Alternatively Lithomantie and Lithomantia.
From the Greek 'lithos' (stone) and 'manteia' (prophecy), it is the art and practice of divination by stones and gems, or by studying light reflected by precious or colored stones, or even glass beads.
Many and various powers have been ascribed by ancient man to gems and precious stones. Some gems were believed to reveal the future, others the past. In the realm of medicine, some were thought to be prophylactic, and most were believed to be potent remedies.
There are many different methods of Lithomancy.
In the reflection method of Lithomancy, a ceremonial candle light is preferred, and the gemstones are usually cast on black cloth for the reading.
Sometimes the stones or beads are not cast at all, but just arranged around the candle. The diviner — most of the time in a darkened room, or sometimes outdoors at night — may close his or her eyes for a while, then open them up again and observe any reflections emanating from the stones. A colorless reflection is said to indicate happiness. A blue reflection usually means good luck, peace, tranquility, or a physical or spiritual healing. Red reflections indicate love, marriage, or maybe a sexual relationship; yellow reflections are said to indicate infidelity or betrayal, perhaps a double-cross. Dark or grey reflections are said to foretell calamities, illness, death, misfortune, or the presence of evil; turquoise reflections mean an unexpected opportunity; violet or purple reflections are said to signify sorrow in the near future, and green reflections indicate success, money, or a wish will come true.
In another method of Lithomancy, thirteen smooth pebbles or crystals are cast in lots, sometimes inside a circle, and omens are drawn from the position in which they land. In this type of divination the stones represent the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; these seven are called Planet Stones. The other six, called Personal Stones, represent home or life, love, magick, health matters or commitment, fortune or luck, and news or place.
Another similar method uses 16 stones, adding three more Planet Stones, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. If the stones are cast inside a circle, the circle is supposed to represent the environment or subject of the divination.
Other methods of casting stones used colored and/or specially marked stones, usually engraved with mystical or magic symbols. It is speculated that these were the precursors to the rune stones.
Another method consisted in drawing the stones from a bag or pouch, and them prophesize according to the picked stones, or from the ones left in the bag.
Sir Thomas Browne in his 'Pseudoxia Epidemica' (Vulgar Errors) in 1646, mentioned this type of divination:
"Lithomancy, or divination, from this stone, whereby Helenus the Prophet foretold the destruction of Troy."
Sir Thomas was probably referring to the Byzantine poet Joannes Tzetzes's 12th century Greek hexameter poem that declares that Helenus foretold Troy's downfall using a lodestone, or magnet, washed with spring water and passed through an elaborate ritual. At the end of the rites, Helenus interrogated the lodestone, which responded with the voice of a child announcing Troy's destine. In this poem the lodestone is very well described as "rough, hard, black, and heavy, graven everywhere with veins like wrinkles." Surprisingly, this stone is also depicted as "the true and vocal sideritis or siderite (blue quartz, or chalybite), which others call the animated ophites." Quite different from a lodestone, which is a magnetic iron-bearing rock.
Frederick T. Elworthy, in his 'The Evil Eye: The Classic Account of an Ancient Superstition' (1895), also refers to a blue quartz stone when he describes Lithomancy:
"Lithomancy, divination with a precious stone called siderites."
However, in his 'Glossographia' (1656) Thomas Blount mentions Lithomancy as "divination by casting Pibble stones, or by the Load-stone", and Photius (820 - 891 AD), the patriarch of Constantinople, spoke of an oracular stone called the bætulum or boetulum, to which Lithomancy was attributed. This was probably the bætyl (latin bætulus), which was a sacred meteoric stone and would therefore endorse the lodestone idea.
The same Photius also said that the Lapis Baetullum stones could be found on Mount Libanus.
These oracular stones were also used for medicinal and health related prognostications. It is said that a well-known physician named Eusebius used to carry one of these wonderworking stones about with him for the purpose of increasing his diagnosing abilities.
Lithomancy, like most divinatory systems, is quite ancient and is believed to have been practiced since time immemorial.
See Hand-painted Gem Witch Stones with Casting Chart, Satin Drawstring Bag and Instructions, Dunwich's Guide to Gemstone Sorcery, Healing With Gems and Crystals, Edgar Cayce on the Power of Color, Stones, and Crystals, Astrology, Acutomancy, Agalmatomancy, Divination, Coscinomancy, Cleidomancy, Augur, Stoichomancy, Dowsing, Tarot, Heptameron, Demonology, Sortilege, Idolomancy, Demonomancy, Tephramancy, Anemoscopy, Eromancy, Austromancy, Chaomancy, Roadomancy, Capnomancy, Pyromancy, Meteormancy, Ceraunoscopy, Zoomancy, Mystic Gifts and Charms - New Age Gift Shop & Wicca and Pagan Supplies, Love Spells -- Use these powerful love spells to help you find and keep your true love, The Tarot Store, The Chakra 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) Buckland, Raymond, The Fortune-Telling Book: The Encyclopedia of Divination and Soothsaying, Visible Ink Press; (5) Spence, Lewis, An Encyclopedia of Occultism, Carol Publishing Group.
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