There is an ancient art of divination knows as bibliomancy…divination by books. It has been around a long time…the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes, has been in use for at least three thousand years, and who knows how much further back the practice began. The idea was to take a book that is considered to hold truth and allow it to point the way in random fashion.
In more recent centuries, the most common method of bibliomancy in his country used the Bible and, during our visits to churches, following the trail that led us on our adventures, Stuart and I have made a habit of consulting those Bibles we have found on the lecterns.
It isn’t true bibliomancy… we are not exactly doing it by the book…that would require us to let the closed book balance upon its spine and fall open at a random page. Many of these church bibles are old and fragile, so we content ourselves with looking at the open pages, or seeing where the bookmark is placed. The intent is not quite the same either…we do not ascribe magical powrers to the printed page..at least not in that particular way… but we have found that the first verse or passage to which the eye is drawn will usually hold something pertinent to where we are on the quest.
A psychologist might suggest that the eye selects what is relevant…I wouldn’t argue with that. What is odd though, is it how frequently the selected verse will shed light on a current problem or clue on the quest. It is as if the mind knows what is needed at some deep level and uses the printed page as an interface through which the deeper levels of mind can communicate with the surface, effectively spelling out for you what you already know but do not realise or understand.
“Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” Acts 10:47
That was the verse that caught my eye in the little church in Blore. I pondered it as I wandered the church, taking photographs and studying the mosaic of glass in the window. There were many ways to interpret the phrase beyond the obvious or literal, but, for these this to have any relevance, there is usually another clue…and I found it in the window. The largest fragments show the story of St Anne teaching the Virgin to read.