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Divination (from Latin divinare "to foresee, to be inspired by a god",[2] related to divinus, divine)

is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic, standardized process
or ritual.[3] Used in various forms throughout history, diviners ascertain their interpretations of how
a querent should proceed by reading signs, events, or omens, or through alleged contact with a
supernatural agency.
Divination can be seen as a systematic method with which to organize what appear to be disjointed,
random facets of existence such that they provide insight into a problem at hand. If a distinction is
to be made between divination and fortune-telling, divination has a more formal or ritualistic
element and often contains a more social character, usually in a religious context, as seen in
traditional African medicine. Fortune-telling, on the other hand, is a more everyday practice for
personal purposes. Particular divination methods vary by culture and religion.
Divination is dismissed by the scientific community and skeptics as being superstition. In the 2nd
century, Lucian devoted a witty essay to the career of a charlatan, "Alexander the false prophet",
trained by "one of those who advertise enchantments, miraculous incantations, charms for your
love-affairs, visitations for your enemies, disclosures of buried treasure, and successions to estates",
[4] even though most Romans believed in prophetic dreams and charms.
Psychologist Julian Jaynes categorized divination into the following four types:[citation needed]
1. Omens and omen texts. Chinese history offers scrupulously documented occurrences of
strange births, the tracking of natural phenomena, and other data. Chinese governmental
planning relied on this method of forecasting for long-range strategies. It is not unreasonable
to assume that modern scientific inquiry began with this kind of divination; Joseph
Needham's work considered this very idea.[citation needed]
2. Sortilege (cleromancy). This consists of the casting of lots, or sortes, whether with sticks,
stones, bones, beans, coins, or some other item. Modern playing cards and board games
developed from this type of divination.[citation needed]
3. Augury. This ranks a set of given possibilities. It can be qualitative (such as shapes,
proximities, etc.): for example, dowsing (a form of rhabdomancy) developed from this type
of divination. The Romans, in classical times, used Etruscan methods of augury such as
hepatoscopy (actually a form of extispicy) (for example, Haruspices examined the livers of
sacrificed animals). Augury is normally considered to specifically refer to divination by
studying the flight patterns of birds. But also, the use of the rooster through alectryomancy
may be further understood within that religious character and likewise defined as a
cockfight, or cockfighting[5] with the intent of communication between the gods and man.
[citation needed]
4. Spontaneous. An unconstrained form of divination, free from any particular medium, and
actually a generalization of all types of divination. The answer comes from whatever object
the diviner happens to see or hear. Some religions use a form of bibliomancy: they ask a
question, riffle the pages of their holy book, and take as their answer the first passage their
eyes light upon. Other forms of spontaneous divination include reading auras and New Age
methods of feng shui such as "intuitive" and "fuzion".[citation needed]
In addition to these four broad categories, there is palmistry, also called chiromancy, a practice
common to many different places on the Eurasian landmass;[6] it has been practised in the cultures
of India, Tibet, China, Persia, Sumeria, Ancient Israel and Babylonia. In this practice, the diviner
examines the hands of a person for whom they are divining for indications of their future.