Interested in dice divination but don’t know where to start? Here’s a deep dive into divination with dice. After reading this you’ll understand exactly how to do your own dice readings. You’ll need just 3 standard 6-sided dice. But it’s also possible to use just 1 die and roll it three times.
Where do dice come from?
The oldest evidence of 6-sided dice come from Egyptian tombs dating back over 4000 years ago. While dice are probably far older, their true origin is lost to the mists of time. Shards of evidence point to ancient Sumer over 5000 years ago, where ancient Sumerians would throw the knucklebones of sheep.
The oldest evidence of 6-sided dice come from Egyptian tombs dating back over 4000 years ago.
Other historical evidence points to ancient Persia, some 3000 years ago. Early Persian dice were carved from pure ivory and had black dots. To this day, our white plastic dice are designed to emulate the ivory dice of ancient Persia.
But did dice originate in Egypt? Or in Persia, or ancient Sumer? Historians believe dice may in fact be far older than our oldest known civilizations. The earliest 6-sided dice may have been hand-shaped from clay or mud, and dried in the sun. The simple dot patterns which mark the sides of dice may have been made with simple twigs or sticks.
While we’ll likely never know where dice originated, one thing is for sure: Dice have been with us for a very long time.
Astragalomancy and cleromancy definitions
Archeologists believe that dice have always been used for the dual purposes of playing games and for divination. The practice of divination with dice is known as astragalomancy — but dice divination is often included as part of the larger divination category of cleromancy. Cleromancy includes the casting of lots, the throwing of bones, the reading of runes and the rolling of dice.
- Astragalomancy: Astrogalomancy is the art of divination or fortune-telling by throwing dice.
- Cleromancy: Cleromancy is the art of divination by casting lots, throwing bones, casting runes, throwing bones or the rolling of dice.
Because both of those words are a mouthful, we’ll stick with the easier term “dice divination” for the remainder of this deep dive.
Dice Divination with 6-sided dice
There are many approaches to dice divination: Some approaches involve different numbers of dice, some involve dice with different numbers of sides, some involve different colors of dice and dice with different symbols painted on the sides.
Some varieties of dice divination involve repeated rolls. Others involve rolling dice within a small circle. Some forms of dice divination involve adding up the numbers, while others keep the numbers separate and interpret them individually.
Despite all the different rules and approaches, all forms of dice divination are basically the same: The reader rolls the dice, and interprets the results.
For this guide, we’ll stick with the most common method of dice divination which is to use 3 six-sided dice.
NOTE: If you don’t have 3 dice, you can use just 1 die:Roll it three times and add up the results. If you’re using a dice circle, omit any roll that goes outside the circle.
Some optional extras include:
- A dice cup
- A dice circle or throwing circle
What is a dice cup?
A dice cup is used by some dice casters to hold and shake the dice prior to throwing them. For dice divination, dice cups are typically made of wood, plastic or stiff leather, and are often decorated with runes, glyphs or other sacred symbols. A dice cup should be big enough for the dice to roll over one another when shaken, similar to shuffling cards. Some dice cups have lids, and can be used to store dice.
Dice divination inside a circle
A popular method of dice divination involves the use of a small throwing circle. The size of the dice divination circle is typically around 9 inches, and can be marked on the ground with chalk or with a piece of string.
When performing dice divination within a circle, the reader must close their eyes while shaking and casting the dice. A dice cup may be used, or the reader may throw the dice directly from their hands.
If any dice roll outside the circle, they are ignored, and only the dice within the circle are counted. Needless to say, this increases the possibility of lower numbers and reduces the possibility of higher numbers. Some readers object to the use of a circle because it adds an element of physical skill and coordination to the reading, rather than pure fate. Others prefer using reading dice with a circle, as it adds an additional element of chance to their readings and a greater number of possible outcomes.
NOTE: When using a throwing circle with 3 six-sided dice, the lowest possible result is 1. Without a throwing circle, the lowest possible result is 3. In other words, a throwing circle increases the number of possible outcomes in the reading.
