From the Greek sternon ('the chest') and manteia ('divination'), it is the art and practice of divining by the breast or the breastbone.
There are various methods and traditions of Sternomancy. In its most common form, omens are taken from the appearance of the breast bone (or sternum) of beast or man, often victims of sacrifice. The size and shape of the bone were taken into account, as well as the way in which the bone burned when placed into the fire. The old holiday custom of the breaking of a chicken's or turkey's wishbone by two persons is actually a remnant of this mode of divination.
In another method of Sternomancy, believed to be an early form of Ventriloquism, the diviner would speak through the chest while making the prediction.
On yet another method of Sternomancy, the appearance of the area between the breast (or chest) and the belly of an individual were taken into consideration for the prognostication.
Fortune telling by the form of the female breast was also practiced, and considered to be a variant of Sternomancy. In 18th century Spain it was widely believed that one could decipher a woman's personality or character simply by looking at her breasts.
According to this method of divination, women with small breasts are mostly concerned about the faithfulness of their partners, while women with large breasts are optimistic, cheerful and sensual, being very inventive in bed and expecting the same from their partners; a well-shaped protruding nipple confirms the powerful and dominating character of a woman, while a small or inverted nipple tells of a private and reserved character. The following list describes other divining interpretations based in women's breast shape:
1. Fox nose shaped breasts (springboard-shaped breasts) — denotes smart and reserved women. These women do not usually reach anything professionally, because they are too lazy to show any initiative. A ‘fox’ can become a very good wife for practically any man, and such women usually build successful families.
2. Cherry shaped breasts — women with very small breasts that look like cherries are distinctive for their sociable character, being reasonable and easy-going. They can be very good and reliable partners in everyday life, although they do not give special emphasis to physical intimacy.
3. Apple shaped breasts — denotes a hard-working woman, who mates for life. These women do not like to change partners.
4. Pear shaped breasts — these women are lovable and will indulge in liaisons as often as they can, rarely declining a chance for romance. However, it is impossible to tame these women. They are independent, willful but unintelligent, which makes them attractive to men.
5. Lemon shaped breasts — these women are full of life and are capable of criticizing themselves, although they prefer to lead a quieter lifestyle.
6. Melon shaped breasts — women with melon-shaped breasts like being admired and pampered. They like to eat, valuing delicious food and constantly developing their cooking skills.
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Sources: (1) Morwyn, The Complete Book Of Psychic Arts, Llewellyn Publications; (2) Walker, Charles, The Encyclopedia of the Occult, Random House Value; (3) Dunwich, Gerina, A Wiccan's Guide to Prophecy and Divination, Carol Publishing Group; (4) Pickover, Clifford A., Dreaming the Future: The Fantastic Story of Prediction, Prometheus Books; (5) Johnstone, Jane, and Pilkington, Maya (editors), The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Fortune Telling, Sterling Publishers.
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