Using fire for divination during Samhain goes along with the tradition of lighting bonfires. At sundown on October 31, bonfires were lit on the hilltops and burned all night while people celebrated, feasted, did various rituals to honor the dead from the previous year, and so forth. Among many other divination traditions, using the bonfire to see visions was quite useful during the night of the Samhain festival. It’s believed in Celtic and Gaelic tradition that the veil between the living world and spirit world is thinnest at Samhain, which is why divination became so popular at this period of the year.
This is essentially like scrying with a mirror or with water. You may do it with a bonfire, a fireplace, or even a single candle. The only thing that matters is you have some source of flame in a dark space, so it’s suggested that you do it during the night.
You’ll want to be still and quiet sitting before your fire. Distractions need to be removed. Some people need total silence. Some need soft melodic music. The point is to create a dark environment where your only source of concentration is on the fire. I was always taught in my family traditions that environment is important with doing rituals, spells, or divination. If you’re uncomfortable or distracted, it’ll mess with the strength and direction of your intentional energy.
Gaze at the fire, letting your vision go soft, but don’t stare hard at it. You want to let yourself go loose and fuzzy as you watch the fire. Focus on opening your senses. For me, it helps to visualize myself as a blooming flower. Feel the fire’s warmth, smell the smoke, listen to the popping and spitting logs, taste the wood in the air, etc. Open yourself to the fire while gazing at it through unfocused eyes. This process can take time. Don’t let yourself get frustrated because then you’ll have to start over again since frustration is a distraction. Some people divine for minutes. Others for hours.
If there are visions for you, then you might see them in the smoke, in the flames, or in your mind’s eye. Be careful of succumbing to imagination, however. A true vision will unfold like a mystery and you probably won’t understand it at first. Imagination will stutter, start and stop, or shift depending on your inner thought processes.
Immediately after instinct tells you to come out of the divination, you must write down everything you witnessed, felt, etc. Some of you will put this in your Book of Shadows if you’re Wiccan (I’m not). Others will put it in a different journal. Regardless, always date your divination sessions and record the environmental details, like where you were, the temperature, the moon phase, etc. This will be important for establishing patterns as you do more in the future.
What did you see? Well, that’s up to your own interpretation system. You’ll get better at it with time. Use these sessions to improve your life and the lives of those around you whenever possible in the year to come.