So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been working on something called The Selenite Oracle. It has left me with a few questions as to the nature of performing oracles.  I’m still working a lot of this out so bear with me if I ramble through this a little.

The Selenite Oracle is a fictional, performance machine.  I operate it, I write a question for the Selenites (moon-dwellers, who have advanced future forecasting skills), and place some moon cubes in a box containing various moon dust and various electrodes.  After adjusting the dial and re-positioning the aerial, the question is teleported in a flash of light to the Moon.  The sitter and I wait for the Selenites to interpret the question and charge the moon cubes with the answer.  A buzzer sounds when the cubes are ‘cooked’ and I remove them from the box of moon dust.

The Selenite Oracle
The Oracle ready for action

These cubes are now cast by the sitter and the resulting geomantic symbols are interpreted by myself with the aid of a casting board devised from a number of astrological and geomantic correspondences.

So for me it’s always been a game of two halves, the machine (fictional) and the geomantic reading (‘real’).  I’m not sure where I stand on this.  You see,  I take my divination seriously and after being re-introduced to geomancy by Les P Cross even more so.  The ‘machine’ element of The Oracle came about after I was asked by the organiser of a Steampunk event to ‘theme the fortune telling up a bit’ and it was great fun sourcing and eventually making the device.  I’m torn as to whether I’d use it again.

Why?  Well, I’m not sure where the ‘performance’ sits with the seriousness of the reading.  Does it enhance the experience?  Does it make it less real?  Does it fluffy-fy it?  The Seer, after all, is interpreting something that should be meaningful to the sitter.

The sitters seemed to read the process as two halves, which is encouraging.  They tended to see the first part as a bit of themed ‘showbiz’ and as this was intended I’m happy.  There seemed to be a knowing moment when we moved into the casting phase; where the sitter and seer moved into the ‘real bit’.   Attention was paid to the advice given.

Giving a reading
Giving a Reading

The first phase also had another effect in that it put the sitter at ease, without seeming to detract from the casting itself.

But it was still a game of two halves.

The Machine and the Casting will now go their separate ways.  The Machine will still be available if the performance demands it, but I’d prefer to cast ‘pure’ geomantic figures.  With this in mind I’ll continue to work on the casting board.

However, version 2 of the Oracle is planned.  This time the manual casting will be removed; this will be a more stand-alone unit.  It will still require a seer, however.  Version 3 will be entirely automated, but I need to work through version 2 first.

I’m not saying readings shouldn’t be entertaining, it’s just how far do you go in the theatricalisation of the oracular process before getting to the nitty-gitty.  Hmmm, perhaps I shouldn’t wear my diamond-studded silk turban for my tarot reading after all …

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Geomantic Casting
A Casting