Since I’ve addressed the subject of embers divination, it’s time to move onto the next stage, divining by the ashes left over from the fire. Called spodomancy, it is defined as divination by examining the cinders, soot or ashes left over from a fire, particularly, but not exclusively, the ashes left over from a ritual sacrifice. Light and feathery in nature, ashes can be stirred by the slightest of breezes. Falling from the grate onto the hearth, they can make patterns as they scatter. This quality of ashes makes it a good medium for communicating with Spirits. Ash divination is a perfect example of my self-created divination category called Artomancy; it’s those hard-to-pin-down-a-definite-meaning methods. One can never be sure, except for what one’s intuition and original-intent says, and divining by ashes is very much an art.
This is another one of those forms of divination which is so old, its age could be counted in the tens of thousands of years or more. Count on it, for as long as human beings have been building fires, they’ve probably been divining by the ashes the following morning. It has been practiced by a number of cultures ancient and modern, around the world.
It has been practiced both as part of a formal system of religious practice or ceremonial magic by a priesthood, and as an informal way of divining among the common folk. Indeed, given that ashes were a common, cheap, ever-renewing substance in the olden days, it only makes sense the common folk would use it for divining as well as soap-making. Ash divination was a common-enough practice in Europe, that on occasion, a high-ranking clergyman or two felt the need to outright ban the practice.