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Introduction to Mancy-Divination Words
and Bibliography

Background information about fortune-telling elements:
-mancy, -mancer, -mantic, -mantical
(Greek: used as a suffix; divination, prophecy; to interpret signs so “practical” decisions can be made).

    Divination is considered the willful exploration of the future or the discovery of hidden things by various practices. Most common divinations are astrology, dowsing, dreams, cards, numerology, crystal-gazing, omens, palmistry, etc.
  • The Donning International Encyclopedic Psychic Dictionary by June G. Bletzer defines MANCY as “hidden things, sacred” and MANTIC ART as “sacred, Godlike, hidden”).
  • Divination is considered the willful exploration of the future or the discovery of hidden things by various practices.
  • The psychic dictionary (mentioned above) defines MANTIC ART as “to ask a question, silently or verbally, and immediately use a mundane system (nonhuman or human organism, or an inert object) in a manner that will reveal the hidden answer … skills in ancient times were used to predict and guide the conduct of persons and nations, settle disputes and uncover personal problems .…”
  • The most common divinations are astrology, dowsing, interpretation of dreams, cards, numerology, crystal-gazing, omens, and palmistry.
  • Divinations were performed everywhere in the world, by people in every cultural status, and utilizing almost every conceivable instrument or phenomenon as an indicator.
  • To interpret dreams, or to read the augury of the flight of birds, or to explain the markings of the shoulderbone or the liver of the sacrifice, or to determine the precise configuration of the stars and planets at a given moment and thus their meaning, a class of diviners (shamans, priests, priestesses, augurs, astrologers, doctors, lukumans, etc.) has existed from early times.
  • Divination was not limited to a few people but to a worldwide use in Japan, India, Tibet, China, Southeast Asia, Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, the Americas, Africa, Australis, New Zealand, and throughout Europe.
  • Few early records of divination nor any of the actual techniques used exist for Egypt.
  • The greatest number of divination records date from Greco-Roman times and Egyptian techniques were mixed with Babylonian, Greek, and Roman practices.
  • Some of the ancient practices were cruel and barbaric, but they were created in cruel and barbaric times where life was very short and uncertain, and so people used every means at their disposal to determine the future.
  • Most commonly-used forms of divination today, even those of antique origin, usually require no sacrifice or bones (except in some primitive cultures).
  • These diviners, as the augurs in Rome, often were people of great influence in their communities.
  • As the word itself indicates, divination is the act of determining the will of the gods, and in several of its forms approaches animistic belief, e.g. the gods as the spirits of the dead, the soul of the sleeper in the land of the dead, etc.
  • Modern interpretations regarding divination now include the belief that our actions and thoughts produce non-physical “waves” of energy that extend into the future and, therefore, shape it to a certain extent.
  • Some techniques of divination are completely free of our conscious, or subconscious control, relying on other forces to manipulate the objects and to produce the prediction.
  • True divination is said not to consist of the use of psychic abilities.
  • Some diviners still believe that higher beings manipulate the tools or, alternately, place symbols within the tools for us to see.
  • This ancient view may or may not be accepted by a particular diviner and so it is not necessary to have a religious belief.
  • Even non-religious people can perform divination.
“Fortuneteller’s misfortune”

Buffalo, New York:

A fortuneteller told a frustrated job seeker to rub raw eggs and money on his body, swim in a park, drink potions, and throw away gold jewelry into a public trash can. The man filed charges after the cure didn’t land him a job as promised.

A judge fined Sylvia Stevens, also known as Sister Tina, $1,090 for petty larceny and ordered her to pay $1,220 in restitution and said she would go to jail if she’s caught fortenetelling again.

Stars and Stripes, MAY 23, 1993.

Bibliography for “-mancy” words

Bumpus, John. Demonologia. London: 1827

Cunningham, Scott. The Art of Divination. Freedom, California: The Crossing Press, 1993.

Dickson, Paul; Words. New York: Delacorte Press, 1982.

Drury, Nevill. Dictionary of Mysticism and the Occult. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1985.

Gibson, Walter B. and Litzka R. The Complete Illustrated Book of Divination and Prophecy. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1973.

Leach, Maria. Standard Dictionary of of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1949.

Roget’s International Thesaurus. 4th ed. Revised by Robert L. Chapman, New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1977.

Shepard, Leslie, Ed. Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, Volumes I & II. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1979.

Now you may seek your choices of fortune-teller styles or techniques by going to the various sections of divination via this directory and by clicking on the Dictionary "M" words section.