Hebeloma's Cleromancy Kits
by the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House
On this page we describe the cleromancy kits assembled by the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House to implement the cleromantic exercise as envisioned by Hebeloma Crustuliniforme. The kits require four components.
To be sure, the last three components of the kits could be rudimentary stones, an odd penny and a drawing. That we have fetishized the paraphernalia for this ritual is only a symptom of the malaise that has consumed us.
- a copy of A Practicum on Divination via Cleromancy
- fourteen stones, one marked as traveler and one marked as companion
- one coin with the obverse side designated crescent and the reverse as gibbous
- a mat divided into fourteen areas, each associated with one of the sacrificial victims of the minotaur:
- Young Men
- Hippophorbas, son of Alypus
- Idas, son of Arcas
- Antimachus, son of Euander
- Menestheus of Sounion
- Amphidocus of Rhamnous
- Demoleon, son of Cydon
- Porphyrion, son of Celeus
- Periboea, daughter of Alcathous
- Melanippe, daughter of Pyrrhus
- Hesione, daughter of Celeus
- Andromache, daughter of Eurymedon
- Eurymedusa, daughter of Polyxenus
- Europe, daughter of Laodicus
- Melite, daughter of Tricorythus
February 15, 2020
In 2019, the Poison Pie Publishing House published Hebeloma Crustuliniforme's A Practicum on Divination via Cleromancy. The practicum was recorded in real time. It is a post-existential fantasy generated through a non-idiomatic improvisational creative process. It was serially published on a daily basis in 2019, resulting in a text composed of 365 passages each nominally three hundred words in length. The full text of the work remains online via free, anonymous access. A one-page flyer describing the work is online here.
February 15, 2020
Fourteen hardbound copies of the text were printed by Lulu. The book is nominally 6" by 9" and contains four hundred pages, including front matter and indices. The books have a dust jacket and a library-grade dust jacket protector from Demco.
December 12, 2020
The staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House harvested marble rocks from the abandoned remains of several quarries near Knoxville, Tennessee. These rocks were subject to the various stages of tumbling to smooth their edges and reveal their shape. They were then individually hand-polished. Each set of casting stones contains fourteen pieces, one for each sacrificial victim. The traveler stone is designated by a single hole bored in the stone. The companion stone is designated by a two holes. Initially, fourteen sets of casting stones were made over the course of several years, with the process coming to a close in the early months of 2020. Each set was placed in a burlap pouch. The final stage of curing took place in kimchee jars.
Each of the initial fourteen sets was connected to an individual who entered the labyrinth. The fourteen sets are described individually below. Each indicates the associated traveler, their spectrum of influence and a quote describing their person as it appears in the practicum.
spectrum of influence: courage & cowardice
Ever intent on improving her condition, as well as that of her companions within the labyrinth, Periboea continued to devise strategies to topple the reign of the minotaur. Most of these schemes concluded with the death of the beast. As was to be expected when dealing with a lethal adversary, some of the plans carried a significant risk of loss of life for those responsible for their execution.
March 14, 2019
spectrum of influence: humility & arrogance
Virtually every person, even those who engage in labors more productive than sitting around and thinking as a way of life, have formed an opinion--whether they choose to voice it or not--regarding the principle of general causality. Some adhere to the maxim, "Everything happens for a reason," while others have reached the conclusion that many events transpire only in response to the brute, physical forces of an admittedly complex universe. Hippophorbas had always counted himself among the latter, considering those, who attributed fortune and misfortune to divine intervention, to be practicing a kind of usually well-meaning apophenia. However, since his arrival in the mine, Hippophorbas had begun to re-evaluate his position on the matter. Perhaps, there was something to be gained in searching for reasons and justifying events, even if the explanations created as a result were the products of fiction. Literature is filled with fiction and has attracted numerous aficionados, who find in it entertainment and comfort. Why should life be any different?
February 4, 2019
spectrum of influence: dignity & contempt
Melanippe sought to map the labyrinth because she believed that people would be able to more readily live with dignity, if they had a clearer idea of the path upon which they traveled. Her logic required a causal relationship between individual purpose and communal virtue, which was not universally acknowledged.
