A couple of years ago, I learned the Homeric Oracle. Less than a month after that, I reread Hesiod’s Works and Days. It struck me then that that work would probably also make a very good, yet very similar, divination system. I never went through the work required to actually put it together, though, until today. Please give it a try and tell me how successfully it works for you.
You’ll need three six-sided dice. Throw the set and write down the number that is made from the three dice from left to right. Do this two or three times more. Each of those numbers that you wrote down will correspond to a line on the chart below. When you put those three or four lines together, that will be the response to your question. If you need clarification, I’ve found that you should really only try for one more number (line). If you get the same line twice, don’t throw for any more numbers. Stop there; that’s it. ok, ready? Here we go!
1-1-1: or just a few years older. This is the time for marriage.
1-1-2: Men born in the fullness of the great twentieth day
1-1-3: if people judge their true nature and live by it:
1-1-4: the ills of the fourth day when the month waxes and wanes;
1-1-5: Riches and flocks of sheep go to those who work.
1-1-6: Then potters eye one another’s success, and craftsmen too;
1-2-1: and lived in peace and abundance as lords of their lands,
1-2-2: for its house lies near and the path to it is smooth.
1-2-3: and pray as you look upon the stream before you cross.
1-2-4: your shambling curved-horn oxen, your sharp-toothed dog.
1-2-5: But I do not believe yet that Zeus’s wisdom will allow this.
1-2-6: and with ease he lowers the noble and raises the lowly.
1-3-1: fools do not go even so far; yet, a hundred pieces of wood
1-3-2: they are second but, still, greatly honored.
1-3-3: they dwell under the ground and are called blessed mortals-
1-3-4: sailed on ships, pressed by the need for a better life.
1-3-5: ever watching birds of omen, ever shunning transgression.
1-3-6: his house. Yes, such fortunes do not last long.
1-4-1: the handle and the whip comes down hard.
1-4-2: to last a whole year with no more work.
1-4-3: Drink all you want when your jar is full or almost empty;
1-4-4: when men’s minds are tricked by the greed for profit,
1-4-5: each year, pay heed to her cry.
1-4-6: The rest wander among men as numberless sorrows,
1-5-1: when Thracian gusts whip thick clouds to frenzy.
1-5-2: Children will not resemble their fathers,
1-5-3: But when the earth covered this race, too,
1-5-4: Men whose justice is straight know neither hunger nor ruin,
1-5-5: When the cold season comes stitch together skins
1-5-6: Start reaping when the Pleiades rise, daughters of Atlas,
1-6-1: and no horror matches a bad one, a glutton
1-6-2: each of Demeter’s gifts in the right season.”
1-6-3: nameless. Black death claimed them for all their fierceness,
1-6-4: When you eat and bathe do not use vessels
1-6-5: Do not start your sowing on the thirteenth day
1-6-6: or through foolishness to wrong someone’s orphaned children,
2-1-1: early risers harvest fields laden with grain.
2-1-2: it is the sturdiest kind for your oxen when they plow
2-1-3: But I do not believe yet that Zeus’s wisdom will allow this.
2-1-4: Yes, joy will be yours when you draw on your stored supplies,
2-1-5: Let there be order and measure in your own work
2-1-6: who rushes with zeal to plow and plant
2-2-1: and there will be no affection between guest and host
2-2-2: will go to Olympos from the broad-pathed earth
2-2-3: Hear and see, O Zeus! Let your decrees be straight and fair!
2-2-4: his house. Yes, such fortunes do not last long.
2-2-5: with ease strengthens the crooked and shrivels the insolent.
2-2-6: and your hardy mules. And keep in your mind
2-3-1: for its house lies near and the path to it is smooth.
2-3-2: When the cold season comes stitch together skins
2-3-3: and waste time in aimlessness. Work prospers with care;
2-3-4: then may Zeus send rain three days later,
2-3-5: guard against this day, which can break your heart.
2-3-6: Marry a virgin so you can teach her right from wrong.
2-4-1: When -Zeus willing- counting from the winter solstice
2-4-2: A man should not sleek his body with a woman’s bathwater
2-4-3: early risers harvest fields laden with grain.
2-4-4: The gods keep livelihood hidden from men.
2-4-5: by the man in whose house the season’s plentiful harvest,
2-4-6: Aegis-bearing Zeus has a design for each occasion,
2-5-1: wear a tight-fitting cap to keep your ears dry.
2-5-2: men can sail with safety, for then a ship
2-5-3: and mighty arms grew from the shoulders of their sturdy bodies.
2-5-4: The gods of Olympos made a second race
2-5-5: and dreadful the outcome if you overload your wagon
2-5-6: Bronze were their weapons, bronze their homes
2-6-1: of the man who knows justice and proclaims it before the public.
