Some diviners use a key and a Bible to find out the names of wrong-doers.
Bibliomancy literally means "divination by means of a book." As commonly practiced during a spirit-led Southern-style hoodoo reading, the Holy Bible, or another book containing a large variety of passages of a sacred or mystical character, is asked a question. The book is then opened at random, and the portion selected is read as a psychic message sent from the realm of spirit to shed light upon the client's situation or condition.
Due to the wide range of subjects contained in books, Bibliomancy can be utilized to obtain a spirit-guided answer as to whether or not to make a specific choice (such as renting a home versus buying one or dating one person versus another) or to take a specific action (such as taking a job that has been offered or undertaking a journey).
Among Jews and Christians, the single book most often used for bibliomancy is the Tanakh or Holy Bible, with the understanding that, as it is God's Holy Word, it can provide the reader with a direct link to Spirit. It is the custom of most hoodoo root doctors to keep the Bible or a Book of Psalmson the altar or in a drawer or on a shelf directly under the altar when it is not in use. It is always handled with reverence and respect, as a sacred object.
Sacred volumes from other cultures, including the Chinese I Ching or "Book of Changes," the Hindu Mahabharata, and the Islamic Koran, can be used for bibliomancy, and some practitioners claim that in the hands of an inspired seer, even works of fiction can be usefully consulted by those with a gift for the spiritual work of fortune-telling.
Divination by the Bible
There are many variants on the basic theme of "reading" the Bible as a form of telling the future.
The original practitioners of Biblical Bibliomancy are the Jews. In times long gone, their Tanakhs were hand-lettered scrolls, and copies were not kept in the home, so the custom arose of interested persons who were weighing an important question to casually drop by a synagogue or Hebrew School to hear the children read aloud the daily portion of scripture that they were learning. Whatever portion the listener heard in passing that was the one he or she was meant to hear. This method of aural bibliomancy was in use among European Jews as early the Middle Ages, and may have existed earlier. It is still used to this day.
When printed leaf-bound books became common in Europe and the Americas, household Tanakhs, Bibles, and Books of the Psalms, especially Family Bibles containing the birth and death dates of ancestors and relatives, became treasured heirloom possessions, and their efficacy as tools of divination was widely endorsed in popular culture. Consultation with the old Family Bible remains a potent form of divination to this day.
Because the Bible is a sacred book, the querent is instructed to approach it with reverence and respect. Questions regarding frivolous matters are discouraged. The questioner begins the divination with a short prayer, either recited silently or spoken aloud. A clear question is then stated, again either out loud or internally. The Bible is then opened at random to find an answer on the page selected. Many practitioners open the Bible not once but three times, on the principle that "the third time is a charm." Often the eyes are kept closed while the Bible is opened. Once the page is selected, the querent allows his or her index finger to move in slow circles or figure eights until Spirit indicates the time to stop. The eyes are then opened and the portion is read.
Generally speaking, if the verse selected is positive, the answer to the question is considered to be positive, and if the verse is negative, the answer is in the negative.
For example, let us take the common question, "Will So-and-So marry me?" The selection of I Samuel chapter 26, verse 13 ("Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of an hill afar off; a great space being between them") would seem to indicate increased distance, and thus an answer of "no." On the other hand, a selection of Judges chapter 18, verse 6 ("And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before the LORD is your way wherein ye go") would indicate a church wedding before a priest and a peaceful marriage, and thus an answer of "yes."
Bibliomancy with the Book of Psalms
Of all the books in the Tanakh or Bible, the Book of Psalms is the most popular and most often memorized. Although it is a slim volume, the Psalter may be consulted on matters of divination, for within its 150 songs are verses that cover virtually the entire gamut of human life. There are Psalms of devotion and awe, Psalms of thanksgiving and praise, Psalms of remorse and atonement, Psalms containing pleas for mercy and justice, Psalms of affirmation in matters of personal security, Psalms of protection, and even Psalms of justified revenge against wrong-doers.
To divine with the Book of Psalms, you need only have a copy of the book and a moment of calm, peaceful silence. Close your eyes, ask the question, open the book at random, set your finger at the place on the pages that feels "right," open your eyes, and read the line your finger touches. There is your answer.
