Haruspices in America

In the seedier neighborhoods of our cities, or along the unsightly strips leading into our smaller towns, you are likely to find signs advertising the services of diviners: palm and tarot card readers, astrologists and crystal gazers. Missing is the haruspex—in Roman times, a priest who practiced divination by inspecting animal entrails—and for obvious reasons. The ritual sacrifice of animals, except under carefully regulated conditions (sport-hunting, the slaughter of livestock, the euthanizing of pets) is strictly prohibited. And yet, perhaps there are other occasions in our daily lives that invite the attention of the haruspex.


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