Page images


() Gaule, in his “Mag-astromancers posed Lupton, in his fourth Book of “ Notable and puzzeld,” p. 192, enquires "whether peri- Things,” (edit. 8vo. 1660, p. 92,), 41, says: cepts, Amulets, præfiscinals, phylacteries, nice a piece of a child's navell string, borne teries, ligatures, suspensions, Charms, and spels, in a ring, is good against the falling sickhad ever been used, applyed, or carryed about, ness, the pain of the head, and the collick. but for magick and astrologie ? Their sup Miz." posed efficacy (in curing diseases and pre Park, in his “ Travels in the Interior of venting of perils) being taught from their Africa,” speaking of a Mahometan negro, fabrication, configuration, and confection, who, with the ceremonial part of that religion, under such and such sydereal aspects, con

retained all his ancient superstition, says that, junctions, constellations." His preceding ob 6 in the midst of a dark wood he made a sign servations upon Alchymy are too pointed and for the company to stop, and, taking hold of sensible not to be retained : “ Whether al an hollow piece of bamboo that hung as an chymie (that enticing yet nice harlot) had Amulet round his neck, whistled very loud made so many fooles and beggars, had she three times : this, he said, was to ascertain not clothed or painted herself with such as what success would attend the journey. He trological phrases and magical practises ? But then dismounted, laid his spear across the I let this kitchen magick or chimney astro road, and having said a number of short logy passe.

The sweltering drudges and prayers, concluded with three loud Whistles; smoaky scullions of it (if they may not bring after which he listened for some time, as if in in new fuel to the fire) are soon taught (by expectation of an answer, and receiving none, their past observed folly) to ominate their own said, the company might proceed without fear, late repentance. But, if they will obstinately as there was no danger.' persist, in hope to sell their smoak, let others beware how they buy it too dear.”


“ Tu ne quæsieris scire (nefas) quem mihi, quem tibi

Finem dederint, Leuconoë: nec Babylonios
Tentaris numeros.”

Hor. Carm. lib. i. Od. 11.
Since 'tis impiety to pry
Into the rolls of destiny,
Heed not the secrets they impart
Who study the divining art.

DIVINATIONS differ from Omens in this, that the Omen is an indication of something that is to come to pass, which happens to a person, as it were by accident, without his seeking for it: whereas Divination is the obtaining of the knowledge of something future, by some endeavour of his own, or means

which he himself designedly makes use of for that end.

Gaule, in his “ Mag-astromancers posed and puzzel’d, p. 165, enumerates as follows the several species of Divination : “ Stareomancy, or divining by the elements; Aeromancy, or divining by the ayr; Pyromancy,

water; Catoxtromancy, by looking-glasses ; Chartomancy, by writing in papers ;" (this is retained in chusing Valentines, &c.) “ Macharomancy, by knives or swords; Chrystallomancy, by glasses ; Dactylomancy, by rings; Coseinomancy, by sieves; Axinomancy, by sawes ; Cattabomancy, by vessels of brasse or other metall; Roadomancy, by starres; Spatalamancy, by skins, bones, excrements ; Scyomancy, by shadows; Astragalomancy, by dice; Oinomancy, by wine; Sycomancy, by figgs; Typomancy, by the coagulation of cheese ; Alphitomancy, by meal, flower, or branne; Crithomancy, by grain or corn; Alectromancy, by cocks or pullen; Gyromancy, by rounds or circles; Lampadomancy, by candles and lamps; and in one word for all, Nagomancy, or Necromancy, by inspecting, consulting, and divining by, with, or from the dead." (3)

In Holiday's “TEXNOTAMIA, or the Marriage of the Arts," 4to. signat. G, is introduced a species of Divination not in the above ample list of them, entitled . “ Anthropomancie."

