alectryo-, alectryu-, alecto-, alectoro-, alektoro-
(Greek: rooster, cock; sometimes, also chicken)
In Africa, a black hen or a gamecock is used. An African diviner sprinkles grain on the ground and when the bird has finished eating, the seer interprets the designs or patterns left on the ground.
This type of divination has been attributed to the famous philosopher Iamblichus, who died about the year 330 A.D., after restoring various mystic rites dating back to the times of the ancient oracles.
His followers did quite well until Valens became roman emperor of the East and began a campaign to stamp out oracles, soothsayers, astrologers, and even philosophers, since their tendency was to favor those practitioners of the mystic arts.
The Roman mystics traced a large circle on the ground and divided it into sections bearing the letters of the Greek alphabet. Grains of wheat were sprinkled on the letters and a white rooster was placed in the center of the mystic circle.
From then on, the sponsoring seer, or seers, watched while the inspired fowl moved from one letter to another, spelling out a message as it pecked at the grains. That message was interpreted as the answer to the question mutually chosen by the observing seers.
2. Etymology: compounded of Greek alectryko, "cock, rooster" plus machy, "battle, fight".
Attack! We don't want to be bagged and thrown into a big ditch and burned alive because these humans think we cause avian flu!
Is it possible that Alectryomachy, which was originally the fighting of roosters against each other, may now be roosters (and chickens in general) fighting against humans for self-defense and for their survival?
If you watch TV as people make wholesale attacks on chickens in efforts to suppress avian flu, who could blame chickens for striking back? This becomes particularly a rational result of seeing chickens being stuffed into plastic bags, while still alive, and so slowly suffocating to death with other members of their species or being burned alive.
I did not become a vegetarian for my health. I did it for the health of the chickens.
A "wheat-corn" was placed on every letter, beginning with "A", during which the depositor must repeat a certain verse.
Additional esoteric steps were taken, then the rooster within the circle was watched to see which letters he pecked the grains from, and upon these additional grains must replace those taken by the rooster because some names and words might contain the same letters twice or more times.
Supposedly, the letters should be written down and put together, and they would infallibly reveal the name of the person about whom an inquiry was made.
In Africa, where this is practiced, the diviner sprinkles grain on the ground and allows the birds (a black hen or a gamecock) to peck at it. When the bird has finished, the seer interprets the patterns that remain on the ground.
Alectryon was a Greek youth. One night, while "sleeping" with Aphrodite, Ares stationed Alectryon by the bedroom door to warn them about the coming of the sun (Helios); however, Alectryon fell asleep, and Helios walked in on the couple. Ares was so enraged that he turned Alectryon into a rooster, who must forever announce the approach of the sun in the morning.
Loud the cock Alectryon crowed.