Friday, September 28, 2012

Divination part 1: One method of divination or seership technique common to three Paleo-Pagan Indo-European cultures


          When I began looking into this essay topic I was a little confused as to what a possible answer could be. I was not sure how there was a common divination tool for any of the Indo-European cultures. But then I realized that the Norse, the Celts, and the Greeks all shared a similar technique of divination, one that most people won’t think of at first glance. They all share the technique of cleromancy through drawing lots. Cleromancy is the casting of lots as a form of divination. (Wikipedia) Each of the symbols uses corresponds to a meaning given to the inquirer.

          The most commonly known and used cleromancy tool of the three is that of the Norse. The Norse Runes have been around for some time. Their origins are still greatly debated by scholars. What is not debated is the fact they were used as part of a system of magic. Many of belongs of the ancient Vikings have inscriptions of power on them through the use of Runes. Today Runes have become just about as common place amount Pagans as Tarot cards in the modern world. Placing the Runes in a container or bag then shaken to mix them well while the inquirer thought of the question that needed answered. Whatever Rune stone to fall or drawn from the container first is the answer. (Paxson 2-3) A little less common tool would be that of the Celts or more specific that of the Druids.

          Anthropologists have found the Ogham on objects of antiquity. Most of the styles of reading Ogham seem to be similar to those of the Runes. A seer places the Ogham, symbols inscribed on wood or stone, within a container of some sort. After shaking the Ogham to mix them, the Seer draws one Ogham giving the
answer to the Inquires question. (Wikipedia)

          The Greeks actually had many different versions of cleromancy The two of the most notable tools used for this kind of divination were the use of astragaloi (knuckle bones) and alphabet oracles. The astragaloi numbered five in count and would be cast on a surface. They had four readable sides, which each side had a number associated to it:


(trias=3, tetras=4, monas=1, hexas=6 )

The sum of the numeric values, based on how the astragaloi landed, corresponded to numeric values on
tablets kept on hand with corresponding meaning. As for the alphabet oracles, each letter of the alphabet
had a corresponding oracle. The first word of each oracle started with the letter on the stone or pottery
shard that was traditional for this type of tool. They were usually used in the same fashion as Runes.
(Sophistes)

          Cleromancy is a divination tool based partly off chance and the hands of fates. We can glimpse of
religious beliefs of the Norse, the Celts, and the Greeks in the tools created for divination. This is very
true, even more so in their cleromancy tools.
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