Agalmatomancy

This ancient art of divination uses statues to foretell the future. Practitioners would also use teraphim, human-shaped images kept by ancient mankind in their households. The name is derived from the Greek words agalma, meaning statue, and manteia, meaning prophecy.

Ancient mankind had a surprising amount of technical knowledge. Temple priests created automata, massive statues of metal or stone which would seemingly come to life, providing insight into future events. People believed that spirits inhabited these statues. The statues foretold the future to those skilled in obtaining that information.

Not all statues were necessarily of the entire human form. Phallic symbols were venerated by primitive cultures, and were often used to divine the future. A diviner would usually use a small altar, upon which would rest the effigies of deities or the supernatural.

The Hebrews, among others, mounted teraphim onto the walls of their homes. They believed that these teraphim would speak, providing both advice and a hint of the future. Early Israelite culture permitted these practices until King Josiah’s reforms outlawed them.