Tuesday, September 13, 2011


from the North Island Scrolls, Vol 39 , author unknown, translated by Aaron Greyson

Prophecy is therefore a different sense entirely, not a vision, not sound or smell, but something closer to simple knowing.  Any analogy is of course imperfect, but consider an archery tournament.  Spectators will often react almost immediately when an arrow is released as if the knowledge of the result were some sort of foretelling.  But while the arrow is in flight, no-one has seen the result.  There are no visions of precisely where the arrow will land.  And a gust of wind could certainly offset the course of the arrow, as could minute imperfections in the weight and balance of the arrow itself.  Nonetheless, an experienced archery enthusiast will instinctively absorb dozens of tiny clues the moment the arrow is released and know with some reliability whether the arrow will hit its mark.

Coupled to this sense of knowing is a sense of rightness.  By rightness, one does not mean correctness, factual or ethical.  Rightness is simply that feeling a prophet will get when faced with a choice.  One choice will often seem to be the right one even if, which is most often the case, the prophet has no understanding of the consequences of said choice.  It is important to note here that rightness is very much dependent on the desires, both conscious and sub-conscious and both short and long term, of the prophet herself.  Consider for instance a game of wind-and-water*.  A prophet might play against one untrained** and lose even though she expected to win and despite the fact that she chose her move at every stage according to her sense of rightness.  While this phenomenon is not fully understood, most explanations boil down to a combination of the ideas that, for whatever reason, she didn't really want to win or that, in the long term, losing was the better outcome for her.

* The translation wind-and-water is misleading as the original runic text is but a single word which has been seen to refer to both wind and water depending on context.  A certain level of instability or unpredictability is also implied as the term would never be applied to a steady breeze or current and certainly not to a still pond.  "chaotic flow" might be more appropriate, but as the term in this particular context refers to a deterministic game that bears some resemblance to our whites-and-blues, it seemed that wind-and-water would be most appropriate.

** This word, apparently used here to mean non-prophet, does not appear to be a literal opposite of the word used for prophet.  Broken down, it more closely resembles without-study.

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