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Divination: Ouija Boards

With Halloween and Samhain coming up in a few weeks divination tends to be a big subject. Halloween Movies have featured the practice since the 70's and most people have used one at at least one Halloween party as a kid. But what is really going on with these things? Are they harmless toys as the Milton Bradley Toy company would have us think? Or are they evil tools by which demons and evil spirits can enter our homes and bodies as so many movies, and churches portray them as? Or are they something completely different?

Well, the answers aren't quite as black and white as I think we all wish. There are a few theories of how and why these boards work. The first theory of course is that they actually do allow a channel to the spiritual realm to be opened and allow the user to connect directly to it...  The second theory is that it's all a mind over matter thing, that it's the users subconscious which actually moves the eye. And of course there is the whole "the devil does it" idea... Which we are going to completely ignore being this is a Pagan Blog.

For the purpose of this blog we are going to approach this subject using the second Theory and simply assume that they do create a connection to the spirit realm. I've found this tends to be the majority belief of most Pagans.

The beauty of Ouija Boards is that they are easy to use, anyone who can ask a question can use one. The down side is - anyone can MISUSE them as well. Toy and Game companies sell millions of these boards each year, and many people treat them as little more than a game or entertainment. This isn't, however, quite what they are. Are they fun? Are they entertaining? Yes, of course they are, if they weren't they wouldn't sell the way they do. The entertainment value however is also why so many are misused and people see negative outcomes in the long run - which then gets the boards, rather than the users, labeled troublesome.

Are Ouija Boards outwardly dangerous? Well, they can be, in the hands of someone who has no respect for what they represent, or because someone is simply an idiot. I read a comparison on another blog once which I found to be wonderful and I'm going to share here. Look at Ouija Boards as the spiritual form of a chat room. We have all seen the dangers of chat rooms on Dateline and 20/20 over and over again, but when asked, most people wouldn't label chat rooms themselves as dangerous. It's the actions we take while using a chat room which makes them safe or dangerous, not the room itself. It's very much the same with boards.

At this point, we all know when we join a chatroom that it's more than possible that "Momof3boys" is really a 45 year old pedophile rapist, and so we take the proper precautions. What we tend not to remember is when we open up a Ouija Board it's really the same kind of danger. We are opening a direct line to the spirit realm and we are talking to someone we don't know, and who we have no real connection with.

Spirits come in all shapes and sizes, just like people do. Are spirits dangerous? Well, they CAN be, but like people the majority are not. Unfortunately, it's not possible to usually decide whether someone or something is dangerous or not until after they prove themselves to be.

Ouija Boards work by using a form of "voluntary possession" where you allow yourself to be used by the spirits you've contacted. You have to open yourself as you open the board, clear your mind and allow your body to be used to move that eye in order to get the answers to your questions. Sure, the spirit is moving they eye, but they are using YOUR hand to do it.

Because of this, I generally say if you have little experience dealing with spirits or if the idea of possession clearly frightens you - find a different form of divination. While the directions clearly state you need to enter each session stating the board can only be used for positive contact, generally, you can't control this aspect beyond stating it. And like that chatroom, you don't really know who is on the other end.

If you do choose to use a board there are a few simple rules you should use in order to keep your experience as positive as possible:
  1. Don't ask stupid questions!
    Asking questions such as "when will the world end" is going to get you no where and is likely to annoy both those with you and the spirits you are "communing" with. Plus, should you get an answer, it's likely not going to be the correct one and will only cause you extra stress.
  2. If you are in a group remember to have only ONE person in the group asking questions, this will help to stop contact with more than one spirit at a time.
  3. Always make sure that those with the most experience are the "medium" rather than those with the least.
  4. Be polite.
    Remember that who or whatever you may contact can get angry and annoyed, and rudeness will only quicken that response.
  5. DO NOT ask for a physical sign of a presence... 
  6. DO NOT believe everything said as fact...  Spirits aren't necessarily any more in tuned with these things that you are, if you don't know the answer, there isn't really any reason to think they would either...
  7. Lastly, remember to close the board at the end of each use, do this by pushing the eye to the "Goodbye" area of the board

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