posted by Erich Berger on 4 January 2019

1. Augury.

We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro’ the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.
—William Blake. Auguries of Innocence

Augury is the practice of deriving meaning from natural signs. It provides us with a way to access non-human modes of auto-poetic expression, communication, and agency.

2.  Geomancy: a method of divination that interprets markings on the ground. 

4 red berries
30 reindeer droppings
7 peaks
235 lichen spots

Fortuna major: rainbow, weather feathers, sleep, the herd.

3. Oneiromancy: interpretation of dreams.


1. Fall asleep quite naturally, perhaps within a specific location (for example, at a site where tectonic plates meet at a stream or site of underground water movements). We can call this "dream incubation".

2. On awakening, if you cannot write down the dream immediately, then try to associate images, episodes or phases of the dream with a specific keyword. If you can link these keywords in an image this would also be helpful for later recording of the dream. 

3. Share the dream diary daily with others that you are in close contact with and watch out for common themes or connections.

4. Over a longer time period examine correlations between the nights’ geomagnetic activity and the dream intensity/content:

 scraping paint from the trunk of a tree
a snake on a bus escapes from a brown paper bag
the bee man dies
eating local plants: the gut flora shifts our sight
in a concrete factory
a gothic touch transforms children into liquid spills
a memory of dreaming but the dream is lost
a thorning dress; wood spikes leather
a child hides 
in the elevator-closet
no buttons to the basement

4. Aeromancy: divination from sky signs.

1. 1 raspberry pi
2. 1 picam NoIR
3. 1 USB power bank
4. potassium nitrate
5. sugar
6. Copal tree sap
7. nichrome wire
8. motorcycle battery
9. the night sky
10. aurora borealis

1. Connect picam to raspberry pi.
2. Install on raspberry pi.
3. Edit /etc/rc.local to run on reboot.
4. Place pi USB power bank in waterproof tray.
5. Attach USB power bank.
6. Tape picam to Perspex sheet (pointing upwards, towards sky).
7. Tape up whole tray.
8. Leave for several days.
9. Using motorcycle battery and nichrome wire and pine tree sap, attempt  to re-enact auroral activity to provoke new visions.

5. Sikidy: divination by way of radio signals.

Requirements: Three elements to explore the invisible: energy, frequencies, waves through time and space (caller, interface, receiver).
Caller: An object to look for invisible forces, which enters the holder's body through the transmission device.
Interface: Wired trees tuned to the unseen, spiritual beings having human experiences.
Receiver: Transformer of patterns, rhythms, cadence carried by the wind.

6. Hydromancy: divination from water.


1. find a spot at the edge of the lake where it is comfortable to stand; sit or squat for an extended period of time.

2. Listen for sounds close by and think of where they might be coming from, then gradually shift the attention to sounds receding further and further away.

3. Once you have perceived distant sounds, casually find a place to fix your gaze within the reflective surface of the unmoving lake. Stare into the lake and allow any images to form unforced. Try to perceive more detail in the image or vision you receive. Release the vision when it feels appropriate.

7. Carromancy: divination by casting wax into water.

Lake, lake water, bucket, bowl, ladle, molten candles/wax

1. Gather lake water in a bucket.
2. Pour some water in the bowl.
3. Gently ladle some molten wax into the bowl.
4. Pour some more water over the congealing wax.
5. The shape is made.

8. Para-photo-mancy: divination by photo-bio-chemical processing.

Analogue film
Washing Soda
Vitamin C powder
Organic matter from surroundings
Photochemical fixer
Lake water
Trays and buckets
1. Go to the woods with a lake close by.
2. Mix some lake water with washing soda and add a dash of vitamin C.
3. Collect and soak organic material.
4. When ready drain and place on the surface of the film.
5. Leave the film and organic material to ‘expose’ for as long as you want.
6. Mix-up photochemical fixer in a tray with some lake water.
7. Remove organic material from film and place the film in the fixer.
8. Wash film in a bucket of lake water and hang it up to dry.
9. Divine meaning from the images/ shapes on the film.

Augury: Machines which look at birds practices conducted by Martin Howse, Vanessa Lorenzo, Sam Nightingale, Saara Hannula, Jukka Hautamäki, Lisa Swanstrom, Ana Oosting, at Kilpisjärvi Biological Station, 16 - 23 September 2018.

Image credits:

‘Para-photo-mancy’ images: Sam Nightingale, made in collaboration with the plants and lake water at Kilpisjärvi Biological Station and the members of 'Augury: Machines which look at birds'.

Augury illustrations: Vanessa Lorenzo

Augury script images: Lisa Swanstrom