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Author Topic: Insight into Romano-British Divination Rods  (Read 756 times)


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Insight into Romano-British Divination Rods
« on: February 07, 2014, 12:09:37 pm »
Since I learned of the Doctor's Grave of Stanway, Essex, inhumed ca. 50 c.e., I've puzzled over how the eight divination rods were used.

These rods are made of metal, long and very thin, with one end rounded and the other flattened. Experimenting with pick-up-sticks didn't reveal anything helpful: dropping them from my hand in various ways they bounced everywhere with no repeating patterns. But my interest in Native American history has presented a new idea into how they could have been used.

In American Archaeology, volume 17, issue 1, 2013, page 8, "Ancient Shaman Stones  Discovered in Panama," by Paula Neely, it's described how a collection of 5,000 year old artifacts resemble stones used by modern Central and South American shamans as divination tools to diagnose and treat illnesses.

The stones are peculiarly shaped ones, and so believed to be touched by spiritual powers. They are precariously balanced on the ground during a healing ritual, and if one or more moves this is an answer to the shaman's medical questions.

The divination rods of almost two thousand years ago lend themselves also to being precariously balanced-on which end works best I don't know-on the ground. Perhaps lined up in different arrangements representing different organs or afflictions of evil spirits, the doctor would intone prayers to gods of healing while attendants played flutes or shook rattles (also known in religious contexts of the time) while inhaling the hallucinogens boiling in the pot also found in his or her grave, waiting for a rod to tip over by the will of the gods.


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