Favomancy: Divining with Beans

Lately, I have been on a quest to unearth some of the older forms of Witchcraft. On my quest I’ve been studying different and unusual forms of Divination. This has brought me to Favomancy: Divining with Beans.

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Lately, I have been on a quest to unearth some of the older forms of Witchcraft. After more than 20 years of being a Witch, of working with covens, groups and as a solitary, I still understand that I have but scratched the surface of my Craft. There is so much more to discover, more than one can learn in a single lifetime. During this quest I’ve been studying different and unusual forms of Divination. This has brought me to Favomancy: divining with beans.

What is Favomancy?

Favomancy, the art of divining with beans, is a type of cleromancy that involves throwing beans on the ground and interpreting the patterns in which the beans fall. The term comes from the Latin faba for “bean”.

There are various forms of Favomancy present across the world’s cultures. This form of divination was once practiced by the Seers in Russia, most specifically among the Ubykh peoples. Though the exact methods they used remain a mystery it is thought that they used a set of 41 white beans. These beans were shaken, then thrown onto a cloth or flat surface. Seers would then interpret the patterns of the thrown beans to find the answers to the seekers question. Today, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a similar method is used, similar enough that they most likely had similar origins.

Today I’ve chosen to share with you a much simpler method than its ancient counterpart. It’s economical – using only simple, everyday items – and it takes just a bit of practice and time to begin using it as a reliable method of divination.

Using Beans for Favomancy

For our Favomancy set you will need:

  • Three large light-colored dry beans – I’ve used dried Lima beans in the example
  • Black paint and a paintbrush or:
  • Black permanent marker (Sharpie)

Using the permanent marker or paint, color one side of your beans black. Cover it completely so that little or no white is showing. Try and get the edges blackened as well.

Favomancy: Divining with beans
Paint brush, black paint - black permanent marker
Paint or color your beans black on one side.

Once the paint or ink has dried completely the beans are technically ready to use. However, I recommend carrying the beans with you for at least three days or placing them under your pillow for a similar amount of time. By doing this you are allowing your energy to come into contact with the beans. This energetic contact will in turn bring greater accuracy to your readings.

Similar to pendulum work, readings are done for questions that require a “yes” or “no” answer. Once a question has been asked, the beans are thrown onto a cloth placed on a flat surface and then the answer is given depending how they fall. The answer is interpreted in the following fashion:

One (1) bean with black side up : Yes

Favomancy: Divining with Beans
1 black side up - yes
“Yes” answer

Two (2) beans with black side up: No

Favomancy: Divining with Beans
"no" answer - two black sides up
“No” Answer

Three (3) beans with black side up: Maybe

Favomancy: Diving with Beans
"Maybe" three black sides up
“Maybe”

That’s all there is to it! Simple, effective, and fun! The accuracy of this method is on par with pendulum readings but I find it a refreshing change of pace. I hope you enjoy trying Favomancy: divining with beans and perhaps you too will add it to your list of “go to” divination techniques.

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