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ABACOMANCY: Divination via the observation of patterns
of dust. Also used are the ashes of the recently deceased. See also
Ceneromancy, Spodomancy, and Tephromancy.
ACUTOMANCY: Divination via the means of sharp or pointed
objects such as needles. In this form diviners use a number of sharp
objects (usually seven) to fall on to the table or the like and thus
read the patterns. Acutomanzia is a similar method including thirteen
pins, ten straight and three bent. They are shaken and casted onto a
surface sprinkled with powder. The patterns in the powder and the positioning
of the needles are then read.
ADRYOMANCY: A rare, and obscurely formed, variant
of the word ydromancie, idromancie, which in Middle English was the
usual spelling of hydromancy. The first peculiarity of this word is
the initial a. This is not a regular variant of Middle English i/y.
The second peculiarity is the addition of an extra syllable after the
r. This additional syllable does not occur in any other Middle English
-mancy words, nor in other Middle English compounds of ydro-. Nor are
either of these peculiarities found in the Old French or Latin source
words. It remains a mystery.
AEROMANCY: Divination via interpreting air and sky
regulations by way of wind, cloud shapes and other aerial formations
such as atmospheric conditions are studied as omens or signs of future
events. This also includes wind currents, cloud formations, comets,
falling stares, and spectral formations. There different forms include:
Austromancy (wind); Ceraunoscopy (thunder & lightning); Chaomancy
(aerial visions); Meteormancy (meteors, especially shooting stars).
It is also known as Nephelomancy.
1. (generally) divination by the air or aerial
phenomena. (specifically) This term has been applied to numerous divinatory
a. divination from the movement of air itself, observations of the wind.
b. presages gained by observation of other aerial phenomena, as comets,
meteors, lightning, thunder, clouds, haloes, etc.
c. by images seen in the air, as either naturally occurring mirages
or supernatural apparitions, such as spectres, etc.
d. by the shape assumed by physical things, such as dust or seeds, tossed
into the air.
3. (obs.) weather forecasting.
Borrowed into Middle English from Old French *aeromancie, aeromaunce,
(in modern French (Cotgrave) aëromanty), from Late Latin aeromantia,
from Late Greek aeromanteia, from the Greek aero-, combining form of
aer air. After the Middle English period is has generally been modified
according to New Latin aeromantia and French aeromancie. Classical Greek
did not have the word, or at least it has not survived extant, but they
did have aeroskopia divination by observing the heavens. Variant Forms
Middle English: aermacye, aeromance, aeromancye, aeromauncie, aerymancie.
Early Modern English: aeromancie, æromancy, aëromancy, aeromanty,
eromancy, heromanty. New Latin: aeromantia, aëromantia. The forms
with ë represent a now obsolete typographical convention which
proscribed a pronunciation based on the Greek root, in which the first
two letters formed separate syllables, that is, ay-eromancy. By some
lexicographers it was applied stringently to all words beginning aero-,
but for the most part it was applied rather haphazardly. A look at the
entries in OED for words beginning aero- is a good example of this haphazardness.
Presumably some lexicographers and authors thought that the pronunciation
was apparent enough (or "should" be apparent) without typographical
The modern pronunciation (as air-omancy) presumably arose from a lack
of knowledge of the Greek language, and also under the influence of
the word air. The existence of the form eromancy dates the pronunciation
back to the 17th century. More
AGALMATOMANCY: Greek divination via statues. See also
AICHMOMANCY: A method of divination utilising sharp
points, as pins, etc. This word, derived from the ancient Greek aichme
point of a spear, is one of the numerous terms appearing in Shipley
only. To which specific method of divination it is meant to refer to
is not clear.
AILUROMANCY: Divination by cats.
Derived from Greek ailouros a cat.
ALEBROMANCY: A mistake arising from a typographical
error (u = b) in Cotgrave's French-English dictionary (1611, 1632).
This was faithfully reproduced by Blount, and later copied by Cocker.
This mistake was recorded in the OED (1884), under its own headword,
thus effectively putting a stop to any continued copying. Urquhart was
meant to have relied largely on Cotgrave for his translation, but apparently
not in this instance. Instead, for some unknown reason, Urqhuart created
his own mistaken spelling (vide alentomancy). Both of these misspellings
were silently corrected in the OED under headword aleuromancy. Apparently
Murray did not feel that Urquhart's erroneous form was worth awarding
it headword status. Probably since it never occurs in any dictionaries
nor anywhere outside of Urquhart.
ALECTROMANCY, ALECTORMANCY, ALECTOROMANCY, : Greek
divination via the use of a cock or hen in which are placed letters
of the alphabet. The letters in which are the closest to the hens pecks
are gathered and assembled to answer specific question. This practice
was used when the sun or the moon was in Aries or Leo. Used in Rome
to identify thieves. A less common form of the word alectryomancy. This
word is of the same vintage as alectryomancy, and arises from a slightly
different Greek word, namely: alektor a rooster (as opposed to alektryon).
Alectromanchy (rare), alectromancy (showing elision), and electromancy.
Also the New Latin form alectoromantia is to be met with.I have included
the alectro- forms under this headword following the OED. However, I
cannot see why this could not equally be a variant of alectryo-. Presumably
there is a good reason.Often a black hen or a gamecock. The diviner
will sprinkle grain and the ground and allow the birds to peck. When
the birds have finished, the diviner will then interpret the patterns
left by the birds on the ground.
ALECTRYOMANCY: Divination in which a bird is subjected
to random picking of corn grains from a circle of letters. A variation
is to recite letters of the alphabet noting those at which a cock crows.
1. (rare, obsolete) "divination by a cock-stone".
A cock-stone or alectoria was "a christall coloured stone (as big
as a beane) found in the gyzerne, or maw of some cockes" (Cotgrave).
These stones, purportedly found in a roosters crop, were known to the
Romans (in Latin they were called alectoria gemma, literally "cock's
gem") and were imputed with magical powers. Apparently they were
used for some sort of lithomantic divination, though the details of
this use are not to be found.
2. (loosely) any divination involving a rooster.
(specifically) a. a once common mode of divination in which, firstly,
a circle of letters (originally twenty-four in number, since j, v are
the same as i, u) is laid out with some sort of grain placed on each
letter. Next a rooster is let pick at the grains, thus selecting letters
to create a divinatory message or sign. The chosen letters could be
either read in order of selection, or rearranged to make an anagram.
b.the observing of chickens feeding in order to gain omens. c. divination
by the crowing of a rooster.
From French alectryomantie (Cotgrave), or the New Latin alectryomantia,
from the Greek word alectryon a cock, or rooster. This word is most
commonly recorded under this form in modern dictionaries, usually with
alectoromancy, as the variant. It occasionally occurs in English texts
in the New Latin form alectryomantia.
ALENTOMANCY: A mistake occuring in Urquhart's translation
of Rabelais, for aleuromancy. The OED records the citation under the
headword aleuromancy, but silently corrects the error. This is in accordance
with his statement in the General Explanations to the OED that "simple
blunders, which would mislead the reader, are tacitly corrected."
Clearly Murray did not deem the mistake liable to cause later confusion,
nor has it seemed to, with the only occurences being those of later
editions of Urquhart. Though it has to be admitted that a reader of
Urquhart would turn to the OED to no avail.
ALEUROMANCY: Divination via "fortune cookies".
Answers to questions are rolled into a sortilege of balls of dough and
once baked are chosen at random. The fortunes were inserted into dough
that was both baked, and mixed. This form of divination is the origin
of Ash Wednesday pancakes and fortune cookies. Another version involves
the interpretation of patterns left in a bowl of flour rinsed in water.
Aleuromancy was the domain of Apollo in some traditions.
1. originally an ancient Greek method of divination
using flour. The sources here given differ considerably on exactly which
sort of cereal was used and in what form. Many refer to "barley
meal", though some to wheat flour and oatmeal, some to a mixture
of different flours. The precise method of divination originally indicated
by this word does not seem to be recorded, at least, not alongside the
appearance of the word in English sources. According to Potter the divination
was a. by flour with which sacrificial victims were besprinkled. However,
some have also interpreted the word to mean: b. divination by flour
thrown into flames, a type of pyromancy; and c. throwing flour on the
ground and interpreting the shape produced.
2. Others have made the assumption that the word could refer to divination
by dough or by cakes, since these are at least made by flour - this
is at best a tenuous link, but not inconceivable. The earliest suggestion
along these lines is the curious gloss cake-divination in Coles' 1676
dictionary. Presumably Coles knew what specific practice he was referring
to. Perhaps he was, as Elihu Rich suspects, referring to a trial by
ordeal involving a piece of bread or barley cake, analogous to the Anglo-Saxon
corsnaed and the Latin panis conjuratus, in which the accused is asked
to swallow a piece of bread, with guilt being indicated by difficulty
3. ? the reading of fortune cookie messages for divination.
Lewis Spence, a learned and widely read, but not very careful scholar,
wrote in 1920 that the word referred to a type of divination by cakes
with messages inside, similar to our modern Chinese restaurant fortune
cookies. This has led to many sources stating that fortune cookies are
a modern-day survival of ancient aleuromancy. However I think this meaning
is, in the end, a spurious one. Although commonly believed to be of
Chinese origin and of some distant date, fortune cookies are a 20th
century invention. The first recorded use of the term (Chinese) fortune
cookies is in 1962, and they were originally a gimmick of North American
Chinese restaurants. Notwithstanding Spence, there is no history of
them in China as such. The notion that people really take to heart the
droll messages available in these cookies, or that the reading of them
constitutes a 'method' of divination, is highly unlikely. The assertion
that the use of fortune cookies is a modern-day survival is a fine example
of a widely held notion that is as prevalent as it is wrong. In much
of the literature of folk-lore, superstition, witch-craft, the occult,
etc., there is made a habit of finding some analogous practice from
ancient times and thence stating that the modern-day practice is a survival.
The term survival implies a continuation of the practice throughout
the intervening years, presumedly unrecorded and underground. It is
as though the idea that the two similar practices may have had separate
geneses, one ancient, the other modern, is out of the question, though
this is often more likely to be the case. In this instance the proposition
that the ancient Greek aleuromancy continued beyond the end of the Grecian
period, was somehow transported to China, then lost to the Chinese,
except to those who emmigrated to North America and took up the restaurant
trade, is ludicrous. Similarly impossible is the alternate proposition
that the whole of humanity, (or at least the Greeks as well as the Chinese)
in ancient times practised some common form of aleuromancy, of which
the making of fortune cookies is the only vestige remaining. This practice
of guilelessly identifying supposed survivals is quite old. That it
is still common is no wonder since many influential books and authors
have indulged in it quite freely. It can be seen throughout Brand's
Popular Antiquities, a hugely popular book that went in to numerous
editions, and it occurs in much of the literature on witchcraft due
to the theories and works of Margaret Murray. Sir James Fraser's all-important
Golden Bough constantly cites connections between ancient beliefs and
more recent practices, but, at least in the examples I am familiar with,
is cautious in doing so and always cites numerous instances to back
up his assertions. Other examples of this "survival" notion
in this document are to be seen at: alomancy, ceromancy, chartomancy,
ovomancy and xylomancy.
From French aleuromancie, from New Latin aleuromantia. Cælius
Calcagninus, Compendium amatoriæ magiæ (ed. Froben Bale,
1544) "Aleuromantia, per tritici ac farinæ excussiones."
From the Greek aleuromanteion divination by flour, from aleuron (usually
appearing in the plural form aleura) wheat flour. The difference between
this word and alphitomancy remains obscure, if indeed there ever was
any. In Greek aleuron is 'flour from wheat', and is opposed to alphiton
'flour from barley'. However, Liddle and Scott define aleuromanteion
simply as "divination from flour", with no reference to which
particular grain was used. In ancient Greek the word *alphitomanteia
is not recorded, but the derivative alphitomantis (i.e. one who divines
using flour) does occur. Liddle and Scott merely cross-reference this
term to aleuromantis and thus dictate that there was no difference between
the two. Certainly in English no clear difference between the two words
is apparent. Greek also had kritomanteia, see crithomancy. Also found
in the erroneous forms: alebromancy, alentomancy, alevromancy, alveromancy.
AILUROMANCY: Divination through the interpretation
of the appearance and behavior of cats such as movement or jump. A form
of Augury. Also known as Felidomancy. http://www.gardenofbadthings.com/superstitions.htm
ALOMANCY: Divination via the interpretation of table
salt. This is the believed origin of misfortune or superstition including
the one about people saying that misfortune is about to fall on the
household when the salt cellar is overturned, and the one about throwing
a pinch of salt over someone's shoulder for good luck. Also known as
Halomancy. A variant of the word halomancy - divination by salt - which
arises from an erroneous reading of the ancient Greek root. In Greek
there is no letter aitch (h) as such, instead aspiration was represented
by the opening apsotrophe symbol (`) placed above the next letter. Someone
unaware of this would read the Greek `als as simply als rather than
the correct English rendering hals. To one ignorant of modern typography
of the Greek language the arcane system of diacritics marking aspiration,
lack of aspiration and stress, are confusing and probably regarded,
if anything, as obfuscating. I assume that one of the early users of
this term, or even the coiner of this word, made the mistake of disregarding
the aspiration, and hence concocted the form alomancy. No other word
using this Greek root has a variant form without the h. The word itself,
appears to be only recorded only in dictionaries and books on the occult.
The OED records it as a variant of halomancy, but when that word is
consulted only one citation appears, Websters (1864), where the form
is indeed alomancy. Since it is not labelled rare-0 then one must assume
that the OED had citations of the h form, though ones later than 1864.
OED misses the fact that in 1852 the h form appears in Roget's Thesaurus,
even though this source is cited in other OED -mancy entries. What is
remarkable is the fact that, in a time of prescriptive dictionaries,
the lexicogrpahers of the day did not mark the form alomancy as incorrect
or erroneous. Presumably Roget and Webster had original sources for
the word, or perhaps they both had the same source and Roget etymologically
normalised the form. As yet I have not been able to discover a 19th
century (or earlier) primary source.
ALPHITOMANCY: Divination via the use of special cakes
that are digestible by persons with a clear conscience but are unpleasant
to others. It is a practice to assist identifying guilty parties by
feeding an individual or group a loaf of barley. The innocent would
feel no ill effect, but the guilty parties would experience indigestion.
Alphitomancy was often used to identify criminals or adulterers. Also
known as Cursed Bread.
1. An ancient Greek method of divination employing
barley meal in some way. Most probably the same or, at least, similar
to the ancient Greek practice of aleuromancy.
2. By later writers thought to be a type of trial by ordeal using cakes
or bread of barley flour. The same notion was also attached to the word
Derived from the French alphitomantie, from the New Latin alphitomantia.
Cælius Calcagninus, Compendium amatoriæ magiæ (ed.
Froben Bale, 1544) "Alphitomantia, quam ceu digito Theocritus signavit
in Pharmaceutria." A derivative from the ancient Greek alphitomantis
a diviner who used barley meal, from Gk alphiton (usually only in the
plural form alphita) barley meal, flour made from barley; also, pearl-barley.
See etymology at aleuromancy.
AMATHOMANCY: According to Shipley: divination by dust.
Not recorded elsewhere. Derived from ancient Greek amathos sand.
AMBULOMANCY: Divination via movement and action of
walking. Possibly referring to gyromancy. Derived from the Latin ambulare
AMNIOMANCY: Divination via the inspection and interpretation
the caul, the inner embryonic membrane of higher vertebrates (especially
when covering the head at birth), of a baby at birth. The caul is any
part of the amnionic sac that happens to be attached to a new-born's
head. Usually there is no caul and hence it was perceived as signifying
something special when one did appear. Thus a great host of beliefs
grew up surrounding the caul over the centuries in many disparate cultures,
and since cauls occur on the head of babies, the association with them
has always been favourable. If it just so happened that it was common
for amniotic membrane to be attached to the feet then a very different
mythology would have arisen around the topic. At any rate, the caul
has always been associated with good luck and beneficial powers. It
was believed in Europe that children born with cauls were lucky, and
that they had second sight or could see into the spirit world. This
belief was also found alive in the 19th century in the East Indies.
Also, possessing a caul meant sure victory in any contests entered into,
thus cauls were previously in great demand by attorneys, a practice
that was ridiculed by Sir Thomas Browne in his Pseudoxia Epidemica (Vulgar
Errors) in 1646. In Scotland the caul was known as the happy hoo, sely
hoo, syly hoffe or the sillyhoo, which all literally mean the "lucky
hood". This is identical to the German name glückshaube. In
Palsgrave's 1540 translation of the Latin play Acolastus, dating from
1525, we find the passage: May not men...thinke, that I was borne in
a good howre, or that I was borne with a syly hoffe on
myn heed. Lastly, cauls, which are easily dried and kept, were believed
to be a specific against drowning and shipwreck. Thus cauls were often
sold amongst sailors for a high price. One was sold in London's shipping
district as recently as 1915. Apart from the definition provided by
Lewis Spence, and later writers following him, I cannot find any other
evidence that the colour of the caul itself was used to predict the
future. All the sources I can uncover unequivocably state that a caul
signifies good luck. Derived from New Latin amniomantia, from ancient
Greek (Galen) amnion the amnionic sac, the caul. The ultimate etymology
of this Greek word is unknown. An amnion was a cup used to catch the
blood of sacrifices, and presumably this original sense was extended
in medical terminology since the amniotic membrane performed a similar
function of holding blood/fluid. However, amnion also meant a small
lamb, though how this could be related is unknown to me.
ANEMOSCOPY: Divination via the interpretation of the
wind direction and strength, including the shape of dust clouds lifted
by it. Another method is posing a question and then tossing a handful
of dirt, sand or light seeds into the air; the answer comes in the form
of the small dust cloud made by the flying particles. This also includes
process uses a pendulum, allowed to move only by the wind, positioned
over a circle graph or a set of letters, glyphs or runes. Yet another
technique consists of listening to the sound of the wind and interpreting
its message. See Aeromancy.
ANAGRAMALECTRYOMANCY: A nonce word concocted by the
Gibsons for alectryomancy in which the letters chosen by the rooster
are rearranged to form a word. A clumsy word, considered so even by
ANSTROMANCY: is divination by the study of the winds.
Divination by interpreting wind. A form of Aeromancy.
ANTHOMANCY: Divination via flowers. The same as floromancy.
A modern word referring to the practice of plucking petals of a flower
uttering alternately "She/he loves me" for one petal, and
"She/he loves me not" for the next. Whichever statement the
last petal coincides with gives the answer. This practice is still prevalent
amongst school children, but not taken seriously as far as I know.
For other forms of flower divination see botanomancy and phyllorhodomancy.
Derived from ancient Greek anthos a flower.
ANTHRACOMANCY: Divination via burning coals. Only
recorded in dictionaries. Presumably there is a primary source, though
most probably it is only a word coined ad rem. I have not been able
to find any explicit methods of divination employing coals or embers.
The word is coined from anthraco-, the modern scientific word element
signifying "coal", which comes from the ancient Greek anthrak-,
the stem of anthrax coal.
ANTHROMANCY: Presumably an error for anthropomancy
occurring in Cotgrave, and thence copied into Blount and Coles. The
error of dropping the third syllable from anthropomancy seems quite
reasonable, as far as errors go. Though no similar errors are recorded
for the numerous words beginning with this word element. The major problem
is that the definition offered by Cotgrave accords more with necromancy
and not anthropomancy.A word similar in form, anthroscopy, is sometimes
seen, but only in very recent texts, where it is defined as "divination
by the features" (Q&A). Is this a recent mistake for the (admittedly
uncommon) anthroposcopy? All up, an ugly kettle of fish.
