A New Take On The Kitchen Witch – How To Divine With Household Items



There are certain divination tools that everyone has come to expect in the arsenal of an intuitive: crystal balls, Tarot cards, Ouija boards. But in former times, when any kind of metaphysical work was considered “witchcraft” or “demonic work” and could get you burned or beheaded, it wasn’t safe to keep such obvious paraphernalia around! So simpler objects – a pack of ordinary cards, kitchen gear, even parchment and quill – were turned into magical and divinatory objects. After all, who could object to household utensils?

Today, those methods are just as useful, and can be a lot of fun as you work on your psychic development. Here are some to try – and remember, if YOU can think up one on your own, there is nothing that says it won’t work!

The Needle Pendulum

Pendulums are very popular tools: a weight (which can be stone, crystal, wood, or metal) hangs suspended from a chain or string. The hand holding it by the end of the chain does not move, but the pendulum swings in certain directions which indicate yes, no, or not sure.

Centuries ago, witches and diviners used a simple needle and thread, with the needle serving as the pendulum. So can you! While there are certain “traditional” movements for yes/no/not sure, everyones energy is different. It’s best to establish your own versions by asking “Show me yes” “Show me no” and seeing which way it goes. This can even change from session to session, so it’s not a bad idea to do the directional establishment for the day. You can ask straightforward yes or no questions (“Will I get my car loan approved?”). Additionally, if it’s a timing question (“when will our house sell?”) you can simply recite the months in order, and watch for the pendulum to give you a yes. Or you can hold it over a calendar and move it from month to month to see where the yes resides. And an old midwife’s method of telling the sex of a child was done the same way: held over the pregnant woman’s stomach, a movement back and forth meant a boy, while a circle meant a girl.

This is a wonderful and inexpensive way to decide if working with a pendulum is for you.

Scrying With Mirrors or Bowls of Water

You don’t need a crystal ball to look into the future. A mirror or bowl of water can serve just as well.

With either tool, the trick is to unfocus your eyes, and bring yourself to a very calm, almost hypnotic state. Measured breathing exercises, soothing music and incense can help with all of this. Ask the question in your mind and then stare at the surface of the water, or the mirror, NOT trying to form images, but simply observing. You will start to see symbols and pictures that can give you an idea of what’s ahead.

A good scrying bowl has a plain, preferably dark interior. Just fill the bowl with clear water and you have your tool. Make sure that the bowl is on a sturdy and unmoving surface; ripples in the water will break the vision.

If you’re feeling craft-y, then making your own scrying mirror can be an afternoon of pleasant contemplative work. Purchase an inexpensive picture frame (the plainer the frame the better) with clear glass (8 x 10 is probably a good size). Remove the glass from the frame and give it a good cleaning with soap and water or glass cleaner, making sure that any marks from the adhesive price sticker are gone! Handle carefully so finger oils don’t mar the clean surface.

Then, take a spray can of black paint and spray the glass. It’s important to build up thin layers and let each one dry well in between (that’s why this is a full afternoon of work). Once the paint is dry, check to make sure it is completely covered. A sheet or two of dark backing paper between the frame and the glass ensures you have an unmarred scrying surface.

When you put the mirror back together, you have a perfect tool for divination.

Oh, and that saying about breaking a mirror means seven years of bad luck? Here’s the remedy: smash the broken pieces even smaller; that drains out the curse.

Silverware Fortunes

Silverware has been a divinatory tool for centuries. It’s something most everyone has, the different kinds of silverware have different meanings, and they can be pulled out at a moment’s notice.

Dropped silverware has specific meanings. Drop a knife? Two possibilities: a man may come for an unexpected visit, or there’s an argument in the offing. A dropped fork means a woman visitor, and a dropped spoon means a child.

Never cross knives, say the wise ones; it brings an argument or bad luck. And that salt? Careful when you cook! If you spill salt, its said that it must be thrown left over your right shoulder, then right over your left to ward off misfortune.

If you can’t make a decision, write all your choices in a circle. Use a knife in the middle and spin it. Where does it land? There’s your answer.

