One Weird Secret: When to Roll Blank Dice

There’s perhaps no better way to conjure up the spirit of great antiquity than to roll dice. The very ancient game of throwing knucklebones dates back to the Trojan War, if we’re to take Sophocles’ word. The original knucklebone was technically a bone in a sheep’s ankle, the astragalus, hence divination by astragalomancy. The great Greek philosopher Plato traced dice even farther back, to the ibis-headed Egyptian god Thoth, inventor of magic and writing and science, divine arbitrator, judge of the dead, and maintainer of the universe. Plato himself played with dice not only with cubes but also tetrahedrons, octahedrons, dodecahedrons, and icosahedrons— the famous “Platonic solids” of geometry. Plato said, “God geometrizes,” and that’s a key to why dice have always been associated with divination— the geometric solids, as building blocks of the universe, embody truths on higher planes. Plato rolled unmarked cubes because they conjure up the workings of chance while protecting the great mysteries of the universe. Some believe that tossing blank dice calls forth Lady Luck while keeping one’s options open. In other words, if spots are rolled, it’s like lottery numbers being announced— a particular fate is set. But if blanks are rolled then one is at a crossroads and can freely choose the direction. When blank dice are rolled upon the cover of a closed book, the book’s occult powers are awakened. This is a good way to activate a book that has sat dormant on a shelf or in a box for a long period. I’ve been rolling blank dice over Dice Mysteries by Steve Drury. And I’m honored to actually have a chapter in this book about the secrets of rolling blank dice. Is that the time?

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