Fortune telling is the practice of predicting information about a person's life. The scope of fortune telling is in principle identical with the practice of divination. The difference is that divination is the term used for predictions considered part of a religious ritual, invoking deities or spirits, while the term fortune telling implies a less serious or formal setting, even one of popular culture, where belief in occult workings behind the prediction is less prominent than the concept of suggestion, spiritual or practical advisory or affirmation.
Historically, fortune telling grows out of folkloristic reception of Renaissance magic, specifically associated with Romani people. During the 19th and 20th century, methods of divination from non-Western cultures, such as the I Ching, were also adopted as methods of fortune telling in western popular culture.
An example of divination or fortune telling as purely an item of pop culture, with little or no vestiges of belief in the occult, would be the Magic 8-Ball sold as a toy by Mattel, or Paul II, an octopus at the Sea Life Aquarium at Oberhausen used to predict the outcome of matches played by the German national football team.
There is opposition to fortune telling in Christianity, Islam and Judaism based on scriptural prohibitions against divination. This sometimes causes discord in the Jewish community due to their views on mysticism.
Terms for one who claims to see into the future include fortune teller, crystal-gazer, spaewife, seer, soothsayer, sibyl, clairvoyant, and prophet; related terms which might include this among other abilities are oracle, augur, and visionary.
Common methods used for fortune telling in Europe and the Americas include astromancy, horary astrology, pendulum reading, spirit board reading, tasseography (reading tea leaves in a cup), cartomancy (fortune telling with cards), tarot reading, crystallomancy (reading of a crystal sphere), and chiromancy (palmistry, reading of the palms). The last three have traditional associations in the popular mind with the Roma and Sinti people (often called "gypsies").
Another form of fortune telling, sometimes called "reading" or "spiritual consultation", does not rely on specific devices or methods, but rather the practitioner gives the client advice and predictions which are said to have come from spirits or in visions.
Western fortune tellers typically attempt predictions on matters such as future romantic, financial, and childbearing prospects. Many fortune tellers will also give "character readings". These may use numerology, graphology, palmistry (if the subject is present), and astrology.
In contemporary Western culture, it appears that women consult fortune tellers more than men. Some women have maintained long relationships with their personal readers. Telephone consultations with psychics (at very high rates) grew in popularity through the 1990s but they have not replaced traditional methods.
Discussing the role of fortune telling in society, Ronald H. Isaacs, an American rabbi and author, opined, "Since time immemorial humans have longed to learn that which the future holds for them. Thus, in ancient civilization, and even today with fortune telling as a true profession, humankind continues to be curious about its future, both out of sheer curiosity as well as out of desire to better prepare for it."
Popular media outlets like the New York Times have explained to their American readers that although 5000 years ago, soothsayers were prized advisers to the Assyrians, they lost respect and reverence during the rise of Reason in the 17th and 18th centuries.
With the rise of commercialism, "the sale of occult practices [adapted to survive] in the larger society," according to sociologists Danny L. and Lin Jorgensen. Ken Feingold, writer of "Interactive Art as Divination as a Vending Machine," stated that with the invention of money, fortune telling became "a private service, a commodity within the marketplace".
As J. Peder Zane wrote in the New York Times in 1994, referring to the Psychic Friends Network, "Whether it’s 3 P.M. or 3 A.M., there’s Dionne Warwick and her psychic friends selling advice on love, money and success. In a nation where the power of crystals and the likelihood that angels hover nearby prompt more contemplation than ridicule, it may not be surprising that one million people a year call Ms. Warwick’s friends." 
In 1994, the psychic counsellor Rosanna Rogers of Cleveland, Ohio explained to J. Peder Zane that a wide variety of people consulted her: "Couch potatoes aren’t the only people seeking the counsel of psychics and astrologers. Clairvoyants have a booming business advising Philadelphia bankers, Hollywood lawyers and CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies... If people knew how many people, especially the very rich and powerful ones, went to psychics, their jaws would drop through the floor." Ms. Rogers "claims to have 4,000 names in her rolodex."