2-6-2: Again, few men know that after the twentieth of the month
2-6-3: and, worse yet, pays no heed to the words of others.
2-6-4: when nights and days are no longer unequal
2-6-5: except when I went to Euboea from Aulis, where once
2-6-6: because glory and excellence follow riches.
3-1-1: Sons and daughters will be quick to offend their aging parents
3-1-2: Sow fallow land when the soil is still loose;
3-1-3: and mighty arms grew from the shoulders of their sturdy bodies.
3-1-4: Otherwise a day’s labor could bring a man enough
3-1-5: draw the gift of joyous Dionysos into your vats.
3-1-6: The Oath Demon follows the trail of crooked decrees;
3-2-1: that are crooked and then swear that they are fair.
3-2-2: If a man crosses a river with unwashed hands and impure heart,
3-2-3: and, well-stocked, reach spring as it blossoms white,
3-2-4: Bad words flung at others bounce back with double strength.
3-2-5: Ruin trails dishonest profit; keep away from it.
3-2-6: Sons and daughters will be quick to offend their aging parents.
3-3-1: who do not have enough and yet gossip in idleness.
3-3-2: When the crane flies high above in the clouds
3-3-3: that feed on the bees’ labor in wasteful sloth.
3-3-4: Let those who drink never place the serving cup
3-3-5: This way each thing will grow in season, and need will not
3-3-6: do not let malicious Strife curb your zeal for work
3-4-1: A forty-year-old farmhand should follow your oxen
3-4-2: you can choose to have evil, and heaps of it, too,
3-4-3: his offspring will sink and slowly vanish,
3-4-4: cut off the dry from the green of your five-branch
3-4-5: of wanton wrongdoers who plot deeds of harshness.
3-4-6: many high-crested oaks and sturdy firs
3-5-1: by his magnanimous sons. And I claim that there
3-5-2: with them to keep the rain off; and on your head
3-5-3: or does it against the sturdy wall of some yard.
3-5-4: then wood cut with the ax from trees that shed their leaves
3-5-5: such as goddesses have and the shape of a lovely maiden;
3-5-6: if the lord of Olympos himself grants success in the end,
3-6-1: Do not allow yourself to mock baneful poverty
3-6-2: in this trial; they know neither how the half is greater
3-6-3: Then he ordered widely acclaimed Hephaistos to mix earth with water
3-6-4: Run faster than this wind; finish work and head for home,
3-6-5: stole it back for man from Zeus, who delights in thunder.
3-6-6: the Achaeans weathered a grim storm and then with a great host
4-1-1: Five years past puberty makes a woman a suitable bride.
4-1-2: Store up the tackle compactly inside your house
4-1-3: The people of this earth profit greatly from these days.
4-1-4: If a man by might of hand seizes great wealth,
4-1-5: Earlier, human tribes lived on this earth
4-1-6: you grabbed and carried away as a fat bribe
4-2-1: But the immortals decreed that man must sweat
4-2-2: and shall give no more. Work, foolish Perses,
4-2-3: Justice howls when she is dragged about by bribe-devouring men
4-2-4: Now when the father finished his grand and wily scheme
4-2-5: Weeping and clothed in mist, she follows through the cities
4-2-6: and soak your body and clothes until you are dripping wet.
4-3-1: even a stalwart man and age him before his time.
4-3-2: in a windy, well-rounded threshing floor
4-3-3: with consummate skill. Treasure this thought in your heart:
4-3-4: And if a friend is first to displease you by word or deed,
4-3-5: it is best to prune your vines before her arrival.
4-3-6: and thus break the axle and see your load destroyed.
4-4-1: to the delight of mortals throughout the wide earth,
4-4-2: Your face should mirror what is in your mind.
4-4-3: against insolent crime. Only fools need suffer to learn.
4-4-4: be gracious. Only scoundrels change their friends.
4-4-5: the gods bear a grudge and bring pains upon him later.
4-4-6: The eye of Zeus sees all, notices all;
4-5-1: Here are the days that come from Zeus the counselor,
4-5-2: Fleecy sheep are weighed down with wool,
4-5-3: it is best to prune your vines before her arrival.
4-5-4: If a man as a witness knowingly swears a false oath
4-5-5: Only Hope stayed under the rim of the jar
4-5-6: and divine will grant her a share of honor.
4-6-1: But rush home as soon as you can;
4-6-2: Then horned and hornless lodgers of the forest,
4-6-3: Do not postpone for tomorrow or the day after tomorrow;
4-6-4: If you do so, do not be the first to do wrong
4-6-5: cruel for men and cruel for sheep.
