In the ancient times people have always been obsessed by the omens. Called also portents or mirages, omens are phenomena (word that comes from the ancient Greek verb phainein, to show, appear, to be manifest or manifest itself) that happen in the real, physical world and that were believed to predict the future or the advent of change. Using simple words, we could define omens as events with a potential meaning. But which meaning?
While in olden days omens were believed to be events that express the will of the gods, in the modern era they have been significantly studied by the science, and classified according to their scientific research areas (astronomy, biology, meteorology, psychology etc.). Nevertheless, omens have an individual component that the science is not able to analyze: only our conscience can do it.
Omens appear almost every day in our life, and their meaning usually changes according to the individuals. Omens are nothing but the external manifestation of something that is happening into the Universe and to which we are intimately connected. An omen can materially affect us or not, but in any case, it appears in a specific moment of our life, and therefore is part of it. Omens are a way for Universe to connect with us.
Obviously, each person connects to the Universe in his way, has his history, his past, his present and his future. Viewing a white swallow in a certain moment of our existence, in a specific time and in a specific place, doing something or simply flying over us could have a meaning (or not) for us, another meaning (or not) for the people next to us and another one for the swallow itself. In this show in which the spectator’s perspective is always part of the equation, everything is relative, and only our conscience, with the proper self-knowledge, could tell us if that event was an omen and, if so, which meaning we must give it.
Following omens is a fundamental part of Magic. Being magic a sort of art with the purpose of investigating the reality with our conscience and influencing it with our will, and being omens a significant part of that reality, magicians have the obligation pay attention to them. But how do we have to consider omens? What are they exactly? Is the omen a certain prediction of the future? Or is it something that represent a future event that is not sure to occur? Do we have full control of our life, or is destiny already written?
The above questions are complicated and were subjects of debate between philosophers, intellectuals and thinkers in ancient and modern societies. However, there is no magician that believes that the future is written. There is no magician that believes in destiny as a clay tablet with some words engraved on it that cannot be modified. To be defined a wizard, and to act as a wizard, a man or a woman must be deeply convinced that destiny can be modified. And that it can be modified with our will.
Of course, there are elements under which we have no control. But, at the same time, there are events that we can control and influence. For the Universe has and influence on us, but we can influence it as well. And if everything is deeply connected, if the reality as we know it is a structure of infinite events and possibilities linked to each other, well, a magician has the power to write his story on it.
But how? One of the way is precisely to pay attention to omens. The omens are events that tell us where reality (in both its subjective and objective meaning) is going, and which form it could assume in the future. Only by considering them, the magician can influence reality in the direction he wants. Some events are external and happen as result of a flow of possibilities and cause-effect relationships; other events are strictly personal, in the sense that they have a meaning only for a specific person in a specific context. Whatever the situation is, by closely observing them a magician could be able to influence the external reality or to make the interior changes required for his personal development.
In conclusion, omens don’t predict the future, because the future is made of infinite possibilities of events which are constantly subjected to change (“Future is always in motion”). Omens give us nothing but a quick glimpse of what potentially could happen and of the direction that some events are taking. And wizards must be very careful, because only by paying attention to these glimpses they will be able to perform an effective act of magic.
The omens were clear, and he had always followed the omens. He knew their language, and he knew that when they spoke, it was always a good idea to listen to them.
— Emrys’ thoughts, “Pipi and the Midnight Express“
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