Catoptromancy

Catoptromancy, also Enoptromancy, Catoxtromancy and Caloptromancy. A form of divination technique utilizing a mirror, which was turned to the moon to catch the lunar rays. The sought after answers usually appeared in characters of blood on the face of the moon, or rather, in its reflection on the mirror. This is a very ancient form of crystal gazing, and was practiced extensively by the Greeks and Romans.

Another method, used for 'medical' prognostications, involved hanging the mirror by a thread over a fountain or pool of water. After the mirror was slowly lowered until its base barely touched the surface of the water, some incense was burnt and prayers were recited. The presage of death or recovery was arrived according as the to the face that appeared in the mirror. If it was a fresh and healthy image, recovery was imminent; but if instead a ghastly aspect was represented, death was sure to come swiftly.

Catoptromancy is a type of divination with a mirror which the second century AD Greek traveler Pausanius described as follows: "Before the Temple of Ceres at Patras, there was a fountain, separated from the temple by a wall, and there was an oracle, very truthful, not for all events, but for the sick only. The sick person let down a mirror, suspended by a thread till its based touched the surface of the water, having first prayed to the goddess and offered incense. Then looking in the mirror, he saw the presage of death or recovery, according as the face appeared fresh and healthy, or of a ghastly aspect."

Another divinatory method of using a mirror was to place it at the back of a boy's or girl's head when their eyes were bandaged shut. In Thessaly the responses appeared in characters of blood on the face of the moon, probably projected in the mirror. This practiced was derived by the Thessalian sorceresses from the Persians who wanted to establish their religion and mystical rituals in the countries which they invaded.



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