Paranormal and Supernatural Abilities: Divination

We’ve all heard of clairvoyance and divination, but what about some of the more unusual and unknown paranormal and supernatural abilities? How do you know if you are a aeromancer, or maybe a hydromancer? We’re listing psychic skills you might never have heard of. More importantly, perhaps you have one of these skills and never knew it was a thing.

Paranormal and Supernatural Abilities: Divination by Uncommon Means


Aeromancy is the practice of divining information, such as future developments, using atmospheric conditions. An aeromancer has a well-developed sensitivity to the weather, cloud formations and simply the feeling in the air. There are subsets of aeromancy that include: austromancy, the interpretation of wind currents; ceraunoscopy, the observation and interpretation of thunder and lightning; and meteormancy, the skill of interpreting the meaning of meteor showers and shooting stars.


Ailuromancy involves reading the physical movements of cats. The position and stance of a cat is supposed to predict the weather. If the cat turns its back to a heat source, it means bad weather is on the way. If the cat curls up with its forehead touching the floor, there could be an approaching storm.

Paranormal and Supernatural Abilities Ailuromancy
Uh-oh, storm's a' comin'.

There is a similar practice in the British Isles: if a herd of cows are lying down, it means rain is on its way. If they are standing up, the weather is improving. If some are lying down and others are standing, it’s mixed sunshine and showers.


The practice of throwing the shoulder blade of a dead animal, such as a cow, into a fire. The armomancer divines the future from the pattern of cracks that form on the surface of the bone.


Astragalomancy, astragyromancy or cleromancy, is divination using dice, or more commonly, knuckle bones of animals marked with letters and numbers. The practice stretches back before recorded time. Imagine some man or woman sitting with their tribe around a fire just reaching out for a handful of bones and predicting the results of the next day’s hunting expedition. Instant respect and a job for life.

Courtesy of Roland_zhCC. BY-SA 3.0


Botanomancy is the art of divination by interpreting the ashes and remains of burned tree branches, shrubs and other plants. It was a common Druidic practice.


Capnomancy is the skill of reading smoke from a fire. It’s also called libanomancy. The formation of smoke plumes has been observed since man first discovered fire, and used as a global divination practice ever since. A thin column of smoke is a good omen, whereas a choking cloud is not. 


Catoptromancy, or scrying is the practice of reading the future or obtaining secret information using a mirror. Just like Snow White’s wicked stepmother. Also known as enoptromancy.


Crystallomancy is another form of scrying. Also known as crystal-gazing. The diviner gazes at a crystal, usually a polished sphere, until they slip into a trance. They then interpret the patterns and shapes they see in the crystal.


Daphnomancy involves burning a collection of leaves from the bay laurel shrub. Named after Daphne, a nymph turned into a laurel tree by Apollo. Crackling noises from the fire indicate a good open; silence is bad.


Favomancy is the art of reading the patterns a fistful of beans make when thrown onto a surface. Just make sure they are not the canned in tomato sauce version.


Heptomancy, or haruspicy, is the fascinating art of divining by inspecting the entrails and liver of sacificed animals. It was used by the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Romans and many other civilisations down the centuries.

Clay liver models 19th-18th century BCE. Public Domain.


Hydromancy is divination using water. It might be assessing the flow in a stream, waterfall or when poured from a vessel. It can also mean observing and interpreting the ripples caused by pebbles thrown into a pond. Ancient Germanic tribes even practiced it by throwing newborns into the river Rhine. If the child was legitimately conceived he was supposed to float. If he drowned he was illigitimate, and therefore deserved to die. Nice.


Lampodomancy involves reading the shape of flames. A single, straight, healthy-looking flame is a sign of good fortune. If the flame is split into two, or is bent, then it’s bad news all the way.


Lecanomancy is the practice of reading a bowl of water into which a substance, such as oil or flour has been added. The reader interprets the patterns formed on the surface. It is similar to scrying.


Lithomancy is similar to cleromancy, but instead of bones or dice, pebbles are used. The patterns formed when a handful of small pebbes are scattered on a surface can be interpreted by a skilled lithomancer.


Necromancy is the macabre practice of communicating with the spirits of the dead in order to divine the future. Some weird rituals have been used, such as the necromancer attempting to reanimate the dead body, or dressing up in the corpse’s clothes. Necromancy is a wide and interesting topic and well-worth exploring for its historical value. Please refrain from grave-snatching though.


Oneiromancy is the art of dream interpretion. In particular it is focussed on dreams that predict the future (precognition). A person can interpret their own dreams or contact a dream interpreter to help them.


Onomancy, or onomamancy, is the practice of divining a person’s character and events surrounding their lives by analyzing their name. It involves counting and reading the vowels and consonents. 


Osteomancy, or scapulomancy is related to armomancy. It is divination with bones. Various bones were used, by many different civilizations. Most popular were bones from deer and pigs. One form of osteomancy involved simply looking at the bones of a dead animal. Another was, like armomancy, the burning of the bones and reading the cracks and markings upon them when cool.


Rhabdomancy is the art of reading sticks, arrows, and wands. It takes various forms, such has holding a bunch of sticks or arrows upright, letting them go, and reading the pattern made where they fall. The IChing is a form of rhabdomancy.

We haven’t been able to cover all the weird and wonderful forms of divation, so let us know if we missed one that you’d like to know about.

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