Sometimes branded as Libanomancy or Libranomancy.
Derived from the Greek kapnos ('smoke') and manteia ('divination'), this is a method of divination by interpreting the movement of smoke rising from a fire, principally sacrificial fires.
In the most common form of Capnomancy, smoke from sacrificial offerings augured well if it rose lightly from the altar, and ascended straight to the clouds; but the opposite if it hung about.
Another technique was to cast some jasmine, laurel leaves, granulated incense, or poppy seeds upon burning coals to observe the smoke behavior and sniff it, and then draw omens from the alleged observations.
On yet another method, the diviner had to breath the smoke from a sacrificial fire, and by considering its smell and effects, the omens were drawn. Sometimes the seer would get into a trance induced by ingesting smoke, usually from a specially prepared hallucinogenic drug or herb.
In many parts of the world smoke was once believed to have magical properties. Consequently it has a long history of application in rituals of purification, magical protection, and blessing.
According to occult tradition, Capnomancy is a form of Aeromancy and/or Pyromancy, and is believed to have originated in ancient Babylon, where on certain sacred days they used to burn cedar branches or shavings to draw omens from the patterns of the smoke.
The Druids were also very skilled in the art of Capnomancy, using the smoke generated by the burning of humans and animals on a sacrificial altar.
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Sources: (1) Dunwich, Gerina, A Wiccan's Guide to Prophecy and Divination, Carol Publishing Group; (2) Spence, Lewis, An Encyclopedia of Occultism, Carol Publishing Group; (3) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing; (4) Pickover, Clifford A., Dreaming the Future: The Fantastic Story of Prediction, Prometheus Books; (5) K, Amber, Candlemas: Feast of Flames, Llewellyn Publications.
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