Divination meaning of dice numbers
Here is a list of all the dice divination meanings from 1 to 18:
(This list of divination dice meanings is intended for rolls of 3 six-sided dice.Dice rolls of 1 or 2 are possible if you are using the dice circle discussed above.)
Dice roll: 1
A dice roll of 1 indicates tension or family strife of some kind. Romantic tensions or trouble at home may be indicated. A dice roll of 1 may also indicate an upcoming period of solitude or isolation. In other cases, a die roll of 1 may actually indicate the necessity or importance of alone-time.
Dice roll: 2
A dice roll of 2 often indicates a double meaning, or duplicity. Caution is indicated. Visible appearances may be deceiving. Something is not as it appears, and may be hiding within plain sight. In other cases, a die roll of 2 simply asks us to look closely at our lives and the decisions we have made.
Dice roll: 3
A dice roll of 3 is a fortunate roll. It indicates a time of plenty and a period of good luck. A dice roll of 3 may ask us to recall the events of such a time, as they may have some importance in the present. Or, a dice roll of 3 may indicate an upcoming change in circumstances and a stroke of good fortune.
NOTE: A roll of three 1’s is seen as a particularly lucky indicator. A roll of 2 and 1, with 1 die disqualified outside the circle is also seen as lucky, but not as lucky as three 1’s.
Dice roll: 4
A dice roll of 4 indicates some kind of temporary setback. It’s not the end of the world, but it is an unfortunate turn of events which will slow progress towards your goals, or temporarily derail a current project. This setback is likely to come as a surprise and may test your resolve or someone else’s.
Dice roll: 5
A dice roll of 5 indicates something new entering your life. It could represent new information, or a new and helpful person. A dice roll of 5 is very positive, and typically represents some external source of positivity. It may also indicate news from far away. In some cases it may also represent a long-lost friend reappearing in your life.
Dice roll: 6
A dice roll of 6 is typically an unlucky roll, but in most cases it represents misfortune to someone else. It may represent a loss experienced by a close friend or a family member, or it may represent a business closure or investment loss. The number 6 may also indicate a friend coming to you for help.
Dice roll: 7
A dice roll of 7 is a swirling storm of trouble. Gossip, scandals and legal entanglements threaten to throw your life off course — or the life of someone close to you. It may also represent a problem of some kind involving social media, or a public relations problem for a business. In some cases it may also represent a romantic relationship which is wild and out of control.
Dice roll: 8
A dice roll of 8 is an indicator of stability and slowness. When an 8 is rolled it tells us to take things slowly and not make any quick or reckless decisions. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. If a decision lies before you and you feel pressured to make it, remember that doing nothing is an option too. Now may be a time to wait and see how events around you change.
Dice roll: 9
A dice roll of 9 indicates passion, romance and love. Depending on your personal circumstances this number may have different meanings. Generally speaking it means that love is in the air. If you are single, it may mean a new relationship or a new crush developing. If you are married, it may indicate a rekindling of love and a time of new closeness. In some cases, the number 9 may indicate new business or luck when gambling.
Dice roll: 10
A dice roll of 10 indicates a surge in creative energy and a birth of new ideas and new opportunities. In business, a time of success and positive growth is indicated. In personal matters it may indicate a happy time of new productivity and a positive outlook. In some cases it may also indicate a pregnancy or a birth.
Dice roll: 11
A dice roll of 11 indicates a setback for a relationship or for someone’s health. Something that was normal and healthy, suddenly falls into a state of chaos or enters an unhealthy cycle. This will be a trying time, but the good news is that it will be temporary. Focus on your strengths. Take care of yourself and those around you and the storm clouds will pass in good time. In business or finance, the number 11 indicates a loss and possibly someone cheating you.
Dice roll: 12
A dice roll of 12 typically represents good news from some official source or an institution of some kind. It may represent good financial news or a positive legal settlement. It may also represent good news from an employer or an academic institution. If you have been involved in any kind of a dispute or are dealing with financial issues, it may represent signs of hope and easier times ahead.
