Alternatively known as Lychnomancy.
The ancient art and practice of divination by using a single oil lamp, sometimes called magic lamp, or a torch flame. Because the candles were once rare and expensive, magic lamps were more commonly used for flame divination.
Magic lamps sometimes were crafted from brass or stone, however the most common traditional lamp was formed from earth (terracotta), basically consisting of a terracotta dish filled with oil, the sides proportionately high so that oil and flames were restrained. A coiled linen strip resting in the oil and hanging over the edge served as a wick. The type of oil used in the lamp varied, but the Egyptians, who even by modern standards held an extensive inventory of oils for cooking, perfumery, medicinal and magical purposes, apparently preferred palm oil for lamps, an oil still popular in many African and African-derived spiritual traditions.
As with Lychnoscopy, the diviner reads presages from the movements of the fire, as well as by the appearance and duration of the flame. The number of points in the flame, what direction the flame leaned, if it was high, low, dim, bright, noisy, sputtery, silent, smoky, etc, were also of significance for the reading. If the flame went out abruptly, it was considered to be a very bad omen.
An alternate method of Lampadomancy is also practiced, consisting of of reading the spots of carbon deposited on paper sheets held over the lamp's or torch's flame.
On yet another method, the diviner uses the lamp as a means of "attracting spirits to the flames", in the hope of consulting them regarding future events. In this method, usually a specially designed lamp is employed, on the belief that grotesque forms will attract the spirits.
Lampadomancy was a popular method of divination in ancient Egypt, where diviners would perform it at midday in a darkened room illuminated by a single lamp filled with oasis (palm) oil.
Lampadomancy, like most divinatory systems, is quite archaic, dating back to the days of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, having been practiced since time immemorial by the Babylonians, Scythians, Greeks and Arabians, among others.
In America, with the arrival of kerosene lamps in the 1860s, Lampadomancy was once again revived. This revival was strongest in Louisiana, where it still retains a certain popularity. The 'Louisiana Magic Lamp' is typically a hurricane or kerosene lamp, fueled by some blend of castor oil, olive oil and kerosene, usually two parts kerosene to one part of oil. It is read in similar manner to the ancient oil lamp.
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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) Melton, J. Gordon (Editor), Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, Gale Group Publishers; (5) Illes, Judika, Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells, HarperOne Publishers.
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