Pagan Blog Project 2012 - X is for Xylomancy

Xylomancy is divination of the past, present and future using wood, twigs or fallen tree branches.  In biblical times seers would divine based on the pattern fallen tree limbs or other pieces of wood made when lying on the ground.  Like Dendromancy and Tephramancy (divination of ashes in burned tree trunk) it is thought that it has its origin in the tree worship.

I’ve searched the web and found several sites that are related to Xylomancy.  Most have the statements above and then links to various resources on trees.  Art of Divination for example has a list of trees correspondences.  For example it lists the Blackthorn for unexpected change and Beech for stability and energy flow.  

Some ways to practice Xylomancy include stripping the branches of ½ the bark and tossing them on ground to examine the random patterns made.  Further watching the way logs are arranged in a fire place while they burned was another form of Xylomancy.

I found this video of Yule logs burning if you'd care to give it a try.


I found that Llewellyn lists this as divination by observing the pattern of thrown sticks or staves.   To me this sounds slightly different then the first definition which makes it sound as though we’re looking at random tree limbs falling in or around someone’s property and the second like throwing of bones

I then discovered that if I could only get my FAFSA to recognize Hogwards as a valid college I could go take a course on Xylomancy and learn divination by analyzing pieces of burning word.  Again slightly different than the original definition and in my mind leads more to fire scrying than “wood scrying”. 

In my reading I’ve found that generally people ancient times (and sometimes me when I find my mirrors turned faced down) look at things that are out of the ordinary or different as an omen.  For example, if a baby died and a midwife was present she was sometimes accused of witchcraft and held accountable for the baby’s death.  If a black cat comes to your house, it brings difficulties, and breaking a mirror would be considered a bad omen.  

So there you have it, a very basic introduction to Xylomancy.  I’d like to thanks my dearest sister Kallan, for a wonderful suggestion of this word and to remind you to head over to check out her blog!

Namaste & Blessed Be

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