Halomancy or Alomancy
Alomancy, also known as Halomancy, Adromancy or Idromancie, is a form of divination. The name is derived from the Greek word "halo", meaning salt; and "manteia", meaning divination. In this form, salt crystals are cast into the air and patterns formed when they fall onto the ground, which are then interpreted. Alomancy is also exercised when the diviner interprets patterns left back in a bowl of salt solution after evaporation. This variation is known as tea cup reading.
In another form of Alomancy, salt is thrown into fire and the patterns that emerge, are interpreted. This is another technique altogether, involving salt, and is known as Pyromancy. In some cases, salt is sprinkled over a flat surface and the patterns are analyzed.
Salt, is often linked with luck. For e.g. in many cultures salt is thrown over the left shoulder for good luck. The interpretations of alomancy are rather obscure but are quite similar to Aleuromancy. In many parts of the world salt is considered to posses magical properties, hence it has a long history of being a main feature in purification ceremonies, blessings etc. In Scotland, on Imblog nights, each member of the family would throw protective salt into a fire and the noise and crackles it created, were interpreted. In ancient times salt was available mostly in pebble-like crystals, unlike the fine granular versions available today. In another variation of this divination, fine slat is thrown up into the air and the shape of cloud formed is used for interpretation.
Salt was considered a precious and auspicious commodity. Any wastage or disrespect to the same was considered bad luck and would provoke wrath of the presiding deities. In ancient times it was commonplace to lay down a pinch of salt in the four corners of the room by the magicians before casting a spell or beginning any ritual. Greeks & Romans always mixed salt in their sacrificial cakes. The use of salt in divination dates back to ancient times mainly due to its scarcity and necessity that made it a much desired item in most civilizations.
An easy practice, an eye for details is a must to pursue alomancy, as the patterns formed by salt are quite intricate and require a deeper understanding of this art.