Station: [6] Divination

  • Hexenmuseum Schweiz

Room 6

From the crystal ball to tealeaf reading, from geomancy to numerology, from chiromancy to cartomancy.

In the high cultures of the Ancient Near East, divination was practiced especially on behalf of the rulers. Numerous Mesopotamian sources provide a wealth of details. The most important procedure was the intestinal inspection already around the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. Chr. In ancient Greece and Rome especially the interpretation of bird flight, the liver show, the interpretation of dreams and the oracle were spread. In the Middle Ages and early modern times divination was widespread. It was continued to be opposed and repressed by church authorities and some theological authorities, but it also found defenders among medieval philosophers and theologians. In the later middle Ages, fortune tellers gained considerable influence not only in princely courts, but also in ecclesiastical space. Some rulers, including Queen Elizabeth I, employed court astrologers. From the 14th century astrologers were even active in the papal curia, in the Renaissance, popes and cardinals were astrologically advised.