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A term covering various forms of divination practiced with the aid of rings. One method resembles the table-tipping or raps of Spiritualism. A round table is inscribed with the letters of the alphabet, and a ring suspended above it. The ring, it is said, will indicate certain letters, which make up the message required. According to the historian Ammianus Marcellinus (320-390 C.E.), this method was used to find the successor to Flavius Valens (d. 378 C.E.); the name Theodosius was correctly indicated. Solemn religious services accompanied this mode of divination.

Another form of dactylomancy, of which there is no detailed account, was practiced with rings of gold, silver, copper, iron, or lead, placed on the fingernails in certain conjunctions of the planets.

Today a wedding ring is most popular for this purpose. Another way to divine an answer is to suspend the ring near a glass tumbler so that it touches the glass when swung. A code may then be arranged, the ring striking the glass once for an affirmative, twice for a negative answer, and so on.

(See also pendulums )


Waite, Arthur Edward. The Occult Sciences. 1891. Reprint, Se-caucus, NJ: University Books, 1974.