I’ve always had a thing for the word, augury. I think it is because, to me, it has deep associations with older cultures than the one that we live in today. It is not a word that you hear bandied about in common conversation. In fact, I believe it was via a historical text that I came across the word in the first place. It is actually this title that I use, specifically augur, when I talk about my work with divination: I prefer to be called an augur as opposed to a seer, soothsayer, oracle or herald. Honestly, I cannot even begin to put my finger on just what it is about it that really makes me sit up and take notice, either.
I guess we all have little things that make us smile.
Now the definition of augury via Dictionary-Dot-Com is “1. the art or practice of an augur, divination; 2. the rite or ceremony of an augur; 3. an omen, token, or indication.” This history of this word stems from its inception in ancient Rome. “Originally augury was performed by interpreting signs from birds to determine whether a proposed action had divine approval.” (As taken from About-Dot-Com’s page on the subject.) “It was on the basis of augury that the legendary Romulus and Remus attempted to settle their dispute as to where the new city that would become Rome should be situated.” I was always under the impression that the actual form of divination was utilized in regards to the flock formations that birds were flying in (I could be wrong since I cannot recall, quite correctly, all that I know about this). In later times, it came to represent not just this form of divination, but divination in the form of studying the entrails of animals.
To me, augury has never just been a simple aspect to one ancient religion and its practices. It has always been an all-encompassing phrase just like omen and portent. It was never just a specific form of divination to me, even though I have only ever heard of it in reference to the ancient Roman divination practices. It is, to me, as broadly generalized as the word divination, but it is also specific… because it is what I use to describe myself in my divination capacities and what I do when I perform divination.
When I decide that I must look to the future, either for myself or for others, I use Tarot cards to see forward. I have, as I’ve mentioned a lot, used Tarot cards for the last eleven (nearly twelve) years. I picked them up in an effort to become closer to my mother who, also, had an affinity for a little bit of the occult and chose to show this interest via Tarot cards. (This was the 70s, mind you.) I’ve always enjoyed using Tarot cards. They have become, over the years, a secondary aspect to myself. As I mentioned recently to Snow recently, I tend to get cranky and snotty if I go too long without picking up a deck. It isn’t so much that I get pissy or blocked after going so long, but that in using them, it is a form of meditation tool (as she pointed out to me).
I have often found that the mantle of seeing the future is uncomfortable, but only because most people still find it difficult to understand. It has been an on-going struggle with those of us who practice this service to explain Tarot cards and their meanings unto others who have no connection with it or understanding it. I am specifically thinking of the negative press Hollywood has given the DEATH card in Tarot readings: always, always there is that one person whose eyes grow wide with fear if/when it appears in their readings.
Another discomfiture is that we must also set down rules, in effect, telling them that just because they so desire to know the answer of this question that doesn’t mean that they will learn the answer of said question: the subconscious has precedent in the realm of the cards. And in fact, any form of divination… whether we like it or not. This is something that most querents cannot understand because they think that if they focus hard enough on a subject then that is what will come through. However, as I said, the subconscious has the precedent in this realm. And this is oft-times irritating to the reader. Alas, the bitter pills one must swallow to do things that they enjoy.
I have also found that wearing the self-titled mantle of augur tends to exclude me from the masses when it comes to practicing divination. (Unfortunately, it would appear that my love of such a long-dead word has left me with a very small following. In this I would like to quote Michael Bolton from Office Space: “No way! Why should I change?”) This is another unfortunate side effect, however more along the lines of having one foot so firmly rooted in history and one in this century.
And at this ending point, I would like to whore out my divination services for anyone with a Facebook who can like it.