Literomancy

Literomancy

Literomancy is a form of fortune-telling based on letters.

Etymology

Derived from the Latin litera ('letter') and Greek manteia ('prophecy'). Here a letter means an element in a particular written language, such as a Spanish word or a Chinese character. A fortune-teller of this type is known as a literomancer.

History

As a superstition literomancy is practised in Chinese-speaking communities, known as 測字/测字 (cè zì in Pinyin). The subjects of a literomancy are traditionally single characters and the requestor's name (Chinese believe that the name can affect one's destiny). In modern times elements such as foreign words or, even more recently, e-mail addresses and instant message handles have come into use as a subject. A wide range of possibilities can be attributed to the nature of written Chinese language.

Methods

When practising literomancy, the client puts up a subject, be it a single character or a name. The literomancer then analyses the subject, the client's choice of subject or other information related to the subject, along with other information he sees in the client or that the client supplies to arrive at a divination.
Some literomancers can read the curves and lines of a signature as signed by an individual, just as a professional handwriting analyst might, but uses instinct and divination techniques rather than applied analysis skills.

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