ANTHROPOMANCY, ANTINOPOMANCY: Divination via the interpretation
of the entrails of a human sacrifice. This practice is outlawed and
unethical obviously Herodotus wrote that Menelaus practiced it when
detained in Egypt because of contrary winds. Because of his barbarous
curiosity he sacrificed two country children in order to discover his
destiny. Also known as Splanchomancy. Derived from New Latin anthropomantia,
from ancient Greek anthropos human being; cf. F anthropomancie. Early)
anthropomancia, anthropomancie, (erroneous) antinopomancy.
ANTINOPOMANCY: A ghost word, beginning as a mistake
in Gaule for anthropomancy. Evidently Gaule's typesetter misread the
manuscript, reading 'hr' as 'in' (which in ink-written 17th century
hand is not improbable) thus creating the curious form antinopomancy.
This mistake was then copied ad literatum by Brand, Hone, Robbins, etc.,
as though the word was a separate divinatory method. There are not many
copies of Gaule's Magastromancer extant, and it has not, to my knowledge,
ever been reprinted. Thus, in all likelihood, most of the later recorders
of Gaule's words have taken them from Brand's Popular Antiquities where
Gaule's list is reproduced verbatim (with only a small addition).
Evidently Brand did not understand that there was a typographical error
in Gaule and separately notes the word anthropomancie as "not in
the above ample list". Hone faithfully reproduced this in his famous
Year Book, and the error was not rectified until Mackay's Extraordinary
Popular Delusions. The Gibson's, who almost certainly did not get their
evidence from an original copy of Gaule, continue the error to the point
of defining it separately.
APANTOMANCY: Divination via chance meetings with animals
(e.g., a black cat), birds, and other creatures. Also divination via
interpreting any objects (or beings) that happen to present themselves.
A form of Augury. The superstition associated with a black cat crossing
one's path is apantomancy. Derived from the ancient Greek apantomai
ARACHNOMANCY: Divination by interpreting the appearance
and behavior of spiders. A form of Augury. http://www.gardenofbadthings.com/superstitions.htm.
For instance, according to Mary Proctor's Legends of the Stars (1922):
In China it was customary at one time for the ladies of the Court, on
the seventh day of the seventh month, to catch spiders and put them
in incense-boxes for purposes of divination. On the morning of the eighth
day the box was opened, and if the spiders had spun a thick web during
the night the omen was good, but if the had remained idle th omen was
bad. Also, it may be noted that the minute red spiders which are commonly
called money spiders are meant to foretell of some financial gain in
the near future.
ARIOLATER: Someone who practices divination.
Also known as Aruspex, Clairvoyant, Diviner, Haruspex, Seer, Soothsayer.
See Also: Oracle, Prophet, and Theomancer. The Modern Oracle respects
the traditional enigmatical prophetic verses alongside the more coherent
prophetic verses as well. Enigmatical verses for instance needed to
be translated for seekers of prophecy for the Oracle of Delphi. Oracles
that divine information coherently have no need for interpreters for
they are coherent enough during the divining to interpret their own
findings. Many see Oracles to souly have the ability of precognition,
but this is only the mainstream version of divining. Oracles at Delphi
were chosen based on their potentials to interact with the gods in an
entranced state. At Delphi, Oracles would directly inhale ethylene gases
and sway in a euphoric trance to enhance intuition. She would continue
by answering question in an ecstatic and wild manner in a complete incoherency.
They were not necessarily precognitive or clairvoyant before they became
oracles, but had the potential to be communicated through. Other Oracles
are born with the ability to prophesize and have an unbreakable heritage.
These Oracles are raised from early childhood by their spirit guides
due to their extensive abilities such as Precognition (future sight),
Postcognition (past sight), Clairvoyance (to see the unseen), Clairsentience
(to sense the insensible), Clairaudience (to hear the inaudible) and
Psipathy (based on still images and detailed emotions). It is their
past, their present and future life. At any time they can choose to
wander from their growth, their path, but these abilities can be to
overwhelming to live a normal life for the gifts can out grow the Oracle.
Oracles never receive all the information asked, rather all the information
necessary. They divine what is needed to be known at the time, not necessarily
what actually is the truth. Oracles are raised in a community of people
and have set belief systems that are ever growing. Oracles offer their
prophecies to their community and never ask for anything in return.
Oracles, such as the one at Delphi, are allowed to accept donations.
The calling and faith of an Oracle is precious to them and their laws
are never underminded with out consequence. An Oracle does not know
all such as in myth, they only learn from what they ask and they only
answer in detail if the question was in detail as well. (vagueness results
in vagueness). Basically, they only know what they need to now. For
questions of great standing value one "must" choose their
question wisely and the format in which it is given. The modern Oracle
is an individual who speaks to divine beings such as archangels or gods,
but rarely the dead. The Oracle bases their reception of information
in the "heavens" not in the "underworld". The modern
Oracle is an individual of heritage, a strong belief structure, a community,
of charity and of many gifts.Too many individuals believe Oracles to
be fictitious and their prophecies if correct are merely seen as an
auspicious coincidence. Those who lack in intuitive awareness tend to
be a constituent of this belief. Whether or not an oracle is believedby
anyone external to their community is irrelevant. It is supremely their
only need to be accepted unconditionally by their community. The Oracle
in history has been a right-hand to many kings and queens. They are
of great importance to political, financial and generalized community
matters. Thus is the same today in the modern world. Many communities
all over the world including the USA and Britain have Oracles either
as royal advisors equal to that of Shamans. They are also help highly
as leaders of smaller communities. In these communities they better
their people’s futures by foretelling the major movements in their
system. They are still seen as priest and priestesses and aide consistently
in the ever advancing belief system for the area. Oracles also involve
themselves in the societies moral or laws of the community. The Oracle
adjoins their localized accepted belief system and formulates just laws
accordingly. Since the diviner preforms his or her services with out
a salery the community takes care of him or her and suplies the oracle
with everything she or her requires to continue preforming this great
service. Keep in mind a diviner in a community setting is not of control
and seizure rather of innovation, growth and revision. Oracles are not
only utilized to look into the future, but to also be utilized in protection
and healing. Protection is done spiritually and the healing is both
mental, by entering the deep recesses of the mind through their guides
aide, and of a physical nature. However, their primary function is to
protect those of their community unconditionally. The term Oracle in
Tibet is used to describe the spirit who enters the "medium"
rather then the medium. The Oracle in this case would be a medium between
the physical and metaphysical spirit world. In Tibet’s case they
are known as Kutens or "the physical basis's". Also in Tibet
there was once thought to be thousands of Oracles, but today only a
few remain, including those consulted by the Tibetan government.
The Modern Oracle
ARIOLATIOMANCY: Divining via the interpretation of
ARITHMANCY, ARITHMOMANCY, ARITHOMANCY: This is an
earlier form of Numerology where divination is made through numbers
and the number value of letters. Divination by interpreting numbers.
Greeks used the number and value of the letters in the names of two
combatants to predict the victor. This form of divination has been adopted
and modified by many cultures over the millennia. One of its evolved
forms is the current magickal system of Numerology. Esoterically it
is concerned with the science of correspondences between gods, men and
numbers, as taught by Pythagoras. The Caldeans also practiced this type
of divination, as well as the Platonists and Pythagoreans. Arithmancy
is also a part of the Jewish Qabbalah. See Numerology. The 16th and
17th century version of what is now generally known as numerology. The
forms of number divination that arithmancy referred to were different
to those currently in use. The exploration of the mystical aspects of
numbers dates back to at least Babylonian times. However, the greatest
influence was by the Greek mathematician Pythagoras (c.582--c.500 BC)
and his philosophical followers known as the Pythagoreans. All great
magicians and occult theoreticians have had something to say about numbers
and their meanings, including Cornelius Agrippa, John Dee, Edward Kelly,
and Robert Fludd. Derived from New Latin arithmantia (Agrippa), ultimately
from the ancient Greek arithmos a number.
According to the OED this is "contracted for arithmomancy, but
earlier". However this earlier form is most probably directly from
the New Latin, itself a blend of arithmetica and -mantia. Notice that
the form also occurs both Spanish aritmancia, and Portuguese arithmancia.
This pattern of formation (i.e. without the normal connective -o- before
-mancy) is followed by the two other words referring to divination by
number, namely, logarithmancy and mathemancy. The variant form arithomancy
is a later formation (1983) with the connective -o- added in to conform
the usual pattern of other -mancys. Arithmomantia, Arithmomanty. Entering
into English later than arithmancy it is derived from New Latin arithmomantia,
from the ancient Greek arithmos a number. Often said to be a more "correct"
form of arithmancy since is includes more letters of the Greek base
word. The Chaldeans divided their alphabet into three sections of seven
letters and linked these to the seven planets. The Greeks would analyze
the names of opponents and predict the outcome of a contest.
ARITHMOSOPHY: Divination by Bertiaux’s method
of converting words to numbers. A form of Arithmancy and Numerology.
ARMOMANCY: Divining by inspecting the structure of
the shoulder blades of a person. Used originally to determine the suitability
of a person for sacrifice to the gods. See Scapulimancy, Scapulomancy,
Armomancy, and Spatulomancy. A method of divination employing the shoulder
blades of animals. The shoulder blade was taken from the dead beast
and thrown into a fire, the cracks appearing in the bone were interpreted
as indicative of future events, a course of action, or whether or not
something was true. This method of divination was formerly very common
and occurs in many disparate cultures. Its popularity is in some way
indicated by the amount of terms designating the practice, such as omoplatoscopy,
scapulimancy, and spatulamancy. In Scotland it was known as `reading
the speal-bone', hence the term spealomancy. This word is derived from
the Latin word armus a shoulder blade.
ARUSPEX: See Ariolater.
ARUSPICY: Divination by interpreting animal entrails.
Aruspicy is sometimes considered to be a form of augury (interpreting
form and behavior of animals). Similar to Anthropomancy (interpretation
of human entrails) and Heiromancy (interpretation of sacrificed animals)
Also known as Haruspicy, Extispicy, and Extispicium. Then afterwards
the entrails were burnt in a sacrificial fire. Sometimes the observation
of how the flame burnt the sacrifice was also necessary for the prognostication.
This form of divination is sometimes considered to be part of augury.
Its underlying theory was that when an animal — usually a sheep
or an ox — was sacrificed, it was absorbed by the god to which
it had been offered, creating a direct channel to the deity. By opening
the carcass, the Haruspex presumed to peek inside the god's mind and
watch the future being created.
ASPIDOMANCY, ASH-ONOMANCY: Divining by entering casting
a circle and summoning an entity. A method of divination in which the
diviner sits on a shield and goes into a state of altered consciousness
to gain prophetic knowledge. The word first appears in the New Latin
form aspidomantia, and is derived from the Greek aspid-, the combining
form of aspis a shield. See Necromancy. Ash-onomancy is a poorly concocted
translation of the French word tephramantie.
ASTRAGLOMANCY, ASTRAGYROMANCY: Divination via dice
where the faces of the dice bear numbers and letters. Divination also
using dice, bones, stones, or small pieces of wood bearing letters or
symbols. The diviner asks a question and interprets the answer based
on how the objects lie on the ground or what letters or symbols are
facing upwards. Divination through the sortilege of sheep bones (originally).
Now commonly done with dice bearing numbers and letters.
1. a. (literally) divination by huckle-bones.
The Greek word astragaloi (plural) referred to a type of dice, which
were originally made from the knuckle-bones or huckle-bones of sheep.
These astragaloi actually only had four flat sides which were marked
(the other two being rounded), as distinguised from the six-sided kuboi
b. a specific type of divination in which astragaloi were tossed onto
the pages of a picture book. This is the method that is being referred
to by Rabelais, who got his information from
Cælius Calcagninus, Compendium amatoriæ
magiæ (ed. Froben Bale, 1544) "Astragalomantia,
ex astragalorum jactu in picturarum libellum, qua imprimis
nostrates f?minæ uti solent."
2. (hence) divination by dice.
From New Latin astragalomantia, (in French astragalomantie), from anceint
Greek astragalos one of the vertebrae, or (usually in the plural astragaloi)
a type of dice, made from knuckle-bones of sheep. Greek had the term
astragalomantis a diviner using astragaloi. The only variant form to
come to light is astragyromancy (first recorded 1931) which is either
due to a typographical error, or a blending of astragalomancy and gyromancy
(possibly because the dice are spun?).
ASTROMANCY, ASTROLOGY, ASTROSOPHY: is divination using
celestial bodies: the sun, moon, planets, and stars. Divination by interpreting
the movements of heavenly bodies, particularly the major planets. Divination
by the stars; the 17th century term for what is now generally called
astrology. This method of divination, involves taking note of the heavens
both when a person is born, and at the present, and forming judgements
about that person's character, luck, future, etc., based on the influence
exerted by the Sun, the Moon, and the eight planets as they travel through
the twelve zodiacal constellations. Originally, the planets Neptune,
Uranus and Pluto formed no part of astrology, since they are not visible
to the naked eye and were not discovered until after the 17th century.
In the pre-Copernican, geocentric view of the cosmos there were only
seven planets or wandering stars, namely: the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus,
Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Their ancient importance is demonstrated by
the fact the the seven days of the week are named after these seven
planets. Astrology is recorded throughout the world and clearly dates
back to pre-historical times. European astrology is partly derived from
Arabic and Egyptian astrology and also owes much to the astrological
traditions of the ancient Babylonians, Akkadians and Sumerians. See
the timeline of major astrological and astronomical developments, discoveries
and famous persons. In the 17th century this method of divination was
accepted by many as basic fact, but at the same time a fierce debate
raged about its verity, with many authors denouncing it as irreligious,
especially as it seemed to negate the doctrine of free will. The term
astrology dates back to the 16th century. In earlir times a distinction
was made between natural astrology - the prediction of the weather and
other natural phenomena, and judicial astrology - prediction of the
future of individuals. The term horary astrology refers specifically
to divination based on the stars at birth, the major method still in
practice. This was previously known as astronomy (now obsolete in this
sense), and is also sometimes referred to by casting horoscopes, casting
nativities, genethliacs and horoscopy. See also sideromancy and roadomancy.
The word astromancy enters 17th century English from the medieval Latin
astromantia, which comes from the Greek (Siculus Diodorus) astromanteia,
derived from astron a star. In earilest example of its use in English
it occurs in the New Latin form astromantia. Another, more recent, form
is the rare astronomancy, which shows influence from the word astronomy.
The term essentially died out after the 17th century. However, it reappears
in the 19th century in a few sources. It occurs in Mackay where it is
used as a substitute for Gaule's etymologically obscure roadomancy.
Its appearance in Sir Richard Burton's translation of the Arabian Nights'
Entertainments is not surprising as the use of archaic terms in this
translation is a stylistic feature (for a further apposite example see
egromancy). It is also to be met with in James Murray's definition of
the term astrology in the OED. The assertion in Gaynor and Gibson that
the term astromancy refers to an ancient form of astrology, and not
the modern day practice is based on conjecture rather thanevidence.
Certainly there were many astrological methods and practices that are
now abandoned or lost, but it is clear from the 17th century citations
that the term astromancy is basically equivalent to the modern astrology.
AUGURY: is the general term for the art of divination
and is chiefly applied to interpretations of signs and omens. Often
used synonymously with divination to mean the interpretation of signs
and omens. More accurately, it is divination based on the appearance
or behavior of animals. Includes:
Alectryomancy (chickens); Arachnomancy (spiders); Entomomancy (insects);Hippomancy
(horses) Ichthyomancy (fish); Myomancy (mice); Ophiomancy (snakes);
Zoomancy (any animal); Haruspicy (interpreting animal entrails) is sometimes
AUSTROMANCY: Divination by a study of the winds; presages
taken from the wind. Cf. aeromancy, chaomancy. Derived from austro-,
combining form of Latin auster the south wind. New Latin form austromantia.
Basically a dictionary word, occuring mainly, and originally in dictionaries
and thence other language reference books, laterly being found also
in lists in books on the occult and magic. No record exists of it ever
being in use. It is interesting to note that in the earliest occurences
of this term the practice is ridiculed. This is common to many other
terms ending in -mancy.
AUTOGRAPHY, AUTOMATIC WRITING, AUTOMATIC SPEAKING":
Spirit communication done unconsciously by an individual often in trance,
obsession or possession states. Automatic communication has occurred
with people in a fully conscious state without their awareness of the
action and distinct personality and knowledge variants (e.g.: fluency
in an ancient language) have been documented. Autography and Automatic
Writing apply to written communication and are also known as Psychography.
They are distinct from Direct Writing where a spirit writes directly
without human or mechanical assistance. All forms are distinct from
Psychomancy where the diviner summons the spirit consciously for communication.
AXIOMANCY, AXIONMANCY: is divination through the observation
of how an ax or hatchet quivers or points when driven into post. Divination
using an axe or hatchet. Both the handle and the blade are used in various
1. any divination employing an axe or hatchet,
various methods including
a. (a1660) placing an agate stone, piece of jet, or some other precious
or semi-precious stone upon the axe-head and heating the metal, the
signs being read from the movement of the agate.
b. (1727) by their movement when balanced on a post.
See Gibson 1973 for more methods.
2. (Gaule, and copyists, only) divination by saws. I am wholly unable
to account for this bizarre gloss. Liddle & Scott mention no such
sense in ancient Greek. I presume that it is merely an error, such as
one makes when tired or not fully paying attention to the task at hand.
What is further unusual is that later writers did not fix the mistake,
for even if one was unfamiliar with Greek the word axinomancy virtually
screams axe at you!
From New Latin axinomantia, axiomantia: Cælius Calcagninus,
Compendium amatoriæ magiæ (ed. Froben Bale, 1544) "Axinomantia
belle ab Homero indicata, dum per secures experitur procos." From
Latin axinomantia, from ancient Greek axine an axe, also an axehead.
Showing elision: axiomancy -recorded first in Blount, but also occurring
in New Latin (Agrippa) axiomantia). ? Under influence of other words
ending in -onomancy: axionomancy - recorded only in Urquhart, who followed
Cotgrave's spelling. Badly formed: ax-onomancy (Raffel). New Latin form:
BELOMANCY: is an ancient form of divination performed
by tossing or balancing arrows. Divination through interpreting arrows.
This type of divination is expressly forbidden in the Koran. Also known
as Bolomancy. A word primarily used to refer to the divination mentioned
in the Bible at Ezekiel 21:21. Called in Latin sortes sagittariæ.
Often considered to be a subtype of rhabdomancy. Derived from Late Greek
belomantia, from belos an arrow, a dart. bellomancy, (?) bolomancy.
New Latin belomantia. One method involved throwing the arrows in the
air, the point in which the arrows inclined pointed out the direction
to be taken.
BIBLIOMANCY: involves divination by books. Bibliomancy
is divination by means of a book. A book (the Bible and Koran are often
used) is opened at random and the perspn points to a line while keeping
his eyes closed. The randomly chosen line is believed to convey a message
of significance. Originally, the divination used to assess the guilt
or innocence of a person accused of sorcery. The person was weighed
against the great Bible in the Church and if the person weighed less
than the bible they were deemed innocent. Today, bibliomancy refers
to divination interpreting randomly chosen passages in books and is
also called stichomancy. The most common form is opening a book to a
random page to answer a question. The Bible is still the most frequently
used book, although any book may be used. Using books by Virgil and
Homer specifically is called stoichemancy. The variant of using a book
of poetry is called rhapsodomancy.
1. a. (originally) divination by means of a book
in which a passage chosen at random carries the omen; sortes. The ancients
used the works of Homer (sortes Homericæ) and Virgil (sortes Virgilianæ)
for this purpose. Moslems have similarly used the Koran.
b. In Christian times the Bible was used for this purpose (sortes Biblicæ).
2. a form of divination in which a person was weighed against the great
Bible of the church, those weighing less being innocent as charged.
A relatively modern word, dating only back to the 18th century. From
Greek biblion a book. Definition 1.b. arising from an association with
the word Bible. More
BOLOMANCY: See Belomancy.BOOK OF CHANGES, The: An
ancient Chinese system of oracular divination that reveals patterns
of subtle forces. The questioner is required to interpret the information
provided through deep introspection and intuitive thought. The Book
of Changes dates back to about 2852 B.C. Also known as I Ching.
