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From the earliest stages of civilization people have used various means of divination to communicate with the supernatural when seeking help in their public and private lives. Divination is most often practiced as a means of foretelling the future, and sometimes the past. It is one of the primary practices used by witches, wizards, medicine men, sorcerers, and shamans. These various groups of persons are often called diviners, who often belonged to special classes of priests and priestesses in past and present civilizations, and are specially trained in the practice and interpretation of their divinatory skills.

The methodology for practicing the divinatory skills seems to divide into two categories: the first is the observation and interpretation on natural phenomena, and the second is the observation and interpretation of man-made "voluntary" phenomena. Natural phenomena includes two major subcategories of activity: astrology, and hepatoscopy. To a lesser degree the observation of the following occurrences also can be listed under natural phenomena: unexpected storms, particular cloud formations, birth monstrosities in both man and animal, howling or unnatural actions in dogs, and night-marish dreams.

Man-made or "voluntary" phenomena is defined as being deliberately produced for the sole purpose of soothsaying and includes such acts as necromancy, pouring oil into a basin of water to observe the formation of bubbles and rings in the receptacle, shooting arrows, casting lots, and numerous other acts.

The ancient Romans favored augury and haruspicy. The Egyptians, Druids, and Hebrews relied on scrying. The Druids also read death throes and entrails of sacrificed animals.

The Greeks had their oracle which spoke for the gods. In the Middle Ages grain, sand or peas were tossed onto a field in order to read the patterns after the substances fell. As far back as 1000 BC. the Chinese had "I CHING," an oracle which involved the tossing and reading of long short yarrow sticks. Another ancient Chinese divinatory practice which is still used is "feng-shui," or geomancy, which involves the erecting of buildings, tombs, and other physical structures by determining the currents of invisible energy coursing through the earth. Presently people also are using this principle for the arrangement of furniture in their homes.

Many divinatory methods are still used today, especially in paganism, witchcraft, voodoo and Santeria. Most Christians would probably disagree but prayer might also be considered a divinatory act. Many practitioners today do not feel signs of divination are absolute or fixed, but believe they still have free choices in their future. They believe divination helps them in making better choices.

Divinatory forms:


A form of divination of foretelling future events by observing atmospheric phenomena such as when a death of a great man is foretold by the appearance of a comet.

Francois la Tour Blanche stated that aeromancy is the art of fortune-telling by spectres which are made to appear in the air, or the representation by the aid of demons which are projected on the clouds as if by a magic lantern. "As for the thunder and lightening," he added, "these are concerned with the auguries, and the aspect of the sky and of the planets belong to the science of astrology."
Within Christianity an act of aeromancy might be thought of as the phenomena of the star over Bethlehem when Christ was born.

Alectromancy (or Alectryomancy)

An ancient divinatory for that utilized a cock. When practicing this divination a circle which was divided into as many parts as there were in the alphabet was drawn in a closed place. Then a wheat-corn was placed in each section beginning with the first letter, or A. Whoever placed the corn must recite a certain incantation while doing it. The time for this divination is when the sun or moon is in Aries or Leo.

The cock must be young and white. When his claws are cut off he is forced to swallow both of them together with a small roll of parchment made of lambskin upon which have been previously written words. Now the diviner holding the cock must repeat a certain incantation or conjuration. Next, when putting the cock with the circle, he must recite two verses of the Psalms, which are exactly the midmost of the seventy-two verses in the entry on Onimancy, and it should be noted on the authority of an ancient Rabbi that there is not anything within these seventy-two verses which is not of some use within Kabbalism.

The cock, being in the circle, is observed to see from which of the letters he peck the grains, and upon these others must be quickly placed because frequently some words often contain the same letter two or three times. The letters should be written down and assembled, for they will infallibly reveal the name of the person concerning whom the inquiry was made.

A story of doubt concerns the magician Iamblicus who used this divination to discover the successor of Valens Caesar in the Roman Empire. . However, the bird just pecked four grains that spelled "T h e o." This left a great uncertainty. The letters could stand for "Theodosius," "Theodotus," "Theodorus," or "Theodectes." When Valens heard of this divination he had several persons murdered whose names began with these letters. The magician to escape his known fate drank a draught of poison.

This form of divination resembles the use of a planchette or ouija board.

Another form of Alectromacy is sometimes practiced when a cock crows or is heard crowing.
Another version of the above divinatory incident was related by Ammanius Marcellinus in the fourth century AD. In this version the ritual is described somewhat differently. Sorcerers begun by placing a basin made of different metals on the ground and drawing around it at equal distances the letters of the alphabet. Then the sorcerer possessing the deepest occult knowledge would come forth, enveloped in a long veil, holding in his hands branches of vervain, and letting forth dreadful cries which were accompanied by hideous convulsions. Eventually, almost immediately, he would stop before the basin where he became rigid and motionless. He, then, struck with the branch in his hand upon a letter several times, and then proceeded doing likewise on other letters until the sufficient amount was selected to form a heroic verse which was then given out to the assembly.
Wnen the Emperor Valens was informed of this divinatory ritual, he was so appalled that the infernal powers had been consulted concerning his destiny that he ordered that not only the sorcerers but all the philosophers in Rome be severely punished that many lost their lives.
Details of the performance of Alectryomancy are exactly and curiously described in the fourth song of the Caquet Bonbec, written by the 14th century poet Jonquieres.


An ancient divinatory practice which utilized flour. Sentences were written on pieces of paper, each of which was rolled up in a little ball of flour The balls of flour were thoroughly mixed up nine times and then divided amongst the curious, who anxiously waited to learn their fate. The custom lingered in remote areas into the nineteenth century.

Apollo, who supposedly presided over this divination form, was surnamed Aleuromantis.


A form of divination by using salt. The diviner interprets future events by analyzing the patterns in which the grains fall, or travel through the air when thrown. Probably such practices gave rise to the beliefs that spilling salt is unlucky, and throwing a little salt over one’s left shoulder wards off misfortune.


A form of divination using a loaf of barley that was practiced in the earliest of times. Chiefly it was employed to prove the innocence or guilt of persons. One of its principle uses was in times when several persons were suspected of a crime. All of the suspects were given the barley bread to eat, as it was assumed that those innocent could eat it perfectly, while the guilty person would get indigestion.

This practice gave rise to a popular oath: "If I am deceiving you, may this piece of bread choke me." Eventually the practice became so prominent that it was not just reserve for people suspected of crimes. It was used to test the faithfulness of a mistress, a husband, or a wife.

There were procedures in both making the bread and administering it. A quantity of pure barley was kneaded with milk, a little salt and without leaven. This was rolled up in greased paper and baked among cinders. When baked it was taken out and rubbed with verbena leaves. Then, pieces of it was given to the suspects. Those that were guilty, it was assumed, would be unable to eat it.

In ancients another form of alphitomancy was practiced. In a sacred wood of Lavinium, near Rome, priests kept a serpent, or some say, a dragon. On certain days of the year young women would enter the woods carrying cakes made of barley and honey. It was said that the devil led the women into the woods. Supposedly the serpent ate the cakes of the innocent women, but refused the cakes of the others.


A form of divination practiced by using a caul, or membrane which sometimes envelopes a child's head at birth. From inspecting the caul wise women would foretell the future of the baby. If its color is red then happy days or good fortune were ahead for the child, but if it is lead-colored then misfortune laid in the child's path.


The usage of amulets seems universal stemming from the human desire for protection. The existence seems to extend from the cave dwellers to the present. As objects they come and go with fashion, taking on different designs and shapes, but their purpose remains the same. No matter how civilized a culture may be, the amulets are present.

The term amulet is derived from either the Latin word amuletum or the old atin term amoletum which means, "means of defense." Pliny, the Roman naturalist, described three types of amulets: those which offered protection against trouble and adversity; those which provided a medical or prophylatic treatment; and substances used as medicine.

Among ancient cultures such as the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Arabs, and Hebrews great importance was placed on the use of amulets. The Egyptians employed them everywhere. The frog protected fertility; ankhs symbolized everlasting life and generation; the udjat, or eye, was for good health, comfort, and protection against evil; the scarab beetle was for resurrection after death and protection against evil magic. One of the most notable amulets of ancient Egypt is the Eye of Horus.
Cylinder seals were used as amulets by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Within them were embedded semiprecious and precious stones; each stone supposedly possessed its own unique magical powers. There were various animal shaped amulets; such as, the ram for virility; and the bull for virility and strength.

The Arabs, too, had amulets protecting them against evil. Small sacks containing dust from tombs were worn. They also wore pieces of paper on which were written prayers, spells, magical names or the powerful attributes of God such as "the compassionate" and "the forgiver."
The Hebrews wore crescent moons to ward off the evil eye and they attached bells to their garments to ward off evil spirits.

In Africa the natives were discovered having amulets too which the Western explorers and missionaries called fetishes. The fetish symbolized protection to the natives.

Historically the two most universal symbols of amulets have been the eye and the phallic symbols. Eyes are thought to protect against evil spirits and are found on tombs, walls, utensils, and jewelry. The phallic symbol, represented by horns and hands, is protection against the evil eye.

The names of God and magical words and numbers have generally been thought to provide protection and fashioned into amulets. These methods of gaining protection extend back to antiquity and were extremely popular during the Renaissance to the early 19th century. Accompanying these were the grimoires, books of magical instruction written for and by magicians. In magic, using the name of a deity is the same as drawing down divine power. This is the reason why portions of grimoires resemble prayer books.

The Tetragrammation, the Hebrew personal name for God- -YHWH and pronounced Yahweh"- - , is believed to be very powerful in magic operations and has been fashioned into amulets by different spellings. It is believed to help magicians in conjuring up demons and give him protections from negative spirits.

The SATOR square (see Magic Squares) has also been fashioned into amulets. Throughout the centuries attempts have been made to decipher the squire but it still remains unintelligible. It was discovered on walls and vassals of ancient Rome. In amulet form it is considered to be protection against sorcery, poisonous air, colic, pestilence, and for protecting cow's milk against witchcraft.
Most all cultures hold the belief that sacred religious books such as the Koran, Torah, and Bible possess protective powers. Bits of parchment containing quotes from these books are carried in leather pouches, silver boxes, or like containers as amulets. Ancient pagans wore figurines of their gods as amulets. The remnant of this custom is still seen in the Catholic religion where some members still wear scapulars and medals of the saints.

Many pagans and witches presently wear jewelry fashioned in amuletic designs with their protective purpose in mind.


Divination of human entrails. This horrid form of divination is very ancient. Herodotus wrote that Menelaus practiced it when detained in Egypt because of contrary winds. Because of his barbarous curiosity he sacrificed two country children in order to discover his destiny.
Also, Heligabalus practiced anthropomancy.

Julian the Apostate incorporated anthropomancy in his magical operations. He had large numbers of children killed so he could read their entrails. During his last experiment at Carra, in Mesopotamia, he enclosed himself within the Temple of the Moon, and having performed all manner of evil within, he had the Temple doors sealed and placed a guard there so no one would enter until his return. However, he was killed in battle with the Persians. When men of Julian's successor entered the Temple at Carra they discovered a woman hanging by her hair with her liver torn out.
It is speculated that the infamous Gilles De Laval also performed such hideous species of this divination.


Divination of any object which presents itself by chance. Into this class of beings may fall any object which omens can be drawn from such as a hare, an eagle, etc.


Divination by numbers (sometimes wrongly called Arithmomancy). The ancient Greeks examined the number and the values of letters in each name of two combatants. They predicted the combatant having the name of the greater value would be victorious. It was by using this science that some diviners foretold that Achilles would defeat Hector.

The Chaldeans also practiced arithmancy. They divided their alphabet into three parts, each part composed of seven letters which they attributed to the seven planets. Through this arithmetic method they made predictions based on the planets.

The Platonists and Pythagoreans were also strongly attracted to this form of divination which is similar to certain aspects of the Jewish Kabbalah.


A system of divination of casting small bones (each associated with particular interpretation). The method is similar to throwing dice. In fact, in later development of this divinatory system dice were utilized. The numbers were associated with letters which formed words related to questions put to the diviner.

In an related preliminary ritual the questions are written paper which is passed through smoke of burning juniper wood.


A little known form of divination practiced in the Indies. It was first described by the 17th century writer Pierre De Lancre. The diviner or sorcerer draws a circle in which he positions himself on a buckler (sheild) where he recites certain conjurations. He enters a trance and then falls into ecstasy. When he comes out he can tell his clients things which they want to know, or which the devil revealed to him.


Small bones (each associated with a particular interpretation) were cast, in this system of divination, in the manner of throwing dice. Eventually dice were utilized in the place of bones. Numbers on the dice were associated with letters to form words that had a bearing on questions asked by the diviner. Sometimes used was an associated primarily ritual of writings questions on paper and passing it through the smoke of Jupiter wood.


Augury is an ancient form of divination. The term "augury" properbly refers to the practice of the Greeks and Romans to foretell future events by the observation and interpretation of the flights, chattering or singing of birds. This method of divination was practically unknown in ancient Mesopotamia and Palestine.


A branch of aeromancy (divination through the astral phenomena such as thunder and lightening) concerned with the observance and interpretation of winds. Significance is focused on their intensity and direction.


An unusual form of divination practiced by the Italian psychic Maria Rosa Donati-Evstigneeff. The practice requires ten straight pins and three bent pins. They are shaken in cupped hands and then dropped on a surface dusted with powder. The procedure seemed to involved some sort of psychic faculty which is related to divinatory forms such as geomancy and reading tea leaves.


Divination by means of a hatchet or woodcutter's ax. This was the divinatory method by which diviners predicted the ruin of Jerusalem as described in Psalm LXXIV. However as Francois De Tour-Blanche remarked, the psalmist's description does not tell in what manner the hatchet was used by the diviners. It can only be speculated the tool was used in either one of the two ways which the ancients used it in divining and later used in the northern countries.

In the first method the tool was used to discover treasure. A round agate had to be procured. The head of the ax, also, had to be made red hot in a fire. The ax was positioned so that the head stood perpendicularly in the air. The agate had to be placed on the edge. If the agate did not roll off there was no treasure to be found. If it did roll off that indicated there was treasure. However, the agate must be replaced three times. If the agate rolled in the same direction each time it indicated the treasure was to be found in that direction. But, if the agate rolled in different direction each time then the treasure must be further looked for.

The second method was to detect robbers. It involved casting an ax to the ground. The head was to be downward with the handle perpendicular in the air. Those present had to dance around in a circle until the handle tottered and fell to the ground. The direction to which the handle fell indicated the direction in which the thief must be sought.

Some said this method would never work unless the ax was thrown into a round pot. De Blanche countered with the question as to how could this be done. How could a round pot be patched and sewed after an ax smashed it to pieces?

Babylonian devil trap

A terra-cotta bowl that was inscribed with charms and magical texts, used by the ancient Hebrews in parts of Babylonia. The bowl was to drive away evil. The inverted bowls were buried under the four corners of the foundations of houses and buildings. The magic from the bowls was believed to provide protection against an assortment of evils including male and female demons, illnesses, curses, and the evil eye.

The Babylonian devil traps were in usage between the third and first centuries BC to the sixth century AD. They were considered a pagan custom and were technically prohibited by the Hebrew religion which proscribes magic in general. Perhaps to circumvent this religious law the bowls were inscribed with inscriptions invoking the help of God or quotes from Hebrew scriptures.

One bowl from the third century BC. proclaims a "bill of divorce" from the Devil, and all of his night monsters, commanding them to leave the community.


Divinatory method using arrows which dates back to Chaldea. It was practiced by the Greeks and later by the Arabians, although its use was forbidden in the Koran. One popular method was to throw a certain number of arrows into the air. The incline of the arrow as it fell indicated the course which was to be taken by the inquirer.

Divination by arrows is related to rhabdomancy.


A method divination of to determine if a person is guilty of sorcery. The individual was weighed against the big Bible in a Church. If the person weighed less then he was not guilty.

Another method of this divination was to randomly open the Bible and place a finger on a passage and believe the passage indicated the course of future action which the individual was to take. Later other works were used in the divination such as the Greek epics, classical poetry, and Shakespeare.
Method related to rhasodomancy and stichomancy.

Black Hen, The Fast of

In Hungary and adjacent countries it was believed that if a person was robbed and wanted to discover the thief, he must take a black hen and fast for nine Fridays. The thief would either return what was stolen or die. This was called "taking up the black fast" against anyone.
Much lore about black hens is to be found in the works of Angelo de Gubernatis.


A method of divination by burning branches of vervein and briar upon which questions of the practitioners have been carved. The fire and smoke indicate the course of future action to be pursued.

A variant method is the scattering of vervein and heather leaves in a high wind to get indications of future actions to be taken.
These methods are related to halomancy.


A method of divination by observing the fumes rising from poppies when thrown on live coals.

Captromancy (or Enoptromancy)

A type of divination with a mirror which the second century AD Greek traveler Pausanius described as follows: "Before the Temple of Ceres at Patras, there was a fountain, separated from the temple by a wall, and there was an oracle, very truthful, not for all events, but for the sick only. The sick person let down a mirror, suspended by a thread till its based touched the surface of the water, having first prayed to the goddess and offered incense. Then looking in the mirror, he saw the presage of death or recovery, according as the face appeared fresh and healthy, or of a ghastly aspect."

Another divinatory method of using a mirror was to place it at the back of a boy's or girl's head when their eyes were bandaged shut. In Thessaly the responses appeared in characters of blood on the face of the moon, probably projected in the mirror. This practiced was derived by the Thessalian sorceresses from the Persians who wanted to establish their religion and mystical rituals in the countries which they invaded.

Cargo Cults

Series of belies found among the islanders, especially the Melanesians, that cargo ships and airplanes can be summoned magically to bring goods and money. The practice is based on the native perception of the ‘white man’s" power and that ideally roles should be reversed allowing Western wealth and material possessions to be redistributed.

For example, inhabitants of an island in the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) believed that a white leader named Jon Frum will arrive, bringing "cargo" in a huge scarlet airplane and will drive all other white people from the island helping the inhabitants to regain control. They also believe an army in waiting in a crater of a volcano to help him. There are magical rituals designed to summon him. Jon Frum is carved in wood and painted red, along side of a representation of his aircraft.


A divination method of telling an individual's fortune with a deck of playing cards.


The modern term for the ancient Persian science of divination through the study of the feet, similar to the study of the hands through palmistry. Ancient Persian and Indian rulers paid cartopedists for their practices in consultations on important occasions such as the choosing of a bride. Measurements of the feet, including the size of each foot, the shape of the heels, toes and arches, as well as the lines and markings on the feet, were carefully taken and intensely studied. These factors of the feet were thought to indicate the individuals character, ability and destiny. The period of study could take weeks before the desired answers were given.

Cartopedy is still practiced in India and Pakistan in conjunction with palmistry. Often parents seek the advice of cartopedists in the selection of a husband or wife for their children. Employers used their services to select employees. The police consult payyindas, foot trackers, to find out the characteristics of criminals from their footprints.


