Web Word Quests Site   

There is one search term on this page.

Divination Words: “chresmomancy” to “cyclomancy”,
Part 3 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".

Divination by interpreting the utterences of a person who is in a frenzy; dating back to the Greek Oracle of Delphi.
Divination with a crystal ball.
Divination by the determination of the precise time for some action. This is said to be a popular practice among the Chinese.
Divination with the hands. Also chiromancy (q.v.).
Divination with omens or lucky charms, by listening to utterances of mantic significance, or by interpreting unplanned events; such as, to predict remarks of a conversation before it begins.
An ancient system of divination based on the good or evil presage of certain words uttered without premeditation when persons come together in any way. It also regulated the words to be used on particular occasions. Cicero stated that the Pythagoreans were very attentive to these presages, and according to Pausanius, it was a favorite method of divination at Smyrna, where the oracles of Apollo were interpreted.
cleidomancy, clidomancy, chilomancy, kleidomancy:
Divination with a key; a pendulum; sometimes with a key hanging from a young girl’s third-finger nail; sometimes with a moving key hanging from a Bible.

Another method of practicing with the Bible and key was to place the street-door key on the fiftieth-psalm, close the volume and fasten it very tightly with the garter of a female; it was then suspended to a nail and would supposedly turn when the name of a thief was mentioned.

Divination by throwing black and white beans, little bones, dice, and perhaps, stones; anything suitable for casting lots. Studying shapes formed as pebbles are thrown into still water; in Rome these objects were sacred to Mercury. For this reason, an olive leaf called “the lot of Mercury”, was generally put in the urn in order to propitiate his favor.

The Masai of East Africa shake stones in a buffalo horn. In at least one Bantu tribe, a diviner used twenty-seven objects, mostly pairs and most of them knuckle bones. Some of the bones client’s family, and others were from sows, gazelles, and wild boars. The future is predicted by interpreting the patterns formed by the bones.

Divination with sea shells.
coscinomancy, cosinomancy, coskiomancy:
Divination by turning a sieve held on a pair of shears or tongs (as in voodoo).

Pebbles or other fine substances have also been known to be sifted through a sieve and then interpretations were made of the patterns formed.

Another method is described as using a sieve and a pair of shears to determine who was guilty of some crime among a group of suspected people; the sieve was held between shears or tongues supported by the thumb nails of two persons; while staring at each other, so as not to influence the turn of the sieve. The question was asked, “Who is guilty?” The sieve supposedly turned until the handle pointed to the guilty person.

“The art of divination by means of a sieve. A very ancient practice mentioned by Theocritus, and still used in some parts of England, to find out persons unknown.”
—Chambers from A Dictionary of the English Language, 3rd Ed., 1765, compiled by Samuel Johnson.
crithomancy, critomancy:
Divination by spreading grain or cake dough over sacrificed victims; for personal predications, observations were made of the unusual behavior of grains, dough, or the cakes themselves.
Divination with names, significant happenings, or missing persons which were written on onions, planted, and observed to see which one would sprout first. The onion which sprouted most rapidly indicated that the person whose name had been inscribed on it was enjoying vigorous health. Another application was that wishes would come true if one burnt onion skins on a fire. Sometimes the onions had to be placed on the altar at Christmas before they had any divine significance.
Divination by using onions.
Divination with secret signs, words, etc.; some unrevealed method used by mantics.
crystallomancy, christallomancy, catoptromancy, catotromancy, spheromancy :
Divination with crystal gazing as in a crystal ball, with a precious stone, or with a bright-metal surface. Sometimes a mirror-like pool of water was used. By gazing steadily and deeply into a polished crystal ball, it was believed that those possessing the gift of divination could see what was about to happen or what was actually happening at some other place.
Divination with thrown dice or with cubed bones.
Perceiving psychic visions on a clear, shiny water surface in a cup instead of a crystal.
Divination with some revolving device, such as a wheel or revolving circle. The “wheel-of-fortune” found at carnivals or on the TV “Wheel of Fortune” are based on this concept. Cyclomancy has survived in various parlor games, such as “spin the bottle”.