Reviews & Interviews

Book Review – The Divination Handbook: The Modern Seer’s Guide to Using Tarot, Crystals, Palmistry, and More by Liz Dean

Book Review

The Divination Handbook

The Modern Seer’s Guide to Using

Tarot, Crystals, Palmistry, and More

by Liz Dean

Fair Winds Press

176 Pages


I love little guidebooks like this. I must have well over a dozen of them. In each one, there’s an overview of a half-a-dozen or so divination methods – sometimes more – and even though the information may often be more or less the same in all the books, they each have some nugget of enlightenment that the other books don’t have – which is why I collect these books. And quite honestly, you can’t have too many books!

The Divination Handbook: The Modern Seer’s Guide to Using Tarot, Crystals, Palmistry and More is written by Liz Dean, an author, Tarot reader and divination teacher based in London, England. Her books include The Ultimate Guide to Tarot, A Thousand Paths to Mindfulness, and The Magic of Tarot, just to name a few. Her web site is HERE and it has information on all her books, reading the tarot, tarot spreads and much more. Check it out!

The Divination Handbook: The Modern Seer’s Guide to Using Tarot, Crystals, Palmistry, and More is published by Fair Winds Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group. They publish books on a variety of subjects, all clustered on the wholistic health spectrum. They also publish Oracle Cards for divination.

The book is beautifully printed on shiny stock and has lovely pictures. For a slender book, it is packed with information. I advise you to read the Introduction. I know people who skip over Introductions and Prefaces, however, there is always important information in these opening sections, and the Introduction of The Divination Handbook is no different. Dean says right off the bat that if you are doing a divinatory reading to find out the future you have to remember that “the future is not fixed.” (Dean, 9). Since we have free will, once we know our future, we can change that outcome. This is eminently important to remember!

Another crucial point that she makes in the Introduction is about how to “formulate your question” (Dean, 9). She says that most people already “know the answer” to what they’re asking and what they’re seeking is “confirmation” which is beyond the scope of the reading. (Dean, 9). She suggests asking questions such as “What can make me happy?” or “What do I need to know now?” – questions that will lead to a “broader, more rewarding reading.” (Dean, 9). I found this to be the most important part of the book – on the first page that I read.

Chapter One is about divining with crystals. I own a fair amount of crystals but I had never thought of using them for divinatory purposes – not in the way Dean does! That was quite a revelation. The thing is, you’d have to really invest in all kinds of crystals to make this kind of divination practice work and that might run into a financial problem for some of us. I personally only own some clear Quartz pieces, some Rose Quartz, a lovely little piece of Aventurine and a vial of Herkimer diamonds. My other crystals – my Malachite, my Onyx, my Garnet – are all on set within rings or hanging on pendants – where I want them to stay. However, if I am able to get a decent collection of crystals, this might be a cool way to start using my divinatory skills. And who doesn’t like a nice collection of pretty stones?

The next chapter is about using a pendulum. I’ve had a pendulum for years and before I had a proper pendulum, I used a button on a string or one of my rosaries as a pendulum – just as my grandmother taught me. I was taught to ask simple yes and no questions and depending on how the pendulum swung, that is how you got your answer. The pendulum also told pregnant women if she was carrying a boy or a girl.

What I learned in this book was how to use “Pendulum charts”. I had never heard of Pendulum charts but they make perfect sense when you think about it! I particularly like the Chakra Chart on page 38 but Dean shows us how to create a Pendulum chart for any set of options.

Chapter Three is dedicated to Runes and Chapter Four is Divination with Tea. Chapter Five is Palmistry. This is a subject in which I am quite interested. I wish I had more people in my life – with COVID-19, I am now completely solitary – so I could truly learn this divination method. I study my own hands but I think I might learn faster – and easier – if I had other people to practice upon. And there’s a lot to learn! This chapter is chock-full of charts and diagrams. I understand why palm readers do nothing but read palms!

Chapter Six is about the Tarot, which has always been my first and favorite form of divinatory preference. Dean gives clear, concise advice on how to read the cards – focusing on the question, “What do I need to see?” in regards to the situation that being examined. (Dean, 116). Again – I think this is probably the most important concept in this entire book – the framing of your divinatory question. The entire reading – whether it’s with Tarot cards, crystals, tea leaves or what have you – stems from this all-important view.

She shares three spreads, which are well-known to most of us who have been reading Tarot Cards for a length of time – the “Past, Present, Future” spread, with three cards, “The Week Ahead” spread, using seven cards for each day of the week and a significator card, and of course, “The Celtic Cross” spread. Like most “Celtic Cross” spreads, it’s a bit different than ones in other books and I am excited to add it to my collection of “Celtic Cross” spreads in my Tarot notebook!

Dean advises “cleansing” your deck in between readings by going through the deck and turning “any reversed card the right way up”. Next, she says, “choose one or both” of these instant cleansing techniques: blowing on your deck as you flick through the cards or hold the card in one hand and with the cards facedown, “known out unwanted energies with a firm, single knock on top of the deck.” (Dean, 120)

I have to admit that in over thirty years of reading Tarot cards, I have never heard of doing this. But hey – you learn something new every day, right? So now I am going to go through all my cards and give them a thorough cleansing!

Chapter 7 is Numerology, which makes sense, given that the Tarot and Numerology have so much to do with one another. To be sure, one does not have to know anything about Numerology to read Tarot cards, nor does one have to read Tarot cards to do good work with Numerology. However, the two disciplines go together like apple pie and vanilla ice cream, so it is proper that they are set together in this book.

Like anything written about Numerology, Dean tells us how to add up our birth numbers to get our Life Path Number. One thing she mentions that I hadn’t heard before was that to “take note of any repeating numbers in the date of the birth” (Dean, 146) which indicate a secondary Life Path number. In my case, I have two 9’s and two 1’s, so that means I have two extra Life Path numbers. Which honestly explains a lot.

To find our Destiny numbers, we need to know the full name on our birth certificate. Dean provides a chart to make this process easy:

Our Soul numbers are calculated using only the vowels in our names; our Personality numbers are found by adding the consonants in our names.

We can also add up the numbers for various nicknames or business names, as needed.

By assembling all these numbers and then reading the portraits of the personalities of these numbers between 151 and 163, we can come up with a reasonable psychological profile of ourselves or anyone we wish to examine. We can also see if we will get along with other people – all based on our numerological profile!

The last chapter is about scrying with a crystal ball. I have a crystal ball but it’s been a long time since I have used it. Reading this chapter made me want to bring out my ball and use it again. One thing I liked was Dean’s assertion that “tradition suggests you begin a scrying session just before twilight” – that works with my natural inclinations.

The main question with scrying with a crystal ball is what does one see? Dean writes that “you may receive them in your mind rather than through an image on the ball” (Dean, 172) so it is important to remember that you’re probably not going to see images in the crystal like in “The Wizard of Oz” or other movies. (But wouldn’t that be cool?)

All in all, The Divination Handbook: The Modern Seer’s Guide to Using Tarot, Crystals, Palmistry, and More by Liz Dean is a fabulous little book, packed with information – much more than I could write about here! I couldn’t recommend it more highly. I’m proud to have it in my collection of divinatory books. Go to or directly to Fair Winds Press to order your copy today!


Dean, Liz. The Divination Handbook: The Modern Seer’s Guide to Using Tarot, Crystals, Palmistry, and More. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press, 2019.

The Divination Handbook: The Modern Seer’s Guide to Using Tarot, Crystals, Palmistry and More on Amazon



About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan but she gets along with a few of the masculine deities. She loves to cook and she is a Bills fan.

She blogs at She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.