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Empryomancy, also known as Pyromancy, is a method of psychic divination, which in its most basic form, is simply looking into flames from a fire or candle, to find images and interpret their meaning. Most of us will, at some point, have enjoyed staring into the beautiful blaze of an open fire and delighted in seeing the patterns of the dancing flames, so too did our ancestors. It seems likely that empryomancy is one of the earliest types of psychic divination, since the days when man first learnt the secrets of making fire, which in some cultures was seen as a gift from the gods, so easy to imagine that the gods might reveal sacred truths within the burning heart of fire. The high priests of ancient cultures would see the flame movement as fire elementals, spirits of fire, or salamanders, moving within the flames. It was widely believed by those who practised empryomancy as a religious rite, that if a sacrifice was quickly consumed by the flames, that the omens were promising, but if the fire lapped the sacrifice with slow un-eager flames, trouble was in store. In ancient Greece, the vestal virgins of the Parthenon, the temple to Athena in Athens and at the temple to Minerva, used empryomancy. In both temples there was a perpetually burning flame, like our Olympic torch today, the vigourous, or feeble burning of which, they watched for psychic omens. It is thought too that worshippers of the Greek god Hephaestus, the god of fire, volcanoes and forges, used divination through fire, to interpret the will of their god. This hypnotising form of divination was also used in the Neolithic period in China. The flames of torches were often used by the ancients to make sense of the presence or future. Flames that burnt with one point, were good luck, two points and they hid under beds, but if the flame bent, as in a breeze, sickness was on it's way and the sick were on their way out. But woe to them if the flame was suddenly extinguished, as it was interpreted as death was about to call.


There are also many other variants of seeing psychically with empryomancy. Alomancy is when salt is thrown into fire to aid divination. Botanomancy is using burning plants to see the future. Capnomancy is divination by smoke. A good omen was revealed by smoke that wafted straight upwards, otherwise you were in trouble! Causinomancy was the burning of whatever the person chose to interpret messages of futurity. Daphnomancy was the burning of laurel leaves to see into tomorrow. Osteomancy was divination using bones and fire. Plastromancy was divination using the stomach covering of the turtle shell. Scapulimancy was divination with scapulae or shoulder blades and fire. Sideromancy is divination through burning straw. The ancients were very imaginative in the many ways that they used fire to help them make sense of the world. But it seems likely that whichever forms of empryomancy they used, the hypnotising effect of flames would have been the essential part of the psychic process, allowing them to reach a state where their minds were able to unlock the doors to the subconscious and perhaps beyond.


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