BOTANOMANCY: is divination from burning tree branches
and leaves. A form of pyromancy, interpreting burned or burning tree
branches and leaves. Originally the branches of brier and vervain were
used and the question was carved into the branch. Often used today to
refer to divination by the interpretation of plants. Hence, used to
refer to tea-leaf reading, or tasseomancy. Also used as an umbrella
term for other types of divination involving plants, see anthomancy,
daphnomancy, dendromancy, floromancy, foliomancy, and sycomancy. Batanomancy,
Botinomancy, Botomancy, Botonomancy, Botono-nomancy.
BRIZOMANCY: A form of ancient Greek divination by
interpreting dreams with the help of the goddess Brizo, the goddess
of dreams worshipped at Delos. The original source of this rare word
is a famous glossary by an ancient Greek lexicographer of the early
third century AD. By modern Greek scholars Hesychius' lexicon is regarded
as relatively unreliable and many of the terms he records are not to
be found elsewhere in the extant corpus of ancient Greek. Liddle &
Scott did not record terms if they only could be found in Hesychius
and nowhere else. However, formerly his lexicon was not so deprecated.
From ancient Greek Brizomantis diviner of dreams, an apellation the
goddess Brizo of Delos, from brizo to be sleepy, to slumber or sleep.
Possibly related to britho to be heavy, to be weighed down.
BRONTOMANCY: Divination via thunder. Derived from
ancient Greek bronte thunder.
BUMPOLOGY: strictly a modern term, a popular nickname
CAPNOMANCY: is the study of smoke rising from a fire.
Divination by interpreting smoke rising from a fire, especially sacred
fires. A form of pyromancy. Derived from New Latin capnomantia, from
Gk kapnos smoke; cf. F capnomantie (Cotgrave), Sp, Pg capnomancia. Capnomancie,
CARROMANCY: Divination by interpreting melting wax
(usually poured into cold water). Also called Ceromancy, Ceroscopy.
A variant spelling of ceromancy occurring in Gaule.
CARTOMANCY: is fortune telling using cards such as
the Tarot. divination by cards. Tarot cards are the most common used.
Divination using modern playing cards. Some sources include Tarot and
other Divination cards in this category.
CASTRONOMANCY: Divination via looking into images
on the surface of water in a glass or magical receptacle. If spring
water is used in this method of divination, or if the diviner uses a
sacred pool or spring, then it is termed Pegomancy.
CATOPTROMANCY , CATOXTROMANCY, CATTOBOMANCY, ENOPTROMANCY,
CALOTROMANCY, CATOPTOMANCY: is an early form of crystal gazing
that utilizes a mirror turned to the moon to catch moonbeams. Divination
by interpreting images in a reflective or transparent object such as
a mirror, crystal globe or pool of water. The earliest recorded form
of catoptromancy turned a mirror toward the moon to catch moonbeams.
Also known as Crystallomancy, Crystalomancy, Dubjed, Enoptromancy, Scrying.
Divination based on how a face appears when viewed in a mirror underwater.
Derived from New Latin catoptromantia (Agrippa), or directly from French
catoptromancie, from ancient Greek katoptron mirror (katop- stem of
the future of kathoran look down, look upon, from kata down + oran to
see). (cataptromancy, catopromancy, catoptromancie, catoxtromancy, catoptiomancy).
Performance of the Dorje Yudronma mirror divination should be done in
a quite and peaceful place. The mirror is placed in a container filled
with grain, itself standing on top on a clean felt cushion. The diviner
then sprinkles vermilion powder (Sindura) and recites the mantras of
the ritual. In front of the mirror is placed a small crystal stupa or
a piece of crystal, and at the back, a five coloured flag (representing
the Buddhas of the five families) is attached to an arrow. On the right,
is a ritual cake offering decorated with butter ornaments and on the
left a red coloured cake offering. Around these are arranged offerings
of drink, roasted barley flour (tsampa) mixed with butter, incense and
various kinds of wood. In front of himself or herself, the diviner places
a vajra, a bell and a damaru (drum), some barley and vermIlion powder
to sprinkle in the drink, as well as an arrow to which is tied a white
scarf. He or she then generates himself or herself as a deity and performs
the preliminary ritual for removing obstacles according to the ritual
of Tam. Following this, invocations are made to Dorje Yudronma, one
of Tibet's chief protectors, who holds an arrow with the five colours
in her right hand and a white silver mirror in her left. The diviner
then requests the goddess to give a correct answer to the questions
asked. The minor is not read by the diviner but by a virgin boy or girl
no more than 15 years old. The child, who must be clean and well dressed,
sits on a cushion under which has been drawn a swastika, symbol of stability.
He or she is asked to pick up a stone, wrap it in a pieces of red cloth
and place it under his or her knee and is made to drink the orange tinted
libation. Blessed ears of barley are placed on the child's head, which
is the wrapped with a turban. The diviner cleans the mirror and lights
the butter lamp. The child looks into the mirror and, depending on the
type of divination which has been requested, sees either pictures, like
sequences in a film or letters. Letters require written questions, which
have been given to the diviner. The child describes the visions to the
diviner who interprets and explains them in terms of the questions which
have been asked. The reader of the mirror has no knowledge of the questions
asked and the diviner does not see m the mirror; however, they are complementary
and mutually dependent for this type of divination. The child's ability
to read the mirror disappears at puberty, and thus the diviner may use
different children at different times. More
CATTABOMANCY: A term used by Gaule for the ancient
Greek divinatory game of 'kottabos'. The game originated in Sicily,
but became popular among young men in Athens. The "simplest mode
was when each threw the wine left in his cup, so as to strike smartly
in a metal basin, at the same time invoking his mistress' name; if all
fell in the basin, and the sound was clear, it was a sign he stood well
with her. ..The game soon became more complicated, and was played in
various ways." (Liddle and Scott). See also, chalcomancy. The word
was coined by Gaule from the Greek kottabos the game of kottabos, also
the metal basin used in the game. It has not been recorded in the OED
or any other dictionary, and appears in Gaule and his copyists. The
only modern book on divination to record it is Gibson who gives a catch-all
definition and seems unaware of the ancient Greek game. As far as I
know none of the popular books on divination or the occult mention the
Greek game of kottabos.
CAUSIMOMANCY CAUSINOMANCY: is divination from behavior
of objects placed in a fire. Divination from observing the behavior
or reactionof objects placed in a fire. It is a particularly good sign
if combustible materials do not catch fire. See empyromancy, pyromancy.
Derived from thr Greek kausimos fit for burning, from kausis a burning,
burning heat. Not recorded in OED or other dictionaries except the Macquarie,
where it appears in the erroneous form causinomancy.
CENEROMANCY: A rare term for divination by ashes,
the more common term being tephramancy. The fine distinction drawn between
this and tephramancy in the citation is probably illusory. Derived from
cenero-, a rare, early modern English combining form of Latin cinerem
ashes. This word, along with a number of words listed by Shipley, is
not recorded elsewhere. The form of the word is consistent with 17th
century spelling. The OED records cenereous and ceneritious as "erroneous"
forms of cinereous and cineritious. Perhaps Shipley knew of some source
that I have not yet discovered.
CEPHALEONOMANCY: Divination by roasting an ass's head
on hot coals. Derived from ancient Greek kephalos a head + onos an ass.
CEPHALOMANCY: refers to divination with the skull
or head of a donkey or goat. Divination interpreting the skull or head
of a donkey or goat. Also known as Kephalonomancy.
2. divination by study of the shape of the skull
or head, esp. of a donkey or goat.
In all likelihood the word 'boiling' in Urquhart is a typographical
error for 'broiling', since the method required viewing the falling
or movement of the donkey's jaw-bone and the precise time this happened,
a thing not easily determined whilst boiling. Further the boiling of
something 'upon hot coals' is nonsense, one boils something 'in some
liquid'. This error has been copied in later editions of Urquhart, and
also found its way into later -mancy lists. This form of the word literally
means 'divination by a head' and would thus apply to any sort of head
divination, whereas 'cephaleonomancy' literally means 'divination be
an ass's head'.
Derived from ancient Greek kephalos a head. Kephalomancy; NL Cephalomantia.
CERAUNOSCOPY, CERAUNOMANCY: seeks to draw omens from
the study of thunder and lightning. Divination by interpreting thunder
and lightning. A form of Aeromancy. Derived from ancient Greek keraunos
thunder, a thunderbolt. This is not the usual term, ie ceraunoscopy,
from Greek keraunoskopia.
CEROSCOPY, CEROMANCY: Divination in which melted wax
is poured into cold water, forming bubbles which are then interpreted.
CHALCOMANCY: Divination by striking brass or copper
vessels. Mackay's word for Gaule's 'cattabomancy', which see. From ancient
Greek chalkos copper.
CHAOMANCY: Divination by interpreting aerial visions.
A form of Aeromancy. A Paracelsian term for divination by the air. See
aeromancy. From New Latin chaomantia, from Greek (Paracelsian) chaos
the atmosphere. Chaomantia, (? erroneous) Chaomandy.
CHARTOMANCY: Divination using writing paper. Divination
by interpreting inscriptions written on paper or cards. A Gaulean word.
The "choosing Valentines" mentioned by Brand refers to a custom
of choosing valentines by writing names of a group of males and females
on pieces of paper and selecting them at random. This parenthetic information
added by Brand is found in Hone, proving his reliance upon Brand. Robbins,
on the other hand, actually quotes from Gaule's original text. Derived
from ancient Greek chartes a leaf of paper.
CHEIROMANCY, CHIROGNOMY, CHIROLOGY, CHIROMANCY: Divination
through analysis of hand shape, fingers, fingernails and the palms.
According to legend, it is one of the oldest Witch skills, taught to
mortals by Aradia, daughter of Lucifer and Diana. Also known as Palmistry.
is divination from the lines on people's hands.
CHEROMOMANCY, CHEROMANCY: learly a mistake in Urquhart
for cleromancy, however it is unclear how such a gross error could have
eventuated. It could cetainly not have arisen from a misreading of a
handwritten manuscript by the typesetter nor from a simple typographical
mistake. This curious word was sometimes (faithfully) copied into later
editions of Urquhart. Most editions of Urquhart silently correct the
mistake, and later translations of Rabelais follow the French and give
cleromancy - see citations 1951, 1955. However, some alter it to cheromancy,
an equally spurious form. Neither form is recorded in OED, though this
would have made a nice story, and explained the word to some undoubetdly
mystified English readers of Rabelais.
The original passage in Rabelais read:
"Par cleromantie, comme l'on trouve la
febve on guasteau
la vigile de l'Epiphanie."
The practice referred to is one found various
European countries where a nomial King or Queen is chosen on the night
of the Feast of the Epiphany (ie Twelth Night) by dividing up a cake
that has had a bean baked in it. The person to get the bean is accordingly
the King or Queen, and has to shout the rest of the company for the
evening. The fact that this custom relies on a 'random' selection makes
it a form of cleromancy.
Urquhart had made mention of this custom in an
earlier work. According to Brand Popular Antiquities i. 23:
Sir Thomas Urquhart, of Cromarty, in his curious
entitled The Discovery of a most exquiste jewel, found
in the kennel of Worcester streets, the day after the
fight, 1651, says, p. 237, "Verily, I think they make use
of Kings - as the French on the Epiphany-day use their Roy
de la fehve, or King of the Bean; whom after they have
honoured with drinking of his health, and shouting aloud,
'Le Roy boit, Le Roy boit,' they make pay for all the
reckoning; not leaving him sometimes one peny, rather than
exorbitancie of their debosh should not be satisfied to
CHILOMANCY: An error for clidomancy, apparently arising
from an error in transcribing handwritten text. The element 'chilo-'
is normally used in scientific compounds to signfy 'lip', from New Latin
chilo-, from Greek cheilos lip.
CHIROGNOMY: is the study of the general hand formation.
CHOIRAMANCY: A method of divination using a pig's
bladder. To what particular practice this word refers is unknown. Potter
in his Archaeologia
Sometimes, when the entrails foretold nothing
dissection, the priest made observations from them in a
fire: in order hereto he took the bladder, and binding the
neck of it with wool (for which reason Sophocles calls the
bladders mallodetous kysteis), put it into the fire,
to observe in what place it would break, and which way it
would dart the urine.
Though this doesn't specifically refer to pigs. This word comes into
English through Thomas Urquhart's translation of Rabelais. In the French
text it appears as choeromantie, and is derived from the Greek choiros
a small pig, a pig. The variant form, namely: choeromancy, choeromancy,
and choiromancy, all show editorial substitution of the normal connective
-o-, where Urquhart has -a-.
CHRESMOMANCY: Defined by Gibson as "divination
from the utterances of a person in a frenzy". This rare word, not
recorded elsewhere, is derived from the Greek chresmos an oracular pronouncement,
a prophecy. Itself a derivative of the Greek chrao to pronounce, to
proclaim, to give a needful answer, stemming from a basic meaning "to
furnish what is needful". The given definition is referring to
the fact that ancient Greek oracles used to go into a state of divine
frenzy in order to gain information from the gods so that they might
make an oracular statement. A better definition would seem to be "oracular
CHRONOMANCY: Divination to find the best time to
plane future events. Divination to determine the precise time for action.
Derived from the Greek word chronos time. An uncommon term.
CHRYSTALLOMANCY: See Crystallomancy.
1. A Middle English variant of chiromancy.
2. A variant spelling of ceromancy.
CLAIRAUDIENCE: is "clear hearing" of divinatory
information. Parapsychologist generally regard as a form of extrasensory
perception. Divination through hearing the future. Clairaudience
is often categorized under the broader heading of Clairvoyance. Hearing
the metaphysical and in most cases a subcategory under telepathy in
the respect you can hear what goes on in the Meta, including spirit
guides and angels speaking to you.
CLAIGUSTANT: Divination via taste. The
gift ability to sense a being or the metaphysical by taste.
CLAIRSENTENT: divination via touch,
feeling, sensation. Feeling the metaphysical and the vibrations of it.
This ability shares like components with Psychometry in that is can
see the history of an object by touch. This happens as a feeling received
off of and object perhaps an emotion.
CLAIRVOYANCE: is "clear seeing" of divinatory
information. Parapsychologist generally regard as a form of extrasensory
perception. Divination through seeing the future. Clairvoyance specifically
refers to the visual image of future events, but other forms of "seeing"
the future are commonly called clairvoyance including: Clairaudience
(hearing); Metagnomy (induced through hypnotic trance); Precognition
(inner knowing); and Psychometry (induced through contact with a physical
object). Seeing the future and looking beyond the present by following
the stretch or path of time. This ability allows one to see that which
is beyond the normal range of seeing. With this ability a psychic is
able to see the metaphysical with the "third eye", this is
closely related to astral projection, but of course all gifts are closely
related to one and other. Clairvoyance is the minute aspect of the third
eye capabilities. This ability shares like components with Psychometry
in that it can see what is to come.
CLAIRVOYANT: See Ariolater or Oracle. Seeing
the future and looking beyond the present by following the stretch or
path of time. This ability allows one to see that which is beyond the
normal range of seeing. With this ability a psychic is able to see the
metaphysical with the "third eye", this is closely related
to astral projection, but of course all gifts are closely related to
one and other. Clairvoyance is the minute aspect of the third eye capabilities.
This ability shares like components with Psychometry in that it can
see what is to come.
CLEDOMANCY, CLEDONOMANCY: Divination by interpreting
random events or statements.
CLEDONISMANCY: Divination by first words uttered upon
meeting friends, after salutations.,p> Derived from ancient Greek
kledonisma a sign or omen. (cledonismantia).
CLEDONOMANCY: Divination by chance remarks overheard.
Derived from ancient Greek kledon an omen, a presage contained in a
word, sound or chance utterance. (cledomancy).
CLEIDOMANCY: A form of radiesthesia (divination using
a pendulum) using a suspended key as the pendulum. Also known as Clidomancy.
Divination by means of a dangling key. From New Latin clidomantia, from
ancient Greek kleid-, combining form of kleis a key. Clidomancy, Chilomancy
CLEROMANCY: is divination by "casting lots",
similar to dice but with objects such as pebbles or sea shells. Divination
by sortilege with dice. It is sometimes used synonymously with Sortilege
(divination by casting or drawing lots).
1. (generally) divination by casting lots.
2. (specifically) a. divination by throwing of dice, or other marked
objects, such as beans, bones or pebbles.
b. used to denote a specific divination involving a bean baked in a
cake; see A HREF="#chero">cheromancy.
From New Latin cleromantia, Middle French cleromancie, medieval Latin
cleromantia, from ancient Greek kleros a lot. cf. French cl?romancie,
CLIDOMANCY or CLEIDOMANCY: is divination using a dangling
key. see RADIESTHESIA. See Cleidomancy.
COCK-OMANCY: A new form, invented by Raffel to translate
COLLIMANCY: A jocular nonce-word for a supposed method
of divination using the lines on the neck.
CONCHOMANCY: Divination via sea shells. Derived from
Latin concha, from ancient Greek konche muscle, cockle, shell. More
COMETOMANCY: Divination via omens taken from comets.
COSCINOMANCY COSKIOMANCY: is divination using a hanging
sieve. see RADIESTHESIA.. A form of radiesthesia (divination using a
pendulum) using a sieve which was sometimes suspended from tongs or
shears. This type of divination was usually used to discover thieves
and criminals in general. A method of divination employing a sieve and
a pair of shears. Divinations were taken from the movement of the sieve
upon the saying of a person's name, a word, etc. This word and method
of divination come to us from ancient Greece, and a cetain passage from
Theocritus (floruit 272 B.C.) is often quoted as a reference to this
type of divination though a number of other Greek authors have spoken
of it (Philippides, Pollux, Lucianus). The term comes into English via
both New and medieval Latin coscinomantia, and is derived from the Greek
koskinomantis a diviner using a sieve, from koskinon a sieve.
The variant forms may be categorised as follows:
1. those arising from different transliterations of the Greek letter
kappa (K): Choschinomancy, Choschinomancie (prob. from misreading Greek
kappa (K) as chi (ch) Coskinomancy, Koskinomancy.
2. Erroneous forms showing elision: Cosinomancy, Coskiomancy (Brand,
OED - see Note), Cosnomancy.
3. Erroneous form showing transposition of letters: Coskniomancy (Athenian
4 Transcription error in typesetting: Coseinomancy.
Coscinomancy, as practised in medieval times, is clearly outlined in
Agrippa's De Occulta Philosophia, 1533, chapter xxi. This text provides
the basis of Holyday's satire, which I have reproduced in extensio.
There has been much speculation about the manner in which the sieve
was to be held by the shears, with some writers throwing up their hands
at the problem (see cit. 1868), and other suggesting that a piece of
thread was used. Fortunately in the 1567 edition of Agrippa's works
there is a beautiful picture showing exactly this. It is clear that
sieve was suspended from the shears in such a way that the cutting edges
of the shear-blades made tangents to the outer rim of the sieve. Thus
suspended the sieve is capable of some sideways movement, or even of
dropping. The holding of the shears by only the two middle fingers would
make it almost impossible to keep the sieve still for any length of
time, thus ensuring a prognostication. The complicating factor is that
in the Latin text accompanying the picture the sieve is said to "turn
around" (circum agatur), which clearly it cannot do unless held
at two diametrically opposite points on the outer rim. Agrippa believed
that the movement of the sieve was performed by a demon, and that the
conjuration dies, mies, jeschet, benedoefet, dowima, enitemaus actually
compelled the demon to perform the task. He further notes that the words
of this conjuration were understood neither by the speaker nor anyone
else (nec sibi ipsis, nec aliis intellectua). Here Agrippa is asserting
one of the most venerable notions of magic, i.e. that there is a language
in the spirit world and that this language is powerfully efficacious.
