DIVINATION - TYPES

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All Methods of Divination

Innumerable methods of divination can be found around the world, with many cultures practicing the same methods under different names.  During the Middle Ages, scholars found terms for many of these methods in Mediaeval Latin, very often utilising the suffixes: -mantia when the art seemed more mystical (ultimately from the Greek 'mantis' (prophet)), and -scopia when it seemed more scientific (from Greek 'skopein' (to observe)).  Names such as drimimantia, nigromantia, and horoscopia turned up, along with a host of other esoteric (and distinctly Mediaeval) "sciences" such as phrenology and physiognomy.  To see a dictionary describing ALL known methods of Divination, click HERE.  To see a lsit of the more common types, simply scroll down the page.

Name Method
Aeromancy From the Greek 'aero'' meaning 'air', and 'manteia' meaning 'divination', this is divination conducted through interpreting atmospheric conditions.  Alternate spellings include Arologie, Aeriology and Aërology.  Aeromancy uses cloud formations, wind currents and cosmological events such as comets to attempt to divine the future.  Sub-types of this practice are: austromancy (wind divination); ceraunoscopy (observing thunder and lightning); chaomancy (aerial vision) and meteormancy (meteors and shooting stars).
Alchemy This is the practice of transmutation of base metals into precious metals (e.g., gold or silver) with the aid of an esoteric substance called the philosopher's stone as well as an elixir of life conferring youth and immortality.
Alectryomancy Alectryomancy, also called Alectoromancy or Alectromancy, derives from the Greek words 'alectryon' and 'manteia', meaning 'rooster' and 'divination' respectively.  It is a form of divination in which the diviner observes a bird, several birds (or most preferably a white rooster or cockerel) pecking at grain (such as wheat) that the diviner has scattered on the ground.  In an alternative version, the observer tethers the bird in the center of a circle, around the perimeter of which is marked the alphabet, with a piece of grain at each letter.  For each grain the bird pecks, the observer writes down the letter which that grain represents.  The observer also replaces each grain as the bird eats it, so that letters may be repeated.  The sequence of letters recorded will presumably contain a message.
Aleuromancy Aleuromancy involves using flour for divination.  The word comes from the Greek 'aleuron', meaning 'flour', and 'manteia', meaning 'divination'.  In its original form, slips of paper containing philosophical writings would be baked inside cakes or cookies, which would then be distributed to those wishing their fortunes to be told.  Similarly, the Greeks would bake slips of paper with sentences on them inside of balls of flour, mix the balls nine times, and distribute them.  Modern fortune cookies are a variant on these forms of divination.
Alomancy From Greek 'halo', meaning 'salt', and 'manteia', meaning 'divination', Alomancy is also called Adromancy, Ydromancie, Idromancie, and Halomancy, and is an ancient form of divination.  Similar to many other forms of divination, the diviner casts salt crystals into the air and interprets the patterns as they fall to the ground or travel through the air.  The diviner can also interpret patterns formed from the residue of a salt solution as it evaporates in a bowl.  The exact interpretations are unknown, but it probably follows a similar method to Aleuromancy (see above).
Alphitomancy Alphitomancy, from the Greek 'alphiton', meaning 'barley', and 'manteia', meaning 'divination', is a form of divination involving barley cakes or loaves of barley bread.  When someone in a group was suspected of a crime, the members of that group would be fed barley cakes or slices of barley bread.  Supposedly, the guilty party would get indigestion, while the remainder felt no ill effects.
Anthropomancy Anthropomancy derives from the Greek 'anthropos', meaning 'man', and 'manteia', meaning 'divination'.  It was a method of divination using the entrails of dead or dying men or women, often virgin female children, through sacrifice.  It is now an illegal practice.  This practice was also called Splanchomancy.  In ancient Etruria and Rome, the usual variety of divination from entrails was haruspicy (performed by an haruspex), in which the sacrifice was an animal.
