" ... centaurs may attempt to divine by the burning of certain herbs and leaves, by the observation of fume and flame…'
-- Firenze (OP27)
Firenze the Centaur explained the kind of Divination his race practices as follows:
- “I know that you have learned the names of the planets and their moons in Astronomy, and that you have mapped the stars’ progress through the heavens. Centaurs have unravelled the mysteries of these movements over centuries. Our findings teach us that the future may be glimpsed in the sky above us -“
- “I…am here to explain the wisdom of centaurs, which is impersonal and impartial. We watch the skies for the great tides of evil or change that are sometimes marked there. It may take ten years to be sure of what we are seeing.”
- “In the past decade, the indications have been that wizardkind is living through nothing more than a brief calm between two wars. Mars, bringer of battle, shines brightly above us, suggesting that the fight must soon break out again. How soon, centaurs may attempt to divine by the burning of certain herbs and leaves, by the observation of fume and flame…”
In his class, the students burned sage and mallowsweet and looked for certain shapes and symbols in the fumes, but Firenze “seemed perfectly unconcerned that not one of them could see any of the signs he described, telling them that humans were hardly ever good at this, that it took centaurs years and years to become competent, and finished by telling them that it was foolish to put too much faith in such things, anyway, because even centaurs sometimes read them wrongly.” (OP27)
Firenze had little patience for what he called “fortunetelling,” suggesting that to try to understand Divination in these terms was being “blinkered and fettered by the limitations” of being human.
Firenze is probably based on the famous centaur teacher Chiron, who in Greek mythology taught many famous heroes such as Perseus, Jason, Heracles, Theseus and Actaeon. source: Wikipedia
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"Divination" from Harry Potter Wiki