Roman mosaic depicting two roosters divining in a circle–or getting ready to fight. Picture courtesy of

It’s been a while since I discussed any divination methods which I would consider to fall under that category I call ‘Artomancy’, so I feel it’s time I return to that subject. There’s been a renewed interest in urban farming in recent years, born of concern about where our food comes from, how far it travel to reach us, and what augmentations need to be made to the food in order for it to arrive at our table in edible condition. Some people in urban or suburban areas even raise their own chickens, which opens up the door to a method of divination thousands of years old—divination by chicken. Yes that’s right, chicken. The technical term for this form of divination is alectryomancy, or alectromancy. It is by the first term that I shall refer to it in this lesson.

This form of divination is best if you’re looking for a name, an acronym or a hint as to the identity of someone. Its forte is concise answers. It was the sort of divination practiced by people anxious to know whodunnit, who’s the next boss, or who they will marry. I suppose if you’re an author and you’re considering several different titles for your next book, this approach to divination could be made to work for that, too. But this isn’t the divination tool to use if you’re one of those who want a whole-sentence-length answer to their question.