel of Pythagoras, and the Gyromancy charts are the sort of divination tools where multiple heads may be better than one.

The answers participants receive may provide others with amusement, but they can also lead to discussion and clarification if there’s a baffling or mysterious answer.

Multiple-participant divination is good for the shy type who needs a good group activity to keep others entertained. It can also help bring shy types out of their shell a bit. My own ‘Hear From the Dead’ game I categorize as chartomancy and it’s designed for group use, though you can also play it alone.

Of course, numerology methods like the General Course of Life, Fadic Years, Gematria, and the Arrows of Fate are more one-on-one use than group use, but that sort of divination method allows you to focus on one person wonderfully.

You’re telling them something interesting about themselves, and you look smart in the bargain. You could make new friends.   

Personally, I find chartomancy appeals to my creative sense because I most readily come up with new ideas for divination tools which come under this category, especially the gyromancy charts, magic tablets, arabian squares, and wheels of fortune. So long as I respect the fundamental structure of a given chartomancy tool, the generation of new ones is limited only by my imagination.

Chartomancy is a user-friendly, informative, and sociable form of divination that is easy to learn, generates clear answers, and is a good introduction to the subject. And who knows? You might be able to convert a skeptic or two with them.

For those curious about the details, my website is divination lessons.wordpress.com.