The co-called "Enochian language" of the 16th century magician
Edward Kelly, later revived by Alister Crowley, is such a language.
Kelly would communicate Enochian messages to his cohort, Dr. John Dee,
backwards, for to say them directly would unleash powers beyond control.
This concept can futher be seen in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments
where a sorceress takes some lake water in hand and over it speaks "words
not to be understood" (tr. Burton I. xi. 80).
COSNOMANCY: A mistake in Cockeram for coscinomancy.
CRANIOSCOPY: Divination and character analysis by
studying the shape and structure of the human skull. Also known as Phrenology.
CRITOMANCY CRITHOMANCY: is the study of barley cakes.
Divination byinterpreting food, usually cakes and breads, that are offered
in sacrifice. Divination by meal or grain, often by strewing it over
sacrificed animals. From ancient Greek krithomanteia divination by barley,
from kritho-, combining form of krithe) barley.
CROMNIOMANCY: is divination using onion sprouts. Divination
by interpreting onions or onion sprouts. To find out the name of a future
husband the names of possible candidates were written on onions which
were left on the altar on Christmas eve, then planted, the first onion
to sprout indicated who it was to be. This custom is quite old and Brand
quotes from a 16th century poem on the subject. Presumedly the rationale
inherent in this practice is that the virility of the male, transmitted
magically via the written name, will cause the onion to grow quicker.
Hence it is a process of selecting the best male. Also, there is the
possiblity of the sprouting onion representing the phallus - witness
the Old English riddle the answer to which is 'onion', albeit the ostensible
answer is 'penis'. Another method, mentioned in Frazer's Golden Bough,
comes from Germany, where on one of the twelve days of Christmas, twelve
layers of peel, each representing one month, were taken off an onion,
and a pinch of salt was sprinkled into each. The next morning the amount
of moisture collected in each foretold the amount of rain expected in
the coming year.
To this may be added a gardener's rhyme recorded
Onion's skin very thin,
Mild winter coming in;
Onion's skin thick and tough,
Coming winter cold and rough.
The word first appears in a New Latin form cromnysmantia, and I assume
that Burton is quoting some Latin text which I have not seen. Also,
I have not been able to track down a 1660 edition of The Anatomy of
Melancholy in Australia and thus have to rely on Brand's secondary evidence,
which is not altogether reliable (see Note). Clearly the term is derived
from the ancient Greek kromyon or krommyon an onion. This has not been
a productive word element in English, and apart from the Sydenham Society's
Lexicon which records crommyon as an "Old name for an onion"
(citing a 18th century text), I have not found any other examples.
Note that the form cromnio- involves a mispelling retained since the
CRYPTOMANCY: Divination by unrevealed means. From
ancient Greek kryptos secret, hidden.
CRYSTAL BALL: A crystal sphere used for divination,
especially for scrying. Also called a Showstone.
CRYSTALLOMANCY CRYSTALOMANCY: is divination through
crystal gazing. See Catoptromancy. Scrying. Cristallomantia.
1. Divination by means of a crystal ball.
2. Divination by a transparent body such as a
precious stone, or mirror; crystal-gazing; crystal-seeing; scrying.
From ancient Greek krystallos crystal. Cf. French cristallomancie,
New Latin crystallomantia. Chrystallomancy, Cristallomancy, Cristallomantia,
CUBOMANCY: Divination by dice. From French cubomancie,
from cubo- cube, from ancient Greek kubos a die, kuboi dice.
CURSED BREAD: See Alphitomancy.
CYATHOMANCY: Cup divination, as described at Cattabomancy.
Derived from Latin cyathus, ancient Greek kyathos a cup.
CYCLOMANCY: is the practice of divination from a turning
wheel. Divination by interpreting revolving wheels. Divination by revolving
objects. From New Latin cyclomantia, from ancient Greek kyklos a circle.
CYROMANCY: Middle English variant of chiromancy.
DACTYLOMANCY DACTYLIOMANCY: is an early form of Radiesthesia
using a dangling ring. Divination using rings. Most frequently dactylomancy
is done in the form of radiesthesia (divination using a pendulum) and
the ring is suspended over various objects. One form uses rings of various
metals placed on the fingernails in patterns in conjunction with the
planets. Sources indicate it is often used for dowsing. Derived from
French dactyliomancie, from the ancient Greek daktylios a finger-ring.
According to some sources (eg Shipley, Roget's Thesaurus) there is a
distinction between the two forms with 'dactyliomancy' = a suspended
ring, and 'dactylomancy' = a finger-ring. However considering that in
ancient Greek daktylios means 'finger-ring' and daktylos simply means
'finger', this distinction cannot really hold true as it is etymologically
arse-about. The OED did not note any such distinction and noted the
dactylo- form as being erroneous. Dactalomancy, Dactylomancy; New Latin
Dactylomantia. One method involved placing gold or silver rings on the
fingernails in certain conjunctions of the planets. In another way a
round table is inscribed with the letters of the alphabet and a ring
suspended above. The ring will then spell out the message. Another method
involves suspending a ring within a glass. If the glass is struck once
it will indicate yes, and twice will be no.
DAPHNOMANCY: requires one to listen to laurel branches
crackling in an open fire. Divination by interpreting a burning laurel
branch. If the fire crackles it is a positive sign. A form of pyromancy.
Bailey 1727 gives the def. DAPHNOPHAGI..certain Prophets or Diviners
in antient Times, that pretended to be inspired after the eating of
Bay-leaves. Recorded earliest in dictionaries. From French daphnomantie,
probably from New Latin daphnomantia, from ancient Greek daphne the
DEMONOMANCY: is divination with the aid of demons.
Divination by evoking demons to reveal information. A Gaulean word.
Derived from ?French demonomancie, from New Testament Greek (daimon)
DENDROMANCY: is divination with either oak or mistletoe.
Divination interpreting trees, especially oak or mistletoe. From ancient
Greek dendron a tree. Divination by leaves and branches of plants.
DERVISHING: The practice of whirling into a state
of ecstasy. Sometimes cited as a form of Gyromancy (divination by interpreting
the fall of a person who whirls until they are dizzy and fall down).
DICE DIVINATION: Palden Lhamo dice divination is conducted
with three dice with a number from one to six indicated by dots on each
face. Divination associated with other deities can be conducted with
dice marked with letters. The dice are made of bone, wood or conchshell.
Khamtrul Rinpoche described his own procedure for doing dice divination
as follows: For a divination to be successful, it is essential that
the diviner should have a pure motivation and the person who came for
advice believe in the diviner. It is important that they both pray to
the Three Jewels, their root and lineage lamas and their deities, chiefly
Palden Lhamo and other Dharma protectors, for a clear answer. If I didn't
hear the request clearly, I ask again. Then, I visualise myself as my
personal deity Dorje Shonu or Vajra Kilaya and call on Palden Lhamo.
Through my long familiarity with her, I can clearly visualise her before
me and I request her to give a perfect answer to the person who came
for advice. Then 1 throw the dice and according to the numbers indicated
on the dice, I refer to a divination book. There are many such hooks
written by great lamas and they provide all the possible answers, though
once you are familiar with divination techniques reference to texts
is no longer necessary".
DIRECT WRITING: Term for a spirit writing without
human or mechanical assistance. Distinct from Autography, Automatic
Writing and Psychography which are done through human beings.
DIVINATION: The art of using magickal tools and symbols
to gather information from the Collective unconscious on the nature
of people. places, things, and events in the past, present and future.
Also known as Dukkerin, Dukkering.
DIVINATION ON A ROSARY: The person doing the divination
prays to the deity he is invoking for the correct answer and recites
that deity's mantras. He then holds up the rosary horizontally in front
of him, with the fingers of each hand grasping a randomly chosen bead,
leaving half the beads of fewer between them. Then the fingers of each
hand move towards each other counting three beads at a time. The outcome
of the divination depends on the number of beads left. The procedure
is repeated three times. When only one bead remains, the result is called
`falcon'. When two beads remain, it is called 'raven'. When three beads
remain the result is called 'snow lion'. The outcome on the first attempt
indicated the extent of the deities' support and the quality of the
divination in general. A falcon at the first attempt would indicate
support from protectors, luck in a new enterprise, success in a lawsuit.
A raven on the first try means the protectors are not on your side.
There will be no accomplishment, lawsuit will be unsuccessful and there
are enemies present. Such a divination would caution against starting
on any new enterprise. A snow lion on the first round would indicate
support from the deities, slow but stable accomplishments and weakness
on the part of enemies. If the question concerned successful business,
this would be regarded as a neutral result. At the second attempt, the
outcome indicates conditions to take place in one's immediate environment.
The falcon indicates good luck in general, but not much success for
those wishing to have children. The risk of thefts and illnesses in
general would remain small. The raven indicates serious illness, obstacles
to health and a decline in the life force. There will be a tendency
for things to get lost or stolen. However, in the case of an ordained
person, these negative aspects would be reduced. On the third occasion,
the number of remaining beads gives clues about an expected person arriving
from elsewhere. This was a very important aspect of life in Tibet, for
people travelled constantly and there was no communication system. A
falcon with regard to an expected visitor indicates imminent news or
arrival. With regard to illness, it would indicate finding the best
way to cure it. A raven represents a bad indication concerning expected
travellers. They are likely to encounter obstacles on the way will not
arrive at all or will be robbed. The sick will not be cured and possessions
will be lost or stolen. The snow lion indicates that travellers will
arrive late, but come to no harm. Problems with health will be few,
although there will be difficulties in finding the right treatment.
The best divination would be three consecutive falcons. This would indicate
that travellers will arrive quickly, patients will recover and accomplishments
will be swift. iv) Bootstrap Divination: This form of divination is
popular among nomads. The flat, one inch thick bootstraps are folded
over each other into squares and suddenly pulled apart. if the bootlace
unfolds freely and clearly it indicates positive signs, while a tangle
would be negative.
DIVINER: See Ariolater or Oracle.
DIVINING ROD: A forked rod or branched which is used
to for dowsing (locating things underground). Also known as Dowsing
DOUGHBALL DIVINATION: This method is practised mainly
in the monasteries or by individual lamas when an important decisions
needs to be made, such as in the search for the reincarnation of very
high lamas. A number of possible answers to the enquiry, such as the
names of likely candidates for a reincarnation, are written on slips
of paper. These are then encased in equal sized balls of dough. Great
care is taken to weigh the dough balls to ensure that they are exactly
the same size. The doughballs are then placed in a bowl, which is carefully
sealed and placed in front of a sacred object, such as the Jowo statue
in the main temple in Lhasa, images of Dharma protectors or the funerary
monuments of great lamas, requesting their inspiration in deciding the
outcome. For a period of three days monks remain in the temple reciting
prayers day and night. During that time no one is allowed to touch the
bowl. On the fourth day, before all those present the cover of the bowl
is removed. A prominent lama rolls the doughballs round in the bowl
before the sacred object until one of them falls out. That is the ball
containing the answer.
DOWSING: Divination to find a person, place, thing
or element in buried in the earth. Dowsing will often involve using
a pendulum (radiesthesia) or divining rod (rhabdomancy). More
DOWSING ROD: A forked rod or branched which is used
to for dowsing (locating things underground). Also known as Divining
DRIRIMANCY: Divination via dripping blood. I have
a feeling that this is probably a ghost word originally arising from
a misconstruing of drymimancie. The juxtaposition in Reade of this word
with the rare word scatomancy (for which the sole source is Agrippa,
and where it appears alongside drymimancie) is very suspicious. If this
is indeed a ghost word, then this form and definition would be based
on the etymological conjecture: - from driry, a 16th & 17th century
form of dreary, representing Old English dreorig, a derivative of dreor
gore, falling blood! This etymology involves a number of problems: the
word driry never had the meaning "(pertaining to) dripping blood";
the Old English word dreor did not continue into the Middle English
period, let alone modern English; a hybrid compound of an obsolete native
English word with a Greek ending is unlikely (though see spealomancy);
and generally -mancy compounds take a noun as their first element, not
an adjective. If this is wrong, then I am unable to suggest any other
etymon, as driri- corresponds to no Greek or Latin word recorded in
the major dictionaries of those languages. That it may represent a word
of some other langauge is highly unlikely.
DRYMIMANCIE: The meaning of this word is a mystery.
Perhaps the best definition to give it would be: Medical diagnosis through
examination of bodily fluids. Possibly it refered to a medical diagnosis
through examination of the bile or vomit, or, perhaps, sweat, or even
suppurating pus. The term comes into English in Sanford's 16th century
translation of Agrippa, where it appears in New Latin as drimimantia.
The exact meaning of the first element of the compound, i.e. drimi-,
as used here, is not known. It represents the ancient Greek adjective
drimys sharp, acrid, pungent. Used in Hippocratic texts to describe
various bodily fluids and fluxes, but not used specifically for any
one thing. In ancient Greek the word drimyphageo to live on acrid food,
though what exact diet this referred to I do not know.
DUBJED: Tibetan term for Catoptromancy.
DUKKERIN, DUKKERING: Romany term for Divination.
EGROMANCY: modern form used by Sir Richard Burton,
based on a Middle English form of nigromancy meaning "magic";
not actually referring to a species of divination. Etymology Citations:
Middle English Citations: modern In Dictionaries It is essentially a
variant of negromancy with loss of initial n. A similar process happen
in Old French where the word igromancie appears. The loss of the initial
n may be the result of metanalysis, i.e. the mis-analysing of a negromancy
as an egromancy, however the use of word as a count noun is less common.
ELEAOMANCY: Accord to Wedeck: divination "by
observation of liquid surfaces". A rare word, the more common term
being lecanomancy. It is presumedly derived from the Greek elaion) olive-oil,
though the usual, "regular", combining forms from this Greek
root are elaio-, elæo- and eleo-. Often oil was dropped into water
when used for divining, and a mixture of water and oil (called in ancient
Greek chytla) for rubbing into the skin after bathing, was possibly
used in divination. More
ELECTROMANCY: A variant form, presumably erroneous,
ELEMENTAL DIVINATION: Divination viia the four elementas
as follows Aeromancy (wind), Pyromancy (fire), Hydromancy (water), and
EMPYROMANCY: Ancient Greek divination by observing
the fire and smoke of burnt sacrifices. Other terms for this are libanomancy
and knissomancy. Also, cf. pyromancy and hieromancy. From ancient Greek
empyron manteia divination from ta empyra burnt sacrifices. From empyros
burning, fiery, on fire.
ENOPTROMANCY, ENPTOMANCY: Divination via mirrors.
See Catoptromancy. There is some conjecture about the form of this word.
Clearly this form would be derived from the ancient Greek enoptos visible
in (a thing), seen in (something). The OED states that this is merely
an error for enoptromancy occurring in some dictionaries.
I would tend to agree that it is probably an error, and there are basically
three reasons for this:
1. most similar compounds have an ancient Greek
noun as their first element, not an adjective;
2. the earliest form includes the r - see Smedley, and,
3. the word occurs in French as eaccute;noptromancie.
Recorded firstly in Smedley, from whence it made its way into 19th
century dictionaries. The (most probably erroneous) variant form enoptomancy
found favour early on, but no longer appears in dictionaries. Webster's
2nd edition records it, but it has been dropped by the 3rd edition.
From French eaccute;noptromancie, from Greek enoptron a mirror.
ENTOMANCY, ENTOMOMANCY: Divination interpreting the
appearance and behavior of insects. A form of augury. To this may be
referred the various omens of popular folklore, such as crickets bringing
good luck, and ladybirds indicating visitors.
Also, here we may note the old superstition of the death-watch. Recorded
since at least the 17th century, this was a clicking or ticking noise
like that of a watch, which was believed to portend the death of someone
in the house within the next twelve hours. It was for many years unknown
exactly what it was that produced the noise, however, it was eventually
discovered to be a certain beetle that made the sound, apparently its
mating call, by striking its head against a hard surface. The ancient
Greeks had numerous beliefs about portentious insects. Ants were meant
to have presaged the death of Cimon, and, also, the great wealth of
Midas was foretold by ants coming to him as a boy while asleep and dropping
grains of wheat into his mouth.
According to Potter, bees "were esteemed an omen of future eloquence",
and he cites the well-known story of Plato, who, as a baby in the cradle
was visited by a swarm of bees which alighted on his lips, thereby predicting
his gift of oratory. Obviously this is playing on the idea of words
as sweet as honey, mellifluous speech. In fact Plato was known later
as the Athenian Bee. An identical tale is told of St. Ambrose. The most
obvious insect related to fortune telling would, however, have to be
the mantis. This is the ancient Greek name for the insect, and, is identically
the same as the word mantis meaning, a diviner. According to Suidas
this insect was a type of slow, green, locust. It had long, thin fore-feet,
and was possibly, though not necessarily, the same as our praying mantis,
though exactly what insect it was is unknown. Apparently it was observed
for divinatory purposes. Unfortunately not a lot more is known about
it and why it deserved its name. Our modern praying mantis is so-called
from the prayer-like attitude of the front-legs, but this is only a
modern appellation, dating back to the 17th century. This word is quite
uncommon, and is not recorded in OED or other dictionaries. It quite
probably was invented quite recently, as the sole citation suggests.
From Greek entomos an insect.
EROMANCY: a "bad form of aeromancy", and
gives the first two citations as here. Etymologically I guess this is
correct, however it does represent the pronunciation better. The latter
two citations are even worse forms since they don't even fit their definitions
well. What is being described is rather a specific form of hydromancy
known as lecanomancy.
EXTISPICIUM: See Aruspicy. A tool used in the practice
of exitispicium, exitispicy, aruspicy, haruspicy.
EXTISPICY: See Aruspicy.
EYCHNOMANCY: A misspelling of lychnomancy.
FELIDOMANCY: Divination by cats. Not recorded in OED
or other dictionaries. Derived from New Latin felidæ the cat genus,
from Latin felid-, stem of felis a cat.
FENG SHUI: (Chinese, feng shui: "wind and water"):
The ancient Chinese practice of studying and following the natural currents
of the Earth to ensure the proper alignment with them so that Qi is
not disrupted. Feng Shui is used to determine the suitability and layout
of homes, businesses, burial grounds and temples.
FIZNOMANCY: A variant spelling of physiognomancy.
FLOROMANCY: Divination via omens taken from flowers.
It is based on the belief in which states flowes radiate vibrations,
react to a sypethetic of hostile environment and are affected by electric
shocks. See anthomancy and botanomancy. Derived from Latin flor-, combining
form of flos flower.
FOLIOMANCY: Either a. divination by leaves of a book,
a form of bibliomancy, or b. divination by tea leaves, otherwise called
Not in OED or other dictionaries. Derived from Latin folio, ablative
of folium a leaf.
FRACTOMANCY: Divination by interpreting the structure
of fractal geometric patterns.
FRONTIMANCY: A jocular nonce-word for a supposed method
of divination using the lines on the face.
GASTROMANCY: is an ancient form of ventriloquism whereby
the voice is lowered to a sepulchral tone and prophetic utterances are
delivered in a trance state. Divination by interpreting the sounds or
signs on the belly. Gastromancy is most frequently reported as a voice
emanating from the belly and it has been dismissed by most occult investigators
as a form of ventriloquism and trickery. An ancient description of another
gastromancy technique described placing a child in front of a glass
filled with water and illuminating the glass. Divination was done by
interpreting the images in the glass.
1. Divination by looking into large-bellied,
bulbous glasses and noting magical visions appearing in them. Similar
2. Divination by words spoken in the belly, (and according to Gaule)
by signs on the belly.
From New Latin gastromantia (Agrippa), French gastromancie, from the
ancient Greek gastro-, combining form of gaster the belly, also the
wide part of a bottle. Cf. the ancient Greek gastromanteuomai to divine
by the belly. New Latin: gastromantia. Rare: (unexplained) gastronomancy
GELOSCOPY, GELOMANCY: is the divination from the tone
of someone's laughter. Divination by interpreting laughter. From the
ancient Greek gelos laughter.
