Aeromancy is a term that has its origins in the Greek language: aero literally means air and mancy is derived from the Greek manteia, which means divination (“Aeromancy”). Thus, Aeromancy is a type of divination that involves the practice of divining by air. Like other types of divination, Aeromancy is a form of prognostication where the diviner uses external tools to forecast future events or to get insight into a current situation.
Aeromancy is also understood by several other terms, particularly by Anemoscopy and Nephelomancy (“Aeromancy Goddess Plan Pr Ntr Kmt”); aeromancy is a form of divination that is also identified in the Italian language as aeromanzia (“Aeromancy Goddess Plan Pr Ntr Kmt”). In the Oxford English Dictionary it is noted that the word Aeromancy is a term that was actually Aeromance in Old French, which was later changed to aéromancye, and aéromantie. In Middle Latin the word aeromantia stood for what is now known as Aeromancy.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Aeromancy is the practice of divination via the air; a practice that has passed on into the concept of forecasting the weather and the science of meteorology ("Aeromancy" Def. 1a). The diviner that practices the type of divination known as Aeromancy is understood to be an aeromancer or a weather prophet (“Aeromancy" Def. 1a). The word Aeromancy is first documented in the English language in the year 1393, in John Gower’s Confessio amantis (“Aeromancy” Def 1.) A little over a century later the term appeared in Dives & Pauper; while it is presented with a additional e at the end of the word, the term clearly denotes the practice of Aeromancy and the literature links the practice to witchcraft: “Aeromancye, that is wytchecrafte done in the ayer” (“Aeromancy Goddess Plan Pr Ntr Kmt”). In 1607, the Old French term Aeromantie appears in Edward Topsell’s The historie of serpents: “Countrey people..have learned of them Aeromantie, that is, Divination of things by the air, for they have a forefeeling and understanding of rain and windes aforehand” (“Aeromancy” Def 1.).
Interestingly, in the early 1600s, John Taylor writes of both pyromancy and Aeromancy in his 1630 edition of Works, but he uses different terms that are slightly different than those that other writers before him have used to describe such practices: “By fire he hath the Skill of Pyromanty By Ayre he hath the Art of Heromanty” (“Aeromancy” Def 1.). Finally, simply by studying the etymology of a word like aeromancy one can witness the shift from a form of divination to a focus on science; in Ephraim Chamber’s 1753 edition of Cyclopædia; or, an universal dictionary of arts and sciences, a supplement edition to the first edition published in 1728, Chambers writes of scientific equipment and associates it with Aeromancy: “Barometers, thermometers, hygrometers, and anemometers, are of considerable use in this kind of Aeromancy” (“Aeromancy” Def 1). The latter equipment is not only used by meteorologists to forecast the weather, but some equipment is used by paranormal investigators during the process of an investigation to detect atmospheric changes. For instance, some investigators assert that barometric pressure will increase when paranormal activity is present.
Aeromancy is a term that, like most words in a language, has endured a process of evolution. The term Aeromancy has undergone several different spellings and a study of the orthographical changes reveals that Aeromancy has had more than ten different spellings. In Middle English, Aeromancy was also spelled as “aermacye, aeromance, aeromancye, aeromauncie, and aerymancie” (“Aeromancy”). Later, when the Middle English shifted into Early Modern English, the term Aeromancy had several spelling variants that included “aeromancie, aeromancy, aëromancy, aeromanty, eromancy, and heromanty” (“Aeromancy”). Finally, the Modern English language has clearly maintained the Early Modern English spelling of Aeromancy.
While the root word is air in this form of divination, the practice of aeromancy actually incorporates more than the study of the winds in an effort to forecast the future. The art of divining with Aeromancy methods consists of a study of the wind, wind currents, the movement and patterns that are formed by clouds, various celestial bodies, and sky events (“Aeromancy Goddess Plan Pr Ntr Kmt”). Aeromancy also involves the study of storms, lightening, and atmospheric conditions (“Aeromancy Goddess Plan Pr Ntr Kmt”). Since ancient civilizations viewed the weather and other natural phenomena as signs and omens from the heavens, it is easy to see just how old the practice of Aeromancy is.
Aeromancy is a type of divination that houses different forms of divination underneath one umbrella term – Aeromancy is therefore a broad term with many subdivisions that fall underneath its definition. Such a divination system is recognizable in the Witches Rede, also known as the Wiccan Rede (Grimassi 433). Within the text of the Witches Rede, four lines refer to the practice of aeromancy; when the wind comes from a particular cardinal direction it is associated with a omen or symbolic meaning (Grimassi 11-14 433):
Heed the North wind’s mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail.
When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss thee on the mouth.
When the wind blows from the West, departed souls may have no rest.
When the wind blows from the East, except the new and set the feast.
Austromancy is a practice that is defined as a subdivision of Aeromancy -- a study of the winds – particularly the winds of the South (“Austromancy” Def 1.). Auster is a term that comes from the Latin, which literally means “South Wind” (“Austromancy” Def 1.). Austromancy is a word that first appears in the 1656 edition of Thomas Blount’s Glossographia, or a dictionary interpreting such hard words..as are now used. (“Austromancy” Def 1.). Some sources extend the meaning of Austromancy to include the practice of cloud observation – the movement of the clouds can help to determine the direction of the wind.
