Rambling our way through the alphabet via the A-to-Z blogging challenge, today finds us visiting the letter R. I’m creating a manifesto of things I believe and find delightful based on unusual words. Today let me introduce you to rhapsodomancy.
Rhapsodomancy is “an ancient form of divination performed by opening works of poetry at random to ascertain information.”
I love this on so many levels. First: poetry! Poetry is an essential part of my life – there is not a day that passes for me that does not include some poetry. Secondly, I really believe that guidance is available to us always and this is a delightful way to invite it in.
I don’t believe we need to turn to others to tell us what to do, and I certainly don’t believe we should give anyone or anything power over us – we are sovereign and capable of choosing in every moment. But I do believe we are supported in every moment and that helpful messages can come to us in extraordinary and ordinary ways. Beautiful synchronicities are what I consider to be cosmic winks and reminders we are never lost.
Thirdly, this is just fun. Did I mention I like fun?
So here’s what I did. There were three poetry books sitting out on the table. I piled them up and took a photo, because hey, book spine poetry! And this happens to be a good one, no?
Then I opened each one randomly and here’s the first bit that appeared:
#1 “We are awakening one another
It does not matter whose heart
still clings on the vine.”
(We Are Awakening One Another, from silent sacred holy deepening heart)
#2 “The red dawn now is arranging the earth
Thought by thought
Beauty by beauty
Each sunrise a link in the ladder
The ladder the backbone
Of shimmering deity
Child stirring in the web of your mother
Do not be afraid
Old man turning to walk through the door
Do not be afraid”
(Morning Song from A Map to the Next World)
#3 “Each night the trees imitate the birds they see flying during the day. They choose
the darkness so they won’t be seen flapping and flouncing like elephants with the souls of ballerinas.”
(The Seduction of the Trees from When People Could Fly)
Taken individually each piece is lovely isn’t it? And each one is something I could be inspired by. But I love, love, love how together they also weave a story – something to consider as a whole as well. Just like a tarot spread does.
I believe rhapsodomancy and the seemingly random messages from poetry, invites us into deeper connection with ourselves and the world around us. There is always magic and nuance, the bold and the only hinted at, waiting to be invited into the dance with us.
What about you? Ever look to rhapsodomancy? Do you use Tarot or oracle cards? Have a favorite poet? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
I love the title of the first book! And the image of trees masquerading as elephants with the souls of ballerinas… that will be in my brain for a while.
That image is pretty amazing isn’t it?!
What a fun project!! I am not really into poetry because I don’t ever think I get the meaning but the three books you have and the quotes you shared make me want to give it a try. I especially like the book spine poetry. thanks!
Oh do give it a try Janet. I totally recommend Morton Marcus – he is (was) a prose poet and so his work doesn’t feel so inaccessible in the way other poems might. By oh my – he wrote the most fabulous things which always made me think.
Oh my god, I love all of those quotes!! Especially the last one 🙂 I used to know this term, but I forgot. Thank you for reminding me!
The Multicolored Diary
I love that last quote as well. Oh beloved trees – what secret lives they have at night!
I love this word, rhapsodomancy. I have done I Ching readings, Tarot readings and Rune stones, but never rhapsodomancy. I believe that any medium can be used for messages and I always appreciate poems that don’t rhyme. Rhyming poetry makes my eyes roll. It’s like an allergy, of sorts. Rumi is my favorite poet and perhaps, if you could call him a poet, Kahlil Gibran.
I agree Amy – anything can be used. Everything is a doorway. I haven’t read Gibran in many years, but I recently read a brief bio about him on PoetryFoundation.org, and was surprised to learn he considered himself primarily to be a painter rather than a poet. At one point his entire portfolio was destroyed in a studio fire. That must have been very traumatic for him.
Wow, that’s sad! I would love to see his artwork. His poetry, or prose, was brilliant.
One of the things I thought about when I read that was how interesting it is how we see and define ourselves. Which isn’t necessarily how others see us.
What a neat idea! Just like you, individually I thought they were lovely and then to see how they flowed so well together, magnificent!
Magical isn’t it?
What a fun exercise Deborah! I am going to pull out three of my poetry books and do the same thing. Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets. What about you? Thanks for the post!
Oh good for you Nancy – I’m glad you’re going to give it a try. I love Mary Oliver’s poetry as well, although I’d really find it hard to truly name a favorite poet. I’m in love with so many of them!