GEMATRIA: A system of discovering truths and hidden
meanings behind words, using numerical values for letters of the alphabet.
Each letter corresponds to a number. The numerical values of words are
totaled and interpreted in terms of other words with the same numerical
value. Gematria dates back to the 8th century B.C. Babylon, and has
been used by most mystics since that time including the Magi, Gnostics,
and Quabbalists. Notarikon is a form of gematria in which the first
and last letters of a word or phrase are put together to create a new
word, or to turn a word into a phrase. Temurah is a form of gematria
that creates anagrams through systematic letter substitutions. See also:
GENETHLIALOGY: is divination by the influence of the
stars at birth. Divination by interpreting the influence of the stars
at birth to predict the future. A form of astrology.
GEOMANCY: is the study of figures on the ground and
the influence of the Earth's "currents". Divination by interpreting
the Element of Earth. Forms include scattering and throwing dirt, gravel
or sand, interpreting lines or figures traced in earth, and observation
of earth formations. Ley line interpretation and Feng Shui are forms
I. (generally) Any divination involving earth,
dirt, or the ground.
II. (specifically) 1. A mode of divination by
interpreting random dots, pricks and/or lines made on the ground. This
meaning is the earliest to appear in English. It dates back to Middle
2. A mode of divination which uses figures and
lines formed by a number of dots made at random. This was prevalent
in the 17th century, and within the Renaissance world view was held
as a science, having the same status as alchemy and astrology, being
incorporated into the prevailing concepts of natural philosophy then
in existence. Many different systems existed, most of which were intimately
related to the sciences of alchemy and especially astrology. In most
geomantical texts the dots were represented by asterisks. Curiously
this practice is quite removed from any association or actual working
with the soil, being done wholly on paper. Its relationship to the previous
definition is due to the transferral of the dots on the ground to paper.
This was done in order to raise it to a 'scientific' or 'intellectual'
pursuit by taking away the feel of 'magic' involved in the earlier open-air
3. A method of divination by means of the figure
made by a handful of earth or pebbles thrown down at random. (1855)
4. The Chinese practice of feng shui. Not actually
a form of divination, but rather, a system whereby the relationship
of a building, structure, etc., to the surrounding geographical features
determines the prospects of that thing and the people associated with
it, both the living and the dead. This is a very ancient practice in
Chinese culture and is still prevalent. The Century Dictionary was the
first to attempt to incorporate this meaning into its definition of
geomancy. This is an admirable effort which also attempts to relate
the literal sense of the word geomancy (earth divination) to all meanings
at once. As yet, no dictionary actually offers a separate definition
to cover this important and quite distinct sense. Also called Chinese
5. Any harmonious relationship between humans
and the landscape, especially that which influences building, town planning,
and, in particular, the construction and placement of ancient monuments,
such as ancient stone circles, pyramids, etc. This meaning arises from
a contemporary movement which has seen a revival of earlier occult arts,
and a synthesis of these with other New Age concepts. Texts dealing
with this subject maintain the notion that the ancients possessed a
now-lost knowledge of harmony with the earth. (1973).
Middle English and Early Scottish: geomance, geomanci, geomansi, geomansy,
geomanty, geomensie, geomensy, geomensye, geomese, geomesie, geomessie,
gemensye, geemessye. Surviving into Early modern English: geomancie,
geomantie. New Latin: geomantia. From Old French geomancie, from Latin
geomantia, from Late Greek geomanteia, the ancient Greek geo-, combining
form of ge the earth, the ground, land.
GIROMANCY: A Middle English variant of gyromancy.
GRAPHOLOGY, GRAPTOMANCY, GRAPHOMANCY: is the analysis
of character through handwriting. Divination and character analysis
by interpreting handwriting. A variant of Graptomancy. From the ancient
Greek graptos written.
GYROMANCY: is a divination procedure where a person
walks in a circle marked with letters until they become dizzy and stumble
at different points, thus spelling out a prophesy. Divination by walking
or whirling in a circle until dizzy and interpreting the point of the
person's fall. The circle used is often laid out with letters. Some
sources include Dervishing (whirling into an ecstasy) as a form of gyromancy.
1. divination where people walk on a circle of
letters until dizzy, the letters they stumble on being significant.
Hence identical in form, but with a different agent, to alectryomancy.
2. divination by whirling a nicked coin on a circle of letters.
Probably from Middle French gyromancie, from New Latin gyromantia,
from Medieval Latin *gyromantia, from the ancient Greek gyros a ring,
a circle, a spiral. In New Latin - Cælius Calcagninus, Compendium
amatoriæ magiæ (ed. Froben Bale, 1544) "Gyromantia,
quotiens ex circulis in lævam dextramve declinantibus futura conjiciunt."
Gyromancye, Giromancy, Giromantie.
HALOLMANCY: Divination via salt. See Alomancy. What
particular method of divination this word originally was applied to
is unknown, however, in Frazer's Golden Bough (x. 244) we find that
in the Isle of Man on Halloween
the housewife fills a thimble full of salt for
member of the family and each guest; the contents of
the thimblefuls are emptied out in as many neat piles
on a plate, and left there over night. Next morning
the piles are examined, and if any of them has fallen
down, he or she whom it represents will die within
This, of course, is in the days when salt did not come with an anti-caking
agent added. Also, this word could refer to the unlucky omen designated
by the spilling of salt. This, nowadays, is expiated by throwing a little
of the spilt salt over the shoulder. This superstition dates back to
Roman times. Also in the erroneous form Alomancy. Clearly a modern word,
as the first element is the New Latin combining form halo-. This is
normally used to form scientific words to do with either "salt"
or "the sea", and in chemistry siginifies the presence of
"halogen". It is not to be found in any word before the early
19th century (the earliest being halogen and haloid dating from the
1840s). The New Latin halo- comes from the ancient Greek combining form
of hals salt. The word also appears in French as halomancie.
HAKATA: Bones, dice, seeds or shells used for divination.
HARUSPEX: See Ariolater.
HARUSPICATION: is fortune-telling by means of inspecting
the entrails of animals, as practiced by priests in ancient Rome.
HARUSPICY: See Aruspicy.
HEARING DIVINATION: This type of divination is done
in the nomadic areas of Tibet and other isolated places, where there
may not be a diviner available to consult. Before proceeding with the
divination, a piece of juniper is tied to a shoulder blade with wool,
white cloth or string. The diviner then places the shoulder blade in
the left pocket of his cloak and walks out of his dwelling. The first
word he hears outside will indicate the turn of events. If this divination
is being performed with regard to someone who is ill, then negative
words such as 'long' would suggest a protracted recovery. On the other
hand, words such as 'good' will indicate a quick recovery. These words
can be applied to any other circumstances about which the diviner is
seeking an answer with the word 'good always having a positive connotations
while others like 'nothing' having negative significance. From among
the above, Dough ball divination is regarded as the most reliable. But
due to the length of the preliminary rituals, it is only conducted 9n
very important occasions. Some lamas are able to make predictions using
no overt means of divination, but through direct inspiration from the
deity. Though the result is the same, they would not usually claim to
be performing divination.
HEMATOMANCY: Diviantion via blood. From Greek haimato-,
combining form of haima blood.
HEPATOMANCY, HEPATOSCOPY: Divination by examining
the liver of an animal. A form of aruspicy (divination with animal entrails).
A rare word for divination by the liver of an animal or bird sacrificed
for the purpose. The usual term for this is hepatoscopy which ultimately
comes from the ancient Greek hepatoskopia. Here the author has taken
the first element hepato- and grafted it onto -mancy in order to get
the new form. The putative hepatomanteia never existed in Greek.
HEROMANCY: An early variant of aeromancy.
HIDROMANCY: Divination by sweat. Derived from the
ancient Greek hidros sweat. Also an early modern English variant of
hydromancy. 1595 Polimanteia: But I intend not to entreat particularlie
of many other kindes of Diuinations, as Orneomantie, Hieroscopie, Hidromantie,
and many like kindes, because these properly cannot serue to iudge of
the change, or ruine of Common wealths, contenting my selfe to note
out those which concerne the subiect of this particular matter.
HIEROMANCY or HIERSCOPY: is divination by observing
object of ancient sacrifice. ivination by interpreting sacrificial objects
such as burnt offerings or slaughtered animals. Similar to aruspicy
(interpretation of animal entrails). Divination by sacred things, as
sacrificial offerings, esp. by inspection of their entrails; haruspicy.
Potter quoting Clemens Alexandrinus Stromateis. By some [hieromancy]
was feigned to have been first occasioned, or very much improved, by
the death of the Delphian Sibyl, whose body being reduced to earth,
imparted first to herbs, and by their means to beasts, which fed on
them, a power of divining: as also those other parts of her, which mixed
with the air, are said to have occasioned the divination by ominous
words. From New Latin heiromantia, from the ancient Greek hieromantia,
from hieros holy, sacred.
HIPPOMANCY: is a form of divination from the stamping
and neighing of horses. Divination by interpreting the appearance and
behavior of horses especially by taking note of their neighing, stamping,
etc., even their sweating. Derived from New Latin hippomantia, from
Greek hippos a horse. A form of augury. http://www.gardenofbadthings.com/superstitions.htm
HOROSCOPE: An astrological chart for a specific person
or group that charts and correlates the signs of the zodiac as they
are crossed by the sun, moon and planets and the position of planets
in the twelve astrological houses.
HOROSCOPY: is the practice of casting of astrological
horoscopes. Divination and character analysis by interpreting a horoscope
HYDATOSCOPY: Divination by interpreting rainwater.
A form of Hydromancy.
HYDROMANCY: is divination by water including the color,
ebb and flow, or ripples produced by pebbles dropped in a pool. Divination
by interpreting water including its color, ebb and flow, or ripples
produced by pebbles dropped in a pool. Also known as Ydromancy. Originally
in Middle English this word was spelled ydromancy (from Middle French
ydromancye). This form is a result of the h being etymologically restored
during the Renaissance under the influence of better knowledge of Latin
and Greek, and under the influence of the New Latin hydromantia. Ultimately
it comes from Late Latin hydromantia, from the ancient Greek *hydromanteia,
from hydro-, combining form of hydor water. In ancient Greek the word
hydromantis diviner by water, was recorded. Middle English: hidromancy,
idromance, idromancie, ydromance, ydromaunce.
Surviving in modern English: hydromancie, hydromantie, hydromanty, ydromancy.
New Latin: hydomantia.
HYOMANCY: According to Shipley, divination by the
"tongue bone", or "as the tongue wags".
What exactly Shipley means I am not sure. The two definitions seem to
be referring to quite differnt things. Divination by the hyoid bone,
or as he calls it, the tongue bone, could refer to the practice of cephaleonomancy.
Divination as the tongue wags could refer to logomancy or labiomancy.
It is obvious that in his treatment of the -mancy words Shipley is flippant
because of the contempt in which he holds such practices. Thus his definitions
are not very reliable. Derived from the New Latin combining form hyo-,
referring to the hyoid bone, a bone running from the root of the tongue
to the larynx, from New Latin hyoides, from the ancient Greek (osteon
hyoeides) the hyoid bone (so named since it is shaped like the Greek
letter upsilon (ugr;)]
HYPNOMANCY: Divination via hypnosis.
I CHING: See the Book of Changes. More
ICHNOMANCY: Divination via footprints. From ancient
Greek ichnos a track, footprint.
ICHTHYOMANCY: is divination using fish. Divination
interpreting the appearance and behavior of fish. A form of augury (divination
by interpreting the appearance or behavior of animals); Divination interpreting
the entrails of fish. A form of aruspicy (divination by interpreting
animal entrails). From New Latin Ichthiomantia (Agrippa), F ichthyomantie,
from ancient Greek ichthyo- combining form of ichthys a fish. In Greek
the word Ichthyomantis a diviner by fish, already existed. Ichyomancy,
Icthiomancy (Urquhart), Icthyomancy, Ichthyonomancy (Blount).
ICONOMANCY: Divination via icons or images. From ancient
Greek eikon likeness, image.
IDOLOMANCY: Divination via idols. Divination by interpreting
idols, images or figures. A Gaulean term for divination by idols. Not
(until very recently) recorded elsewhere except in reproducers of Gaule's
list, and dictionaries. Mentioned by some of the more recent popular
texts on divination. From Late Latin idolum, from ancient Greek eidolon
a false god, an idol.
IDROMANCIE: A Middle English form of hydromancy.
IGRAMANCIE: A Middle English form of Nigromancy. See
also Egromancy. Igramansie, Igramansy, Igrimansie.
INTERPRETATION OF INCEDENTAL SIGNS: When a practitioner
is setting up a or preparing the yield for a retreat, certain occurrences
in his environment can be interpreted as indicative of his future accomplishments.
These can be either positive or negative. Positive signs indicating
that the practitioner will receive the Buddhas' and Bodhisattvas' blessing
include: seeing cranes, geese, ducks, swans, pheasants and other auspicious
birds flying overhead or hearing their calls; overhearing the sounds
of drums, of stringed instruments, flutes, gongs, bells; people reciting
auspicious stanzas including such words as victorious, accomplished,
excellent, happiness, success, give it, take it, fruitful, great, numerous
and glorious. Negative signs indicating impending obstacles include:
hearing the chatter of monkeys, squeaking of mice howl of wolves, bray
of donkeys; low of buffaloes; having one's path crossed by snakes or
scorpions; encountering people in mourning, hearing them express words
like defeat, decline, die, sick, get rid of something, alas, difficult,
unsuccessful and meaningless. In such instances, the practitioner should
interrupt his practice and move to another site. In general, when setting
out on a journey or some other enterprise the following would be considered
good omens, or signs of success: meeting elaborately dressed men, women
and children; pregnant women, cows with their calves properly dressed
bhikshus, illustrious people, Brahmins dressed in white, beautiful bejewelled
women, young girls playing together, elephants, smart carriages, and
people holding religious symbols such as the wheel, vase, garland, lotus,
umbrella, or banners. Signs of failure would be indicated by the following:
losing luggage; encountering wicked, frightful, worn out or ragged persons;
having one's road blocked; seeing collapsed houses, something catching
fire, or having things break.
KAPNOMANCY, KATOPTROMANCY, KEPHALOMANCY, KEPHALONOMANCY, KEPTOLOMANCY,
KLEDONOMANCY: A variant spelling of capnomancy and cephaleonomancy.
Arising from a variant transliteration of the ancient Greek letter kappa.
KNISSOMANCY: Mackay's term for Gaule's libanomancy,
i.e. divination by the burning of incense. From ancient Greek knissa
the fatty smoke of a burnt sacrifice, the smell of a victim. This word
was coined by Mackay who apparently was not content with the original
spelling of Gaule's list. For the most part Mackay's changes were of
a essentially cosmetic nature, merely altering a c to a where the word
element originally had a Greek kappa, etc. However, in this instance
he substituted a completely different Greek word. Why this was done
is a mystery, especially since Gaule's original term, libanomancy, both
utilises a Greek word, libanos incense, and is even represented in the
ancient Greek compound libanomantis an interpreter of incense smoke.
Actually, there was, as far as we know, no ancient Greek *knissomanteia,
*knissomantis, etc. This word has been copied by later amateur lexicographers
into their popular-consumption books. It is not recorded by the OED,
or any other standard English dictionaries.
KOSKINOMANCY: A variant spelling of coscinomancy.
Arising from a variant transliteration of the ancient Greek letter kappa.
KRITHOMANCY: A variant spelling of crithomancy. Arising
from a variant transliteration of the ancient Greek letter kappa.
KYPOMANCY: A rare word for tasseomancy.
LABIOMANCY: A rare word for the art of lip-reading.
Seemingly invented for the nonce by Plot in 1686. The only real evidence
I have for this word comes fom the great OED. Not actually a method
of divination. Here the terminus -mancy is being used in its looser
sense of denoting the discovery of unknown things without resort to
occult powers. Derived from labio-, combining form of Latin labium lip.
LAMPADOMANCY: is divination using lights or torches.
Divination by interpreting a candle or lamp, usually the flame. A form
of pyromancy. Naturally this only refers to naked-flame lamps as are
no longer widely used in the Western world. Derived from medieval Latin
*lampadomantia ???, from the ancient Greek lampad-, combining form of
lampas a torch. The butter lamp used for divination should be faultless
and made of gold, silver or another precious metal. It should be thoroughly
cleaned. A wick should be made from a dry and odourless piece of wood,
which is neither too thick nor too thin, with a height reaching the
brim, and placed in the centre of the lamp. Barley should be heaped
on it, and melted, purified butter poured over it. Then recite: Om ah
hum vajra guru dhe vadakki nihum' od' od li sarva ah lo ke praha dhe
naye svan bah a hundred times and think of the question you wish to
ask. Then light the butter lamp and observe the shape of the flame.
A globular point means safety, a conch shape represents fame, a bright
yellow flame indicated no obstacles, a lotus and jewel like flame denotes
wealth. A flame with a hook shaped tip means that one will become powerful
and one with two points signifies that the person will leave for another
place. If the light of the lamp is dim and the flame gutters, it means
someone will become one's enemy or that he or she is about to receive
a guest from a distant place. The flame separating Into two parts indicates
separation within one's family. A dark red flame means the eldest son
will die, the middle of the flame turning red and smoke coming from
the wick indicates loss of property and the lamp going out without apparent
reason means death. Spilling of the melted butter stands for the length
of an undertaking. More
LECANOMANCY: uses a basin of water for divination.
Divination by interpreting the sound or image of an object or substance
falling into a body of water. Divination by water in a basin, performed
by various means as by dropping gems in the water, or by staring into
the water's surface in order to see prophetic images. Derived from New
Latin lecanomantia, leconomantia (Agrippa), from Late Latin lecanomantia,
from the ancient Greek lekanomanteia, from lekane a dish, a pan. Lecanomancie,
lecaunomancy, leconomancy, leucanomancy, licanomancy.
LEKANOMANCY: See Lecanomancy.
LESSER ARCANA: The 56 suit cards in a Tarot deck that
assist in fleshing out the situations indicated by the Trump Cards (Major
Arcana), or indicate smaller occurrences in our lives. Also known as
the Minor Arcana
LETNOMANCY: A spurious word, punning on 'let no man
n.d. W.H. Cremer (ed.) The Magician's Own Handbook ii. 186: On either
side of your little stage whereon you exercise your art the decorations
may comprise a shield, ornamented in mock heraldry with the jugglers'
insignia - cups, wand, sword, cards, hieroglyphical signs, c., and a
comic placard, founded on the following assertions: - "By Desire,
there will appear Signor Puscellino, native of Whangfobia, Doctor of
Pyrotechny, A.Z.X. and R.S.V.P., Professor of Chiromancy and Letnomancy,
known as Light-fingered Hieronimus, who has passed all degrees in every
Academy of Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and the Isle of Man, for alegbra,
mineralogy, topography, middleography, hydrodynamics, and lowdrodynamicalogismatics,
as well as the occult, mystic, and transcendental sciences, such as
cabalistics, busology, astrology, superstitions, animal magnetism, alchemy,
and divination." From New Latin libanomantia (Agrippa), French
libanomantie, from the ancient Greek libanomantis a diviner by incense,
from libanos frankincense. The variant form livanomancy appears only
in Gaule. Presumably a typographical error.
LIBANOMANCY, LIBRANOMANCY: is the study of incense
and its smoke. Divination by interpreting smoke from incense. A form
of capnomancy. Also known as Livanomancy. Divination by the pouring
out of water. I'm sure that I have seen this word defined in this way
in some work on the occult, but I have not been able to track the reference
down again since I made a brief note about the meaning over ten years
ago now. Presumedly a mistaken definition of libanomancy based on the
etymological conjecture, from Latin libans, pp. of libo to pour out.
LICANOMANCY: Spelling variant of lecanomancy.
