A form of divination by means of sounds and noises.
The ancient Egyptians believed sound was a direct channel between humanity and the gods. They also thought that the practice and use of sound in the words and names of scripts revealed the real mystery of magic and prophecy.
Proper pronunciation and recital of magical script was one of the most important principles in ancient working magic and divination. Aside from ritual tools and appropriate gestures, the ancients believed that, if words of power were not properly spoken, the magic or revelation would not succeed.
According to Herodotus, the Peleiades — sacred women priestesses of Zeus and the Mother Goddess, Dione, at the Oracle in Dodona — received prophetic signs and omens from the sounds and noise caused by the movement of the foliage of the sacred oak outside the temple. At this same Oracle another form of Alveromancy was also performed, as diviners listened and interpreted the murmur made by a miraculous fountain.
The temple at Dodona also had an Alveromantic device composed of many cauldrons, contiguous to each other, so that, striking upon one, the sound was conveyed to all the rest. At one end of the line of cauldrons, a statue held in its hand a whip, the lash of which consisted of three metal chains each having an 'astragalus', or a metal spherical body, fastened to the end of it. These chains, when agitated by the wind, struck the nearest cauldron, and produced so continuous sound that four hundred vibrations could be counted before it ceased. The Peleiades made use of this apparatus for prognostications. This noise producing device was a gift offering to the god Zeus by the Corcyreans. Hence arose the various proverbs of "the Dodonean cauldron and the Corcyrean lash."
There are many methods and forms of Alveromancy. Listening to the sound of the waves in the sea, of the wind that blows, of the echo in the mountains, of birds whistling or singing, etc. Typical interpretations are the louder the sound, the more danger is implied, and the nearer the sound, the sooner the happening.
Listening the sound that a seashell makes when you place it to your ear is a practice that originated in Alveromantic traditions. Alveromancers of old divined futurity by listening for answers to questions in seashells. Alveromancy has also been linked to the fraudulent practices of peddlers who use so-called magic boxes.
Alveromancy, like most divinatory systems, is quite ancient, and has been practiced since time immemorial.
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Sources: (1) Morwyn, The Complete Book Of Psychic Arts, Llewellyn Publications; (2) Walker, Charles, The Encyclopedia of the Occult, Random House Value; (3) Dunwich, Gerina, A Wiccan's Guide to Prophecy and Divination, Carol Publishing Group; (4) Buckland, Raymond, The Fortune-Telling Book: The Encyclopedia of Divination and Soothsaying, Visible Ink Press; (5) Manas, John H., Divination Ancient and Modern: An Historical, Archaeological and Philosophical Approach to Seership and Christian Religion, Kessinger Publishing.
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