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New World Library Unshelved

New World Library Unshelved

Positive news and inspiring views from the New World Library community

Thursday, December 10, 2015
NEW WORLD LIBRARY STAFF PICK: Associate Publicist Jennifer Listug Recommends SIDEWALK ORACLES by Robert Moss
I don’t know about you, but I have always loved the holidays. I’m not religious, and I’m not much of a shopper, but I love the scent of fresh pine in my home and the glow of colorful Christmas lights adorning the outside of it. I love the taste of mulled wine, pumpkin pie, and latkes (which my mother makes for Hanukkah, though we are not Jewish). I even love the sparkly, glittery wrapping paper that makes a mess all over my living room carpet every year. For me, the holidays bring back a sense of joy and enchantment with the world, which was constant and effortless in childhood. During the holidays, I am reminded what it’s like to believe in magic. 

The older I get, the harder this becomes. Even as I write, I am aware that it has been less than a month since the attacks in Paris, and just over a week since the tragic shootings in San Bernardino. But this is all the more reason to let ourselves become enchanted again. After all, the celebrations of this season have always been about bringing light into the darkest time of year. 

That’s why Sidewalk Oracles by Robert Moss feels like a particularly poignant read right now. It is all about becoming a “kairomancer,” a word Robert coined to describe people who can feel the magic and enchantment all around them, and not just during the holidays. Sidewalk Oracles is a book of games that teach us how to cultivate real magic in our everyday lives, by playing with signs and synchronicities. Here are three of my favorite games, with stories from when I’ve played them. I encourage you to give them a try too! 

1. Sidewalk Tarot

Start by posing a question to the universe the way you would to a tarot deck. Then look around for the messages that appear, in whatever form they come. They could appear as dropped business cards or playing cards, as books, billboards, or vanity license plates. It is up to you to read the signs and receive the messages. 

The last time I played, my answer came through a little toad. I had been invited to give a talk at a spiritual community and wasn’t sure I wanted to do it. I was intrigued but nervous about it. With this in mind, I took an evening stroll and toward the end of it came across a toad on the sidewalk. I stopped to pick it up and looked at it sitting on my palm for short while. I asked the universe, “Should I agree to give the talk even though I’m afraid?” Right then the little toad leaped off my hand and landed perfectly on a bush a couple of feet away. The answer was clear: take the leap! I accepted the invitation. 

2. Listen for Your Daily Kledon

A kledon is the first sound you hear after a silence. So to play this game, you first go into silence. Go to a quiet place, or simply meditate and tune out the noises around you. Then pose your question to the universe. When you are ready, leave your place of silence, and the first words or sounds you hear will be your message. 

I played this on Thanksgiving this year. I went hiking before my family’s gathering and did not bring a phone or a watch with me. At the end of the trail, I rested for a while on a bench by a pond, watching a family of ducks swimming around. I didn’t know what time it was and wondered if I should get going so I wouldn’t be late to dinner. Just then, a man came around the corner walking two dogs. He kneeled down, gave them each a rub, and spoke, breaking the silence. “Well, that’s it — we did the whole path. Time to get going now!” And there was my answer. I don’t think the man realized he wasn’t only talking to his dogs. 

3. Do It by the Book
This is my favorite game, and possibly the easiest to play. You simply pose a question to the universe, pick up the nearest book, flip to a random page, and put your finger on it. Your message will be in the words you are pointing to. 

I thought it would be best to play this game in real time as I wrote this post, using Sidewalk Oracles as my book. So I posed the question, What would be most valuable to share from this book? I flipped to a random page, and here was the answer, in Robert’s words: “Oracles will speak to you where you live, through the signs and symbols of the world around you. To receive their messages, and join in the deeper play behind them, you need to remember that OATH of the kairomancer: be Open to new experience; Available, willing to set aside plans and step out of boxes; able to give Thanks for what the world gives you; and ready to take action to Honor what comes.” 

Robert says that real magic is “the art of bringing gifts from another world into this one.” We make real magic by recognizing moments when the universe is speaking to us through signs and synchronicities, and by seizing the opportunities that these moments present. When we live this way, we become reenchanted with the world. We become reconnected with the truth that we knew as children and that we might be reminded of at this time of year: the world is full of magic, and we are the magicians. 

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Associate Publicist Jennifer Listug has had a lifelong love affair with books, writing, and spiritual exploration. She majored in English in college and has been with New World Library for nearly three years. 


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