Alternatively Zygomancie and Zygomantia.
Derived from the Greek zygon ('balance') and manteia ('divination'), it is the art and practice of divining the past, the present and the future with the aid of weights, by weight (heavy or light), by weight comparison, or by using a balance or scale.
Divination by suspended weights, or by weight comparison, has been practiced for ages by Greeks, Romans, Persians and other peoples and cultures.
The Chukchi (or Chukchee), for example, tie a thong to the body of the dead, and the diviner then asks a question and tries to lift the corpse. If it is easily lifted, the answer is in the affirmative; if it refuses to move, the answer is no.
Among the Eskimo, a woman will tie a heavy stone to a strap, and twisting it about will judge of the answer of the goddess Sidné to her questions by the apparent increase or diminution in the weight of the stone.
Dio Chrysostom tells us that Greek women used to lift a clod or stone in the temple and divined according to its weight, and Antiphilos of Byzantium wrote an epigram on old Euboule, who thought that Phoibos gave the answer to her doubts through the heaviness or lightness of the mantic stone before his statue.
When the Lapps lifted up the sacred stone which represented their god, if the stone seemed heavier than usual, it was a sign that the god was angry; if it felt light, it was a sign he was propitious. In Samoa there was a war god named Taema, who was believed to reside in a bundle of shark's teeth done up in a cloth. Before going to battle the Samoans consulted this bundle. If it felt heavy, it was a bad omen; if light, it was a good omen.
On the ascent to Mandalay Hill, in Burma, there is a little chapel in which there is a flat, oval stone, with mystic characters inscribed on it. People consult the stone as to the issue of a journey or enterprise. If the stone is heavy, the omen is bad, and vice versa. Again at Nyoung Oo, in Burma, there is a twisted stone which sick people try to lift. If they can do so, they will recover; if not, they will die.
In some parts of Loango, west Africa, there are certain iron hammers. A woman who desires to have children will try to lift one of these hammers. If she can do so easily, she will have a child; if she cannot move it, she will have none. On the other hand, the king of Gowa in Celebes deems it a very bad omen if certain gold chains weight a fraction less than they weighed the year before.
Any hanging weight or object can be used pendulum style for a simple yes/no type of divination. Another method consisted of weighing a person or animal against a sacred or mystical object, typically a book or tablet. This method was usually used to predict guilt or innocence.
The original form of Bibliomancy (being weighed against the Bible) was a form of Zygomancy.
Zygomancy, like most divinatory systems, is quite ancient, and has been practiced since time immemorial.
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Sources: (1) Spence, Lewis, An Encyclopedia of Occultism, Carol Publishing Group; (2) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing; (3) Halliday, William Reginald, Greek Divination; a Study of its Methods and Principles, General Books LLC; (4) Pausanias, Pausanias's Description of Greece (Volume 3); Commentary on Books Ii-V Corinth, Laconia, Messenia, Elis, General Books LLC.
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