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Divination with Pyromancy

Pyromancy, or fire divination, is one of the oldest forms of divination. Fire was one of the catalysts of evolution for modern humans; allowing us to cook, light the darkness, and ward off predators. Since prehistory, many cultures have viewed fire not only as a source of warmth and safety but also as a living being in and of itself. It eats, breaths, grows, decays, and dies.

There are several forms of pyromancy that use the flame itself, smoke, or the fuel to divine messages.

Pyromancy

The most basic form involves analyzing the shapes and patterns made by the flames. The pyromancer then searches for meaning or signs in the shapes. Often, the meaning comes in the form of animals or shapes of special significance.

Alomancy

Taken from the Greek words for salt (halo) and divination (manteia), Alomancy is divination with salt. It can be cast into the air or onto the fire. Another method involves dissolving salt in water then boiling the vessel dry. The patterns left in the salt residue would be read much like tea leaves.

Capnomancy

Derived from the Greek words for smoke (kapnos) and divination (manteia), Capnomancy involves seeking meaning in the smoke from a fire, incense, or candle. Shapes in the smoke, the way it moves, the direction it heads, the color, and the patterns are all significant in Capnomancy.

Botanomancy

Botanomancy is the practice of divination through the burning of plants. Like

Capnomancy, the smoke, scent, and color is important, however how the plants curl, whether they spark or not, and what kinds of plants are used are all of equal importance.

Osteomancy

Osteomancy is probably the least practiced in modern pyromancy. It is the practice of burning bones and looking for patterns, shapes, and associated meaning in the cracks and discoloration on the bone.


Although we don't rely on fire quite the way we did as early humans, it still has a significant impact on our magical practices. We use candles, incense, ritual fires, and hearth fires to add power and bring life to our spells and rituals. The next time you light a fire, whether it is to light a stick of incense or to warm your house, take a moment to thank the spirit of fire for helping us get where we are today. Maybe you'll see something in the flame.

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