Prophecy is a process in which aspects of information, awareness, messages or knowledge which has been provided to an individual, often called a prophet, soothsayer, or a seer, are then indicated to others. The information provided typically involves indications of divine inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of conditions and events of the future, as well as testimony or repeated revelations of divine aspects of the world or Reality. The process of prophecy often involves reciprocal communication of the prophet with sources of the information.
- You don't need no crystal ball,
Don't fall for a magic wand.
We humans got it all, we perform the miracles.
- Of all the horrid, hideous notes of woe,
Sadder than owl-songs or the midnight blast;
Is that portentous phrase, "I told you so."
- Prophecy, however honest, is generally a poor substitute for experience.
- Benjamin N. Cardozo, in West Ohio Gas Co. v. Public Utilities Commission (No.2), 294 U.S. 79, 82, (1935)
- Everybody makes the same mistake. Fortune-telling doesn't reveal the future; it mirrors the present. It resonates against what your subconscious already knows and hauls it up out of the darkness so you can get a good look at it.
- Charles de Lint, in "Paperjack" in Dreams Underfoot : The Newford Collection (2003), p. 396
- Muad'Dib could indeed see the Future, but you must understand the limits of this power. Think of sight. You have eyes, yet cannot see without light. If you are on the floor of a valley, you cannot see beyond your valley. Just so, Muad'Dib could not always choose to look across the mysterious terrain. He tells us that a single obscure decision of prophecy, perhaps the choice of one word over another, could change the entire aspect of the future. He tells us "The vision of time is broad, but when you pass through it, time becomes a narrow door." And always, he fought the temptation to choose a clear, safe course, warning "That path leads ever down into stagnation."
- Prophecy and prescience — How can they be put to the test in the face of the unanswered questions? Consider: How much is actual prediction of the "wave form" (as Muad'Dib referred to his vision-image) and how much is the prophet shaping the future to fit the prophecy? What of the harmonics inherent in the act of prophecy? Does the prophet see the future or does he see a line of weakness, a fault or cleavage that he may shatter with words or decisions as a diamond-cutter shatters his gem with a blow of a knife?
- The trance-state of prophecy is like no other visionary experience. It is not a retreat from the raw exposure of the senses (as many trance states) but an immersion in a multitude of new movements. Things move. It is an ultimate pragmatism in the midst of Infinity, a demanding consciousness where you come at last into the unbroken awareness that the universe moves of itself, that it changes, that its rules change, that nothing remains permanent or absolute throughout all such movement, that mechanical explanations for anything can work only within precise confinements and, once the walls are broken down, the old explanations shatter and dissolve, blown away by new movements. The things you see in this trance are sobering, often shattering. They demand your utmost effort to remain whole, and even so, you emerge from that state profoundly changed.
- The prophet is not diverted by illusions of past, present and future. The fixity of language determines such linear distinctions. Prophets hold a key to the lock in a language. The mechanical image remains only an image to them. This is not a mechanical universe. The linear progression of events is imposed by the observer. Cause and effect? That's not it at all. The prophet utters fateful words. You glimpse a thing "destined to occur." But the prophetic instant releases something of infinite portent and power. The universe undergoes a ghostly shift. Thus, the wise prophet conceals actuality behind shimmering labels. The uninitiated then believe the prophetic language is ambiguous. The listener distrusts the prophetic messenger. Instinct tells you how the utterance blunts the power of such words. The best prophets lead you up to the curtain and let you peer through for yourself.
- A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country and in his own house.
- Jesus, in Matthew, XIII. 57
- The Future … is like a puzzle — with missing pieces — difficult to read, and never, NEVER, what you think.
- Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, in lines for "Rumpelstiltskin" in Manhattan, episode 2.14 of Once Upon a Time (17 February 2013)
- The Future is a puzzle, with many pieces to be sorted. In Time you will learn to separate what can be from what will be.
- Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, in lines for "the Seer" in Manhattan, episode 2.14 of Once Upon a Time (17 February 2013)
- The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come "true". This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.
- Robert K. Merton, in Social Theory and Social Structure (1968), p. 477
- I had determined to go as far as declaring in abstruse and puzzling utterances the future causes of the "common advent", even those truly cogent ones that I have foreseen. Yet lest whatever human changes may be to come should scandalise delicate ears, the whole thing is written in nebulous form, rather than as a clear prophecy of any kind.
- If I have eschewed the word prophet, I do not wish to attribute to myself such lofty title at the present time, for whoever is called a prophet now was once called a seer; since a prophet, my son, is properly speaking one who sees distant things through a natural knowledge of all creatures. And it can happen that the prophet bringing about the perfect light of prophecy may make manifest things both human and divine, because this cannot be done otherwise, given that the effects of predicting the future extend far off into time.