Got a white-handled knife? Tradition holds that you can tell a future spouse with it. Spin the knife; if the handle comes to rest pointing at you then that means your future spouse will be fair. If the handle points at anyone else, your future spouse will be dark-skinned. (Of course, I remind you that we all have more than one choice in a partner as we go through life; this is here for historical interest.)

Food Fortunes

This one requires a little bit of work. Got a question? Pull out a cookbook at random and flip to a recipe. What’s the main ingredient? Every food we eat has a special divinatory meaning. Eggs symbolize fertility and abundance. Long noodles in China signify a long life. Rice means marital happiness and joy. Fish good fortune in all things – and so on.

The foods themselves can be used for prophecy as well. Like coffee and tea reading, reading flour (aleuromancy) is done by mixing a slurry of flour and water in a bowl. Pour it out, and interpret the patterns left in the bowl. Or you can use the simper Egyptian style, which consisted of simply pouring flour out in small heaps and interpreting the shapes and orientation of the flour puddles.

Oh, and that apple you’re peeling? Don’t just toss it; peel the fruit until the skin breaks. Toss the skin onto the counter and see what letter forms in the peel. The letter you see in the peel is the first letter of your true love’s name – or so said the old grannies.

Reading Tea Leaves and Coffee Grounds

And how could we leave out reading tea leaves (tasseomancy) and coffee grounds (cafeomancy)? The methods are relatively similar:

Make tea the “proper British way,” with loose tea in the pot. No teabaggers need apply! And a modern mug won’t help; you need a classic teacup. Why? The sides slope in, better to hold any dregs. They are generally pale and plain on the inside, the better to see the designs. And when you pour the tea, resist the urge to strain the brew as it pours; you will WANT any stray leaves in the cup for reading purposes.

If you’re a coffee drinker, you may need to add a pinch or two of dry coffee grounds; most coffee makers these days keep the brew pretty grounds-free. My advice is to use the finely powdered Greek or Turkish coffee for your “pinch” as it gives better patterning.

If you add the grounds before drinking, then let the cup sit for a few minutes so that the grounds sink to the bottom. Otherwise add the grounds to the remaining coffee dregs after you have drunk your cup of coffee.

Lastly? Take the time to savor the sip…it will calm you down and get you centered.

When you first pour, check for certain signs. Bubbles on the surface usually signify money coming in. Floating tealeaves mean visitors, with the number of leaves telling you how many days before your doorbell rings.

Before you even start the reading, there may already be some early signs to interpret:

Bubbles on the surface of your tea or coffee means that money is on its way.
If any tea leaves are floating on the surface, then visitors are imminent. The number of leaves shows how many days away they are.

When you drink your beverage, leave a sip or two at the bottom of the cup for “swirling purposes.” Hold the cup in your left hand and swirl the tea leaves or coffee grounds clockwise three times, making sure the whole cup gets used. The cup is then turned upside down, letting the liquid spill out to leave the leaves or grounds in their new patterns. (If your coffee grounds don’t “stick” then simply read the patterns left on the surface where you’ve spilled out the liquid.)

Then, upend the cup on the saucer and let the liquid drain away.

Coffee drinkers can use the same method with the remains of their coffee, or they can pour the remains across a plate and interpret the patterns that are left on the plate.

If you’re reading for yourself, the handle of the cup needs to point to you. Otherwise, have it point to the person whose cup you’re reading.

And did you leave the lid off the pot? That’s another sign of visitors coming.

Handle: home and questioner
Rim: recent events
Sides: past events
Bottom: misfortunes

Right of the handle: future
Left of the handle: past

Far from handle: far away events (time or place)
Large clump near handle: trouble YOU’VE caused
Large clump opposite handle: Not your fault

Long stalks: men
Short stalks: women
Slanted stalks: don’t trust these folks!

There’s a great deal more to reading tea and coffee, so for the full interpretation I’ll recommend that you check out The Cup of Destiny: A Traditional Fortune-teller’s Cup and Saucer Plus Illustrated Book of Interpretations by Jane Lyle. This book is a recommended “great beginner’s volume” by a traditional British witch whose advice I respect highly.

So next time you’re thinking that you need to pull out your Tarot cards, think outside the deck – look in your house to see if there is something that holds your future in a completely different way.