Adventures in Bibliomancy.

As a teenager, I was really big into the whole Tarot thing. I’ve mentioned before how this was, like, the one connection I had with my mother that wasn’t tainted by our constantly haranguing each other by existing. It was like, a kind of test of sorts to see if connecting with my ancestors would be a way to go. Even though the ancestor in question is still very much alive and is only just one generation ago, I still see it as my first general foray into the idea of “ancestor veneration.” While I never went further than picking up a habit my mother used to have when she had been my age, it still feels like a proper beginning of sorts for all of that. This was part of the reason why I’ve eschewed all other forms of divination: it kind of felt like cheating.

I could get away with oracle decks because, in effect, it’s similar if not the same damn thing as utilizing Tarot for divination purposes. On the other hand, I also actually prefer the oracle decks because the meanings aren’t necessarily as static as they can be with certain Tarot decks. And yet, I’ve always just gone right back to Tarot simply because of my mom. It’s that connection there. And while she doesn’t do this stuff anymore (thus asking me for all of her readings), it’s still a bond we can discuss without having to puzzle out whatever the fuck the other one is saying. (And as a morbidly depressed teenager, that was like a fucking gods send right there.)

Color me surprised when I got the feels to actually, you know, try a new divination method.

My friend, Dodger has been doing bibliomancy readings for a while. I’ve gotten a few from her and let me tell you, it’s always been pretty fucking accurate. There was a single time when I had to ask for clarification and, you know, the riddle within the paradox within the enigma there was because certain gods were mucking about, making things a good deal more complicated than they need to be. So, I started thinking, “Hey, I could do this with the Book of Going Forth By Day.” And wouldn’t you know it? I happen to have a decent copy on hand and I thought, well, why not? Obviously, I could inject a little caveat that said something like, “Accuracy not guaranteed as this is my first attempt,” etc. And I ultimately did do that. So, just before I started taking asks on Tumblr for my first ever attempt on bibliomancy, she posts a handy-dandy guide to getting started.

It was like, you know, fate or something.

I’m going to pause while you click that link to the Bibliomancy Guide and give it a read. It’s really helpful knowledge, she wrote it and that’s an automatic “awesome” in my book, and it will also let you know what the fuck I’m talking about. …All right? Are you done? Excellent. Let’s move on and discuss my adventure!

To start with, I decided to experiment on myself on Thursday. I knew I would do a slew of bibliomancy requests on Friday, but I had to iron out exactly what to do. (Dodger hadn’t posted her guide when I began experimenting.) I spoke with another friend of mine who had done the same experimentation only a few days before. She also agreed to be my guinea pig for that night along with myself. (By the way, thanks, Dusken, for being my guinea pig and talking me through it.) Now, the book I had chosen, Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead from R.O. Faulkner, as put out in a super gigantic hard cover edition by Barnes and Noble, was not particularly fond of cooperating. I tried going through and just letting the book fall open on its own: nope. It was too heavy to fall open to a page I hadn’t bookmarked in some way myself. I tried just randomly letting my finger decide what page to open it up to: the pages stuck together. I tried using a random number generator and I would get zero feels about this.

Since my first experimentation was on myself and I had a specific thing in mind when I was doing it, I have a couple of ideas as to why the book didn’t work. Even though it’s usually a habit to choose sacred books to do these things – and we can argue that, as a Kemetic, this particular book is pretty fucking sacred – I was trying to communicate with Hetheru. Since the book was more about death and dying and spells, it probably would have been better suited for a conversation with any of the deities more intrinsically tied to death and dying: Wesir, Aset, Anup, Ma’at… Anyone who may have some role in the whole process, from protection to actually overseeing your heart being weighed, would have been better suited to this book.

So, I’m in a quandary. The book isn’t cooperating with me, which felt like it probably wouldn’t work with Dusken’s trial and error session.

What to do?

I have a lot of books and I spent a good while perusing my bookshelves. Even though the stuff that I’ve read from Dodger and from other websites talked about using a sacred book, I wasn’t willing to try any of my other magical texts or historical books. This wasn’t supposed to be anything more than fun, right? I was supposed to be happy about working with a new divination system, right? So, I went to my fiction books and my hand snagged on Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. This book is pretty much sacred to me, which I felt made it damn appropriate. This book has walked me through some of the most severe depression bouts imaginable in my teenager years and I re-read the entire series every summer. (It reminds me of summers in Misquamicut, actually, since I usually took the book with me when we went on vacation.)