February 18, 2019
spectrum of influence: curiosity & indifference
For some, it is enough to present an unsolved problem in order to engage their interest. The mere presence of a riddle provides sufficient impetus to expend the time and effort to tackle it. For others, an understanding of the eventual impact of the solution is necessary before they are willing to commit their limited resources. This distinction seemed simple and obvious to Idas. However, he had heard it little discussed, given the dramatic effect it had on one's life-view.
April 25, 2019
spectrum of influence: devotion & betrayal
Although their common bond sprang from nothing but the poor luck to be chosen by lottery to appease the minotaur, Hesione found herself drawn to a fellowship with her thirteen comrades in misfortune. When she was able to find a safe place to sleep, she often dreamt of them as if they were her family. She positioned herself fifth in a line of fourteen, leaving her nine younger siblings to aid as necessary and four elder, after whom she could model her behavior or with whom she could remonstrate, should their actions prove dubious. As for the minotaur, Hesione likened it to the neighbor's unruly dog, a fixture on the block, to be avoided with due prudence.
January 5, 2019
spectrum of influence: imagination & boredom
Antimachus, the spindly daydreamer, engaged in what others might dispassionately describe as "dreams of infantile omnipotence", in which he was suddenly possessed of great physical agility and strength. He challenged the minotaur to single combat and slew the beast in a gladiatorial contest. His companions in the labyrinth were arranged around the perimeter of the cavern, as if occupying the stands of an arena in which this mighty spectacle transpired. Holding the severed head of the beast aloft, Antimachus triumphantly proclaimed to his friends that freedom was theirs. The men cheered him and the maidens planted adoring kisses upon his face.
March 19, 2019
spectrum of influence: mercy & cruelty
Melite pardoned the stone for confining her, just as she absolved the darkness for its absence of light and the stale, damp air of the tomb for the weariness and despondency, with which it sought to infect her. It was in her nature to forgive. Although she had shared this innermost secret with no one, Melite had gone so far as to grant a universal amnesty to all of creation, and its makers as well, for devising the treacherous scheme that had led her to this wretched fate. What else was there to forgive?
January 7, 2019
spectrum of influence: compassion & apathy
It can be difficult to conduct oneself with compassion, if one expects one's own future to be absent of compassion. Thus, in some circumstances, the display of empathy requires an obstinate, willful resolve. Of course, there are others, like Menestheus, to whom compassion came as naturally as the morning song comes to birds in the hour before dawn.
January 15, 2019
spectrum of influence: patience & impatience
In the labyrinth, Andromache played a crude, wooden miner's flute that she had found in an abandoned camp. She improvised long hours upon melodies of her own creation with no one but the subterranean darkness as her audience. Instead of applause filling the amphitheater, her playing was followed by the dying echoes of her music resonating against the unhewn stone of the cavern walls. Still, she did not cease playing.
April 4, 2019
spectrum of influence: open-mindedness & intolerance
It was true that Amphidocus sought to understand the motivation of those with whom he came into contact, both in his life prior to his incarceration within the labyrinth and after. It was not unjustified to suggest that his impetus for doing so was to discover a single motivation or some combination of them, which he could adopt as his own purpose. A logical consequence of this reasoning was that Amphidocus lacked any ulterior purpose beyond his current quest.
April 5, 2019
spectrum of influence: integrity & dishonesty
When she discovered that a portion of the mine was flooded, she was tempted to swim in the underground lake. She had initially dipped a bare foot in the water and discovered the temperature much too cool for her liking. Later, she found refuge in the exercise of swimming despite the chill. In this way, she also discovered a shallow niche at the end of the lake, backed by overhanging stone, accessible only by swimming. Though the stone floor was raised barely an inch above the level of the lake, in the absence of tides and waves, the niche remained dry. This spot, and others like it, which she was to come upon later, became the favored roosts of Eurymedusa.
January 11, 2019
spectrum of influence: virtue & turpitude
Encouraged by an abundance of solitude and darkness, Demoleon entertained the notion that the labyrinth could be interpreted as a challenge intended to provoke virtuous responses from those who wandered its corridors. Without the continuous struggle to find his bearings provided by the labyrinth, he might surrender, gradually, to indolence and other deteriorations of the spirit. He attempted to convince himself that, as a result, the maze was a blessing.
