Thank you, Grandmother!

Sibyllans Hemligheter

A very special gift arrived through the post yesterday. A book about ‘divination and practical magic’, based on old Swedish occult knowledge and folklore. The name of the book is “Sibyllans Hemligheter,” Secrets of the Sibyl.
This book belonged to my beloved grandmother who left for the Otherworld on my 19th birthday. She was a naturally gifted psychic who told the future in coffee grounds, until one day when had a premonition about a friend losing her baby. Naturally, she didn’t tell her friend this would happen, but when it came true, she was so badly spooked by her gift that she decided to put it to one side.

It’s very difficult to deny a gift as strong as my grandmother’s though. She often saw the faery folk of northern Sweden, as well as earthbound spirits. She couldn’t just pretend they weren’t there. She was reluctant to talk about her experiences, but every now and again she would utter a few words about what she had seen. One New Year’s Eve, she even helped us tell the future by melting tin over an open fire and pouring it into cold water (molybdomancy). This was a rare and cherished treat.

Sibyllans Hemligheter is a compilation of occult knowledge with chapters on stage magic, mentalism and true divination. It may seem like a strange combination, but it has to be understod in the context of the day and age this material was compiled. The original compilation was printed in 1910 and my grandmother’s leatherbound copy was printed in 1977.

Sven Linde, the editor, refers to real magick as ‘superstition’ but includes many forms of divination, including a rather detailed chapter on cartomancy using playing cards, as they were part of the particular brand of folklore that anthropologists and historians were interested back in those days. Leafing through the chapter on cartomancy last night, I chuckled when I noticed the editor’s offhand remark about how many of the female readers of the book would already have dabbled with fortunetelling with playing cards.

Shortly after my grandmother aquired this book in the late 70’s, I found it sitting in her front room. She never had to show it to me, I was drawn to it like a magnet and it soon became like an old friend. This was my first real introduction into the art of divination. Not long after, I found a book on Numerology and a few years after that I found my first deck of Tarot Cards in a magazine, a majors only Waite-Smith cut-out set.

Rereading the old, familiar section on divination with playing cards, I decided to pull my Blue Owl Lenormand deck out to compare card meanings. There is no correlation whatsoever between the traditional Swedish playing card meanings and the Lenormand interpretations, but I had fun comparing anyway, and this morning I felt drawn to pull a Lenormand card as my card of the day.

I could feel grandmother smiling down on me as I pulled ‘the Book.’ Traditional Lenormand card meanings include: secrets, studying, occult learning, esoteric literature, apprenticeship, journalism, printed matter, writing, intelligence.

The other synchronicity with this card is that it corresponds the the 10 of Diamonds in a normal playing cards deck. This is the card I pulled Monday morning. The Tarot minor arcana 10 of Pentacles is the 10 of Diamonds in a normal playing cards deck. I think I get the message…

I’m not going to lie, I cried when I unwrapped the book yesterday. It was like seeing a long-lost friend and I felt grandmother hugging me back as I squeezed the book to my chest.