All morning, most people we encountered were talking about the Big Storm that would be passing through today. "It's going to be a biggie," many warned. "60 mile per hour winds," others said in awed tones. Everywhere we went people were preparing for the Big Storm. And the weather reports on the radio were full of wind and flood advisories.
My husband and I looked at the sky and felt safe. It had rained at our house earlier (and it was a good soak) and the wind was the normal blustery blow of autumn. [Our area gets a wonderful show of all four seasons (from the deep snows of winter to the lush and green summertime), and our autumn usually means some wind and rain on trees changing into vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows highlighted by beautiful moments of sunshine.] But the weather anywhere can be fickle at times.
As we journeyed, the clouds were hovering gray above us and the wind was picking up. At one of our stops, a friend glued to the TV weather channel rushed out of the house to tell us, "the storm is coming in 30 minutes. The sky is going to open up with rain. You better hurry." Again, my husband and I looked up at the sky and felt safe.
At the tail end of our errands, rain began to sputter hesitantly in sharp staccato on the windshield. "Is this the Big Storm?" we asked ourselves. "Should we rush home to avoid potential damage and destruction?" We were puzzled about what all the fuss was about and frankly very underwhelmed. Just as we were discussing faulty weather prediction, the clouds cleared and the sun shone radiantly upon us, confirming our faith.
Throughout the remainder of the day, the wind blustered now and again mildly. And in between the occasional splatter of raindrops, I thought about various forms of weather predication/divination that I have read about:
- Aeromancy - Divination using the formation of clouds and other patterns in the skies and predicting events by wind direction - ie. "Red skies at night, sailors delight. Red skies in the morning sailors take warning" indicates that clouds in the morning could herald a storm's arrival.
- Alectromancy - Forecasting the future through atmospheric or celestial conditions - ie. "Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight" as many people recite when wishing on a falling star is a form of alectromancy.
- Austromancy - Divination by listening to the sound of the wind and interpreting the messages - ie. William Arthur Ward interpreted the wind thusly, "A pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." Some folks use austromancy when holding a shell to the ear and listening to the windy whoosh of waves crash on the shore.
I have no real personal experience or success with these forms of divination, but they are certainly interesting to contemplate. Given our fascination with weather prediction and weather reports as a species, we have yet to find a scientific tool or scientific method to accurately and exactly predict the weather. Could divination be the method?
Other than standing outside in the sun and/or precipitation to get the current weather and temperature, the only prognosticating tool that I know that works is listening clearly to our own souls. When the peanut gallery offers their opinion (and sometimes fear), ask yourself what the truth is. Practice the presence of God if you must, but listen to your inner guide.