From the Greek selēnē ('moon') and manteia ('prophecy'), it is the art and practice of divination by the observation of the phases and appearances of the moon.
There are countless moon-related omens that have evolved since prehistoric times. Our celestial companion has long been used to divine the fate of individuals at the time of their birth. If the child is born when the moon is one day old, this person will be blessed with wealth and longevity. If the birth occurs during the moon's waning phase, it signifies that this child will be unhealthy; if the child is born while the moon is full, he or she will be a very strong individual, but if a child is born during the dark of the moon, he or she will need special care and will probably die before reaching puberty.
Different methods of Selenomancy take into consideration the patterns observed on the surface of the moon, the phase the moon is in, its visibility through the cloud cover, and the colors of its reflection. In ancient Assyria diviners interpreted the appearance of a ring or halo around the moon as an omen of an impending siege. However, a break in it indicated a fortunate get away.
When interpreting moon reflections and colors, it was believed that a blue tinge was an indication that rain was on the way. A red tinge designated that a strong wind was coming, and a white tinge signified good weather.
In the south of England, it is said that fine days will follow if there is a fine Tuesday after a new moon; moist days will come after a wet or humid Tuesday after a new moon, and if the horns of the moon are obscured on the third or fourth day, this means rain is on the way. If the circle of the moon is red, troubles and hardships are coming.
If it rains on the first Tuesday after the full moon, it will continue to do so for the rest of that moon period. Similarly, if it is dry on that first Tuesday, it will remain dry for that moon period. If the moon is clear on its rising, it denotes that in the summer there will be fine weather but in the winter there will be a severe cold spell. Clearness at the full moon suggests a fair period, as does a halo that melts quickly. A double halo means there is going to be a storm.
An ancient superstition is that it is bad luck to have a child born in moonlight. It was also believed that anyone sleeping in moonlight for any length of time ran the risk of going either blind or crazy.
Selenomancy, like most divinatory systems, is quite ancient, and has been practiced since time immemorial by the Babylonians, Scythians, Greeks and Arabians, among others.
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Sources: (1) Morwyn, The Complete Book Of Psychic Arts, Llewellyn Publications; (2) Walker, Charles, The Encyclopedia of the Occult, Random House Value; (3) Dunwich, Gerina, A Wiccan's Guide to Prophecy and Divination, Carol Publishing Group; (4) Buckland, Raymond, The Fortune-Telling Book: The Encyclopedia of Divination and Soothsaying, Visible Ink Press.
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