Apantomancy A form of divination using articles at hand or things that present themselves by chance.  The diviner works himself or herself into a state of trance until an object or event is perceived and a divination worked out.  This form of divination was used in ancient Rome by the augers.  There is no set of standard interpretations in Apantomancy; the interpretations of events depend upon the background of the seer.  One branch of Apantomancy places special significance on chance meetings of animals - the superstition regarding black cats crossing your path comes from this form of divination.  Other common superstitions based on Apantomancy are the belief that seeing a buzzard is an omen of death.
Arithmancy Also known as Arithmomancy, this is a form of divination using numbers.  The name is derived from the Greek 'arithmos', meaning 'number' and 'manteia', meaning 'divination'.
Aruspicy Prognostication by inspecting the entrails of sacrificed victims.
Astragalomancy Also known as Astragyromancy, this is a form of divination using dice specially marked with letters and numbers.  Originally, as with old dice games, the dice were made from quadruped knucklebones or other small bones.  Marked astragali of sheep and goats are common at Mediterranean and Near Eastern archaeological sites, particularly at funeral and religious locations.  For example, marked astragali have been found near the altar of Aphrodite Ourania in Athens, Greece, suggesting astragalomancy was performed near the altar after about 500 BC.  Now more commonly known as Cleromancy, the use of contacting the divine truth with random castings of dice or bones is a practice that stretches back before recorded history.
Astrology This consists of a number of belief systems which maintain there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world.  In the West, astrology most often consists of a system of horoscopes that claim to predict aspects of an individual's personality or life history based on the positions of the sun, moon, and other planetary objects at the time of his or her birth.
Astromancy Astromancy is an ancient word that refers to divination by the stars.  The term Astromancy is generally used as a synonym for Astrology in its modern, prophetic sense, as opposed to its ancient form before the split with astronomy; however, some astrologers distinguish the two, with Astrology focusing on identifying potentials and trends which the subject may choose to either promote or discourage, and astromancy contending to predict or influence definitive results.
Augury Divination studting the flight of birds.  An augur was a priest and official in the classical world, especially ancient Rome and Etruria, whose main role was to interpret the will of the gods by studying the flight of birds, whether they are flying in groups or alone, what noises they make as they fly, their direction of flight and what kind of birds they are.  This was known as taking the auspices.  The ceremony and function of the augur was central to any major undertaking in Roman society including matters of war, commerce, and religion.
Aura Soma This is a method of chromotherapy (colour therapy) and is a system of divination based on colour.  It is a relatively modern method, having been created as recently as 1983 by Vicky Wall (1918-1991), a British chiropodist, pharmacist and herbalist.  Although clinically blind, Vicky Wall claimed she could see auras around people, plants and animals.  She developed what is known as the 'coloured bottle system', asserting that the selection of colours by the client could reveal the challenges and opportunities he/she could expect.
Austromancy See Aeromancy above.
Axiomancy Also Axinomancy.  A method of divination much practised by the ancient Greeks, particularly with the view to discovering perpetrators of crimes.  An axe was poised upon a stake, and was supposed to move so as to indicate the guilty person; or the names of suspected persons being pronounced, the motion of the axe at a particular name was accepted as a sign of guilt.
Belomancy Also known as Bolomancy, this is an ancient art of divination using arrows.  The arrows were typically marked with occult symbols and had to have feathers for every method.  In one method, different possible answers to a given question were written and tied to each arrow.  For example, three arrows would be marked with the phrases, 'God orders me', 'God forbids me', and the third would be blank.  The arrow that flew the furthest indicated the answer.  Another method involved the same thing, but without shooting the arrows.  They would be shuffled in the quiver, worn preferably on the back, and the first arrow to be drawn indicated the answer.  If a blank arrow was drawn, they would redraw.
Bibliomancy Bibliomancy involves the use of books in divination.  The method of employing sacred books (especially specific words and verses) for 'magical medicine', for removing negative entities, or for divination is widespread in many religions of the world.
Botanomancy Botanomancy is the art of divination by burning branches of trees or herbs.  The most common branches used are Vervain and Briar.  The fire and the smoke are both read to indicate which course of action should be taken.
Bumpology A popular nickname for Phrenology (see below).
