(Investigator 89, 2003 March)
Mantic. Relating to divination, soothsaying, prophecy.
The Mantic Arts
practised in one
form or another by all cultures and civilizations throughout history.
to man's innate desire to discover what the future holds and to gain
to the supernatural he has devised a great number of techniques, some
which are briefly described in this chapter.
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.
Divination from the air and sky, concentrating on cloud shapes, spectral formations and other phenomena not normally present in the heavens.
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.
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.
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.
Forecasts made from chance meeting with animals, the omen of a black cat crossing one's path is still a popular superstition today.
Another name for Numerology (see under that title) and applies to many other forms of divination using dice, dominoes and number and letter values.
See chapter on Astrology.
Divination by a study of the winds.
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.
Requiring the tossing or balancing of arrows.
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.
The burning of tree branches and leaves.
Euphemism for Phrenology.
Divination by observing the smoke from a fire, its patterns and shapes.
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.
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.
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.
A generic term to describe divination using small objects such as pebbles, sticks, bones and shells.
Similar to cleromancy but using scissors and a sieve.
Omens drawn from barley cakes.
Significance seen in onion sprouts.
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!"
An early form of dowsing using a dangling ring to indicate letters and words.
Divination through the aid of demons.
Listening to the crackle of laurel branches as they burn. The louder the crackle, the better the omen.
Similar to daphnomancy using the oak and the mistletoe.
The language of flowers. A symbolic method of conveying messages to others and of foretelling future trends.
An ancient form of ventriloquism with the voice lowered as though issuing from the ground. Prophetic trances were delivered while in this trancelike state.
The art of divination from the tone of someone's laughter.
Calculation of the future from the influence of the stars at birth, as in astrology.
Doodles and dots on the ground which were interpreted according to accepted designs.
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.
Examining the entrails of animals for omens.
Drawing prophetic conclusions while observing objects of ancient sacrifice.
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.
Involved using fish.
Portents from the light of torches.
Using incense as a means of interpreting omens.
As in Hydromancy except that gem stones are used.
Divination using precious or semi precious stones and the light reflected from a candle.
Another form of reading smoke using incense.
Divination from the behaviour of candle flames.
Intuitive divination viewed while in a trance. Similar to modern day Channeling.
Based on meteors and similar phenomena.
Character reading from the lines on the forehead.
Examination of the moles on the face and body.
Interpreting molten lead dropped into water.
Dealt with in the chapter under that heading.
Divination utilising the eyes.
Contemplating one's navel.
The interpretation of dreams.
Interpretation of names.
Study of the fingernails in the sunlight.
An ancient method of divination by eggs.
Omens gained from watching serpents.
Omens gained by watching the flight of birds.
Watching spring water or bubbling fountains.
Slapping rose petals against the palm of the hand and judging the loudness of the sound made.
Character analysis through physical appearance of the features. Still has a modern application.
Mysterious writing of a divinitory type.
Also known a Pyroscopy. Divination by fire wherein powder has been thrown on the flames.
Using a wand or a stick, probably the forerunner of the divining rod.
Inspection of excrement.
Divination with the aid of the spirits.
Omens from soot or cinders.
Similar to Bibliomancy. The opening of a book to seek inspiration.
Omens drawn from dress oddities.
Performed by writing messages on tree leaves.
Messages sought in the ashes of tree bark.
Divination using cheese.
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.
one would have
any belief or confidence
in revolting divination methods such as Haruspicy or Scatoscopy, yet
is there any difference between them and say – tarot cards, why then
modern divination methods be accorded any more credence?
Brasch, R. 1984. Strange
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.