Julian Jaynes categorized divination according to the following types:
- Omens and omen texts.
"The most primitive, clumsy, but enduring method...is the simple
recording of sequences of unusual or important events." (1976:236)
Chinese history offers scrupulously documented occurrences of strange
births, the tracking of natural phenomena, and other data. Chinese
governmental planning relied on this method of forecasting for long-range
strategy. It is not unreasonable to assume that modern scientific inquiry
began with this kind of divination; Joseph
Needham's work considered this very idea.
This consists of the casting of lots whether with sticks, stones, bones,
beans, or some other item. Modern playing cards and board games developed
from this type of divination.
Divination that ranks a set of given possibilities. It can be qualitative
(such as shapes, proximities, etc.) Dowsing
(a form of rhabdomancy)
developed from this type of divination. The Romans
in classical times used Etruscan methods of augury such as hepatoscopy (actually a form of extispicy). Haruspices examined the livers of
An unconstrained form of divination, free from any particular medium, and
actually a generalization of all types of divination. The answer comes
from whatever object the diviner happens to see or hear. Some Christians
and members of other religions use a form of bibliomancy:
they ask a question, rifle the pages of their holy book, and take as their
answer the first passage their eyes light upon. Other forms of spontaneous
divination include reading auras and New Age methods of Feng Shui
such as "intuitive" and Fuzion.