Signs, Omens and Warnings

As far back as human activity is recorded, a very substantial part of man’s time was spent in looking for signs that point to either good fortune or, at worst, death. The Christian’s Old Testament is filled with many warning signs. In 535 BC a warning was written on the wall of King Belshazzar’s palace in Babylon. (Daniel 5:5) The fingers of a man’s hand wrote, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.” Daniel said the words meant God had weighed the King in the balance and found him wanting. The writing on the wall was a warning to Balshazzar that his life would soon come to an end.
Perhaps the most spectacular signs in the Bible were the Egyptian plagues. When the Pharaoh refused to allow the Hebrew people to leave, Moses instructed his people to place the blood of a lamb on the lintel and side posts of their doors. (Exodus 12:22) God passed through Egypt and destroyed all the first born in the final plague, but passed over the houses of the Hebrews. Everywhere today Jews celebrate the “Passover” or the final event that caused their nation to be delivered from slavery in Egypt 3,400 years ago.
Another sign in the Bible occurred in Egypt nearly 400 years earlier. This time a good Pharaoh had a dream of seven lean cows eating seven fat cows. (Genesis 41) Joseph told the Pharaoh his dream meant that Egypt would have seven years of great plenty followed by seven years of famine. The Pharaoh heeded the warning in his dream and was able to save Egypt from an economic disaster.
The ancient Babylonians studied the heavens and the stars in search of portents to interpret the present and predict the future. They eventually divided the year’s night sky into twelve equal parts and named each fixed set of stars on the mythological outline they formed. These twelve set of stars make up the signs of the Zodiac. Astrologers today profess to determine a person’s destiny by noting the position of the planets and stars at the moment of birth. Astrology, a pseudo science, has given us the horoscope. The ignorant as well as the educated seek out their horoscope published daily in the newspaper. I was born under the sign of Gemini and I married a Virgo. Was my happy marriage written in the stars?
An omen is a sign that relates to a future event. An example of an unlucky omen may be a black cat crossing your path or the breaking of a mirror. If one’s right eye itches, good luck is expected. An itchy palm is also a good sign. I was told if your palm itches you should “scratch it some and money will come.” Finding a penny or hair pin on the sidewalk is also a good omen. Among the omens associated with death is the one which says it is unlucky to look at a funeral through a door or window. The howling of dogs, the lowing of cattle and the crowing of a rooster at night are all bad omens and foretell the death of some person in the neighborhood.
Throughout history symbols of political or religious importance have been seen in the clouds. If you have nothing better to do on a warm cloudy day, find a comfortable location, lie down and just relax. Try not to focus on any one cloud but rather allow the clouds to drift across your view. Visions cannot be forced. They come naturally when the time is right. Every time I have tried this procedure I have fallen asleep and have probably missed some important omen in the sky.
The art of reading tea leaves is associated with the Gypsies and English. My parents had an English friend who was fairly good at looking at the patterns formed by tea leaves left on the bottom of the cup. As a very small child I was enthralled whenever he pointed to a few leaves that resembled a rabbit, a book or some other object. He said each pattern had a meaning relating to the future. The invention of the individual tea bag has almost put an end to the practice of reading loose tea leaves.
Of all the signs I believe the lines on one’s hands are the most accurate. These lines give a person’s character as well as his or her future. I have studied several books on palmistry and consider it more reliable than astrology, dreams, or tea leaves.