Monday, 6 May 2013


Belomancy, Belomancer, Arrow, Archer, Bow, Longbow,
This poor humble archer, lumped into an article on belomancy and all that tripe


Noun. Mid-17th century.
[from Greek belos dart + mateia divinition]

Divination by means of arrows.

Oh belomancy, belomancy, belomancy! What will we do with you? I really don't know why I like the -mancy words so much, but I find them so ridiculously funny. The methodology of belomancy does vary, but it includes observing the direction a fallen arrow points in to determine the best direction of travel if you're lost (somewhat self-determined, I would have thought, as presumably the arrow is going to point in the direction that you just shot it). Also, a belomancer might mark his arrows with such phrases as 'God wills it', 'God forbids it', and 'God's gonna let you figure this one out by yourself.' After shooting them, the arrow that travels the furthest indicates the correct answer to your question (again, rather self-determined).

Of course, in the absence of any controlled studies into belomancy's efficacy, I can't say for an absolute certainty that it's complete and utter hogwash, just as I can't with axinomancy or auspices. I also don't like to trample on the belief systems of the ancient Babylonians, Greeks, Arabs and Scythians, who all practised belomancy at some point and made profound contributions to human knowledge and advancement (it's also referenced in the Bible at Ezekiel 21:21). In the interests of fairness and open-mindedness, I did do a search for any controlled study into belomancy, but (surprise, surprise!) I couldn't find any. In the absence of such empirical evidence, I will retain my doubts and rather supercilious tone when discussing anything -mancy related.

Are you a practitioner of belomancy? Have you ever consulted a belomancer? Are you aware of, or are you currently conducting, controlled scientific studies into its validity? Please feel to comment below.


  1. People believe just about everything, don't they? Although this one is kind of a fun way to decide on things. Shooting arrows? Yessir! I tried it once (like, a 100 years ago) and loved it :) The man said I had very powerful arms, that was a really nice compliment.

    Thanks for your comment, Ed. I'll do my very best and be back as soon as I can :)

    1. Bibi! So wonderful to see you ... the blogosphere does seem a tad empty when you're not around.

      And yes ... as far as divining with anything is concerned, doing it with arrows is pretty cool, perhaps second only to divining with dynamite (dynomancy?) - I don't know if that's a thing but it might as well be.

      As far archery, yes, I've done it too but I didn't get any such compliment from the instructor (sigh). I really think it should form the basis of a blogpost from you one day, Bibi. And you should name it 'Bibi's Bodacious Biceps'. There. As a subscriber to your blog, I'm submitting that request formally : o )