An Orphir girl on the Orkney mainland was told to choose a burning coal to stick in a bucket of cold water. She would have to leave it overnight. The next morning, she would break the coal in two and see if any hairs fell from the cinders. If it did, the color of the hair was supposed to be the color of her future husband's hair.
They would also pound up the coals and mix them in a bucket of seawater. The person wanting a reading would pour the mixture onto a flat surface. The reader would try to discern any shape or pattern to the poured coal.
There were certain patterns they used to read the coals. These included circles, lines, and hearts. They would even look for certain numbers or letters to get a message. The circle was to represent that you had come full circle and would be starting a new chapter in your life. The lines, depending on how long they were, meant an upcoming trip or travel. The heart meant love which could refer to your family, friends, or soul mate.