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African Cowrie Shell Divination

African Cowrie Shells Divination: History, Theory, and Practice - Zolrak

by Zolrak

 

I have always loved cowrie shells, from when I was a child and my aunt brought one back for me from a trip to Hawaii. I never knew they could be used for divination!

 

This book was a strange mix. It's about African divination and has chapters on Orishas, Eshu, Yoruba, Santeria, etc., but in the introduction the author talks about God from an apparent Christian perspective. I found that a little odd, even though I know Voodoo and Christianity have combined in places like Haiti.

 

The second part of the book is about the actual method of divination with cowrie shells, about a third through the book. This gives instruction for prayers and preparation, followed by methods for reading with four cowrie shells, then the sixteen cowrie shells. These are given with lines in their native language and I have to admit, go on a bit for something with no translation.

 

The instructions for the actual reading methods are fairly straight forward. This would be a good book for someone studying the cultural influences behind these methods, but the necessity of steeping oneself in Yoruba or Santeria in preparation might not be to everyone's taste in practice.

 

There's an extensive glossary and overall I found it a very informative book.