Abacomancy is a form of divination also known as amathomancy. Using abacomancy, the diviner would seek patterns in dust, dirt, or sand. These patterns were studied for omens that might foretell the future.
The origins of abacomancy are shrouded in history. Certainly it has been around since ancient times, though the beginning is lost in time.
Diviners used silt, sand, dust, and even ashes to gain insight into the future. The chosen substance was first poured onto a flat surface. The diviner would carefully observe the sand or dust, seeking patterns or symbols for a clue into the future. Some symbols are repeated over and over, while others are not. All of them are believed to help predict future events.
Occasionally, the diviner would use ashes instead of dust or sand. The ashes were obtained from the funeral pyre of a recently-deceased person. On the tenth day after the death, the ashes would be gathered from the pyre. The ashes would then be carefully sifted and covered with a basket before being left for the night. A lamp was placed nearby. In the morning, the ashes were studied for clues. If an animal appeared in the ashes, it was believed that the dead person’s ghost had migrated into that new form.
Patterns that appear include lines, spirals, triangles, and hearts. If there are many lines, a long trip is expected. The heart represents love, while the triangle represents power that is equally balanced on all sides.