by fire; Hydromancy, by water ; () Geomancy, by earth; Theomancy, pretending to divine by the revelation of the Spirit, and by the Scriptures, or word of God; Doemonomancy, by the suggestions of evill dæmons or devils; Idolomancy, by idolls, images, figures; Psychomancy, by men's souls, affections, wills, religious or morall dispositions ; Antinopomancy, by the entrails of men, women, and children; Theriomancy, by beasts; Ornithomancy, by birds; Ichthyomancy, by fishes ; Botanomancy, by herbs ; Lithomancy, by stones; Cleromancy, by lotts; Oniromancy, by dreams; Onomatomancy, by names ; Arithmancy, by numbers; Logarithmancy, by logarithmes; Sternomancy, from the breast to the belly; Gastromancy, by the sound of, or signes upon the belly; Omphelomancy, by the navel; Chiromancy, by the hands; Pædomancy, by the feet; Onychomancy, by the nayles; Cephaleonomancy, by brayling of an asses head; Tuphramancy, by ashes; Capromancy, by smoak; Livanomancy, by burning of frankincense; Carramancy, by melting of.wax;

Lecanomancy, by a basin of


() There were among the ancients Divinations by water, fire, earth, air; by the flight of birds, by lots, by dreams, by the wind, &c. I

suppose the following species of Divination must be considered as a vestige of the ancient Hydromancy. An essayist in the “Gent. Mag.” for March, 1731, vol. i. p. 110, introduces “a person surprising a lady and her company in close cabal over their coffee; the rest very intent upon one, who by her dress and intelligence he guessed was a tire-woman; to whom she added the secret of divining by coffee-grounds : she was then in full inspiration, and with much solemnity observing the atoms round the cup: on one hand sat a widow, on the other a maiden lady, both attentive to the predictions to be given of their future fate. The lady (his acquaintance), though marryed, was no less earnest in contemplating her cup than the other two. They assured him that every cast of the cup

is a picture of all one's life to come; and every transaction and circumstance is delineated with the exactest certainty." From the “Weekly Register,” March 20, No. xc.

The same practice is noticed in the “Connoisseur;” No. 56, where a girl is represented divining to find out of what rank her husband shall be: “ I have seen him several times in coffee-grounds, with a sword by his side ; and he was once at the bottom of a tea-cup in a coach and six with two footmen behind it.',

To the Divination by Water also must be referred the following passage in a list of superstitious practices preserved in the “Life of Harvey, the famoụs Conjurer of Dublin," 8vo. Dubl. 1728, p. 58: “ Immersion of wooden bowls in water, sinking incharmed and inchanted Amulets under water, or burying them under a stone in a grave in a church. yard.”

Among Love Divinations (of which see

[ocr errors]

vol. i. p. 209, under ALLHALLOW EVEN,) may nencies in the point of Divination as inconbe reckoned the dumb cake, so called because testible truths. it was to be made without speaking, and John of Salisbury enumerates no fewer than afterwards the parties were to go backwards thirteen different kinds of Diviners or fortuneup the stairs to bed, and put the cake under tellers, who (in his time) pretended to foretell their pillows, when they were to dream of future events, some by one means and some their lovers. See Strutt's “ Manners and by another. “De Nugis Curialium,” lib. i. Customs," vol. iii. p. 180. For “ Knot Divi c. 12, p. 36. nations," see p. 41.

Divination by arrows, says Gibbon, in his See a prodigious variety of these Divi “ Decline and Fall," vol. x. p. 345, is ancient, nations, alpliabetically enumerated and ex and famous in the East. plained, in “ Fabricii Bibliographia Anti The following compendious new way of quaria,” cap. xii. Consult also “ Potter's magical Divination, which we find so humourGreek Antiq." vol. i. p. 318, et seq.

ously described in Butler's “ Hudibras, We read the following in the “Gent. Mag." | follows, is affirmed by Monsieur Le Blanc, for September, 1734, vol. iv. p. 488, from in his Travels, to be used in the East Indies : Bayle: “ There's no prescribing against truth from universal tradition, or the general “Your modern Indian magician consent of mankind; because, so we must Makes but a hole in th' earth to pisse in, receive all the superstitions the Roman people And straight resolves all questions by't, borrowed from the Tuscans, in the matter of Aud seldom fails to be i' th’ right.” augury, prodigy, and all the pagan imperti




Divination by the Rod, or Wand, is mentioned in the prophecy of Ezekiel. Hosea too reproaches the Jews as being infected with the like superstition : “My people ask counsel at their Stocks, and their Staff declareth unto them,” Chap. iv. 12.(')

The vulgar notion, still prevalent in the north of England, of the hazel's tendency to a vein of lead ore, seam or stratum of coal, &c., seems to be a vestige of this Rod Divination.

