A branch of Aeromancy, it is the art and practice of divination by means of the observation of aerial phenomena, such as the study of winds, the interpretation of cloud shapes, and the examination of thunder and lightning.
This method of divination is further branched into Anemoscopy, divination solely by winds, Nephomancy, divination solely by clouds, and Ceraunoscopy, divination solely by thunder and lightning.
The practice of wind divination has been around since man first appeared on Earth. Speed, direction and sound of the wind are the three main aspects used for determining a divinatory message. Certain objects observed blowing in the wind are also significant.
In days of old it was a popular belief that a bout of windy weather always presaged the hanging of a criminal; the ancients also believed that the hauling and moaning of the wind outside one's window was supposed to be an ill omen, usually an indication of a death taking place in the family.
In divination by clouds, prognostications were taken from the color, position in the sky and shape of clouds. The Druids were enthusiastic practitioners of this type of divination.
In the Middle Ages, people believed that thunder and lightning in the winter were the portents of war, floods and also of the death of someone important, usually living within a twenty miles radius of the occurrence.
Diviners from ancient China and Tibet practiced another method of Austromancy, which involved placing the open end of a seashell against the ear to draw omens from the sounds heard within the shell.
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Sources: (1) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing; (2) Spence, Lewis, An Encyclopedia of Occultism, Carol Publishing Group; (3) Pickover, Clifford A., Dreaming the Future: The Fantastic Story of Prediction, Prometheus Books; (4) Dunwich, Gerina, A Wiccan's Guide to Prophecy and Divination, Carol Publishing Group; (5) Cunningham, Scott, Divination for Beginners: Reading the Past, Present & Future, Llewellyn Publications.
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