Roman Divination and Mathematics

I practice a form of Roman divination that involves quartering the sky and looking for certain species of birds. To begin, I set up a perimeter using local landmarks. I quarter what I have marked off, then quarter within each quadrant again, forming a matrix of sixteen squares. I set a beginning and ending time to watch for birds entering, exiting or staying within the quadrants.

The six species used for this divination are the eagle, vulture, hawk, goose, woodpecker and crow. The eagle, vulture and hawks are good signs, the goose a warning, the woodpecker a conflict, and the crow a bad sign. The directions of ill omen are north and east, good omen – south and west. An odd numbers of birds is a good sign, while an even number is a bad sign. If no bird appears in the allotted time, it means a neutral event.

Each species of bird has their own methods of appearing. Woodpeckers move up and down trees, therefore I would look for a tree in a quadrant that I marked out. Meanwhile, vultures rarely land and instead circle the sky. Geese move in flocks, while hawks and eagles fly alone. Sometimes, several species will appear together such as crows and vultures. If a crow is exiting a northern quadrant, while a vulture is circling in an eastern one, it is a sign that your luck will be variable that day. Shades of meaning come from species of birds, their movements, their number, and their placement in quadrants.

The setting up of the quadrants sets a beginning probability of a bird appearing in one of the squares. Adding to this, the number and species of bird creates compound probabilities. Then there is the probability of that omen coming true such as sighting a vulture in the south-west quadrant.

7 thoughts on “Roman Divination and Mathematics”

1. Where do you live where it is possible to see all these dramatic species of birds within a quadrant? I think mine would mainly be blackbirds, sparrows, pigeons, gulls, robins; occasionally I’ll see a sparrowhawk, kestrel, or buzzard.

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• I live near Washington D.C. There are resident hawks, crows, and buzzards. Geese frequent the various public parks. Woodpeckers such as the downy and hairy are around. I do my divining in a public field that acts as a dog park/soccer match.

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• We have two pairs of bald eagles that have taken to nesting near the Potomac as well.

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• It’s great to hear you have such a variety of wildlife in an urban area 🙂

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2. I wonder how similar Roman augury is to the Hellenic manner. I know that, with us, the diviner stands facing north and if a bird appears from the right, it is a good sign, whereas the opposite is bad.

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• The directions are opposite in meaning – north and east are bad. Greeks do look for birds but the meanings are different. It is similar in method but not in meaning in particular signs.

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3. Bertus Vankaap

Wonderful to see someone has revived wonderful method of divination, I suppose much knowledge has been lost over the centuries, not least of which because of this mind poison called Christianity which has destroyed our wonderful and ancient history and religion. I was cured of this Christian disease a few years ago and started on a journey trying to uncover what we believed as members of the white tribes of Europe. The Romans it seems took bird Augury very very serious. I am studying and making notes on my observations of birds in relation to events that occur in my life I would be most interested to share information on your observations. i believe Augury to be a natural and good method of divination, the Tarot cards I feel have a Kaballah influence and for that reason I steer clear of it as with all the trinkets of Judaism.

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