Divination is a longstanding Halloween tradition. People used to divine to get a sense of what the upcoming new year held in store for them. Some divination traditions evolved into our modern day party games such as bobbing for apples. Once upon a time it was believed if you placed the apple you bobbed under your pillow before sleep, you would dream of your future love.
When it came to divination and fortunetelling, our ancestors were big on love and death. If you’ve ever seen the commercials for the Psychic Friends Network, you know not much has changed.
Below are few forms of traditional divination. I make no claims to their accuracy, they are not real forecasts of the future…or are they?
Crack open a walnut. If the walnut cracks neatly into two equal sections, you will be lucky in love. If the walnut breaks into many pieces, you will have a shattered relationship.
Peel an apple in a continuous strip. When you are finished, toss the long strip of peel over your left shoulder. The letter it forms when it lands will be the first initial of your true love.
Church Porch Watch
This was performed to know who would die in the coming year and was popular in Wales and other regions of England. Gather in the church yard at midnight on Halloween night. Apparitions of those destined to die in the new year would appear and knock on the church door.
Welsh Bonfire Divination
Make a bonfire on Halloween night. Each person write their name on a white stone and throw them into the bonfire. On the morning of November first, search through the ashes for the stones. It was believed the stones which were missing were the people destined to die in the coming year.
Throwing the Shoe
On Halloween night, throw one of your shoes over your house. If it lands pointing away from the house, it is a sign you will be traveling in that direction. If it points toward the house, you will not be traveling in the upcoming year. If the shoe lands sole down, that is good luck; sole up, bad luck, maybe even death. If it lands on the house, I say mulligan.