Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Divination in Nature: Luck proverbs

Signs of Good Luck: 

A sneezing cat brings good luck.
A cock crowing out as a person leaves for work means good luck that day.
Frogs coming into a home means good luck is arriving.
Seeing a whale is good luck.

“Ants building nests near the door, security and riches will come in the future.”
If a spider falls on you from the ceiling, you will have good luck.
Finding a spider on your clothes means money coming soon.
Finding a dead crow is good luck.

Signs of Bad Luck: 

Three butterflies on a leaf are unlucky.
Two crows flying together from left is bad luck.
Birds at a window bring bad news.  A robin tapping on window brings bad news.
When a lizard crosses your path, the day will not be a happy one.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Divination in Nature: Weather proverbs

Signs of a Severe Winter:
Squirrels seen gathering a lot of nuts mean a severe winter.
The wider the brown segments of a woolly bear caterpillar, the milder the winter.
On February 2, if the groundhog sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter.
When hornets build their nests near the ground, expect a cold and early winter.

Signs of Good Weather:
Dolphins swimming alongside of a ship mean good weather.
If after a rain, you see enough blue sky to make a man a pair of paints, it will clear.

Signs of Rain:
A sneezing cat is a sign of rain.
A cow slapping a tree with its tail means bad weather.
A bat hitting a building is a sign of rain.
Frogs croak more just before a rain.

Busy ants mean that bad weather is coming.
“When leaves show their undersides, be very sure that rain betides.”
“A pale moon rising portends rain the next day.”
“Sea gull, sea gull, sit on the sand/ It’s never good weather while you’re on the land.”

“When grasses dry out at morning light, look for rain before the night.”
“Sound traveling far and wide, a stormy day betide.”

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Divination in Nature

Aeromany which is divination by signs in the sky has various subsets.  One is chaomancy, the divination of aerial visions such as what clouds form or apparitions such as signs of the Wild Hunt.  Cometomancy (Nephomancy) is the divination by the appearances of comets such as Halley’s Comet.

Cromniancy is the divination by onions.  The onions are usually inscribed with an answer.  Before they are planted, a question is asked.  The first onion to sprout provides the answer.

Metoposcopy is the interpretation of facial wrinkles to determine a person’s character.  The noted mathematician Girolamo Cardano (1501 – 1576) invented this form of divination and combined it with astrology.  The facial features added with various Star Signs would predict the character and fate of a person.

Molybdomancy is divination by melted lead.  After dropping the hot lead into cold water, the diviner would predict the future by the noises that the lead made.  Another form of this particular divination was to look at the shapes that the cooled lead made.

Papyromancy is divination by folding paper.  The diviner reads the creased paper the way that a palm reader would read a person’s palm.  Another form of papyromancy is done by folding an illustrated piece of paper and interpreting the resulting image.

Another form of papyromancy is folding the paper into an origami device that can be manipulated with the fingers.  The questioner gives a color or number.  Then the diviner recites a rhyme with the color or counts the number as they are manipulating the origami device.  Then the diviner lifts the flap of one of the folded pieces of paper, and the person’s fortune is revealed.

Sciomancy is divination by shadows.  A person’s shadow is examined by its size, shape, and appearance.  A shadow with no head or no shadow at all was considered to be a bad omen.

Works Used:

---, “Adula, The Worldwide Encyclopedia of Divination”, 2010, http://www.adula.com/index.php?title=Main_Page,

Carroll, Robert, “The Skeptic’s Dictionary”, 2012, http://www.skepdic.com/

---, “Divination, “Paranormal Encyclopedia”, Paranormal-Encyclopedia.com, 2008, http://www.paranormal-encyclopedia.com/d/divination/types.html

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Negative Energy: Depression (2 of 2)

Another part of my mental health program was to read books of people overcoming depression.  One book I read was “A Season in Hell” by Percy Knauth, who had everything but feared growing old.  He described becoming depressed as his “descent into hell”, which he likened to a snake swallowing its tail.  Knauth detailed three basic rules that he discovered to help him overcome his depression.  I follow his basic rules even today, since they remind me to take care of myself.

The first rule is to get out of your bed.  Depression tells you that nothing good will come of leaving your bed.  By getting up, you are declaring victory over depression.  By leaving your bed, you are greater than your depression.

Rule number two is to make your bed.  Depression creates chaos in everyone’s life.  The chaos can overwhelm you, and keep you stuck in the mire and debris of your wrecked life.  By making your bed, you are creating order out of chaos. Since you can do that, you can rise above your depression.

