Domino games

Domino Divination

In 1992, Raymond Buckland marketed a deck of cards with domino pips in the center and a series of text and symbols on the outside edges (Buckland, Raymond; GYPSIES' DOMINO DIVINATION DECK; ISBN 1-56718-094-9; 1992). The little booklet that came with the deck claims that English Gypsies used to tell fortunes using dominoes instead of the usual Tarot or playing cards. The deck is supposed to make the job of divination easier by giving the meanings of each tile on the edge.

The basic meanings are:

Each tile takes a meaning from a combination of its two sides as read from left to right on a horizontal tile. Unfortunately, this does not seem to apply consistently in this system.

The [1-2] is a "journey with a good friend", as you might expect. However, you would think that [1-5] would have something to do with work and travel, such as a business trip. Wrong. The [1-5] tile means "a lover awaits", but if it were dealt as [5-1] it would mean "Opportunity for passionate romance".

There are several different layouts (spreads) given which are based on those used for Tarot card readings. The most basic is a simple line of three horizontal tiles for the past, present and future.

There are other meanings associated with the tiles based on numerology.

The Chinese also used dominoes and dice for divination, but I have no information on their methods.

A simple system which could use either dice or dominoes was given in THE SOOTHSAYER'S HANDBOOK: A GUIDE TO BAD SIGNS & GOOD VIBRATIONS BY Elinor Lander Horwitz (1972, J. B. Lippincott Company, ISBN 0-397-31538-4).

The rules are that you never read your own fortune and that never read anyone else's on a Monday or a Friday. The questioner draws a tile from the boneyard with his left hand. This gives his fortune for the coming month. The meaning of the tiles is as follows:

The questioner draws a second tile, which gives his fortune for the coming year. This time the answer is based on the total of the tile:

Notice that since this system was based on dice, there is no meaning assigned to a total of zero.