Tuesday, September 11, 2007


What is Bibliomancing? Why do I do it? Who should care?

I offer this passage that I've copied from the dictionary.com site:

bib·li·o·man·cy /ˈbɪblioʊˌmænsi/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[bib-lee-oh-man-see] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
divination by means of a book, esp. the Bible, opened at random to some verse or passage, which is then interpreted.
[Origin: 1745–55; biblio- + -mancy]
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
American Heritage Dictionary - Cite This Source
bib·li·o·man·cy (bĭb'lē-ə-mān'sē) Pronunciation Key
n. pl. bib·li·o·man·cies
Divination by interpretation of a passage chosen at random from a book, especially the Bible.

(Download Now or Buy the Book)
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Online Etymology Dictionary - Cite This Source
1753, "divination by opening a book (especially the Bible) at random," the first verse presenting itself being taken as a prognostication of future events, from Gk. biblion (see Bible) + manteia "divination." Before the Bible, in pagan times, Homer (sortes Homericæ) and Virgil (sortes Virgilianæ) were similarly used.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper

For years, as long as I can remember in fact, I have loved books. Part of that is due to the fact that my mother raised me as a reader, always giving me books, reading to me, and with me. We did not have a television, so I spent a lot of my time reading. I pretty much read anything I could get my hands on: cookbooks, phone books, dictionaries, bibles, philosophy, trash romance, mysteries, mythology, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, the classics, psychology, anthropology, history, critiuque and analysis, anything, you name it!

I have always had books in m y house, everywhere, all over it, in various states of being read by me. I like to read many many books at the same time, because my mind likes to digest and think about and meditate on and consider many many ideas and go to many worlds. Books are like places I can go, experiences I can have. I meet people there, do things, learn things, grow. The writers are my friends. I have always considered them so.

Many of my frames of reference to my experiences of reality are to books, to ideas and things and people and events and places in books I've read.
How I've longed for a literate social circle, well-read companions who can nod at my sometimes apparent obscure references and remarks. How I love that moment of recognition when someone knows what I'm talking about!

Often, over the years, my bed mates have been books. One full side is dappled with books opened to pages, bookmarked, tucked under the pillow next to me, on the pillow, under sheets, on top of the covers, whatever. The books are there and they make me happy. I feel I can trust them. They can't change their minds, or go back on what they said, or try to change reality from anything than it already is within the covers. They are reliable. They have opinions and consciousness and are interesting and thought provoking. They are maddening, reassuring, hilarious, terrifying, and sad.
They are beautiful and silly, courageous, and plain. They do what they do and that's that. And you can always go back to them and there they are, exactly like before, only different, because of you. I love reading books again and again and seeing how they are different because I have changed. Nothing about the book has.
Books are such a steady frame of reference for things.

So, when I have tons and tons of books, on shelves, in the bathroom, the car, on the floor and in my kitchen, in my purse, and on my desk, I find that it's fun to randomly turn to pages in them and simply read whatever my eyes first lay upon.
I've been doing this as long as I can remember. When I was a young girl and got books for Christmas or my birthday (always my favorite gifts) I would lay with them all spread out before me on the floor and open each one to a page and read for a bit, and so on with each book.
I'd often say things to myself like, "the next thing I read will tell me what I should consider during this day" or "whatever it says on this page is what I'm supposed to know at this time." Things like that...
And I still do that.
To this day...

And I've learned, over the years, that what I'm doing is bibliomancing.
And it's SO FUN!
Try it!

Go get a book or two or three from wherever you have books.

Now, randomly open one, and read the first thing you see. It can be just a word, if that feels like enough, or a sentence, if you want a little more, or a paragraph, or
even an entire chapter or section, if that compels you at this time.

And after you read it. Think about it. What does it have to do with you and your life? What is in it that you can somehow interpret as meaningful and significant to you? What does it make you think and feel?

Now, do it again, with another book, and so on, with as many books as you like.
And try it now and then, over the years, throughout your life. Maybe every week, once a month, every day. Whatever compels you!

Today, I share that I bibliomanced the Dalai Lama,from his book, The Art of Happiness. The page I turned to and the spot my thumb hit had this sentence: "Understand the background of people."

I'll sit with this now.
Thank you for considering this!

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