The Virgula divina, or Baculus divinatorius, is a forked branch in the form of a Y, cut off an hazel stick, by means wbereof people have pretended to discover mines, springs, &c. underground. The method of using it is this: the person who bears it, walking very slowly over the places where he suspects mines or springs may be, the effluvia exhaling from the metals, or vapour from the water impregnating the wood, makes it dip, or incline, which is the sign of a discovery.(a)

(a) See the Scottish Encyclopædia.

In the “ Living Library, or Historicall Meditations, fol. 1621, p. 293, we read : “ No

can tell why forked sticks of hazill (rather than sticks of other trees growing upon the very same places) are fit to shew the places where the veines of gold and silver are. The sticke bending itselfe in the places, at the bottome, where the same veines are. See Lilly's “ History of bis Life and Times," p. 32, for a curious experiment (which he confesses how. ever to have failed) to discover hidden treasure by the hazel-rod (2).

With the Divining Rod seems connected a Lusus Naturæ of ash-tree bough, resembling the Litui of the Roman augurs and the Christian pastoral Staff, which still obtains a place, if not on this account I know not why, in the catalogue of popular superstitions. Seven or eight years ago I remember to have seen one of these, which I thought extremely beautiful and curious, in the house of an old woman at Beer Alston, in Devonshire, of whom I would

most gladly have purchased it; but she de- by some insect, which piercing to the heart of clined parting with it on any account, think- the plant with its proboscis, poisons that, ing it would be unlucky to do so.

The late while the bark remaius uninjured, and proMr. Gostling, in the “Antiquarian Reper- ceeds in its growth, but formed into various tory,” vol. ii. p. 164, has some observations stripes, flatness, and curves, for want of the on this subject. He thinks the Lituus, or support which nature designed it. The beauty Staff, with the crook at one end, which the some of these arrive at might well conseaugurs of old carried as badges of their pro- crate them to the mysterious fopperies of fession, and instruments in the superstitious heathenism, and their rarity occasion imitaexercise of it, was not made of metal, but of tions of them by art. The pastoral Staff of the substance abovementioned. Whether, says the church of Rome seems to have been formed he, to call it a work of art, or nature, may from the vegetable Litui, (b) though the gebe doubted: some

were probably of the neral idea is, I know, that it is an imitation former kind : others, Hogarth, in his “ Ana- of the Shepherd's Crook. The engravings given lysis of Beauty,” calls Lusus Naturæ, found in the “ Antiquarian Repertory" are of carved in plants of different sorts, and, in one of the branches of the ash. plates to that work, gives a specimen of a very elegant one, a branch of ash. I should rather,

(0) Moresin, in his “Papatus,” p. 126, says, continues he, style it a distemper, or distortion • Pedum Episcopale est Litius Augurum, de quo of nature; for it seems the effect of a wound Livius, i."



(1) Not only the Chaldeans used Rods for Divination, but almost every nation which has pretended to that science has practised the same method. Herodotus mentions it as a custom of the Alani; and Tacitus of the old Germans. See Mr. Cambridge's “Scribleriad,” book v. note on line 21.

I find the following on this subject in “ Bartholini Causæ contemptæ a Danis More tis," p. 676: “ Virgis Salignis divinasse Scythas, indicat libro quarto Herodotus, eamque fuisse illis traditam a majoribus divinationem. Et de Alanis, Scytharum gente, idem memorat Ammianus Marcellinus : fu. tura miro præsagiunt modo: nam rectiores virgas vimineas colligentes, easque cum Incantamentis quibusdam secretis præstituto tempore discernentes, aperte quid portendatur

In the Manuscript “ Discourse on Witchcraft," 1705, written by Mr. John Bell, p. 41, I find the following account from Theophylact on the subject of Rabdomanteia, or Rod Divination. “ They set up two Staffs; and having whispered some verses and incantations, the Staffs fell by the operation of dæ

Then they considered which way each of them fell, forward or backward, to the right or left hand, and agreeably gave responses, having made use of the fall of their Statt's for their sigus."

