Starr Casas has always been really straightforward in her approach to writing about hoodoo practices. Readers can expect the same from her in depth look at divination. The bulk of the book is about playing card divination and bone reading. Shorter chapters cover candle work, blue water, egg divination, witchin’ sticks (dowsing), and bibliomancy. Pulling from personal experience, the book feels like you have Casas taking on you on a tour of her tools and trade.

Casas believes any reader needs to call on the protection and guidance of their ancestors so she advises on how to set up an ancestor altar. Throughout the book, the spiritual practice and connection to the ancestors is key to forming a relationship with the divination tools. Casas was raised Pentecostal in the deep south and moved to Texas where she became a practicing Catholic. Her practice also shows some influence from the Mexican community in Texas as seen in the candle work and egg divination. For the most part, her style is traditional conjure. Readers don’t have to be Christian to practice but should be aware that conjure practice is based on Old Testament Biblical passages. If you aren’t comfortable with that idea, then you won’t be comfortable with conjure. On the other side, there are likely some Christians questioning how a Christian could be writing about divination. Casas discusses the biblical origins quoting sections of the bible that talk about divination. By and large, this is very much a how to book and not a theological discourse.

The card divination section provides meanings for each card and suggestions for how to be a better reader. It’s enough information for the beginner to get started and those who already use playing cards will take interest in her personal meanings for the cards and ideas for how to be the best professional reader possible.  She included a large section on how to get started in bone reading because many practitioners have now passed on and it’s harder to find someone to train you. I think it would be hard to learn this from a book but if you have to, this a great place to start. The other divination styles are given quick, short chapters that are more introductory.

My impression is old-style conjure requires a good bit of patience, to learn, to watch, to feel the spirit. If you have that kind of patience, you will be rewarded by Divination Conjure Style’s thoughtful and thorough approach.

~review by Larissa Carlson
Author: Starr Casas
Publisher: Weiser Books
pp. 229, $18.95