Ambibosta Ritual

Ambibosta Ritual

I am still reeling from reading Jean-Philippe Jaworski "Même pas Mort" and "Chasse Royale". It is excellent and I am looking forward to read the rest of the story.

In this post I translate two descriptions of the "ambibosta" oneiric divination technique known to the Celts.

The first description in the book comes from a Druid attempting to use it as he has access to choice meat in a banquet:

During the banquet, I used a powerful magical technique. I chewed the red meat and spat it back, offering it to the gods; I lied with the palms of my hands covering my face. But three full nights are necessary for the ambibosta ritual to grant a clear vision, alas, the scouts came back shortly after my eyes had closed. My dreams were interrupted. What I saw was so incomplete that I cannot derive a sure oracle from it... A pack of dogs encircled by fire... A chariot emerging from a river... A boar and a bear avoiding their duel... The farewells of two huge ravens perched on weapon trophees. I did not sleep enough to unravel the meaning of it all.

Later in the book, it's a precocious child who attempts it:

Sacrila, after having well chewed her portion of bacon, spits it back on the flat stone she had prepared.
- If it's not to her majesty's taste, there are others who are hungry here, growls Drucco.
- I too am hungry, retorts the young girl, but we have to keep the gods' part.
- You think the gods will appreciate your vomit?
- It's a magic trick, you idiot. I have to eat the same meat as they do, to see through their eyes.
Labrios starts to understand what is going on, and he exclaims:
- But, do tell me, that's a divination ritual! Only the druids have the talent and the right to perform it.
- Yes, so what?
- So you are about to commit a dangerous sacrilege.
- Right away, the big words.
- Someone is necessary to keep watch on the augury's sleep. If you're interrupted in the vision, the revelation can be lost or completely misunderstood.
- Furthermore, I don't really remember the ambibosta formulas. I had to improvise. Maybe it will lead to surprises...
- You didn't follow the ritual? If you can't remember the formulas, how could it work?
- Instead I sang something I learnt in Aballo. Anyway, the enchantments of Prittuse are as powerful as the druids' incantations. It should be okay.
- What? You have tinkered with your spell?
- Shut up Bellovese, I won't have any visions if you won't let me sleep.

I couldn't find information about this "Ambibosta" ritual outside of Jaworski's work. It seems the word itself means "joined with both hands" and was also a unit of measure. It would match the two palms placed on the face of the caster "somatic component".

I saw a video interview of Jean-Philippe Jaworski where he mentioned in passing that he had based the ritual on a description that had percolated into medieval irish literature.

Sacrila's ritual yielded the expected three nights of dream, memory, heart, and soul. Chewing the meat, singing the incantation and joining the palms to the face, all this seems easy. Interpreting the three dreams is probably the hardest part.