Divination by means of entrails. This was probably the most frequent form of divination in the ancient world, although after the Roman period it fell largely into disuse in the West. The liver and intestines were the parts most closely examined.
There is an ancient Babylonian clay model of a lamb's liver, divided into fifty-five separate zones of significance. The origins of the practice may lie in a primitive form of autopsy practised by pastoral tribes: if the animals' insides showed signs of ill-health, it was time to move on.
The extispices of the Roman religious colleges were the aruspices or augurs.
One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.
Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one defintion may be universally accepted by all Pagans. Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.
Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church. Take for instance the differring practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.
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