LITHOMANCY: is divination using precious stones of
various colors. Divination using precious or semiprecious stones either
by interpreting light reflected from stones (crystallomancy, scrying)
or casting them and interpreting the way they fall (sortilege). Derived
from the French lithomantie, from the ancient Greek lithos a stone.
LIVANOMANCY: See Libranomancy or Libanomancy .
LOGARITHMANCY: Divination by interpreting logarithms.
Napier's Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis descriptio... was published
in 1614. The importance of Napier's idea was quickly recognised and
many other mathematicians improved on Napier's work and published further
tables, so that by 1628 the logarithms for all the natural numbers up
to 100,000 had been computed. Tables of logarithms are, naturally, amenable
to calculation, and are reminiscent of other tables used in the 17th
century for divinatory pruposes, such as those for astrological reckoning,
and geomancy. The works of Robert Fludd abound in tabulations and schemata
representing his various views of the cosmos and the place of humankind
Nonetheless, just how logarithms were employed to determine the future
remains a mystery. Even modern writers who try to discuss as many -mancy's
as possible, such as Charles Walker and Max Maven, balk at logarithmancy.
The word is only recorded in Gaule, and is a blend of logarithm and
arithmancy. The word logarithm was coined by Napier (in Latin as logarithmus)
from a blend of the ancient Greek logos a reckoning, a calculation,
and arithmos a number. The only variant form - logarithmomancy - is
very recently coined and represents a mere addition of a connective
-o- in order to make the word conform to other words ending in -(o)mancy.
LOGOMANCY: Divination via words of speech. A rare
word for divination by words and discourse. Derived from the ancient
Greek logos a word, talk, a maxim or proverb, an oracle.
LUNOMANCY: Divination by interpreting moonlight on
a person's face dusted with silver. A form of Selenomancy.
LYCHNOMANCY: Divination by interpreting the flames
of three candles. Similar to Lampodomancy. Divination using three candles
forming a triangle. From New Latin lynchnomantia, from the ancient Greek
lychnos a lamp, a light. First occuring in English in the erroneous
form: eychnomancy. A positive answer to the question asked would be
indicated by one flame burning higher than the other two. A wavering
flame would indicate a journey. A spiral flame indicated plots by enemies.
An uneven flame danger. Sparks would indicate you should be cautious
and a sudden extinction indicated bad luck.
MACHAROMANCY: Divination by interpreting knives or
swords. http://www.gardenofbadthings.com/superstitions.htm. Divination
by swords, daggers and knives. A term appearing only in Gaule and copyists.
From the ancient Greek machaira a short sword, a dagger. The OED while
only having one citation for this word etymologically normalised their
headword to the form machæromancy. This is based on the fact that
commonly the ancient Greek diphthong comes through to English as æ.
Websters on the other hand goes all the way and gives three different
forms, incorporating yet another possible transliteration of the Greek
dipthong, i.e. ai. As far as I am aware, given the available evidence,
these two forms, machæromancy and machairomancy, never actually
existed in English.
MACROMANCY: Divination via the interpreting of the
largest object in a set area. Derived from the ancient Greek makros
MACULOMANCY: Divination via spots and stains. According
to Shipley a divination by spots, though what precisely he means is
uncertain. Max Maven equates it with meilomancy, which is a fair enough
assumption to make since Shipley's paraphrase spot does service as a
contextual synonym for `mole'. However, the usual Latin term for a mole
was actually naevus, not macula. From Latin macula a spot, a stain.
MAGASTROMANCY: A beautifully wonderful word for the
fabulous divination of the future through astrological calculations
and speculations. Coined by the Reverend John Gaule in his railing diatribe
against astrology and associated arts in the 17th century. THE MAG-ASTRO-MANCER,
OR THE Magicall-Astrologicall-Diviner Posed, and Puzzled.
It can be neatly glossed as magical astrology. The point Gaule is making
with this word is that the concept of astrology as practised in his
day involved a belief in magic. This word, though magestically constructed,
and powerfully scathing, unfortunately did not find favour, and apart
from being recorded by a number of major lexicographers of late 19th
and early 20th centuries, has quite disappeared.It did however find
slightly greater acceptance than its nearby companion magomancy. The
word is concocted from the Latin magus magic, added to astromancy.
MAGOMANCY: A word meaning magical divination. A sort
of umbrella term for all the magical divinatory practices prevalent
in the 17th century. Coined by the Reverend John Gaule. THE MAG-ASTRO-MANCER,
OR THE Magicall-Astrologicall-Diviner Posed, and Puzzled. Similar to
his magastromancy, this word does not refer specifically astrology,
but rather to all the other similar divinatory arts. Not recorded by
the OED, nor any other dictionary. Also, all-importantly, this word
did not appear in the excerpts taken by Brand in his Popular Antiquities
of 1777. This is because Brand only reproduced Gaule's actual list of
-mancy words. Therefore magomancy was not introduced into the plethora
of books on superstition, magic, divination, and the occult, of the
following centuries. A beautiful word that died aborning.Derived from
mago-, representing the Latin magus magic.
MAJOR ARCANA: The 22 Trump Cards depicting dominant
occurrences in a Tarot deck.
MARGARITOMANCY: is the procedure of using bouncing
pearls. Divination using pearls and interpreting the light reflected
or the way they fall. Similar to Lithomancy. Derived from Latin margarita
MATHEMANCY: Divination via mathematics. A word occuring
in Shipley, defined as "divination by quantity". Derived from
a blend of mathe(matics) and -mancy, following orthography of arithmancy.
MAZOMANCY: Divination by the suckling of a baby. Derived
from the ancient Greek mazos a breast.
Cf. 1979 B. Martin Dict. Occult: mammoscopy - a form of divination which
draws its deduction from an examination of the female breasts.
MECONOMANCY: Divination via behavior of a person during
sleep.A word occurring in Shipley with two definitions: a divination
by drug induced sleep, and b divination by poppies. Derived from the
ancient Greek mekon a poppy.
MEILOMANCY: A rare word for divination by a person's
METAGNOMY: is the divination using "visions"
received in a trance state. Divination by interpreting visions received
in a trance state.
METEOROMANCY: is divination from meteors. Divination
by interpreting falling stars (meteors). A form of aeromancy. Divination
by meteorological phenomena, such as thunder, comets, meteors. Derived
from the ancient Greek meteoros things in the air, aerial phenomena,
as meteors, comets, heavenly bodies.
METOPOSCOPY METOPOMANCY: is the reading of character
using the lines if the forehead. Divination and character analysis through
interpreting facial lines and wrinkles, especially of the forehead.
Derived from the ancient Greek metopon the forehead, originally the
space between the eyes.
MICROMANCY: Divination via the studying of the smallest
object within a set area. Derived from the ancient Greek mikros small.
MINERAMANCY: Divination by found minerals. Derived
from a blend of minera(l) and -mancy.
MINOR ARCANA: See Lesser Arcana.
MOLEOSOPHY: is the study of moles and indicators of
a person's character and future indications. Divination and character
assessment by interpreting moles on the body
MOLYBDOMANCY: draws mystic inferences from the hissing
of molten lead. Divination by interpreting molten tin or lead. Divination
by molten lead dropped into water. Prognostications were derived from
interpretation of the resulting shapes and forms. The occurrence in
Bailey's in 1727 pre-dates the OED's earliest citation. From New Latin
molybdomantia, from the ancient Greek molybdos lead.
MOROMANCY: Foolish divination. A derogatory term for
all divination. Derived from French moromantie, from the ancient Greek
moros silly, foolish. The only variant, moromantie, occurs in Blount
where it is taken exactly from the French from Cotgrave. Normally Blount
modified the ending. I assume in this case it is a mere oversight.
MYOMANCY: is the study of the prophetic meaning of
behavior of rats and mice. Divination by interpreting the appearance
and behavior of mice. A form of Augury. Derived from the ancient Greek
myo-, combining form of mys mouse.
MYRMOMANCY: Divination by interpreting the appearance
and behavior of ants. A form of augury.
NAGOMANCY: A hapax legonenom occurring
in Gaule. Here it is synonymous with >necromancy.
Presumably it is a typographical error nigromancy
NARCOMANCY: Divination via sleep. See Meconomancy.
NATIMANCY: A jocular nonce-word for a supposed method
of divination using the lines on the buttocks.
NECROMANCY: Nagomancy: consulting the dead or a spirit
to obtain secret knowlage. This is usually done through a medium or
channel who contacts the spirit. Divination through communication with
ghosts or corpses. The spirits of the dead are sought for information
because they are supposedly able to access information beyond that available
to the living. Necromantic rites are not practiced in Witchcraft or
Wicca. Necromancy differs from other forms of divination involving contact
with spirits because it is specifically geared to summoning those spirits
that are not existing in a "natural" state and therefore they
are assumed to be unhappy and/or malicious.
1. Divination through raising the spirits the
dead. Also called necyomancy.
2. Black magic; sorcery, witchcraft; magic in
An adoption of a more etymologically correct form, from Latin (and
also New Latin) necromantia, from the ancient Greek nekromanteia, from
nekros dead. Replacing the Middle English form nigromancie.16th Century:
nicromancy, nycromancie, nycromancy. 17th Century: necromancie, necromanty,
nycromansy. 18th Century: necromancie, necromantie. See also egromancy,
igramancie, and especially nigromancy.
NECRO-PURO-GEO-HYDRO-CHEIRO-COSCINO-MANCY: A nonce-word
meaning, literally, divination utilising the raising of the dead, fire,
earth, water, hands, and sieves. A blend of necromancy, pyromancy, geomancy,
hydromancy, cheiromancy and coscinomancy. Note that puro- = pyro-.
1. The same as necromancy.
2. The art of perceiving the inner or secret
nature of things; psychometry, so called.
NECYOMANCY: Divination via summoning Satan. Divination
through raising the spirits the dead; necromancy. Etymologically, and
in ancient Greek (according to Liddle & Scott) these two words are
synonymous. Litterally they both mean 'divination through calling up
the dead'. Both nekys and nekro mean 'a dead body'. The definitions
in Shipley and Byrne derive from the mistake of reading 'devil' to mean
'(the) Devil', instead of its earlier meaning of, simply, 'spirit of
a dead person, ghost'. In Cockeram in the second part of his book, a
backwards dictionary, he defines both 'Diuination by calling vp damned
spirits' and 'D. by calling vp deuills and ghostes' separately as 'Necromancy'.
And 'necyomancy' appears not in this section. From New Latin, from Latin
necyomantia, from the ancient Greek Nekyomanteia, from nekys a corpse.
Necyomancie, Necyomantia, Necyomanty.
NEPHELOMANCY: See Aeromancy. Divination by clouds.
From Greek nephele a cloud.
NEPHROMANCY: Divination by kidneys. From the ancient
Greek nephros a kidney.
NOMANCY: Divination by names; onomancy. From the French
nomancie, aphetic variant of onomancie, onomancy, influenced by French
nom a name. An early variant form was nomency.
NOTARIKON: A form of gematria in which the first and
last letters of a word or phrase are put together to create a new word,
or to turn a word into a phrase. Gematria is a system of discovering
truths and hidden meanings behind words, using numerical values for
letters of the alphabet. Each letter corresponds to a number. The numerical
values of words are totaled and interpreted in terms of other words
with the same numerical value. Gematria dates back to the 8th century
B.C. Babylon, and has been used by most mystics since that time including
the Magi, Gnostics, and Quabbalists. Temurah is a form of gematria that
creates anagrams through systematic letter substitutions. See also:
NUMEROLOGY/ NUMBEROLOGY, NUMEROMANCY: is the numerical
interpretation of numbers, dates, and the number value of letters. divination
by numbers. Numberologists give numerical values to the letters of the
alphabet and analyze names for their numerical significance. It is claimed
that one's character and future can thus be determined. The system of
magick and divination developed by Pythagoras. In numerology, all words,
names and numbers may be reduced to single digits which correspond to
certain occult characteristics that influence one’s life. Numerology
is used to analyze a person’s character; assess weaknesses, strengths
and natural gifts; predict one’s future and fate; determine the
best place to live; and discover the best times to make decisions and
take action. See also: Gematria. Divination by numbers; Numerology;
Arithmancy. From the Latin numerus a number. More
OCULOMANCY: is divination from a person's eye. Divination
by interpreting the eye. From Latin oculus an eye.
ODONTOMANCY: Divination via the structure and indentations
of teeth. From the ancient Greek odont-, combining form of odoys a tooth.
OINOMANCY OENOMANCY: is divination using wine. Divination
by interpreting wine.
OIL-ONOMANCY: A pretty dreadful new form concocted
by Raffel to translate Rabelais' 'onimancy'. It appears to be based
on a mistake, for the basic sense of the original French word is divination
by fingernails, albeit oil is used in the process.
OINOMANCY: Divination by wine, esp. when poured our
in libations. From the ancient Greek oinos wine. Recorded only since
the 17th century. One could however mistakenly believe that the word
dates back to the 15th century if one happened to look up the headword
-mancy in the OED. Here the illustrative citation for the Middle English
period contains an error. The word ornomancie (See ornomancy) is substituted
by oinomancie! œnomancy, oenomancy. New Latin: oenomantia
OLOLYGOMANCY: Divination by barking dogs. From the
ancient Greek ololygon the croak of a male frog.
OMEN: A sign, preferably found in nature, that foretells
either good or bad events.
OMPHALOMANCY OMPHILOMANCY: IS counting the number
of knots in the umbilical cord to predict how many more children the
mother will have Divination by interpreting the navel (bellybutton).
Originally omphalomancy involved counting the number of knots in the
umbilical cord to predict how many more children a mother would have.
Divination by inspection of the navel cord of a newborn child. Also,
divination of the future number of children by counting the number of
knots in the umbilical cord. Or even divination through contemplating
one's navel From the ancient Greek omphalos the navel. Omphelomancy,
ONEIROMANCY ONIROMANCY: is the interpretation of dreams
and their prophetic nature. Divination by interpreting dreams. From
the ancient Greek oneiros a dream. Cf oneiromantis foreboding from dreams,
an interpreter of dreams. Also spelled Oneiromancie, Oniromancy. Certain
individuals are gifted with clairvoyant dreams which they can use as
means of predicting the out-come of future events. These dreams usually
take place in the latter part of the night, before dawn, and are characteristically
very clear. Like other forms of divination, they usually occur as the
result of a special relationship with a deity and use either established
symbolism that which is particular to the dreamer and easily recognised
by him or her. For a practitioner, the following are established symbols
of high accomplishment: seeing Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, one's personal
deities, and receiving teachings from them; dreaming of being enthroned,
putting on a crown, taking a bath, being given vajras and other religious
implements; dreaming of having become king, of reading scriptures, of
being in temples with holy objects, tigers, dragons, lions, garudas,
horses, or ascending into the sky close to the sun and moon; rotating
the four continents, easily swimming across the sea, seeing the sun
or moon rising, ploughing a field, eating dairy products, and of sitting
on a lotus; dreaming of being respected and praised by the gods, by
one's parents, spiritual masters, beautiful ladies, and friends; dreaming
of wildflower parks, rain, ripe fruit, kings, ascetics, Brahmins, wealthy
people, virtuous masters, geese and other auspicious birds. Overcoming
obstacles is indicated by dreaming of gold, treasure, precious stones,
sound weapons, food grains, ornaments, armour, and of killing one's
enemy. The following dreams, although apparently negative, actually
indicated good results, and symbolise the surmounting of obstacles:
cutting off one's head, eating human flesh, washing one's body in blood,
drinking alcohol, shaving off one's hair, burning one's body, immersing
oneself in sewage, surrounding the town with one's entrails, and making
love during the day. The following dreams indicated obstacles created
by harmful Spirits: meeting tigers, leopards, cats, dogs, pigs, donkeys,
mice, scorpions, weasels, snakes, vultures owls, dwarfs, dark, naked
thin people, butchers, pale and skinny children, tall naked men, and
struggling with any of the above; dreaming of wells becoming dry, of
heaps of bones and skulls, and of ruined houses. In general bad dreams
are those including the following indications: being chased by soldiers,
applying vegetable oil to one's body, talking with crippled or hunchbacked
individuals, seeing the sun or moon going down, climbing mountains of
sand or twigs, seeing red flowers or camel's back, passing through narrow
passages, wandering in a swamp, running downward, breaking the parts
of one's body or of things, being defeated by others and engaging in
unwholesome actions. These dreams indicate that an individual has very
little merit and will have a short life. In such cases, a lama would
advise that the person should accumulate merit, meditate on emptiness,
and perform peaceful fire ritual offerings before resuming any activity
he or she was engaging in.
ONIMANCY: Divination via fingernails. See Onychomancy.
Variant of Onymancy.
ONIROMANCY: Variant of oneiromancy.
ONOMANCY ONOMOMANCY, ONOMATOMANCY, ONOMAMANCY: is
the study of the meaning of names. Divination by interpreting names.
Variant of onomancy. Also, ? the skill of repeating many names by memory.
Not 'divination by asses' as some have suggested due to Gk onos ass,
see Smedley, Phillips & Chambers. From New Latin onomantia, French
onomancie, medieval Latin onomantia, shortening of medieval Latin onomatomantia,
from the ancient Greek Onomatos a name. Onomamancy, Onomancie, Onomantia,
Onomomancy. Varient of Onomatomancy From medieval Latin onomatomantia..
ONOMANTICS, ONOMANCY: applied to personal names, particularly
in the sense of occult interpretation. Presumably a conflation of onomastics
ONYCHOMANCY: is the study of fingernails. Divination
by interpreting the fingernails. The original form was to study the
reflection of the sun in the nails of a young boy. See Onychomancy.
Divination by observing the fingernails, oiled, and interpreting images
seen reflected in the sunlight. From the ancient Greek onychos a fingernail.
Onuchomancy, Onychomantia, Onycomancy. Erroneous Forms: Onchyomancy
(Mackay), Oncyomantia (Brand).See also: Onimancy, Onymancy and Onyomancy.
onycomancy, onychomancy, onymancy, onyomancy From New Latin onimantia,
unexplained shortening of *onychomantia. Pictorius
Vigillanus: Onimantici enim fuligine et oleo pollicis unguem vel manus
volam, seu palmam in puero tenello, tacito susurramine verborum accedente
illinunt, ut hinc spectra videant, aut imagines pro sua re convenientes,
quas puer denuo prodat.
OOMANTIA and OOSCOPY OOMANCY: is the method of divination
by eggs. Divination by interpreting the shape, color, and patterns (when
dyed) of an egg.
1. Divination of the future sex of a child by
incubating a hen's egg between the mother-to-be's breasts and noting
the sex of the chick.
2. Divination by dropping egg-whites into water.
Commonly in the New Latin form oomantia. Cf. ooscopy. From New Latin
oomantia, fro the ancient Greek oon an egg. Greek did have the word
OOSCOPY: Divination by nurturing an egg and observing
the hatching of a chick. Often used to determine the sex of an expected
OPHIOMANCY: is divination from serpents. Divination
by observing the appearance and behavior of serpents. A form of augury.
Divination from serpents and their manner of coiling up or eating. From
New Latin ophiomantia, from the ancient Greek ophio-, combining form
of ophis a snake. I have in my files a note that this word was also
spelled as orphiomancy, but can presently find no evidence for this
OPHTHALMOMANCY: Divination of one's character by observing
the eyes. From the ancient Greek ophthalmos an eye.