Janet Lee, also known as the Greenwich psychic, claims that her clientele often included Wall Street brokers who were looking for any advantage they could get. Her usual fee was around $150 for a session but some clients would pay between $2,000 and $9,000 per month to have her available 24 hours a day to consult.
In 1982, Danny Jorgensen, a professor of Religious Studies at the University of South Florida offered a spiritual explanation for the popularity of fortune telling. He said that people visit psychics or fortune tellers to gain self-understanding, and knowledge which will lead to personal power or success in some aspect of life.
In 1995, Ken Feingold offered a different explanation for why people seek out fortune tellers: "We desire to know other people’s actions and to resolve our own conflicts regarding decisions to be made and our participation in social groups and economies. […] Divination seems to have emerged from our knowing the inevitability of death. The idea is clear—we know that our time is limited and that we want things in our lives to happen in accord with our wishes. Realizing that our wishes have little power, we have sought technologies for gaining knowledge of the future… gain power over our own [lives]."
Ultimately, the reasons a person consults a diviner or fortune teller are mediated by cultural expectations and by personal desires, and until a statistically rigorous study of the phenomenon has been conducted, the question of why people consult fortune tellers is wide open for opinion-making.
Traditional fortune tellers vary in methodology, generally using techniques long established in their cultures and thus meeting the cultural expectations of their clientele.
In the United States and Canada, among clients of European ancestry, palmistry is popular and, as with astrology and tarot card reading, advice is generally given about specific problems besetting the client.
Non-religious spiritual guidance may also be offered. An American seclairvoyant by the name of Catherine Adams has written, "My philosophy is to teach and practice spiritual freedom, which means you have your own spiritual guidance, which I can help you get in touch with."
In the African American community, where many people practice a form of folk magic called hoodoo or rootworking, a fortune-telling session or "reading" for a client may be followed by practical guidance in spell-casting and Christian prayer, through a process called "magical coaching".
In addition to sharing and explaining their visions, fortune tellers can also act like counselors by discussing and offering advice about their clients' problems. They want their clients to exercise their own willpower.
Some fortune tellers support themselves entirely on their divination business; others hold down one or more jobs, and their second jobs may or may not relate to the occupation of divining. In 1982, Danny L., and Lin Jorgensen found that "while there is considerable variation among [these secondary] occupations, [part-time fortune tellers] are over-represented in human service fields: counseling, social work, teaching, health care." The same authors, making a limited survey of North American diviners, found that the majority of fortune tellers are married with children, and a few claim graduate degrees. "They attend movies, watch television, work at regular jobs, shop at K-Mart, sometimes eat at McDonald's, and go to the hospital when they are seriously ill."
In 1982, the sociologists Danny L., and Lin Jorgensen found that, "when it is reasonable, [fortune tellers] comply with local laws and purchase a business license." However, in the United States, a variety of local and state laws restrict fortune telling, require the licensing or bonding of fortune tellers, or make necessary the use of terminology that avoids the term "fortune teller" in favor of terms such as "spiritual advisor" or "psychic consultant." There are also laws that outright forbid the practice in certain districts.
A person is guilty of fortune telling when, for a fee or compensation which he directly or indirectly solicits or receives, he claims or pretends to tell fortunes, or holds himself out as being able, by claimed or pretended use of occult powers, to answer questions or give advice on personal matters or to exercise, influence or affect evil spirits or curses; except that this section does not apply to a person who engages in the aforedescribed conduct as part of a show or exhibition solely for the purpose of entertainment or amusement.
Lawmakers who wrote this statute acknowledged that fortune tellers do not restrict themselves to "a show or exhibition solely for the purpose of entertainment or amusement" and that people will continue to seek out fortune tellers even though fortune tellers operate in violation of the law.
Similarly, in New Zealand, Section 16 of the Summary Offences Act 1981 provides a one thousand dollar penalty for anyone who sets out to "deceive or pretend" for financial recompense that they possess telepathy or clairvoyance or acts as a medium for money through use of "fraudulent devices." As with the New York legislation cited above, however, it is not a criminal offence if it is solely intended for purposes of entertainment.
