I first heard of this divination method a long time ago, when I was a kid. The source in which I first saw it mentioned, said it used to be practiced by young ladies wishing to know the name of the man they’d marry. In that version of the practice, the names written on slips of paper were rolled up into tiny scrolls, then stuck into lumps of clay. Or maybe it was a bunch of tiny scrolls stuck into one large lump of clay; I was never clear on that detail. Anyway, the lumps of clay (or the one large lump of clay, studded with tiny scrolls of paper) were placed at the bottom of a bowl. Water was slowly poured over the whole lot, and the young ladies went to bed, so it appears this was traditionally practiced in the evening. Overnight, one of the slips of paper containing a name was supposed to come loose from its clay anchor and float to the top of the water, and that slip was supposed to contain the name of the person they’d marry. This divination method may well have also been used to discover the names of thieves, or whom to approach for assistance in a certain matter.


I came across this same divination method again recently, in the same book from which I got the Prophetic Coin. But this source said nothing about sticking the slips, tightly-rolled-up, in lumps of clay. According to this source, the slips of paper, numbering no more than thirteen, are placed face-down at the bottom of a bowl. Water is then poured very slowly over the slips of paper. The first slip of paper to rise to the surface is considered the true and correct answer. But what if more than one slip floats to the surface? Nonetheless, this way of doing it sounds quicker than the lump of clay approach.