Dice roll: 13
A dice roll of 13 represents internal hardship. Depression or stress is indicated, or a time when your own thoughts and feelings seem to swirl in a dark cloud of negativity and distress. The roll of 13 reminds us to remember that within us we have an eternal spark of hope and positivity. It may dim for a time, but that light never goes out. Focus on that light and it will return. Remember you are forever and always a wellspring of positivity and inner growth. “It is always darkest before the dawn”.
Dice roll: 14
A dice roll of 14 indicates a social gathering or a family reunion which brings good fortune or happy times. A roll of 14 often indicates that assistance and opportunity comes from social contacts or from someone in your extended family. Now is not the time to avoid socializing or to skip a reunion or a social event. If you’re single it may mean a new romantic connection at a gathering or business convention of some kind.
Dice roll: 15
The number 15 can be either positive or negative. It typically indicates a time of rapid changes in which friendships shift and connections become uncertain. In this time of chaos, opportunities arise. New friendships form and new alliances are made. Be mindful of risks at this time, and remember that the things you have trust and faith in at this time may prove to be more flimsy than you expect.
Dice roll: 16
A dice roll of 16 means travel is indicated. It may be long distance travel or a short-trip for a few hours. In either case, the trip will be a positive one and is worth taking. Now is not the time to sit at home and ignore the outside world. There are opportunities and positive experiences which may pass you by if you ignore them at this time. A roll of 16 may also indicate a gift or the arrival of good news from someone else who has been traveling.
Dice roll: 17
A dice roll of 17 represents a shift in opinions, emotions or feelings. This can be a shift for better or worse. When sentiments change around you it’s important to be observant and in-tune with the thoughts and emotions of others. For those who remain empathetic and conscious of others, a dice roll of 17 is usually positive. For those who ignore the feelings and wishes of those around them, a dice roll of 17 may indicate a very negative outcome.
Dice roll: 18
A dice roll of 18 is a very positive roll indicating success and the attainment of goals. This lucky roll is usually a sign that past efforts are about to pay off and the sun is finally preparing to break through the clouds. In some cases a roll of 18 may also represent a reminder not to lose sight of the end-goal. Small successes along the way are nice, but the real prize should never be ignored or forgotten.
Yes or no divination with dice
If you’re asking a simple Yes or No question, here’s how to use dice to return a yes or no answer:
Yes or no divination with dice can be done with any number of dice.
- Odd numbered dice results mean “No”.
- Even numbered dice results mean “Yes”.
There are also 2 circumstances which result in a “Maybe” answer:
- If you are reading dice with multiple dice, then a double or matching result in 2 or more dice indicates a “Maybe” answer.
- If you are reading dice with a dice circle, a “Maybe” answer is also defined as any dice throw where 1 or more dice goes outside the circle.
Divination dice sets
Many occult and esoteric retailers sell special divination dice sets. In some cases these are little more than nicely designed 6-sided dice, but in other cases these special “divination dice” bear astrological symbols, I Ching symbols, runes or even tarot suits on the dice faces.
There are no universally accepted rules regarding special astrology dice, tarot dice or other divination dice sets
There are no universally accepted rules regarding special astrology dice, tarot dice or other divination dice sets, and in most cases the rules have been invented by the dice manufacturers.
One notable exception are Tibetan divination dice which have a unique and centuries old history.
Tibetan divination dice
Tibetan divination dice or Mo, are special predictive dice which combine Tibetan buddhism with regional mysticism. For centuries Tibetans have used Mo to help them make decisions and to make predictions about the future.
There are extensive books and buddhist teachings on the subject of Mo, and methods of interpreting Mo results.
Mo uses 6-sided dice, and feature Tibetan characters on each side. Each Mo die is cast 2 times, yielding a total of 36 possible results in most systems.
Divination with polyhedral dice
Polyhedral dice, which are commonly associated with tabletop games, can also be used for divination. The list of dice meanings above can also be used with two 10-sided dice or a single 20-sided die.
If you use polyhedral dice with the above list of meanings (which number only 1-18) consider rolls of 19 or 20 to be “re-rolls”, or the divination dice equivalent of the Magic 8-Ball‘s “Reply hazy. Try again“.