Modern Oracle respects the traditional enigmatical prophetic verses
alongside the more coherent prophetic verses as well. Enigmatical verses
for instance needed to be translated for seekers of prophecy for the
Oracle of Delphi. Oracles that divine information coherently have no
need for interpreters for they are coherent enough during the divining
to interpret their own findings. Many see Oracles to souly have the
ability of precognition, but this is only the mainstream version of
divining. Oracles at Delphi were chosen based on their potentials to
interact with the gods in an entranced state. At Delphi, Oracles would
directly inhale ethylene gases and sway in a euphoric trance to enhance
intuition. She would continue by answering question in an ecstatic and
wild manner in a complete incoherency. They were not necessarily precognitive
or clairvoyant before they became oracles, but had the potential to
be communicated through. Other Oracles are born with the ability to
prophesize and have an unbreakable heritage. These Oracles are raised
from early childhood by their spirit guides due to their extensive abilities
such as Precognition (future sight), Postcognition (past sight), Clairvoyance
(to see the unseen), Clairsentience (to sense the insensible), Clairaudience
(to hear the inaudible) and Psipathy (based on still images and detailed
emotions). It is their past, their present and future life. At any time
they can choose to wander from their growth, their path, but these abilities
can be to overwhelming to live a normal life for the gifts can out grow
Oracles never receive all the
information asked, rather all the information necessary. They divine
what is needed to be known at the time, not necessarily what actually
is the truth. Oracles are raised in a community of people and have set
belief systems that are ever growing. Oracles offer their prophecies
to their community and never ask for anything in return. Oracles, such
as the one at Delphi, are allowed to accept donations. The calling and
faith of an Oracle is precious to them and their laws are never underminded
with out consequence. An Oracle does not know all such as in myth, they
only learn from what they ask and they only answer in detail if the
question was in detail as well. (vagueness results in vagueness). Basically,
they only know what they need to now. For questions of great standing
value one "must" choose their question wisely and the format
in which it is given. The modern Oracle is an individual who speaks
to divine beings such as archangels or gods, but rarely the dead. The
Oracle bases their reception of information in the "heavens"
not in the "underworld". The modern Oracle is an individual
of heritage, a strong belief structure, a community, of charity and
of many gifts.Too many individuals believe Oracles to be fictitious
and their prophecies if correct are merely seen as an auspicious coincidence.
Those who lack in intuitive awareness tend to be a constituent of this
belief. Whether or not an oracle is believedby anyone external to their
community is irrelevant. It is supremely their only need to be accepted
unconditionally by their community. The Oracle in history has been a
right-hand to many kings and queens. They are of great importance to
political, financial and generalized community matters. Thus is the
same today in the modern world. Many communities all over the world
including the USA and Britain have Oracles either as royal advisors
equal to that of Shamans. They are also help highly as leaders of smaller
communities. In these communities they better their people’s futures
by foretelling the major movements in their system. They are still seen
as priest and priestesses and aide consistently in the ever advancing
belief system for the area. Oracles also involve themselves in the societies
moral or laws of the community. The Oracle adjoins their localized accepted
belief system and formulates just laws accordingly. Since the diviner
preforms his or her services with out a salery the community takes care
of him or her and suplies the oracle with everything she or her requires
to continue preforming this great service. Keep in mind a diviner in
a community setting is not of control and seizure rather of innovation,
growth and revision.
Oracles are not only utilized
to look into the future, but to also be utilized in protection and healing.
Protection is done spiritually and the healing is both mental, by entering
the deep recesses of the mind through their guides aide, and of a physical
nature. However, their primary function is to protect those of their
community unconditionally. The term Oracle in Tibet is used to describe
the spirit who enters the "medium" rather then the medium.
The Oracle in this case would be a medium between the physical and metaphysical
spirit world. In Tibet’s case they are known as Kutens or "the
physical basis's". Also in Tibet there was once thought to be thousands
of Oracles, but today only a few remain, including those consulted by
the Tibetan government. A person who speaks directly to a Deity
to divine or prophesize. Also known as Prophet, Theomancer. See Also:
Ariolater, Aruspex, Clairvoyant, Diviner, Haruspex, Seer, Soothsayer.
More Information on this site
ORNISCOPY and ORINITHOMANCY: is the study of omens
associated with birds, particularly birds in flight. see APANTOMANCY
Divination by interpreting the appearance and behavior of birds, especially
their flight or song. A form of augury.
ORNITHOMANCY: Divinations via a birds flight and
cries. From medieval Latin or New Latin ornithomantia, from the ancient
Greek ornithomanteia divination by birds (but, also, = crithomanteia
?), from ornithos genitive of ornis bird.
ORNOMANCY: A early spelling, dating back to the Middle
English period, of ornithomancy. This curious form seems to be a shortened
version of ornithomancy, but yet is found centuries earlier. It has
no parallel in other medieval languages, medieval Latin had ornithomantia,
regularly adopted from the ancient Greek ornithomanteia. A similar "earlier"
shortening can be seen in arithmancy.
c1500 (?a1475) John Lydgate Assembly of the Gods
These folowyd Konnyng & the dyr with hym came,
With many ooñ moo offryng her seruyce
To Vertew at hat nede; but natwithstandyng than
Some he refusyd and seyde in nowyse
They shuld with hym go, and, as I coude auyse,
These were her names: fyrst, Nygromansy,
Geomansy, Magyk, and Glotony,
Adryomancy, Ornomancy, with Pyromancy,
Fysenamy also, and Pawmestry,
And all her sequelys, yef I shult nat ly.
OROMANCIE: An early var. of Urimancy.
ORYCTOMANCY: Divination via the study of excavated
objects. From the ancient Greek oryktos dug up.
OSSOMANCY, OSTEOMANCY: Divination via bones. From
Latin ossa a bone.
OUIJA, OUIJA BOARD: (French, oui: "yes";
German, ja: "yes"): A divination tool with the alphabet and
numbers laid out on a board. Also called a Spirit Board. More
OURANOMANCY, OUROMANCY: See Uranomancy.
OVOMANCY: is another type of egg divination. Divination
by interpreting the yolk of an egg. See also oomancy. From ovo-, combining
form of Latin ovum an egg.
PALLOMANCY: Divination interpreting the movements
of pendulum, often used in dowsing. Different forms of pallomancy include:
Cleidomancy (using a key); Coscinomancy (using a sieve); Dactylomancy
(using a ring); Also known as Radiesthesia. Derived from the ancient
Greek pallo to weild, to sway, to swing.
PALMISTRY /CHIROMANCY: Palmomancy: is the broad field
of divination and interpretation of the lines and structure of the hand.
the study of the hand, and the lines of the palm to assess character
and foretell the future. See Cheiromancy.More
PANTOMANCER: A scathing term invented by Gaule for
one who divines by anything and everything; an inveterate and constant
finder of omens and presages. From the ancient Greek pantos of everything,
genitive of pas all.
PAPYROMANCY: Divination by interpreting folding paper.
A jocular nonce-word. Derived from ancient Greek papyrus paper, referring
to the paper used in rolling a joint.
PEDOMANCY, PEDIMANCY: Divination by interpreting the
footprint of a person, usually encased in clay. A form of podomancy
(interpreting the feet). divination by lines on the soles of the feet.
[from pedo- combining form from L pedi-, pes foot. The more etymologically
'correct' form should be either pedimancy (from pedi- the 'correct'
combining form from Latin pes, ped- em foot) or podomancy (using the
combining form from the Greek ?ovc, ?o?oc (pous, podos)). Here the ped-
comes from the Latin root, and the -o- is the usualy English connective
as seen in numerous other words, especially those ending in -mancy.
For these reasons OED labels the word a hybrid. According to Murray
it was originally a jocular term used by Gabriel Harvey in his book
Pierce's Super, in 1593, but later used seriously] (paeligdomancy, pedomancie,
PEGOMANCY: concerns itself with spring water and bubbling
fountains and the omens contained therein. Divination by interpreting
sacred pools, springs, wells or fountains. A form of Hydromancy and
often used in conjunction with scrying.
PERIMANCIE: a Middle English form of pyromancy.
PESSOMANCY: Divination by casting or drawing marked
stone, rocks, pebbles or beans. A form of Sortilege. Also known as Psephomancy.
PHALLOMANCY: divination by observation of a bull's
penis. [Gk ^^oc (phallos) the penis].
PHRENOLOGY: is the long practiced study of head formations.
PHYLOMANCY: divination by leaves. [NL phyllomancy,
MGk v^^omanteia (phyllomanteia), from Gk v^^ov (phyllon) leaf]
PHYLLORHODOMANCY: is a means of divination whereby
one slaps a rose petal against the hand and judges the favorability
of the omen by the loudness of the sound. Divination by interpreting
rose petals. The original form involved slapping a rose petal against
the palm of the hand and interpreting the sound made. divination of
luck in love by clapping rose petals against the palm and noting the
loudness of the sound made. [Gk v^^ov (phyllon) leaf + `poov (rhodon)
PHYLOROMANCY: Divination by the face. Divination from
the general appearance. [ cf Gk phyll- leaf].
PHYSIOGNOMY, PHYSIOGNOMANCY: is the study of character
analysis through physical features. Divination and character analysis
by interpreting the face. Similar to Metoposcopy (interpretation of
facial lines). An alternate term for the more common word physiognomy,
the study of the face a. to gain insight to a person's character and
b. to divine their future. This practice was common in former times,
but recently is not so prominent in New Age philosophies. Many works
have been written on the subject, the most famous being that of Aristotle.
For a pretty poor rationale of the practice see the citation for 1797.
As with many early forms of divination, physignomy was conflated with
astrology, with certain wrinkles on the face being assigned signs and/or
planets, just as in chiromancy. Later refinements of this practice were
metoposcopy or metopomancy, and moleosophy or meilomancy. Some suggest
that it helped to give rise to phrenology, but I do not think the connection
is that close, phrenology being formed on a quite different assumption.
The word is a simple compound of physiogno(my) + -mancy. The word physiognomy
was borrowed into English in the Middle English period, and there was
subject to much spelling variation, occuring occasionally as phisionomie,
but more usually with a syllable dropped, as phisonomie, physynomye,
fysenamye , or even with two syllables dropped, as in fysnomye, fisnomy
and physnomy. The word makes it way into English from the Old French
fisonomie or Medieval Latin physonomia, both in turn from the Medieval
Latin physionomia, from Late Greek physiognomia. This form actually
arises, according to OED, from an erroneous form, appearing in the Eclogae
of Stobaeus, of the Greek physiognomonia the art of reading the features,
ultimately a compound of physis nature, and gnomon to judge. The modern
English form is an educated spelling based on the original ancient Greek.
It is remarkable that from the Greek physiognomonia to the Middle English
fisnomy there is a reduction from seven syllables to only three. The
variant forms given by Shipley (fiznomancy, phyznomancy) represent possible
Middle English or even early modern English forms, though I cannot find
corroborating evidence for them. I would like to express my great doubts
about them. Hellweg merely copies Shipley. The variant from Collier's
Encyclopedia is probably the result of an erroneous transcription. None
of these forms, including the headword, appear in OED.
PIROMANCY: a Middle English form of pyromancy.
PNEUMANCY: divination by blowing, of candles, etc.
[Gk vv (pneuma) wind]
PODOMANCY: Divination by interpreting the feet. See
This ability can help one to see what has happened
in the past, or to see people who have passed on. Some postcognates
can see ghosts wandering the earth in search for retribution or the
chance to cross over and be at peace. Some also see spirits, ghosts
that have passed on and want recognition, or are just wandering about
with a loved one they watch over. Some postcognates can see Demonic’s
and Angelic's as well, though the base of their gift lies with the dead.
PRECOGNITION: in an inner knowledge or sense of future
events. An an inner knowledge or vision of future events, especially
those that appear to be inevitable. Similar to Premonition (a vague
image or sense of the event). This ability is usually
chaotic in which is not controlled or harnessed rather it's sudden and
unexpected. Some use this gift to see the near future, or far into the
future for instance anything from what they will look like, what car
they will drive to how they will die.
PREMONITION: A warning of an impending event, experienced
as foreboding, anxiety and intuitive sense of dread. Premonitions tend
to occur before disasters, accidents and deaths. Similar to Precognition
(a clear image of the event).
PROPHECY: A prediction of future events, usually divinely
PROPHET: See Oracle.
PSEPHOMANCY: Divination via political elections. Divination
by drawing pebbles from a pile. Usually a chicken was employed to do
the drawing. [NL psephomantia, Gk yn?oc (psephos) pebble].
PSEUDOMANCY: False or fake divination. Deceptive
divination. [medL pseudomantia, from Gk pseudomanteia, from pseudo-,
PSYCHOGRAPHY: is a form of mysterious writing having
a divinatory nature. Spirit communication done unconsciously by an individual
often in trance, obsession or possession states. Automatic communication
has occurred with people in a fully conscious state without their awareness
of the action and distinct personality and knowledge variants (e.g.:
fluency in an ancient language) have been documented. Psychography is
the term applied to written communication and is also known as Autography
and Automatic Writing. Psychography is distinct from Direct Writing
where a spirit writes directly without human or mechanical assistance.
All forms are distinct from Psychomancy where the diviner consciously
summons the spirit for communication.
PSYCHOMANCY: Divination by interpreting the soul
of a person, their values, beliefs and morals. Also known as Soul Reading.
Divination through raising the spirits the dead; necromancy. Occult
communication between souls or spirits. [Gk Yvxovic (pyschomantis) a
necromancer, sorcerer; from yvxn (psyche) breath, soul, spirit] (psycomancy).
PSYCHOMETRY: is the faculty of gaining impressions
from a physical object and its history. Divination by interpreting an
object to obtain information about its history and/or owner. Considered
to be a form of clairvoyance and often used to locate missing persons
or to assist in solving crime. The term was coined in the mid-nineteenth
century by Joseph R. Buchanan, an American physiologist.
PYROMANCY and PYROSCOPY: are forms of divination by
fire or flame, often assisted by substances thrown onto the flames.
divination by fire. Leaves, twigs, or incense are thrown into a fire,
and changes in color, shape, and intensity of the flames are intrepreted.
Divination by interpreting fires, flames or burning objects. There are
many different forms of pyromancy including: Botanomancy (burning branches
and leaves);Capnomancy (smoke); Causinomancy (burning flammable objects);Daphnomancy
(burning a laurel branch); Lampadomancy (lamps or candles); Pyroscopy
(burning paper); Sideromancy (burning straw). divination by fire or
by forms appearing in fire. [OF pyromance, LL pyromantia, from Gk ?vpomanteia
(pyromanteia) from ?vp (pyr) fire] Variant Forms: ME - piromanci, piromancie,
piromancye, piromaunce, pyromancye, pyromanty, perimancie, perimansie,
permansie, pernirancy. Surviving into Early modE - piromancy, pyromancie.
NL pyromantia. Observing the flames of ritual fire offerings is also
a form of divination. First, one invokes the fire god and then observes
the flame. A bright, golden, orange colour, a smokeless and soundless
quality, the flame burning strongly and turning to the right, or burning
upward in a single point, the fire lasting long and giving off a pleasant
smell are general positive signs, and indicate that whatever questions
one had in mind will be answered in a positive way. When the colour
of the flame is Snow white and the fire burns very gently, it mean that
one has been cleansed of imprints left by unwholesome actions. The flame
turning yellow means that one will become powerful and wealthy. Its
turning bright red signifies success in any undertaking and its becoming
a clear, smokeless blue colour symbolizes sound health and that one
will develop one's lineage. Signs of illness and other misfortune are
indicated by the fire blazing fiercely and the flame turning dark smoky,
the colour of human flesh, green, that of vegetable oil, dull, pale,
having two or three points and a foul smell. When performing a fierce
fire offering ritual, though, the above signs are considered to be positive.
Signs that are considered to be negative in the case of either peaceful
or wrathful rituals are sparks and smoke afflicting the performer of
the ritual. Dark flames moving in all directions and blazing in an unsteady
way indicate the termination of one's lineage.
PYROSCOPY: Divination by interpreting burning paper.
Originally, pyroscopy was the interpretation of the stains left on a
light surface after burning paper, current practice includes observation
of the paper as it burns. A form of pyromancy
RADIESTHESIA: is the general term for divination using
a device such as a divining rod or pendulum. Other forms include "table
tipping" which was practiced at the White House in the 19th century,
the Ouija board, automatic writing (or superconscious writing), and
scrying. See Pallomancy.
Postcognition, but on some occasions it can be post and precognitively
RETROMANCY: divination by observing
things over the shoulder. [L retro backwards]
RHABDOMANCY, RABDOMANCY: is divination using a stick
or wand. These methods were forerunners of the divining rod. the interpretation
of the position of rods, arrows, or staffs for the purpose of divination.
Divination using a stick, wand or divining rod. Rhabdomancy is often
used in dowsing.
1. (1646) (generally) divination by means of
any rod, wand, staff, stick, arrow, etc. (specifically) Used to describe
various methods of divination as by a. using sticks to draw lots,
b. setting staffs on end and watching them fall,
c. divination by arrows (with wooden shafts) - see belomancy.
2. Used in reference to two instances occurring
the Bible - Hosea iv.12 and Ezekial 21.21. It is not certain what practises
these verses are actually referring to, but it is generally considered
to be a divinatory practice. Numbers 17 has also been ascribed to rhabdomancy.
None of these practises seem to be found in Ancient Greece. Liddle &
Scott are "dubious" about the word's existence in Classical
Greek, though, naturally, the word is well attested in Patristic Greek.
II. (1649) the use of a divining-rod (the virgula divina, or baculus
divinatorius), a Y-shaped branch of a tree, in discovering ores, springs
of water, etc; also known as dowsing, water witching, and, rarely, Bletonism.
Often the branch was taken from a hazel tree, a tree which has long
had mystic significance - the rods of Moses and Aaron were of hazel,
and Apollo gave Mercury a hazel rod. However, any other sort of appropriately
shaped branch could be used, and in modern times two separate pieces
of wire are often substituted. The method basically involved holding
the divining-rod before oneself and wandering over the land, when above
the thing sought for the rod moves involuntarily in some manner. This
was in extensive use from the 16th century onwards in Germany for discovering
ores. Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia universalis 1544, and Georg
Agricola's De Re metallica 1546, provide early evidence of this art.
It's use for discovery of subterranean water, hidden treasure, thieves,
etc. does not seem to be recorded before the seventeenth century. In
modern occultism rhabdomancy is explained as a form of radiesthesia.
RHAPSODOMANCY: is a means of divination using a book
of poetry whereby the book is opened at random and a passage read. Divination
by interpreting randomly chosen passages in a book of Poetry. The most
common form is opening a book to a random page to answer a question.
The variant of using any book is called bibliomancy or stichomancy and
using books by Virgil and Homer is called stoichemancy. [F rhapsodomancie,
NL rhapsodomantia, from Gk `pywoc (rhapsodos) reciter of epic poems].
ROADOMANCY: See Astromancy. divination by stars.
[ OE rodor technical term for the firmament, the fixed stars, but this
word did not apparently survive into ME].
RUNES, RUNIC, RUNOLOGY, RUNEOLGY: Runes are an alphabetic
script used by the peoples of Northern Europe from the first century
c.e. until well into the Middle Ages. In addition to their use as a
written alphabet, the runes also served as a system of symbols used
for magic and divination. Runes fell into disuse as the Roman alphabets
became the preferred script of most of Europe, but their forms and meanings
were preserved in inscriptions and manuscripts. Also known as the Futhark.
An ancient Norse and Germanic alphabet the symbols of which were ascribed
magical properties and used mainly for charms and inscriptions, on stone,
wood, metal, or bone. More
SCAPULIMANCY: Divination via the shoulder blade which
has been charred or cracked from a fire. It is said that divining from
shoulder blades was first done by brown bears who, after killing weasels
and mice took out the shoulder blades and examined the lines on them
to know whether they were being pursued by hunters. This was observed
by hunters, who noticed that the bears sometimes ate the body of their
prey and sometimes abandoned it uneaten with only the shoulder blade
extracted. Gradually, this form of divination came into use among hunters
themselves, as well as among robbers and thieves. It was also very popular
among village people. The bone used in the divination must be the right
shoulder blade of a slaughtered sheep, as opposed to an animal which
has died from disease or been lulled by wild animals. To begin with,
the shoulder blade must be cleaned of meat and washed in clean water.
