Closing your eyes, you reach down and spin the little booklet around on the table before you, taking care not to tear it; the paper won’t take rough handling. Finally stopping, you straighten it out before you. Stretching out your right arm, and letting your wrist hang loose, you point downward with your index finger, curling your other fingers back out of the way. Finally, eyes still closed, your lower your stiffened arm till your finger touches the paper; and opening your eyes you look at the small chart of jumbled numbers to see what you’ve chosen.
===> History of the Tablets
The “Tablets of Fate” are an oracle first produced as chap-books in the late 17th century. Chap-books were among the first examples of printed works for the common people. Made up in large quantities and printed on the cheapest grade of rag paper, these little 4 x 6 inch pamphlets were the dime novels of their day. They were sold in shops and stalls in the city markets, and then bought and resold by peddlers to the villages and hamlets of Europe.
These peddlers would carry small cheap goods they could buy and resell from their packs as they traveled. In the vernacular of the day they were called chap-men, buyers and sellers of cheapened goods. Hence, the booklets they sold acquired the name chap-books.
The thing to remember is that the “Tablets of Fate” were among the first writings commonly available. Wither they are a true oracle, or just a parlor game, their history is as old as playing cards.
The idea behind the oracle is simple. Each “Tablet” represents a different category of questions that will fall into a common group of answers. A tablet is created, consisting of 16 numbers jumbled in an odd arrangement in roughly equal areas of the page. They can be in a square (Tablet of Venus), a circle (Tablet of the Moon), or a diamond shape (Tablet of Jupiter) so long as the area that encloses each number is roughly equal on the page. Then a table of Responses is prepared covering a range of possible answers. The “Tablets of Fate” call for 32 responses, 16 numbers with both an upright and a reversed meaning.
You would seek your answer by placing the chart with the “Tablet” in front of you and turning it randomly to set it’s direction, upright or reversed. Then you’d use your finger, a small stick, or a pencil held in your hand to randomly pick your answer.
===> Known Tablets of Fate
The following Tablets can be found in several sources under different names.
Tablet of the Sphinx == Usually consulted first to determine if the time is right to ask your question. If you receive a favorable answer in the Tablet of the Sphinx, you would go on to the next tablet.
Tablet of the Moon (Spell of the New Moon) == The Moon guards the Home; use it ask about issues concerning home, relatives, and friends.
Tablet of Mercury (The Magnetic Horseshoe) == Mercury is Lord of the Crossroads; use this tablet for issues concerning journeys and travels.
Tablet of Venus (Cupid’s Scroll) == Venus is the goddess of Love, use it for issues of the heart.
Tablet of Mars (The Symbolic Swastika) == use this table when your question concerns Work, Business, or Money.
** (The Lucky Bell) == Used for issues concerning a Letter (or in modern terms an email)
Tablet of the Sun (Spell of the Rising Sun) == Used when the issue concerns Time.
** (The Seal of Solomon) == Issues concerning a Large Building (Temple, Office Building, Hospital, etc.) or someone connected to such a place.
Tablet of Jupiter (The Scales of Fate) == Used when your issues concern Justice, worries, doubts, or problems with the Law.
===> Modern Printings of the Oracle
The most complete version of the “Tablets of Fate” that I’ve found were printed in “The Complete Fortune Teller” by Diana Hawthorne (Blue Ribbon Books, Inc., New York, 1940), and in an English printing of the same book “Laurie’s Complete Fortune Teller” by Diana Hawthorn (W and G Foyle, Ltd, London. 1946). A copy of the English edition was recently put up for sale on E-bay and still shows up in the search engines. These are obviously out of print at this time.
A more modern version can be found in (2) books: “Little Giant Encyclopedia of Lucky Numbers” by The Diagram Group (Sterling Publishing 2001), and “Little Giant Encyclopedia of Fortune Telling” by The Diagram Group (Sterling Publishing 1999). These are both still in print, and can be found in your local bookstore. Sadly, two of the “Tablets of Fate” were dropped from the recent Sterling Publishing printings.
You can also find a Web page calculator with all of the “Tablets” from the 1940 edition with a little bit of searching. I highly recommend the experience; it sure beats using a magic 8-ball.
by Keith Abbott