Sorceror's Desk Reference - What Are Auguries?

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AUGURY: Augury is a type of divination that involves interpretations in the signs of nature. It is generally believed that spirits or the Divine inhabit all that constitutes the natural world and can reveal Divine Will concerning human actions and decisions.
In Ancient Rome, Augury was considered a science. It was borrowed from the Etruscans and first started as an oral tradition. As it grew in importance it eventually became “institutionalized” and during the Roman Republic it was both taught and practiced at formal colleges. Augury was instrumental in politics where it was used to determine routes of action in elections, war declarations and installation ceremonies. Readings were made by augurs who were only superseded in importance by haruspices who were diviners who read the entrails/livers of sacrificed animals. Readings were kept in secret archives.

Here is a list of fancy mancies. How many have you tried? Be honest, you may have done some of these unwittingly! I found much unintended humor when compiling this list. Have fun!

AEROMANCY: Divination of the future from the air and sky. More than just weather observation, it concentrates on cloud shapes, comets, spectral formations and other phenomena not normally visible in the heavens.

ALECTRYOMANCY: Divination based on the eating habits of birds, black hems, white gamecock or roosters. The bird of choice is allowed to pick grains of corn from a circle of letters allegedly forming or spelling words of prophetic significance. An additional method was to recite letters of the alphabet noting which ones at which the cock or rooster crowed.

ALEUROMANCY: Divination where slips of answers are rolled into balls of dough and baked. After baking, the balls would be mixed up with one chosen at random for the prophetic answer. It is believed that “fortune cookie” came from this ritual.

ALOMANCY: Divination by salt thought to be the responsible for the many superstitions concerning salt (also known as HALOMANCY).

ALPHITOMANCY: Divination using special “cakes” which can only be digestible by those with a clear conscience. To a guilty person, these cakes would be distasteful.

AMNIOMANCY: Divination based upon the condition of a child’s caul at birth.

ANTHROPOMANCY: Divination based upon the behavior of dying sacrificial humans. This is a very Ancient form of augury that was outlawed rather quickly as man advanced in understanding.

APANTOMANCY: Divination based upon forecasts of chance meetings with animals, birds and other creatures. This form of augury is popular today and is commonly known as Animal Totems and Animal Spirit Guides.

ARMOMANCY: Divination based upon the haphazard appearances of objects.

ASTRAGALOMANCY: Divination concerning the casting of marked knucklebones.

ASTRAGYROMANCY: Divination using dice bearing numbers and letters. Over time this augury developed into the modern version of fortune telling with dice.

AUSTROMANCY: Divination of the observation of the winds.

AXINOMANCY: Divination based upon the balancing of a stone on red hot axe.

AXIOMANCY: Divination requiring the use of a hatchet or axe that answers questions by its quivers or points out the direction of miscreants.

BELOMANCY: Divination requiring the tossing or balancing of arrows or their observation in flight.

BIBLIOMANCY: Divination by books or Bible passages.

BOTANOMANCY: Divination made from burning tree branches and leaves or briar or vervain branches.

CAPNOMANCY: Divination from patterns made by smoke rising from a fire.

CARTOMANCY: Divination from cards.

CATOPTROMANCY: Divination achieved through use of a mirror that has been turned towards the Moon to catch lunar rays.

CAUSIMOMANCY: Divination from objects placed in a fire. If they ignited and burned slowly it was considered a good omen.

CEPHALOMANCY: Divination using the skull or head of a donkey or goat which would be boiled.

CERAUNOSCOPY: Divination that draws omens from the study or thunder and lightning.

CEROMANCY or CEROSCOPY: Divination whereby melted wax is poured into cold water forming bubbles which are interpreted.

CHALCOMANCY: Divination of tones made by striking a copper or brass bowl.

CHEIROMANCY or CHIROMANCY: Divination of the study of the lines on and the shape of the hands (also known as CHIROGNOMY).

CHRESMOMANCY: Divination made from the utterances of a frenzied person.

CLEIDOMANCY: Divination using pendulum made of a key on a string suspended from the third finger of a virgin. (also known as CLIDOMANCY)

CLEROMANCY: Divination based upon the casting of lots using pebbles or other objects of color.

COSCINOMANCY: Divination using a spinning sieve.

CRITOMANCY: Divination requiring the use of barley cakes with hopes of drawing omens from them.

CROMNIOMANCY: Divination concerning the growth of special onions and the significance of their sprouts.

CRYSTALLOMANCY: Divination of crystal gazing.

CYCLOMANCY: Divination based upon a turning wheel.

CYLICOMANCY: Divination made from the appearance of images on water in a vessel or hole.

CUBOMANCY: Divination that makes use of thimbles.

DACTYLOMANCY: Divination that makes use of rings made according to planetary auspices.

DAPHNOMANCY: Divination that requires listening to burning laurel leaves in an open fire. The louder the crackle the better the omen.

DEMONOMANCY: Divination through the aid of demons.

DENDROMANCY: Divination associated with oak and mistletoe.

EMPYROMANCY: Divination made by observation of objects placed in sacrificial fires.

FELIDOMANCY: Divination based upon the observation of cat behavior.

FLOROMANCY: Divination based upon the study of flowers and plants.

GASTROMANCY: 1. Divination based upon the reflections of lighted torches on water in a round glass bowl. 2. An Ancient form of ventriloquism whereby the voice is lowered to a sepulchral tone as though issuing from the ground. Prophetic utterances were delivered from a trance-like state.