A membrane which sometimes covered the head of a child at birth. It was once thought of as a preservative against drowning in the sea, so consequently the caul was sought after by seamen.
Superstitions surrounding the caul reaches back into antiquity. In ancient Rome, Aelius Lampridius, wrote about the life of Antonine Diadumeninus saying he was so called from being born into the world with a band of membrane round his forehead in the shape of a diadem, and he enjoyed a perpetual state of felicity from this circumstance. Also, Roman midwives sold cauls by the Forum.
Even as late as the 1870s British newspapers often printed advertisements by prospective would be purchasers of a caul offering large amounts of money. The caul was used for divination. (See Amniomancy)


Divination by fire. It was thought to be a good omen whenever combustible objects did not burn when thrown into a fire.


An ancient form of divination using the head of a goat or donkey.


An ancient system of divination practiced by examining the phenomena of the air


Another term for ceroscopy, or the divination through the shapes of molten wax dripped into water.
This divinatory method is similar to molybdomancy.


A system of divination by wax. The procedure was performed as follows: Fine wax was melted in a brass vessel till it was a liquid of uniform consistence. Then it was slowly poured into another vessel containing cold water, in such a way that the wax formed into tiny discs. The magician or diviner then interpreted the shapes as their meanings appeared to him.
This divinatory method is similar to molybdomancy.


A branch of aeromancy (divination through astral phenomena such as thunder and lightening) concerning divining clouds or visions in the air. Shape of clouds or the occurrence of rare phenomena such as comets come within the interpretation of chaomancy.


Any magical words, phrases, chants, and incantations recited for protection against or for disease or to ward off evil. Charms have existed since ancient times and are still prevalent in folk magic. While some charm may be verbally or silently recited, such as a phrase, formula, mantra, or prayer, others are inscriptions written or inscribed on paper, parchment, wood or other material which may be worm on the body as amulets. Still other charms, such as certain prescribed ways of spitting, may consist of both phrases and actions. Charms, used for divination, have been attempted to obtain almost every desire or purpose imaginable. They have been tried to gain or lose a lover; eliminate an enemy; ensure chastity, fertility and potency; to gain victory, riches and fame; and to exact revenge.

Charms in agricultural communities have been employed to protect crops and farm animals; to gain help with milking churning butter, and in getting rid of rodents, vermin and weeds.


The mystical word abracadabra dates back to the second-century Rome. Other charms, words and phrases, were written on parchment and worn around the neck. They were worn to bring good fortune and cure illnesses.
Even the early Christian church encouraged the use on many holy charms such as rosaries and holy relics. During the 17th century, rosaries were similarly blessed as amulets offering protection against fire, tempest, fever, and evil spirits.

Witches and wizards during the medieval age were renowned as healers who used many charms. They were frequently known as "charmers" and employed Christian prayers spoken or written in Latin, or, as some claimed, debased Christian prayers. Although the Church did approve of the use of prayers and the Scriptures as cures and as protection against evil, it disapproved of the prescription of them by the sorcerers or charmers. This created a rather contradictory situation which obscured the distinction between religion and magic.

During the 17th century, a Nottingham sorcerer, sold copies of St. John's Gospel as a charm against witchcraft. To break a witch's spell he prescribed the recitation of five Paternosters, five Aves and One Creed. It might be judged that this sorcerer knew something about Christianity and absolution in the confessional.

The following 19th-century English charm, which is typical of some charms composed of simple little verses, is for protection against witchcraft:

He who forges images, he who bewitches
the malevolent aspect, the evil eye,
the malevolent lip, the finest sorcery,
Spirit of the heaven, conjure it! Spirit of the earth,
conjure it!

Witches reportedly had their good-luck charms, according to the following old folk-magic verse:
The fire bites, the fire bites; Hogs-turd over it, Hogs-
turd over it, Hogs-turd over it; the Father with thee,
the Son with me, the Holy Ghost between us both
to be: ter.
After reciting the verse, the witch spit once over each shoulder and three times forward.


With the advances of science during the 17th century the effectiveness of magical charms began to be challenged. The ways of folk-magic began diminishing, especially within urban areas. However, all belief and sentiment for charms was never completely destroyed. Even within industrial cities today traces of them remain. An example of this is the popular charm to divine love: "He/she loves me, he/she loves me not" said while pulling our the pedals of a daisy.

Charms are still recited by many when participating in magic-related activities such as gathering medicinal herbs, consecrating objects, or boiling a pot of urine to break a witch's spell.
In much of Neo-paganisn the term charm, which is considered obsolete, has been replaced by terms like the chant, incantation, and rune.

In Shamanism charms are used to conjure spirits, destroy enemies, create talismans, and exorcise disease.
Generally amulets may be charmed objects while spells are the recital of charms.

Cledonism (or Cledonomantia)

An ancient system of divination based on the presage of good or evil when certain words were spoken without premeditation whenever individuals happened to meet, The system, also, prescribed words to be used on particular occasions. Cicero said the Pythagoreans were very attentive to these presages, and according to Pausanus, the system was a favorite divination at Smyrna, where the oracles of Apollo were interpreted.


A system of divination using a suspended key. It was only to be used when the sun or moon was in Virgo. When the name of the individual being investigated was written on a key which was then tied to a Bible, both were attached to the nail of the ring-finger of a virgin who must repeat softly certain words.

Accordingly, as the key and book remains either moving or stationary, the name of the person being investigated is considered to be right or wrong. The practice was further complicated when ancient diviners included the seven Psalms with litanies and sacred prayers. The practice become more fearful too, for not only did the key and book turned, but the impression of the key had to be found on the victim or he lost an eye.

Another method of this practice with a key and Bible was to place a key to a street door on the fiftieth Psalm, close the volume and then shut it tightly with a garter of a woman. Then it was fastened to a nail, and said to have turned when the name of a suspected thief was mentioned.
A third procedure of this practice involved two persons suspending the Bible between them, holding the ring of the key between their two forefingers. A.G.H.
(See also Bibliomancy)


A system of divination practiced by throwing black and white beans, small bones or dice, and perhaps, stones, anything, in short, that could be used for lots. A similar practice such as cleromancy was practiced in Egypt as well as in Rome.
The Triaean lots had a similar meaning as objects in cleromancy, being little more than dicing. However the objects bore particular marks or characters, and were consecrated to Mercury, who was regarded as the patron of this method of divination. It was for this reason an olive leaf called "the lot of Mercury" was usually placed in the urn to petition his favor.

Corn Dolly

In England, Scotland and Germany this is an animal or human figure made from the last sheaf of corn of the harvest. Sometimes it is kept to insure a bountiful crop next year. According to other folk customs the corn dolly is burned in a harvest fire. When burned it is symbolic of the sacrifice of the Green or vegetation aspect of the God. This is the corn spirit, the grain which is cut and then replanted; the seeds that dies at every harvest and is eternally reborn each spring.

The burning of corn dollies also symbolizes the death force of the Male principle. Whereas, the Goddess, or Female principle, represents birth, the Male principle, or the Horned God, represents death in the cycle of life as viewed by many neo-Pagans and neo-Pagan Witches. Both are considered necessary to maintain the balance of the cycle. An unchecked life force breeds cancer, just as an unchecked death force leads to war and destruction. The perfect balance of this life cycle is displayed in the changing of the seasons, the ecological balance of the natural world, and the progression of human life from birth, the fulfillment and decline to death, and rebirth.


Coscinomancy is a form of divination that is practiced with a sieve, and a pair of tongs or shears, which are supported upon the thumb nails of two persons looking upon one another, or the nails of the middle finger may be used. Potter in his Greek Antiquities says, "It was generally used to discover thieves, or others suspected of any crime, in this manner: they tied a thread to the sieve by which it was upheld, or else placed a pair of shears, which they held up by two fingers, then prayed to the gods to direct and assist them; after that they repeated the names of the persons under suspicion, and he, at whose name the sieve whirled round or moved, was thought guilty." In the Athenian Oracle it is called "'the trick of the sieve and scissors, the coskiomancy of the ancients, as old as Theocritus,' he having mentioned it in his third idyll, a woman who was very skillful in it." Saunders, in his Chiromancy, and Agrippa, at the end of his works, give certain mystic words to be pronounced before the sieve will turn. It was employed to discover love secrets as well as unknown persons. According to Grose, a chapter in the Bible is to be read, and the appeal made to St. Peter or St. Paul.

Counter Charms

Charms used to counteract other charms. When magicians wanted to disenchant animals, they would sprinkle salt into a porringer (a small basin) mixing it with some blood from one of the creatures, and repeat the certain formulae for nine days



This is a form of divination by observing viands and cakes. The paste of cakes that are offered in sacrifices is closely examined, and from the flour that is spread upon them omens are drawn.

Crystalomancy or crystal gazing

A mode of divination practiced since ancient times with the help of a crystal lobe, a pool of water, or any transparent object. Also, it can be accomplished with water, ink, and other like substances in the divination called hydromancy.
The divinatory practitioner is known as the scryer while the practice is known as scrying. Depending on the era the practice ranges from a simple to an elaborate form. However, the main purpose of the objects is always to induce in the clairvoyant a state of hypnosis so the seer can see visions in the crystal.

The crystal most favored by crystal gazers is a spherical or oval globe, about four inches in diameter, and preferably a genuine rock-crystal. It may be white, blue, violet, yellow, green, opalescent, or transparent. Blue and amethyst colors are less tiring on the eyes. Such a rock-crystal is very expensive and is many times substituted by a sphere of glass which renders good results.
The crystal itself must be a perfect sphere without a speck or flaw, and traditionally based in a stand of highly polished ebony, ivory, or boxwood.

In the practice, Hindus use cups of treacle or ink. Stones of pale sea green or reddish tints have been used. Ancient crystallomancers had precise invocations of the spirits to aid them in elaborate rituals. The man was pure in life and religious dispositions. In preparation for the ritual, a few days before he made frequent ablutions, subjecting himself to prayer and fasts.
The crystal and stand are inscribed with sacred characters as the floor in the room where the invocation is performed be inscribed with such characters. The room must be of thorough cleanliness and solemn atmosphere. But, the mental attitude is of the utmost importance in the divination, because true faith in it is essential for success.

If the magician is assisted by one or two friends who must observe the same rules and be guided by the same principles. The time of the invocation is set in accordance with the positions of the heavenly planets, and all preparations are made during the increasing of the moon. All instruments and accessories to be used in the ceremony--the sword, rod, and compasses, the fire and perfume to be burned, as well as the crystal--are consecrated or "charged" prior to the ritual.
During the procedure the magician faces the east and summons from the crystal the spirit he desires. Magic circles which were previously inscribed on the floor are those which the magician stands in, and it is best for him to remain within the circles for sometime after the spirit has been released. No part of the ceremony must be omitted or the invocation might incur failure.

Paracelsus and others declared the elaborate ceremonies were unnecessary, since the magnes microscomi (the magnetic principle in man) was clearly sufficient to achieve the desired object. In a later period elaborate ceremonies were not completely eliminated, but were made less imposing.
If the person for whom the ceremony is intended, is performing the ceremony himself, has no clairvoyant faculty, then the best choice for a substitute is a young boy or girl born out of wedlock who is still perfectly pure and innocent. Prayers and magical words are said prior to the ceremony along with the burning of incense and perfume. The child's forehead may be anointed and he may wear garments befitting the impressive nature of the ritual.

Some early writers describe formula prayers, known as the "Call" given prior to the inspection of the crystal. Finally after the crystal was "charged" it was given to the medium or clairvoyant person, The first indication of the clairvoyant vision was a mist or cloud over the crystal which gradually dissipated and then the appearance came into view.
Modern crystalomancy continues using a similar procedure but the preparations are simpler. The crystal is spherical and about the size of an orange. It may by held with the finger and thumb of the magician, or, if one end is flattened it may be placed on a table, or alternatively held in the palm of the hand against the background of a black cloth.

The procedure is done in subdued light. If the divination is performed for someone else it is recommended that the person holds the crystal in his hands a few minute before it is passed to the medium.
The aim of crystal gazing, as previously said, is to induce a hypnotic state producing visionary hallucinations, the reflection of light in the crystal forming points de repere for such hallucinations. Thus, the value of elaborate ceremonials and impressive rituals lies in their potential to affect the mind and imagination of the seer.

It is suggested that if telepathy operates with a greater force in a hypnotic state then it may also function in a similar fashion with the self-imposed hypnosis of crystal gazing.
With the help of visionary powers many incidents of crime, such as finding missing persons and discovering missing and stolen property, have been solved. The telepathic theory does not seem to answer the operation of this process when the appearance of the incident appears prior to its actual occurrence. The answer to this mystery must be left to future psychic research.
Though, there seems to be general agreement that the appearance is preceded by a milky clouding of the crystal. This clouding seems to be a picture itself. It is dependent on the operational conditions, and not a result of strain on the scryer's eyes, for the individual glances away for awhile the clouding still exits when his gaze returns to the crystal.

The first pictures act as a drop-scene, the nearest allegory is the cloud and of which, in materialization seances, phantasmal figures emerge. The pictures to which the could gives way to may be small or expand to the entire extent of the sphere in amazing size.
Sometimes the sphere completely disappears from the scryer's sight. The figures and/or scene assumes life-size proportions rendering the scryer a sense of bilocation as if he is part of the group or scene. This sense differs from clairvoyance.

It has been discovered that the images produced by scrying are often symbolic and the elements of choice are discernible which indicates the presentation is provided by an exterior intelligence. Usually, however, the pictures are either disconnected, vague images, or they are very clear. Also, in the visionary images have been detected thought pictures or forms, dreamlike visions, forgotten, reflected memories which may give way to representation of past, present or future events.
From the above is should be apparent the interpretation of images produced in scrying should be critically analyzed to determine whether they give valid information upon which to act, or contain some figments of the scryer's personal mental process which render the interpretation invalid. This is why it is recommended the scryer be in good physical and mental health in order to maintain objectivity in his interpretations. Caution should be the keyword when acting upon the interpretations. Even the inquirer should question his own intentions, how eager is he to believe the crystallomancer?


Crystals have became synonymous with the New Age philosophy. Included within this category are clear and colored quartz as well as semi-precious and precious stones. Since the 1980's such stones have been used as amulets and talismans possessing reputed healing and magical properties. Although such paranormal properties have not been scientifically proven those using the stones firmly believe that these properties are caused by the stones emitting vibrations.

The modern belief in crystal power is a reassurance of an ancient belief. Past civilizations valued crystals for their alleged protective powers against disease, bad luck, evil, and sorcery; and for their physical and mental healing powers. Crystals were worn as amulets and in breastplates by ancient people. European nobility, especially during the Middle Ages, wore crystals to ward off the plague. The stones are used against bad dreams, dissolve enchantments, and were mediums for magical visions. (see Divination) It was even believed that bruising crystals with honey would fill breasts with milk.

Presently crystals are worn as jewelry in pendants and rings, and even carried in small pouches as in ancient times. They are placed around the home and office, and crushed or soaked in water for gem elixirs. The benefits of using crystals are said to be the alleviation of stress, stimulation of creativity, enhancement of dreams, and the awakening of the psychic powers and higher consciousness. In some types of healing therapy crystals are laid out in particular forms on the chakra points and energy meridians of the human body. In alternative medicine they are used on animals as well as humans.

Crystals are used in the work of the occult and magic too. In divination they may be cast in lots or selected. Also, they are used in crystalomancy and meditation.
Some crystal enthusiasts believe certain stones such as clear quartz can be "programmed" to perform certain functions. There are certain procedures for such programming, one is to "clear" the stones by immersing them in salt, then exposing them to sunlight, then "programming" the stones through meditation or concentration. Some stones are classified as "double-terminated" or having points at both ends, and are claimed to be stronger in mystical powers.

Cursed Bread

A bread used in ancient times for divinatory purposes. It was sometimes called the ordeal or fear of bread. The bread, about an ounce in weight, having a spell put on it was given to a suspected person to eat. If the person choked on it or became sick, then he was declared guilty. But, if he remained well then he was said to be innocent. Barely was most likely used in the bread to cause choking. This method of trail by bread was used by the Anglo-Saxons.


Magic spells which are placed upon people with the intention of harming them. The misfortune intended by curses can range from illness, and harm, to even death. Curses are declared to be the most dreaded form of magic, often called black magic, and are believed to be universally used. The principle purposes for them to be "laid" or "thrown" are for revenge, and also for protection of homes, treasures and grave sites. Curses can become effective immediately or may be dormant for years. Curses laid on families have been known to have plagued them for generations.
History of Curses:

The use of curse has been practiced by many cultures. The most universal method of laying on a curse is by effigy, which is an image or representation of the victim, or the person who is wished to be harmed. Waxed effigies were common in ancient India, Persia, Egypt, Africa and Europe, and currently are still used. Also, effigies can be made of clay, wood and stuffed cloth (poppets). Often the effigy is marked or painted to looked like the victim. It is thought that the closer the effigy resembles the victim, the more the victim will suffer when the effigy is harmed or destroyed. The theory behind the harming or destroying an effigy to do harm to a victim is pure sympathetic magic. As the effigy is harmed, so the victim is harmed. When the effigy is destroyed, so the victim dies.
The ancient Egyptians often used waxed figures of Apep, a monster who was the enemy of the sun. The magician would write Apep’s name in green ink on the effigy, wrapped it in new papyrus and throw it into a fire As it burned he kicked it with his left foot four times. The ashes of the effigy were mixed with excrement and thrown into another fire. The Egyptians also left waxed figures on tombs.

Like blessings, curses have universally been bought and sold throughout the centuries. With the exclusion of the neo-Pagan Witches, witches and sorcerers throughout history have performed both blessings and curses as a service to others because both are calling upon supernatural powers to effect a change. They have rendered these services to client for fees, or in carrying out judicial sentences. Plato mentioned in the Republic, "If anyone wishes to injure an enemy; for a small fee they (sorcerers) will bring harm on good or bad alike, binding the gods to serve their purposes by spells and curses."

Waxed figures were popularly used during the Middle Ages and Renaissance in Europe by numerous witches. King James I, of England, described such activities in his book Daemonologie (1597):
To some others at these times he [the Devil] teaheth how to make pictures of wax or clay. That by the roasting thereof, the persons that they beare the name of, may be continually melted or die away by continually sickness.
They can bewitch and take the life of men or women, by roasting of the pictures, as I spake of before, which likewise is verie possible to their Maister to performe, for although, as I said before, that instrument of waxe has no vertue in that turne doing, yet may he not very well, even by the same measure that his conjured slaves, melts that waxe in fire, may he not. I say at these times, subtily, as a spirite, so weaken and scatter the spirites of life of the patient, as may make him on the one part, for faintnesses, so sweate out the humour of his bodie. And on the other parte, for the not concurrence of these spirites, which causes his digestion, so debilitate his stomake, that this humour redicall continually sweating out on the one part, and no new good sucks being put in the place thereof, for lacke of digestion on the other, he shall at last vanish away, even as his picture will die in the fire.

