I love divination stuff. Last year I got initiated into an Afro-Cuban religion
," which is an ancient bantu animistic 'religion' brought to Cuba during the slave trade by the Kongo people captured and brought there. It's a really cool religion, ancient and animistic!
After you get initiated, your Padrino [Godfather] in Palo gives you a set of ancient African [Kongo] divination tools called chamalongos. Chamalongos are 4 disks made of coconut shells. They look like this [mine]:
They have to be consecrated and prepared by your Godfather in front of his nganga
for them to spiritually work properly. An "nganga" is a pot with magical and sorcerous fetishes inside of it. A necromantic spirit [spirit of a dead person] lives inside the pot.
Once your chamalongos are prepared, you get a long prayer to say into the chamalongos to "wake" them up and "activate" them before you use them. Then you can use them.
Your chamalongos are the primary means whereby the spirit in your nganga [if you have one, priests and priestesses have one] communicates with you.
You ask a question, and then toss the chamalongos to the ground. Your answer is given in patterns the chamalongos fall into.
You can also use your chamalongos to talk with your nganga to have your spirit teach you how to perform magic, step by step: should I do the ritual on such and such day? Should I use such and such herbs? Do I need other items? And so on.
You can use them to also communicate with your ancestors, to get insights and advice from them. You can also use them to communicate with Nature Spirits, meaning the spirit of trees, plants, and so on and ask them for favors.
In my Chinese & Southeast Asian culture, we use something similar in concept to chamalongos, which are called jiaobei or "moon blocks." They look like this:
In ancient times, jiaobei used to be made from the two halves of a clam shell, but they started making them out of wood. You can find a pair of jiaobei or two at our Buddhist temples, by the Buddha statue. You ask the Buddha statue a question, and then drop the jiaobei, and how they fall will give you your answer.
I find it interesting that, this method of divination is not only ancient, but widely dispersed around many indigenous people in different animistic 'religions.' For example, Santeria uses 4 cowrie shells to divine and talk to sprits with called "Obi." And over in Benin and Togo, where they practice Vodun, they use 4 shells also to divine with.
In my Thai/Khmer culture, the monks use a form of divination to communicate with their spirit teachers. This form is similar in concept to pendulum dowsing, but a ring and rod are used. The rod is placed thru the ring. You can watch a monk use this method to talk to his spirit teacher, before he gives a person a magical tattoo [sak yant] Here
Besides dowsing instruments, are there any divination tools people use in the Western traditions to communicate with their spirit guides and spirit teachers?