Ovomancy – Followup

I know I owe you a few things, don’t I?

The flu has ripped its way in and out of The Bad Household like it was 1918. Typically, a little sniffle or bellyache doesn’t get me down. As a matter of fact, I get more writing done and more Ancestry.com-ing done when I’m forced to “jes’ sit still a minute.” But aside from accepting the Brilliant Blogger Award, I ain’t done none of it. Well, I did do the ancestry stuff . . . I’ll fill you in later. Everyone else is back in school and fit as a fiddle and I am on the mend, so I figure it’s time to reckon up.

Let me tell you about what happened with my eggs.

Hmm. Wait. You might need better context for that statement.

Let me tell you the results of my first attempt at ovomancy.

After some light prodding from Amy, I pulled up my big-girl drawers and opened my little chicken eggs. First, I got a bit of water boiling. While I did that, I found a glass cylinder that had a circumference that would hold the egg. I had no idea what I was doing. Making it up as I went along, I wasn’t sure how much water to use, how big to make the hole, if I should make a hole in the large end too, what I should expect to see, etc. In the end, I filled the glass almost to full with water, poked a hole in the small end of the egg, settled the egg on the top of the glass, and let the albumen drain into the water, observing the shapes it made: arches/rainbows, flowers/daffodils, birds/swallows.

Sort of. The images I saw were mostly just impressions. The egg white didn’t drain out in a steady stream like I expected. Rather, it pumped out in globs, falling into the water, making impression of the shapes I listed.

This was, in itself an excellent lesson which I will translate to teachable material for this Fall’s divination course. Before you try to scry with a new method, just go through the motions. This way you can figure out what to do and how to do it without worrying about your head being “in the game.”

Speaking of which, being all a-flutter with a new practice, I didn’t settle on a very specific question. I kinda just went with the stand-by, “What’up, yo?” (over three weeks).

Once the water was boiling, I cracked the other egg and allowed the white to drain into the water and solidify. After seeing how the other egg emptied, I didn’t want to hold a draining egg over the heat for any length. I did turn the heat down so that the rolling of the water wouldn’t distort the image or simply tear it to shreds. This time, the albumen made the distinct image of a classic angelfish (Pterophyllum altum). As if I tried to do it. Perfectly sculpted – no ambiguity. There was even a hint of stripes in the texture.

After I wrote everything down and sketched a few pictures (and fed the cooked egg white to my skinny old cat), I thought: “OK, now what?”

I had no idea what to think of the images I saw.

I don’t have an “ovomancy guide” handy and there really are no resources on the web for interpretation – only instruction. Usually, I would just go with my instincts and some Jungian assumptions. However, I am teaching a course for a seminary that rather expects me to use texts aside from my gut. (I had hoped to go to a proper divination fair this past weekend but thought the physician’s office was a better choice.)

So, I turned to the next intuitive thing. Divination symbols are divination symbols, right? I wrote down what I “thought” about the images and then I looked at a few tasseomancy resources. (Reading Tea Leaves” is pretty inclusive if not a little on the odd side.) Not surprisingly, I found that the interpretation of the symbols matched up with my gut fairly well.

When I think of an arch, I think of stability and strength. But because my impression was “rainbow” rather than “arch,” I immediately think of luck.[1] Of course, rainbows are, across cultures, the connection between heaven and earth, usually upon which the gods send messages. Like in the Noah legend, the Norse Bifrost Bridge, the bow of Indra, and Iris of The Iliad.

Arches, according to several tasseographers, stand for power and authority. “Reading Tea Leaves” says: “ARCH, a journey abroad” and “ARCH, Things which you desire are developing in the wished-for direction; the arch is a sign of hope; your ambition may be gratified in a most unexpected manner. See also Triumphal Arch.”[2]

When I think of flowers, particularly daffodils, with the flat outer-petals and the buttercup center, I think of spring, hope, innocence, and William Wordsworth. (I only think of the flowers as narcissus when they are little and white and in a bunch. If I had thought “narcissus” instead of “daffodil,” the story would be very different.) Even in poetry, the daffodil as a synecdoche for spring stands for new beginnings, rebirth, and prosperity. “Reading Tea Leaves” says: “FLOWERS, Many pleasant meanings may be given to this symbol, good fortune, happiness, love, marriage, and a large circle of admiring friends, being among them,” and “DAFFODILS, A long-desired hope is about to come to pass, or a delightful holiday spent in the company of those most congenial to you.” Because there were many flowers, I also considered the meaning of a “bouquet.” My immediate impression is not just “a gift,” but a token of esteem, a congratulatory offering, and even an apology. “Reading Tea Leaves” says: “BOUQUET, one of the luckiest of symbols; staunch friends, success, a happy marriage,” and “This is a most fortunate symbol of coming happiness, love, fulfilled hope, and marriage.”

When I think of angelfish, I think of carnivorous fish and pointy spines and sharp gills. But, I think I know too much about cichlids to be objective. When I think of fish as a basic symbol, I think of the acrostic “IXTHUS” and the vesica piscis – but then, I’m always thinking of the vesica piscis these days. Of course, I think of the loaves and the fishes and therefore abundance.

I’m reminded of the fish in the bar scene of the original Manchurian Candidate, which is my round-about way of saying that the fish is symbolic of female fertility and abundance and the golden fish (one of the eight sacred symbols of the Buddha). Fish also mean metamorphosis in a weird evolutionary way as well as in mythology (think of Aphrodite and Heros, Vishnu, and Mr. Limpett). “Reading Tea Leaves” says: “FISH, good news from abroad; if surrounded by dots, emigration.”

Well, tomorrow is the three week mark. My husband unexpectedly took a business trip to Germany during which we had a discussion about moving our family to Europe. The jury remains out.

In the meantime, as you know, I reconnected with “a large circle of admiring friends,” and have spent a good deal of time “being among them” that are “most congenial” to me. You’d think that was pretty basic, like a fortune cookie or a newspaper horoscope – anything could fulfill the criteria. But given the way things have been on the Bad Social front, I wasn’t expecting a horde of renewed (and new) friendships. In fact, it seemed pretty unlikely. But, alas!

Looks like tomorrow should be a whopper of a day.

As ever, I’ll let you know.

Blessings, Quarks, and 93,

The Bad Witch


Let me know what you think of these symbols.


[1] It doesn’t occur to me until now to think about storms, Gilgamesh, Hawaii, gay pride, or the “double rainbow” dude.

[2] This always makes me think of Meg Ryan in French Kiss.