Divination

Augury

Augury


Augury is an ancient form of divination. The practice was performed in ancient Rome by priests called augurs. It entailed the interpretation of auspices, that is the movement of birds and/or the movement of animals. Also included in this form of divination was the interpretation of the significance of thunder and lightening. Those signs on the augur’s left or east side denoted a favorable outcome, while those on the right pointed to an ill-omen. This method of divination was practically unknown in ancient Mesopotamia and Palestine.

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Lots of Astrampsychsu

Lots of Astrampsychsu


 

Lots of Astrampsychsu was a divinatory system probably devised in the second or third century CE and attributed to an alleged Astrampsychus the Magician. The system was popular in late Roman and early medieval times. The Lots began with ninety-two questions, the querent chooses one, and then randomly picks a number between one and ten. The chosen number is then added to the number of the question, and the sum is looked up in a table of oracular gods (in the Pagan version of the Lots) or Christian saints (in the Christian version). Each god or saint has a table of ten answers, and the randomly chosen number is used to select the correct answer.

The basic structure of the Lots resembles that of Napoleon’s Book of Fate, although the latter also draws on the divinatory art of geomancy.

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Astragalomancy

Astragalomancy


 

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.

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Aspidomancy

Aspidomancy


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.

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Ashagalomancy

Ashagalomancy


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.

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Arithmancy

Arithmancy


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.

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Anthropomancy

Anthropomancy


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.

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Amulets

Amulets


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

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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
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.

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