Now, as to the process of actually going through with this, I thought about trying to let the book fall open on its own. I’ve recently had to purchase a new copy, however, so I don’t think it would have fallen open as easily as, say, the original copy my mother still owns [from when it was first published]. Also, I only imagined a hundred, thousand paper cuts forming at the thought of slipping my fingers across the slick pages. So, I ended up going with the random number generator version. Instead of just letting it random generate a single number for this task, I had it generate three random numbers (starting from the beginning of the book at page 1 and ending at the final page of the novel). I then added those together, averaged them out, and I had the page I should be searching on.

I then ran my finger across the page until my hand/finger/arm/shoulder started zinging with shocks. That’s when I knew I had found the proper annotation for the person in question.

Over all, my experimentation with random people seems to have gone well. The first night with Dusken was hilarious. (She knows what I’m on about.) The next night was serious business. It was very tiring and very draining. I couldn’t keep chocolate and caffeine in my system long enough to answer the volley of requests. This reminds me very much of the days that I decided I would just open myself up to Tarot readings, for free, from any number of individuals and ended up killing myself in the process. I learned, back then, from my Tarot free-for-all that I could max out on five readings a day. I don’t remember how many bibliomancy requests I had but I do know that I had many more than five.

This leaves me with the realization that I have to limit myself.

This leaves me with the realization that I need to be more fully rested.

This also leaves me with the realization that this whole thing is fun.

And I should do it again.

17 thoughts on “Adventures in Bibliomancy.

  1. I approve this post because it’s has to do with me.
    All narcissism aside, I think I need to write up that part three soon and possibly do an extended version of how to select a book for bibliomancy. Sacred books are the most common in the traditional sense, but I’ve definitely used a variety of fiction books from A Song of Ice and Fire to the Sookie Stackhouse novels. And there’s a bit of a coincidence going on right now because someone just sent me a question on how to choose a book for bibliomancy. I think I’ll work on that now.
    But! I am glad to see you’re enjoying this new technique. If you have any questions, definitely let me know and we can talk about it. Bibliomancy for e’ryone.

    • I’m going to have to do this again with other books, just to see what the hell they come up with. I really enjoyed the experience and even though it totally kicked my ass, I was amazed at how easy/fun it was over all.

  2. by Anpu’s ears you’ve read Ender’s Game! Not just that but the series! I love you :D I adore Ender’s Game and not enough people have read it T-T I unfortunately never got the chance to read the rest of the series. Oh, and bibliomancy totes sounds like fun :D

    • It’s funny, too, because my mom recommended the book to me for years. And I was like, “No, I don’t read sci-fi, kthnx.” And then in high school, I finally picked it up. And I’m just like, “How did I not read this before?”

      The rest of the series is decent, although I have issues with book 3 & 4 because it rapidly departs from what you’ve come to expect with the first two books. If nothing else, I recommend Speaker for the Dead. Heartily.

      • it’s not even really all that sci-fi either, it’s totally a psych book. I love how thought provoking it is, it’s just abnormal. Kinda like Catcher in the Rye. There’s just something about those books that just says “hi brain, BOOYAH, now you’re confused and want to read me again!” I’ll def check out Speaker for the Dead

              • Animal Farm is an allegory about government and how it can go wrong. The animals on a farm take over and make a communism. For many years the farm is quite successful until the leader (a pig) dies and another pig takes over. As he turns the farm into a Republic of sorts he slowly takes over the other animals and restricts their freedom, breaking all the rules that the first pig laid down. Eventually the farm is a mess and the pig and his buddies turn into fat humans. The law has been rewritten to “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

  3. “I was trying to communicate with Hetheru. Since the book was more about death and dying and spells, it probably would have been better suited for a conversation with any of the deities more intrinsically tied to death and dying:”

    wha? *blinks* She’s “Mistress of the West” too. Hands out snacks and drinks to the dead. Is shown in tons of funerary art. And there’s the Beautiful Feast of the Western Valley.

    I wonder if Gaiman’s “American Gods” would work. I don’t think I have a paper copy though. Or maybe Good Omens, or some Pratchett.

    • Maybe it was the aspect I was trying to contact? I was looking for information from hwr ecstatic, gold persona.

      But in all honestly, the problem was probably because the book is hard cover as well as the fact that I hadn’t tried the random number generator.

      Also, I know of someone who used American Gods. I will also have to try with Good Omens, though.

  4. Pingback: Bibliomancy: What Are Sacred Books? | The Crow and the Hound

  5. Pingback: Bibliomancy: What Are Sacred Books? | The Crossroads Forest

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