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Divination Words: “belomancy” to “cheiromancy”,
Part 2 of 9

Words including: -mancy, -mancer, -mantic, -mantical (Greek: used as a suffix; divination, prophecy; to interpret signs so “practical” decisions can be made [related to -mania])

Divination refers to the methods or practices of attempting to foretell the future or discovering the unknown through omens, oracles, or with supernatural powers; prophesying or predicting the future; methods of "fortune telling".

A method of divination with arrows that dates as far back as the age of the Chaldeans. It existed among the Greeks, and still later among the Arabians.
Divination by picking Bible or other book passages at random; several church councils were formed in the fifth century A.D. to study and forbid this “common” practice. One of the methods used was for a person to point to a line or passage with his eyes closed. In the Middle Ages, it was trendy to use Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Illiad. Moslems are said to use the Qur’an for this purpose.
Divination using patterns formed by water currents.
bolomancy, belomancy:
Divination with arrows thrown at random from a container.
Divination with plants, herbs; a method of divination by burning the branches of vervein [now, vervain; “verbena, sacred boughs or certain medicinal plants”] and brier, upon which were carved the questions of the diviner. Variations included scattering the leaves of vervein [vervain] or heather in a high wind. Another method was by writing sentences on leaves that were exposed to the wind, the divination would be gathered from those leaves which were left. Interpretations were also made from the crackling sounds made when certain plants were thrown on the fire or crushed in the hands.
Divination with the inspiration of Brizo, goddess of sleep or an Aegean moon goddess of Delos; therefore, divination by the interpretation of dreams.
Divination by interpreting thunder or thunderstorms.
Divination by observing smoke from victims who were sacrificed by fire.
“The general rule was that when the smoke was thin and light and ascended straight up, it was a good omen; if it were heavy, it was an ill omen. Some people also breathed the smoke from a sacrificial fire to insure good fortune. There was another species of capnomancy which consisted of observing the smoke arising from poppy and jessamin seeds cast upon burning coals.”
Demonologia, John Bumpus, London: 1827.
catopromancy, cartomancy:
Divination prophecy with playing cards; similar to tarot cards. Said to originate with gypsies who prognostigated the future, provided guidance or revealed personality traits. This method of divination was not taken seriously when it was introduced to Europe in 1300 A.D.
catoptromancy, catotromancy, catoxtromancy:
Divination with a crystal ball, a lens, mirrors, or other reflective surface. The Greeks put metal “mirrors” under the water or held them in a fountain and interpreted the reflections. Predictions were also made by using a glass which was suspended over a holy well; the reflections on the glass “revealed” the secrets hidden in the water.
Prophecy with the use of brazen vessels.
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.
Divination by interpreting the ashes from a sacrifice.
Divination by boiling a donkey’s head on burning coals.
Divination from activities in the air (rain, thunder, lightning, etc.).
ceramancy, ceromancy:
Divination by dropping melted wax into water and observing (interpreting) the figures made there. During the Middle Ages, wax would be melted in a brass container and poured into another vessel containing cold water.
Divination by striking copper or brass bowls. Such tones were given definite interpretation at the ancient Oracle of Dodona.
Divination by observing and interpreting confusion or disorder; observed in clouds, airborne apparitions, aerial visions, or comets.
Divination with maps; interpreting inscriptions. Predictions written in invisible ink, that appear when papers are heated, come in this general category; and so do greeting cards.
cheiromancy, chiromancy, chyromancy:
Divination with “palmistry” or the analysis of the various shapes and forms of the hands reading lines, moisture, scars, dirt, etc. in/on a person’s hand to deduce character, temperament, fortune, the future, etc. This was practiced by ancient Greeks, Chaldean astrologers, gypsies, and others.

Cheiromancy was practiced by Chinese savants as early as 3200 B.C., and during the next few thousand years it spread westward through India and Persia, finally reaching Europe, where many Greek philosophers gave serious consideration to the process. Among the Greeks who showed special interest was Aristotle, who tutored Alexander the Great, circa 340 B.C., and he may very well have used this technique to prognosticate his pupil’s illustrious future.

Mystics and occultists of the Middle Ages added new theories and observances, so that following the invention of printing a comprehensive literature on cheiromancy was developed.