MANTIC ARTS

(Investigator 89, 2003 March)


Mantic. Relating to divination, soothsaying, prophecy.

The Mantic Arts have been practised in one form or another by all cultures and civilizations throughout history. Due to man's innate desire to discover what the future holds and to gain access to the supernatural he has devised a great number of techniques, some of which are briefly described in this chapter.
 

ACUTO-MANZIA
Divination using dressmaker’s pins. Ten pins are stuck into a board or cork tile in a pre-arranged pattern. Three pins bent in the shape of a horseshoe are shaken in an egg cup while thinking of the question you want answered. They are then dropped onto the board. If a pin hooks itself around a pin, that will indicate the answer to your query.

AEROMANCY
Divination from the air and sky, concentrating on cloud shapes, spectral formations and other phenomena not normally present in the heavens.

ALECTROMANCY
A protracted and complicated process involving a cockerel and grains of corn laid out in a circle of letters to spell out the answers to a query. Possibly the forerunner of the modem Ouija board.

ALEUROMANCY
A mixture of flour and water, stirred and tipped into a sink. The patterns and shapes left in the bowl are then read and interpreted.

ALOMANCY
Originally salt was thrown into a fire and the smoke patterns read. Later the salt was thrown onto a road or a flat board and read.

APANTOMANCY
Forecasts made from chance meeting with animals, the omen of a black cat crossing one's path is still a popular superstition today.

ARITHMANCY
Another name for Numerology (see under that title) and applies to many other forms of divination using dice, dominoes and number and letter values.

ASTROLOGY
See chapter on Astrology.

AUSTROMANCY
Divination by a study of the winds.

AXIOMANCY
An axe driven into a post which answers questions by its quivers, or points out the direction taken by robbers, according to the way the handle falls.

BELOMANCY
Requiring the tossing or balancing of arrows.

BIBLIOMANCY
Opening books (usually a Bible) at random in order to obtain a sign to provide guidance. The first few words read coupled with intuition will trigger off a train of thought providing an answer.

BOTANOMANCY
The burning of tree branches and leaves.

BUMPOLOGY
Euphemism for Phrenology.

CAPNOMANCY
Divination by observing the smoke from a fire, its patterns and shapes.

CARTOPEDY
An old method of predicting the future and assessing a person's character using the soles of the feet. Latter day therapists have used the method for diagnosing and treating illness. Now known as Reflexology.

CATOPROMANCY
An early form of crystal gazing which used a mirror or any kind of shining surface to reflect the lunar rays. "Magic mirrors" were popular in the Middle Ages.

CLEIDOMANCY
The suspending of a key or ring over a book or a bowl of water and observing whether it spins or not. Similar to modern water dowsing with a pendulum.

CLEROMANCY
A generic term to describe divination using small objects such as pebbles, sticks, bones and shells.

COSCINOMANCY
Similar to cleromancy but using scissors and a sieve.

CRITOMANCY
Omens drawn from barley cakes.

CROMNIOMANCY
Significance seen in onion sprouts.

CYCLOMANCY
Spinning a wheel to obtain the answer to a question. Later developments were the Chocolate Wheel or Wheel of Fortune at fun-fairs and the game "Spinning the Bottle". And maybe the song "Daisy Daisy give me your answer do!"

DACTYLOMANCY
An early form of dowsing using a dangling ring to indicate letters and words.

DEMONOMANCY
Divination through the aid of demons.

DAPHNOMANCY
Listening to the crackle of laurel branches as they burn. The louder the crackle, the better the omen.

DENDROMANCY
Similar to daphnomancy using the oak and the mistletoe.

FLOROMANCY
The language of flowers. A symbolic method of conveying messages to others and of foretelling future trends.

GASTROMANCY
An ancient form of ventriloquism with the voice lowered as though issuing from the ground. Prophetic trances were delivered while in this trancelike state.

GELOSCOPY
The art of divination from the tone of someone's laughter.

GENETHLIALOGY
Calculation of the future from the influence of the stars at birth, as in astrology.

GEOMANCY
Doodles and dots on the ground which were interpreted according to accepted designs.

GYROMANCY
Performed by a person walking in a circle marked with letters, until they become dizzy and stumble at different points thus "spelling out" a prophecy.

HARUSCOPY
Examining the entrails of animals for omens.

HIEROSCOPY
Drawing prophetic conclusions while observing objects of ancient sacrifice.

