Predicting stuff (HLD 256)

3 Dec 2020

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we shouldn’t plan too far ahead of ourselves.

Our state, in the last couple of days, announced that it will finally open up to two of the states who’ve had a worse run with the virus than we have had. They appear to be free of community transmission, and accordingly will be allowed to enter the state without quarantining for a fortnight.

All over the state, the excitement was palpable. People were talking about booking flights for Christmas and/or school holiday visits with family and friends that have been sorely missed.

And then today one of the states announced a case of the virus they may or may not show up some community transmission. And that particular state had open borders with the other state.

The excitement that was evident a day or two ago is now tentative anguish. What was so close to becoming something approaching normality might just get shut down yet again.

Which led, in a very vague sort of way, to today’s diarrhoea…. Predicting stuff.

I was reading last night about various methods people have used through the ages, to make predictions.

So put aside your astrology charts, palm reading and your tarot cards, and let’s investigate:

Hieromancy – we will sacrifice an animal and examine their entrails (notably the liver), and see if any omens appear. I couldn’t find too much information about what omens we will find in this process, but it appears that if the liver is healthy, this is a positive sign, but if the liver lacked a lobe, doom was all but certain. Either way, it was not a good sign for the animal being sacrificed.

Ornithomancy – is bird watching taken to the weird level. We will take note in detail of the number, flight, and cries or songs of both wild birds or sacred caged chickens to determine whether a business transaction, marriage or purchase of food should take place.

Tyromancy – quite obviously we could tell the future by using cheese. We will examine the shapes of holes in cheese for clues, but there is also the option, for young women, of writing the names of suitors on pieces of cheese. The first to go mouldy was believed to be the ideal mate. Personally I’d prefer a less mouldy life partner, but what do I know?

Amniomancy – involves inspecting the caul, a membrane that covers the head of a baby upon birth – a rare occurrence that very few babies are born with. Apparently the colour of the caul would tell you whether the person would have a happy or tragic life. In ancient Poland though, if you saw a caul upon birth, it meant your child would one day become a vampire. Handy to know.

Alectromancy – back to chooks again, this one will have you examining how a rooster pecks at grain to determine the future.

Nephomancy – we will work out the future by examining cloud shapes. I can do this one, a bit. If there’s no clouds, there is a high chance it’s going to be sunny. If there’s lots of thick dark clouds, there’s a good chance of rain. Aren’t you amazed at my skills?

Pyromancy – we will gaze into the fire. If there’s a marshmallow on a stick in the fire, something sweet will come our way.

Lithomancy – is making predictions using stones or gems. Or the light reflecting from the stones. My guess is if it’s a weighty stone being tossed towards your head, you may be in danger. If it’s a bit sparkly diamond, you may have love in your future.

Let’s just hope your love doesn’t go mouldy.

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