Alternatively Cerenomancy, Spodanomancy, Tephramancy, Tephromancy and Tuphramancy.
Derived from the Greek spodòs ('ashes') and manteia ('divination'), it is the art and practice of divining the past, the present and the future by means of the cinders, ashes or soot from sacrificial or ritual fires.
In the traditional method, a question would be written, or symbolically sketched, on ash obtained from a ritual sacrifice, and left in place overnight. The next morning, a response would be obtained depending on which letters or symbols were still readable and which had faded.
In another method, the ashes are interpreted according to the various ridges, mounds, and valleys, and would relate to highs and lows, dead ends, intersections, etc. in one’s life. When using ashes from a sacrificial fire, interpretations are made by the way the ashes rise and fall with the fire and by the patterns they make on the ground once the fire is out. If a breeze stirs the ashes up, then the diviner looks for letters or symbols that may have formed.
Spodomancy is extremely ancient, and very likely originated while prehistoric men were attaining their knowledge and control over fire, as well as superstitions and lore.
According to Grand Orient de France (the oldest Masonic organization in Continental Europe, founded in 1733), Spodomancy was practiced by "scattering ashes thickly in some place exposed to the air, and writing therein with the end of the finger any question about which information is needed. The inscribed ashes are then left for the night, and on the following morning the letters that remain legible are made use of as oracles, for which purpose they may be placed in their natural order, when if they form an intelligible word, it may be considered to contain the mystic sense of the oracle and an answer to the question proposed. Otherwise the insight of the contriver must be used to extract an appropriate answer from the assemblage of letters arranged after any fashion."
Another method of Spodomancy, popular in the Middle Ages, obtained omens from cinders, usually the ones that jumped from the hearth. Hollow, oblong cinders, known as coffins, indicated a coming death in the family; oval cinders, called cradles, were indicative of the advent of a child. Round cinders, called purses, indicated prosperity, and heart-shaped ones were the sign of a lover.
Closely related to Pyromancy (divination by fire), Spodomancy is actually associated to the element Earth, making it a branch of Geomancy.
In Scotland it was said that if a clot of soot fell down the chimney during a wedding breakfast, it was a portent of ill luck for the newlywed couple.
See Spodanomancy, Radiesthesia, Diviner, 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, The Chakra Store, Love Spells -- Use these powerful love spells to help you find and keep your true love, 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.
Sources: (1) Spence, Lewis, An Encyclopedia of Occultism, Carol Publishing Group; (2) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing; (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) Walker, Charles, The Encyclopedia of the Occult, Random House Value; (6) Waite, Arthur Edward, Occult Sciences: A Compendium of Transcendental Doctrine and Experiment, Kessinger Publishing.
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