Can anyone explain this?

Recently, I was in a bookstore café doing some writing over a cup of Earl Grey. At one point, I looked in my cup and saw some tea leaves floating. I laughed at myself and wondered if anyone could read them for me. Then – because my brain is weird – I began thinking of animal entrails. Extispicy “is the practice of using anomalies in animal entrails to predict or divine future events.” I started wondering who was the first person to do that, and why? I mean, it’s understandable for a primitive to look at lightning as proof that the sky god was angry, but communications from the gods in sheep entrails? WTF?

My question is, how could such a thing gain “credibility?” I mean, I once read that in ancient Rome they read entrails before every major decision, and there was a government position to make sure there were enough animals to meet the demand. So people believed in it, but why?


2 Responses to “Can anyone explain this?”

  1. I have absolutely no expertise in this area but I will have a stab at the answer.

    To me the question is this: why has the reading of tea leafs been labelled as a legitimate medium for giving an insight of the future, and not the use of animal entrails.

    The following explanation has the potential to get fairly gross, but to my visual mind it makes sense that you will get more variations of shapes using animal entrails than you would using tea leafs.

    I mean, tea leafs all look pretty much the same to me, ie leaf shaped. If you were to dump a whole lot of used tea leafs onto a table then I would struggle to make out an resemblance to a alphabetical letter, a number, possibly something in the shape of an arrow or a map or whatever.

    However, dump the entrails of say a sheep onto the table, and now we are talking something akin to playing Pictionary. You have the stomach tube things which could look like some sort of cursive writing. You have the liver which could represent a nearby purple mountain. You have the pancreas which could represent something else that is pancreas shaped.

    It just makes sense, doesn’t it?

  2. Well, if you believe that our world is a distorted reflection of the Real world, then, you might wanna start to look for ways of understanding the Real world. What is there is also here but distorted and unrecognizable in form but identical in essence. And some found that essence in patterns. All kinds a patterns, tea leaves, spots on a leopards back and whatnot.

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