When I first started learning magic, the importance of divination was always stressed to me.
I was taught, both by real life mentors and the books that I relied upon, that before you do any spellwork, you should do a divination beforehand to assess the effects of the spell.
So I was intrigued when some folks I know online expressed surprise and unfamiliarity with this practice.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to say that it is an absolute imperative that you do a divination before every spell you do. I’ve done plenty myself on the fly. But I was instructed that it is a best practice to divine before throwing a spell, and I have come to value this.
If I am doing heavy work on myself, results magic, or any kind of spells for other people, I will usually precede it with divination. On some occasions, I will precede major divinations with smaller divinations to see if it is appropriate to ask about such a thing and if the divination will be successful.
For me it’s about 1) knowing what’s going on, 2) knowing if you’ll be successful in what you’re attempting, and 3) seeing if there are any unintended consequences I’d be responsible for. Those are some pretty tall orders, so I often break them up.
I tend to stick with my tarot and the Celtic Cross spread for most readings. For spell divinations I will form the cross, but instead of one pillar of four cards, I’ll use three: one for how the situation will turn out if I don’t act, one for if I do, and one for unintended consequences. This usually gives me a good idea of what I’m getting into and what I’m responsible for. And doing it before the actual spellwork gives me an opportunity to adjust the focus or instructions of the spell to provide a more favorable outcome.
Like I said above, though, I don’t always do divinations for magic. A lot of the magic I do is elemental work and done on the spot. (And I may perhaps have fired of a curse or two in the heat of the moment.) But for larger, more complicated workings, I want to know what I can do to maximize success and minimize collateral damage.