Thursday, January 3, 2013


Meaning: divination by lots; Rabelais refers to the tradition of the King cake, or galette des Rois, for Twelfth Night (Epiphany Eve, January 5 this year):
cheromancy,* as the bean is found in the cake at the Epiphany vigil.
Whover finds the bean in the cake is King for the night, or, presumably, Queen.** As ever, this comes with privileges - such as the ability to create arbitrary laws, (ala the Lord of Misrule); and responsibilities - in Sir Thomas’ example below, paying for the drinks.

Usefulness: 2 (Epiphany Eve is a Saturday this year, so all you need is to assemble some guests, source a galette des Rois, and decide what your Roy de la febve will be required to do. See also: paying for the drinks.)

Logofascination: 2 (The clero- is from Greek, and probably the same one that turns up in cleric.)

In the wild: As one of the easier forms of divination, it is rather popular with those who are into -mancys.

Degrees: 1 (if we ignore typos)

Connections: n/a

Which is used in: as quoted above, in the -mancy chapter (G&P, Book the Third, XXV). It also gets a mention in Ekskybalauron - Sir Thomas is talking about the poor way in which Covenanters have treated their royalty:
as the French on the Epiphany day use their Roy de la febve, or king of the bean; whom, after they have honoured with drinking of his health and shouting, Le Roy boit,*** le Roy boit, they make pay for all the reckoning; not leaving him sometimes one peny, rather then that the exorbitancie of their debosh**** should not be satisfied to the full. ... or as about Christmais we do the King of Misrule, whom we invest with that title to no other end but to countenance the bacchanalian riots and preposterous disorders of the family where he is installed.

*hard to say whether this typo (cheromancy for cleromancy) is Sir Thomas’ or the printers; Sir Thomas does boast of the awfulness of his handwriting.

**Pepys records a king and a queen

***The King drinks!


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