Skeptic Bergen Evans suggested that fortune telling is the result of a "naïve selection of something that have happened from a mass of things that haven't, the clever interpretation of ambiguities, or a brazen announcement of the inevitable." Other skeptics claim that fortune telling is nothing more than cold reading.
Media related to Fortune-telling at Wikimedia CommonsBig (film)
Big is a 1988 American fantasy comedy film directed by Penny Marshall, and stars Tom Hanks as Josh Baskin, a young boy who makes a wish "to be big" and is then aged to adulthood overnight. The film also stars Elizabeth Perkins, David Moscow as young Josh, John Heard, and Robert Loggia, and was written by Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg.Cartomancy
Cartomancy is fortune-telling or divination using a deck of cards. Forms of cartomancy appeared soon after playing cards were first introduced into Europe in the 14th century. Practitioners of cartomancy are generally known as cartomancers, card readers, or simply readers.
Cartomancy using standard playing cards was the most popular form of providing fortune-telling card readings in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The standard 52-card deck is often augmented with jokers or even with the blank card found in many packaged decks. In France, the 32-card piquet stripped deck is most typically used in cartomantic readings, although the 52 card deck can also be used. (A piquet deck can be a 52-card deck with all of the 2s through the 6s removed. This leaves all of the 7s through the 10s, the face cards, and the aces.)
In English-speaking countries, the most common form of cartomancy is generally tarot card reading. Tarot cards are almost exclusively used for this purpose in these places.Chinese fortune telling
Chinese fortune telling, better known as Suan ming (Chinese: 算命; pinyin: Suànmìng; literally: "fate calculating") has utilized many varying divination techniques throughout the dynastic periods. There are many methods still in practice in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong today. Over time, some of these concepts have moved into Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese culture under other names. For example, "Saju" in Korea is the same as the Chinese four pillar method.Crystal ball
A crystal ball, also known as an orbuculum, is a crystal or glass ball and common fortune telling object. It is generally associated with the performance of clairvoyance and scrying in particular.Divination
Divination (from Latin divinare "to foresee, to be inspired by a god", related to divinus, divine) is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic, standardized process or ritual. Used in various forms throughout history, diviners ascertain their interpretations of how a querent should proceed by reading signs, events, or omens, or through alleged contact with a supernatural agency.
Divination can be seen as a systematic method with which to organize what appear to be disjointed, random facets of existence such that they provide insight into a problem at hand. If a distinction is to be made between divination and fortune-telling, divination has a more formal or ritualistic element and often contains a more social character, usually in a religious context, as seen in traditional African medicine. Fortune-telling, on the other hand, is a more everyday practice for personal purposes. Particular divination methods vary by culture and religion.
Divination is dismissed by the scientific community and skeptics as being superstition. In the 2nd century, Lucian devoted a witty essay to the career of a charlatan, "Alexander the false prophet", trained by "one of those who advertise enchantments, miraculous incantations, charms for your love-affairs, visitations for your enemies, disclosures of buried treasure, and successions to estates", even though most Romans believed in prophetic dreams and charms.Fortune
Fortune may refer to:
Luck, a chance happening, or that which happens beyond a person's controls
Wealth, an abundance of items of economic value
Fortune, a prediction made in fortune-telling
Fortune, a printed slip of text contained in a fortune cookieFortune telling fraud
Fortune telling fraud, also called the bujo or egg curse scam, is a type of confidence trick, based on a claim of secret or occult information. The basic feature of the scam involves diagnosing the victim (the "mark") with some sort of secret problem that only the grifter can detect or diagnose, and then charging the mark for ineffectual treatments. The archetypical grifter working the scam is a fortune teller who announces that the mark is suffering from a curse that her magic can relieve, while threatening dire consequences if the curse is not lifted.Fortuneteller machine
A fortuneteller machine is a type of amusement, which upon receiving credit gives out a card with a prediction of the reader's future. They could be found in penny arcades, and can be seen in modern video arcades and amusement parks.GREE
GREE (derived from an abbreviation of the "Six degrees of separation" concept) is a Japanese social networking service founded by Yoshikazu Tanaka and operated by GREE, Inc..
