See W. R. Halliday, Greek Divination (1913, repr. 1967); W. B. and L. R. Gibson, The Complete Illustrated Book of Divination and Prophecy (1973).
Practice of discerning the hidden significance of events and foretelling the future. Divination is found in all societies, ancient and modern, though methods vary. In the West, psychics claim innate ability to predict the future, and horoscopes, palm reading, and tarot cards are popular methods of divination. Other methods involve or have involved interpreting dreams, discovering omens in natural events, reading the entrails of animals, casting lots, and consulting oracles. Divination has long been viewed as the province of specially gifted persons, such as prophets, shamans, and magicians. Seealso astrology.
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Divination (from Latin divinare "to be inspired by a god", related to divine, diva and deus) is the attempt of ascertaining information by interpretation of omens or an alleged supernatural agency, either by or on behalf of a querent.
If a distinction is to be made between divination and fortune-telling, divination has a formal or ritual and often social character, usually in a religious context; while fortune-telling is a more everyday practice for personal purposes. Divination is often dismissed by skeptics, including the scientific community, as being mere 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, though most Romans believed in dreams and charms. It is considered a sin in most Christian denominations and Judaism.