Fire gazing is hypnotic. Watch long enough, and you find yourself sliding into another state of mind. Cares of the moment are forgotten. It’s no wonder people have divined from every part of the fire, from time immemorial. Is it happenstance, something you ordered up from Universe like a pizza, or an honest message from a spirit trying to communicate? Most people would probably throw up their hands and say ‘it’s all rubbish’. But if you have a flair for the mystic, and the fire is speaking to you, then being able to divine by the subtle art of reading fire, embers and ash could become your specialty. It could make you look like a shaman to others. Next thing you know, they’ll be asking you what you see.

Aside from a few very basic rules, ash divination is largely an intuitive and spontaneous process. Ashes’ light and feathery nature, easily able to be affected by the movement of air and even the spirits, makes it an ideal medium for divination. For this reason, it could also be categorized as a form of air divination. 

If you’re doing cineromancy, an added dimension you may want to try is burning a combination of specially-chosen woods. In modern Paganism, there’s the concept of a nine-woods fire, consisting of Birch, Rowan, Ash, Alder, Willow, Hawthorn, Oak, Holly, and Hazel, for divining. Really, any combination of woods you can get your hands on should do, as long as it isn’t Elder, Yew, or some wood that gives off toxic fumes. Then you can incorporate the symbolic meaning of the woods you use into your interpretation. One last tip on the whole subject: if at first the ashes look like an indistinguishable mass, let your thinking brain go blank for a moment and pay attention to what your intuition tells you.

 However you do it, may the ashes always speak to you.


  1. Try ash divination using method number 1, divining the ash’s behavior as the fire burns. What overall message did you get?
  2. Try ash divination using either method number 2 or 3. Was the omen positive or negative? Did subsequent events prove this out?
  3. Try method number 4, the question-and-answer method. You may want to gather up the ashes and spread them out in an even layer on some out-of-the-way surface where you’re reasonably certain they won’t be disturbed. What was the result when you checked the next morning?
  4. Try divining by method number 5, cineromancy or libanomancy, a purpose-built fire using wood or incense. What was the purpose for which you built the fire? What message did you get from it?
  5. Given your experience with ash divination, is this a divination method you’d use again?  What are its strong points and weaknesses?