The Answers to Life’s Burning Questions

Whenever I go to Book Sale, I usually don’t have a book in mind, because I’ve formulated this theory: the amount of urgency applied in seeking out a specific title at Book Sale is directly proportional to the possibility that it (and multiple copies, too) will turn up when you no longer need it or already have a copy.

Of course, this also means that all my Book Sale purchases are impulse buys. What do I buy at Book Sale? Hmm, let’s see, here’s my laundry list (given that no book should set me back more than a hundred bucks, unless absolutely necessary):

– Books on my wishlist

– Book “upgrades” (e.g. doing a Blooey)

– Picture books for my collection

– Extremely cheap, wishlisted books for mooching (P20, tops)
– Random DIY book (e.g. crafts, painting, etc.) that I figure I’d get to work on someday

– (and finally) Interesting books that catch my eye.

The book I’m reviewing in this post is one from that last category.

The purple vintage cover of The Ladies’ Oracle by Cornelius Agrippa screamed for my attention the minute I spotted it, jumbled with board books in the children’s book bin. I also recognized the author’s name from a chocolate frog card in Harry Potter. It was P40, and in excellent condition and as I thumbed through it, I instantly knew it was a keeper.

I was looking for a book on my shelf that I could review, as my reading rate is dipping at the moment, and I’ve been drawing all night (studies due in two weeks) so I wanted to do a light post for today. I settled on this one because my officemates are currently on a fortune-telling kick, starting with cards, then with the magic 8-ball I brought to work, then the Kokology book I recently reviewed.

This compact hardbound volume from Bloomsbury is based on an original English edition published in 1857 (although it dates back to the 16th century) and is described on the cover as a book that “divines answers to those questions about life and love that inquisitive women have asked through the ages.”

The list of 100 questions is quite entertaining. Some samples: Shall I soon be courted? Shall I cease to be a virgin before I marry? Ought I to forsake the pleasures of the world? Have I to look forward to more sorrow than joy?

The divining part is more complicated. The basic guidelines include avoiding the use of the oracle on unlucky dates (there is a list given in the book) and not trying the same question twice in one day.

So given an auspicious day for fortune telling, you pick out a question from the list.
Today seems to be good; I think I’ll try it out.

#46. Shall I be happy in my enterprises?

The instructions tell me to close my eyes and place my finger on the table given. My index finger points to the box with a symbol of two triangles.

Then I consult the table to find out the page in which I can find the answer to my question. According to the table, my answer is on page 67.

On page 67, I scroll down the page for the symbol I chose, and there’s my answer:

Phew, that’s good to know. It’s also comforting to know I have something to blame when things go awry… hee hee, just kidding.

At the back of the book, there’s a short section of interesting charms and ceremonies — to see a future husband, to know what trade your husband will be, to know if the declarations on a love letter are sincere, etc. , appearing to have ties to wicca.

Here’s one for the road:

Take a candle, and go alone to the looking glass; eat an apple before it; and some say you should comb your hair all the time; the face of your husband will be seen in the glass, as if peeping over your shoulder.

Now that freaks me out so I’m not going to try it, but if anyone makes an attempt, do let me know how it goes :)

I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with this book…


My copy: hardcover, bought for P40 at Book Sale Cash and Carry
My rating: 5/5 stars