Dactylomancy is a form of divination which seeks to tell the future using rings. It is derived from the Greek word for “finger”.
In modern dactylomancy, the ring is suspended above a surface which has been marked with symbols or letters. A specific question is asked. The Ring swings over the symbols to be consulted, or spells out a message using the letters on the surface. A similar version suspends the ring from a tumbler so that it may clink against the sides. A simple code is used (for example, click once for yes and twice for no)to interpret the answer.
During the Middle Ages, dactylomancy in Europe was more complex. The ring was suspended over a circular table, on which were marked the symbols of the zodiac. 78 metal disks were placed on the table, three discs for each letter of the alphabet. The thread holding the ring was burned; once the rain fell to the table, the letters it rolled across (and halted on) were used to find the answers to the question being divined. Using this method, the ring used was determined by the day of the week. A silver ring, representing the moon, was used on Monday; gold rings were used on Sunday. Other days used combinations of iron, tin, lead, and copper.
Modern-day dactylomancy is closely linked with New Age beliefs and spiritualism.