Cleromancy, sortilege, casting lots or casting bones is a form of divination in which an outcome is determined by random means, such as the rolling of a die.
In Western culture Edit
Casting of lots occurs frequently in the Bible. One notable example of casting lots is represented by the soldiers who cast lots for Jesus' clothes -John 19:24- as he was dying on the cross. In this case, the casting of lots was implicitly looked down upon by the biblical authors, however, elsewhere in the Bible it was invoked as a legitimate means of determining God's wishes. For example, it was through the casting of lots that it was determined by Jonah's crew that he was, in fact, the source of the storm they were enduring. He was subsequently cast overboard, causing the storm to dissipate.
In Eastern culture Edit
In Chinese Taoism, various means of divination through random means are employed, such as use of the I Ching. In Japan, omikuji is one form of drawing lots.
Combined with Bibliomancy Edit
One can combine the casting of lots with many other forms of divination. Instead of the casted result being read as a direct outcome, it is instead used to correlate to another form of divination. For example, when combined with Bibliomancy, the casted result of three dice is used to direct a divinator to look up a particular page, paragraph and/or word in a chosen book. One popular method used in late antiquity was called the Homeric Oracle, using the works of Homer.
Betz, Hantz. The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation. ISBN 0226044475.