Capnomancy Capnomancy (sometimes called Libanomancy) is a method of divination using smoke.  This is done by looking at the movements of the smoke after a fire has been started.  A thin, straight plume of smoke is thought to indicate a good omen whereas the opposite is thought of large plumes of smoke.  If the smoke touches the ground, this is thought to be a sign that immediate action must be taken to avoid a catastrophe.
Cartomancy This is fortune-telling or divination using a deck of cards.  Forms of Cartomancy appeared soon after playing cards were first introduced into Europe in the 14th century.  Practitioners of Cartomancy are generally known as cartomancers, card readers or, simply, readers.
Catoptromancy Catoptromancy, from the Greek 'katoptron', meaning 'mirror', and 'manteia', meaning 'divination', is also known as Captromancy or Enoptromancy.  It is divination using a mirror (basically a form of Scrying).
Causiomancy Divination with fire; 'it is a happy presage when combustible objects don`t burn when thrown into the fire'.  It was a good omen if something failed to burn or took a long time to catch on fire.
Cephalomancy Cephalomancy is a form of divination using a goat or a donkey's head.  Cephalomancy technically means 'head divination' and therefore applies to any sort of divination using a skull or head.
Ceraunoscopy A means of divination which seeks to draw omens from the study of thunder and lightning.  See also Aeromancy above.
Ceroscopy Also known as Ceromancy, this is divination using melted wax.  The wax was melted into a brass vessel until it became a liquid of uniform consistence.  This liquid wax was then poured slowly into cold water while the diviner looked for images and symbols as the wax hardened in the water.
Chiromancy Also known as Palmistry or Cheiromancy, it comes from the Greek 'kheir', meaning 'hand', and 'manteia', meaning 'divination'.  It is the art of characterisation and foretelling the future through the study of the palms of the hands.
Chirognomy Chirognomy is a form of hand reading that studies the appearance, size and shape of the hand and fingers to determine the character, nature and personality of an individual.  From this hand analysis a palmist can 'with some degree of accuracy' predict the likely outcomes and future destiny of an individual.  The elements of Air, Earth, Fire and Water categorise the different hand shapes.
Clairaudience Clairaudience is the term used for psychic or mediumistic hearing abilities, and means 'clear hearing'.  A clairaudient person receives psychic and/or information from the spirit world in the form of subtle sounds, words or ideas that are perceived and interpreted through the hearing centres of the brain.  Parapsychologists generally regard it as a form of extrasensory perception.
Clairvoyance Clairaudience is the term used for psychic or mediumistic seeing abilities, and means 'clear seeing'.  A clairvoyant person receives psychic and/or information from the spirit world about an object, person, location or physical event through means other than the known human senses  Parapsychologists generally regard it as a form of extrasensory perception.
Cleromancy Cleromancy is a form of divination using sortition, casting of lots, or casting bones or stones, in which an outcome is determined by means that normally would be considered random, such as the rolling of dice, but are sometimes believed to reveal the will of God, or other supernatural entities.
Clidomancy Also Cleidomancy is a form of divination that was supposed to be used only when the sun or moon was in Virgo.  A key is suspended by a thread several inches in length, which in turn is wrapped about a person's finger, so that the dangling key can rotate, swing back and forth or become immobile.  Upon questions being asked, mentally or verbally, the answers are interpreted according to the actions of the key.
Coscinomancy A form of divination using a sieve and shears.  It was used in ancient Greece, medieval and early modern Europe and 17th century New England, to determine the guilty party in a criminal offence, or to find answers to questions, etc.
Critomancy Also Crithomancy.  This is a form of divination by means of the dough of cakes being offered in ancient sacrifices, and the meal strewn over the victims.
Cromniomancy Divination by onions.  It is usually performed by interpreting their sprouting behaviour, after some kind of ritual to state the topic of the divination.  This often involves inscribing the onions before dedicating them on an altar or something similar.
Crystallomancy Also known as Crystal-gazing, Crystal-seeing, Crystalism, Gastromancy, and Spheromancy, this is a form of divination or Scrying achieved through trance induction by means of gazing at a crystal.