Alternatives to melting of effigies has been to stick them with pins thorns or knives. Animal and human hearts have been used for substitutes. Hearts, animal corpses or objects which quickly decompose, such as eggs, are buried in the ground with spells that the victim will die as the objects deteriorate.
In Ireland "cursing stones" are stones that are stroked and turned to the left as the curse is recited. It has been frequently claimed that gems and crystals possess the power to hold curses. . The Hope Diamond purchased by Louis XVI from Tavernier in 1668, is thought to be cursed, because its owners have suffered illness, misfortune, and death.
The alleged "mummy curse" is on the tomb of Tutankhamen. It was discovered when the Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter excavated Tutankhamen’s burial chamber in 1922. Legend has it that in an antechamber they found an inscribed clay tablet which read:

Death will slay with its wings whoever disturbs the peace of the pharaoh.
Six moths later Carnarvon died of an infected mosquito bite. Even though six of the seven principle members of the excavation team experienced strange or sudden deaths, thought to have been the result of the curse, the tablet was never photographed and strangely disappeared from the artifacts. Bob Brier, an American parapsychologist and Egyptologist, speculated the tablet never existed. In Ancient Egyptian Magic (1980), Briar notes that it is not typically Egyptian to write on clay tablets or to refer to death as having wings. Also, no other reliable sources exist that cite the curse.
Various legends abound in the United Kingdom and Europe of curses laid upon families, especially of the aristocracy. One of the most horrible curses was that of childlessness or death to the heirs, to the family lineage died out.

Current use of curses:
The word hex is sometimes used synonymously with curse. Among the Pennsylvania Dutch Witches hex can designate either a good or bad spell. In neo-Pagan Witchcraft, some Witches use the term hex to designate a binding spell, which is different from a curse.
A curse is the expression of desire of harm to come to a particular person. Anyone can lay a curse on another person, but it is believed that the authority of the person who lays the curse on increases its potency and makes it more dangerous. Such persons are believed to be priests, priestesses or royalty; persons possessing magical skill, such as Witches, sorcerers and magicians; and persons who have no other recourse to justice, such as women in many societies, the poor, the destitute and the dying. Deathbed curses are the most potent, since all the curser’s vital energy goes into the curse.

There is a belief that if the victim knows that he has been cursed and believes that he is doomed, that the curse is all the more potent for the victim helps to cause his own demise. However, many Witches and sorcerers claim that curses can be just as effective without the victim’s knowledge of them. They further say that they would never let the victim know the curse had been laid on him because then he might go to another Witch seeking to get it removed.
This has happened. Persons feeling that they have been cursed have will go to a Witch or sorcerer, sometimes in ignorance to the same person who put the curse on them, to have the spell broken. If the Witch or sorcerer has laid the curse on the person, then he makes an additional fee for taking it off. When two opposing Witches or sorcerers are involved, a magical war might erupt to see whose has the stronger magical powers.

In the various traditions of neo-Pagan Witchcraft it is against the ethic and laws of the Craft to lay curses. Most Witches abide by this, thinking that the curse will return to the curser in the same form as given. Although there are those that believe that cursing against one’s enemies is justified. Witches from ethnic cultures such as the Italian STRIGA, the Mexican BRUJA, and branches of the Pennsylvania Dutch also believe that cursing is justified.
Just as many methods exit for breaking cursers as there are for making them.
Traditionally, the most propitious time for laying on and breaking curses is during the waning of the moon.


This is a term covering the various forms of divination using rings. One form resembles the phenomenon of table-tapping found in Spiritualism. A round table is inscribed with the letters of the alphabet, and a ring is suspended above it. The ring is believed to indicate certain letters that go to make up required messages. According to Ammianus Marcellinus this method was used to find Valen's successor, and the name of Theodosius was correctly indicated. Solemn services of religious character accompanied this mode of divination.

Another form of dactylomancy, of which there is no detailed account, was the practiced with rings of gold, silver, copper, iron or lead, which were placed on the fingernails in certain conjunctions of the planets. A wedding ring is, however, most favorable for uses of this sort.
Another use is to suspend the ring within a glass tumbler, or just outside of it so, that the ring when swung may easily touch the glass. As with table-tapping, a code was devised, the glass being struck once for an affirmative answer, twice for a negative, and so on.
Suspended above a sovereign, the ring will indicate the person from whom head hair has been taken, or, if requested, any other member of the company.


An ancient form of divination by a process of burning laurel. During the burning of a branch in a fire if there is crackling, this is a sign of good luck. But if the crackling is absent, then the prognostication is false.


This is an astrological term applied to a planet whose position in a horoscope weakens its influence.


Divination by means of demons. The divination occurs through the oracles made by the demons, or the answers they give to the inquirers. However, this form of divination is thought to be not very reliable because demons are reputedly vain and unreliable.

Djemscheed, The Cup of

This is a divination cup, which has been the subject of many poems and myths of ancient Persia. It is believed to have been discovered while digging in the foundations of Persepolis, filled with the elixir of immortality. In this magical cup was mirrored the whole world, and everything, good and evil, was revealed therein. The Persians put great faith in these revelations; and attributed the prosperity of their empire to the possession of this famous cup.


Dowsing, frequently called "water witching," is a method of divination for discovering water, metals, and minerals, in or under ground. It is also used to discover leys. Dowsing is distinguishable from a related divinatory method radiesthesia because the latter method not only attempts to discover inanimate but animate objects as well such as missing person, and also is used in the detection of illnesses and prescribing their treatment. Dowsing used for medical diagnosis is permitted in Europe and Great Britain but prohibited in the United States. However, almost everywhere the terms dowsing and radiesthesia have became synonymous.

The origination of dowsing dates back about 7000 years. It is known to have been practiced among the Egyptians and Chinese. During the Middle Ages it was use extensively in Europe to discover coal and water.
Martin Luther condemned the practice as witchcraft which was equated to Devil-worship. Nevertheless, dowsing continued as a popular form of divination until the 19th century when science cast a dim light on it by proclaiming it invalid, "occult." In 1897, Sir William Barrett, of the Royal College in Dublin, stated the "few subjects appear to be as unworthy of serious notice and so utterly beneath scientific investigation as that of the divining rod."

Dowsing as well as radiesthesia operate by the use of a rod, commonly a "Y" shaped stick, formerly a branch of hazel. Frequently before beginning the dowsing practice, the dowser "attunes" himself to the object being sought. Included within this attuning method are techniques of visualization or exposing the rod or pendulum to a location, personal belonging, or type of material which is being sought.
The forked dowsing rod was traditionally made of a hazel branch because the wood is known for its long reputed magical properties. Other woods which are reputed to have magical properties include ash, rowan, and willow. Also these are considered excellent for wands. However, rods have been made of such metals as aluminum and copper. Some have even been twisted coat hangers. Other dowsers preferred rods of whalebone but the supply was extinguished with the whalebone agreement, then many turned to plastic indicators. For dowsing in medical diagnosis many prefer small pendulums on strings.

After this method of attuning has been completed the dowser holds the rod by its handles, formerly the upper ends of the "Y" shaped hazel branch, and proceeds looking for what is sought. If, for example, the person is seeking water he searches thoroughly in a location pointing the branch or rod downward. Presumably when the person comes across an underground stream or reservoir of water the dowsing rod will turn in his hands, sometimes with force.
For many years speculation was that such turning of the rod was caused by an underground emanation or an occult force. However, now spawn by an increased interest in dowsing during 20th century, some modern theorists believe the turning of the rod may be caused by a response caused by the person's sensitivity for the object for which he is seeking. This theory does not, however, preclude the possibility of some sort of electro-magnetic impulse which stimulates the muscles in the individual's nervous system.

Within this past century dowsing has been applied in archaeological and geological work. Some dowsers are so sensitive that they can predict the depth at which the well or reservoir lies underground and the amount of water or material that it is capable of supplying.
Sometimes the dowser does not even physically go to the location that he is being questioned about. A map of the location is brought to the person. The he sets up small pendulums over the maps which assists him in answering the inquirer's questions. Such a procedure has became known as teledowsing, with the theory behind it that there is the establishment a telepathic link between the location and the map.

Dowsing is still viewed by some with skepticism, but there seems to be sufficient evidence to show that the practice has some merits. Between October 1925 and February 1930 Major C. A. Pogson served as the Official Water Diviner for the Government of India. He traveled thousands of miles finding wells and bores. All during these years he was consulted on every matter relating to underground water.

Egg tree

A charm once commonly used in the Ozark mountain region of the United States, but less frequently since the 1930s. The egg tree is composed of a dead bush with the limbs cropped and decorated with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of blown eggs. The bush is set in the ground near a cabin supposedly to ward off witches.


One of six types of divinations practiced by the Persians by air and water. They wrapped their heads in a napkin, exposed to the air a vase full of water, over which in a low voice they uttered the objects of their desires. If bubbles appeared on the surface of the water, it was a happy prognostication. (see Eromanty)


Eromanty is one of the six kinds of divination practiced by the Persians by the means of air. They enveloped their heads in a napkin and exposed to the air a vase filled with water, over which they recited in a low voice the objects of their desires. If bubbles appeared on the surface of the water it was regarded as a happy prognostication. (see Eromancy)

Extispicy (or Extispicium)

The term is derived from extra and spiere, meaning to view or consider. It applied cheifly to the inspection of entrails for the purposes of augury.The officials were known as Extispieces or Auspieces and one of the instruments they used was called by the same name as their craft, the extispicium.
The practice of extispicy came to the Etrurians from the Babylonians as most forms of divination were derived from Mesopotamia. It is said that Romulus chose Aruspices from the Etrurians. The practiced also was employed throughout Greece where the priesthood was confined to two families.
The Roman auspieces had four distinct duties: to examine the victim or animal before it was opened, to examine the entrails, to observe the flame of the sacrificial fire, and to examine the meat and drink offered in accompaniment of the sacrifice.

It was a fatal sign when the heat of the fire was wanting. This occurred when two oxen were immolated on the day Caesar was killed.
Signs predicting a potential instant disaster were if the priest let the entrails fall, if there was more bloodiness than usual, or they entrails were of a livid color.
The Roman architect Vitruvius (46 BC) attempted to credit the origination of extispicy to the custom of making an encampment. The entrails of the animals in the area were examined to determine if the area was healthy to make camp in. Little value was given to this theory.

Eye of Horus

The Eye of Horus was one of the most common amulets of ancient Egypt. This highly stylized eye of the falcon-head, solar and sky god Horus (the Latin version of Hor) is associated with regeneration, health, and prosperity. Also is has become associated with the esoteric and the occult. Another name for the eye is udjat or utchat, meaning "sound eye."
Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, was called "Horus who rules with two eyes." His right eye was white representing the sun while his left eye was black representing the moon. According to Egyptian legend Horus lost his left eye during a fight with his murderous uncle, Seth, to revenged his father's death. Seth tore out his nephew's eye but lost the fight because the assembly of the gods declared Horus the victor. The eye was reassembled by the magic of Thoth. Then Horus gave the eye to Osiris who experienced rebirth in the underworld.

As an amulet the Eye of Horus has three versions: a left eye, a right eye, and two eyes. The eye is constructed in fractional parts, with 1/64 missing, a piece that Thoth added with magic. The Eye of Horus is depicted as a human eye embellished with a typical Egyptian cosmetic extension and subtended by the markings of a falcon's cheek. The symbol of modern pharmacies and prescriptions, Rx, is derived from the three pieces of the Eye of Horus.

In ancient Egypt the eye was used as a funeral amulet as protection against evil and rebirth in the underworld, and for decorating mummies, coffins, and tombs. The Book of the Dead instructs that funerary eye amulets be made out of lapis lazuli or a stone called mak; some were gold-plated.
When worn as jewelry fashioned of gold, silver, lapis, wood, porcelain, or carnelian the eye served to ensure safety, protect health, and provide the wearer with wisdom and prosperity; it was called the "all-seeing Eye." Other attributes associated with it are terror and wrath; some myths tell that the eye seems to assume a personality of its own, swooping down from the sky to right wrongs. The latter attributes appear to come from the legend that after the eye was torn out by Seth, it was restored by Isis, and thence symbolized security of kingship, perfection and protection against the evil influence of Seth.


A familiar is a spirit or demonic attendant to a magician, sorcerer or witch that does their master's bidding, usually attracted to a person through magical skill, or incantation. The concept of a familiar is generally considered to be derived from fetishism because many familiars were said to live in rings, lockets, coins, objects worn by a magician or even bottles and lamps (an example of which is the genie in a lamp from the stories of Aladdin from the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights). A familiar usually takes an animal form like that of a cat, a dog or a bird or most common animals, although some familiars take human form. Many famous occultists had familiars, such as the black dog of Cornelius Agrippa, that was thought to be the Devil; Apollonius of Tyana wore a ring that was said to have a familiar; Paracelsus had a spirit in the hilt of his sword that he only took off his body when sleeping and would produce a purse full of gold coins if stuck in the middle of the night and Dr. John Dee was said to have several spirits named Ash, Il, Po and Va attending to his needs. Sometimes familiars are attracted to people without any desire or thought to attract a spirit to them. Such familiars usually annoy the people they are drawn to until they grow tired of playing jokes o


The mysterious operation practiced in China concerning the disposition of buildings and particularly tombs.
The practice is based upon the belief that a house or building should not be built or situated contrary to a neighboring house. A corner of one house should not face the side of a neighboring house, it if does the occupant or owner of the latter believes that a great misfortune will befall him. Long standing feuds have resulted from such unfortunate actions.

A known remedy is to place a dragon or monster in terra-cotta in the chamber which faces the fatal edifice. The terrible stare of the monster is thought to ward off the evil influence.
Feng-shui is concerned with the "dragon lines" or the subtle energies of the earth, and is known in the West as one branch of geomancy.


A fetish is an object representing a god or spirit that is used to establish a bond between a human being and the supernatural. They are commonly employed in animialstic societies, and were prevalent in predynastic Egypt. They supposedly impart magical powers and are worn or possessed to assure protection, luck, love, curing, warding off evil, money, gambling, or curses on enemies. Typical fetishes range from dolls, carved images, stones, or animal hair, claws or bones. Sometimes they a small pouches or boxes of "medicine" that contain small parts of plants, fruits or vegetables, or animal hair, paws, dung or liver, spittle or urine. Usually it is belived that the spirit that originally resided in these objects is still present within the fetish.

The term "fetish' is derived either from the Latin factitius, made by art, or the Portuguese, feitico, charm or sorcery. Other term such as "juju" and "gris-gris" both of which come from the West African term, grou-grou, for sacred objects, are associated with fetish. The early European explorers and traders called the grou-grou they discovered the juju, meaning dolls or playthings.
Many Western missionaries when Christianizing the natives often vigorously took their fetishes away, saying they should be praying to God and Jesus and not to some strange god or spirit. Seldom, if ever, did it enter these zealous missionaries' minds that these "so called" strange gods or spirits were not strange at all to these natives, but the stranger's God was. Many of these people who would eventually be transported to a strange had their comfort stripped from them.
The gris-gris developed among the African-American slave culture in the southern United States. Generally they were charm bags filled with magical powders, herbs, spiuces, bones, stone, feathers, or other ingredients. Also gris-gris are used in voodoo magic. Similar charm bags are called resguardos, or "protectors" in Santeria.
Fetish traditions exist among the various North American Native tribes. Some fetishes are for the individual while others are collective serving a clan, secret society, village or tribe.


These are spirits or familiars that appear to witches or magicians in a mirror to reveal esoteric truths or obscure information.


An ancient method of divination that is now speculated to have been ventriloquism. The voice of the seer seemed to come from the ground.
Eusebe Salverte, author of the Des Science Occultes (Paris, 1834), put forth the following opinion: "The name of Engastrimythes, given by the Greeks to the Pythiae (priestesses of Apollo), indicates that they made use of the sacrifice." This explanation, however, is only partial, but the text of Isaiah, "Thy voice shall die as one who hath a familiar spirit," is inapplicable in such an argument.
All who are familiar with the phenomena clairvoyance recognize that the voice becomes very low in the consequence of a change in respiration. Such was the behavior of the Pythonesses, although this too could have been the result of ventriloquism; such a phenomena presently occurs among the wizards of Greenland.

.Another method of practicing gastromancy is with crystal glasses, round and filled with clear water, which are placed in front of lighted candles. Also, this method is related to crystal gazing. In this instance, a young boy or girl acts as the seer, and the magician summons the demon. The relies or answers are interpreted by observing the magical appearances that are seen in the illuminated glass vassals.


A system by which hidden truths and meanings are discovered within words. Each letter of an alphabet corresponds to a number. Numerical values of words are totaled up and then these words are said to correspond with other words sharing the same numerical value.
The Babylonian king Sargon II, in 8th century BC, is believed to have been the first to use gematria when building the wall of Khorsabad exactly 16,283 cubits long, because that was the numerical value of his name.

In Jewish mysticism this is a traditional system of associating numbers with Hebrew letters for the purpose of discovering hidden meanings in words. This is accomplished by systematically associating letters with numbers and then finding other words with similar numbers. These latter words are regarded as comments on the original words. Systems related to the Hebrew implementation of gematria are still used.
The Hebrews also used gematria for divination.

The ancient Greeks used gematria in dream interpretation. It also appears in the literature of the magi, and has been used in connection with the Greek alphabet.
The Gnostics applied gematria to names of deities such as Abraxas and Mithras, equating them because both of their names equaled 365, the number of days in a year.
Gematria carried over into early Christianity which helped make the dove a representation of Jesus; the Greek word for dove, peristera, equals 801 as do the Greek letters in alpha and omega, which represent the Beginning and the End.

It was the Kabbalists, however, who seriously studied gematria and developed it into an art form. The Kabbalists of the 13th century seriously believed that the Old Testament was written in a hidden code inspired by God. They used gematria as one of the chief means by which to decipher this code. An example of this is shown in their interpretation of Jeremiah 9:9, "From the fowl of the heavens until the beasts are fled and gone". This was interpreted as meaning, that no traveler passed through Judea for 52 years, because the Hebrew word for beast, behemah, has the numerical value of 52.
Entire verses were numerically added up and interpreted in such a fashion. The 13th century German Kabbalistic scholar, Eleazar of Worms, did extensive gematric commentaries on the Bible.

Present practices:

The Kabbalists also used gematria to search for the holy names of God thinking, as so many others have, that these names such as the Tetragrammaton possessed power. Such a procedure has been adopted by many present day magicians. However, it should be noted two schools of thought regarding gematria also were issued from the Kabbalists. One advocated it use while the other cautioned against its practice, recommending that it only be practiced to strengthen one's own conclusions. Various methods of gematria have evolved; for example one Kabblistic tract lists 72 of hem.
There are two other lesser known decoding systems which are related to gematria, and various methods of practice exist within each of these systems too. The first of these systems is known as notarikon, in which the first letter of words may be extracted and combined to form new words; or, another version is to take the first, last, and sometimes the middle letters to make new words or phrases.

