Divination Methods

Divination methods have been a thread throughout cultures around the world for thousands of years. Each culture has their own divination methods and tools that reflect the beliefs and the perceptions of the people. Cloth has been used as a means of divination and as a marker of passages and events throughout life such as death and birth and marriage. The very plants that cloth is made from have a spirit that is woven into the cloth. Many cultures such as South Korea, Indonesia, Africa, the Thingit and Native Americans, the ancient Celtic people, the Hmong, or Meo and many other cultures of the world use cloth as a sacred and vital messenger to the spirit world, or the world beyond what we can see.

In South Korea, hemp cloth is woven and created in the same sacred way that it was produced thousands of years ago. The production of the cloth, from harvesting the plant stems, to separating the threads one by one, is considered a sacred act. The women who weave the hemp cloths, usually 80 warp threads per cloth, sing and pray their tears into the cloth itself, which is used as a shroud for burial ceremonies, transcending and embuing the cloth with these prayers.

Kuba cloths in Africa frequently have a spirit square woven into the cloth that is typically a different color or shape than the rest of the pattern. This square or shape is a divination method of recognizing and acknowledging the spirit world and honoring it with a message in the cloth. The Kuba cloths are very beautiful, and often, the spirit square is a lighter color than the rest of the cloth, and is made visible to the viewer. We rarely think of cloth as a divination method.


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