Tag Archives: divination

THE HOUSE OF VELVET AND GLASS

By Katherine Howe

Katherine Howe weaves fictional magic involving tales of ancestral bloodlines, curses, ghosts, and witch trials. All of this spun amid solid historical fact. In this book, Boston at the turn of the last century, anchors the story of Sibyl Allston, a woman who is resigned to her role as family caretaker after she loses her mother and younger sister on the Titanic.    

Once a society debutante, Sibyl’s circle now includes a medium with whom she hopes to reconnect with her dead family members. When her younger brother is dismissed from Harvard for reasons he won’t disclose, Sibyl seeks out a former romantic acquaintance for help. Professor Benton Jones, who is recently widowed comes to her aid. Sibyl gets caught up in the opium dens of Boston’s Chinatown as she falls increasingly under the spell of the medium she has come to trust. Can Benton help her to solve what’s going on now and in the family’s past?     

The book is character-driven and slow in places. The period descriptions and blending of the paranormal with an investigation keeps things interesting overall. The author uses multiple points of view to frame the story. Sibyl has her tale but so does her father Lan, her mother Helen, her sister Eulah, and her brother Harlan. Ultimately, this is a story about Sibyl finding her truth after much searching. A good book to be enjoyed for its characterization, setting, and the thoughts it provokes on fate versus free will. And just for fun, the author provides directions on how to do your own scrying!

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SIDEWALK ORACLES

Playing with Signs, Symbols, & Synchronicity in Everyday Life by Robert Moss

This is a book of practical kairomancy— the author’s word for the practice of navigating by synchronicity. I had a little giggle reflecting on the fact that I grew up in a place called “Cairo” and the topic of Jung’s meaningful coincidences has fascinated me for years. Greek in origin, Kairos is all about openings and this book is all about getting the reader to seize these precious opportunities to expand life experience. Kairos moments can seem weird and wacky, but they hint at a connectedness or a “hidden-hand” playfully nudging—calling us to engage. How do we begin this process?

The book outlines twelve basic principles underlying the mindset required to maximize your experience while practicing kairomancy. The most important elements of the practice are summed up in the OATH:

     O= Open to new experience

     A= Available to set aside plans and the confines of boxes.

     T= Thankful for everything that happens on the journey

     H= Honor special moments by taking action   

YOU as Kairomancer: Let’s Play!

The book contains descriptions of seventeen games. Below are three that caught my eye.

SIDEWALK TAROT: This game can be played in several ways. Probably the easiest version, and the one I’ve tried, requires you to pose a question. The author suggests the form of the question be “I would like guidance on …” Any issue large or small is fine. Ask your question, set your time period, and believe you will be answered. (As an example, I’ve asked my question, chosen my time period to be my walk around the block with my dog, and usually I’ll impose the first three unusual things I notice in the neighborhood to be my “answers.”) I’ve done this several times and it can be a very profound practice requiring you sit with the answers and ponder deep connections. Give it a try.   

LISTEN FOR YOUR DAILY KLEDON: A kledon refers to the first sound heard after a silent period. This game requires being alert to bits of conversation, singing, animal or bird calls. How do these tidbits answer questions you’ve been thinking about? What themes are they alerting you to? What’s the first thing you heard when you woke today?

DIVINATION BY THE BOOK: (also called “bibliomancy”) Choose a book (one that has special meaning for you, maybe a spiritual book, a journal, etc.) or you can just reach for whatever is handy on the shelf. Ask your question (or remain open for whatever the book brings). Randomly, open the book. Close your eyes and let your fingers wander over the page. When you’re ready, open your eyes, and read the passage. How does this relate to your question? To your life?  

If you’re ready to play, the universe is ready to meet you half- way. This is a book filled with weird, wonderful tales of unexpected coincidence. There are countless ways to dance with the trickster energy of synchronicity. This is a great starting point. Let me know how you get on.    

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