The third rule is to make yourself a hot drink.  This simple act of ministering demonstrates that you still care about yourself.  Depression tells you that you are worthless.  By feeding yourself something that you have cooked, you demonstrate your self-worth.  You are re-enforcing your desire to live.

Doing these three simple things every day becomes building blocks to a good life.  Some days when you feel useless, you can point to accomplishing these three things.  Each is fundamental in creating your future, since each propels you away from your nihilism.

What depression has taught me is that all feelings need to be expressed and felt.  For example, grief can be love that has no place to go.  Instead of constructing a tomb to live in, you build a shrine to visit.  By releasing the grief, you open yourself up to more love.

Breaking out of the prison of despair and hopelessness takes action.  By following Knauth’s rules, we can become unstuck and move on.  Employing a program of mental hygiene helps us to give up our old stories of despondency and grief.  Depression does not need to be the black hole sucking us in.  We can see it as a time of learning about our strength and reclaiming our personal power.  We can use this new found power to fill the black abyss up with flowers.

Works Used:

Boeree, C. George, “The Ultimate Theory of Personality”, Shippensburg University, 2006 http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/conclusions.html,

----, “Depression Guide”, Depression-guide.com, 2004, http://www.depression-guide.com/index.htm,

Flach, Frederick, “The Secret Strength of Depression”, Hatherlaigh Press: New York, 2002.

Frankl, Viktor, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Washington Square Press: New York, 1963.

Hartman, Tori, “Color Wisdom Workbook”, PDF from author, http://www.torihartman.com/shop/pc/home.html,

Heath, Ian, “Discover Your Mind”, 2002, http://discover-your-mind.co.uk/index.htm,

Knauth, Percy, “A Season in Hell”, Time-Life: New York, 1975.

---, “The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus”, Merriam-Webster: Springfield (MA), 1989.

Myhre, Mark Ivar, “Existential Despair”, The Emotional Times, 10 July 2011, http://www.emotional-times.com/2011/07/existential-despair.html,

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Negative Energy: Depression (1 of 2)

In order to discuss depression, one needs to separate the mental illness from the emotion.  Although the two are intertwined, there are differences.  The mental illness is a disease of the brain, which is not producing enough of the chemicals needed for brain health.  To help the brain function better, doctors prescribe various medications to replace the chemicals needed for mental balance.

Depression, the emotion, occurs when various negative emotions turn sour and then go underground.  The result is a dull ache of the heart, and a feeling of despondency.  Depression, as despair and loneliness, becomes the end point of the soured emotions, opening up the black abyss before us.  We can be happily jumping rope one day, and then suddenly stop because the activity now seems meaningless to us.  We question why we should continue to live since we were born to die.  This is full blown depression which invites us to jump feet first into the oblivion.

In his presentation on depression, Ian Heath divides this emotion into three types.  Each has a base emotion that has gone underground, and reappears as a different form.  Depression, based on guilt, fixes the blame on the person themselves, who now feels guilty for existing.  Depression, which is derived from envy, creates alienation from other people.  The person becomes an injustice collector because they see themselves as a victim.  Depression, based on sorrow, turns into self-pity with a feeling that much injustice permeates the world.  The result of these varieties of depression is a sense of personal unworthiness.  Combined with their bitterness and resentment, the person becomes overwhelmed by life.  Depression, then, sets in prompting a feeling of nihilism and futility.

For me, depression is a deep sadness and grief that the world is not what it should be.  This deep unrelenting grief has no place to go, and becomes the tomb we live in.  The feelings of helplessness and hopelessness have come to dwell inside in our hearts.
However to come completely back from the brink meant that I needed to take baby steps.  First was to reorder my chaotic mind.  To that end, I established a program of mental hygiene.  I would read and watch only things that would be helpful to me.  I follow this program, even today, to fill my mind with happy and cheery things.

One of the first books that I read about depression was “The Secret Strength of Depression” by Frederic Flach.  The author presented the concept that depression is a normal reaction to stress.  Dr. Flasch emphasized that it is normal to feel grief and loss but not for long periods.  Since I had a chaotic childhood, I mourned the loss of feeling safe.  Being depressed had became a habit of thought as familiar to me as breathing.  Dr. Flach discussed how to leave the squirrel cage of depressed thinking and reconstruct “normal” thoughts.

The next book I read was “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl.  In this book, he related his experiences in the Nazi concentration camps.  As a survivor, Frankl pondered why some people, who had many advantages, died while others with nothing like himself lived.  He was kept alive by the memory of his young wife since he believed that they had a future together. From this experience, Frankl realized that the survivors believed in the future.  He developed his theory of logotherapy, which is to find a will to live through meaning.  In the emptiness of time when nothing exists to take us away from ourselves is when we seek to find meaning for our lives.