Alternatively Botanobatanomancy, Botinomancy, Botomancy, and Botonomancy.
Derived from the Greek botano ('plant or herb') and manteia ('divination'), it is the he art and practice of divination by plants, primarily by the burning of leaves, herbs and tree branches.
Vervain any of a group of herbs or low woody plants with often showy heads or spikes of five-parted regular flowers and/or brier a plant with a thorny or prickly woody stem were the vegetation generally used for the practice of this type of fortunetelling.
An alternative method of Botanomancy used fig or sycamore leaves, and it was called Sycomancy.
In Botanomancy omens were typically drawn from the smoke and ashes generated by the burning of branches and leaves. On an alternate method, the questions for which answers were sought had to be carved upon the branches prior to their burning.
In another technique of Botanomancy, related to Anemoscopy, words were written on leaves (especially sage and fig leaves) which were then exposed to the wind. The leaves not blown away contained the response to the query.
On yet another form of Botanomancy, the observation of growth patterns of plants, or other aspects of their appearance and/or behavior would determine the prognostication.
In medieval England, women blew on dandelion seed clusters. The number of puffs needed to release all the seeds indicated the number of years a woman would have to wait to find love. In colonial America, women threw apple peels onto a table or floor. The resulting configuration of the apple skin was supposed to indicate the first letter of the future husband's name. In southern India and Sri Lanka, people study patterns of coconut interiors to forecast the future of the unborn.
Jacques Ferrand, in his 'Treatise Discoursing of the Essence, Causes, and Cure of Love, or Erotique Melancholy' includes the description:
"Botanomancy is done by the noise or crackling of knee holme, box, or bay leaves when they are crushed betwixt one's hands or cast into the fire."
Joshua Trachtenberg in his Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion (1939), said:
"Plants were also utilized (Botanomancy): 'On Monday evening, after sunset, go into a field and find the yellow, broad-leaved mallow, face the east and dig a hole there, bow, encircle the spot once, bow again to the east,' and recite a charm which concludes, 'If my venture is to prove successful, then you must remain in bloom; if not, then must you droop to the earth.' Return in the morning and learn how your undertaking will turn out."
Botanomancy can be traced all the way back to the ancient Druid priests who worshipped the spirits of the trees, specially the oak. There are also a number of botanomancy references in the Old Testament, and the Romans used this mode of divination as well.
Botanomancy, like most divinatory systems, is quite ancient, and has been practiced since time immemorial by the Babylonians, Scythians, Greeks, Romans and Arabians, among others. Most occult traditions consider Botanomancy a form of Pyromancy.
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See Pyromancy, Acutomancy, Stoichomancy, Agalmatomancy, Coscinomancy, Cleidomancy, Augur, Stoichomancy, Dowsing, Tarot, Heptameron, Demonology, Sortilege, Idolomancy, Demonomancy, Tephramancy, Anemoscopy, Eromancy, Austromancy, Chaomancy, Roadomancy, Capnomancy, Pyromancy, Meteormancy, Ceraunoscopy, Zoomancy, Felidomancy, Casting Black Magic Spells, The Chakra Store, Commanding Spirits, The Tarot Store, Divination & Scrying Tools and Supplies, Unique Amulets, Talismans, Good Luck Charms, and Love Tokens, Powerful Witch Doctor Spell Kits, Powerful Spells - Cast by Andreika the Witch, Webmasters Make $$$, AzureGreen - Celebrating All Paths to the Divine, ISIS - Tools for Your Soul's Journey, and The Pyramid Collection - Myth, Magick, Fantasy and Romance.
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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) Pickover, Clifford A., Dreaming the Future: The Fantastic Story of Prediction, Prometheus Books; (5) Trachtenberg, Joshua, Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion, Forgotten Books Publishing; (6) Ferrand, Jacques, Treatise Discoursing of the Essence, Causes, and Cure of Love, or Erotique Melancholy.
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