- Nostradamus, in The Prophecies (1555), Preface
- Perfect knowledge of such things cannot be acquired without divine inspiration, given that all prophetic inspiration derives its initial origin from God Almighty, then from chance and nature. Since all these portents are produced impartially, prophecy comes to pass partly as predicted. For understanding created by the intellect cannot be acquired by means of the occult, only by the aid of the zodiac, bringing forth that small flame by whose light part of the future may be discerned.
- Nostradamus, in The Prophecies (1555), Preface
- When twenty years of the Moon's reign have passed
another will take up his reign for seven thousand years.
When the exhausted Sun takes up his cycle
then my prophecy and threats will be accomplished.
- Nostradamus, in The Prophecies (1555), Q 48
- Sir Isaac Newton, having perhaps the greatest scientific mind of all time, accepted the books of Book of Daniel and Revelation as revelations from God, being very detailed and accurate representations of the history of the world's dominating kingdoms, and prophesying both the first and second coming of Christ. He understood that the scriptures taught that the true Church of Jesus Christ had been lost, and he awaited three separate future events: 1) the restoration of the gospel by an angel, 2) the re-establishment of the true church, and 3) the rise of a new world kingdom led by the Savior himself, which will crush the kingdoms of the world as the stone pulverized the statue to powder. He saw the whole purpose of these revelations is not to satisfy man's curiosity about the future, but to be a testimony of the foreknowledge of God after they are all fulfilled in the last days. He proposed that the revelations can be understood by discovering rules governing their consistent imagery, but only after they have been fulfilled, unless an interpretation is given with the revelation. Truly Newton's genius was remarkable, and we could learn much from his insights and systematic methods.
- There is a history in all men's lives,
Figuring the nature of the times deceas'd,
The which observed, a man may prophesy
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life, which in their seeds
And weak beginnings lie intreasured.
- "Deafer," said the blameless King,
"Gawain, and blinder unto holy things
Hope not to make thyself by idle vows,
Being too blind to have desire to see.
But if indeed there came a sign from heaven,
Blessed are Bors, Lancelot and Percivale,
For these have seen according to their sight.
For every fiery prophet in old times,
And all the sacred madness of the bard,
When God made music through them, could but speak
His music by the framework and the chord;
And as ye saw it ye have spoken truth."
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 636-37.
- Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life!
The evening beam that smiles the clouds away,
And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray!
- Lord Byron, Bride of Abydos, Canto II, Stanza 20
- The prophet's mantle, ere his flight began,
Dropt on the world—a sacred gift to man.
- Thomas Campbell, Pleasures of Hope, Part I, line 43
- Bene qui conjiciet, vatem hunc perhibebo optimum.
- I shall always consider the beet guesser the best prophet.
- Cicero, De Divinatione, II. 5 (Greek adage)
- Ancestral voices prophesying war.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Khan
- We know in part, and we prophesy in part.
- I Corinthians, XIII. 9
- From hence, no question, has sprung an observation … confirmed now into a settled opinion, that some long experienced souls in the world, before their dislodging, arrive to the height of prophetic spirits.
- Erasmus, Praise of Folly (Old translation)
- Thy voice sounds like a prophet's word;
And in its hollow tones are heard
The thanks of millions yet to be.
- Fitz-Greene Halleck, Marco Bozzaris
- Prophet of evil! never hadst thou yet
A cheerful word for me. To mark the signs
Of coming mischief is thy great delight,
Good dost thou ne'er foretell nor bring to pass.
- Homer, The Iliad, Book I, line 138, Bryant's translation
- A tunnel underneath the sea from Calais straight to Dover, Sir,
The squeamish folks may cross by land from shore to shore,
With sluices made to drown the French, if e'er they would come over, Sir,
Has long been talk'd of, till at length 'tis thought a monstrous bore.
- Theodore Hook, Bubbles of 1825, in John Bull (1825)
- This solemn moment of triumph, one of the greatest moments in the history of the world … this great hour which rings in a new era … and which is going to lift up humanity to a higher plane of existence for all the ages of the future.
- David Lloyd George, speech at Guildhall after the signing of the Armistice (11 November 1918)
- My gran'ther's rule was safer 'n 't is to crow:
Don't never prophesy—onless ye know.
- James Russell Lowell, Biglow Papers, No. 2. Mason and Slidell
- It takes a mind like Dannel's, fact, ez big ez all ou'doors
To find out thet it looks like rain arter it fairly pours.
- James Russell Lowell, Biglow Papers, No. 9, line 97
- No mighty trance, or breathed spell
Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic cell.
- John Milton, Hymn on Christ's Nativity, line 173
- Till old experience do attain
To something like prophetic strain.
- John Milton, Il Penseroso (1631), line 173
- Is Saul also among the prophets?
- I Samuel. X. 11
- Prognostics do not always prove prophecies, at least the wisest prophets make sure of the event first.
- Horace Walpole, letter to Thomas Walpole (9 February 1785)
- Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever?
- Zechariah. I. 5