Do you believe in bad omens? You know, shapes in the tea leaves, recurring imagery, a sign that something bad is going to happen? Not sure? Me neither. In many respects I think its silly to read into things but I also studied English lit… I quite literally got a degree for finding and trying to make sense of signs and symbols hidden within a pieces literature. However, omens are different than reading in between the lines. According to good ol’ Wikipedia (a totally reliable source, obviously), an omen is a phenomenon that is believed to foretell the future, often signifying the advent of change. When I think of a bad omen my thoughts fly to the grim in Harry Potter.
“The giant, spectral dog that haunts churchyards! My dear boy, it is an omen—the worst omen—of death!”
~ Professor Trelawney, The Prisoner of Askaban
Harry first sees the grim outside of number 4 Privet Drive, then again in divination class, in his tea leaves. The grim is described as a large, jet black dog. The story goes that soon after seeing the grim, you die! It’s all very dramatic. Hermione, ever the logical thinker, points out that the grim may not actually be an omen of death but rather a cause of death. “They see the grim and die of fright”, she says.
Recently I had two encounters that gave me that jittery bad omen feeling. The first was a dead baby bird. I happened upon it while walking to work. From far away it looked like a very large wad of chewed up gum, you see it had no feathers and was all pink. But no, as I got closer I realized that it was in fact the tiny body of a dead baby bird. In order to get into my office I had to walk over it… It really gave me the creeps. If that wasn’t enough, the very next morning, again on my way to work, I came across a dead mouse. But not just any dead mouse, this one was laying in a large pool of blood! It looked like the beginning of a cop tv show. Seriously, it looked like this mouse had been stabbed and left for dead, right in the middle of the side walk! Mouse murder! I’ve been having trouble getting the images of the little dead creatures out of my head.
What does it mean?! Are these omens, trying to send me a message? I’ve done some base level googling and dead birds and mice are not on the average bad omen chart. Also, nothing bad has happened to me since then. So perhaps Hermione is right, maybe there is no such thing as bad omens but instead we are totally irrational people who read way to much into perfectly regular things. All I know is I don’t want to see another little dead animal for a very, very long time.
Have you ever encountered a bad omen?! Share in the comments!