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Divination Words: “pedomancy” to “spasmatomancy”,
Part 8 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".

pedomancy, podomancy:
Divination by observing the soles or bottoms of the feet that can be interpreted in terms of lines and mounts, exactly as in cheiromancy or palmistry, but to a greatly limited degree. This mode of divination is of great antiquity in the Orient, particularly among the Chinese.
Divination by observing the way air bubbles are rising in springs or fountains; dropping stones in sacred pools, or springs, and observing their movements. Shapes formed by the swirl of a spring or the play of a fountain were also given appropriate interpretations.
pessomancy, psephomancy:
Divination with pebbles or beans marked with symbols and colors relating to health, communications, success, travel, etc. The stones were either thrown out after mixing in a bag or drawn out at random. The same system may be used with colored marbles, giving each type a special interpretation and drawing one from a bag.
Divination by observing the results of brushed clothes.
Divination with leaves.
Divination by clapping rose leaves against the side of the hand and noting the sounds that they made; used for divination by ancient Greeks.
Divination by observing the facial expressions of a subject and interpreting forms, lines, etc. of the face.
An ancient Chinese form of divination using turtle shells.
Divination by interpreting air, wind, or the lungs; by blowing [especially by blowing out a candle]. It exists today in the act of blowing out the candles on a [festival] birthday cake.
Prophecy with pebbles (heaped in a pile).
Fraudulent or misleading fortune telling; pretended divination.
Divination through men’s “souls” and affections; conjuring or evoking the dead; with some object or piece of clothing connected with the person.

This divination also depends on human reactions or emotions and therefore covers a wide range. Broadly, it can be defined as “psychic perception” attained through the astral counterparts of the five physical senses, thus including such factors as clairvoyance, precognition, automatic writing, and coherent messages obtained from a Ouija Board. Since these are often mistaken for spirit communications, psychomancy may be linked to necromancy, or evoking the dead.

Divination with fire or flames; a good omen resulted when the flames were vigorous and quickly consumed the sacrifice and when the smoke was transparent, neither red nor dark in color, when it didn’t crackle, but burnt silently in a pyramidal form; but a bad omen when it was difficult to kindle, disturbed by wind or slow to consume the victim. Mantics also observed flames of torches by throwing powdered pitch into the flames. Another aspect is pyroscopy (based on the burn stains left on a light surface after burning a sheet of paper).
Divination by things seen over one’s shoulder.
Divining by rods, sticks, or wands; dowsing for water. Usually a forked branch of hazel or willow, which when manipulated by the diviner or dowser, inclined toward the place where a concealed spring or a metallic vein (lode) was to be found. Zulu divining sticks answered “yes” or “no”, depending on whether they fell or rose.

Sometime in 1997, a news release was written by the Associated Press about a weekend dowsing convention at the University of California at Santa Cruz, for a conference about the use of dowsing rods.

“The ancient art of dowsing can help predict the future, discover past lives and even allow people to communicate with animals, according to enthusiasts gathered in this liberal seaside town with a reputation as a counterculture mecca.”

“Dowsers from the United States, Canada and Australia attended the convention of the American Association of Dowsers. The group claims about 6,000 members in 42 countries.”

Dowsing rods, that in the past were used to find underground water, have traditionally been made from Y-shaped willow branches. Nylon tubing is now used for modern rods. The current approach is for the dowser to ask the rod a question, watching for slight movements or bends. If the rod points skyward, the answer is “no”. A downward movement means “yes”.

In Germany, a meeting was announced in a local Wiesbaden paper for a May 15, 1999, meeting of the German Geobiological Society to discuss the practice of finding underground water and metals with divining rods.

On the Internet, the following was found: Dowsing is a means of finding water or precious metals buried underground using the help of an inverted pendulum system. Mostly, two metal rods about 20 inches long are bent into a 90 degree angle at one end so that they can be held in the hands while they spin from side to side. A dowser puts the two metal rods in his hands and proceeds to walk around an area of land. When the metal rods cross each other, forming an ‘X’ the person marks the spot, and keeps going. When that place has been crossed again several times, and each time it is passed, it causes the rods to cross each other; the dowser knows they have discovered something. Although water and metals are primarily what dowsers look for, they have been known to seek out and find other things. Some have found dead bodies, some have found other missing items such as watches or important letters or paper money.”

“There are other means of dowsing that these practitioners use, also. Some people hold a pendulum over a map. When the pendulum seems to focus on a certain area of a map, they then go looking for whatever it is they want to find.” (From an American Society of Dowsers Website).

The names and objectives may change, but they are still based on the ancient practice of rhabdomancy.

Divination with verses; divination took place by opening and orally reading the first verses seen; sometimes a needle was stuck into a closed book.

This is a form of bibliomancy in which books of poetry are used instead of sacred writings or classical works.

scapulimancy, scapulomancy, spealomancy:
Divination by observing charred or cracked shoulder blades or markings on the shoulder bone of an animal (especially a sheep).
A modern method of reading character by studying a person’s old shoes.
Divination by examining excrement or feces.
Divination by the examination of a person’s appearance or form so as to determine his personal history.
Divination through communication with shadows (spirits) of the dead; also concerned with the evocation of astral reflections to ascertain future events.

Primitive lore abounds with omens pertaining to shadows, their size, shape, and changing appearance. It was believed that danger or death could follow an attack on a person’s shadow, that was often identified with the soul. From this developed sciomancy, or the art of divination through shadows, which could supposedly be called back from the dead and questioned as to future events. This represented an early form of necromancy.

Divination by using a cup of water and reading the signs indicated by certain articles floating on the water.

Dating from ancient Egypt, drinking cups were used in divination, the early form being to fill the cup to the brim, pouring out an offering drink to the god one was calling on, and looking for the answer in the cup. Later methods consisted of dropping small particles of floating materials in a cup of water and noting the shapes they took. This is considered an early mode of modern teacup reading.

A form of divination that includes a specialized form of fortune telling that examines the various aspects, phases, and appearances of the moon.
Divination with a cup.
Divination by observation of the stars or the interpretation of burning straw smoke and the patterns made by the burnt straw on a hot iron. Sidero refers to “stars” (Latin, q.v.) or to “iron” (Gkreek, q.v.).
Divination by observing a body.
Divination by interpreting spasms or the twitching body of a potential sufferer.