The other system is called temurah. It is a more complicated system in which letters are organized in tables, or according to mathematical arrangements. By the procedure of substitution new words or anagrams are formed.
Some modern occultists apply gematria to Tarot cards, associating the twenty-two trumps with Hebrew letters.


A system of divination that employs the scattering of pebbles, grains of sand, or seeds on the earth and then the interpretation of their shape and position. The occultist Agrippa later developed a method of making marks on the earth with a stick, (currently the method is also used by making marks on paper with a pencil or pen) and then interpreting them. The interpretation is partly intuitive and partly by means of a system of positions reminiscent of I Chang hexagrams.
The term "Geomancy" is also applied to the Chinese practice of feng-shui (wind and water), and was employed by 19th century writers to translate feng-shui. This Chinese art is concerned with the relationships between human beings and the subtle energies of nature. In classical Chinese sources, the term ti li (land positions) was likewise used, another related term is kan tu (cover and support) which has special reference to the relationships between heaven and earth.

Feng-shui and ti li are concerned with the "dragon lines" or the subtle energies of the earth particularly in relation to the setting of buildings, and the interaction between human life and earth currents. Feng-shui experts would determine the most advantageous locations for roads, bridges, canals, wells and mines in relationship to earth energies. Sites of graves were also an important consideration. Often bodies were not buried until the proper burial site was determined; sometimes bodies were unearthed and reburied.
It seems apparent that the Western form of geomancy originates from feng-shui since the position of pebbles, sand, or seeds has something in common with the acupuncture pressure points on the "body" of nature and its energies. Likewise, the Chinese concepts of subtle earth energies parallel Western concepts of ley lines and dowsing.

Glas Chairm

This is either a rhyme or spell of Scottish origin that is believed to keep a dog from barking and help to open a lock. It was especially useful to young men during their courting days.
Around 1900 a well-known character of Skye (Hebrides, Scotland) named Archibald the Lightheaded was believed to know this incantation. The man was thought by many to be insane because he uttered the saying so fast that no one understood it, but all dogs hearing it were afraid of him. In retrospect, the Glas Chairm, or the rhyme, seemed to have some reference to the safety of the Children of Israel on the night before the Exodus: "against any of the Children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast."

Golden Key

A title of many volumes which have been written purporting to reveal the infallible method of winning at a lottery.
La Clef d'or or Veritable tresor de la fortune, 1810, has been reprinted from time to time in Lille, Belgium. It is based on the doctrine of sympathetic numbers, which the anonymous author claimed to have discovered from studying the works of Caglistro, Cornelius Agrippa and others.
Each number drawn, the author stated, is directly followed by five sympathetic numbers. For example, the number 4 is followed by its sympathetic numbers 30, 40, 50, 20, and 76. The claim is that with such knowledge it is an easy matter to win at a lottery.


The study or science of interpreting hand writing, handwriting analysis, involving character and personality traits. The activity dates back to ancient times; Aristotle claimed that he could define a person’s soul from studying his handwriting. Suetonius claimed that Emperor Augustus did not separate his words which led him to conclude that the Emperor did not pay attention to detail in forming a picture of the whole situation.

In the 17th century Camilo Baldi published a Latin treatise called De Signis ex Epistolis (1622). During the 19th century graphology began to be recognized as a pseudo-science in France when the Abbe Flandrin (1804-1864) made a detailed study of autographs. In 1872 Adolphe Desbarolles published Les mysteres l’ecriture: art de juger les hommes sur leurs autographes. After this other books were written on the subject ranging anywhere between the scientific and the occult.
In modern times, even though the study still is not considered fully scientific by some, there are some common observations which practitioners make. The significance of the slope of the handwriting, the formation of the individual characters, whether they are joined or not. Some who examine handwriting experience a psychic element giving them an impression similar to that received in psychometry. Perhaps one’s signature is the symbolic portrait of the entire, both conscious and unconscious, personality of the individual. In this regard, it is related to the magical sigil that expresses celestial intelligences.

Graphology is becoming more accepted and used. Increasing number of businesses and law enforcement agencies are employing this technique.


In Vodoun, or Voodoo, gris-gris resemble charms or talismans which are kept for good luck or to ward off evil. Originally gris-gris were probably dolls or images of the gods, but presently most gris-gris are small cloth bags containing herbs, oils, stones, small bones, hair and nails, pieces of cloth soaked with perspiration and/or other personal items gathered under the directions of a god for the protection of the owner.
The origin of the word is unclear, but some scholars trace it to juju the West African name for fetish, or sacred object. Juju maybe be an European translation for the expression grou-grou (hence gis-gris), or it may refer to the French word joujou, which meant "doll" or "plaything." Most of the African fetishes were shaped like dolls, and early Europeans on the African West Coast may have mistaken serious religious objects for innocent looking poppets.

Walter Gibson, in Witchcraft (1973), states that fetish denotes any object possessed by a holy spirit, while juju more specifically meant a charm, something witch doctors needed to make their medicine work either for good or ill. Biren Bonnerjea whose Dictionary of Superstitions and Mythology appeared in 1927 defines juju as the West African name for a fetish, also called grigri.
The gris-gris became traditional in New Orleans, the American headquarters for voodoo, where they were use for various things such as attracting money and love, stopping gossip, protecting the home, maintaining good health and achieving innumerable other ends. At one time, every police officer was known to carry a gris-gris for protection. A gris-gris is ritually made at an altar containing the four elements of earth (salt), air (incense), water and fire (a candle flame). The number of ingredients (placed in the gris-gris) is always one, three,. five, seven, nine or thirteen. Ingredients are never an even number or more than thirteen. Stones and colored objects are chosen for their occult and astrological meanings corresponding to the purpose for which the gris-gris is to be used.

Legends concerning the famous New Orleans Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau claim her gris-gris contained bits of bone, colored stones, graveyard dust (also called goofer dust), salt, and red pepper. Other more elaborate gris-gris were made of bird nests and horse hair weavings.
A red-flannel bag holding a lodestone or magnet was a gambler's favorite gris-gris, which was suppose to absolutely guarantee good luck. Another favorite gris-gris of gamblers was made of chamois, a piece of red flannel, a shark's tooth, pine-tree sap, and dove's blood. The dove's blood and sap were mixed together, and this mixture was used to write the amount that the gambler wished to win on the chamois, which was wrapped in the red flannel with the shark's tooth between the two layers, all of which was sewn together with cat's hair. This charm was supposedly worn in the left shoe to bring good and often uncomfortable luck.

What was referred to as "putting a gris-gris" on a person could be used to bring others bad luck or misfortune. Such gris-gris filled with gunpowder or red pepper were thrown on a person or at his door supposedly to get him into a fight. They also were to get rid of people. Marie Laveau to have written a person's name on a small balloon, then tied it to a statue of Saint Expedite, when released the person would supposedly depart in the same direction as the released balloon took. Leaving a gris-gris, usually containing powder, for a person generally that he or she was not in the "voodoos" favor and they had better watch their step.

One of Marie Laveau's more horrible 'wangas', or bad luck reputedly was a bag made from a shroud of a person that had been dead for nine days. It contained the following ingredients a dried one-eyed toad, the little finger of a black person who had committed suicide, a dried lizard, a bat's wings, a cat's eyes, an owl's liver, and a rooster's heart. If such a gris-gris were hidden in the victim's handbag or under his pillow, surely the unfortunate would die. Many white masters mistreated their slaves and often found gris-gris filled with black pepper containing saffron, salt, gunpowder, and pulverized dog manure.

In Santeria, gris-gris bags are called resquardos or "protectors." A typical resquardos under the protection of the thunder god Chango usually contains herbs, spices, brown sugar, aloes, stones or other sacred relics, tied up in red velvet and stitched with red thread. Finally the Santerio attaches a gold sword, the symbol of Saint Barbara (Chango's image of a Catholic saint), and if the sword breaks Chango has interceded on behalf of the owner.

Gurunfindas are talismans made by the Santeria's black witches, mayomberos, to ward off evil from themselves and direct it toward others. To make a gurunfindas the mayombero first hallows out a guiro, a hard, inedible plant found in the tropics, and fills it with the heads and hearts of a turtle and various specious species of parrots, the tonguer and eyes of a rooster, and seven live ants. Next the mayombero adds seven teeth, the jawbone and some hair of a cadaver, along with the cadaver's name written on a piece of paper, and seven coins to pay the dead spirit for his services. Then the mayombero pours rum over the mixture and buries it beneath the sacred ceiba tree for 21 daus. When he disinters the guiro the mayombero marks the outside of the fruit with chalk, and then hangs the charm near his home.


A method of divination by going around in a circle which circumference was marked with letters of an alphabet. The presage evolved as words formed from the letters onto which the inquirers stumbled when becoming too giddy to stand up.
There is a curious connection between the practice of this divination and the familiar technique of psychic circles. In this practice all siting in a circle place a finger on a glass surrounded by letters of the alphabet. The glass will touch letters in turn to indicate words or messages.

The principle of the repeated circling is to exclude the interference of the will so to reduce the selection of letters to mere chance. In few species of enhancement, however, the art of turning round is to induce prophetic delirium. Some religious dances, particularly the rotation of certain devotees on one foot with arms out stretched, are of this nature. Such incidents indicate a sort of mystical secret.
Another form of gyromancy is where the person walks around in a circle until the individual collapses. The position that the person falls in relation to the circle determines the outcome of future events.

In the phenomenon known as the St. Vitus' Dance manifestations of spirit intelligence were observed the movements of those in convulsions. The action of the spiritual force tends to be spirally rhythmically, whether in language or bodily members.


A branch of pyromancy (divination by fire), which involves throwing salt into the flames. The course for future action is indicated by the nature of the resulting flames: their color, speed and direction.
Botanomancy is related to this divinatory form.


Haruspicy is the examination of the livers and entrails of sacrificied animals. The practiced is similar to hepatoscopy.


Hepatoscopy is the examination or the inspection of the liver of sacrifical animals. The Babylonians were famous for hepatoscopy. A highly trained priest that might also might have been a Chaldaean which was synonymous with a magician, who was called a "bara" or diviner (literally a "seer inspector"), was in charge of the vital function. The liver was considered the seat of the blood and hence the seat of life itself. On the basis of this belief the Mesopotamians, by some incomprehensible process of reasoning, identified the liver of the sacrificial sheeps to the gods, and therefore deemed it a proper vechicle by which to divine the will and intentions of the higher powers.

The bara or priest was specially trained to read or interpret the signs or markings of the livers. The practice of hepatoscopy was often performed in special temples where the priests would purify themselves and dress in special attire when performing the act. Supplies of livers for the purpose of reading omens were kept at the temples. Also, every army regiment had a bara with it and he performed the act before the regiment's entrance into battle. Private citizens also employed baras to perform hepatoscopy for them to determine the gods' will in their personal lives.


A method of divination that was practiced by the ancient Celts who kept certain white horses in consecrated groves. They were made to walk immediately behind the sacred car and auguries were made from the observations of their movements.
The ancient Germans kept similar animals in their temples. If during times of hostilities these steeds departed crossing the threshold with their left forefoot, the presage was regarded as evil and the battle was called off.


A term or word designating a witch’s spell which has a long historical association with the connotation of the number six. The Greek hex, and the Latin sex cognate with the Egyptian seven, "to embrace, to copulate." Six almost universally represzented the number of sex, representing the union between the Triple Goddess and her trident-bearing consort, which is why Christian authorities labeled six "the number of sin." Pythagoreans, on the other hand, called six the perfect number, or The Mother. One of its Egyptian forms seshemu, "sexual intercourse" – shown in hieroglyphics by male and female genitals in conjunction – survived in the Sufi love-charm designed to open the "cave" of the Goddess: Open, Sesame.

The hexagonal hex signs include the six-pointed Tantric yanta of love. The name of the sign comes from the Pennsylvania Dutch, who borrowed the word from their native German word for "witch." Hexe, which in turn is from the Old High German hagazussa or hagzissa ("hag").
A triple six, 666, was the magic number of Triple Aphrodite (or Ishtar) in the guise of the Fates. The Book of Revelation called it "the number of the Beast" (Revelation 13:18). After Solomon met the Queen of Sheba he acquired 666 talents of gold (I Kings, 10:14). In Christian literature the 666 has been referred to as Satan’s number, but the recurrences of the number in esoteric traditions is frequently surprising. The maze at Chartres Cathedral, for example, was planned to be 666 feet long.

The Egyptians considered 3, 6 and 7 most sacred numbers. Three represented the Triple Goddess, six meant her union with God; seven meant the Seven Harthos, seven planetary spheres, seven-gated holy city, seven-year reigns of kings, and so forth. Egyptians were obsessed with the conviction that the total number of all deities had to be 37, because of the number’s magical properties. This was because it combined the sacred numbers of 3 and 7; and, 37 multiplied by any multiple of 3 gave a triple digit or "trinity": 111, 222, 333, 444, 555, etc. The miraculous number 666 is the product of 3 X 6 X 37.
A professional, or real, witch casts a hex for a voluntary contribution. Witches are frequently consulted on breaking and protection against hexes.

Hex death

Hex death, also called "voodoo death" is caused by placing a hex or cursed on a person either by black magic, or by breaking a taboo. Belief is the critical factor in a hex death. If a person, or victim, believes that a witch doctor or a Vodoun priest has laid a hex or curse on him to cause his death, either by cursing him or pointing a finger or bone at him, he probably will expire, and no amount of Western conventional medicine can save him. Usually hex death is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Anthropologist Joan Halifax-Grof, in her studies on hex death, listed four causes: 1) secret administration of poisons or other physical agents; 2) the relationship between the physical and emotional factors in the victim; 3) social reactions in a particular culture; and 4) parapsychological influences. Poisons and physical agents are obvious malefactors; if administered "magically" with plenty of ceremony, they may kill without the victim’s knowledge.

The second category refer to the fact that the victim can literally die from fright. In stressful situation the adrenaline flow increases, preparing the body to fight or run. In incidences where neither is possible, the body can suffer both short- and long-term damage, such as shock, lowering of the blood pressure and attacking of the body immune system. Rage affects the body as well. Finally, if the victim believes his cursed situation is hopeless, he starts experiencing feelings of helplessness, incompetence, despair and worthlessness. His illness begins, which the victim has no desire to fight, and inevitably he succumbs. Psychologists term this situation the giving up/given up complex.

Cultural determinants do play a large factor in hex death alone with the victim’s own perceptions. Once cursed the victim can be forced to withdraw from daily community life, becoming almost invisible to his neighbors. The cursed person becomes despondent, expecting death, and his friends and relatives do not dispute these notions but corroborate with them. Eventually, those not cursed begin to see the victim as already dead, even performing funeral ceremonies over his body, which technically still lives. In Australia, the aborigines actually take food and water from the accused, thinking a dead person needs no sustenance. Suffering from starvation and dehydration in the heat of the Australian bush will certainly cause the victim to die.

There are many cases where the victim dies even when his friends and relatives try to help him. Halifax-Grof speculates that in these incidences the sorcerer had developed a telepathic connection with the victim, and somehow controls his mind. Theoretically, if there is psychic healing, then, perhaps, there is psychic killing. One of the most sinister acts of the obeahman, or witch doctor, is to steal a person’s shadow. By taking a human’s spirit and psychically "nailing" it to the sacred ceiba tree, the obeahman has deprived the victim of his spirit and of the need to live.

In Haiti, French anthropologist Alfred Metraux observed a phenomenon called "sending of the dead," which Baron Samedi, god of the graveyard, possesses the bokor, the sorcerer, and through him commands a client to go to a cemetery at midnight with offerings of food for the Baron. When reaching the cemetery, the client must gather a handful of graveyard earth for each person he wishes to see killed, which he later spreads on the paths taken by the victim(s). Alternatively, the client take a stone from the cemetery, which magically transforms itself into an evil entity, ready to do its master’s bidding. To initiate the process, the sorcerer throws the stone against the victim’s house. Metraux found that whenever a person learned that he was a victim of a "sending the dead" spell, he would soon grow thin, stop eating, spit blood and die.

In all these cases, only the reversal of the spell by good magic can save the victim’s life. The mind’s capacity for belief and action overpowers all other attempts at conventional logic and scientific rationality.
However, sorcerers in various cultures contend that it is possible to cause a hex death even though the victim is unaware of the hex.

Hex signs

Assorted round magical signs and symbols used by the Pennsylvania Dutch, principally for protection against heverei (Witchcraft) but also to bring about spells. These signs serve both as amulets and talismans. Traditionally, hex signs are painted on barns, stables and houses for protection against lightning, to ensure fertility and protect animal and human occupants alike from becoming ferhexed, or bewitched. The hex sign are also painted on candles; household goods such as kitchen utensils and racks; and on wooden and metal disks which can be hung in windows.
Various hex signs have a distinct meaning. Some of the symbols and designs date back to the Bronze Age – such as the Swastika or solar wheel, symbol of the Cult of the Sun – and to the ancient Crete and Mycenae. Most of the common designs or symbols are enclosed in a circle, such as stars with five, six or eight points which are trudenfuss or pentagrams; variations of swastikas and hearts. The six-petaled flower/star, a fertility hex sign, is painted on utensils and tools related to livestock, especially horses, on linen, on weaver’s tools, mangling boards and other items.

Pomegranates also are use for fertility; oak leaves for male fertility; an eagle or rooster with a heart for strength and courage; hearts and tulips for love, faith and happy marriages.
Other hex signs are designed for healing, the accumulation of material goods and money, starting or stopping rain and innumerable other purposes. A charm or incantation is said during the making of the hex sign. There is very little information concerning hex signs because it is considered taboo for the Pennsylvania Dutch to talk about them to outsiders.

The custom for using hex signs was derived from the Old World, brought from Germany and Switzerland by German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania during the 1700s and 1800s. In the old Saxon religion it was customary to paint protective symbols on barns and houses. In Germany, tradition calls for the hex signs to be placed on the frames of barns, but not houses; in Switzerland, it was customary to place the sign on houses. The Pennsylvania Dutch adopted both practices developing regional customs in style and placement of hex signs.
The signs proliferated the Pennsylvania Dutch area throughout the 19th century but began to wane in the 20th century as belief in magical arts declined.


The divination by water that was stated by Natalius Comes (d. 1852) as being initiated by the ancient sea god Nereus, but presently the term covers a variety of divinations ranging from crystalomancy to radiesthesia.
The Jesuit M. A. Del Rio (1551-1608) described several methods oif hydromancy. The first method described depicts a ring hanging by a string that is dipped into a vessel of water which was shaken. A judgment or prediction is made by the number of times which the ring strikes the sides of the vessel.

A second method is when three pebbles are thrown into standing water and observations are made from the circles formed when the objects strike the water.
The third method described depended upon the agitation of the water, this custom was prevalent among Oriental Christians of annually baptizing that element, at the same time as taking especial care to show that the betrothment of the Adriatic by the Doge of Venice had a wholly different origin.

