Derived from the Greek nephros ('a kidney') and manteia ('divination'), it is the art and practice of divining the past, the present and the future by the examination of the kidneys of sacrificed victims, animal and otherwise.
Just like the liver in Hepatoscopy, the kidneys are inspected for prophetic omens by practitioners of Nephromancy. Extispicy attached great importance to the kidneys, seeing omens in their outward appearance.
Ancient kidney divinatory efforts were mostly concerned with the fortunes of leaders, such as kings and generals, and warfare. In kidney divination, the right side was associated with the querent and the left side with the querent's enemy. Goats were slay for this purpose, and kings and nobility frequently made use of this form of divination. When the right kidney was black or dark, it presaged that the son of the king would die, and when the left kidney was black instead, it meant the son of the enemy king would die.
Babylonians and Etruscans were practitioners of kidney divination. In fact all of the ancient Mesopotamian civilizations used kidney omens for divination at one time or another. Assyrians regarded the kidneys as the seat of strength, and Australian aborigines would kill a man and eat his kidney fat in order to have his strength in addition to their own.
Nephromancy is a rare form of Extispicy, and like most divinatory forms, it is quite ancient.
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Sources: (1) Shipley, Joseph T., Dictionary of Early English, Littlefield, Adams & Co. Publishers; (2) Hellweg, Paul, The Insomniac's Dictionary: The Last Word On The Odd Word, Ivy Books; (3) Walker, Charles, The Encyclopedia of the Occult, Random House Value; (4) Johnstone, Jane, and Pilkington, Maya (editors), The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Fortune Telling, Sterling.
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