A couple years ago, after re-reading one of my favorite M.R. James stories, “The Ash Tree,” I was reminded of the “lost art” of bibliomancy and wrote the blog post found here. Re-reading it this week, I realized that I had threatened to make my “Experiment in Bibliomancy” an annual November 1st event and – promptly forgot about it. So, I’m bringing it back tomorrow!
What exactly is Bibliomancy? In the simplest terms, Google reveals that it is “foretelling the future by interpreting a randomly chosen passage from a book, especially the Bible.” The protagonist of M.R. James’s “The Ash Tree” uses the Bible, but for my purposes last time I just looked for “the biggest book I could find,” which happened to be a multi-thousand page ebook of the complete works of Jack London.
This year, it will be the “Song of Ice and Fire Edition,” as I will use the text of the first three books in that series as my source for “random access” quotations. I’ll first start each randomization in book 1 randomly picking a page and looking at the length of the first word on the page 1-letter word sends me to the first book, 2-letter word to the second, 3-letters to the third, 4-letters back to the 1st book, 5-letters to the second and so on. I’ll be asking three questions. And no, I haven’t decided what they will be yet. Mine probably will be personal, but maybe just one could be an at-large question someone suggests here in the comments, or a political question like who will the next president be, or some other one related to current events. Any ideas to help me out? Have YOU ever tried Bibliomancy? What book or books did you use? Last time, I mentioned I might use Bartlett’s Quotations the next time around, but I fear that makes things to easy for the “bibliomancer” to interpret…
Image below found here