Divination Practices – Contact Material

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2002
All divinatory methods utilize some principal object which becomes the “focus” through which spirits produce the needed answers. Do these objects themselves have any power? How is the information obtained?

Divination Practices – Contact Material

(from Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, Harvest House Publishers, 1996)

All divinatory methods utilize some principal object, which becomes the “focus” or ve­hicle through which spirits serve the client and produce the needed answers to questions, character analysis, prognostication, and so on. The following lists the “contact object” for a number of common forms of divination:

  • Astrology: the horoscope chart
  • Tarot: a deck of cards with pictorial symbols
  • I Ching: sticks, printed hexagrams
  • Runes: dice
  • Numerology: numbers
  • Ouija board: an alphabet board
  • Radionics/psychometry: the divining rod, pendulum, “black box”
  • Palmistry: the hand
  • Crystal gazing or crystal work: the crystal ball or rock
  • Metoscopy/physiognomy/phrenology: the forehead/face/skull
  • Geomancy: combinations of dots or points
  • Water-dowsing: the forked stick or other object

Considering the above items, is it logical to conclude that mere pieces of paper (horo­scope charts) or simple forked sticks, or cards, numbers, hands, dice, letters of the alpha­bet, rocks, facial lines, head bumps, and dots by themselves never could reveal miraculous information about a person or the future? Perhaps this explains why even many of the practitioners refer to “supernatural influences” operating through such implements.

Just as the pagans of the past and present consult their wooden idols for divination and supernatural assistance, so have these implements been consulted. In many ways, these items are merely portable idols, taking the rightful place of God in people’s lives. Rather than turning to “the only true God” (John 17:3) for answers and assistance, diviners rely upon dice and sticks and numbers. As the apostle Paul stated, “The things which the Gentiles sacrifice [to idols], they sacrifice to demons… and I do not want you to become sharers in demons” (1 Corinthians 10:20, NASB; cf. Psalm 106:34-39). The spirits them­selves seem to relish the exchange, as well as the consequences (see Romans 1:18-27).

Space does not permit documenting the spiritistic nature of all the systems we will dis­cuss in the coming months. But we will cite sufficient illustrations to show that practitioners acknowledge or suspect spirit influence in these methods. And the spiritistic nature of these systems can be seen in the following:

  1. In origin and source of power these methods are historically tied to idolatry, spiritism, and paganism, which the Bible consistently prohibits as an affront to God and as participa­tion with demons (Deuteronomy 18:9-12; 1 Corinthians 10:20).
  2. These practices are supernatural in that they function apart from any known natural mechanism and yet provide access to information unavailable to the five senses. These methods do not work on the basis of any known natural laws. The source of power appears to be both personal and capable of manipulating people and events. And, in harmony with ancient methods, a price is usually exacted for the favors granted.
  3. These techniques promote occultism in a variety of forms, remove trust in God, and replace it with faith in pagan magic. In other words, they secure the goals of the demons.
  4. These systems carry all the subtle traps and consequences of divinatory practices in general. As occult authority W. B. Crow warns in A History of Magic, Witchcraft and Occult­ism, any type of divination “is nearly always dangerous.”[1] These practices: 1) develop a person psychically and 2) may lead to direct spirit contact.

The relationship between the practitioner and the implement is reminiscent of the rela­tionship of the medium to the spirit guide, although in the former the power is mediated through inanimate objects or symbolism. Indeed, if the operation of spirits through such things as amulets, charms, diviner’s rod, idols, astrology charts, and other inanimate ob­jects are well known, who can be certain this is not also true for the other practices under consideration?

From a biblical view, then, divination suggests demonism. We are not saying that the divinatory paraphernalia themselves (rune dice or stones, tarot cards, I Ching sticks, and such-like) have supernatural power, only that personal spirits can work through them for hidden (occult) purposes.

(to be continued)


  1. W. B. Crow, A History of Magic, Witchcraft and Occultism, North Hollywood, CA: Wilshire, 1968, p. 29.

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