The diviner than fumigates it with juniper and holds it up with his
or her right band to be reflected in a mirror. Next, he recited 'Ye
dharma' three to seven times and invokes the deities requesting them
to give a clear answer. The shoulder blade is then burned in a smokeless
fire, Out of the sight of strangers. During the burning, if the shoulder
blade makes a rattling sound it means evil spirits are haunting the
house. Accompanying clucking sounds would indicate that they are causing
harm and discord in the family. The spine of the shoulder blade falling
away very quickly would mean that the above troubles could be dispelled
with a appropriate rituals. The shoulder blade is divided into different
areas which enable the diviner to make quite detailed predictions. These
are: one's protector's, Naga's enemy's and kindred's areas. Between
the protector's and the kindred's areas are five sections known as the
king's, the lord's, the minister's, one's own and the servant's areas.
These should be separated by a distance of one finger's breadth. Bubbles
in one's own area are a good sign, although if they recede the implications
are negative. A crack in the lower part of one's own area indicates
weakness in that year, and in the middle part, misfortune and regret.
however, a rack on the back signifies invincibility in he face of enemies
and evil spirits. A rack in the shoulder blade socket indicate loss
of property, though its fullness indicates impending wealth. The shoulder
remaining white is a positive sign of imminent action, while its turning
to an ash colour is negative and indicates high winds that year. Black
stands for heavy sin and yellow for a warm year. The shoulder blade's
cracking in many lines indicates a loss of path or an unsuccessful future.
Generally speaking white cracks are good indications, black ones are
bad and slightly dark ones are of middling negativity. White cracks
in one's protector's area indicate that the protector is helping you
and black ones show the necessity of performing purifying rituals, lamp
offerings, incense burning rituals, hoisting prayer flags and chanting
prayers of confession. If the Nags's area or the cracks on it become
black one must perform a Naga cake offering beside springs and lakes.
A crack appearing in the upper part of one's enemy's area means that
he will become powerful and if it is black, it is a bad sign and one
must recite sutras and the ritual of the white Umbrella (gDugs dkar),
which has the power to clear obstacles. If the kindred area is black
one must perform ransom life rituals (Tse sgrub). The division between
the king's area and the servant's area are examined in the same way.
The shoulder blade's cracking in vertical lines denotes illness and
in horizontal lines, that one will be a victim of theft and robbery
or that it will take a long time to achieve a goal or accomplish a task.
SCAPULOMANCY: Divination by interpreting the patterns,
cracks and fissures of the burned shoulder blade of an animal. Sometimes
considered to be a form of augury (divination by interpreting the appearance
and behavior of animals). Also known as Spatulamancy. Esp. a sheep's
shoulder-blade. [L scapula shoulder-blade] (scapulamancy, scapulimancy)
SCARPOMANCY: Divination by old shoes. [It scarpa shoe].
SCATOMANCY: Divination by interpreting excrement.
A form of Spatalamancy (divination by interpreting skin, bones or excrement).
[NL scatomantia, from Gk koc, kwp (skatos, skor) dung].
SCHEMATOMANCY: Divination via the appearance of people.
Divination in which the personal history of a person is inferred from
their form and appearnace; used to translate the Arabic kiy?fah. [Gk
xno-, xn (schemato-, schema) form, outward appearance].
SCIAMANCY, SCIOMANCY: Divination by communication
with spirits. Distinct from Necromancy in that the spirits are voluntary
participants in the divination. Divination by consulting the dead. [LL
sciomantia, from LGk kio-, ki (skio-, skia) ghost; cf. OF sciomance,
Sp, It sciomancia] (sciamancy, sciamantie, sciomantie).
SCIOMANCY: is divination using a spirit guide, a method
generally employed by channelers. Divination by consulting the dead.
[LL sciomantia, from LGk kio-, ki (skio-, skia) ghost; cf. OF sciomance,
Sp, It sciomancia] (sciamancy, sciamantie, sciomantie)
SCRYING: is a general term for divination using a
crystal, mirrors, bowls of water, ink, or flames to induce visions.
Information and Techniques (2)More
SCYPHOMANCY: Divination by drinking cups. [Gk kvoc
SEER: See Ariolater.
SELENOMANCY: Divination by interpreting the appearance
and phase of the moon. [Gk ^nvn (selene) the moon].
SHAMAN: A medicine man, priest or healer that reaches
past the boundris of herbs into the psychological levels. The can seek
out new knowledge to help aid and he can accompany the spirits of the
dead on their journey to the afterlife.
SHOWSTONE: See Crystal Ball.
SICOMANCY: See Sycomancy.
SIDEROMANCY: is the burning of straws with a hot
iron, the resulting figures having divinatory properties. Divination
interpreting straw placed on a hot iron surface. A form of pyromancy
(divination interpreting fire). [Gk inpoc (sideros) iron].
SIDEROMANCY: Divination via the stars. [from sidero-
combining form of L sider-, sidus star].
SKATHAROMANCY: Divination by interpreting the tracks
of a beetle crawling over a grave, especially that of a murder victim.
A form of augury (interpreting the appearance or behavior of animals).
SMOKE DIVINATION, SMOKE SCRYING: Information
SOLMANCY: Divination via the interpretation of the
patterns formed by the rays of the sun.
SOOTHSAYER: See Ariolater
SORTILEGE: is the casting of lots and the assessment
of omens indicated. Divination by casting or drawing lots. There are
many types of sortilege including: Astraglomancy (sheep bones); Belomancy
(arrows); Bibliomancy (books); Cleromancy (dice); Pessomancy (pebbles);
Rhapsodomancy (poetry); Stichomancy (books); Sometimes known as Cleromancy.
SOUL READING: See Psychomancy.
SPASMATOMANCY: Divination of forecoming diseases by
watching the twitching limbs of a person. [Gk o-, (spasmato-, spasma)
SPATALAMANCY: Divination by interpreting skin, bone
or excrement. [a Gaulean mistake for Gk *i^omanteia (spatilomanteia),
from Gk i^n (spatile) human excrement, also, parings of leather].
SPATILOMANCY: Divination by means of animal excrements
SPATULAMANCY: See Scapulomancy. Divination by shoulder-blades.
[med or modL spatulamancie, from L spatual shoulder-blade] (spatulomancy).
SPEALOMANCY: Divination by shoulder-blades. [speal-
, from speal-bone shoulder-blade, found only in the phrase 'reading
the speal-bone' = divining from a shoulder-blade].
SPHEROMANCY: Divination via a crystal sphere. See
Crystallomancy. [from sphero- combining form of Gk ip (sphaira) ball].
SPIRIT BOARD: See Ouija.
SPLANCHOMANCY: See Anthropomancy.
SPHONDULOMANCY: Divination by spindles. [Gk ovv^oc
(sphondulos) the round weight that twirls a spindle; cf Gk ovv^ovic
(sphondulomantis) divining by a spindle].
SPHLANCHNOMANCY: divination by entrails of sacrifices.
[Gk ^yxvov (splanchnon) the inward parts, the viscera].
SPATULOMANCY: Divination via the shoulder blades
SPODOMANCY SPODANOMANCY: is divination using cinders
or soot. Divination by interpreting ashes, soot or cinders, usually
from sacrificial fires or burnt offerings. Also known as Tephramancy,
Tephromancy or Tuphramancy. Divination by the patterns of ashes left
from a fire. [Gk oc (spodos) ashes].
STAREOMANCY: Divination by interpreting the Elements.
- earth, air, fire, water. [presumably from Gk stereos solid, with a
typically Gaulean spelling error; however, if so, Gaule's choice of
Greek here is a little poor since the term 'solid' can hardly be applied
to three of the four elements].
STERCOMANCY: Divination by seeds planted in dung.
[L stercus dung].
STERNOMANCY: Divination by interpreting the area between
the breast and belly (solar plexus). Basically only recorded in Gaule,
Blount ast Urquhart. [NL sternomantia, Gk pvov (sternon) breast bone.
Cf Gk pvovic (sternomantis) one who divines by the belly].
STICHOMANCY: is another form of throwing open a book
and selecting a random passage for the purpose of divination. See Bibliomancy.
Divination by passages from books. [F stichomantie, from Gk ixoc (stichos)
row of poetry. The form stoichomancy from Gk oixoc (stoichos), a variant
of ixoc (stichos). The form stoiche(i)omancy clearly arises from a confusion,
first by Weyer, then by Spence, of stoichomancy with Gk oixiwikoi (stoicheiomatikoi)
persons who cast nativities from the signs of the zodiac, (from oixiw
(stoicheiomata) signs of the Zodiac, from oixiov (stoicheion) element)]
Variant Forms: (erroneous) Stitchomancy, Stoicheomancy, Stoicheiomancy,
STIGONOMANCY: Divination by writing on tree bark.
A dictionary word. [Gk iywv (stigon) a tattooed or branded person, one
who marks (according FastW)].
STOICHEMANCY: Divination by interpreting randomly
chosen passages in books by Virgil and Homer. A form of Bibliomancy.
STOLISOMANCY: draws omens from the way people dress.
Divination by interpreting people's clothing and style. [from Gk o^ioc
(stolismos) clothing, dress, but with spelling error].
SYCOMANCY: is performed by writing messages on tree
leaves; the slower they dry, the more favorable the omen. A modern variation
is to write on slips of paper (always including one blank) and rolling
them up. They are then held in a strainer over a boiling pot; the first
to unroll will be answered. Divination by interpreting the response
of a written question to moisture. Originally, questions were written
on fig leaves, the slower the leaf dried out, the more favorable the
prediction. Today, sycomancy is done with paper (observing the response
to steam) or tree leaves (observing the drying time). Also applies to
1. (specifically and originally)
a. divination by means of writing messages on fig leaves, or sycamore
b. a mode of divination employing figs.
2. (loosely) applied to any divination using
leaves. [NL sycomantia (Agrippa) divination by fig leaves, from Gk ?vkov
(sykon) fig] Varinant Forms: sicomancy, sychomancy, sycomanty.
SYMBOLOMANCY: Divination by object occurring on the
road. [Gk vo^ov (symbolon) a symbol].
TAROT: Divination by interpreting a set of 78 cards
which carry pictures and symbols used to connect the diviner with the
collective unconscious. The cards can be used to determine the past,
present and future of an event or person and can become powerful tools
in magickal workings and rituals. The Tarot is divided into the22Major
Arcana or Trump cards that depict dominant occurrences and the 56 Minor
Arcana or Suit cards that assist in fleshing out the situations indicated
by the Trump Cards, or indicate smaller occurrences. The Minor Arcana
are also known as the Lesser Arcana.
TAROLOGIST: A person who divines using Tarot cards.
TASSEOGRAPHY, TASSEOMANCY: is the reading of tea
leaves that remain in a tea cup once the beverage has been drunk. divination
by reading tea-leaves. The dregs of a cup of tea are swirled around
inside the cup, then the cup is inverted on a saucer. The seer intreprets
the patterns of thw leaves remaining inside the cup. Divination by interpreting
tea leaves and coffee grounds. [F tasse cup]. More
TEPHRAMANCY, TEPHROMANCY: is divination by ashes obtained
from the burning of tree bark. See Spodanomancy. [F tephromancie, NL
tephromantia, thephramantia (Agrippa), from Gk ???p? (tephra) ashes]
Variant Forms: tephramancy, tephramanty, tuphramancy (Gaule and copyists),
THEOMANCY: Divination through direct contact with
a Deity. Practitioners are usually referred to as Oracles, Prophets
1. (properly) In Greek antiquity, the art of
prophecy; oracular divination; divination gained from a person inspired
by some divinity. (NB - Bailey says opposite to this).
2. (from a Christian viewpoint) a mode of pretended
divination by the revelation of the Spirit, or by the Scriptures, or,
by attempting to summons God by name. Gaule and Blount are particularly
scathing on this point. Compare theonomancy. [Gk ??omanteia (theomanteia)
spirit of prophesy, ??o??v?ic (theomantis) one inspired with the spirit
of prophecy, an oracle, from Gk ??oc (theos) god].
THEOMANCER: See Oracle.
THEONOMANCY: divination by the invocation of the names
of God. [Gk ??oc (theos) god + 'ovo-, 'ovo?? (ono-, onoma) name].
THERIOMANCY: Divination by interpreting the movement
of groups of animals (e.g.: flocks of geese, herds of cattle). A form
of augury (divination by interpreting the appearance or behavior of
animals). [Gk ?npiov (therion) a wild animal].
THUMOMANCY: divination by one's own soul. [Gk ?v?o??v?ic
(thumomantis) prophesying from one's own soul (without special inspiration),
endowed with a spirit of prophesy (the opposite of ??o??v?ic (theomantis)),
from ?v?oc (thumos) the soul]
TIROMANCY, TYPOMANCY, TYROMANCY: is a type of divination
using cheese. Divination by interpreting the coagulation, especially
holes, in cheese.
TOPOMANCY: Divination via the shape of an area of
land. [Gk ?o?oc (topos) place].
TRANSATAUMANCY: Divination based on something seen
or heard accidentally. Even trifling mistakes were accepted as omens
by the ancient Romans, and even today many people are apt to attribute
their good fortune to chance occurrence or coincidence.
TROCHOMANCY: Divination via the interpretation of
wheel tracks. [Gk ?poxoc (trochos) a wheel].
TUPHRAMANCY: See Spodanomancy. See Tephromancy.
TYLOMANCY: a mistake in the first edition (1981) of
The Macquarie Dictionary for xylomancy. Corrected in second edition
(1991). The same error occurs in The Macquarie Thesaurus (1984)]
TYPOMANCY, TYROMANCY: See Tiromancy.
TYROMANCY: Divination via cheese. [F tyromantie, NL
tyromantia, from Gk ?vpoc (tyros) cheese; cf. ?vpo??v?ic (tyromantis)
one who divines by cheese] (tiromancy, tiromantie).
by the umbilical cord; omphalomancy. From New Latin vmbilicomantia
(Agrippa), from Latin umbilicus the navel. 1995 C. Walker Encyc. Secret
Knowledge 177: The arts of venamancy and umbilicomancy are divinatory
systems linked with childbirth, which he [sc. Barthelemy Cocles] claims
to have learned from his mother, a skilled midwife.
URANOMANCY: Divination via consulting the heavens.
A rare word, recorded only once, in the 17th century, for divination
by the stars; astrology; astromancy. From ancient Greek ouranos heaven,
the heavens, the sky. The variant form included by Shipley is without
other evidence. This form was quite possible in the 17th century, which
had ouranography a description of the heavens.
URIMANCY, UROMANCY: Divination by interpreting urine.
URIM V'TUMIM: Divination by interpreting the sacred
stones attached to the breast plate of a High Priest.
URINOMANCY: A rare term for the more common Uromancy.
The 1979 citation is clearly referring to a 17th century text, however,
the title was most likely originally in Latin, as was probably the whole
book. It apparently was not one of Fludd's own texts. From urino- combining
form of Latin urina urine.
UROMANCY: Medical diagnosis gained by inspection of
the urine. First recorded in Agrippa where it is used derisively of
physicians, along with drymimancy and scatomancy. This medical practise,
roughly speaking, is still in use today, but it is not thought of as
`divination' per se. However in earlier times, especially during the
Middle Ages and Renaissance when physicians were informed by Galenian
principles (i.e. the theory of the four humours), it was a very different
diagnostic method. As practiced in former times it was quite a simplistic.
In a book by physician Thomas Brain entitled The Pisse-Prophet dating
from 1655, we are told that, basically, diseases were categorised by
uromancers into two types acute and chronic, and that dark coloured
urine signified acute diseases, and weak, watery urine signified chronic
diseases. Chemical analysis of urine was not performed, rather it was
looked at concerning its "severall colours, parts, contents, substance,
quantity, [and] smell". Brian points out that such urine colouring
does not always signify acute illnesses. Here the physicians were using
simple colour metaphor, red = hot, therefore = fever. However, Brian
is probably simplifying things in order to discredit them. Certainly
urine with any discharge signifies some malady, and clear urine is produced
when healthy. This fact gave rise to the old proverb (as recorded in
John Florio's Florios Second Frutes 1591) "I knowe no better phisick
then to piss cleare, that so a man may bid a figg for the phisition".
Yet, uromancy was much more than merely diagnosing
disease. Brian says (page 1):
The vulgar sort are so strongly prepossest (by
reason of their ignorance) the Physicians can
discern (by the Urine) the Disease, the conception,
the sex, the parties age, with many other such
absurdities, that I fear it will be an hard matter
to dispossesse them of that opinion.
Brain as quotes (page A2) a Latin proverb "often heard..spoken
from the mouth of many a well-read and experienced man in Physicke,
that (Urina est meretrix, vel mendax) the Vrine is an Harlot, or a Lyer..."
The practice was also previously known as uroscopy, and, according to
Bailey, as late as 1755, was "commonly called the casting of Waters".
Rarely, termed urinomancy. From New Latin oromantia, uromantia, from
uro- combining form representing Greek ouron urine. Here -mancy refers
to 'divination' in its weaker sense of 'sucessful conjecturing' rather
than 'magical/supernatural prediction or insight'.Early modern English:
oromancie, vromancie. Latinate forms: uromantica, uromantia. Modern:
(influenced by the i in "urine") urimancy.
URTICARIAOMANCY: Divination via the location of an
itch sensation. An itch is a desire whether teasing (itching for action)
or uneasy (itching for action) etc.. http://www.gardenofbadthings.com/superstitions.htm
VAASTU SASTRA, VASSTU SHASTRA: Divination with complex
mathematical calculations along with the energy lines of the earth.
It is a traditional theory of architecture outlining guidelines for
building design. The traditional practitioners of Vaastu were called
'Vaastu Shastris' whose area of knowledge extended from philosophy to
astronomy. The theory of Vaastu is permanent and not bound by any time
barrier. It suggests ways in which we can live in tune with the laws
VIDEOMANCY: Divination via moving pictures, television,
WATER DIVINATION, WATER SCRYING: Information
XENOMANCY: Divination by interpreting by the first
stranger found. Divination by observing the first stranger you meet.
Cf. schematomancy and apantomancy. This word is a compound based on
the ancient Greek xenos a foreigner, stranger.
XYLOMANCY: is divination from pieces of wood, either
from their shape when collected or their appearance while burning. Originally
this word was used to refer to two oft quoted verses in the Bible; namely
Ezekiel 21:21 and Hosea 4:12. These two verses are not very specific
in themselves about the method of divination used. However it is generally
believed to be a similar practice to that described at belomancy. In
this sense it is virtually synonymous with rhabdomancy. The word is
from New Latin xylomantia, derived from the ancient Greek xylon wood.
YDROMANCY: This word represents the Middle English
form of hydromancy. This word was originally borrowed from the Middle
French (1300--1600) where it appears as ydromancye. French regularly
lost an initial h of Latin words, and they were taken thus into Middle
English. In the Renaissance the h was learnedly replaced by writers
knowledgeable in Latin and Greek. Another Middle English form was ydromaunce
which was borrowed directly from the Old French ydromance. The actual
headword form ydromancy is not a true form, as it blends the Middle
English beginning with the modern English ending. This form only appears
in dictionaries. See Hydromancy.
ZOOMANCY: Divination by interpreting the appearance
and behavior of animals. Synonymous with one of the definitions of augury.
From zoo-, combining form of ancient Greek zoon an animal. The earliest
examples of this word are in dictionaries. It is recorded in the Century
Dictionary, and presumably they had at least one citation to warrant
its inclusion. It was recorded by the OED (under zoo-), but the citation
is missing! Though the citation for zoomantist - one who practices zoomancy
- is there.
ZYGOMANCY: Divination by using weights, the original
form of Bibliomancy (being weighed against the Bible) is a form of zygomancy.
Derived from Greek zygon a balance for weighing things.
This page consists of internet and book common
knowledge and "most"of these descriptions were written by other
interpreters. I do not take credit for the "entierty" of this
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