According to idiots, there are a LOT of reasons to not fuck with Ouija boards. One of them is that it is a sacred religious tool for Wiccans and other pagans used for divination, and to mess around with it is disrespecting their religion.
This could not be further from the truth.
Let’s take a look back in history and see if Ouija boards and modern paganism meet.
-Neopaganism as we know it today started after the Renaissance in a time period called the Enlightenment. This was when modern science was just getting its bearings, and it’s when white people were suddenly like, “Hey, we don’t HAVE to follow Christianity,” and started making their own little religious sects based off of classical pagan beliefs and practices. Some of these orders are still around today, while most of them turned into wacky sex magick and eventually dissolved. But these white guys basically paved the way for renewed interest in old beliefs and cultures (everyone else in the world had retained their own cultures and probably thought neopagans were morons or something).
-The spiritualist movement started up in the mid-1800s when white people (again) realized that they could devise methods of talking to dead people, such as seances and hypnotism. A lot of people made money off of faking spiritual communication, but every once in a while someone would get it right. It became a huge trend, and in the 1890s Ouija boards were patented so that anyone could have a seance in their house, particularly at parties.
-Wicca was created in the 1950s by Gerald Gardner, who wanted to take a lot of common neopagan aspects and put them into one belief. He mostly borrowed from the Celtic/Druid traditions, which involve eight festivals, altars for personal worship, and lots of blessings and traditions based on ancient gods and goddesses.
-Ouija boards remained a popular board game until the 1970s when The Exorcist was released in theaters, and the world went into a panic thinking that Ouija boards could summon demons and get you possessed. The stigma has lasted to this day.
Ouija boards have never been a part of Neopagan or Wiccan history, ever. There is no ritual that includes them. They were not used by the white dudes of the Enlightenment, they were not used by Gerald Gardner, they are not mentioned in any great Neopagan text, such as books by Scott Cunningham or Margot Adler. They were created as a board game, and they are still sold as board games.
Also, on the same vein, being able to play a Ouija board does not make you a psychic or a medium. Psychics use their own ability to read minds and predict their future. Mediums use their own ability to see and communicate with the dead. They do not need a Ouija board to do so. If you meet someone who will tell you your fortune and only uses a Ouija board, run.
Ouija boards are not meant to be taken seriously. They’re a game, after all. There are lots of other methods of fortune telling that are serious, and do have deep backgrounds in different cultures.
Tarot cards are the best known forms of fortune telling today. They consist of four suits and 22 Major Arcana cards, that after shuffled and spread can tell your fortune. The earliest form of Tarot came from Egypt into Europe, where they became all the rage in fifteenth century Italy, where noble families would have their own decks commissioned. They were used then to play card games (and it’s where we get our modern day playing card suits from), but as the Renaissance caught on and people started realizing that fortune telling and spirit communication wasn’t evil, they started being crafted as fortune telling cards. I have a classic Rider-Waite deck, which still has Italian influences on the artwork and in the Roman numerals on each card.
Oracle cards or angel cards are a bit more out there compared to the Tarot. The cards just have pictures on them, and you look at each picture and determine its meaning. They were created by French fortune tellers (one of whom was imprisoned by Napoleon when his divorce from Josephine was predicted). I used to have an Oracle deck that featured trees (me being a Druid and all) but I gave it away since I never really used it as much as the Tarot.
Runes are a great form of fortune telling if you’re into shamanism, as they date back waaaay long ago. Lots of ancient German, Scandinavian, and Anglo-Saxon cultures had runes, which is kind of like an ancient alphabet. Runes are carved into stones or pieces of wood, and however you draw them out of a bag determines your fortune.
Dowsing rods and pendulums were originally used to find water or gold, but quickly became a form of fortune telling. Dowsing rods are two bent metal rods; you hold the bent part in your hands, and however the rods move tells you what you need to know. And I have a video explaining pendulum dowsing here.
Every culture has fortune telling methods, these are just the ones I’m most familiar with. Look up your culture and see how your ancestors tried to predict the future. Try them out, even. But remember that when you’re playing the Ouija board:
1) It’s not some sacred tradition or rite.
2) It has nothing to do with Neopaganism or Wicca.
3) It’s a board game. Always has been, always will be.
4) It does not make you an all powerful psychic medium.
If you have any questions about Ouija boards or any pagan stuff in general, shoot me an ask.