GELOMANCY or GELPSCOPY: Divination based upon the tone of someone’s laughter.

GEOMANCY: 1. Divination based upon patterns of dirt, sand or pebbles cast on the ground. 2. An occult practice which began with tracing figures on the ground which was later extended to include dots made with a pencil which were then interpreted. Some believe this practice was the forerunner of doodles.

GYROMANCY: 1. Divination based upon persons walking in a circle marked with letters until they became dizzy and stumbled at different points “spelling” out a prophecy. 2. Divination drawn from the mutterings of people who were exhausted from wild dancing.

HEPATOSCOPY: Divination of “liver gazing” from sacrificed animals.

HYDROMANCY: Divination by water covering a wide range of lesser auguries such as the color of water, its ebb and flow OR ripples produced by pebbles dropped into it. An odd number was considered good and an even number bad. Some believe modern tea leave reading and coffee ground readings came from this augury form.

ICHYOMANCY: Divination concerning the examination of both living and dead fish.

LAMPADOMANCY: Divination from the observation of lamp flames.

LECANOMANCY: Divination concerning the “whistling sounds” made from pebbles dropped into water.

LIBANOMANCY: Divination concerning the observation of incense smoke.

LITHOMANCY: Divination of the reflection of candlelight in precious stones. Stones of various colors are chosen and scattered on a flat surface. Whichever reflects the light the most fulfills the prophecy. Blue=good luck; green=realization of hope; red=happiness in love or marriage; yellow=disaster or betrayal; purple=sadness; black or gray=misfortune.

MACHAROMANCY: Divination concerning the observation of swords, daggers and knives.

MARGARITOMANCY: Divination utilizing pearls which are supposed to bounce upward beneath and inverted pot if a person is guilty.

METAGNOMY: Divination utilizing intuition while viewing scenes from the past or present while viewed during a hypnotic trance.

METEOROMANCY: Divination based upon omens signified by meteors.

METOPOMANCY or METOSPOSCOPY: Divination based upon line in a person’s forehead.

MOLEOSCOPY: Divination based upon examination of moles on the human body.

MOLYBDOMANCY: Divination using noise of drops of molten lead cast into water.

MYOMANCY: Divination concerning rats and mice and the cries they make and the destruction they engage which are seen as prophetic tokens.

NEPHELOMANCY: Divination of the shape and movement of clouds.

OCULOMANCY: Divination of observance of the eyes.

OENOMANCY or OLINOMANCY: Divination concerning the color, taste and appearance of wine.

OENISTICY or ORNITHOMANCY: Divination based upon the flight of birds.

OMPHALOMANCY: Divination of the study of one’s own navel.

ONEIROMANCY: Divination made from dreams.

ONOMANCY: Divination that answers the question, “what’s in a name?”

ONYCHOMANCY: Divination concerning the study of fingernails in the sunlight looking for symbols that can be traced through reflections of light.

OPHIOMANCY: Divination concerning the study of serpents.

OVOMANCY: Divination of egg whites dropped in water.

PEGOMANCY: Divination of the examination of spring water or bubbling springs.

PHYLLORHODOMANCY: Divination consisting of the slapping of rose petals against the hands. The louder the sound the better. This augury dates back to Ancient Greece.

PHYSIOGOMY: Divination concerning the examination of facial features.

PODOMANCY: Divination of the soles of the feet.

PSYCHOGRAPHY: Divination using mysterious writing.

PYROMANCY or PYROSCOPY: Divination that utilizes the smoke and flames of a fire when powdered substances are thrown into it.

RHABDOMANCY: Divination using a wand or stick. It is of Ancient origin and thought to be the forerunner of the divining rod.

RHAPSODOMANCY: Divination accomplished by opening a book of poetry and reading a passage at random which serves as an omen.

SCIOMANCY: 1. Divination using aid of spirits. 2. Divination concerning the size, shape and changing appearance of the shadows of the dead.

SIDEROMANCY: Divination using the burning of straws on a hot iron and studying the shapes formed as well as any flames or smoke.

SPLANCHOMANCY: Divination of the study of the entrails of human sacrifice victims.

SPODOMANCY: Divination of the study of cinders or soot.

STITCHOMANCY: Divination accomplished by opening a book and finding a random passage that acts as an omen or inspiration.

STOLISOMANCY: Divination that draws omens from the odd ways in which people dress.

SYCOMANCY: 1. Divination performed by writing messages on tree leaves. The slower they dry the better the omen. This can also be accomplished by writing questions on slips of paper (also including a blank slip), rolling them up and placing them in a strainer above a steaming pot. Whichever roll opens first will be the question answered. 2. Divination based on the drying of fig leaves. The slower they dry the better.

TASSEOMANCY or TASSEOGRAPHY: Divination made by reading patterns of tea leaves left behind in a teacup.

TEPHRAMANCY: Divination concerning the reading of ashes. Tree bark is often used for this purpose.

TIROMANCY or TYROMANCY: Divination using cheese… generally omens seen in its coagulation.

TRANSATAUMANCY: Divination based in events seen or heard during an accident.

UROMANCY: Divination concerning the inspection of urine.

XYLOMANCY: Divination made from pieces of wood. Some are picked up off the ground at random and discerned while other pieces are placed upon a fire while the “way” they burn is observed.

ZOOMANCY: Divination based upon reports of imaginary monsters and animals.

From the files of Star Logic Astrodynamics