Daphnomancy

Daphnomancy

Daphnomancy, a form of pyromancy, is divination by throwing laurel leaves on a fire.

Etymology

From Greek pyros, a mythological nymph who was transformed into a laurel tree.

Method

According to the practice, the louder the crackles, the better the omens. If crackles were absent, the prognostic was bleak. A bright fire burning the leaves was also favourable, but if it smoldered and died out, the outlook was gloomy.

History

This practice originated in ancient Rome, where a sacred grove of laurel trees existed. These laurel trees were planted at the grove by each Roman emperor when they ascended to the throne. Another interesting fact about this sacred grove is that, in the year 68 AD, it withered and died. This was taken as an extremely bad sign for the Roman Empire. It so happened that, in that same year, emperor Nero died, and the long line of Caesars met its demise.

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