Cyclomancy A form of divination based on spinning an object and deriving predictions or conclusions from its final resting direction.  In some traditions, a wheel or top is spun on a surface marked with letters or symbols, and those that fall closest to the device's pointer are consulted.
Dactylomancy In some traditions of Dactylomancy, a ring is suspended like a pendulum above a surface that is marked with letters or symbols.  The direction of the swing indicates which symbols are to be consulted, or which letters are to be formed into a message, in answer to a specific question.
Daphnomancy A form of Pyromancy whereby the future is predicted by burning laurel tree leaves.  A loud crackling from the fire is a positive omen, whereas silence is negative.
Demonomancy Divination by means of demons.  This divination takes place by the oracles they make, or by the answers they give to those who evoke them.
Dendromancy Divination by burning leaves and branches of plants and trees, especially oak and mistletoe.
Dowsing Dowsing is a type of divination using a forked stick or divining rods.  It is used in attempts to locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, gravesites, and many other objects and materials, as well as so-called currents of earth radiation (Ley lines), without the use of scientific apparatus.  Dowsing is also known as divining (especially in reference to interpretation of results).
Gastromancy Divination by use of guttural utterances (i.e., from the belly) to represent the voice of the dead.  It is basically an ancient form of ventriloquism whereby the voice is lowered to a sepulchral tone and prophetic utterances are delivered in a trance state.
Geloscopy A form of divination that determines a person’s character or future from the way he/she laughs.
Genethlialogy The astrological 'science', art, and practice of calculating future events and studying personal characteristics from the influence of the stars at the moment of a person's birth.  Divination as to the destinies of a newly born; the act or art of casting nativities; calculating the course of someone's life on the basis of the positions of the planets and of the zodiacal signs at the moment of birth; drawing someone's horoscope at the time of birth.
Geomancy A method of divination that interprets markings on the ground or the patterns formed by tossed handfuls of soil, rocks, or sand.  The most prevalent form of divinatory Geomancy involves interpreting a series of 16 figures formed by a randomised process that involves recursion followed by analysing them, often augmented with astrological interpretations.
Graphology The pseudoscientific study and analysis of handwriting, especially in relation to human psychology.  In the medical field, it can be used to refer to the study of handwriting as an aid in diagnosis and tracking of diseases of the brain and nervous system.
Gyromancy A method of divination in which a person spins around inside or walks the circumference of a circle drawn on the ground, the perimeter of which is marked with the letters of an alphabet.  The divination is inferred from the letter at the position where the person either stumbles or falls across the edge of the circle.  The person would repeat the practice until he evolved 'an intelligible sentence, or until death or madness intervened'.  The dizziness brought on by spinning or circling is intended to introduce randomness or to facilitate an altered state of consciousness.
Halomancy See Alomancy above.
Haruspication A form of divination from lightning and other natural phenomena, but especially from inspecting the entrails of animal sacrifices.  Also called Extispicy.
Hieromancy Divination by interpreting sacred objects, often used in sacrificial offerings.  Similar to Aruspicy above.
Hippomancy A form of divination involving the observation of horses, especially by listening to their neighing.
Horoscopy It is used as a method of divination regarding events relating to the point in time it represents and forms the basis of the horoscopic traditions of astrology.  However, no studies have shown any scientific support for the accuracy of horoscopes, and the methods used to make interpretations are generally considered pseudo-scientific.
Hydromancy Hydromancy, from the Greek 'hydro', meaning 'water', and 'manteia', meaning 'divination', is a method of divination by means of water, including the color, ebb and flow, or ripples produced by pebbles dropped in a pool.
Hydromancy Hydromancy, from the Greek 'hydro', meaning 'water', and 'manteia', meaning 'divination', is a method of divination by means of water, including the color, ebb and flow, or ripples produced by pebbles dropped in a pool.
Ichthyomancy Divination interpreting the appearance and behaviour of fish - a form of Augury.  OR   Divination interpreting the entrails of fish - a form of Aruspicy.