HYDROMANCY
Divination by water by observing the patterns, ebb and flow and color, made by dropping a pebble into a bowl of water. Tea leaf and coffee ground readings date from this.

ICHTHYOMANCY
Involved using fish.

LAMPADOMANCY
Portents from the light of torches.

LIBANOMANCY
Using incense as a means of interpreting omens.

LECANOMANCY
As in Hydromancy except that gem stones are used.

LETHOMANCY
Divination using precious or semi precious stones and the light reflected from a candle.

LIVANOMANCY
Another form of reading smoke using incense.

LYNCHNOMANCY
Divination from the behaviour of candle flames.

MARGARITOMANCY
Using pearls.

METAGNOMY
Intuitive divination viewed while in a trance. Similar to modern day Channeling.

METEOROMANCY
Based on meteors and similar phenomena.

METOPOSCOPY
Character reading from the lines on the forehead.

MOLESCOPY
Examination of the moles on the face and body.

MOLYBODOMANCY
Interpreting molten lead dropped into water.

NUMEROLOGY
Dealt with in the chapter under that heading.

OCULOMANCY
Divination utilising the eyes.

OMPHALOMANCY
Contemplating one's navel.

ONEIROMANCY
The interpretation of dreams.

ONOMANCY
Interpretation of names.

ONYCHOMANCY
Study of the fingernails in the sunlight.

OOSCOPYMANCY
An ancient method of divination by eggs.

OPHIOMANCY
Omens gained from watching serpents.

ORNITOMANCY
Omens gained by watching the flight of birds.

PEGOMANCY
Watching spring water or bubbling fountains.

PESSOMANCY
Involves pebbles.

PHYLLORODOMANCY
Slapping rose petals against the palm of the hand and judging the loudness of the sound made.

PHYSIOGNOMY
Character analysis through physical appearance of the features. Still has a modern application.

PSYCHOGRAPHY
Mysterious writing of a divinitory type.

PYROMANCY
Also known a Pyroscopy. Divination by fire wherein powder has been thrown on the flames.

RHARBDOMANCY
Using a wand or a stick, probably the forerunner of the divining rod.

SCATOSCOPY
Inspection of excrement.

SCIOMANCY
Divination with the aid of the spirits.

SPODOMANCY
Omens from soot or cinders.

STICHOMANCY
Similar to Bibliomancy. The opening of a book to seek inspiration.

STOLISOMANCY
Omens drawn from dress oddities.

SYCOMANCY
Performed by writing messages on tree leaves.

TEPHRAMANCY
Messages sought in the ashes of tree bark.

TIROMANCY
Divination using cheese.

XYLOMANCY
Using pieces of odd shaped wood picked up at random.

Man's ingenuity and inventiveness know no bounds when it comes to devices designed to answer questions and foretell the future. While even a believer in some aspects of the paranormal may laugh at the idea of consulting the sprouts of an onion to obtain an answer to a problem, today's methods of peering into the future bear witness to the fact that man's pre-occupation with the future has not lessened.

Astrology, numerology, tarot, channeling and similar old and updated systems are simply sophisticated developments of earlier attempts at augury. No attempt will be made to prove the fallaciousness of each and every one of the mantic arts as it would be an interminable and futile exercise.

Today, no one would have any belief or confidence in revolting divination methods such as Haruspicy or Scatoscopy, yet fundamentally, is there any difference between them and say – tarot cards, why then should modern divination methods be accorded any more credence?
 

Bibliography:

Brasch, R. 1984. Strange Customs. Fontana. Sydney.
Burns, J. 1981. Your Innate Psychic Powers. Sphere Books. London.
Chambers, H.V. 1970. Phrenology for the Millions. Award Books. NY.
Gardner, M. 1952. Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Gibson, W.B. & Gibson L.R. 1968. The Complete Illustrated Book of the Psychic Sciences. Bell Publishing Co. NY.
Hill, D. 1982. Fortune Telling. Hamlyn Paperbacks.
Markham, U. 1987. Fortune Telling by Crystals and Semi Precious Stones.
McCormack, K. 1972. Fortune Telling. Fontana. UK.
McCoy, R.W. 1985. "Phrenology and Popular Gullibility." Skeptical Inquirer. 9:261-268.
Selene. 1989. Predicting Your Future. Salamander Books Ltd. London.

From: A Skeptic’s Guide to the New Age, Harry Edwards.

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