A form of divination performed by going round continually
in a circle, the circumference of which was marked by letters.
The presage was drawn from the words formed by the letters
on which the inquirers stumbled when they became too giddy
to stand. This practice has a curious connection with the familiar
technique of psychic circles, in which the sitters place a finger
on a glass surrounded by letters of the alphabet, when the
glass touches letters in turn to give words or messages.
The object of this routine was simply to exclude the interference
of the will and reduce the selection of letters to mere
chance. In some species of enchantment, however, the art of
turning round was to produce a prophetic delirium. The religious
dances, and the rotation of certain devotees on one foot,
with their arms stretched out (for example, the (see Dervishes),
are of this nature. These cases really indicate a kind of mystical
In the phenomenon known as St. Vitus’ Dance, and the
movements of the convulsionaries, manifestations of spirit intelligence
were quite common. The tendency of the spiritual
force is to act spirally, rhythmically, whether in the use of language
or of the bodily members. (See planchette)
Waite, Arthur Edward. The Occult Sciences. 1891. Reprint, Secaucus,
N.J. University Books, 1974.