Time was, a man or woman of vision would kill an animal for this.
Back across the Atlantic Ocean and the desert of time gone past, a person of vision would kill an animal for this. Usually livestock; cows, sheep, goats. Sometimes another person. That practitioner would bleed the victim or gut them and seek futures in the way their biological constituents spread across the ground.
The lifeblood crawling over the ground, some soaking in as sacrifice, held in it secrets accessible only through arcanity. It told of the coming harvest, the seasons, politics. Childbirth. War. Coagulated into an abstract reification of what was in the offing. Translated, of course, by a mad person.
We’ve moved into a time when this method of hematomancy is no longer acceptable. For good or ill.
You’ve likely guessed from the dirt under my fingernails and glint in my eye that I gravitate more towards “ill.”
We’ve abandoned divination (in all but that darkest corners) and fly blind as events speed up. Confident in our computer projections and blissfully ignoring the blood seeping across the floor from every circuit board, we proceed. Every phone poll centered around biased wording, every focus group engineered to support a specific result casts a stone to shatter the atemporal mirror set up to guide us.
The universe, having put effort into these systems, is unhappy at our direction.
New methods come into being. Perhaps under a more opaque sky but novelty increases as we go along. Novel divination is no exception.
That old haruspex, you know. That ancient bleeding or gutting to find a glimpse of coming Troubles. It’s alive and well. Sure, psychotics still use the old way from time to time. But we’ve new animals to bleed. Millions of them. More slowly.
Go to any Walmart parking lot. The closer the parking space the more concentrated the magic. Look down and find the oil spots. The pools. The aggregated ghosts of local futures.
Realize the futures are told in the blood of our vehicles, pack animals limping along and lubricating the visual disparity between this world and what it may be.
Political and consumer confidence polls are answered by the antiquated percentage of us who still have home phones. What better predictor than the near-corpses of our most precious, utilitarian possessions and the blood and guts they spit painfully upon arrival at our biggest, most predatory temple of consumption?
Gaze down at the lot, at the spot. Internalize the shape and scope of a single oil stain. Find every edge and turn, every predictive edge manipulated by scarred asphalt or the bounds of days to come. Trace the slowly fading marker that tells of many things, including the possible impending death of that car. Realize just how many spots share the same parking space. How many overlap and perhaps influence each other. Do intersecting spots affect each other or has a darkly blooded future reached back into its own desert to intervene, to teach, to warn?
Shift your perspective wider by comparing one space to another. See the overwhelming plethora of internal offerings left to provide a momentary vision. Glimpses peter out only as the laziness of the driver determines that the distance from the store is more important than the time spent hunting for a place to leave a slick, sad offering.
Our population grows more sedentary and the distribution of cars condenses. Obesity rises; no one wants to walk too far from the car to the store. Terence McKenna often said the future was building up like a logjam in a river. The impending future condenses and so do our visions, our divinations. Our oilspots compounding in concert one over the next.
Each Walmart is covered in once-shining beacons for us to integrate in ritual. Fucking covered. We bleed everywhere and refuse to peer through the window it opens.
If a security guard shows up to ask why you’re wandering about the lot, muttering and looking down, just say you’ve lost your keys.
Or gut him for old time’s sake.