There are many different ways for divination of the future. The more well known ones being The Tarot, oracle cards, tea leaves, crystal balls etc. Divination methods go way back to ancient time and there are some very unusual forms of mancy that our ancestors used. Many relied on things which understandably to the unseeing eye would seem meaningless and yet many of these mancies are still around today.
Mancy – divination by a specified means.
In the ancient times there were no occult stores or Mind Body Spirit fares to visit. They studied patterns by working with what was around them at the time. This mainly consisted of using the natural world.
I’m interested in the more obscure and ancient forms of mancy. Here are a few methods and systems that you may or may not know about. Perhaps you can give one or two a try and add them to your arsenal of knowledge.
There many different elements to this and its used in various ways throughout different cultures. But it all involves using Mother Earth for divination and making predictions.
The Earth is covered in a grid of energy lines known as Ley-lines. Many churches, monuments, megaliths and stone circles seem to be placed upon these Ley-lines. People dowse using rods or pendulums to locate the energy lines and ancient builders used dowsers to help them find the best places to build sacred buildings.
Other forms of geomancy include throwing soil, pebbles or shells onto a surface and reading the shapes and patterns when the chosen items lands. Another method is to stab a stick into the ground in random spots. Just like tea leaf reading there were basic lines and shapes which were recognised and used for readings. You can also use a pencil and paper method with four lines of dots across a piece of paper. Whereby the lines with an odd number of dots are reduced further to a single dot. Lines with even numbers of dots are reduced to two dots. This gives sixteen possible outcomes of odds and evens and each outcome is used as a prediction.
This is divination through dropping melted wax into water. You warm a bowl of wax or let a candle burn for a while. Then carefully drip the wax into a bowl of cold water. You see what shapes the wax produces when cool and solid on the surface of the water. As well as the shapes formed, you also look what other shapes are close by to get a more accurate outcome of your query. It is read in a similar way to tea leaf reading.
Rats and mice are considered auguries to foretell evil or bad times on the horizon. The way they move around, where they have been seen in unusual places out of their natural habitat and the sounds they make along with any destruction they cause. These are all used as the foreboding of something not good in the air. Large sightings of rats in urban areas can signify a breakdown in societies.
Roman Emperor Quintus Fabius Maximus is said to have resigned because of reading the auguries from the sighting of rats
This is divining by using the shadows from moonlight on a person’s face. The shape and depths of the shadows are used in a reading as are the lengths of the shadows and what part of the face is covered in the shadow. It is best to do it on a full moon because it will give the best intensity for creating shadows. The head must be kept still so as not to manipulate or force a shadow. Lunomancy is very ancient and was originally practiced by Babylonians and Scythians.
The clue is in the name as to what this next mancy is about. It was very popular among the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is divination using the flight and sounds of birds. We know that birds sense changes in the weather and disturbances in the atmosphere. They also have heightened senses to help them navigate. Birds are observed and their behaviour interpreted. Things such as flight patterns, landing posture and bird calls. Also numbers, the number of times a sound was made or the number of times a bird circled an area either before landing or flying off.
In order to do this type of mancy, you need to be able to identify the type of bird because each bird species’ behaviour had it’s own interpretation or augury. Many farmers use this method by observing the behaviour of their chickens. The different behaviours of chickens are used to predict the weather. Things such as dust bathing, scratching in the soil etc.
In the 6th Century BC, The Greek philosopher Anaximander is said to have predicted an Earthquake by observing birds. Birds will fly away or avoid any impending disasters.
The ancient art of fortune telling using onions. It involves observing their sprouting behaviour. So for example the ancients would take two onions and mark one yes and the other no. They would then ask a question and which ever onion sprouted first after being planted would be the answer.
It’s also been used in Germanic countries in olden tines to identify the names of potential husbands or lovers. On Christmas Day men’s names would be marked on the onions. On the twelfth night they would be planted outside and whichever onion sprouted first was the name of the true love of the querent. It’s also been used to name and identify family thieves. That must make for an uncomfortable Christmas Dinner.
These are many more of these fancy mancies and I will collate another list of the more obscure and icky ones in part 2 coming soon.
In the meantime you may enjoy this article about ghosts and don’t forget to check out Hocus Focus every Sunday night on Youtube at 8pm UK/Irish time.
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