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Capnomancy: Divination By Smoke!

Capnomancy is derived from the Greek words “Kapnos” meaning smoke and “Manteia” meaning to see. To put it simply, Capnomancy is an ancient method of divination which is based on interpretating the movement and shape of smoke rising from a fire, preferably a sacrifice or sacred fire. Capnomancy is also known by the name Libanomancy and is considered to be a form of Pyromancy, which refers to divination by fire. 

History of Capnomancy

The roots of Capnomancy dates back to ancient times when the ritual ceremony was performed on religious dates in ancient Babylonia. Cedar branches were used to make a fire and the resulting smoke patterns were traced for omens. In Greece, priests burnt animal sacrifices on sacred occasions and performed Capnomancy on the resulting fire. The Celts are also reported to have performed the rituals using oak and mistletoe branches.

Modern Usage

The most recent precursors of Capnomancy dated back to 2003 in New England, when predictions were made by a group of people using fumes from chimneys. Other variations in the tools include the use of Cedar sticks, jasmine, incense and candles tied in with the ribbons.

How Capnomancy Works

Unlike most other methods of divination, which are based on particular techniques, Capnomancy doesn’t incorporate any hard and fast rules. One can use their own devised ways to perform the process and take guidance over whichever situation they require answers to. However, the basic principle of all these methods remains the same i.e., to interpret the smoke patterns.

To begin with Capnomancy, a fire is created using tree branches or leaves, preferably branches of Cedar or oak. Once the fire has started, the movements and shapes of the resulting smoke are observed. Smoke rising higher towards the clouds is considered as a good omen, while a descending plume is believed to be the indication of bad luck. Further, a thin and straight plume is thought to be the indication of good luck. However, a thick and large plume is considered to represent an adverse result.

Other methods of Capnomancy involve casting things like jasmine, incense, and poppy seeds on burning coal and observing smoke movements while sniffing it throughout. In several cultures, it is believed that the fragrance accelerates one’s ability to interpret things. Other beliefs suggest that far more accurate outcomes can be achieved by inhaling the smoke during the process. 

Capnomancy Tricks

Practitioners use their hands sometimes to manipulate the movement of smoke, thereby deducing an outcome which may or may not come true in context to the question at hand.

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