Idolomancy

Idolomancy is a form of metal or stone divination using idols, images, or figures. The answers may come through dreams, by drawing lots, or anything else that believers may attribute to the power of such images.

Etymology

Derived from the Greek eidolon ('phantom') and manteia ('prophecy')

History

During ancient times, when temple priests were trained in the art of making automata, huge metal or stone statues were allegedly made to come to life for the purpose of making utterances about the future. The belief that spirits were capable of inhabiting statues was widespread, and it was thought that these idols could reply to questions about the future by those who knew how to obtain it. The ancient Hebrews believed that Teraphim or house gods mounted on the wall would talk to people, give advice, and make prognostications. These practices were tolerated in early Israelite history, until they were outlawed during King Josiah's reign.

Methods

Pagan priests often spoke from within hollow statues to give direct replies to questions regarding the future.

See also

In many cases, idolomancy has been closely identified with Demonomancy, in as much as the idols simply represent the Demons who are supposed to inhabit them when properly invoked.

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