Aeromancy is a form of divination using the element of Air by observing the sky, particularly meteorological and cosmological events, including the movements of clouds, winds and sometimes comets, the appearance of rainbows and other phenomena such as auroras. The word Aeromancy comes from the Greek words aero for “air’ and manteia for “divination”.
Synonyms: Aeromance, Arologie, Aeriology, Aërology, Heromanty
Aeromancy is thought to have been practiced by ancient Babylonian priests and was mentioned and its practice condemned in the Bible. Albertus Magnus believed it to be a form of necromancy and it was listed as one of the seven forbidden arts in Renaissance Magic along with necromancy, geomancy, hydromancy, pyromancy, chiromancy and spatulamancy.
François de la Tour Blanche believed that the images discerned by the aeromancer were specters made manifest through the aid of spirits or demons. Eliphas Levi believed that the practice of aeromancy was simply a means of opening up the practitioner’s own imagination and abilities and that there was no actual meaning in what the reader observed, that the reading came from within.
Bells, ribbons, wind vanes and other objects may be used to discern the movements of the wind for divinatory purposes or the sound of the wind passing through leaves or grass may carry the message. Also, the movement of the smoke from a sacrificial fire would be carefully observed to determine the Gods’ opinion of the sacrifice. Many modern tools for predicting the weather such as barometers and thermometers were used by aeromancers and it is likely that the practice of aeromancy had much influence on the development of modern meteorology.
Specific types of Aeromancy:
anemoscopy and austromancy – divination through the observation of wind patterns
ceraunoscopy – divination by observing the patterns of thunder and lightening
meteormancy – divination through the observation of meteors, comets and shooting stars
nephomancy – divination through observation of the patterns and shapes of clouds
Although aeromancy is an ancient practice with little formal teaching today, there are many modern scraps of folk wisdom that are aeromantic in nature.
My mother always used to say – Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.
Other superstitions include the idea that thunder in the East foretells bloodshed and that high winds at Yuletide foretell the death of a King.
The Wiccan Rede (Dorreen Valiente) also contains some aeromantic instruction:
Heed the North wind’s mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail.
When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss thee on the mouth.
When the wind blows from the West, departed souls may have no rest.
When the wind blows from the East, except the new and set the feast.