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The Hay Harvest (1565), National Museum (Prague), Lobkowicz family collection in Lobkowicz Palace  by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1565) (Public Domain)

Divination: Art, Luck or Whim of the Gods?

Marrying a reliable partner to depend on to help eke out a living in harsh circumstances and predicting the weather crucial to a successful harvest, were two of the most vital factors in the lives of people not so long ago.  Reluctant to leave these matters solely in the hands of the gods, mankind – and womenkind – resorted to amateurish divination to try and predict or influence the outcomes of their destinies.

In the modern digital age, when there is an app for everything, one tends to forget that for most of humanity’s time on earth, people have had to rely on quasi-magical rituals and lore to provide guidance for that which are nowadays taken for granted. Those lonely and looking for love need only to fire-up a dating app to find the man or woman of one’s dreams. Those planning an activity or job that is dependent upon there being good weather need only to consult the weather app on the phone.

The Four Seasons: Autumn by François Boucher  (1703–1770) (Public Domain)

The Four Seasons: Autumn by François Boucher  (1703–1770) (Public Domain)


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