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One of the oldest Halloween customs is the Halloween oracle. Find out what’s in store for you trick-or-treating with these 3 methods.
Halloween, as we know it today, is more or less the modern us version of an Irish festival with roots that go back to the ancient Celts. In the Celtic religion, the feast of the dead on October 31 was called Samhain (pronounced Sawin) and was also the beginning of the dark season and thus the start of the Celtic calendar year.
Similar to our custom on New Year’s Eve to consult oracles, e.g. lead casting, there is in the Celtic influenced regions of Europe (e.g. Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man) – the tradition of the Halloween oracle. For in the beliefs of the islanders, the boundaries between this world and the Otherworld are particularly thin on Halloween night. And that doesn’t just mean that the spirits of the dead haunt, but it’s also a time when magical powers are particularly potent and not just witches and wizards can glimpse the future.
My suggestion: revive this tradition at your Halloween party and surprise your guests with a Halloween Oracle as a special action. If we in Germany are already imitating the Yanks on Halloween, we might as well look back to our Celtic roots and practice the good old customs, right? Here you can find many more Halloween ideas.
Tip: To present the Halloween Oracle to your guests in a really atmospheric way, you or another person should act as a fortune teller. Costumed as a witch(r) and in a specially decorated room, as well as accompanied by gloomy-mystical music, you create the right atmosphere for eerie prophecies.
Methods of divination everyone knows and be it from movies and television: Card laying, palm reading or looking into coffee grounds or crystal ball. For your Halloween action you want but of course something traditional or an oracle that fits the occasion.
Most important to the Celts in fortune telling were all the questions that revolve around relationship things: Who will marry next? Who is the right one for me? Will my relationship last? Is my partner cheating on me?
One of the most popular Halloween oracles to answer these questions was to put nuts in a fire and interpret their behavior. Depending on what question was asked and whether the nuts burned evenly, cracked open or burst into flames, a statement about the future of the questioner in matters of the heart was made from it. Mostly freshly harvested hazelnuts in the shell were used for this, but walnuts also work.
The or the questioner writes on 2 or more nuts the names or initial letters of partners in question. You as a fortune teller now take these in the hands and say in a meaningful voice: Voice of Fire, tell us who of these is the / the right one for [name of the questioner]? while throwing them into the fire.
Now the really dangerous version of this Halloween oracle! Dangerous because it is now about the future of an already existing relationship and the couple should be present… Each of the two labels or marks a nut and gives it to you / the witch / the fortune teller.
Again, you throw the nuts into the fire with an incantation: Voice of Fire, tell us what future awaits the lovers [couple’s names]?.
And from now on it gets tricky, because depending on how the two tick your interpretation of the oracle will have to be rather diplomatic, so as not to evoke a relationship or marital quarrel. Or your friends understand humor. Then you can confidently hit them one of the following interpretations around the ears:
The second Halloween oracle I’d like to introduce you to will look familiar if you’ve ever done lead casting. The principle is exactly the same, except that here you pour hot wax into cold water.
But first things first: Water is believed to have divine or magical power in many cultures. In Celtic mythology, it is mainly rivers and lakes that are inhabited by fairies or similar nature spirits. Think of the lady by the lake who hands King Arthur his sword!
No wonder, then, that one of the Irish customs on Halloween was for young unmarried women to go to a lake at midnight, kneel down and stare at the reflecting surface of the water. In it then the face of her future husband should appear…
Derived from this, people later looked into a magic cauldron of water. Perhaps because faces did not appear so often on their own, candles were used. Everyone let the candle burn for a while until enough wax had melted. Then the person asking the question poured the wax abruptly into the cold water in the magic cauldron. The shape that the wax then takes should give information about the profession of the future person.
Your guests can of course ask this Halloween oracle completely different questions or simply freely interpret what the wax shapes say about the future of the person. Of course, it is especially nice if you provide a stylish magic cauldron and special Halloween candles, for example, in the form of pumpkins or ghosts for this.
This Halloween oracle is not a Celtic custom. But Ouija boards play a role in so many horror movies that a seance with it is almost a small test of courage and just fits perfectly to Halloween.
The Ouija board (from French “oui” and German “ja”) is a tool invented by spiritualists in the 19th century to supposedly contact spirits. At that time, séances with a medium or glass moving were a popular activity of the upper society.
On an oujia board is written the entire alphabet, the 10 digits, the words yes and no, and sometimes other short phrases such as “I’m waiting”, “Hello”, “Goodbye”. This is accompanied by a pointer, usually a flat piece of wood with a hole. You can make Ouija boards yourself, but of course you can also buy beautifully crafted ones.
All participants of the séance sit closely together around a small table and everyone puts a finger on the pointer. Now either the spirit of a deceased person is specifically invoked or simply asked in general whether a spirit is present. After some time, the pointer begins to move and respond to questions, moving to yes or no, or forming messages from letters and numbers.
The classical science explains this phenomenon with involuntary muscle tensions of the participants and unconscious steering of the pointer, but true spiritualists of course know better…
A little precaution: if among your guests there are some who actually believe in ghosts and the occult and are afraid of them, you may prefer to choose one of the other Halloween oracles out of consideration.
There are several other Halloween oracles, for example, in the form of a card oracle or your own Halloween tarot.
Whatever form of oracle you choose, may both Halloween night and the future bring you lots of trick-or-treaters 😉
You can find even more great ideas for Halloween and other occasions on our Leisure Ideas portal. Any time of year, you can browse and find creative ideas for gifts and activities with friends, family and partner. Check it out.
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