Predict Your Future With Eggs This Halloween

Learn about all the symbols food has to offer.

Design by Grace Han for Thrillist

This year, Halloween is back—say hello to candy sharing and the sweet stress of picking out a Halloween party costume. But if you're looking to play it safe indoors, there are centuries’ worth of traditions to revisit and feel a sense of spook. 

Divination, or the art of interpreting signs through occult means, was practiced on Samhain, the pagan Celtic festival that eventually merged with All Saints Day to create the modern day Halloween. In addition to lighting huge bonfires and throwing raucous feasts, celebrants divined the future—not with crystal balls or Ouija boards, but rather, common food items.

“I believe there is an inherent knowledge in us all, even a genetic memory, of food being used as a divination tool throughout the ages,” clairvoyant Colette Brown, author of How to Read an Egg: Divination for the Easily Bored, explained. “The ancient seers didn’t have tarot cards or oracle cards – they used whatever was at hand.” 

According to Brown, the last day of October is an optimal date for connecting with the supernatural realm. “Samhain is the time when the veil between our world and the spirit world is thinnest. By doing divination at this time, we are likely to have a few spirit helpers joining in.”

While more in-depth divination forms, like tarot and I Ching, take much time and commitment to master, food divination relies more heavily on symbols, which can either be personally ascribed or easily looked up. “Food divination is a gentle way to dip the toe in the water, or the egg white in the water,” Colette jokes. 

"Divination will be as honest with you, as you are with it."

In How to Read an Egg, Brown combines her Scottish wit with an old-fashioned approach, spelling out the various ways one can gain psychic insight through such things as apple seeds and chicken bones. She believes that we all have an ability to tune into messages—some more than others—but the best readings come after a moment of meditation, during which the third eye can be opened. 

“Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons and try not to have a preferred outcome for your question before you start. Divination will be as honest with you, as you are with it,” she advises. 

It’s important to remember that the symbols that appear from food sources might be distorted or incomplete. This is where intuition comes into play. Over time, certain symbols will become familiar to you personally, and you can start to divine “the full picture.” 

“Start by learning the meaning of some symbols from a standard source, like dream symbolism, but be aware that some symbolism will not mean for you, what the normal interpretation would mean,” Brown explains. “A spider can be a very positive universal symbol, but if you have a phobia of spiders, then your fear trumps the traditional meaning. Always put personal symbolism above those found in books.”

Keeping all of these tips in mind, see below for a collection of food divination methods. The answers to all your 2022 questions might very well be in your kitchen.

Eggs

One way to practice oomancy, or divination by eggs, is by interpreting the shape of an egg white as it floats in water. Simply fill a large glass or clear bowl with water warm enough to heat the egg white just slightly—this will allow for its shape to become more apparent. 

Begin to concentrate on your question, then pierce a small hole in the egg with a pin or pocket knife, allowing for the egg white alone to seep into the water. Examine the images that appear before you, making sure to look both down into the bowl and side-on for a three-dimensional view. 

Apples

The Halloween activity of apple bobbing actually began as a way for young girls to peer into their romantic futures, secretly marking apples with the names of potential suitors before ducking into the bucket. According to Brown, apples have long been associated with youth, fertility, love, and temptation. 

If you’re having a hard time choosing between lovers, but don’t fancy dipping into a pool of germs, you can peel an apple in one strip and throw the peel on the floor or into a bowl of water. The shape of the peel will give the initial of your lover to come. You can also take two wet apple seeds, name them, and stick them to either cheek on your face. The first one to fall off will represent the person who isn’t ready to commit. The one that stays stuck, the more long-term choice.

Oranges

Oranges, which have been linked to money and prosperity, are perfect for yes or no questions. While eating an orange, pick out the seeds, then count them afterwards. An even number of seeds is “No” and an uneven number is “Yes.”

Nuts

If you roast some hazelnuts on a pan, and they crackle and jump, it can mean that romance and passion is on its way. A newly in-love couple can foresee the progression of their relationship by naming two nuts and putting them side by side in a roasting pan. If the nuts roast gently and quietly, then the couple will live in harmony, but if they split, then not so much.

Tea Leaves

Tasseomancy, or divination through the use of a cup, is traditionally associated with tea leaf readings, but can really be used for anything that leaves dregs in a cup or rounded bowl, like coffee (cafeomancy) or red wine (oinomancy). Brown prefers to use a white cup and saucer with no patterns. Loose tea leaves, rather than tea bags, are essential, as they produce more solid patterns when left on the cup. 

Boil water in a kettle, cool it slightly, and then pour it into a big pot. Add a heaped teaspoon of tea for yourself and “one for the pot.” Once the leaves are stirred and allowed to brew, pour the tea into a cup without straining or adding milk and sugar. You should focus on your question or worry while sipping on the tea. When most of the tea has been drunk, swirl the cup clockwise three times and then turn it onto the saucer. Pay attention to the shapes that form from the leaves that are stuck to the sides and bottom of the cup. Brown likes to interpret the leaves at the rim as representing the present, the middle as the near future, and the bottom as the further future or potential outcome. 

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Jessica Sulima is a staff writer on the Food & Drink team at Thrillist who will, from this point on, use orange seeds to make decisions. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram