• Some authorities on the practice say exactly thirteen slips of paper should be used for this form of divination, otherwise the ‘spell’ will be broken and the ritual won’t work. This rule-of-thirteen is considered so important, that if you don’t have thirteen participants, you are supposed to include thirteen slips anyway, even if it means including several blank slips. I don’t know what ‘spell’ this rule is referring-to, but it’s an established rule, so I recommend going with it until you have enough experience to decide if you want to dispense with it or not.
  • It’s recommended the paper you use for this divination be somewhat porous; cheap, run-of-the-mill printer paper, not good-quality paper stock. This is recommended, because there is a danger that multiple slips of paper can rise too soon, so soon and instantaneously, you may find it hard to tell which was first, and some slips of paper can be blocked by others. Better quality paper is more buoyant. Poorer quality paper, being more absorbent, is less-likely to float so quickly.
  • It’s also recommended you make the slips of paper rather small, because they’re less-likely to stick together. One possible remedy to the potential hazard of slips sticking-together is, you could throw numbered bits of paper into the bowl and have a separate (non-soggy) sheet of answers, with each number corresponding to an answer.
  • Not a rule, just a suggestion–you may want to have a pair of tweezers, tongs, or a small sieve for fishing-out the first slip of paper—and any others–when you’re done. I just threw a small towel over my shoulder and fished the slips out by hand.
  • As always, I recommend saying a prayer or invocation before practicing this, so Spirit can help the right slip float to the surface first. It’s possible more than one slip could constitute your answer, especially if you have two or three slips float to the top of the water at the same time, so keep that in mind.


To inspire you, and to give you some ideas as to the possibilities of this divination format, below is a set of floating slips I’ve devised for your use. For two of the categories, What Sort of Person will I Marry (or Live With Long-Term)? and What Sort of Child or Children Will I Have?, I did twenty-six possible answer slips, with the idea that you will cut them out, place them face down, swirl them around, and choose thirteen of them at random. Of course, if you want to try all twenty-six of them at one time, I can’t stop you, but that could be like rush-hour traffic. The slips could block each other to a stand-still. You might want to do them in two separate sessions of thirteen slips each.