Lampadomancy This was a popular method of divination in ancient Egypt, where diviners would perform it at midday in a darkened room illuminated by a single lamp filled with oasis oil.  The form, color and movements of the flame are all carefully taken into account.
Lecanomancy The earliest form of Lecanomancy appears to have originated in Ancient Babylonia, al though it is only mentioned in one text.  Even there, there were two types of this means of divination.  Some court magicians would use inductive lecanomany; whereby the magician or priest would observe patterns of oil within water to predict the future.  However, intuitive lecanomany is thought to have developed out of this, which merely required the magician to interpret ripples on the water through meditation.
Libanomancy Libanomancy (also known as Livanomancy and Knissomancy) is a means of divination primarily through observing and interpreting burning incense smoke, but which may also include the way incense ash falls.  Like most other methods of divination, during Libanomancy a specific question must be asked.  The incense smoke provides an answer, but the smoke must be interpreted by a diviner.
Lithomancy This is a form of divination by which the future is told using stones or the reflected light from said stones.
Margaritomancy Margaritomancy is divination with pearls, usually by either casting pearls or studying them in oysters.  One ancient use of Margaritomancy involved throwing a pearl into a cast iron pot sitting in a fire and watching it to determine a person's guilt or innocence in a crime.  If the pearl started to move then the person was believed to be guilty; if it stayed in place they were not guilty.
Metagnomy The art and practice of divination by Mesmerism.  It is a relatively modern mantic art which began in the mid-nineteenth century and was originally used for diagnosing diseases and prescribing cures.
Meteoromancy A branch of Astromancy dealing with omens pertaining to interpretation of meteorological phenomena such as shooting stars (meteors).
Metoposcopy Metoposcopy is a form of divination in which the diviner predicts personality, character, and destiny, based on the pattern of lines on the subject's forehead.  It was developed by the 16th century astrologer and physician Jerome Cardan.
Moleosophy Divination using the moles we see on our bodies.  They are supposedly like the stars we see in the sky at night and represent details about a person’s personality and social affairs in the same manner as horoscopes are dependent upon the month in which we are born.
Molybdomancy A technique of divination using molten metal.  Typically molten lead or tin is melted on a stove and poured into a bucket of cold water.  The resulting shape is then rotated in candlelight to create shadows; the shapes produced are then interpreted.
Myomancy A method of theriomantic divination by rats or mice, which may be alluded to in Isaiah 66:17.  Their particular cries or some marked devastation committed by them was taken for a prognostication of evil.
Numerology Any study of the supposed divine, mystical or other special relationship between a count or measurement and life.  It has many systems and traditions and beliefs.  Numerology and numerological divination by systems like Isopsephy were popular among early mathematicians such as Pythagoras, but are no longer considered part of mathematics and are regarded as pseudomathematics by modern scientists.
Oculomancy A form of Scrying where the diviner gazes into the questioner's eyes and reads the reflections.
Oinomancy Oinomancy (also Oenomancy or Śnomancy) is a form of divination conducted by examining patterns in wine.  An ancient technique, oinomancy was performed by a priestess known as a Bacchante, who was protected by Bacchus, the Roman god of wine.  Oinomancy could be performed in a number of ways:
  • Wine is spilled on cloth or paper, and the resulting stains are studied.
  • Cloth or paper is soaked or boiled in wine, and the resulting appearance of the material is studied.
  • The appearance of wine being poured as an offering during a libation is studied.
  • The sediment in the bottom of a glass or bottle of wine is studied.
  • The physical features (colour, taste, etc.) of wine are studied.
Omphalomancy This involves counting the number of knots in the umbilical cord to predict how many more children a mother will have .
Oneiromancy Oneiromancy is a system of dream interpretation that uses dreams to predict the future.
Onomancy Onomancy (Onomamancy or Onomatomancy) is divination based on a subject's given name, popular in the Late Middle Ages and following practices of Gematria.  Onomantics is the study of Onomancy.
