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Divination Techniques for obtaining information about things unknown ... - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Astrology: by celestial bodies. Originally based on an earth-centered Universe. ... Chronomancy: by time, lucky/unlucky days (related to Astrology, horoscope) ...

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Presentation Transcript
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  • Techniques for obtaining information about things unknown, including events that will occur in the future.

  • Magic vs. Divination:

    • Magic: based on the manipulation of perceived connections between things

      • Ex: Magical ritual to bring rain

    • Divination: based on observing these connections

      • Ex: Trying to figure out when it will rain

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Involves some type of spiritual experience such as a direct contact with a supernatural being through an altered state of consciousness (called naturalor emotive divination)

Ex: Mediums, Shamans, Possession


More magical ways of divination including the reading of natural events, and manipulation of oracular devices (called artificial divination)

Ex: Oracle at Delphi, Magic 8 Ball, Ouija Board


Divination without any conscious effort on the part of the individual

Ex: black cat crosses one’s path, one is overtaken by a trance

Ex: Prophecy


Purposeful divinatoin

Reading the Tarot, casting bones

Ex: Mediums

Forms of Divination

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Divination Techniques

  • Aleuromancy: by use of flour (Fortune Cookies)

  • Apantomancy: by a chance meeting with an animal (black cat).

  • Astrology: by celestial bodies. Originally based on an earth-centered Universe. Hipparchus (130 B.C.E.) discovered the position of the Equinoxes, which would later form the base of Astrology. Astrology and Astronomy interlinked until the 16th century.

  • Augury: by the flight of birds. Also called Ornithomancy

  • Bibliomancy: by books (frequently, but not always, religious texts).

  • Cartomancy: by cards (Tarot).

  • Chronomancy: by time, lucky/unlucky days (related to Astrology, horoscope).

  • Graphology: by handwriting analysis.

  • Haruspication: by examination of animal entrails (Rome).

  • Necromancy: by the dead, or spirits/souls of the dead/recently dead.

  • Oneiromancy: by dreams. Prophethetic-like dreams?

  • Onomancy: by names.

  • Ordeals: by divination performed on the body of the accused. (Witchcraft in Christian Europe and drowning/fire). Guilty would burn, innocent would sink.

  • Ouija: board divination.

  • Palmistry: palm reading.

  • Phrenology: Study of shape/structure of the human head

  • Scapulamancy: by cracks and burns on a sheep/human scapula (Rome).

  • Tasseology: by tea leaves


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The Oracle at Delphi

  • Temple of Apollo at Delphi (from 1400 B.C.E.)

    • Where you went in the ancient world to know the future

    • Built around a sacred spring that emitted a sweet smelling gas (pneuma).

    • The medium or Pythia was the diviner. She would be the one through whom Apollo spoke (possession) and told the future.

    • She would inhale the gas, read off the question from clay tablets and give her answer (which was then recorded in verse by nearby priests). This oracle never gave direct answers.

      • Ex: King Croesus of Lydia (560-547 B.C.E.), asked if he should go to war. Answer: if he did, he would destroy a great realm! Croesus took this as fortuitous, went to war and inadvertently destroyed his own realm by waging war against the mighty Persian empire.

    • A form of deliberate and inspirational divination