Friday, June 11, 2010

Minor Magic

Thanks to pop-culture, nearly everyone has heard of Necromancy or the practice of black magic that deals exclusively with the dead. Those that haven't heard are missing out. Go watch a Conan flick and get educated.

At any rate, in the realm of mythology and folklore, Necromancy was primarily a method of divination, or predicting the future. However, you needn't hike to your local graveyard, shovel in hand, just to catch of a glimpse of That Yet to Be. Here are some alternative methods, taken from An Encylopaedia of Occultism by Lewis Spence (published in 1920).

Aromancy: A method of divination which is effected by the inspection of the shoulders. The ancients judged by this means whether a victim was suitable for sacrifice to the gods.

Capnomancy: The observation of smoke, which consisted of three principal methods, including the practice of breathing the smoke of the sacrificial fire.

Cleromancy: Was practised by throwing dice. Mentioned in Egypt and Rome.

Critomancy: Divination by means of observing cakes. The paste of cakes which are offered in sacrifice, is closely examined, and from the flour which is spread upon them, omens are drawn.

Gyromancy: Was performed by going round continually in a circle, the circumference of which was marked by letters.

Hippomancy: A method of divination practised by the ancient Celts, who kept certain white horses in consecrated groves. If on leaving in the outbreak of hostilities they crossed the threshold with the left forehoof first, the presage was regarded as an evil one, and the war was abandoned.

Kephalomancy: A method of divination which is practised by making signs on the baked head of an ass. It was familiar to the Germans and the Lombards substituted for it the head of a goat.

Onychomancy: Divination by fingernails. It is practised by watching the reflection of the sun in the nails of a boy, and judging the future by the shape of the figures which show themselves on their surface.

Stoichemancy: A method of divination which is practised by opening the works of Homer or Virgil and reading as an oracular statement the first verse which presents itself.

Stolisomancy: Divination from the manner in which a person dresses himself.

Tiromancy: Divination by means of cheese. It is practised in diverse ways the details of which are not known.

But don't take my word for it!


  1. Raise the dead...


  2. Perhaps you are not yet aware, but in modern times there had been a growing use of Mondayomancy, or predicting the future using the works of Gordon Monday... after all, history is fated to repeat itself.

  3. He's actually saying I love you in sign language.

  4. Dr. Strange welcomes careful drivers.