A fourth method used colors of the water and figures appearing in it by which Varro stated that many prognostications were made concerning the Mithridatic War. This branch of the divination proved so important that it was given a separate name and there arose from it the divination of fountains whose waters were frequently visited. Among the most famous were the fountains of Palicorus in Sicily which destroyed many a criminal who testified falsely before them. A full description as to their usage and virtue was give by the Roman philosopher Microbus (c. 345-423 AD).

Pausanius (2nd century AD) described the fountain near Epidaurus dedicated to Ino into which loaves were thrown by worshippers hoping to receive an oracle from the goddess. If the loaves were accepted they sank in the water which meant good fortune, but if they were washed up from the fountain it meant bad luck.
Other divining spring stories were collected by the antiquary J. J. Bossiard to which Del Rio gave their origination. A custom of ancient Germans was to throw newborn children into the Rhine. It was thought if the child was spurious he would drown, but if he was legitimate he would swim. Such a custom appears to be a precursor of the 17th century custom of "swimming witches" perhaps related to the Anglo-Saxon law of trail by water established by King Athelstain.
In a fifth method of hydromancy mysterious words are pronounced over a glass of water, then observations are made of it spontaneous ebullience.

In the sixth method a drop of oil was let drop into a vessel of water, this furnished a mirror through which wondrous things became visible. This, Del Rio said, is the Modus Fessanus.
The seventh method of hydromancy was cited by Clemens Alexandrinus who cited that women of Germany watched the whirls and courses of rivers for prognostic interpretations. The identical fact was mentioned by J. L. Vives in his Commentary upon St. Augustine.
Also, in modern Italy, continued the learned Jesuit, there are still diviners who take three name of suspected thieves and write them on three little balls which they throw into water, he added, some were so profaned as to use holy water in this unsanctified practice.
In a fragment of M. T. Varro's de Cultu Deorum the practice of hydromancy was attributed to Numa.


Icthyomancy is a form of divination that studies or reads the entrails of fishes. This was an important method of divination practiced by many ancient nations in Near East. Early Christians used Icthys, Greek for fish, as a symbol for Christ.

Meet the I Ching

This article is not entitled 'instructions in manipulating an ancient divination method', or even 'how to use a valuable tool for self-development'. True, the I Ching is both of those things, but I know it as a gentle, wise and strong friend, and this is what - or whom - I would like you to meet.
The I Ching is an invaluable friend and companion on the path. Quite simply, you can ask it whatever you wish, and you receive the answer you need. 'How can I manage this dispute?' 'Be like a general in the midst of his army, build up your reserves and be prepared - but don't overstate things, stay in touch with reality' 'What can I do for her?' 'Be with her: she is very mistrustful, hiding weapons in the undergrowth and constantly on the look-out for attack. But you can overcome this and get closer to her, biting through the mistrust like an obstacle between your teeth' 'What if we bought this house?' 'It would be as if the main roof beam of a house were bearing too much weight and buckling under the strain'. I understood this answer as pointing to the strain of involving all my emotional and financial resources in a very dilapidated house, which was true. But later, the house also turned out to have structural problems with its roof... And so on, and on.
In my work interpreting the I Ching's answers for other people, I have been delighted to discover how its voice changes - how it becomes reassuring or firm, simple or profound, according to the needs of the individual questioning it. People from 17 to 70 ask it every question imaginable. These, of course, are confidential - but I've personally asked questions from 'where should I look for my I Ching journal?' to 'What am I here for?' And yes, both answers were accurate!

Here is the proof of 'ask, and it shall be given unto you,' at work in practice. In the images the I Ching offers you, you can see yourself and your situation - and the people around you - with new understanding. You have new insight into the deeper currents that flow through your life; you can float deftly with them, rather than paddling desperately against the stream. Over time, you find that you are living your life rather than merely having it happen to you.
You may be wondering why I haven't included instructions on using the I Ching, explained the intricacies of hexagrams, trigrams, moving lines and those other complicated things you may have heard of. Well, you can find out all you need to know about this at Clarity's website - or you can simply use the free reading there. But the technicalities are not all that important - the important thing is to meet the I Ching.

The I Ching and the Tao

The I Ching is an ancient and beautiful Chinese oracle that has been helping people and answering their questions for some 3,000 years. Reading the Tao Te Ching and the I Ching together, it seems that Lao Tzu must have known and loved the tradition of the ancient oracle. The two books spring from the same world - the same traditions, and the same way of being.
The Tao is the way. To move with it is to be in harmony with the nature of the time, fitting with it as smoothly as flowing water. This was not an abstract, metaphysical idea for the early Chinese: both in the regular cycles of farming and in the changing dynamics of contemporary politics, it was a present necessity. The ideal is simple: to follow what is right for the time. Time is not marked quantatively - as if divided by the hands of a wrist-watch - but qualitatively, as a particular, sacred moment to be observed. This idea is brought out in the Hsiang Chuan wing of the I Ching, in which the 'noble heir' and occasionally the 'former Kings' are offered as models for how to respond to the nature of the time. The former Kings seem to have governed through wu wei, 'doing not-doing'. Hexagram 25 , wu wang, 'Without entanglement', describes how it is possible to live and act without becoming emotionally embroiled and misled, and without encountering resistance, by allowing one's own inner initiative to be awoken by the laws of nature, like thunder in heaven.
'Below heaven, thunder moves. Creatures and energies join together helpfully without

entanglement. The former Kings used whatever throve abundantly in the season to nurture the ten thousand things.' The Kings appear again in Hexagram 20, where they 'observed the far reaches (of their kingdom), watching the common people in order to set up their teaching.' In other words, the way to feed the people is found in the cycles of nature; the way to teach them is found in their own nature. In fact, through hexagrams 19 and 20, it is far from clear who is teaching and who is learning...

But trying to draw absolute ideas from the I Ching as you might from the Tao Te Ching very precisely and brilliantly misses the point. The I Ching encompasses many, many different ways of interacting with the nature of the time to follow the changing Way, which are often mutually exclusive. It is not just a book of wisdom to read, it is an oracle to talk with. Through invoking chance in the act of consulting the oracle, we effectively 'disentangle' ourselves from rationalisations, and allow the underlying reality of the moment - the Tao - in.

The Taoist ideal, of a crystal-clear perception that enables you to move naturally at the right time, was shared by the very earliest users of oracles. They did not passively ask the spirits what was going to happen, but rather whether they had their blessing for the hunt or the harvest they proposed. A customer once explained to me that she knew she wanted to make a certain change in her life, but she wanted to be sure that this was the right time for it. 'Is that the sort of thing you can ask?' she enquired. I reassured her that it certainly was! Unknowingly, she was sharing in one of the oldest, deepest motives behind our consultation of the I. (So it is perhaps not surprising that she has developed a profound understanding of the I Ching. I think she has been moving with Tao all her life.)
Maybe the most basic question underlying all others is 'what is my path?' It contains so many questions - where am I, where am I going, how can I get there, how can I deal with these obstacles, is this the right way? These are the questions people have been bringing to the I Ching for 3,000 years or more.


Kephalonomancy is a method of divination that is practiced by making diver signs on the baked head of an ass. It was familiar for the Germans and the Lombards to substitute for it the head of a goat. The ancients placed lighted carbon on the ass's head, and pronounced the names of those suspected of any crime. If a crackling coincided with the utterance of a name, the latter was thought to be the guilty person.


A form of divination involving indications from a flame, its form, color, and movements, of an oil lamp or torch. A flame having a single point was an indication of good fortune, but when having two points it indicated bad luck. A flame that was bent might indicate illness. Sparks were thought to indicate forthcoming news, while the sudden extinguishing of the flame indicated disaster.


A branch of crystalomancy (divination by water). One method was to throw objects into a full container of water and to interpret the images they formed in the water, or the sounds made when the objects struck the water.
Another, more elaborate method was to place a silver vase filled with water on a moonlit night . Then let the light from a candle be reflected from a blade of a knife onto the water and the inquirer comments on the images formed on the water.


A system of divination by employing incense and prayers. The incense is thrown on a fire, and the smoke carries the prayers to heaven. Supposedly if the incense is consumed the prayers will be answered.
This divinatory practice is related to pyromancy.

Licking (a Charm)

The following procedure was believed to eliminate an enchantment. A person would lick a child's forehead, first in an upward direction, then across the forehead, and finally upward again. Then the person would spit behind the child's back.
It was thought that when licking the child's forehead with the tongue, if the taste of salt was perceived then that was an infallible proof of fascination, or the enchantment was exterminated.


The divination method using stones popular in the British Isles and Europe. Each stone supposedly has a significance of its own, and the divination is accomplished by tossing the stones and interpreting the arrangement in which they fall.
Thirteen stones are used. They are selected from their natural environment during favorable astrological configurations, and with the aid of intuitional guidance. Ideally, the stones should be smooth and nearly uniform in size and shape. They may range from pebbles found on a beach to semiprecious stones such as agates or various crystals.
Seven stones represent astrological signs: the sun, moon, Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn. The remaining six stones represent the home, love, life, magic, luck and news.
Divinatory stones may be kept in a "charm" bag.

Magical Names

These are magical names used to conjure up demons: Eheieh, Iod, Tetragrammaton, Elohim, El, Elohim Gibor, Eloah Va-Daath, El Adonai Tzabaoth, Elohim Tzabaoth, Shaddai.


A form of divination which uses a pearl. The pearl was covered with a vase, and placed near a fire while names of subjects were read aloud. When the name of the guilty person was pronounced supposedly the pearl would bound up and pierce the bottom of the vase.


A term indicating the psychometric ability of an individual on the basis of script. This phenomenon has nothing to do with the phenomenon of graphology (handwriting analysis). In this phenomenon the past, present, or future is read without regard to the subject of the script. The script itself only serves as an influence.
The only justification for the term metagraphology is that some graphologists develop a keen sensitivity in this phenomenon while they are studying scripts. A most notable metagraphologist was Raphael Schermann. Another more recent one is Otto Reimann, born in 1903, a bank clerk in Prague who could simply touch script and exhibit accurate psychometric ability. He was studied by Dr. Fischer of Prague.


A method of divination based on the interpretation of the meaning of sharps that have been produced by dripping molten lead or tin into water. The diviner's interpretations are suppose to oracularly answer inquirer's questions.
This divinatory method is similar to ceremancy and ceroscopy.


A Kabbalic tern covering that area of magic dealing with the reading of the future by the computation of time and the observation of the heavenly bodies. This area includes astrology.


A form of divination by rats or mice supposedly alluded to in Isaiah LXVI:17. The method lies in their peculiar cries or some mark of devastation denoting evil which they make. Aelian told how Fabius Maximus resigned the dictatorship because of a warning from the creatures. Cassius Flaminius resigned being commander of the calvary because of them.
Herodotus told of how the army of Semmacherib of which he was a member was defeated after being infested by rats. The rodents ate through the quivers and bows so that by morning the weapons were destroyed and in confusion men fled as many were killed.

Horapollo, in his curious study of Egyptian Hieroglyphics, described the rat as the symbol of destruction, and that the Hebrew name for the animal came from the root meaning separate, divide, or judge. One of the commentators on Horapollo remarked that the rat had a finely discriminating taste.
An Egyptian manuscript in the Biblotheque Royale in Paris contains a representation of a soul going to judgment, in which one of the figures is depicted as having a head of a rat, and having a well-known wig.
It is recognized that the Libian rats and the mouse of Scripture are the same as the Arabian jerboa, which is characterized as having a long tail, bushy at the end, and short front legs.
The mice and emerods of gold (I Samuel V: 6, 7) were essentially charms sharing a precise symbolic meaning.

Mystical Number Seven, The

Perhaps the numeral seven is considered the most mystical of all numbers because it is the one number which cannot be divided evenly into the circle. This is always a dividend as the following chart illustrates:
360 1 360
360 2 180
360 3 120
360 4 90
360 5 72
360 6 60
360 7 51.428571
360 8 45
360 9 40
Further references to the numeral seven:
The dividend from the division of the circle by the number seven is intriguingly close to the outer angle of the Great Pyramid: 51 degrees and 51 minutes.

The mystical nature of Pi: The number 22 is considered symbolic of a complete circle, or the circle, because this is reflected by the twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet, the twenty-two keys in the Major Arcana of the Tarot (Keys 1 - 21, plus the Fool) and indicating the full circle of experience. The function 22/7, one cycle of human experience divided by the spiritual Seven or Divinity within. This function is the value of Pi; or, the closet to it as can be expressed in whole digits. The discovery of Pi was a significant breakthrough in mathematics because its value is the relationship between the circumference of a circle and its radius and diameter; Pi presented humankind with a formula by which these things might be easily measured.


Necromancy is the act of conjuring the dead for divination. It dates back to Persia, Greece and Rome, and in the Middle Ages was widely practiced by magicians, sorcerers, and witches. It was condemned by the Catholic Church as "the agency of evil spirits," and in Elizabethan England was outlawed by the Witchcraft Act of 1604.
Necromancy is not to be confused with conjuring devils or demons for help. Necromancy is the seeking of the spirits of the dead. The spirits are sought because they, being without physical bodies, are no longer limited by the earthly plane. Therefore, it is thought these spirits have access to information of the past and future which is not available to the living. It has been used to help find sunken or buried treasure, and whether or not a person was murdered or died from other causes.

The practice of necromancy has been compared by some to modern mediumistic or practiced spiritualism. Many consider it a dangerous and repugnant practice. Dangerous because it is alleged that when some spirits take control of the medium they are reluctant to release their control for some time.
Necromancy is not practiced in Neo-pagan Witchcraft, but it is practiced in Voodoo.
There are two noted kinds of necromancy: the raising of the corpse itself, and the most common kind, the conjuring or summoning of the spirit of the corpse.


Nichusch is a Kabbalistic term meaning prophetical indication, which deems that all things and natural happenings have a secret connect and interact upon each other. Therefore, it is believed that practically everything may become an object of soothsaying-the flight of birds (Augury), movements of clouds (Chaomancy), cries of animals, events happening to humankind, and so on. Man himself can become Nichusch by saying if such and such things occur it will be seen as a good or bad omen.


Nine, in ancient mystery, mystic numerology, folklore, and mythology, is considered the number of aspiration and wisdom; it is thought to be the "harmony of harmony" since three times three equals nine; it is held "unbounded" as it contains all the numbers within itself including zero through nine. Pythagoras considered it to be the emblem of matter. In ancient Greece the initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries took nine days. Nine symbolizes spiritual achievement and is the number of initiation. There were nine Greek Muses. The Romans held the number nine so much in reverence that the proclaimed a feast for it every nine years, called Novennalia.
The number nine is also prevalent within the folklore and mythology of northern Europe. The cat has nine tails-a symbol of practical wisdom. Merlin had nine bards. Arthur battled an enchanted pig for nine days. The Kabbalah has nine degrees, each emanating from God. The ninth hour is considered appropriate for meditation.


In Kabbalism this is a mystic way of using words in the Bible to interpret that book. Notarikon utilizes the procedure of devising new words from combinations of the first and last letters of special words. This resembles two other different methods of gaining enlightenment called gematria and temurah.


The system of numerology is a method of divination which is also employed in the use of magic. The practice is based upon statement of the Greek philosopher Pythagoras, "The world is built upon the power of numbers." Numerological practices and beliefs have survived throughout the centuries down to the present day. An example of this concerns the numbers 11, 22, and 33, that are claimed to be master numbers and must not be reduced to a single digit, which when corresponding to an individual's name prognosticate that the individual is a highly developed person spiritually.


Based upon Pythagoras' previous stated statement, "The world is built upon the power of numbers," numerology became systems of both divination and magic because both systems are based upon the broader concept that the entire universe is composed of mathematical patterns, and all things can be expressed in numbers which correspond to universal vibrations. Therefore, all things, including names, words, birth dates and birthplaces, are able to be reduced to numbers in order to determine personalities, destinies and fortunes of individuals.

Pythagoras is often called the father of numerology since he made known that the musical intervals recognized in his era could be expressed in ratios between the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4. Also, he displayed that the numbers 1 through 4 equaled the sum of 10. He furthered demonstrated that the cycle of numbers, 1 through 4, could be started again when reaching 10 because all numbers larger than 9 can be reduced by a single digit by adding the digits together. Pythagoras reasoned that the entire universe could be expressed numerically, creating a mystical system expended by other early Greek philosophers.

Throughout the ancient history of numbers certain characteristics and values were assigned to the integers. One mechanism which enabled the assignment of these characteristics was the way in which the ancient Greeks recorded the numbers in dots or geometrical figures. Odd numbers which could not be separated were said to be masculine possessing the "generative parts," and represented assertion, power, and creativity. Even numbers capable of being split into and therefore possessed femine "openings" were considered feminine representing wholeness, stability or weakness.

In the Greek mysteries, the number 888 represented the "Higher Mind." The Greek variation of "Jesus," "Iesous," equals 888. The number 666 represented the "Mortal Mind." In the New Testament, 666 is called the number of "the Beast."

In early Hebrew history the interpretation of numbers was considered highly important. Letters of the Hebrew alphabet was based on numbers, and this relationship was related to the cosmic forces. In the Middle Ages, a numerical mysticism evolved from the teachings of Merkabah, a sect of Judaism. In the 13th century the German Kabbalists developed gematria, a mystic numerical interpretation of the Scriptures.

Both the Greeks and Hebrews held 10 to be the perfect number. Pythagoras considered that 10 comprehends all arithmetic and harmonic proportions, and, like God, is tireless. All nations calculated with it because when they arrive at 10, they return to 1, the number of creation. Pythagoreans believed the heavenly bodies were divided into 10 orders. According to the Kabbalah, there are ten emanations of numbers out of Nothing. The emanations form the 10 sephiroth of the Tree of Life, which contains all knowledge and shows the path back to God.

Gematria: In addition to the occult meanings of numbers , another principle is basic to numerology- -that of gematria, or cryptograph. In Hebrew, consonants are used as number signs, but by providing them with vowels, one can often read them as words and can read words as numbers. A combination of gematria and Pythagorean number symbolism formed the basis for the number magic of the medieval Cabala This allows special reading of the Hebrew Bible to find secret or hidden meanings in the text.

This system has also been applied to Greek and Latin and sometimes the New Testament of the Bible. For example, various personified meanings have been given to 666, the number denoting the Beast in the Book of Revelations. Among these are Nero, Caesar, Martin Luther, Pope Leo X, and Napoleon.


Currently the practice of numerology in the occult often involves attempts to discover secret meanings of occurrences and to forecast the future. When used in these methods, numerology become a form of divination, or fortune telling. Frequently it can be combined with other divinatory forms such as astrology, cartomancy, geomancy, and dream interpretation.

When used in divinatory forms, numerology, also, becomes magic. Such magic, as a theory, has Occidental roots but is usually ascribed to Pythagoras. The theory or system theorizes "that all things are number and that numbers influence the essence of things. Thus number is the mediator between the divine and the earthly. So, if one performs various operations with numbers, theses operations also affect the things related to these numbers."

