Stichomancy, in the form of Bibliomancy or Rhapsodomancy - whichever form of divination referred to - these similar ancient prophetic practices involve choosing a passage from a book at random, to apply its relevant message to our current reality, or in deciphering some kind of omen for the future.
This was practiced in the I Ching readings of the ancient Chinese book of changes. This consultation was performed with a specific method of throwing coins, with ssigned heads and tales numerical values, to choose the appropriate lines.
Originally in Bibliomancy, the kind of books employed for the purpose of divination would almost always be the sacred book of the particular culture or religion. (Christians would have used the Bible, Jews the Old Testament of the Bible, Muslims the Koran and Hindus the Vedas).
Eventually, diviners expanded, and began consulting the works of writers which were held in very high esteem by the culture. They would use an epic, poetry & prose, Shakespeare plays and other revered classics as a way of foreseeing the future, or deciding on a future course of action.
Derived from the ancient Greek rhapsode, or "poem, song, ode", Rhapsodomancy refers to a kind of divination practiced by reading a random passage from a *poem or prose specifically.” In Rhapsodomancy, to randomly chose the passage, the book is balanced on its spine and allowed to fall open. The seeker, with eyes closed, picks up a passage which is read and interpreted. The passage, or line chosen, is believed to hold the answer to the seeker’s question, or an indication of the shape of things to come. Some “practitioners” use dice or something equally random to help choose a passage…
Are you like me, and find that you’ve been practicing a form of Stichomancy without knowing it?
Have you developed your own methods of “choosing” the right book or passage? Leave a comment below.