Hydromancy is the art of divining the future by studying the ebb and flow of water or ripples in a pool. It is similar to Crystal gazing in its effects.
Sixteenth century Jesuit Priest M. A. Del Rio recorded several types of hydromancy. In the first method, a ring was suspended from a thread, and then placed into a vessel of water. As the container was shaken, the ring would hit the sides. By counting the number of times the ring hit, a prediction could be made.
In a different method, a standing pool of water was required. Three pebbles would be tossed in. The diviner would then observe the pattern of circles and ripples to foretell the future.
Oriental Christians relied on a third method. In this case, the water was agitated.
In yet another method, prognostications were made based on the colors of the water. Often figures would be seen in the water. To this day, certain ponds, streams, and lakes are seen as sacred waters.
In ancient Germanic tribes, newborn children were thrown into the Rhine River as a test of their legitimacy. Illegitimate children would drown, while legitimate ones would survive. This practice may be the precursor of the Anglo-Saxon trial by water, in which the innocents or guilt of witches was determined.
Del Rio studied another method, in which a small amount of oil was drizzled into a bowl of water. The resulting mirror provided a glimpse into the future.
The final method of hydromancy was used by European women, particularly in Germany. They would watch the whirling, bubbling river for insights into their destiny.