John Wheeler: Some forms of aeromancy remain popular

Aeromancy refers to the art of telling the future by means of interpreting atmospheric conditions.

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FARGO — Aeromancy, from the Greek words for “air” and “divination,” refers to the now mostly lost art of telling the future by means of interpreting atmospheric conditions. Apparently, by “reading” weather conditions such as cloud formations, wind currents, and other observable meteorological elements, the aeromancer would attempt to predict if you would become rich, if you would marry and have many children, or if the crops would be successful.

Aeromancy is thought to have been used by priests in the Babylonian era and was one of the seven “forbidden arts” of Renaissance magic. Contemporary science is much better able to explain how the weather works, and we can even forecast it out with at least some accuracy and usefulness. Despite these advances, some people still entertain mysterious metaphysical weather connections in the face of empirical, testable science, using certain kinds of weather to predict the future as well as predicting weather using things unrelated to meteorology such as sliced onions and full moons.

John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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