4-6-6: And I will speak to Perses the naked truth:
5-1-1: Weeping and clothed in mist, she follows through the cities
5-1-2: then easily the gods blot out such a man and reduce
5-1-3: then hire an unmarried worker and look for a female servant
5-1-4: then the swallow, shrill-voiced daughter of Pandion,
5-1-5: But here is some consolation for the man who plows late;
5-1-6: sometimes it comes as evening rain and sometimes as wind
5-2-1: but the woman with her hands removed the great lid of the jar
5-2-2: she bathes her soft skin well and rubs it down
5-2-3: so that you win their favor for your affairs,
5-2-4: benign protectors of mortals that drive harm away
5-2-5: by the man in whose house the season’s plentiful harvest,
5-2-6: For ten-palm wagons cut fellies no longer than three spans;
5-3-1: and, well-stocked, reach spring as it blossoms white,
5-3-2: these blissful heroes for whom three times a year
5-3-3: but does not blow through to a maiden’s tender skin,
5-3-4: but men take it up because their minds are foolish.
5-3-5: if the lord of Olympos himself grants success in the end,
5-3-6: Have plenty of this and then incite brawls and strife
5-4-1: in the gloomy haunts, where his fireless house lies;
5-4-2: and I ask you not to let my advice go unheeded.
5-4-3: Home is safer; what lies out of doors is harmed.
5-4-4: The gods’ herald then gave her voice and called this woman
5-4-5: with white cloaks and, leaving men behind,
5-4-6: and let a young slave follow you with a mattock
5-5-1: and who lie and coax and are fond of secret whispers.
5-5-2: will give them rest as they waste away with toil
5-5-3: Men and gods have a common descent,
5-5-4: But here is some consolation for the man who plows late;
5-5-5: and they became holy spirits that haunt it,
5-5-6: And if a man chances on victims burning in sacrifice,
5-6-1: The same day can be a mother now, a stepmother later.
5-6-2: The gods’ herald then gave her voice and called this woman
5-6-3: than the whole, nor how asphodel and mallow nurture,
5-6-4: and with ease he lowers the noble and raises the lowly.
5-6-5: the dawn’s arrival sends many men on their way
5-6-6: though I am no expert on navigation and ships,
6-1-1: The chief sacred days are the first, the fourth, and the seventh;
6-1-2: and with ease he lowers the noble and raises the lowly.
6-1-3: and the heat sears their skin. Then, ah then,
6-1-4: Find ways to pay your debts and escape hunger.
6-1-5: Again, few men know that after the twentieth of the month,
6-1-6: as they rove the whole earth, clothed in mist.
6-2-1: a rich and plentiful harvest. They knew no constraint
6-2-2: so that in the grip of an evil winter’s needy impasse
6-2-3: He hid fire. But Prometheus, noble son of Iapetos,
6-2-4: others over the great gulf of the sea in ships
6-2-5: and makes the sea stormy and too rough for sailing.
6-2-6: or into springs, but always avoid this.
6-3-1: Though kings are wise, I will tell them a fable:
6-3-2: and whenever men mistreat her through false charges
6-3-3: Then you could hang your oar over the smoke of your fireplace
6-3-4: and golden Aphrodite should pour grace round the maiden’s head,
6-3-5: and the son of Kronos, who dwells on ethereal heights,
6-3-6: A sleeplike death subdued them, and every good thing was theirs;
6-4-1: then do not keep your ship on the wine-dark sea
6-4-2: Home is safer; what lies out of doors is harmed.
6-4-3: and thus break the axle and thus see your load destroyed.
6-4-4: for such wrongdoing harms the poor, and even the noble
6-4-5: and he was not fleeing from great riches and comforts
6-4-6: wear a tight-fitting cap to keep your ears dry.
6-5-1: sits on trees and pours down shrill song
6-5-2: and husband his homestead. One neighbor envies another
6-5-3: A man should not sleek his body with a woman’s bathwater,
6-5-4: rich in flocks and dear to the blessed gods.
6-5-5: Heed the vengeance of the blessed immortals
6-5-6: If you work, you will be dearer to immortals
6-6-1: Zeus sends the days; observe them in due measure
6-6-2: sixty days have passed, then the star Arcturus
6-6-3: with longing for what one lacks. Do think of all this.
6-6-4: Then you must feed well the curved-horned oxen you keep in your barn.
6-6-5: and he spoke to her these lordly words:
6-6-6: few will admire what you bring home in a basket.
This system was created under the supervision of Apollon. I am aware that there are repeated lines, and a few really choice lines were not used. Alas, it wasn’t up to me. The translation that I used is by Apostolos N. Athanassakis.