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Word of the Day
Sunday, October 29, 2017

Definitions for psychomancy

  1. occult communication between souls or with spirits.

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Citations for psychomancy
" ... There is something, though, that is rather queer, but it belongs to psychomancy rather than psychology, as I understand it." "Ah!" I said. "What is that queer something?" "Being visibly present when absent. It has not happened often, but it has happened that I have seen Marion in my loft when she was really somewhere else and not when I had willed her or wished her to be there." William Dean Howells, Questionable Shapes, 1903
To one who has an adequate knowledge of the laws of electricity and magnetism, it is more than amusing to see with what pedantic gravity these latter philomaths descant upon electricity and magnetism, contorting and butchering their established laws all the while, to explain some vile juggle, or unravel the psychomancy of rappers and tippers ... Charles G. Page, Psychomancy: Spirit-Rappings and Table-Tippings Exposed, 1853
Origin of psychomancy
Psychomancy is a less common euphemistic synonym of the far more sinister necromancy. The first element, psycho-, familiar from English psychiatry and psychology, is a combining form from the Greek noun psȳchḗ “breath, soul, spirit, ghost.” Psȳchḗ is also the name of a butterfly, which inspired the English poet and critic Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) to write a short poem, “Psyche,” about the double meaning “soul” and “butterfly.” The element -mancy ultimately derives from Greek manteía “divination,” a derivative of mántis “diviner, soothsayer, prophet,” and also “praying mantis (the predatory insect).” Psychomancy entered English in the 16th century.