Taboos: On the simplest level this principle can be seen in number taboos. For example, in the American society most people considered the number 13 unlucky. Therefore, things connected with 13 are too be avoided such as the 13th day of the month, especially if it is a Friday, the 13th floor, 13 dinner guests, and so on. As a contrast in Belgium it is considered a good-luck charm for women to wear the number 13. The negativity of the number 13 is predominantly thought to have been derived from the Biblical narration of the Last Super where Judas was the thirteenth apostle. However, an earlier concept stresses its relationship to 12, a good number identified with the Zodiac, which had strong positive associations in Babylonian and other early astral mythologies.

During the 19th century, when scientific discoveries concerning light, magnetism, and electricity were being made, the theory that numbers corresponded to energy patterns of vibrations became popular.
Currently there are several interpretation of characteristics for numbers 1 through nine; the following represents a consensus:

Chart of Characteristics of Numbers
1 unity, creation, independence
2 duality, emergence
3 power, generative force
4 solidity, dullness
5 sensuality, pleasure
6 perfection, harmony, balance
7 mysticism, psychic, magic
8 material, success, justice
9 spiritual, mental achievement

The numbers 11, 22, and 33 are said to be master numbers which are not reduced to a single digit. People whose names correspond to these numbers are said to be highly developed spiritually. The number 33 is that of avatar.
Analysis procedures:
Numerology Chart
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
The practice is to total the numerical value of a name or word. For example, the name "John Smith".
JOHN = 1 + 6 + 8 + 5 = 20, SMITH = 1 + 4 + 9 + 2 + 8 = 24, 20 + 24 = 44, 44 = 4 + 4 = 8
Determine letter numerical values from chart:
J = 1, O = 6, H = 8, N = 5; S = 1, M = 4, I = 9, T = 2, H = 8
Sum the numerical values of names:
JOHN = 20 and SMITH = 24
Change the values to single digits:
20 = 2 + 0 = 2, 24 = 2 + 4 = 6
The sum of the single digits:
2 + 6 = 8
The name of "John Smith" has a numerological value of 8. From the Chart of Characteristics of Numbers 8 has the characteristics of material, success, justice.


The form of divination by which the symbolic and/or prophetic properties of dreams are interpreted. In many ancient cultures dreams were seen as portents of the gods. (see Nanshe) The psychologist Carl G. Jung reformulated this concept with his spiritual archetypes that he believed occurred in dreams which came from the collective unconscious.

Onimancy (or Onycomancy)

A very elaborate practice of divination based on the observation of the Angel Urial. Oil of olive leaves is placed upon the right hand of an unpolluted boy or a young virgin girl. Or, even better is a mixture of walnut oil and tallow or blacking to be placed on the child's hand. If money or things hidden in the earth are sought the young child's face must be turned toward the east. If knowledge concerns a crime or of a person of affection then the face must be turned toward the south; for robbery toward the west; and for murder toward the south.
Then the child must repeat the seven-two verses of the Psalms, which the Hebrew Kabbalists collected for Urim and Thummim. These are found in the third book of Johann Rechlin on Kabbalistical art (De arte cabalistica, 1517), and the treatise De verbo mirifoco (c. 1480). In each of these verses occurs the venerable name of four letters, and the three lettered name of the seventy-two angels, which are referred to as the sacred name Shemhanphorash, which was hidden in the folds of the tippet of the high priest.
When the child or student had completely repeated all the verses he was told he would "see wonders."
Other authorities believe that onycomancy refers to the interpretation of spots on human nails.

Onomancy (or Onomamancy)

A form of divination by names. Satirically speaking, some think it is more like divination by a donkey. They claim a more appropriate term for it would be onomamancy, or onomatomancy. The theory that there is an analogy between men's names and their fortunes supposedly originated among the Pythagoreanism; it produced some speculation concerning Plato. Also, it was a source of witticism by Ausonius, which probable amused some classical scholars to collect his epigrams.
There were two cardinal rules in the science of onomancy: the first concerned the vowels within a man's name. If there was an even number in the name, then there was something amiss in his left side. If the vowel were uneven, this signified a similar affliction in his right side. This left little room for sanity between the two.

The second rule involved the numeral numbering of all the letters within a name. This rule was often used to predetermine the winner of two combatants. The person having the name in which the letters added up to the greater sum was always picked to be the winner. This was how Achilles was chosen to triumph over Hector.
The second rule of onomancy relates to arithmancy.


A form of divination by the use of, and the observation of human fingernails. In practice it is the observation of the shapes which the sun produces when shining on the fingers of a young boy. These shapes supposedly indicate the future or future action to be taken.


A system of divination by the outer and inner forms of eggs. The process was to break an egg into a glass of water, and then to interpret the forms which the white assumed in the water. (See also Ooscopy)

Ooscopy or Oomantia

These are two forms of divination by eggs. An example of the former was described by the Roman historian Suetonius (c. 98-138 AD). The woman Livia was pregnant and was anxious to know whether she was to be the mother of a boy or girl. She took an egg and kept it in her bosom, at the appropriate temperature, until a chick came forth with a beautiful cockscomb.
The name Oomantia signified the divining method of interpreting the signs or characteristics appearing on eggs. It comes from the custom of pasche or paste eggs (dyeing eggs in the United States), which are stained with various colors and given away at Easter. The well-known custom it described at considerable length by John Brand in Popular Antiquities (2 vols, London, 1813, etc.). The custom was very religiously followed in Russia, and was derived from the Greek Orthodox Church. Gilded and colored eggs were mutually exchanged between men and women, who then kissed one another. If previous ill feelings existed before they soon vanished on these occasions.
"The egg is one of the most ancient and beautiful symbols of new birth, and has been applied to natural philosophy as well as the spiritual creation of man." (See also Oomancy)


A system of divination based on the color and movements of serpents.


Ornithomancy is the Greek term for the practice of augury, the method of divination by the flight of songbirds, which became a part on the Roman national religion and a distinct priesthood was developed for its practice. This is the reason for it being treated as a separate article.

Ozark Witchcraft

A Witchcraft which is practiced in the southern mountains of Arkansas and Missouri. Such a practice, one might expect, is a rejection of the "Bible belt" fundamentalist religions, particularly the Southern Baptist. denomination. The initiation occurred on three consecutive nights. The initiate, usually a young woman, slept and had sexual intercourse with a male witch who became the incarnation of the Devil. Also, on these nights this person taught the young woman many secrets of the Craft. Many initiates claimed the experience was more inspirational than Christian conversion.

Ozark Witchcraft folklore

The following article contains occurrences that occurred in Ozark folklore concerning witchcraft and witches in the Ozark region of the United States:
In the Ozarks women that complained of food being too salty are suspected of being witches. A method of detecting a witch, according to Ozark legend, is to sprinkle salt on the seat of a chair. When a woman sits in the chair, if she is a witch, the salt will melt and cause her dress to stick to the chair.
In the Ozarks, a witch ball is made of black hair rolled with beeswax into a ball the size of a marble. It is employed in curses. When a witch wishes to harm somebody, she makes the ball and throws it at the person. In folklore of the Ozarks, supposedly when someone is killed by a witch, a witch ball is always found close by the body.


A branch of hydromancy (divination by water), also associated with crystalomancy or crystal gazing (or scrying). In this form of divination stones are dropped into water, then the movements and/or rings they produce in the water are interpreted.


Small pendulums have become prevalently used in dowsing, radiesthesia, and related divination systems which once employed diving rods.
Questions are so phrased as to acquire answers by the clockwise and counterclockwise movements of the pendulums. These movements have the similar function as the raps given in a Spiritualist seance.
Early forms of pendulums used in divination consisted of a wedding ring suspended from a sick thread. Currently, however, the practice of radesthesia obtain subtle prognostications from the pendulum's oscillations. This practice is being used in water diving, discovery of metals, medical diagnosis, and discovery of missing persons.

Pessomancy (or Psephomancy)

This is a system of divination by using pebbles or beans marked with symbols or colors relating to health, communications, success, travel, and so on. The objects are placed in a bag and shuffled and then are either thrown out, or randomly drawn out.


Philtre, a potion that causes one to fall in love with another person, also called love potions, have been thought to be magical and used since antiquity. They were popular in the Middle Ages, but lost favor to charms and spells in the 17th and 18th centuries. Philtres are still produced in some folk-magic traditions, but not in neo-Paganism.
Traditionally the philter generally consisted of wine, tea, or water containing herbs or drugs. When made by a wise woman, or man, it was more potent. The giver gave it to the person that she or he loved, after drinking it, the recipient fall in love with the one giving the drink to him.
Of necessity, care had to be taken to assure the remedy was administered properly. In the tale of Tristan and Isolde, Isolde's mother obtained a philter that was to make her unwilling daughter fall in love with her betrothed King Mark of Cornwall. Thinking it to be poison, Isolde shared it with Tristan, the king's knight escorting her to Cornwall. They fell irrevocably in love, which proved fatal for both of them.

There is at least one tale of a philter that produced insanity instead of love. According to the Roman biographer Suetonius (69-140 AD), the Emperor Galigula (12-41 AD) was mad after drinking a love philter administered by his wife, Caesonia.
The ingredients varied from country to country. The most common, throughout history, was the mandrake root, also known as "love apples," a poisonous member of the nightshade family. Orange and ambergris added a little flavor and pleasant aroma. Vervan, an herb, was commonly used and still is up to the present. Other common ingredients include the hearts and reproductive organs of animals, such as the testicles of kangaroos, used by the Australian aborigines; and beaver testicles used by North American Indians. Philtres of India included betel nuts or tobacco. In Nova Scotia a woman steep her hair in water that she gave to her intended to drink.
Herbs and plants were common additives: briony (similar to mandrake) and fern seeds in England, the latter of which must be gathered on the eve of St. John's Day (see Sabbats). The Chinese used shang-luh, a plant resembling ginseng. In Germany, a red gum called dragon blood was used. As can be seen a variety of recipes and ingredients were used in different countries. The hearts and other organs were ground up.

Philtres begain decreasing in popularity following the Middle Ages because of their frequent unpleasant smell and taste. Alternatives were sought; one was to rub one's hand with vervain juice and then touch the man or women whom one hoped to inspire with love.
In England using philters was penalized at one time under Anglo-Saxon law: for it was made punishable if any should use witchcraft for another's love, or should give him to eat or to drink with magic. This prohibition also prohibited divining by the moon. Chanute renewed these prohibitions.
In neo-Paganism, the use of such concoctions is frown on by many in Witchcraft because such actions are considered manipulating people, which is in opposition of the Wiccan Rede. It is more preferable to make love charms to enhance the love which already exists between two people.


Divination by rose leaves. Once practiced by the ancient Greeks who clapped a rose leaf on the hand and judged by the sound the success or failure of their desires.

Poppy seeds

A few poppy or jasmine seeds were flung on burning coals by magicians when practicing divination by smoke. When the smoke rose straight up into the heavens, it was a good omen, but if the smoke lingered in the air, the omen was thought bad.

Prenestine Lots, The

The Prenestine Lots, or Sories Prenestinae, is a method of divination by lots, which was the vogue in Italy. The letters of the alphabet were placed in an urn that was shaken, and then the letters were thrown out on the floor; the words thus formed were received as omens. The custom survived in the East.


The term is from the Latin provideo, meaning "to foresee"; Providentia meant divinatory magic. It was the personification of prophetic or mantic talents, a quality which enabled ancients matriarchs to "provide" for their families by foreknowledge of the stars and seasons, agriculture and food storage. According to Christian usage, Providence was sometimes synonymous with God, but many mystics defined Providence as a female deity.


The ability or faculty to perceive the characters, surroundings, and events connected with a person by holding an object belonging to that person in ones hands.
Mrs. Hester Drowden, a famous medium, defined psychometry as "a psychic power possessed by certain individuals which enables them to divine the history of, or events connected with, a material object with which they come into close contact."
It is generally speculated the faculty existed in ancient times but it was first named and discussed in the modern age by J. Rhodes Buchanan, an American scientist, in 1842. The term is derived from the Greek words 'pschic' (soul) and 'metron' (measure) and signifies "soul-measuring", or "measurement of the human soul."

Buchanan's theory was based on the belief that every thought, action, and event that has ever occurred since the beginning of time has left an impression on ether. This impression will never be erased during what is considered as time. This is why many closely related the ability of psychometry to the Akashic Records . Buchanan also thought the impressions were not only left on ether but on more palpable objects such as trees and stones as well.
Many people, especially occultist, also believe that psychometry is connected to the belief of animism. They believe all objects possess an inner or psychological life which enable the objects to receive from and transmit impressions to other objects. In this way the impressions of an individual can be transmitted to an object which the person has in his possession, and the object can later transmit the same impressions to another individual holding the identical object in his hand. The object is therefore analogous to a television receiver and transmitter, in that, it receives and transmits impressions.

The late Arnold Crowther, witch and occultist, describes psychometry in "The Secrets of Ancient Witchcraft with the Witches Tarot" which he co-authored with his wife Patricia. He too held to the belief of animism, or that inanimate objects have memories of their own. This was especially true of stones, he thought.
But, Crowther also equally believed that psychometry was connected with the auras given off by all objects. He believed the success of ancient witches in healing people of their villages was due to their ability to translate these auras through touch. He tested his theory on a modern psychometrist and found evidence that it was probably true.
The connection between psychometry and auras is based on the theory that the human mind radiates an aura in all directions, and around the entire body which impresses everything within its orbit. All objects, no matter how solid they appear, are porous containing small or even minute holes. These minute crevices in the object's surface collect minute fragments of the mental aura of the person possessing the object. Since the brain generates the aura then something worn near the head would transmit better vibrations.

Crowther further describes psychometry as akin to the mind's eye, the "etheric eye" or the "soul's eye". Occultists have called it by all these names. It seems the mental faculty which receives the impressions or visions registers them in the same cerebral center where dreams are registered. The center is the area where the pineal gland is located in the middle of the brain at the level of the base of the nose. Some medical doctors have referred to this gland as the relic of the third eye which man had in the early evolutionary stages. This is why some have called psychometry "controlled daydreaming."
Crowther believed psychometry could help in many areas of life. The recovery from knowledge of the past was important to him. He thought stones were important in such endeavors and noted a psychometrist friend who psychometrized the stone circle called the Rollright Stones, in Oxfordshire. The man gained valuable information concerning ancient religious and magical rites once performed there. Portions of such knowledge Crowther used in the book previously mentioned.

Crowther did not believe psychometry is a special ability or gift. He held this idea from spiritualist mediums. He also differed with Dr. Buchanan, previously mentioned, who stated in his book "A Manual of Psychometry" that women are better adapt at the practice than men. Crother knew many male psychometrists. He thought everyone has the ability and can learn to use it if they have the patience and the will to do so.
Psychometry is presently practiced by occultists and witches. It is done with crystals and other stones. The person with eyes shut takes a stone in her or his hand. Carefully feeling it the individual tries to visualize its shape, texture, and color. Along with these physical features the person tries to reach an intuitive connection with the stone through which feelings and impressions are received from the stones. When done within a groups these inspirations may be shared with others.


This is the divination by fire, which was embodied in the ancient practice of extispicy. The presage was good when the flame was vigorous and quickly consumed the sacrifice; when it was clear of all smoke, transparent, neither red nor dark in color, but burnt silently in a pyramidal form. However, if the fire was difficult to kindle, or if the wind disturbed it, or it consumed the victim slowly, the presage was evil.
Besides the sacrificial fires, the ancients divined by observing the flame of a torch, or even throwing powdered pitch into a fire; if it caught quickly the omen was favorable.

An omen interpreted by the flame of a torch was good if the flame formed one point, bad if it formed two, and three points were better than one.
The presage of the bending of the flame signaled sickness for the healthy, death for the sick, and frightful disaster if the flame extinguished.
The vestal virgins in the Temple of Minerva at Athens were assigned the duty of making particular observations of the light which perpetually burned there.


A branch of pyromancy (divination by fire) based on the burn stains left on a light surface after burning a sheet of paper on it.


A further developed branch of the divination of dowsing (water-witching) through indicators such as rods and pendulums. This method scopes more than just the discovery of hidden water and other metals, minerals and objects. Radiesthesia or "radiesthesie" as it is known in France has been used in discovering missing persons and in making medical diagnosis and proscribing treatments. However, almost everywhere the terms dowsing and radiesthesia have became synonymous.
In 1930 the term "radiesthesie" was coined by Abbe Bouly in France where the rod gave place to the small pendulum used as an indicator. L' Association de Amis de la Radiesthesie was established in 1930 and the British Society of Dowsers was founded in 1933.
A radiesthsist is a peon who is very sensitive to certain substances, and this person's sensitivity is amplified by the rod or pendulum. No one is definitely positive about the connection between the person and the sought after object. It appears to be more like a psychic medium, nearer to ESP than contemporary physics.

The indicator, either the rod or pendulum, as previously mentioned amplifies the person's sensitivity, and its operation and indications are essential. The reason for the replacement of the rod with small pendulums is that in many incidences they are easier to work with, especially in medical diagnosis. Usually pendulums are small balls attached to a thin string attached to the end of a stick. The string should be nonwoven preferably nylon so to register any extraneous movements of the bob. It is necessary the person be experienced in using the pendulum so not to allow any of his own muscle activity influence the activity of the bob. The only desired activity of the bob is to be caused by the influence of the sought after object.

The pendulum is held over the area in which the object is thought to be located. Then the observation of the action of the string and bob is crucial. The bob may be raised or lowered to assist in its observation by winding the string around the stick, or vice verse. Usually it gyrates or oscillates in a clockwise or anticlockwise movement.
In medical diagnosis the pendulum is first placed over the healthy portion of the body, then over an unhealthy portion. The difference of the movement of the pendulum is noted between the two areas.
The pendulum may also be used in a different manner; in a sequence where "Yes" and "No" answers are applicable. When the answer is Yes, the pendulum will rotate clockwise; when the answer is No it will rotate anticlockwise.

As with dowsing, there is also the phenomena of teleradiesthesia or superpendulism. This is the phenomena where the sensitive person does not go to the actual location of the sought after object, but a map of the location is brought to him. After placing the pendulum on the map he can tell the inquirer the information he wants to know.
There is considerable literature on the subject of radiesthesia and much of it endorses the reliability of the phenomena.


A term for divining by rods, derived from the Greek word meaning "a rod" and "divination." The practice was alluded to by Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), "As for the divination or decision of the staff, it is an augrial relic, and the decision thereof is accused by God Himself. `My people asked counsel of their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them.' Of this kind was that practised by Nabuchadonosor in that Caldean miscellany delivered by Ezekiel."
In John Brand's Observations of Popular Antiquities (1777; 1813), the following description was cited from a manuscript on Discourse of Witchcraft written by Mr. John Bell (1705), which was delivered from the Theophylact: "To set up two staffs, and having whispered some verses and incantations, the staffs fell by the operation of demons. Then they considered which way each of them fell, forward or backward, to the right or left hand, and agreeably gave responses, having made use of the fall of their staffs for signs."

