Just to show off, I have three magical X words for this post.
Xenoglossey is the term for the phenomena of spontaneously speaking or writing a language other than one’s own without training in that language—speaking in tongues. It’s not one of those things that happen every day and many of the cited cases I’ve seen have been later debunked or in some way negated. Still, reports of hypnosis patients who burst into an ancient language or one they have been hitherto unfamiliar with do occur. I tend to think that it might be a residual of a past life but thought has no language. We all have a kind of babblefish in our ears (See Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) as we move from life to life and whatever or whoever we were in a previous life is expressed in whatever language we are currently working with. I suspect that if you discover you have an affinity for a particular language, it may be a kind of Xenoglossey. Some languages just sound nice to me—they make sense even though I don’t know the words and when I take a little time to study them, it comes easily. Others I could study until pigs learn to fly and never learn any of it.
Xenomancy is a kind of divination based on chance meetings with strangers. It’s a very old practice from a less congested, more isolated time. If you meet a member of the clergy, that’s bad—especially if he is riding a donkey ( I will refrain from ass jokes considering the weighty subject matter at hand.) If you meet a crazy person, that’s good. Meeting a woman with a child is good luck. Mostly, though, the event is dependent on the circumstances and open to interpretation by the individual. For instance, if you are wondering if you should move to a different city and you are thinking of Chicago, meeting someone from Chicago would be a strong sign.
Xylomancy is another kind of divination. For this one, you use twigs and sticks in your path to predict future events. In its purest form, the sticks and twigs should have fallen naturally, but casting sticks is another form of Xylomancy. It’s probably a residual of the days when we all worshipped trees, believing they were not only invested with spirits but were also connected to the cosmos in a way humans were not. Watch closely and you’ll see a Xylomancy textbook on the shelves at Hogwarts. The arrangement of logs in the fireplace and how they fall as they burn is another form of Xylomancy.