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Latin axinomantia, from Ancient Greek ἀξινομαντεία (aksinomanteía).


axinomancy (uncountable)

  1. A species of divination, by means of an ax or hatchet. Including:
    1. placing an agate stone, piece of jet, or some other precious or semi-precious stone upon the axe-head and heating the metal, the movement of the agate then being interpreted.
    2. interpreting their movement when balanced on a post.
  2. Divination by saws. Almost certainly an error, there is only one citation of its use, and those who copied it.


  • "Diuination generally was done by diuers hatchets, Axinomancy." -- Vives in J. Healey Saint Augustine of the Citie of God, 1610
  • "...Axinomancy, by Sawes..." -- Gaule The Magastromancer xix 1652
  • "axinomancy, Was performed by balancing an axe on an upright stake, and the names of suspected persons being pronounced, it was supposed to point out the guilty by its motion. Another method was by laying an agate stone upon a red hot hatchet." -- Elihu Rich in Smedley et al. Occult Sci., 1855