Lecanomancy is a form of hydromancy which involved divination by dropping gems or precious stones in a basin or pool of water and interpreting the ripples they make.


Derived from the Greek lekane ('basin') and manteia ('prophecy')


Lecanomancy was developed by ancient Assyrians.


A diviner uses stones, oil, or meditation, coupled with a basin of water. Stones are dropped in the basin and the sound of the dropping along with the ripples formed are interpreted. When oil is used, the oil is poured into the water and the shapes it forms are interpreted. For meditation, the water is gazed upon, invoking a self-hypnotic state for divination.

Another method involved placing water in a silver vase on a clear moonlit night. The light from the candle was reflected on the water by the blade of a knife and the diviner concentrated on the image formed in the water. In addition, other objects were dropped into the water; such as, melted metals (lead or tin), silver and gold, oil, wax, or egg whites.

Modern use

The practice is still current in some Slavic lands, especially at Christmastide.


The Psychoanalytic Review in 1913 reported that testing with free association shows “the divinations are merely the results of the medium's own complexes.”

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