Of course, this fantasy of optimism could not be impeccably sustained. In moments of weakness, Demoleon plunged into despair, seeking solace in the pursuit of vices he ordinarily professed to eschew.
February 17, 2019
spectrum of influence: determination & indolence
As for the minotaur itself, Europe, like you and I, was steadfast in her conviction that such an amalgamation of man and bull existed only in the realms of myth. She was determined to investigate the details of her incarceration within the mine and reveal the entire scheme for the fraud she knew it to be.
January 13, 2019
spectrum of influence: joy & sorrow
Porphyrion awoke with great joy in his heart. Let us not seek to penetrate his innermost thoughts in an attempt to justify his exultation. We must be satisfied with the understanding that some individuals are simply predisposed to joy, based on an auspicious balance of biochemicals in their organs, especially the hypothalamus, the pituitary and the adrenal gland. Tracing the matter further to genetic heritage or divine favor is beyond the scope of our admittedly limited capabilities.
January 27, 2019
The cleromancy kit includes one coin. In the practicum, the sides are identified with two phases of the moon: crescent and gibbous. For these kits, we selected moon coins, where are geographically accurate and struck in 136,794,240:1 scale. The obverse side of the coin shows the near side of the moon and the reverse shows the dark side. In the casting, the obverse side serves as the crescent and the reverse as gibbous.
These moon coins are manufactured by Shire Post Mint of Springdale, Arkansas. The coins were available in one inch or one and a half inch diameter. We selected brass coins in the smaller size since, according to Hebeloma, the fourteen stones and the coin can be cast simultaneously, requiring that all stones and coin fit in the hand. The moon coins are also minted in copper and in 0.999 fine silver.
February 15, 2020
In ages past, the stones or sticks by which the cleromancy was performed were cast on crude surfaces, the dirt of the blind oracle's hovel sufficed. Nowadays, such arts attract a certain variety of fetishist, who craves a set of ornate implements and paraphernalia such as can lend the dubious practice an aesthetic appeal if not a scientific justification. For this cleromancy kit, we have explored a variety of designs, one of which is shown above. At the present time, no mats have been printed in any format.
February 15, 2020
Mats were printed on squares of flour sack cotton, measuring twenty-eight inches to a side. These mats contain both the name and the associated spectrum of vice to virtue. They were printed by TShirtWorxs of Knoxville, Tennessee.
December 12, 2020
The cleromantic kit includes a copy of the book, fourteen casting stones (one marked as traveler and another as companion), a moon coin and the mat. The kit also includes a small burlap pouch for holding the stones and a larger cotton bag for the entire kit.
All contents of the kit fit easily in the cotton bag.
December 12, 2020
Each kit includes a one-side sheet of instructions. An electronic copy of the instructions is posted here.
In the example pictured above, the traveler stone (with one hole) has fallen in the area of the mat assigned to Andromache and the companion stone (with two holes) has fallen in the area of the mat assigned to Europe. The moon coin landed on the light side of the moon (the face visible to those of us on Earth), which we have associated with the crescent phase. According to the "Index of Horoscopes by Name", which begins on page 367 of the book, this horoscope is located on page 68. A link to that particular horoscope is here.
December 12, 2020
For those without access to the physical kit, an electronic implementation, titled, The Oracle of Hebeloma, is available online via free and anonymous access from the Poison Pie Publishing House at https://www.poisonpie.com/publishing/cleromancy/oracle/oracle.html. This version allows the querent to adjust the probability of landing on a particular traveler or companion, though the outcome remains random. In terms of a physical analogue, this corresponds to using a mat in which the areas associated with each of the fourteen individuals are not of uniform size.
December 12, 2020
While this page stands on its own as a description of the cleromancy kit associated with A Practicum on Divination via Cleromancy,
this work also serves as a second addendum to the illustrated essay begun in 2018 devoted to the more general topic of contemporary paraphernalia associated with cleromancy.
February 15, 2020