Alomancy

Alomancy is a form of divination that seeks to interpret the patterns formed when salt is sprinkled over a flat surface, like a table. Alternately, the salt crystals may be cast into the air and interpreted as they fall. In some forms, the diviner will interpret the patterns left over when salt water evaporates, leaving a residue in the bowl.

Salt was a precious commodity to ancient man. Not only was it a valuable seasoning, it could preserve food and protect people from magic. It was often used in rituals of blessing and purification.

Ancient magicians commonly placed a pinch of salt in each corner of a room to purify it before spells were cast. Sacrificial cakes used by the ancient Greeks and Romans were mixed with salt.

Since the salt was not only scarce but vital for survival, it was a common offering to pagan gods. These gods would become enraged if the salt was carelessly wasted, leading to modern superstitions. Even now, people believe that spilled salt and represents misfortune for the household. Throwing a pinch of salt over the left shoulder brought good luck.

Ancient Egyptians would pour salt on the ground, and then interbred patterns that they saw. In those days, salt was different. Modern salt comes in tiny crystals, while with the ancient Egyptians got salt in the form of larger crystals, approximately the size of pebbles.

Sea salt crystals which may be used in ‘Alomancy’. Courtesy Wikipedia.