In ancient Rome these were a special caste of magician-priests who interpreted natural phenomena which was believed to represent messages sent from the gods. The natural phenomena, or signs, included flights if birds, patterns in clouds and smoke, and markings on livers of sacrificial animals. Signs appearing on the augurs’ east were considered favorable and those on the west were unfavorable.
It is interesting to note the liver rather than the heart was considered the body’s central organ. A.G.H.
Drury, Nevil. The Watkins Dictionary of Magic. London. Watkins Publishing. 2005. p. 29
Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. “Divination.” Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience. New York. HarperCollins. 1991. p. 151