- book, divination with
- A well-attested way of finding out one's short-term future, especially for a particular venture, is to open a book at random and read the first words which come to your eye. Some references stipulate the *Bible for this purpose, which is not surprising, but Virgil seems to have been popular, and many seem to imply that any book will do. In some circles, the use of the Bible in such a 'superstitious' way would anyway have been frowned upon. The one time that the Bible seems to be de rigueur is on *New Year's Day, when the coming year can be assessed:It is usually set about with some little solemnity, on the morning of New Year's Day before breakfast, as the ceremony must be performed fasting. The Bible is laid on the table unopened; and the parties who wish to consult it are then to open it in succession. They . . . must open it at random . . . The chapter is then read aloud and commented upon by the company assembled ... (Forby, 1830: 400-1)A correspondent in N&Q (2s:12 (1861), 303) reports the custom from Oxfordshire in the 1850s and says it was called 'dipping' (i.e. to 'dip' into the Bible) and must be done before twelve noon on New Year's Day.St Augustine refers to the haphazard opening of 'the pages of some poet' (Confessions (c. ad 397), iv. v), while the earliest English source is *Scot (1584: book 11, chapter 10) - 'Lots comprised in verses, concerning the luck ensuing, either of Virgil, Homer, or Anie other, wherein fortune is gathered by the sudden turning unto them'. The custom is reported well into the 20th century and is still current.See also *Bible divination.■ Wright and Lones, 1938: i. 40-1; Opie and Tatem, 1989: 35-6.
A Dictionary of English folklore. Jacqueline Simpson & Steve Roud. 2014.
Look at other dictionaries:
Divination — • The seeking after knowledge of future or hidden things by inadequate means Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Divination Divination … Catholic encyclopedia
Book burning — (a category of biblioclasm, or book destruction) is the practice of destroying, often ceremoniously, one or more copies of a book or other written material. In modern times, other forms of media, such as phonograph records, video tapes, and CDs… … Wikipedia
DIVINATION — Man, by nature, longs to know what the future holds for him, either out of inherent curiosity or in order to anticipate the dangers that await him. Therefore, in all ancient civilizations and even in some cultures of today there were diviners who … Encyclopedia of Judaism
divination and fortune-telling — Divination has been a prominent feature of Chinese culture for at least three thousand years. Until recently, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has actively discouraged the practice, but the ‘Open Policy’ inaugurated by the government in 1978… … Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture
Divination — This article is about divination as a whole. For the numerous varieties of divination, see Methods of divination. For other uses, see Divination (disambiguation). This man in Rhumsiki, Cameroon, supposedly tells the future by interpreting the… … Wikipedia
Book of Deuteronomy — Hebrew Bible Tanakh … Wikipedia
Book of Shadows — This article describes the traditional book of Wicca; for other uses, see Book of Shadows (disambiguation). The Book of Shadows is a collection of magical and religious texts of Wicca and other Neopagan witchcraft traditions, containing the core… … Wikipedia
divination — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) n. prediction, prophecy, augury, guess; sorcery. II (Roget s IV) n. Syn. augury, interpretation of omens, prediction, soothsaying, sorcery, calculation, foretelling, foreshadowing, palmistry, prognostics … English dictionary for students
Bible divination — Reported by folklorists all over the country in only slightly differing forms, the Bible and Key was a popular method of divination. In the version collected by Ella M. Leather in 1909 (1912: 65 6), it is used for three purposes to discover a… … A Dictionary of English folklore
Methods of divination — This article is about the numerous varieties of divination. For divination as a whole, see Divination. Innumerable methods of divination can be found around the world, and many cultures practice the same methods under different names. During the… … Wikipedia