Spodomancy is a term which covers several specialties or subsets. These are:
- Tephromancy-This is divining by the ashes of any sacrifice. Rather grimly, long ago, this could’ve been anything from a human being, to an animal, to a vegetable crop.
- Cineromancy/Ceneromancy-This is divining by the remaining ashes of a specific sacrificial or ritual fire. Cineromancy/Ceneromancy was wood-focused, as opposed to tephromancy, which takes into account the remains of the burnt offering.
- Libanomancy-This is divining by studying the patterns left by the residue of burnt incense. Presumably, this was loose incense, as opposed to modern-day stick or cone incense, but even the latter can sometimes leave divinable ashes.
- Tephramancy-Not to be confused with Tephromancy, this is divining by the ashes left by a fire of tree bark. Some sources claim it meant divining by the ashes of specifically human sacrificial victims. The dictionary defines ‘tephra’ as ‘solid material or fine particles of mineral matter ejected into the air during a volcanic eruption.’ Given that tephra is as a product of the earth, I’m going to go with the first definition, as human beings aren’t ejected into this life via volcano.
- Xylomancy-Unlike most spodomancy, xylomancy means ‘divining by wood’ and it’s divining by the study of the appearance wood takes while it is burning. Some sources therefore consider it a form of pyromancy, but this is one form of divination which sort of straddles a line between the two.
And this isn’t mentioning the places where spodomancy was practiced with sand, dust or dry soil in some places, not specifically ash.