Xylomancy is the act of predicting the future through the use of woods and twigs. The word comes from the Greek xylo (wood) and manteia (divination). The interpretation comes from the sources of fallen branches, shapes of trees, or other ominous wood formations.
In this practice, every detail is taken; the wood’s size, shape, color, health, location, thickness, or grain pattern.
Xylomancy was a subject taught at least once in the North Tower at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It involved the often-overlooked method of divination which relied upon twigs.
In 1926, the New York Ghost announced that Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was to start offering extracurricular Xylomancy classes.
Xylomancy was practiced by druids, witches, sorcerers and other neo pagans. However, the story tells that the seers of Biblical times examined and interpreted the drawings formed on the ground by branches, buds and other pieces of tree. Initially only branches that had fallen naturally were used, but over the years, fortune tellers used to remove half of the shells from the branches and throw them on the ground, forming a random drawing. The branches that fell with the shelled face upwards would be interpreted.
Today, xylomancy practitioners observe the arrangement of the branches of the first tree they find on their path. They check if it is very tangled, if its branches are very crooked or very straight and if it has or doesn’t have many buds. Divination can also be achieved through any of the other senses, either by examining the smell, sound or taste of the object.