The study of cloud movements is actually called Nephomancy or Nephelomancy, yet another subdivision of Aeromancy. Nephology is the scientific study of clouds (“Nephology” Def. 1), and is a term that was first used in 1894. With the latter definition, it serves to state that nephomancy is a form of divination that involves the movement and patterns of cloud formations. In Nephomancy, the shape, the size, the patterns, the motion, and the color of clouds are observed by the practitioner and then interpreted for their symbolic meaning in order to gain insight into the future or into a current situation.
The practice of Anemoscopy can be a simple as standing outdoors and intuitively sensing a change in the air or it can involve the use of various tools. The latter method of Anemoscopy should not be confused with the intuitive or clairsentient experiences some paranormal investigators have when investigating the paranormal. Often times, during the process of a paranormal investigation, the investigator can sense a shift in atmospheric conditions from one location to another or from one room to another; the investigator may suddenly note a heavier feeling or more oppressive feeling in a room, home, or location or the investigator may indicate that they have an eerie feeling about something and that they are unable to clearly identify the cause of the eerie feeling or the uneasiness that they sense. The latter experience is either rooted in mundane causes yet unidentified or the investigator has honed clairsentient senses, but it is not an act of Anemoscopy.
Anemoscopy is another term used to indicate the study of the winds and divination via the wind. An anemoscope is defined as a tool that is utilized to determine the change in direction of the wind (“Anemoscope” Def 1.). Some practitioners of Anemoscopy utilize a pendulum to determine directional changes (“Austromancy”). A pendulum, in conjunction with other tools like a pendulum board or the use of runes or stones can also serve as anemoscopic tools (“Aeromancy Goddess Plan Pr Ntr Kmt”). In Anemoscopy practices the speed of the wind as well as the intensity of the wind and its direction are all accounted for in the process of interpretation. Some practitioners use the rising and swirling smoke from burning incense or from a fire to divine the future – by observing what direction the of smoke and the speed that it is carried away on the wind, the aeromancer can interpret the meaning of the omen they are receiving. The latter form of Anemoscopy is not to be confused with Capnomancy.
Capnomancy, a term that is also understood as Libanomancy, is actually a type of divination that utilizes fire and smoke, but its focus is more on how the smoke rises and not necessarily on where the smoke travels (“Pyromancy”). Capnomancy is also known by several other names including livanomancy, livanomancy, and knissomancy. In contrast, Anemoscopy is a practice that focus’s on the direction of the wind and not how the smoke forms. Alternative forms of Anemoscopy involve the interpretation of dust, sand or a handful of earth thrown up into the wind (“Aeromancy Goddess Plan Pr Ntr Kmt”). The designs and patterns that emerge in the sand as it is carried away are interpreted as signs and omens – such a practice should be taken on carefully – if the wind should change suddenly the practitioner may end up with a face-full of sand or dirt and eye injuries can result if the practice is not implemented properly.
Ceraunoscopy, referred to by various sources as keraunoscopy, is a form of aeromancy that involves the observation of both lightening and thunder (“Aeromancy Goddess Plan Pr Ntr Kmt”). Lightening and thunder have been associated with a number of different gods and goddesses in various cultures and were believed to be a sign from the gods indicating their approval or disapproval in given situations (“Aeromancy Goddess Plan Pr Ntr Kmt”). Chaomancy, another term that falls underneath the definition of Aeromancy, is a rare term pertaining to sky divination that first appeared in 1656 in Thomas Blount’s Glossographia, or a dictionary interpreting such hard words..as are now used (“Chaomancy” Def 1.) A form of chaomancy can be identified in the practice of Cometomancy whereby a practitioner observers the behavior of comets and the appearance thereof (“Aeromancy”). Aeromancy also involves the practice of interpreting signs and omens from natural phenomenon like lightening and thunder. Ceraunomancy involves the observation of lightening bolts in order to interpret omens and Brontoscopy is a form of divination that involves the interpretation of the sound of thunder (“Aeromancy Goddess Plan Pr Ntr Kmt”). Lightening is observed in terms of what cardinal direction the lightening appears in, and thunder is observed by the day that the thunder occurs or by what direction the thunder is heard in (“Aeromancy Goddess Plan Pr Ntr Kmt”).
Roadomancy is still yet another form of aeromancy, one that is not to be confused with astrology – Roadomancy does involve divining via observation of stars, meteors and comets, but it diverges from astrological practices. In fact, sources suggest that Roadomancy is the forefather of astrology, whereby the practitioner using Roadomancy would note sudden changes in sky activity and interpret it as omens while astrology focuses on sudden changes in the sky as well as the fixed properties of planets and stars. Cometomancy is a form of Roadomancy and Meteormancy are forms of divination that derives its interpretations from falling stars and meteor showers (“Aeromancy Goddess Plan Pr Ntr Kmt”).
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Article written by: Dayna Winters
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