Moon Block Divination | Tinkering Bell #5

Chinese moon block (Jiao Bei, 筊杯) is a form of divination that you’ll often find at Taoist or Buddhist temples. There may be a dish of moon blocks by the altar and the purpose is for you to ask your question to the deity venerated at that site, then throw the moon blocks for a yes or no answer. They’re used to communicate directly with gods and spirits. The traditional perception here is unequivocally that of divine communion.

Predecessors to the moon blocks are covered in the video, from the tortoise shells to the clam shells. I also instruct on how to clean out two clam shells from your next seafood dinner and ritualize them in preparation for divination uses.

Priests, priestesses, shamans, and witches, in particular witches from those cultures who lived by the seas, would use clam shells (or small tortoise shells) for divination.

Eventually, the concept evolved into the red moon blocks that are commonplace today. They’re one of the oldest forms of Chinese divination, alongside the I Ching, though throughout history, have taken many forms.

This video practicum teaches you how to divine with moon blocks (or clam shells, tortoise shells, etc.) and how to consecrate and empower a set to become used exclusively for divinatory purposes.

Supplemental Handouts

The following ritual instruction is for charging and empowering your divinatory tool, specifically your moon blocks, to be used for spirit communications. The instructions can be followed for either clam shells or tortoise shells.

Empowering Your Moon Blocks

(Download PDF)

Your Divination Cheat Sheet is a quick reference guide for the meaning of each divinatory result from your moon blocks. Alternatively, if you opt to use clam shells or tortoise shells instead, an interpretation guide is provided for both as well.

Divination Cheat Sheet

(Download PDF)

Buying Moon Block Sets Internationally

If you’re feeling enthusiastic about traditional moon block divination, then you might be interested in buying your own set of moon blocks. You can often find international sales of these through E-Bay or Etsy.

My general personal recommendation, if you are buying it international, is to source from Taiwan. Broadly speaking the Taiwanese tend to be more superstitious and religious about these things, and so they are going to be more attentive, more thoughtful, and craft-wise, more serious about their moon block production. Culturally, mainland China is more atheistic and capitalist-oriented, so just in terms of probability, you’re not as likely to find a seller who is actually a practitioner of craft.

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Homework: Your Practicum

Following each installment of the series will be a suggested practicum, or homework, for you to try out. Homework material presumes that you are an occult practitioner who is working on developing your craft.

Craft Your Own Moon Block Set: I say “moon block” for convenience of reference here. You can use clam shells (probably the easiest for most people to source) or empty tortoise shells (if that’s something you have access to). Even if you decide you really like the red wooden moon blocks and end up buying a set for yourself, I recommend crafting your own divination set because the process of crafting your own divination set from scratch is insightful on its own merits. You can even cut two cross-section slices of a thick branch for two disks to be used. Paint one side one color to represent yin, and the other side a contrasting color to represent yang. Or find two flat, rounded stones of about equal size and inscribe the two sides to symbolize yin and yang. Then follow the “Empowering Your Moon Blocks” reference guide provided above to consecrate and charge your divination set for divine communion.

Grimoire Reference Page: Before you memorialize this divination method in your personal grimoire, work with the method first. Take some time to try different approaches to the method first, such as crafting your own moon block set, trying different materials, from the clam shells to wood disks or stones, etc. Your creativity is your only limitation. If you really want to get your hands on the red moon blocks, then do so and work with that for a few moon cycles. Finally, once you’ve got a personalized hang of the process and how it operates for you as opposed to what I say in this tutorial, log your divination how-to in your grimoire. Be sure to take notes during the video lecture on the historical and cultural background of the divination method and include those in your grimoire as well for context.

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