Mah Jongg as an Oracle

The tiles in a Mah Jongg Game set can also be used as an oracle to interpret the future should you wish to do so. This is because each unique tile in the set has a symbolism or meaning.

An oracle naturally requires an interpreter if the meaning of it's secrets are to be divined. The person who performs this role is known as the "diviner" and the person who wishes to have a reading, is known as the "querent".

To begin a reading the diviner and querent sit across a table facing each other. Ideally, and if practicable, the table should be oriented in a North and South direction, with the diviner and querent sitting facing each other in East (querent) and West (diviner) positions. If possible the table should not be placed in a direct line towards a door as this is regarded as unsympathetic to the oracle. Next, all the Mah Jongg tiles are spread face down at random on the table and the querent shuffles the tiles until satisfied.

The diviner now asks the querent if they have a specific question in mind or whether a general reading is required. The querent may tell the diviner what the question is or not as they wish. The querent now pushes the tiles to the sides in order to clear a central area, the 'lake', the tiles pushed to the sides must form a circle with no breaks. Next the querent selects 13 tiles from the outer circle and pushes these towards the center of the circle. Note: the tiles are kept face down throughout this process.

Next, the querent re-shuffles the 13 tiles that he or she selected and placed in the center. When satisfied, the querent pushes 3 tiles towards the West sector of the spread, then 3 tiles towards the East sector, then 3 tiles towards the North sector and then 3 tiles towards the South sector. Finally one tile is pushed towards the center. Again, note that the tiles are kept face down throughout this process. The querent now arranges the tiles in each sector as shown in the diagram below.

The tiles are now ready to be read by the diviner.

First the diviner turns over the center tile, then the tiles in the positions marked 1-3-2, then 4-5-6, then 7-9-8 and then 10-11-12.

The tile that marks the center represents the point or focus of the reading - or what is central to present problems.

The tiles in the East (Spring) sector, positions 1 and 3 represent the querent's exterior personality and factors that dominate the present situation, while the tile in position 2 reveals the querent's inner unspoken wishes.

In the South (Summer) sector, the tiles represent the near future and refer particularly to events which are already taking place or being considered.

The tiles in the West (Autumn) sector represent obstacles and objectives and their solution. The first obstacle is revealed by the tile occupying position 7, other factors or objectives are shown by the tile occupying position 9, and the solution to these problems or a means of overcoming these obstacles is given by the tile in position 8.

The North (Winter) sector represents the eventual outcome of present or future developments. The tiles in positions 10 and 11 may warn of difficulties or perhaps continue to unravel the train of events indicated by previous tiles. The tile in position 12, represents the final outcome of events.

To find out the symbolism of the tiles see Bamboos, Circles and Wan.

Note: It must be emphasized that the tile symbolism descriptions give a general idea of the qualities expressed by the tiles, and that the symbolism of a tile can be positively or negatively aspected depending upon where the tile occurs in a reading. Likewise the significance of a tile will be emphasized if the same tile appears more than once in a spread. Tile symbolism has been included to give you a general flavour but no way does it attempt to give you a definitive guide to the meanings represented by the tiles.

Berrie Bloem's Mah Jongg - The REAL Game!(TM) Beginners Game Explanation Scoring Rules History
Symbolism Books Clubs Tournaments Glossary Other Sites
Back to The Wall Mah Jongg Web Site Go to Bamboos, Circles and Wan