Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...

Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]

Views: 21,914,965

February 1st. 2019 ...

Paganism and Witchcraft in the Media

September 25th. 2018 ...

Understanding the Unseen

August 25th. 2018 ...

A Little Magickal History

Men and the Goddess

Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces

Kitchen Magic and Memories

Magic in Daily Life

Why the Faeries?

Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light

On Preconceived Pagan/Wiccan Political Affiliations

The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives

The Lady on the Stairs

July 26th. 2018 ...

The Importance of Unification: Bringing Together Community Members to Invoke Cohesivity

May 29th. 2018 ...

Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess

April 20th. 2018 ...

Nazis Made Us Change Our Name

November 15th. 2017 ...


August 31st. 2017 ...

The White Goddess: A Seminal Work in the Neo-Wiccan Movement.

July 31st. 2017 ...

Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers

July 2nd. 2017 ...

On Cursing: Politics and Ethos

A Distant Thunder: Should You Care?

June 1st. 2017 ...

The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions

April 30th. 2017 ...

Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles

March 30th. 2017 ...

Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords

January 10th. 2017 ...

The Gray of 'Tween

Becoming a Sacred Dancer

December 9th. 2016 ...

A Child's First Yule

November 10th. 2016 ...

A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities

What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)

On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans

September 11th. 2016 ...

The Shadow of Disgust

September 3rd. 2016 ...

Nature’s Reward

August 12th. 2016 ...

Hungarian Belief in Fairies

Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament

Past Midnight

July 13th. 2016 ...

What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses

Magic With A Flick of my Finger

An Open Mind and Heart

June 13th. 2016 ...

Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia

My Father, My First God

May 15th. 2016 ...

Faery Guided Journey

Working with the Elements

Magical Household Cleaning

April 2nd. 2016 ...

The Fear of Witchcraft

Magic in Sentences

March 28th. 2016 ...

Revisiting The Spiral

Still Practicing

Spring Has Sprung!

January 22nd. 2016 ...

Coming Out of the Broom Closet

Community and Perception

December 20th. 2015 ...

Magia y Wicca

October 16th. 2015 ...

Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts

September 30th. 2015 ...

The Other-Side

August 6th. 2015 ...

Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale

July 9th. 2015 ...

The Magic of Weather

June 7th. 2015 ...

A Pagan Altar

A Minority of a Minority of a Minority

The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?

May 6th. 2015 ...

13 Keys: The Crown of Kether

March 29th. 2015 ...

A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft

March 1st. 2015 ...

Choosing to Write a Shadow Book

February 1st. 2015 ...

Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader

January 1st. 2015 ...

Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft

Pagans All Around Us

Broomstick to the Emerald City

October 20th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits

October 5th. 2014 ...

The History of the Sacred Circle

September 28th. 2014 ...

Creating a Healing Temple

August 31st. 2014 ...

Coven vs. Solitary

August 24th. 2014 ...

The Pagan Cleric

August 17th. 2014 ...

To Know, to Will, to Dare...

August 10th. 2014 ...

As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?

August 3rd. 2014 ...

You Have to Believe We Are Magic...

July 27th. 2014 ...

Did I Just Draw Down the Moon?

July 6th. 2014 ...

The Lore of the Door

Leaves of Love

June 15th. 2014 ...

Becoming Your Own Wise One

June 1st. 2014 ...

13 Keys: The Wisdom of Chokmah

May 25th. 2014 ...

Some Differences Between Priestesses and Witches: Duties and Trials

May 11th. 2014 ...

Breaking the Law of Return

Mental and Emotional Balance- I CAN Have it!

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Article Specs

Article ID: 14151

VoxAcct: 175302

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 3,347

Times Read: 5,129

RSS Views: 39,867
Hakata Divination

Author: Crick [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: October 17th. 2010
Times Viewed: 5,129

One thing that is notable about Neo Paganism is the habit of looking primarily towards their European roots when it comes to the mystical arts. By following such narrow parameters, one is depriving themselves of a wealth of information in regards to the mystical arts and the experiences that such a varied discipline offers. This practice is utilized in particular when looking at various forms of divination. For instance Tarot and Runes are generally the two most recognized forms of divination within the Neo Pagan community. It could be argued that Tarot originally had Arabic roots (the Arabic game of Tarok) , however it has since taken on a decidedly European slant. However there are literally hundreds of other forms of divination, some of which are found in non-European roots. For instance in Africa one can find the roots of Geomancy (khatt al-raml) (a form of divination that I personally teach) as well as Hakata, of which this article is about.

In general Hakata are pieces of bone, ivory or wood that is used by Shona (or Karanga as they were once known as) witch doctors for divination. These witch doctors are known singularly as N'ganga ngombo and Banganga in the plural. They are used to divine such issues such as the source of illness or personal misfortune. As with many forms of divination there is also a subset of specialists within the Hakata form of divination who were known as Nganga kiluba. These specialists are the ones who expose liars and thieves, using male and female figurines along with a pot of clay as instruments of detection.

However, moving on, the Hakata (akata, or ditaola) dice consists of a series of four small tablets, made of wood, ivory, or bone. Each hakata has a distinct design motif, which is inscribed on one side. They are distinguished from one another by their individual name and features. Two of the Hakata have notches at the bottom; these are considered the junior tablets, the male, which is commonly called "Lumwe", has one notch. The female, which is called "Ntakwala", has two notches.

The remaining two, or senior tablets, are marked as either female, which is called "Kwame" and is marked by the incised picture of an eye or a house on the upper side. Or as the male, which is called "Chilume" and is marked by the picture of an axe or a spear. The Hakata are cast upon the ground by the witch doctor who then interprets their meaning. There are sixteen possible throws, each of which has a name and a range of interpretations.

Hakata are generally handmade by each individual diviner. This lends to some variations among the tablets, but a typical set consists of a zigzag border on the front side of each tablet, thus marking it as the front of the dice. The N'ganga uses one of two methods of divination. The first involves spirit possession. Any statements made by the inquisitor are considered to be from the spirits inhabiting their bodies at the time of the throwing of the hakata dice. The N'ganga achieves this spiritual connection by way of a trance like state. This trance state is in turn induced by “bishimba” which is a powerful tonic imbibed by the diviner. The ingredients of a bishimba consist of animal, mineral and plant materials and vary in concoction from one N'ganga to another.

The second method is when the spirits speak through the hakata dice themselves. When the Hakata are cast, the ones that fall face up form a configuration that are then interpreted into positive or negative answers to the questions presented by the N'ganga. The origins of Hakata are as varied as are those who practice this form of divination and so one will have to decide for themselves as to which school of thought one wishes to adhere to. For instance a four-tablet form of divination was recorded in 1616 CE in a report associated with the famous trial in which Father Gonçalo da Silveira (the first Christian missionary to the Shona royal court) was sentenced to death by the Mutapa (king) in 1561 CE.

There is another school of thought that suggests that Hakata is a sophisticated form of the Tsonga form of divination, which is also known as Hakata (except that it is interpreted as nutshell oracle) . The nutshell oracle consists of four unmarked and unnamed nutshells whose interpretations are subject to the whim of the diviner. And of course there are those who clamor for an Arabic connection. This view comes about from examining the Arabic root “hqq” (translated as “truth”, “speaking the truth”) , which when pronounced produces the sound Hakat.

One can see the associations attributed to both words in regards to divination or soothsaying if you will. There are of course other schools of thought in relation to the origins of Hakata that I will leave to you the reader to research. As pagans of whatever path, our ultimate goal should be to achieve the highest level of spiritual growth that we can aspire to. This goal is accomplished by the accumulation and at times the application of such knowledge as it pertains to the mystical arts.

As pagans in general and as a witch in particular (speaking from my own comfort zone and not elevating one path over another) we would do well to realize that there are in fact many avenues by which to arrive at our personal spiritual goals. I am fully aware that Neo paganism is in a state of transition in which it seeks to define itself as a mystical/magical discipline. One has to only look at the many different groups out there, each vying for validity over all of the others who are engaged in a similar free for all. And thus we have the numerous approaches that one finds in these days and times in regards to the umbrella under which neo paganism exists.

Yet by reinventing the wheel if you will slows down and hinders such a transition. By being willing to look around the world, often outside your comfort zone, such as ones European roots, you may come to realize that there are vast resources of knowledge just waiting to be utilized.

Many forms of paganism or another has been around since the beginning of time. It did not begin in the 1950’s. And so perhaps it would serve the Neo pagan community well to place less emphasis on the validity of this group or that and more on actually learning that which has been waiting for us for centuries. At any rate, Hakata is but one more form of divination to add to the popularity list.

This article represents my personal opinions and is not intended to be a conclusive review of the subject matter at hand. Your opinion may well vary from my own…



Location: enHaut, Pennsylvania


Author's Profile: To learn more about Crick - Click HERE

Other Articles: Crick has posted 74 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE

Email Crick... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)

To send a private message to Crick ...

Pagan Essays

Pagan Web
8,000 Links

Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.

80,000 Profiles

Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops

Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2019 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections
(including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.)
are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc.
TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World

Search Articles

 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide

NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).