GREE focuses primarily on mobile games and over ninety percent of its users access the site via their mobile phones. The company makes money by selling virtual goods to users such as clothes for their in-game avatars.Social networking features of GREE include the user profile, diary, communities, photo sharing and photo emailing. It serves as a platform for promoting communication and mutual understanding among its members.
While GREE was initially available only to PC users, the service was later extended to feature phone users. GREE for feature phones includes regular social networking functions, social games, flash-based games, blogs, fortune telling, news and so forth. In 2010, GREE, Inc. started GREE for iPhone and Android to meet demand. GREE, Inc. provides a variety of social game applications for feature phones and smartphones, with enhanced communication among users. The source of earnings is mainly composed of advertisement sales and paid services sales.Kau cim
Kau Cim, Kau Chim or Lottery poetry (simplified Chinese: 求签; traditional Chinese: 求籤) is a fortune telling practice that originated in China in which the querent (person asking the question) requests answers from a sacred oracle lot. The practice is often performed in a Taoist or Buddhist temple in front of an altar. Kau Cim is often referred to as Chien Tung or Chinese Fortune Sticks by westerners. In the US, a version has been sold since 1915 under the name Chi Chi Sticks. Kau Cim is also sometimes known as "The Oracle of Kuan Yin" in Buddhist traditions. It is widely available in Thai temples, known as Siam Si (Thai: เซียมซี). The similar practice is also found in Japan, named O-mikuji.Literomancy
Literomancy, from the Latin litero, "letter", mancy, "divination", is a form of fortune-telling based on written words, or, in the case of Chinese, characters. A fortune-teller of this type is known as a literomancer.
When practicing literomancy, the client puts up a subject, be it a single character or a name. The literomancer then analyzes the subject, the client's choice of subject or other information related to the subject, along with other information he sees in the client or that the client supplies to arrive at a divination.
Some literomancers can read the curves and lines of a signature as signed by an individual, just as a professional handwriting analyst might, but uses instinct and divination techniques rather than applied analysis skills.
As a superstition, literomancy is practised in Chinese-speaking communities and known as cèzì (traditional Chinese: 測字; simplified Chinese: 测字). The subjects of a literomancy are traditionally single characters and the requestor's name (Chinese believe that the name can affect one's destiny). In modern times, elements such as foreign words or even more recently, e-mail addresses and instant message handles have come into use as a subject.Liu Qian (Investiture of the Gods)
Liu Quin (Chinese: 刘乾; Pinyin: Liú Qián) is a character featured within the Chinese novel Investiture of the Gods (more commonly known as Fengshen Yanyi).
Liu Quin is a renowned firewood cutter renowned across the capital, Zhaoge. One day, Liu Quin would browse around the southern gate of the capital and notice a small fortune telling house. Upon approaching this house, he would first wake up Jiang Ziya, the owner, and tell him, "If you can tell the past and the future, then your fortune telling skill must be great. Tell me my fortune for this day. If accurate, I will give you twenty coppers. If not, I will give you my fist so that you will never make a fool out of anyone again!" Thus, Jiang Ziya would present a fortune before Liu Quin that would seem near to impossible. While even trying to change the outcome of his fortune, his destiny had already been set any everything ended up turning out exactly as Jiang had predicted.
Thus, the next morning, Liu Qian would rush quickly into Jiang's house studio and loudly utter the words, "Mr. Jiang is the best fortune teller who ever lived! In fact, I think he is a demigod from heaven. Now that we have such a genius among us, no one needs to suffer any more anxiety." With these words, Liu Qian, the very strong man who was feared as a bully would be well respected following this point.Magic 8-Ball
The Magic 8 Ball is a toy used for fortune-telling or seeking advice, developed in the 1950s and manufactured by Mattel. The user asks a question to the large plastic ball, then turns it over to reveal a written answer which appears on the surface of the toy.Major Arcana
The Major Arcana are the emblematic picture cards of a tarot deck. There are usually 22 of these trump cards found in a 78-card deck.
