Also known as Amathomancy (from the Greek amathos, for sand), it is the art and practice of foretelling future events by the observation of omens in patterns of dust, or in the silt, dirt, or sand. Sometimes the diviner would use the ashes of the recently deceased.


The precise origins for this type of divination have been lost in time and remain elusive and mysterious, but it is certainly, like most divination techniques, quite ancient. It has been traced back as far back as the twelfth and thirteenth centuries according to many scholars. The diviner uses dust or sand to find patterns within to predict the future. According to some, in ancient times, the ashes of the recently cremated were used to gain better and more focused results.

Techniques and UsesEdit

In modern times, Abacomancers use normal sand or earthen dust to practice their technique by spreading the materials across a flat surface and using their inner mind to create and analyze the patterns that are formed. Abacomancy is also known as Amathomancy in some places, and is translated from the Greek word "amathos" which means "sand". Color is apparently unimportant nor is texture, as long as it is simple dust, sand or dirt. It has to be kept dry and can be stored for later reuse. Some diviners use a simple metal tray or platter to work within, which would make clean up easier and collecting the material for reuse much simpler. However the sand is placed, after the diviner has the material laid out, they utilize a tipped instrument of some sort, usually a wand or dowel of some sort, and place the tip over the center of the spread material. By relaxing and concentrating upon a mental question, the diviner allows themselves to reach a different state of consciousness. Proper breathing technique is necessary as is total and complete relaxation and comfort. In the same way as other forms of divination and augury, the diviner has to tap into their subconscious to find the answers they seek. Upon finding their inner subconsciousness, the diviner will automatically move their chosen tool according to the answers within themselves, and after the need to draw has passed, they will try to "read" the designs and patterns they have drawn.

Typical Patterns and Their MeaningsEdit

  • Big Circle: Protection, the mysteries and four elements at work. A need for balance and centering is required. The completion of one phase and the renewal of another. Endings and new beginnings. Going full circle on the path of life.
  • Miniature circle: Uncertainty of where one is headed. The future is closed to the reader because they cannot see beyond the small circle of their own reality. Being confined by ideas that are too small and trapped by small thinking. Petty disagreements and difficulty overcoming small issues.
  • Triangle: A source of power. All sides need to be equal and energies need to be specifically focused on the diviner's goal in order for the goal to be obtained. Reaching for the sky while remaining grounded.
  • Square: A creative task lies ahead of the diviner, requiring inspiration, will, emotional passion and drive as well as persistence. If one element is lacking the task will come to naught. Balance in all things is essential at this time. The square forewarns the diviner not to be close-minded.
  • Long Lines: A long journey is in store for the diviner. This does not necessarily mean a physical journey and can be journey of intellect. In terms of intellect, moving in a linear fashion suggests that the diviner will be utterly changed when they reach their intellectual destination.
  • Short Lines: One short line indicates a short trip, either physically or intellectually. Several short lines indicate many stops along the path. Such stops are not necessarily negative. Although short lines can be indicative of obstacles, the may also be indicative of pauses for reflection or regrouping.
  • Spiral: Ascension into higher planes of consciousness and/or higher intellectual and spiritual understandings. Drawing power from within to deal with deal with issues or drawing on divine power for spiritual improvement.
  • The Heart: A heartfelt experience. Love entering into one's life. Emotional ties to some thing, some place, or someone. A warning that emotions may rule the head. If the heart is broken, sadness and grief are predicted and it also suggests broken ties and/or change and transformation.
  • An X: A need for banishing of negative is called for. The need to "x" out negative influences.

Other TechniquesEdit

Some diviners utilize the technique of abacomancy by spreading the sand or material upon a flat surface and then concentrating on the simple intricate patterns that form chaotically as it is spread. Also, some investigators have used a very similar process as abacomancy in their research by spreading powder or sand in a given location, to see if any unexplainable movement occurs in their absence. Some feel that spirits or unearthly presences can unsettle the powder or sand, thus giving proof of an unseen entity. This is in no way related to abacomany, but the use of sand or dust in such a way inevitably can draw similarities. In some cases researchers have claimed to find patterns or words etched in sand used in such a way, however this is a simple form of spirit communication and not to be confused with true divination techniques.

Essential ReadingEdit

External LinksEdit

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