Living with uncertainty is our natural human condition. Moment to moment we don’t really know what’s coming next. For many of us uncertainty causes worry. We compensate for this by establishing patterns and making “plans” that for the most part seem to make life more predictable; everything else we designate the vagaries of chance, or “accidents.”
Nowadays, everyone seems more worried; fast-changing world and national events are keeping us in a tizzy. Accordingly, I’ve been looking into various methods of “fortune telling” that might prove useful. ASTROLOGY is a bit too “age of Aquarius” for me, but AEROMANCY, divination by climatic conditions, appeals to me. Of course, there’s always the Weather Channel.
CATOPTROMANCY, divination through mirrors, fits well with my discovery that there’s no hand-mirror at my house, and that not every pharmacy in town even carries one. I’m trying to predict the hair loss on the top of my head. TYROMANCY, divination by cheese, sounds absolutely delicious and I’m willing to risk a few bucks on a taste of the future.
GASTROMANCY, stomach divination (what we today call meditation or “navel gazing”), is something I do everyday anyway, it turns out. I’m certain it provides the answers, but less sure as to the questions. As a child, I always liked to play with melting candle wax (much to the irritation of my mother), so imagine my delight when I learned about CEROMANCY, plunging melted wax into water and then observing the figure which the hardened wax reveals. But what if it turns out to reveal the head and face of, of…oh, my, it’s too terrifying!
I read a headline on the web, though probably Fake News, about America running out of bacon. This inclines me towards CHOIROMANCY, divination by swine, but regrettably, I’m fresh out of swine herds. Speaking of meat, however, I’m a regular at Sonoma Market, and consideration of HARUSPICINE, divination by examining the entrails of sacrificed animals, came to mind. More of a 4H-type project, though, I think.
AUGURY, divination by observing the flight of birds, would get me outside more; that would make my cardiologist happy. I’ve always wondered, though, is it flight to my right or the bird’s that I’m observing? And of course, there’s the particularly pleasurable fortune-telling method of CAPNOMANCY, divination by smoke reading. I’ve spent countless hours watching curls of smoke caught in sunlight become vines and animals.
ASTRAGALOMANCY, divination by dice, comes up when I play Yahtzee with my granddaughter. That I will lose is certain, say the dice and my granddaughter, both.
Some people, I among them, have had the luck and luxury of spending life feeling safe. This sudden onrush of anxiety and uncertainty provides an opportunity to reflect on the extent to which many other people, such as the undocumented, spend lives in perpetual fear; for them, feeling vulnerable and worried are normal.
The future is uncertain, as are our fortunes. Nonetheless, we do the best we can under the circumstances, though it’s worth noting that without uncertainty every insurance company in the world would disappear. Just sayin’.
Here’s the big wrap-up: Moment to moment, our lives unfurl in perfect synchrony with the unfurling of time itself and all things caught within its nowness. In the immortal words of Scoop Nisker, “That’s the news. If you don’t like it go out and make some of your own.”