Astragalomancy

Astragalomancy

Astragalomancy, also known as astragyromancy, is a form of divination that uses dice especially marked with letters and numbers.

Originally, as with dice games, the "dice" were quadruped knucklebones or other small bones. Marked astragali of sheep and goats are common at Mediterranean and Near Eastern archaeological sites, particularly at funeral and religious locations. For example, marked astragali have been found near the altar of Aphrodite Ourania in Athens, Greece suggesting astragalomancy was performed near the altar after about 500 BC.

Also known as Cleromancy, the use of contacting the divine truth with random castings of the dice, or bones, is a practice the stretches back before recorded history. The Metropolitan Museum of Art shows bone "dice" used by the Shona people of Africa. These are called Hakata. They have been in use for thousands of years, and remain extant.

The Dalai Lama is reported as using the MO (Tibetan Dice Divination) to determine a question over who to appoint to an important position. Tibetan Divination has long featured the MO, or Dice, in making every day decisions. There are books written by various Lamas on interpretations for the casting of dice.

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