Onychomancy Onychomancy (also Onuchomancy, Onychomantia, Onycomancy, Onymancy is an ancient form of divination using fingernails.  It consists of watching the reflection of sunlight on the oiled fingernails of an unpolluted boy, then interpreting the symbols that appear.  The fingers where symbols appear allegedly indicate the nature of the coming events, while the location of the symbols on the nail allows the interpreter to date them.  The higher the symbol is situated on the nail, the nearer the events are in the future.  The term is also used for a method of Chiromancy, consisting of reading health & character from fingernails.
Ooscopy Also known as Oomantia, is a method of divination using eggs.
Ophiomancy Also Ophidiomancy, this is a form of divination based on the color and movements of serpents.  It has two classifications: divination or fortune telling by the snake’s manner of eating, or by their coils; divination by means of serpents or the use of serpents to foretell the future or to divine the past.
Orniscopy Also known as Orinithomancy, this is a method of divination by interpreting the actions, flight patterns and songs of birds.  See also Augury.
Ovomancy See Ooscopy above.
Ovomancy See Ooscopy above.
Palmistry See Chiromancy above.
Pegomancy A form of hydromancy or divination by water that involves omens contained in bubbling springs and fountains.
Phrenology Phrenology is a 'pseudoscience' primarily focused on measurements of the human skull, based on the concept that the brain is the organ of the mind, and that certain brain areas have localised, specific functions or modules.
Phyllorhodomancy Phyllorhodomancy is a form of divination using rose leaves or petals.  In ancient Greece, fortune-tellers would clap a rose leaf on the hand and judge the potential success of their desires on the basis of the sound of the clap.
Physiognomy This is the assessment of a person's character or personality from his outer appearance, especially the face.
Pyromancy A form of divination by fire or flame.
Pyromancy A form of divination by fire or flame.
Radiesthesia This is in reality a paranormal or parapsychological ability to detect 'radiation' within the human body, such radiations being termed an 'aura'.
Rhabdomancy A type of divination by means of any rod, wand, staff, stick, arrow, or similar object.  In reality - Dowsing.
Rhapsodomancy An ancient form of divination performed by choosing a specific passage or poem from which to ascertain information.  Various methods for practicing this 'science' were available.  Sometimes, individuals would write several verses or sentences from a poet on multiple pieces of wood, paper, or similar material, shake them together in an urn, and draw one out.  Sometimes, they cast dice on a table covered with verses; the one on which a die landed was said to contain the prediction.
Sciomancy Divination by the shadows of the dead.
Sciomancy Divination by the shadows of the dead.  Probably more relative to the paranormal.
Scrying A general term for divination using a crystal, mirrors, bowls of water, ink, or flames to induce visions.  Nostradamus used a bowl of water.
Sideromancy A branch of Pyromancy, or divination by fire, based on the interpretation of the flame, smoke, and pattern of straws placed on a hot piece of iron.
Sortilege Casting of lots - see Cleromancy.
Spodomancy Also known as Tephramancy and Tephromancy, this is a form of divination by examining cinders, soot, or ashes, particularly, although not exclusively, from a ritual sacrifice.
Stichomancy A page of a randomly selected book in a library is opened to find an excerpt that applies to what you seek.
Stolisomancy Divination from the manner in which a person dresses.
Sycomancy Divination using the leaves of a fig tree.  Questions or propositions were written on fig leaves.  If the leaf dried quickly after the appeal, it was an evil omen, but a good one should the leaf dry slowly.
Tasseomancy Also known as tasseography, this is a form of divination or fortune-telling that interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds, or wine sediments.
Tephramancy Divination by the ashes of the altar on which a victim had been consumed in sacrifice.
Tiromancy Also Tyromancy, a form of divination involving observation of cheese, especially as it coagulates.
Xylomancy The art and practice of divining the past, the present and the future by interpreting omens from twigs, pieces of wood, or fallen tree branches.  Their shape, color, thickness and size, as well as location, formations, and patterns, are the usual characteristics taken into prophetic consideration.  Divination of future events may also be drawn from the arrangement of logs in a fire-place.  Prophetic interpretations are made from the manner in which they burn, as well as from the way in which they are positioned in the fire.

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