This was the Grecian method of rhabdomancy which Saint Jerome took as being the same as the method alluded to in the above passage from Hosea and in Ezekiel XXI:21, 22, were it is thought "arrows" might have been used.
From the above is it easy to see how belomancy and rhabdomancy are frequently confused. In all historical incidents one is not certain whether they are identical practices or different.
The practice seemed to originate with the Chaldeans and Scythians and spread to the Germanic tribes who cut pieces of bark from fruit trees, carved characters on them and threw them at a hazard on a white cloth.

According to a rabbis the Hebrews employed the same or similar methods. Except, they did not used characters but peeled the bark clear off one side of the rods and drew the presage from the manner in which the rods fell.
The Scythians and Alani used rods made of myrtle and sallow. The latter chose "fine straight wands" for their divining devices according to Herodotus, which seems to imply the Hebrew used similar methods.


The form of divination by which a work of the great poets is randomly to a verse or passage, or even a word, and an oracular meaning is interpreted relating to and inquirer's questions usually concerning future course of action.
This divinatory form is similar to bibliomancy


A form of divination. The term rune is derived from the Indo-European root ru, which means mystery or secret. Runes were at first ancient Norse and Teutonic alphabets, and symbols that were ascribed with various magical, mystical, and divinatory properties. These various alphabetical signs have been passed down through the centuries and were thought to possess religious and magical meanings. Personal runes can represent letters, deities, qualities, events, and natural forces.
Runic symbols have been found carved on rocks dating from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, (c. 8000 BC - 2000 BC). Continuing discoveries showed they had been carved by tribes in Northern Italy; they were also present in Sweden, and among the Germanic people.
According to myth, the runes were created by the Norse god Odin (also Woden or Woten), the one-eyed chief of the gods, also the god of wisdom and war. Odin acquired the forbidden and mystical knowledge of the runes by impaling himself by his own spear to Yggdrasil, the World Tree, for nine days and nights.

The runic characters, originally derived from the Roman alphabet, first appeared in the Germanic lands around 200 AD. They numbered 24, divided into three groups called Aettas, which corresponds closely to the phonetic sounds of the Roman alphabet.
Although runic carvings were found throughout western Europe, but the greatest concentration was in England where the alphabet was increased to thirty-three characters from its original twenty-four. In Scandinavia it was reduced to sixteen. In Britian the alphabet was called "futhorc" after its first letters F, U, TH, O, R, K.

The runes coexisted for centuries along with Christian symbols such as the cross. One of the earliest historical references to them is in the 4th. century AD when the Gothic bishop Ulfilas in devising the Gothic alphabet borrowed the U and O from the runic alphabet.
In Western Europe during the Dark Ages runes were believed to possess potent magical powers. These magical powers attributed to runes were believed to be released in the etching of names, phrases, memorial inscriptions, and spells upon bones, metal, wood, and stone. The were inscribed on grave stones to described the deeds of the departed and to ward off grave robbers. It was thought that a swords having a runic inscription became more powerful to inflict more pain and death upon the enemy. The powers of runes was sought for various things such as victory in battle, healings, acquisition of psychical powers, protection from the evil eye, cursing, love, fertility and other enchantments. Such belief and interest in the runes was diminished by the Inquisition.

Magicians etched them on magical tools, even sometimes sprinkling blood on them to increase their magical potency. The magicians passed these tools onto their initiates, telling the initiates of their power by word of mouth. Runic symbols were inscribed--but never in the light of day--on items such as wands made of hazel, ash or yew, swords, chalices, or stone tablets to obtain whatever the magician desired.
Belief in runic power was strong among the German soldiers during World War I. This was because "secret chiefs" of the Germanen Order, a runic society founded in 1912, signed their names in runic characters. They sold amuletic bronze rune rings to solders for protection. A rune mania occurred throughout the country which included yodelling during yoga-like exercises to release the rune's mystical powers, and meditating over runes to cure illnesses.

Perhaps two runes were destroyed forever by the Nazis. These are the swastika, originally Mjoelhir, Thor's hammer and the symbol of the Earth Mother and the sun; and the sig or S rune, the trademark of Heinrich Himmler's "Schutzstaffel," or the SS. The Norse neo-Pagans tried to bring back the Swastika as a runic symbol without much success.
The ancient usage of the swastika not only as a symbol by Indo-European cultures dates back perhaps prior to 700 BC in Greece where it was painted on amphoreis and various ceramic artifacts, and even graves. Also it exists in many other cultures such as the Chinese and Native Americans.
Beginning in the 1980s and continuing to the present it became popular to use rune stones for divinatory purposes, they are cast like coins or sticks in I Ching or laid out in crosses or wheels such as Tarot cards. Some modern witches inscribe their magical tools and personal jewelry with runic characters.

The magical use of runic in Western practices has been revived in New Age ideas and activities. Ralph Blum, a Fullbright scholar and Harvard graduate, has adapted runes for oracular purposes. He details these purposes and activities in his two books The Book of Runes and Rune Play which are accompanied by 25 letters stationed on ceramic counters which can be used for casting in a similar divinatory manner as in I Ching.

Another method of casting runes in Western magic is to write the letters on slips of papers that are given, handed, or sent to the victim of the spell. Such a method was brilliantly described in the short story Casting the Runes by M. R. James in More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, 1911. In the story one character slips runes into a ticket case of the victim. The case is then dropped where the victim will noticed that it is his. He assumes he dropped it and picks it up; therefore, the runes and their spell are casted onto him.

Saphy (or Grigris)

These are charms or amulets that were worn by Africans for protection against thunderbolts and disease, to acquire wives, and to advert all sorts of disasters. The term is perhaps derived from the Arabic safi ("pure, select, excellent").
The charms were composed of slips of paper containing passages from the Koran, and sometimes intermixed with Kabbalistic symbols. They were placed in silver tubes or bags and worn next to the skin, often attached to a dress or other articles of clothing. They also were popular with both sexes regardless of the person's religion


An ancient form of pyromancy (divination by fire) based on the interpretation of the cracks in the shoulder blades on animals burned in sacrificial fires.


Scrying is the ancient act of divination for the purpose of clairvoyance. It is usually achieved by concentrating on or staring at an object having a shiny surface until a vision appears. Magicians and witches have practiced scrying throughout the ages. The typical stereotype of a person scrying is a Gypsy fortune teller looking into her crystal ball.
Scrying comes from the English word "descry" which means "to make out dimly" or "to reveal." There have been and are many purposes for the activity; to see into the future, to find lost objects or persons, and track criminals, among others. In the Middle Ages a wise woman or a wise man, perhaps also called a witch, with a natural gift of second sight was called upon for scrying purposes.
Although the object used for scrying usually has a shiny surface, innumerable objects have been used for the practice over the centuries. The Egyptians used ink, blood and other dark liquids. The Romans used shiny objects and stones. Water has been used for gazing into. Mirrors are often used.
There is an example of the interior of a cauldron being painted black, then filled with water at night, a silver coin was dropped into the water so to reflect moonlight. Such means have been employed to see visions and read mystical signs.

Many witches scry in a magic circle to prevent outside influences from distorting their visions. Also, this is why most scrying is done at night in order to receive better psychic vibrations. As a general rule most diviners work at night in order to avoid the excessive psychic vibrations that are generated in the day due to the confusion of everyday living. The methods of scrying differ but after a period of concentration on the speculum visions, mental images, or impressions appear. Frequently the visions are symbolic and the scryer must be trained and skillful in interpreting their meanings.

Scrying by Fire

Scrying by Fire or fire scrying is a method of divination sometimes used by Witches to see events of the past, present and future. The practice can be performed by burning driftwood by the seashore after the sun has set. (It may be performed in other locations as well by burning other types of wood.) After the wood is well burned, and begins to die, place a cedar log, a juniper log, and three good handfuls of sandalwood chips. Let the fire burn well. Then as the fire dies down again gaze deep into the dying embers . In the embers one can see scenes of the past, present and future. Sometimes they are actual scenes, but more often they are symbolic scenes needing interpreting. The fire use in this divinatory method is frequently called the "Fire of Azrael" as described by Dion Fortune in The Sea Priestess.


One of the branches of augury practiced in ancient Rome which dealt with signs derived from animals. It was believed to be a good omen if a she-goat crossed the path of a man who had just left his house, then he could proceed on his way to "think upon Caranus."


In Western magic, sigils are symbols connected to a set of ideas by which spirits or deities may be summoned to awareness and controlled. They are used in divinatory practices. The term is derived from the Latin "sigilum" meaning "seal." The sigil itself does not call forth the spirit, but serves as a physical focus through which the magician achieves the desired state of mind. Sigils represent the secret names of spirits and deities who manifest themselves differently to each magic practitioner. Once the magician has summoned the spirit or deity he may control it, if necessary, by subjecting its sigil to fire or the use of his magical sword.

Sigils may represent complex concepts. The pentacle is the most powerful sigil used in Neo-pagan witchcraft and by many occultists. Other sigils serve as identifying logos of organizations. Individuals can adopt their personal sigils by selecting a letter from the rune or Theban alphabets. They have personal, secret meaning and are often inscribed on magical tools used in occult practices and ceremonies. Sigils also serve as amulets, talismans, or meditation tools.
Sigils designs are derived from geometric shapes, astrological signs, or symbols used in alchemy. They may be of various signs, such as crosses, associated with different deities. Some of the best sigils are attained through intuition and inspiration. Many come through meditation and the practice of scrying; when a certain pattern seems to appear upon the object which the individual is gazing at.
Others believe symbols are occasionally mystically produced when asked for. The deity or spirit may inscribed the sigil in dew upon shiny objects or objects of silver, brass, gold, or glass. Such sigils are considered to be magically powerful.

Speal Bone

This was an early form of divination used in Scotland. A speal bone or blade bone of a shoulder of mutton was used, but complete details of the divinatory method are not known. A soldier accompanying Lord London on his retreat to Skye foretold the result of the battle of Culloden at the very moment it was decided, claiming to have seen the event by looking through the bone.


A spoken or written formula which, in the act of magic or divination, is intended to create or change a particular course of events. The belief in spells and their employment dates back to antiquity. Spells have become an integral part of various religious and magical practices. Their methods vary accordingly from culture to culture, but all spells function on ritual activity.
Spells are closely related to prayers, in that they both are a means of petitioning a deity or deities for a particular desired outcome, and which require the visualization of the goal, statement of desire for the goal and ritualized movements or body positions, such as the bowing of the head, the folding or clasping of hands, or shutting of the eyes, etc.

Spells are also closely related to the various methods of employing the powers of the mind, such as "creative visualization," "positive thing," and "positive imaging." Such methods help the one casting the spell to emphasize his mental images so he can better identify with these images and form a clear goal . The person repeats his intention to achieve the particular goal and combines it with the projection of his will and the invocation of the aid of the spirits, deities or Divine Force.
There are various types of spells. Some are beneficial while others are harmful. Some claim they may be worked on man and beast alike. Their purposes are limitless including healing, love, success, money, fertility, longevity, protection against disaster, illness, misfortune and evil, exorcism of ghosts and spirits, victory in war and over an enemy, truth in divination, weather control and accomplishment of supernatural feats. When casted against enemies spells may be used to bring about illness, destruction, loss of love, impotence, loss of property, failure and even death.
A person can cast a spell for himself, or direct it toward another person. A positive spell is called a blessing. A negative spell usually known as a hex or curse. Archaic terms for spells include bewitchment and enchantment.

A binding spell is on that is casted with the intention of preventing harm or disaster, or to stop someone from performing a particular act such as a murder or rape, or something as inoffensive as spreading gossip.
Structure of a spell:
An act of magic, that requires a magician, witch or sorcerer, performing a spell in a ritual. The spell itself consists of words or incantation (sometimes called charms or runes). The ritual is a prescribed set of actions performed while the spell is being recited. For example, the ancient Egyptians believed words were so powerful that speaking them would achieve the desired result. Certain words and Names on Power were essential in Egyptian magic and had to be pronounced correctly and with the proper intonation. The Tetragrammaton is the ultimate name on power in Western ceremonial magic.

A spell-casting ritual involves the raising of power (see also cone of power) through the combination of visualization, incantation (the statement of goal), petition of the deities and projection of the will. It is thought that the success of the spell rests on the power and will raised and the skill with which they are focused and projected. All of these powers go into spell casting. Things aiding spell casting include words, chants, songs, movements or dance which may be accompanied by the use of objects such as ritual tools, effigies, poppets, cords, candles, and nail clippings.
In most cultures witches, sorcerers, witch doctors, and other magically empowered persons cast spells which can be either beneficial or harmful. Spells are cast to meet the needs of an individual or a group of people. They can be can by an individual or a group, such as a solitary witch or witches in a coven.

The ethics set forth within the Wiccan Reed prohibits the casting of curses within neo-Pagan witchcraft. Also within this group there is divided agreement on the acceptability of binding spells.
Generally the words of the incantation used in casting spells are spontaneous and composed to serve the immediate purpose. Rhyming words or verses help to create rhythm to boaster the increasing of energy. While many effective spells and charms may be found in books on witchcraft, folk magic and magic most witches and magicians believe spells composed from the heart work the best. They know just the recitation of a chant or charm does not cast a spell.
Along with this many witches and magicians believe that the words of the incantation are not as important as their intent. This involves, during ceremonial magic, the focus of intense concentration and will upon achieving the goal, visualizing it and believing that it already has been accomplished. When the psychic power has peaked, it is released and directed toward the goal. A psychic cleanup ritual finishes the spell casting work, this is to banish any remnants of psychic energy. The invoked deities and forces of the elements are thanked.


Another name for bibliomancy. A form of divination by randomly chosing a word or verse and interpreting an oracular meaning from it to answer an inquirer's question usually concerning a course for future action.


Divination by the way a person dresses himself. For example, in ancient Rome Emperor Augustus believed that a military revolt would occur on the day when it did because an attendant buckled his right sandal on his left foot.


This form of divination uses fig tree leaves. The diviner's question or proposition is written a fig leaf. If afterwards the leaf dried slowly, then the prophecy is good; but, if the leaf dried quickly, the omen is bad.


Objects which possess magical or supernatural power of their own which is transmitted to their possessors. Talismans are frequently confused with amulets which are objects which passively protect the owner from evil and harm. Usually the solitary function of talismans is to make possible powerful transformations.
Talismans can be any object, design, or symbol believed to be endowed with magical powers. The item is active in that it, and of itself, bestows this magical power upon the one who possesses it at the time. For example, this is the reason why the Excalibur was of such importance in Arthurian lore. The sword gave King Arthur magical powers.

In magic, however, the talismans can be endowed with its supernatural power only by the forces of nature, by God or the gods or by being made so in a ritualistic way. Among talismans are precious stones for they each possess their own magical or curative powers endowed by nature.
Talismans have been discovered in all historical periods. The Egyptians and Babylonians used them when attempting to alter the forces of nature. In the Middle Ages, holy relics and other objects assumed the value of talismans in attempts to cure illnesses. Some thieves converted severed hands of thieves into talismans (see The Hand of Glory) to assist them in their trade.
Many alchemists sought the assistance of talismans which they made in elaborate ceremonies which were conducted during periods of auspicious astrological signs. During these rituals they recited incantation to conjures the desired spirits who imbued the talismans with magical power. The talisman most sought after was the elusive Philosopher's Stone, which the alchemists thought would transform base metals into silver and gold.

Grimoires, especially in magic, offer instructions on the making of talismans. Many talismans were inscribed on precious stones or parchment under auspicious astrological signs. Talismans were made for many endeavors such as getting rich, winning at gambling, falling in love, prevention of sudden death, improvement of memory, and even making a good speech.
An example is the talisman belonging to Catherine de Medici, queen consort of Henry II of France which she constantly carried. It was a medal allegedly made from metals that were melted together during favorable astrological signs, and also added in was human and he-goat blood. Although the original was broken at her death, a copy exists in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. On one side of this medal is engraved the god Jupiter, the eagle of Ganymede and a demon with the head of the Egyptian god Anubis; on the other side is a Venus figure believed to be Catherine flanked by demons. She believed the talisman conferred upon her clairvoyance and sovereign power.


The Tarot as originally created stemmed from life as it was experienced during a certain historical period - the Rennaisance. Since that time, the distance between the original purpose of the Tarot as it was created, and what it has evolved into today, continues to diverge. During the course of this short article, I will attempt to bridge that span so as to give the reader a comprehensive view of this fascinating card game.
Much speculation exists as to the origins of the Tarot. Popular myths and rumors abound of their beginnings in ancient Egypt or with the Romanian Gypsies. However, actual history shows a somewhat different story.


The earliest record of a deck of cards carrying tarot symbology can be traced back to Northern Italy, where for the first few centuries they were used as a parlor diversion called "Cartes de Trionfi". According to tarot historians Ronald Decker, Thierry Depaulis and Michael Dummett ("A Wicked Pack of Cards"), the earliest surviving set of tarot cards is the few remaining hand-painted cards created in approximately 1441 for the court of Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan. A hundred years prior to this, packs of 52 playing cards bearing the suit symbols of Cups, Coins, Swords and Polo-Sticks could be found in Islamic countries, from whence they migrated into Europe via the British. It was only with the addition of the 22 trump cards sometime after the 18th Century that the pack came to resemble what we now recognize as the modern Tarot deck.
Speculation about the Egyptian origins of the Tarot springs almost exclusively from the conclusions and assertions of one person - Antoine Court de Gebelin, a Protestant pastor born in 1695. Caught up in a period of wide-spread fervor over the mystery of all things Egyptian, Court de Gebelin's essay in his work "Monde primitif" says that he discovered this mysterious work while visiting a Lady acquaintance occupied in playing with the game of "Tarots." Within a short time (15 minutes, the essay declares) he prounouced them to be a mysterious book of knowledge of Egyptian origins which had survived the ravages of time. Similar conclusions were drawn in another essay by Court de Gebelin's peer Comte de Mellet. The belief that the Tarot originated with the Gypsies sprung from the same fount of speculation based on the mistaken idea that the Gypsies originally came from Egypt.


Despite the lack of hard evidence as to the "mystical" origins of the Tarot, the symbology of the tarot can be traced to the ancient Greeks as well as to the myths and legends of other ancient cultures. From these convergent and divergent points, a school of thought developed that compared the cards to the intricate Judaic system of Qabalah and the Tree of Life, an important component of the early development of modern hermetic magickal systems, developing further into the founding of the Order of the Golden Dawn and Freemasonry. Early hermetic Tarot scholars, including Papus, MacGregor Mathers, Eliphas Levi, Aleister Crowley, and Arthur E. Waite contributed vastly to the body of mystical knowledge which comprises the basis of modern Tarot - Crowley and Waite being the creators of the two most popular systems extant today - the "Thoth" and "Rider-Waite" decks (respectively).

