A messiah’s face on a grilled cheese sandwich, or an angel in the clouds (otherwise known as pareidolia) is not all that absurd given a basic condition of humanity is to interpret and comprehend the world around us.
Even at a primeval level, the ability to draw deductive conclusions and predict future outcomes allows us to alleviate the elemental pressures of survival – and spend our time doing way more fun stuff.
Was that how we got our taste for it – how we ended up on a journey aeons old and neverending because answers only create more questions?
Who knows – but it turns out humanity became rather obsessed with speculation, auguries and prognostication. However, interpreting and understanding these tenuous sightings is a different matter. And this leads us into the wonderful esoteric worlds of mancies, graphies and ologies.
I’m not religious, which is why I love superstitions.
And it must be said where English may falter in light of foreign terminologies that highlight concision and exactitude, English rules over phobias and divination.
Here are but a few:
an old form of divination using meal or flour.
a form of divination by examining the embryonic sac or amniotic fluid.
the art of divination through the study of burning coals. — anthracomantic, adj.
a form of divination using the entrails of dead men
a form of divination involving the use of an axhead
divination in which marks or words are placed on arrows which are then drawn from a quiver at random.
a form of divination using books or the Bible in which passages are chosen at random and the future foretold from them.
a form of divination involving smoke.
a form of divination involving a key or keys.
a form of divination involving a mirror and its reflections.
1. a form of divination involving listening to stomach sounds.
2. a form of divination by gazing into a crystal ball or a glass full of water.
a form of divination involving the observation of horses, especially by listening to their neighing.
the analysis of the personality and appearance of people by studying their footprints.
a form of divination involving the examination of water in a basin.
a form of divination involving the observation of words and discourse.
a form of divination through observation of the movements of mice.
a form of divination involving the examination of shoulder blades. Cf. armomancy, scapulomancy, spatulamancy.
a form of divination in which the number of knots in a new-born’s umbilical cord are counted to foretell the number of children the mother will have later.
a form of divination involving the letters of a name. Cf. nomancy.
a form of divination involving examination of the fingernails.
a form of divination involving eggs.
a form of divination involving snakes.
a form of divination involving pebbles. Also called psephology, psephomancy.
a form of divination involving fire or flames.
a form of divination involving a rod or wand, especially to locate objects or materials beneath the ground, as water or precious metals; dowsing.
a form of divination by examination of excrement.
a form of divination involving figs or fig leaves.
Rare. a form of divination by studying urine.
Not everyone is gifted with an elevated level of perspicacity – but our right to glean insight from signs about us, especially in nature and inanimate objects is as old and intrinsic as travelling for no reason. And given my experience with the Coffee Bunny and the rather exhaustive list of sketchy mantic practises, I decided why not invent my own brand of hariolation.
I’m not talking about clumsy, and random soothsaying from a tyro traveller, who has just read The Pilgrimage by Paulo Cohelo and stumbles around with a backpack staring up the sky (aeromancy: the art or science of divination by means of the air or winds)… Attaching a new weighted importance to the sight of a bird (ornithomancy/ornithoscopy: a form of divination involving the observation of birds, especially in flight)… Or a butterfly as it flutters to a momentary pause on your hand… Witnessing some abstruse design in the trees (phyllomancy: a form of divination involving the examination of leaves)… Or in the contrast and pattern of a pile of rocks (lithomancy: a form of divination involving rocks or stones)… Or a camp fire (empyromancy: a form of divination involving a fire and smoke) or flicker of a lighter (lampadomancy: a form of divination involving observation of the flame of a torch or lamp) – until a couple of weeks passes and it slowly wears off like a harmless hangover.
Not unlike tasseopgraphy (divination from tea leaves and coffee grounds), which focuses prognostication to the remnants or bottom of a brew – I decided to marry my nascent prescience with my uncompromising morning ritual of drinking two cups of coffee.
However, not to be confused with scyphomancy (a form of divination involving the use of a cup), and staying clear of moromancy (a form of divination that is flawed or foolish), and pseudomancy (a form of divination that is deliberately false or misleading) – I wanted to create a new specific foundation for fortune telling which concentrated on the untainted head of a freshly brewed coffee.
So I invented Baristaomancy.
Baristaomancy: Clairvoyance of reading the foamy head of milk based coffees.
Any which way you look at this is a portent of bad shit.
Okay, so a phoenix rising from the ashes is a bit more favourable auspice in context to the previous morning.
A definite pattern was starting to develop.
And morning coffee, which was always a sacred ritual for me started to become a harbinger of doom.
But the message was eluding my precognitive ability.
I mean were my morning coffees trying to tell me I had already been chosen in futurepast to battle Google when it became self aware, in a post apocalyptic future with a reengage band of human survivors?
Then it all got weird.
I started to wonder if I was taking baristaomancy all too seriously.
Shit man, morning coffee was getting serious.
At least the atomic explosions started to subside towards the end of my two week trial.
But maybe morning coffee in the end isn’t supposed to presage anything serious.
It is often said signs are all around us. Fukn oath. Taken literally there are fukn signs all around us. Driving through my hometown there are road signs covering nine fukn speed zones: 30km, 40km, 50km, 60km, 70km, 80km, 90km, 100km, 110km. I guess this helps the police raise revenue while feeling good about it because they’re kind of preventing drivers from dying in speeding cars.
But in the end I suppose no matter how abstruse and adumbrative the signs are, we tend to only see the ones that are desirable to our future. It is infinitely harder foreseeing that which we should do, or is right to do but we simply don’t want to.
I think I might return to my preferred prognostication:
oenomancy: a form of divination involving observation of the colours and other features of wine.
And the less limiting:
boozomancy: a form of divination involving the consummation of shit loads of booze.
And return to my ordinary wholesome ritual of drinking coffee to yang my yin each morning.