Wednesday, December 30, 2015
A bibliomancy game for the New Year
I bet you have done this some time: opened a book at random to get a thought for the day. Maybe you have done it with a question or theme in your mind, to see what response the book will give you. You can do this to get a second opinion on a dream, or on why your partner hasn't called you to day, or on what the quality of the day will be. Doing divination by the book has been going on as long as humans have had anything resembling pages that could be turned or shuffled. The Sybilline books of ancient Rome were actually a stack of loose leaves. Many, across the centuries have turned to a sacred book, as Lincoln turned to his family Bible. Many have consulted books that are reverenced in a certain culture, like the works of Homer or Virgil, Dante or Rumi. The formal name for divination by the book is bibliomancy. When you are content to work with just a line or two on the page in front of you, the exact learned name is stichomancy, meaning divination by the line or verse. You can play the game with any book at all, one you notice in the New Arrivals at a library or bookstore, one that a shelf elf pushes off a bookcase at home, one a friend is reading on the bus or the airplane. Sometimes it's fun to give yourself coordinates. You'll pick a book - any book at all - and go to a certain page and find a certain line and see what is there for you. Typically, you'll need to read around the line you selected, up and down a line or two, to get a finished sentence or thought from the book. At the turning of the year, I like to play games that offer a chance to sneak a peek at coming attractions over the next twelve months. Dreams remembered on or around New Year's Day are especially interesting. You can set the intention to dream into the coming year. I like to do this by setting an intention along these lines:
Show me the best things I can manifest in my life over the coming year,
Often, I will cast I Ching or tarot, or both, on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, for a first flavor of the coming year. This year, I am recommending to dreamers who play with me that we all do bibliomancy by the number, on or around the first day of 2016, The number, of course, is the number of the coming year: 2016. Applied to book divination, it gives us a few options. You could go to page 20, line 16. Or to page 201, line 6. Or to chapter 20, line 16. You get the idea.
Give it a try. And yes, you're allowed to do it more than once.
I gave it a test-run just now. I set the general intention: "Show me something I need to know about 2016". I took a book from my shelves that I had intended to reread in my current study of Mircea Eliade. It is his Portugal Journal, detailing his personal life from 1941 to 1945. I turned to page 201, line 6. The first three words are
write a novel
I go back to line 5 for the beginning of the statement and on to line 7 for its conclusion. I now have
I must write a novel someday with "Foreign Affairs" in it and bring to light the strange freemasonry of these individuals. And write it I will.
Yes, Mircea, I think I must. Multumesc.
For more games of bibliomancy, please see my book Sidewalk Oracles: Playing with Signs, Symbols and Synchronicity in Everyday Life