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Oracle of Sieve and Shears (The)


This method of divination is mentioned by Theocʹritos. The modus operandi was as follows:—The points of the shears were stuck in the rim of a sieve, and two persons supported them with their finger-tips. Then a verse of the Bible was read aloud, and St. Peter and St. Paul were asked if it was A, B, or C (naming the persons suspected). When the right person was named, the sieve would suddenly turn round.

“Searching for things lost with a sieve and shears.”—Ben Jonson: Alchemist, i. 1.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Opus Majus
Opus Operantis
Opus Operatum
Or Ever
Oracle (Sir)
Oracle of the Church (The)
Oracle of the Holy Bottle, Bacbuc
Oracle of Sieve and Shears (The)
Orange Lilies (The)
Orange Lodges
Orange Peel
Orange Blossoms Worn at Weddings
Orator Henley
Orbilian Stick (The)