Derived from the Greekstoikheion ('element') and manteia ('divination'),it is a form or branch of Bibliomancy that uses a pin as part of the prognostication process.
There are many variations of this method of divination, but typically the blindfolded querent or diviner sticks a pin in a book or text — usually the Bible — opened at random. The marked word relates, as gnomic response, to the query posed.
Some occult traditions declare that this type of divination should be performed by using solely the books of Homer and/or Virgil. In the Middle Ages the use of Virgil's Aeneid for divination was common in Europe and known as the 'sortes Virgilianae'.
Ancient books frequently took the form of loosely bound pages or scrolls, which was much easier to use for Bibliomantic purposes then the tightly bound shape of modern books. Even when post-Gutenberg and standardized printed and bound books were widely available, diviners and magicians usually copied the text onto pages or papyrus scrolls specifically for divination purposes.
Popular fallacies of medieval times involving the Bible were also referred to as a form of Bibliomancy. Bibles laid on a child's head would induce sleep, reading from the Bible to a pregnant woman would give her a safe delivery, amongst others.
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