Ooscopy and Oomantia

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Ooscopy and Oomantia

Two methods of divination using eggs, similar to oomamcy. An example of ooscopy was related by the Roman historian Suetonius (ca. 98-138 C.E.), who stated that Livia, when anxious to know whether she should be the mother of a boy or girl, kept an egg in her bosom at the proper temperature, until a chick was born.

The name oomantia denoted a method of divining the signs or characters appearing in eggs. John Brand, an English clergyman, described the custom of giving away pasche or paste eggs at Easter. These are eggs stained with various colors. The custom was religiously observed in Russia, where it was derived from the Greek Church. Gilded or colored eggs were mutually exchanged by men and women, who kissed one another and, if any coolness existed previously, became good friends again on these occasions.

The egg is one of the most ancient symbols of new birth and has been applied to natural philosophy as well as the spiritual creation of man.


Brand, John. Observations on Popular Antiquities. 2 vols. London, 1813.

Waite, Arthur Edward. The Occult Sciences. N.p., 1891. Reprint, Secaucus, N.J.: University Books, 1974.