The art of Oenomancy (divination by wine) has been around for thousands of years but – unlike Theurgy and Thaumaturgy – there doesn’t appear to be a tradition of Oenurgy, magical workings with wine.
This became relevant yesterday as I stood in front of the wine shelves in Waitrose and pondered which bottle to buy. I was in the market for a modest red and the usual suspects weren’t appealing to me. Out of the corner of my eye I spied a red from the Bolney Estate winery in Sussex. Generally reds from England are to be avoided at all costs and I moved on to other sections but something was niggling at the back of my mind.
Many years ago, picking apart a Thomas Wyatt poem supposedly written about Anne Boleyn, I thought I discovered some coded messages; not quite an acrostic but an unusual distribution of letters that anagramatically spelled “Boleyn” and then almost “Boley(n)” again. At the time this led me to Bolney (an anagram of Boleyn) where I took some creepy photographs in the church cemetery.
With all of this flying around in my head, I found myself drawn back to the Bolney Estate wine. Maybe, I thought, if I buy this it will inject some energy back into the old quest even if it’s revolting wine. So I did…just to see what would happen.
Back home, with the wine safely stashed, I did some Googling to see if any connection between Boleyn and Bolney had surfaced since I last looked. It hadn’t but down at the bottom of the page in that part of the Google page where you see related searches, I saw a whole series of phrases to do with Brighton bodies and bodies in suitcases. This seemed weird and at first I couldn’t see the connection but then I realised that there was a famous still-unsolved murder called the Bolney Torso. I had never heard about this before yesterday. The body had been decapitated (echoes of Anne Boleyn) and generally dismembered, wrapped in a carpet and left in the woods where it was found by some guy out walking who went for a pee behind a tree.
Only a few weeks ago a friend had introduced me to the Dr Crippen case resulting from some research that she was doing. Again a torso featured significantly. Not to mention the echo of the parasites crawling away from the dead body in Wyatt’s poem above.
The point of all of this…the name of the wine that I had selected from the Bolney Estate, before I knew anything about the sinister goings-on, was named “Dark Harvest”. My experiments in oenurgy will continue and I’m very curious to see what will happen when I actually drink the stuff.