Antique list of first-day meanings from an early sixteenth century almanack on the left, not-much-younger list of recommended planting days on the right.

The guide above on the left originally appeared in an almanac from the year 1530, titled ‘The Pronostycacion Foreuer (Forever) of Erna Pater’.  The apparent thinking behind it is, given the days of the week each have their own name and nature, and are associated with particular planets or Deities, the particular day of the week on which the new year begins will have an effect on the essential nature of that year. I’ve tried to approach divination on this website with the attitude that assertions are always subject to proof, so with that in mind, below is a copy of that list of prognostications, which I’ve re-created here:

I’ve tried to be as true to the original as possible, so as you’ll see, the language is delightfully, challengingly antique, the spelling is desperately-bad by our standards, and the punctuation is confusing and inconsistent. So with that in mind, I divided each page in half, with the original on the left-hand side of the page, and my modern translation of what it’s saying on the right. It’s in English, but really, it was like translating a foreign language.

If you’ve started a journal or diary of divination results for readings you’ve done, then here’s a long-term assignment for you: write down the prediction listed for the day on which the new year starts, leaving room on the page for your result observations. Return to that prediction next December 31st and note how accurate it was. Did the ‘pronostycacion’ in question just turn out to be meaningless folklore, or was there something to it?

As you’ll see from ‘Erna Pater’s’ predictions, they were much-given to forecasts about agricultural matters and how they were going to fare that year. Then again, such matters were much more a matter of life and death in those days than they are now, with more modern ways of food-preservation, and the industry of shipping agricultural goods around the world to make up for a bad harvest at home. Still, it’s possible his predictions have some relevance today; weather’s influence on crop yields is indisputable and eternal.

Each day of the week is associated with a heavenly body, and/or a Deity, and is thus assigned certain meanings, according to astrological lore. Because I have a slightly different take than what this Erna Pater (most-likely a pseudonym) is forecasting, below is my take on what it means for the events of the coming year, based on the day of the week when the new year begins. You can compare and contrast my ‘pronostycaciones’ against his if you like at the end of the year. (Sorry about the blank page).