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PostSubject: Libanomancy   Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:00 am

Libanomancy (also known as livanomancy, livanomancy, knissomancy) is a divination through observing and interpreting burning incense smoke. Like most other methods of divination, during a livanomancy act a specific question must be asked, to which incense smoke provides an answer, which is then interpreted by a diviner.

All of the extant libanomanic manuals come from the Old Babylonian period, roughly 2000-1600 b.c.e. This seems to indicate that its popularity as a divination method declined thereafter, but it would be incredible if a trained baru living in the Seleucid period and later would not have known of it, at least in theory. Anyone who uses every day instinctively reads the signs of the smoke: but like all divination, the primary rule obtains that you must ask a specific question, for which the randomness-producing act ("impetrated" divination) provides the answer, with which you must be content. Enough remains of the art to show that its interpretations are based on clearer principles than those of dream-divination, for example. Libanomancy is therefore a good technique for the modern Babylonian magician to use and develop.


Three Collated Libanomancy Texts
(trans. Irving L. Finkel, AfO 29-30 (1983-84) pp. 50-55)
1. If when you sprinkle the incense, its flame burns smokily, your army will defeat an enemy.
2. If when you sprinkle the incense, it stops short, and afterwards its flame burns smokily, an enemy will defeat your army.
3. If when you sprinkle the incense, (the smoke) goes to the right and does not go to its left, you will prevail over your adversary.
4. If when you sprinkle the incense, (the smoke) goes to its left and does not go to its right, your adversary will prevail over you.
5. If when you sprinkle the incense, (the smoke) goes to the east and does not go towards the crotch of the diviner, downfall for your adversary.
6. If when you sprinkle the incense, (the smoke) goes towards the crotch of the diviner and does not go to the east, your adversary will prevail over you.
7. If when you sprinkle the incense, (the smoke) goes equally in all directions: equal weapons.
8. If when you sprinkle the incense, (the smoke) clusters: success: the man will enjoy profit wherever he goes.
9. If the top of the incense(-smoke) is fragmented: there will be financial loss and loss of cattle in the man's estate.
(Next line 9a too damaged for translation)
10. If the top of the incense(-smoke) is cleft (in two): madness.
11. If the top of the incense(-smoke) is cut off: the man will experience hard times...
12. If the top the incense(-smoke) (looks) like the brickbasket of Šamaš: there will be di'u disease in the man's household.
13. If the top of the incense(-smoke) gathers like a date-palm and is thin (down) at its base: hardship will seize the man.
14. If the incense(-smoke) after a while is constricted: hard times will befall the man.
15. If the incense(-smoke) after a while pushes through and gets out: the man will pull through hard times.
16. If the incense(-smoke) pushes through to the east and gets out: the man will pull through hard times.

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