* Russian Divinations for the Solstice *
from 1001 Christmas Facts and Fancies, by Alfred Carl Hottes
Five piles of grain are placed on the kitchen floor. Each pile is given a name, such as Hope, Ring, Money, Charcoal, and Thread. We girls went to the henhouse and roused a drowsy hen. She is allowed to walk around the kitchen and choose a pile of grain. If she chooses Hope it means a long journey or the fulfillment of a great wish. The Ring, of course, means marriage; Money is wealth; Charcoal portends death in the family; and Thread means a life of toil. How the conversation flows when these divinations are made. Old songs were sung, and the old women and country girls could devise entire stories from the action of the hen.
Sooner or later one of the girls would slip outdoors, and standing just inside the gate, but with her back to it, she would kick her slipper high over her head into the road behind her. Then she would run to see in which direction it pointed, for that is the way from which a lover will come or the way she will go to be married. And, alas, if the slipper points toward the gate she will not be married this year. [Note from Honor: this is not necessarily a bad thing…]
Some girls sit in a room alone with the doors closed. Two candles are lighted and two mirrors are used so that one reflects the candlelight into the other. The point is to find the seventh reflection and look until one’s future is seen.
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