Dactylomancy, derived from the Greek word ‘dakterlios’ meaning ‘finger ring’, is an ancient method of divination. A ring, preferably of gold and silver, is suspended like a pendulum above a surface, and the direction of swing is recorded in order to get an answer to a particular question. The type of ring used in Dactylomancy depends entirely upon the day on which the practitioner has to take a reading. For instance, if one has to take a reading on Monday, he is advised to use a ring made up of silver. On the flip side, a ring made up of Gold is used to take readings on Sunday.
History of Dactylomancy
The practice of Dactylomancy is believed to have been around for decades. In the Middle Ages, people were reported to perform the ritual to get an insight into their future. Casper, Melchior and Balthasar were the three men who became popular by the Middle Ages for having been associated with the practice. The custom was later applied to wedding rings as well but the predictions made by such methods were believed to be nullified if the bride crossed her fingers.
How Dactylomancy is done
Originally, Dactylomancy was performed incorporating a ritual or often social character within a religious context. People clothed in white linen, with their head shaven and holding a piece of vervain in their hand, were usually referred to in order to predict the future through Dactylomancy. These practitioners, known as diviners, were believed to be blessed with special powers that they used to protect people from evil spirits and that helped them make well informed life decisions.
Dactylomancy works on the principle of prognostication. A ring is suspended over a surface, preferably a table, paper or sheet, which is marked with letters, symbols, or sometimes with choices depending upon the possible outcomes of the question at hand. For instance, if a question can be answered in yes or no, then only the respective choices are imprinted on the surface. As the subject poses a question the ring is allowed to swing as a pendulum. Depending upon the direction of swing or the location at which the ring halts, letters are consulted, and the answer is found out to a specific question.
Another tradition employs the same process as that of Séance table-rapping. A ring is suspended from a tumbler so that it may touch the walls whilst allowed to swing. The practitioners agree upon a code at first, for instance 1 for yes and 2 for no, and then proceed with the practice. A question is then posed and the answer is derived from the number of times the rings hits the walls of the tumbler.
In ancient times, a more complex method was used to perform Dactylomancy that involved marking letters and symbols on a circular table, and then allowing a ring to swing above it. Thereafter, the thread holding the ring was burnt and the letter on which the ring fell upon was used to interpret the answer to a specific question.
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