Monday, 18 November 2013

Bibliomancy, Rhapsodomancy, Stichomancy & Bookcase Poetry

Divining for Poetry

[From Wikipedia] According to the 
Oxford English Dictionary,[1] the word Bibliomancy (etymologically from biblio- "books" and -mancy "divination by means of") "divination by books, or by verses of the Bible" was first recorded in 1753 (Chambers' Cyclopedia). Sometimes this term is used synonymously with Stichomancy (from sticho- "row, line, verse") "divination by lines of verse in books taken at hazard", which was first recorded ca. 1693 (Urquhart's Rabelais).
Bibliomancy compares with Rhapsodomancy (from rhapsode "poem, song, ode") "divination by reading a random passage from a poem".

I have always used forms of bibliomancy for divination purposes and also as a means of sparking ideas and inspirations for my own writing, so I was intrigued and inspired yet again, when I found out about the Sorted Books project.

Started in 1993 but with no specific end date, and using books from personal, private and public collections the idea is simple...  Searching though piles of books, finding particularly inspiring titles, and then putting the selected books into a sequence which is photographed, and when read from the top or the bottom creates a lyrical, poetical, aesthetic.

Taken as a whole, the clusters from each sorting aimed to examine that particular library's focus, idiosyncrasies, and inconsistencies — a cross-section of that library's holdings. At present, the Sorted Books project comprises more than 130 book clusters and conceptual artist Nina Katchadourian’s playful photographic series is available now from

Pictured above: A Day at the Beach

Pictured above: Primitive Art

And so I thought I would have a quick go myself, but being short on time I thought I would try to create something using just the books within arms reach

(which in the house of a bibliophile is quite a few) 

And this was what I came up with...

Growing Up Pagan - by Arietta 

Growing up Pagan:
Magical tales,
Listening to trees
Ramblings and rhymes
Celebrating life
Ancient ways
Beneath a mountain moon

I rather like the outcome and I feel that this will become quite an addictive habit, and a useful tool should the dreaded writers block hit...

...So give it a go and please please please do share your creations with me


Here are the links to the books I used should you want to look at more than just their spines...

1 comment:

  1. Fun! I'm so glad I inspired you in part. It is definitely addictive! =D I find it super fun. It's like a literary puzzle you put together where there's no wrong answer. I love choosing the pieces (books).