Capnomancy, also known as Libanomancy, is a method of divination by interpreting the movement of smoke rising from a fire, principally sacrificial fires.
From the Greek kapnos ('smoke') and manteia ('divination')
Capnomancy is a form of Aeromancy or Pyromancy, and is believed to have originated in ancient Babylon, where on certain holy days, mages used to burn cedar branches or shavings to draw omens from the patterns of the smoke.
The Celtic Druids were also very skilled in the art of Capnomancy, using the smoke generated by the burning of humans and animals on a sacrificial altar.
If the smoke was thin, and ascended in a right line, instead of being blown back by the breeze, or spreading over the altar, the augury was good. But if it hung low, a storm threatened, so they called it a bad omen. Another technique was to cast some jasmine, laurel leaves, granulated incense, or poppy seeds upon burning coals to observe the smoke behavior and sniff it, and then draw omens from the alleged observations. Sometimes the seer would get into a trance induced by ingesting smoke, usually from a specially prepared hallucinogenic drug or herb.
It was also believed that the inhalation of the smoke rising from the victims or from the fire which consumed them, gifted the priests with prophetic inspiration. smoke from sacrificial offeringsaugured well if it rose lightly from the altar, and ascended straight to the clouds On yet another method, the diviner had to breath the smoke from a sacrificial fire, and by considering its smell and effects, the omens were drawn. A third method yet was to breath the smoke from a sacrificial fire.was also used of divination by means of a trance induced by ingesting smoke from a specially prepared drug.
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