Psychic readings have become very commercialized since the birth of the Informercial and advertisements during daytime television, but there have always been forms of psychic readings or divination since history has been recorded. The list of methods for readings from ancient times to today is into the thousands, and ranges from chicken bones to tarot cards, but one of the most interesting ways to divine omens for tribes or people was reading entrails.
Haruspicy is the reading of entrails of animals, usually sacrificed animals, and was performed by a Haruspex. A Haruspex was a person in ancient Rome that was trained to divine the fate of a person, group, or city by reading the intestines of sacrificed animals like sheep, goats or a variety of poultry. The liver was considered the most valuable and revealing organ to perform a reading. The Romans borrowed and learned the practice from the Etruscans, and the practice of Haruspicy and all of its related forms was a popular form of divination since 2000 BC.
Hepatoscopy, also known as Hepatomancy, was what the Greeks named the practice. The Greeks practiced this form of psychic reading specifically on the liver. Like the Romans, the Greeks focused on the liver of sacrificed animals which included livestock or poultry.
Babylon and the Bible
Hepatoscopy was a popular practice in Babylon, but the Ninevah library has texts that point that the Babylonians were experienced in Haruspicy, and that they even evolved it into an art known as Exitispicy. Exitispicy was similar to Hepatoscopy and Haruspicy, but it expanded into more organs, and it also focused on how organs were positioned when they were being read. The Bible even makes reference to the King of Babylon practicing Hepatoscopy at the end of Ezekiel 21:21 when it says, “He looks at the liver,” but it is more likely that a king would employ diviners to do it for him, or as they are referred to today as, psychics.
This method of reading entrails is where getting a psychic reading definitely went too far. It is the practice of reading the organs of the dying or dead. Gender was not a huge factor in the reading. Although it wasn’t as common among the Greeks, Romans, and Etruscans at the time, Anthropmancy was being practiced despite Haruspicy and Hepatoscopy being the more common and popular methods. It is believed the it was practiced on sacrificed female virgins.
Reading of Entrails in 2015
It still happens today. It’s amazing to think that this practice that likely has gone on even before 2000 BC is still being practiced in parts of Africa, notably east Africa. It’s even widespread in the Ethiopia.