Spodomancy (also known as Tephramancy, Tephromancy or Tuphramancy) is a form of divination by means of inspection of ashes, soot or cinders, usually from sacrificial fires or burnt offerings. The specific type of spodomancy that used patterns formed in the ashes of burned offerings made to the gods was often called tephromancy.


Derived from the Greek spodos ('wood ashes') and manteia ('prophecy')


According to a Middle Ages method, hollow and oblong cinders that were known as “coffins”, indicates a coming death in the family; oval cinders, called “cradles”, were indicative of the advent of a child. Round cinders, called “purses”, indicated prosperity, and heart-shaped ones were the sign of a lover.

In Scotland it was said that if a clot of soot fell down the chimney during a wedding breakfast, it was a portent of bad luck for the newlywed couple.

Another method includes a question that would be written on ash obtained from a ritual sacrifice that will be left in one place overnight. The next morning, a response would be obtained depending on which letters were still readable and which ones had faded.

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