Can a person make true prophecies without using magic?

Sybil Trelawney, the seer introduced in the books doesn't seem to do spells in all the seven books. She even hides her empty sherry bottles in the room of requirement instead of using the evanesco spell.

Why would an adult wizard who is also a teacher risk getting caught with empty bottles instead of just vanishing or transfiguring the evidence of her being a lone drunk?

The two times she made her prophecies it seems she wasn't even aware of it, rather than being a conscious act, it seemed she was possessed.

Is it possible that she is a squib, and some other entity was communicating through her? Can a seer be a squib at all or a muggle or does one have to use magic to make true prophecies?

  • 4
    It was cooking sherry actually
    – amflare
    Aug 8, 2017 at 16:19
  • 1
    Consensus here was that squibs may have a wand, but would have no reason to do so. Pottermore says she owns a wand.
    – phantom42
    Aug 8, 2017 at 16:24
  • 4
    I feel like the edit to the Title changes the question dramatically -- asking whether a squib can be a seer is far different than asking whether one person is a squip (even if that person mostly exists as a seer)... Aug 8, 2017 at 16:56
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    @WraithLeader - The question title conflicted with the question body. I tried to make them align, but still leave the question open enough to allow answerers to address the wider issue (which amflare has done).
    – Valorum
    Aug 8, 2017 at 17:11
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    The issue is that the body of your question doesn't currently even consider other seers, examples or not. You specifically discuss Trelawney and her abilities - and ask if she is a squib.
    – phantom42
    Aug 8, 2017 at 17:55

1 Answer 1



Divination is a branch of magic. Therefore requires magical ability to use it.

Professor Trelawney delicately rearranged her shawl and continued, ‘So you have chosen to study Divination, the most difficult of all magical arts.'
Prisoner of Azkaban - Chapter 6: Talons and Tea Leaves

Professor McGonagall broke off, and they saw that her nostrils had gone white. She went on, more calmly, ‘Divination is one of the most imprecise branches of magic‘.
Prisoner of Azkaban - Chapter 6: Talons and Tea Leaves

Trelawney is in fact a proven witch since during the Battle of Hogwarts, she is seen using non-verbal spells to control crystal balls and use them as weapons

Then, with a bright white flash and a crack, a crystal ball fell on the top of [Fenrir Greyback's] head and he crumpled to the ground and did not move.

‘I have more!’ shrieked Professor Trelawney from over the banisters, ‘more for any who want them! Here –’

And with a movement like a tennis serve, she heaved another enormous crystal sphere from her bag, waved her wand through the air, and caused the ball to speed across the hall and smash through a window.
Deathly Hallows - Chapter 32: The Elder Wand

(emphasis mine)

  • 1
    She has also given true prophecy, which we have never known a Squib to do.
    – Jeff
    Aug 8, 2017 at 16:53
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    I was searching for that quote when you made your edit :) nice work! Also I would note that the Wiki page on her says she was sorted into Ravenclaw at Hogwarts, which would mean she isn't a squib, but I can find no source to that so I didn't bother posting it. Aug 8, 2017 at 16:54
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    Good job. Minerva usually knows what's she talking about. I accept her expertise. Divination is magic, however imprecise. And ST serving crystsl balls is absolutely cool.
    – user68762
    Aug 8, 2017 at 18:23
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    Not only is Minerva usually knowledgeable; she is also extraordinarily precise. Being imprecise about accusing another discipline of imprecision would be totally out of character ;). Aug 9, 2017 at 12:59
  • Note that there appear to exist two different kinds of divination in the books. The "true" divination that Trelwaney makes by entering a trance, and making prophecies, without even knowing she's doing it; and the divination that Trelawney teaches, which appears to be mostly bullshit. So when Trelawney says "Divination, the most difficult of all magical arts" I don't think she should be taken too seriously; and when McGonagall says "Divination is one of the most imprecise branches of magic", it sounds like a typical British understatement that divination is complete bullshit.
    – Stef
    Mar 11, 2023 at 9:06

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