“Experience the mysterious power of The Answers—your instant oracle for any question. Contained within these pages are memorable quotes and words of wisdom to guide you and inspire you. Simply close your eyes, focus clearly on a yes-or-no question, and flick through the pages until you sense the timing is right to stop. Open the book. On that page you will find the solution you need.” –Neil Somerville
Bibliomancy is one of the oldest forms of divination and uses books to obtain answers to questions. The word bibliomancy is derived from the Greek word biblos, which means paper or book. Usually, bibliomancy is done with a sacred book, but can actually be done with any book. The user picks a line or passage from the text at random, and then applies it to the situation in question.
Author Neil Somerville has taken this oracle a step further by creating a book called The Answers. This attractive hard cover book was written specifically for the purposes of divining via proverbs, maxims, and advice. The pages are not numbered, and the advice section is to the right. The left hand page merely depicts a finger pointing to the advice. A red satin ribbon bookmaker is attached to the book, which is a nice touch.
Some of the maxims you’ll find in this book include:
•Keep Your Wits About You.
•By Doing, Important Doors Will Open.
•Consider Your Reasons More Carefully.
•Avoid Wishful Thinking. Deal With Situations As They Are.
•What Have You Got To Lose By Not Acting? If Little, Go Ahead.
•Be Hopeful. You Have Great Strengths To Draw Upon.
•If Present Actions Disappoint, Try Another Way.
•To Progress, Get Further Support
Other advice comes in the form of quotes:
•A Short Cut Is Often A Wrong Cut. – Danish ProverbBe thorough
•We Do In Haste And Repent At Leisure. – German ProverbAvoid rash action
•Wisely And Slow: The Stumble That Run Fast. – William ShakespeareTake more time
•In The Long Run Men Hit Only What They Aim At. – Henry David ThoreauBe clear in your aims
•All Things Are Difficult Before They Are Easy. – Thomas FullerIt is worth the effort to reap the benefits
Each time I tried using The Answers, I turned to quotes that were irrelevant to the question and quite general in scope. Then I decided to look through the book to read more of the aphorisms and found them to be fluffy, trite, and uninspiring. The beauty of using bibliomancy with sacred texts or other weighty volumes is that passages often “speak” quite a relevant message related to the query, with intuition filling in the blanks regarding nuance. The idea of creating a book specifically for bibliomancy is a good one, but it would have to be filled with more profound wisdom and thought-provoking ideas than The Answers to be useful, in my opinion.
If you’re someone that is used to more profound forms of divination such as Tarot or I Ching, you’ll likely be disappointed with this book. However, if you’re looking for a handsome book as a gift for those curious about divination or for those who like to read and collect quotes and proverbs, The Answers may be just the book you’re seeking.