Dr. Henry, in his “History of Great Britain," tells us, vol. ii. p. 550, that “after the Anglo-Saxons and Danes embraced the Chris. tian religion, the clergy were commanded by the canons to preach very frequently against Diviners, sorcerers, anguries, omens, charms, incantations, and all the filth of the wicked and dotages of the Gentiles.". He cites Johnson's “Eccles. Canons," A. D. 7.17, c. 3.

The following is from Epigrams, &c., by S. Sheppard, Lond. 1651, lib. vi., Epigr. 1.

p. 141.


Virgula divina. “Some sorcerers do boast they have a Rod,

Gather d with vowes and sacrifice,
And (borve about) will strangely uod

To hidden treasure where it lies:
Maukind is (sure) that Rod divine,
For to the wealthiest (ever) they incline."

(*) In the “Gent. Mag." for Feb. 1752, health if they are used with moderation and vol. xxii. p. 77, we read : “M. Linnæus, at some distance of time, and after meals, when he was upon his voyage to Scania, when the operator is in good spirits. The hearing his secretary highly extol the virtues hazel, willow, and elm, are all attracted by of his Divining Wand, was willing to con springs of water: some persons have the virvince him of its insufficiency, and for that tue intermittently; the rod, in their hands, purpose concealed a purse of one hundred will attract one half hour, and repel the next. ducats under a ranunculus, which grew by The rod is attracted by all metals, coals, itself in a meadow, and bid the secretary find amber, and lime-stone, but with different deit if he could. The Wand discovered nothing, grees of strength. The best Rods are those and M. Linnæus' mark was soon trampled from the hazel, or nut-tree, as they are pliant down by the company who were present; so and tough, and cut in the winter months. A that when M. Linnæus went to finish the ex shoot that terminates equally forked is to be periment by fetching the gold himself, he was met with, two single ones, of a length and utterly at a loss where to seek it. The man size, may be tied together with a thread, and with the Wand assisted him, and pronounced will answer as well as the other." that it could not lie the way they were going, In the Supplement to the “ Athenian Orabut quite the contrary : so pursued the direc cle," p. 234, we read, that “the experiment tion of his Wand, and actually dug out the of a hazel's tendency to a vein of lead ore is gold. M. Linnæus adds, that such another limited to St. John Baptist's Eve, and that experiment would be sufficient to make a pro with an hazel of that same year's growth." selyte of him."

There is a Treatise in French, entitled “La We read, in the same work, for Nov. 1751, Physique occulte, ou Traité de la Baguette vol. xxi. p. 507, “So early as Agricola the divinatoire, et de son utilité pour la decouverte Divining Rod was in much request, and has des Sources d'Eau des Minieres, de Tresors obtained great credit for its discovery where cachez, des Voleurs, & des Meurtriers fugito dig for metals and springs of water: for tifs: par M. L.L. de Vallemont, pretre & some years past its reputation has been on the docteur en Theologie,” 12mo. Amst. 1693, decline, but lately it has been revived with great success by an ingenious gentleman, who, At the end of Henry Alan's edition of from numerous experiments hath good reason Cicero's Treatises " de Divinatione," and "de to believe its effects to be more than imagina Fato," 8vo. Lond. 1839, will be found “ Cation. He says, that hazel and willow rods, talogus Auctorum de Divinatione ac Fato, he has by experience found, will actually de Oraculis, de Somniis, de Astrologia, de an wer with all persons in a good state of Dæmonibus, de Magia, id genus Aliis."

464 pages.



This is a species of Divination performed This custom appears to have been of very by opening the works of Virgil, &c. and re ancient date, and was tried with Homer's marking the lines which shall be covered with poem as well as Virgil's. They who applied your thumb the instant the leaves are opened : to this kind of Oracle were said to try the by which, if they can be interpreted in any Sortes Homericæ, or Sortes Virgilianæ. respect to relate to you, they are accounted King Charles the First is said to have tried prophetic.

this method of learning his fate, (') and to VOL. III.


« PreviousContinue »