While Crowley's Thoth deck developed to incorporate Qabalistic theory along the lines of the developing OTO ("Ordo Templi Orientis") and Golden Dawn systems, A.E. Waite's interpretation of the Tarot stands today virtually as the standard by which all Tarot decks are judged. Prior to this, the minor arcana (or "pip" cards) of the Tarot were illustrated with various geometric arrangements of the four suit symbols - Cups, Swords, Batons and Coins. With the aid of artist Pamela Coleman-Smith, Waite incorporated scenes, symbols and imagery into the pip cards, which, although continuing to be of hermetic/qabalistic interpretation, assigned a more graphic meaning to the cards, bringing them within a more accessible reach to the general public, or at least those with an interest in the occult. In the process, he also changed the suits of Batons to Wands and Coins to Pentacles to realign them with his ideas about their connection to the magickal disciplines. Crowley's deck, oriented more toward the hermetic tradition, continued with the geometric suit design of the pips. However, his "Book of Thoth" written as an explanatory text for the deck, is considered basic required reading by Tarot authorities.


The creation of the Waite deck began a veritable avalanche of new decks into the marketplace. Many artists saw the medium as a way to present variations of artistic genre, creating decks which were veritable galleries of miniature artwork. The occultists saw it as a way to broaden and further the study of other magickal/spiritual traditions, and began to assert a universal connection between Waite's assigned meanings and their own traditions. Thus, today we see decks containing images from many spiritual paths and historical time periods, including Native American, mythological, Celtic, Arthurian, pagan, aboriginal, Renaissance, and even combinations thereof into a single deck.
However, despite the variations in presentation, the basic structure of the standard or archetypal tarot deck consists of two groups of cards known as the "Major Arcana" and the "Minor Arcana" ("arcana" meaning "secret" or "hidden"). Briefly, the Major Arcana deal with images that represent the broader, universal, often spiritually-oriented issues, ideas, beliefs and experiences of life. The Minor Arcana deal with the more mundane themes of everyday living. The Majors contain 22 cards numbered from 0 to 22. The Minors contain 56 cards divided among four "suits" - Cups, Wands, Swords and Pentacles. Each of the suits have their own over-arching associations, and the cards within each suit have a their own meaning.

The standard method for "reading" the cards involves the use of a "spread," which means the card or cards chosen from the deck are placed in a certain position that has a designated meaning and interpreted from there. Methods of choosing the cards vary widely from reader to reader. Some allow the querant full range to shuffle and choose the cards and place them where they please, relying heavily on the random aspect of chaos to reveal the issue at hand. Some never allow anyone to touch their cards, and insist on placing the cards in a certain design in specific ways, feeling more comfortable in a highly structured reading environment. Readings can fall anywhere between the two extremes depending on the card reader.
Spreads, of which there are hundreds, vary widely as well. The most widely used spread is called the "Celtic Cross" (the origins of which are a topic for another dissertation) consisting of ten positions for the cards which are generally labeled as follows:

Significator (a card representing the querant)
Central issue
Crossing (What blocks the issue at hand)
Basis of the issue
Recent past
Possible outcome
Near future
Hopes and fears

Readers have come to rely on this spread as an all-encompassing containment of information that provides the querant with answers to most of the details surrounding the central issue of the reading. If questions remain after reading this set of cards, additional clarification cards are sometimes pulled from the pack and read as a part of the session. Most all Tarot readings follow this same simple structure, with little variation.

The divinatory system of Tarot, at face value, is quite simple. It's a deck of cards with pictures, placed in positions that have their own meanings. The card reader interprets the relationship of the card meanings to the positions. Anyone can learn how to do it. The new student of the system should, however, realize that their study of this subject can quickly deepen and broaden, given the history of the cards and the symbology they contain. Given the potential breadth of the subject, experienced readers often urge beginners to choose the Rider-Waite deck to learn the basic meaning and symbo9logy of the system before branching out to other interpretations of the Tarot.
There are literally hundreds of decks on the market, with new ones being developed and published almost daily. Although definitely confusing for the new student of the Tarot, it is a collector's paradise for those who are interested in the historical origins and further development of this fascinating activity. The study of the symbology of the cards alone has caught the interest of many scholars who have written reams on the subject. A suggested list of books, from beginner to authoritative commentary, is listed at the end of this article.

Harking back to the ancient symbology of the cards, another important influence on the understanding and interpretation of Tarot was the work of Carl G. Jung and his study of archetypal imagery arising from the human collective unconscious. In an introductory statement to Sally Nichols' book "Jung and Tarot" Laurens van der Post stated that "He (Jung) recognized at once, as he did in so many other games and primordial attempts at divination of the unseen and the future, that Tarot had its origin and anticipation in profound patterns of the collective unconscious with access to potentials of increased awareness uniquely at the disposal of these patterns." Nichols herself states early on that "It seems apparent that these old cards were conceived deep in the guts of human experience, at the most profound level of the human psyche. It is to this level in ourselves that they will speak."

"Fortune" Telling?
Many believe it is this view of the cards that explains the development of the cards for "fortune telling." Waite himself despised this aspect of the cards, and took every opportunity to denigrate this idea. Yet for this topic, Jung's system of archetypal psychology suggests that we reevaluate our definition of the term "fortune telling."
Most people who hear the word instantly think of the rag-headed Gypsy with the crystal ball and smoking incense in the dark tent with a name preceded by "Madam." However, modern uses for the cards has elevated this image from the darkened tent into the light of developmental self awareness, plumbing the depths of psychology and spiritual enlightenment. Today, "fortune telling" with practiced readers can more often be a participatory session with an active and dynamic interplay between reader and querant, with the reader helping the questioner divine their own sources of problems and solutions through the story presented in the images.

Given today's rash of less-than-honest psychic pretenders, a good Tarot reader is a rare find. Anyone can learn the Tarot card meanings by mere rote memorization. However, the skill of a good reader becomes obvious when they can tune in to that numinous interface between the energies of the cards in the spread and the energies of the querant and the issues that need to be discussed. You'll notice the word "need" is used, because inevitably the cards will most often speak to the issue of what the querant needs to know instead of, or in addition to, what the querant wants to know.

In a good Tarot session, the reader will develop a rapport with the querant and involve them in the reading, rather than listening to a "talking head." According to Mary Greer, a good reader will be able to pull all the cards in the spread together to interpret not only the message of each individual card, but the spread as a cohesive whole, so that the querant can see the entire story.
The best Tarot readers today will often set up a dialog about the cards in the reading, asking the reader's ideas about what "they" see in the cards, which almost inevitably acts as a "Rorschach" test of sorts that helps the querant reveal issues that might have been deeply buried within their unconscious. Many who seek the services of a Tarot reader or psychic are concerned with a "surface" problem that has manifested in their life, but refuse to deal with the underlying issues that cause the problem. Often, Tarot cards can reveal these issues and provide a forum where the querant can bring them out to discuss in an atmosphere of comfort and safety, much as in a professional counseling session.
The good reader will also be able to recognize when a problem surfaces that is far beyond their scope of practice, and suggest the querant seek additional counseling when the issue warrants this step.

If the querant does take the advice of the reader about seeking further counseling, they might just find themselves (if they're lucky) with a professional who uses the Tarot as a basis for understanding their clients problems. In a foreword to Mary Greer's book "Tarot Mirrors," tarot author Rachal Pollack comments that a growing number of people "_.have realized that readings can serve as a primary means of penetrating into the layers of a person's life - a way of exposing desires and fears, the conditioning of past experiences, the future developments that exist now in the immediate reality."

Modern Evolution

A growing number of professionals in the fields of science and psychology are using divinatory tools such as the Tarot to help augment their attempts to define and explain what we heretofore have considered the "Unknown" and the supposedly unknowable. The symbols seem to make contact with something deep within which causes an opening up of areas of the unconscious which may have only been reachable in the dream state before.

A good example is Dr. Art Rosengarten, who presented a fascinating workshop at a 1996 symposium in Anaheim, California entitled - "Using Tarot as a Mirror into Domestic Discord" in which he discussed the results of his pilot study on Tarot Research Into Domestic Violence. In this study he was given permission to present "...a brief discussion of Tarot to five court-ordered treatment groups for Male Offenders of Domestic Violence and seek volunteers to receive Tarot Readings which would be focused on issues related to their personal domestic and marital problems."
Among the many fascinating results of the study was the universal ability of the test subjects to look at the cards and spreads, and see their own stories - their own personal myths. The images enabled them to reach within to see and identify with the personality characteristics present or missing within themselves - to identify and name their own reality. The cards helped them make sense of what they could not heretofore explain or put into words - to take the clothes off the Emperor so they could see their situation as it really was.

Author Cynthia Giles speaks on this subject quite well in her book "The Tarot - Methods, Mastery, and More" when she says "Another important wellness aspect of Tarot is the reading process itself. The reading event offers an opportunity for profound connection between two people, and there is substantial evidence that this person-to-person connection is vital for wellness as well as for healing."
We can see in these examples that the Tarot is not limited to the application of "Fortune Telling," but has gone beyond into the realm of being used as a "healing tool." As a channel into the world of internal archetypal images, it can be, and indeed is beginning to be, used more and more as a bridge between mind and body to aid in healing the sicknesses of modern society.
As in any field of study, one can choose to assimilate a cursory overview of the subject, and then either abandon it for other paths, or choose to delve deeper. In the field of Tarot, Giles makes the statement that "_Tarot brings with it its own invitations and its own initiations. Tarot can be pursued in many ways, at many levels. Beyond a certain point, however, one either chooses to enter the path of mastery or determines to remain a dabbler. Entering the path surely does not mean you must devote your life to Tarot _ but it does mean a change of attitude. On the path, Tarot becomes less an activity than a point of view."

The Tarot's unique development from its origins as a simple parlor game, to its evolution as a divinatory tool, to its more modern development as a means for self-development and awareness, provides a tempting, elaborate, and many-faceted subject that can engage the interest of historians, mystics and occultists alike.

Suggested reading list:

"A Wicked Pack of Cards" by Decker, Depaulis and Dummett
"78 Degrees of Wisdom" Volumes I and II by Rachel Pollack
"Dictionary of the Tarot" by Bill Butler
"Tarot: A Handbook for the *" by Eileen Connolly
"The Book of Thoth" by Aleister Crowley
"Complete Guide to the Tarot" by Eden Gray
"Tarot for Your Self", "Tarot Constellations", "Tarot Mirrors" by Mary K. Greer
"Encyclopedia of Tarot"volumes I-III by Stuart Kaplan
"The Game of Tarot" by Michael Dummett
"Pictorial Key to the Tarot" by A.E. Waite


Tasseography, otherwise known as tasseomancy, is the art of tea leaf reading. Tea leaf reading is an ancient fortune telling art interpreting patterns made by tea leaves in the cup. In addition to the reading of tea leaves, the tradition of tasseography includes the reading of coffee grounds and wine sediments.
Although tasseography is most commonly associated with Gypsy fortunetellers, the tradition of tea leaf reading arises independently from ancient Asia and Ancient Greece. Modern tasseography, popularized in the Victorian era as a parlor game, has also been associated with the Scotch, Irish and cultures throughout Eastern Europe.


TEA Use a loose, black tea. Do not attempt to cut up a teabag because the tea within is too finely cut. My personal preference is Earl Grey. You may also sprinkle some coffee grounds in a cup of coffee.
VESSEL Use either a traditional asian or european tea cup. The bowl of the cup will fit in the palm of your hand. Select a light colored cup without decoration. You will also need a small plate or saucer.
MAKE TEA Without a strainer, sprinkle the leaves into a teapot. Add boiling water and steep until it is your desired strength.

BEGIN Keep a pen and pad handy. Inhale deeply and quiet your mind. Pour the tea into your cup. Leaves will flow into your tea cup along with tea and aroma. Remain calm and contemplative as you wait for your tea to cool to a comfortable temperature.
If you are right-handed, lift your tea cup with your left hand. If you are left-handed, lift your tea cup with your right hand. If you are ambidextrous, reach for the vessel as you normally would, stop and use the other hand.
DRINK When the tea has cooled to a comfortable temperature, drink until the cup is nearly empty. If you see a twig or little stick floating in your tea, that is an early sign representing an imminent visitor. There will be a little liquid and remaining leaves within your teacup. Swish them about as desired.

ASK YOURSELF You will get a general fortune if no particular question is looming in the forefront of your consciousness (other than: does this really work?).
SPIN 3 You many either walk your body slowly in three circles, pass your hand three times over the cup and/or count to three aloud.
DUMP Remain quiet and meditative while you pour out the remaining liquid into the saucer. Pour slowly so that some of the tea and most of the leaves remain in your cup. Leave your cup turned upside on the saucer. After a minimum of three breaths, you may turn over your cup. The remaining liquid will have drained from your cup, leaving a leaf pattern behind.
SEE 3 Imagine three levels on your cup. Remember when the cup was full? The surface area of your tea when you began to drink and above is the Rim Section.
Remember the amount of tea you left in your cup before you dumped it out? That is your Base Section.

Visualize the area of the cup that exists between the rim section and the base section. That is your Middle Section.
ZONE In a relaxed and dreamlike state of mind, watch the inside of your cup. Allow patterns to drift into your consciousness. Interpreting the leaf patterns and shapes is like taking a Rorschach Inkblot Test. Allow your imagination to wander.
IDENTIFY If your vessel has a handle, read clockwise from the handle. If you vessel does not have a handle, read clockwise from 12 o'clock.
The first pattern you see is the symbol representing your dominant character, quality, state of mind or question. Jot down your observations on a piece of paper.

READ RIM The rim section of your tea cup represents this moment in time. From your own inner quiet and open minded sight, do you recognize any symbols or patterns? View a symbol lexicon for some ideas to stimulate your imagination. Jot down your observations.
READ MIDDLE The middle section of your tea cup represents the near future -- usually no more than a fortnight. From your own inner quiet and open minded sight, do you recognize any symbols or patterns? View a symbol lexicon for some ideas to stimulate your imagination. Jot down your observations.
READ BASE The base section of your tea cup represents further away in time. From your own inner quiet and open-minded insight, do you recognize any symbols or patterns? View a symbol lexicon for some ideas to stimulate your imagination. Jot down your observations.
READ THE REST Bubbles represent money. Little twigs or sticks represent people. Horizontal twigs warn of untrustworthy people; vertical twigs represent straightforward people. Drops represent tears or sadness.

INTERPRET Study your list of observed patterns and symbols. What do they mean to you? Seeing a dog can mean one thing to one person and quite another to someone else. View a symbol lexicon for some ideas to stimulate your imagination. More symbols are defined at www.tasseography.com. The patterns in the rim section apply to your present. The middle section patterns are speaking to your near future. The images you see at the base of your cup relate to your distant future or the ultimate conclusion of your question.
REMEMBER The power of tea leaf reading comes from your own subconscious and imagination, identifying the patterns you see. The patterns you recognize in this process are unique to your own personal state of mind. You can also use this process to see and describe patterns thereby stimulating the introspective imaginations of your friends and family. With compassion and kindness we learn to link ourselves together in this precious cosmic dance.


A divinatory form of fortune-telling by reading tea leaves. It is also known as tasseography. Tasseomancy originated in the Middle Ages stemming from ceroscopy and molybdomancy. In the 17th century, the West Dutch Indies merchants introduced tea from the Orient. Tea drinking became a popular custom which gave rise to the divination of tea leaves that remained in the bottom of the cup.
Tasseomancy is largely dependent on psychic intuition. Tea is poured into a cup without the use of a strainer. The one seeking psychic help, the inquirer, consumes all of the tea in the cup. If any moisture remains it is shaken out onto a napkin.

The leaves remain in the bottom of the cup which the diviner observes to see what patterns are formed. A letter, heart shape, or a ring might be observed. There are some standard symbolisms which are observed when interpreting the patterns: snake (enmity or falsehood), spade (good fortune through industry), mountain (journey or hindrance), house (change, success).
Another method is to leave a little moisture in the cup. This allows the leaves or dregs to be swished around. The cup is the upturned into the saucer. The reader picks up the cup and begins examining the formation of the dregs. As in the above described method, the dregs can form patterns such as letters, numbers, geometric designs, straight or wavy lines or shapes which resemble animals, birds or objects. Again, various symbols have particular meanings: straight lines indicate careful planning and peace of mind, while a cup shape indicates love and harmony. Time frames are also indicated by estimating the proximity of the leaves to the rim. Dregs closer to the rim and handle represent the immediate future, while those at the cup's bottom indicate the far future. Some diviners say they can only predict twenty-four hours into the future.

Due to technical modernization tea bags have arrived, but readers have circumvented this by cutting the bags and dropping the leaves into the cup. In some instances coffee grounds are used, but the practice is less common.
Italians, in the 18th century, claimed they invented the coffee-ground form of the divination. Also, they believed the prophecies came from demons so the diviners recited incantation during their practices such as: "Aqua boraxit venias carajos," "Fixitur et patricam explinabit tornare," and "Hax verticalines pax Fantas marobum, max destinatus, veida porol." It was believed that if such incantations were done incorrectly, the reading would be inaccurate.
Tasseomancy is currently conducted in England, Ireland, and Europe. In the United States it is primarily practiced in larger cities in "Gypsy tearooms" and in restaurants and other establishments which furnish back room fortune-telling services. Some occultists practice it too.


This is one of the three ancient methods, the other two are gematria and Netrikon, used by the Kabbalists to rearrange words and sentences in the Bible to derive the esoteric substratum and deeper spiritual meaning of the words.
Temurah has a second meaning also when pertaining to Judaism, particularly Hebrew mysticism, which is in association with the art of word-changing. This entails the changing of letters in certain words to create a new meaning for a Biblical statement.


In this method of divination the ashes remaining from the fire that has burned victims in sacrifice are used.


Theomancy in the ancient world was a form of divination by oracles believed to be divinely inspired. However in the Jewish Kabbalah, theomancy studies the mysteries of the divine majesty and seeks the sacred names. The one who possesses the science knows the future, commands nature, has full power over angels and demons, and can perform miracles. The Rabbis claimed that it was by this means that Moses performed so many miracles; that Joshua was able to stop the sun; that Elias caused fire to fall from heaven, and raise the dead; that Daniel closed the mouths of lions; and that the three youths were not consumed in the furnace. However, even though experts in the divine names, Jewish rabbis no longer perform any of the wonders done by their fathers.

Urim and Thummum

In Hebrew these terms mean "light" and "perfections." They were the twelve precious stones, when in position in the breastplate of the high priest, were consulted as an oracle. They were worn when the high priest entered the Holy of Holies (Exodus 28:30). The ceremony of placing the engraved gems in their proper position in the breastplate was very solemn and imposing, for it typified the twelve tribes before the altar of Jehovah.

Witch peg

Charms, found in rural areas of the Ozarks, used to keeping witches from a home. They are made from cedar pegs with three prongs, and driven into the ground in a path to the door. According to folklore there is a belief that the prongs are associated with the Trinity. It is thought bad luck to step on or disturb a witch peg.


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