As we just passed Beltane earlier this week in the northern hemisphere of the planet, and as we are rapidly getting into the late-spring-into-summer wedding season, my recent focus in these lessons has been on the sort of love-and-marriage themes customary to this point on the Pagan calendar. This divination tool is a little gem I came across in The Complete Gypsy Fortune Teller by Kevin Martin. While Martin admits that it ‘undergoes various modifications in different countries’ he asserts that ‘the following mode will be found to be the simplest and most accurate.’

This divination method is a very-limited one, because it is designed to answer just two questions: what is a key personal character trait of my future lover or spouse? And what is this person’s occupation? Unimportant, if the subject of relationship is simply not on your radar at this point in your life, and you can skip this lesson. But we all have people in our lives whom we care about, and who are contemplating such things, so for their sakes, it might be worth it. I think also of what I once heard a wise person say: ‘make sure you marry the right person, because that person will account for 80 to 90 percent of your happiness or misery in life.’ A heads-up on the future, especially when your happiness-misery index is on the line, usually isn’t a bad thing.

As for the age of this divination method, my trusty yes-and-no stones say it was devised sometime in the nineteenth century. Not surprising, because this seems like the sort of thing which would’ve been right up the Victorian’s alley. Indeed, in centuries past, when lovers or would-be lovers needed to show a great-deal more discretion about their romantic interests and activities, so their reputations wouldn’t be compromised, ‘the language of flowers’ was used to communicate via plants what one couldn’t say out-loud. It probably was also more face-saving and less painful to hear it from flowers, than hearing the ugly truth out-loud in words, as well as being lovelier to look at. “Yes, my love was rejected, but look how beautifully they said it! And they very-helpfully told me why!” A Google search or library catalog search under the term ‘language of flowers’ will probably turn up a whole clutch of books on the subject. See also the bibliography at the end of this lesson.