If you feel so inclined, you may read the entire verse, or the entire Psalm in which the line was situated, for further guidance.
It is said that if the Psalm your finger chose does not specifically answer your question, it may be that God is using the chosen Psalm to warn you of upcoming danger, prepare you for an unexpected blessing, or otherwise lead you into a previously unseen path. In other words, the answer you receive from The Book of Psalms may be to an unspoken question that will prove of greater importance to you than the query you initially proposed.
The name of a thief, enemy rootworker, or other criminal can be discovered via a form of bibliomancy that is also called Bibliomantic Cleidomancy or Cleidomantic Bibliomancy.
Cleidomancy means "divination by means of a key." In cleidomancy proper, only a key is used, generally a skeleton key, and it is typically suspended from a ribbon or thread and is consulted after the manner of pendulum divination for answering yes-or-no questions. Bibliomantic cleidomancy, on the other hand, combines the skeleton key with the Bible, no other books being deemed suitable to this form of working.
In this down-home method of discovering the name of a thief, an enemy conjure doctor, or a wrong-doer of any kind, a large, old-fashioned skeleton key is inserted into a Bible with the top loop of the key protruding from the top of the pages. The Bible is closed and tightly wrapped with black silk ribbon. The portion of the key which protrudes is grasped, often by two people, each using only their little fingers to support the key. Children are deemed especially good at this, as their fingers are small and their hearts are pure.
The Bible having been delicately suspended by the key, the names of potential thieves are slowly recited, one at a time, the full name being given where possible. The Bible will react when the guilty party's name is called. It may turn on the key or drop from the holders' fingers, or the key may slide out of the Bible. When it makes its move, the name being spoken is deemed to be the guilty party.
If no reaction is found, the list is read a second time, just as slowly as the first time, and then a third time, if necessary. If the Bible makes no response at all, even after three readings of the suspects' names, the method is set aside, and it is said that "God gave no signs" in this case.
Divination by means of the Chinese I Ching or "Change Classic" is generally treated as separate from regular bibliomancy because the book text itself is only consulted after yarrow stalks or coins are thrown and counted, with the book treated primarily as a convenient method for storing and accessing the hundreds of indicated texts, which would otherwise have to be memorized. However, it is important to note that some American diviners, especially those among whom the folk tradition of bibliomancy with a Bible has already been long established, treat the I Ching as a "sacred text" and consult it in the same manner they were taught to use with a Bible. That is, they completely bypass the traditional Chinese methods of coin or yarrow stalk throwing in favour of direct interaction with the book itself, opening it and reading the selected portion. Strangely, the I Ching, with its varied texts and sacred character, is well suited to this East-Meets-West form of bibliomancy.
When using the I Ching for bibliomancy, the question is asked and the eyes are closed as usual, and the book is opened either once or three times, according to the fortune-teller's preference. If the finger lands on either the Image or Judgement of a hexagram, the reading is said to consist of that hexagram with no moving lines. If the finger lands on a changing line, note is made of it, but before reading the change itself, the consultant moves backward in the book to the Image and Judgement for the hexagram indicated. After this, the selected changing line is read, and then the consultant proceeds to the final or transformed hexagram to conclude the reading.
For example, using the same question as before, "Will So-and-So marry me?," if the finger selects the text for the Image or Judgement of hexagram 58, The Joyous, Lake over Lake, then that is a happy "yes" answer, but if the finger touches on the moving 5th line in Hexagram 58, then the result would read as Joyous, followed by "Dangerous Conformity," transforming to Hexagram 54, The Marrying Maiden, Water over Lake -- a rather more negative response because it indicates that the woman is too immature to marry and may be unsuitable as a wife, bringing misfortune.
It will be noted that when using I Ching bibliomancy, every selected hexagram will have either no changing lines or one changing line, which is not the case with traditional Chinese coin or yarrow stalk I Ching divination, in which up to six moving lines can be developed. However, despite this serious structural limitation, bibliomancy with the I Ching is quite popular in the United States of America among practitioners who have previously been habituated to Biblical bibliomancy.