Published on : 24 September 20202 min reading time

The divinatory arts have thousands of followers all over the world. Fortune-telling is one of these techniques, and although there is no rational evidence, many people believe it to be an iron fist when it comes to predicting the future. What is certain is that the divinatory arts have been shrouded in a veil of mystery from antiquity to the present day.

Defining the divinatory arts

There are multiple divinatory arts and some believe deeply in them while others are more sceptical. The definition and origins of divination is unclear and if we consider the etymological meaning of the term, we find the Latin origin of the verb “divinare” which means to presage, predict or prophesy. The Latin radical “divine” refers to the idea of an action in connection with a deity. Divination is therefore the ability of certain individuals to guess an action, an event, something that is going to happen. There is a correlation between the gods, an event and a person, an oracle, a diviner capable of interpreting divine signs that ordinary people are not able to see.

Divination, an art as old as the world

In our time we obviously no longer speak of diviner or oracle, but the term “medium” is commonly used to evoke the ancient diviner. The definition and origins of divination remain the same. Usually, when we speak of a medium, we think of the mission of intermediary between the forces of the beyond and humans who do not hold these divinatory powers. In other times, the forces of nature, elements such as air, fire, water or even concrete supports such as stones and animals were used to interpret and predict the future.

Various techniques, more or less known

Since ancient times, mankind has used various techniques to predict the future. The origin of divination varies according to civilisations, but some divinatory practices are still used today while others have disappeared. It is not possible to list them all in a few lines, but one example is bibliomancy, which consists of predicting the future by interpreting a text chosen at random from a book. Cartomancy has many followers and uses maps to predict the future. Numerology is based on the study of numbers, in particular a person’s date of birth, to predict the future.