-mancy, -mancer, -mantic, -mantical

(Greek: used as a suffix; divination, prophecy, fortune telling; to interpret signs so “practical” decisions can be made [related to -mania])

It isn't so much the things we don't know that gets us into trouble. It's the things we know that aren't so.

—Artemus Ward (1834-1867)

If you keep on saying things are going to be bad, you have a good chance of being a prophet.

—Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-1991),
Polish-born American journalist, writer.
abacomancy (s) (noun), abacomancies (pl)
A divination practice which interprets patterns in dust or in the funerary ashes of the recently deceased to forecast future events: Also known as amathomancy (from the Greek amathos, "sand"), abacomancy is the art and practice of foretelling future events by the observation of omens in patterns of dust, or in the dust, dirt, or sand. Sometimes the diviner would use the ashes of a recently deceased person who was cremated.

The precise origins and method for abacomancies have been lost in time, but it apparently is like most divination techniques, quite ancient.

acutomancia, acutomanzia, acutomancy (s) (noun); acutomancias; acutomanzias; acutomancies
A form of divination that uses pins or needles: Diviners use seven sharp objects which fall on a table and the patterns are read for acutomanzia which usually includes thirteen pins, or needles, that are used, ten of them are straight and three are bent.

During the processes of acutomanzias, the pins or needles are shaken and when they fall on a table covered with a light film of talcum-powder, their formations in the powder and their positions are studied for possible revelations about a person's future.

adiathermancy (s) (noun), adiathermancies (pl)
The condition of being impervious to or unaffected by heat waves: Jake's aunt often experienced adiathermancy and so she didn't find the heat of the desert all that uncomfortable.
Adryomancy is a variant form of the word "ydromancie" and "idromancie" which are believed to come from Middle English "hydromancy".
aeluromancy (s) (noun) (no pl)
Divination or prophecy by watching the behavior or appearance of cats: In a book on prophecies and predictions, Tina read about aeluromancy being the foretelling of a cat's manner of jumping!
aeromancy (s) (noun), aeromancies (pl)
Fortune telling by observing substances in the air or wind, such as cloud shapes, weather conditions, and atmospheric phenomena (comets, etc.); austromancy: An aeromancy is divination that involves the direction of the wind like throwing sand or dirt in the wind after asking a question and receiving the answer in the form of the dust cloud, or throwing a handful of seeds into the air and receiving the answer to a question from the pattern created by the fallen seeds.

For many centuries, humans believed that the wind was actually the breath of their deities. Alternately, some thought that specific types of winds, particularly hot winds, were the work of demons.

In medieval writings on divination, the term aeromancy (usually spelled "aerimancy") was expanded to include almost all phenomena occurring in the air, such as forecasting the weather.

agaimatomancy (s) (noun), agaimatomancies (pl)
Predicting the future by interpreting the statuettes and effigies found in someone's home.
Greek divination by examining and interpreting statues.
aichmomancy (s) (noun), aichmomancies (pl)
Fortune-telling by using sharp-pointed objects: At the birthday party the grown-ups played aichmomancy by using pins, needles, knives, etc. that were dropped on a flat surface and then read the patterns for interpretations.
ailuromancy (s) (noun) (no pl)
Divination as determined by the way a cat jumps or moves: Ailuromancy can be a bad omen in the U.S. and Germany when a black cat crosses in front of someone, but it is considered fortunate in Britain. Owning a black cat is also considered to be a good divination.

It is a widespread belief that killing or mistreating a cat will bring ill fortune, probably from ancient religious beliefs that cats were sacred animals.

alectoromancy (s) (noun), alectoromancies (pl)
Divination by the observation of a rooster eating corn scattered on letters; crowing, etc.

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.

Alectoromancy-rooster divination.
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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.

alectryomancy (s) (noun), alectryomancies (pl)
Divination by means of a cock with grains of corn. One method included making a circle and dividing it equally into as many parts as there are letters in the alphabet.

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.

Divination of meal or flour; predictions written on paper and baked in cakes or cookies; such as, “Chinese fortune cookies” [said to be an American invention, not Chinese] which are a form of this type of mancy.

The ancient Greeks wrote sentences on pieces of paper rolled up in balls of flour. The balls were mixed up nine times and distributed to those who wanted to know their future. Appollo was supposed to have presided over this form of divination.

This system has survived in the custom of baking a coin or ring in a large cake, which is then divided among guests, one of whom is lucky and finds the gift.

Divination by means of salt; today, some people still respond to spilt salt on the table by throwing some over the left shoulder so bad luck will go away (a variant of halomancy); the diviner interprets future events from the patterns made from the sprinkled salt.

The use of salt in various divinations, probably dated from its ancient use as an offering to pagan gods, because of its scarcity and necessity.

Divination with barley meal and honey loaves; once it was used as a method to determine if one were guilty of some crime by having the accused try to eat a barley cake and if he couldn’t swallow it, or if he got sick, he was considered guilty (this same method is said to have been used by the Chinese with rice cakes).

In some cases, before eating, each suspect was required to say, "If I am deceiving you, may this piece of bread choke me."

According to Walter Gibson and Litzka Gibson in their The Complete Illustrated Book of Divination and Prophecy, in 1053, "Earl Godwin of Wessex, England, collapsed while taking this test to support a false oath, and died a few days later. This case has frequently been cited as a strong argument in favor of alphitomancy as a divinatory process."

Another version explains, "The suspects were rounded up. Each was required to say, 'If I am deceiving you, may this bread act upon me foul.' A portion of barley or wheat bread was then served to each suspect.

Those innocent of the crime supposedly would suffer no ill effects, while the guilty person would experience an attack of indigestion so painful that it was impossible to conceal it."

Cross references of word families that are related directly, or indirectly, to: "divination, diviner; seer, soothsayer, prophecy, prophesy, prophet": augur-; auspic-; fa-, fate; Fates in action; futur-; omen; -phemia; sorc-, sorcery; vati-.

A cross reference of other word family units that are related directly, or indirectly, to: "chance, luck, fate": aleato-; auspic-; cad-; fortu-; serendipity; sorc; temer-; tycho-.