Prior to the 17th century, the trumps were simply part of a special card deck used for gaming and gambling. There may have been allegorical and cultural significance attached to them, but beyond that, the trumps originally had little mystical or magical import.. When decks are used for card games (Tarot card games), the cards, which are known by occultists as the Minor Arcana., serve as a permanent trumps and are distinguished from the remaining cards.
The terms "Major" and "Minor Arcana" are used in the occult, and divinatory applications of the deck as in practicing Esoteric Tarot and originate with Jean-Baptiste Pitois, writing under the name Paul Christian.Michael Dummett writes that the Major Arcana originally had simple allegorical or exoteric meaning, mostly originating in elite ideology in the Italian courts of the 15th century when it was invented. The occult significance only began to emerge in the 18th century when Antoine Court de Gébelin (a Swiss clergyman and Freemason) published Le Monde Primitif. The construction of the occult and divinatory significance of the tarot, and the Major and Minor Arcana, continued on from there. For example, Court de Gébelin argued for the Egyptian, kabbalistic, and divine significance of the tarot trumps: Etteilla created a method of divination using tarot: Eliphas Lévi worked hard to break away from the Egyptian nature of the divinatory tarot, bringing it back to the tarot de Marsailles, creating a "tortuous" kabbalastic correspondence, and even suggested that the Major Arcana represent stages of life. The Marquis Stanislas de Guaita established the Major Arcana as an initiatory sequence to be used to establish a path of spiritual ascension and evolution. Finally Sallie Nichols, a Jungian psychologist, wrote up the tarot as having deep psychological and archetypal significance, even encoding the entire process of Jungian individuation into the tarot trumps. These various interpretations of the Major Arcana developed in stages, all of which continue to exert significant influence on practitioners' explanations of the Major Arcana to this day.Servitka Roma
Servitka Roma (Ukrainian Серви, Russian Сэрвы) is a subgroup of Romani. They formed as a group in Ukraine, where their ancestors had come from Serbia. Servitka Roma are part of the Romani people in Ukraine and in Russia, where they are well integrated into general society. They are also the most numerous group of Ukrainian Roma. Servitka Romani dialect belongs to Ukrainian Group of Romani dialects as classified by L.N. Cherenkov. Most of Servitka Roma speak poor Romani and use many Ukrainian and Russian words.
Servitka Roma are Orthodox Christians. Their traditional occupations are smithing and fortune-telling. In the 19th century many young Servitka Roma also served in Cossack armies.
Presently, Servitka Roma are one of the best-educated Romani groups. They are known as excellent performers of Ruska Romani music and are often incorrectly considered to be Ruska Roma.Shai
Shai (also spelt Sai, occasionally Shay, and in Greek, Psais) was the deification of the concept of fate in Egyptian mythology. As a concept, with no particular reason for associating one gender over another, Shai was sometimes considered female, rather than the more usual understanding of being male, in which circumstance Shai was referred to as Shait (simply the feminine form of the name). His name reflects his function, as it means (that which is) ordained.As the god of fate, it was said that he determined the span of each man's life, and was present at the judgement of the soul of the deceased in duat. In consequence, he was sometimes identified as the husband of Mesenet, goddess of birth, or, in later years, of Renenutet, who assigned the Ren, and had become considered goddess of fortune. Because of the power associated in the concept, Akhenaten, in introducing monotheism, said that Shai was an attribute of Aten, whereas Ramses II claimed to be lord of Shai (i.e. lord of fate).
During Ptolemaic Egypt, Shai, as god of fate, was identified with the Greek god Agathodaemon, who was the god of fortune telling. Thus, since Agathodaemon was considered to be a serpent, and the word Shai was also the Egyptian word for pig, in the Hellenic period, Shai was sometimes depicted as a serpent-headed pig, known to Egyptologists as the Shai animal.Tasseography
Tasseography (also known as tasseomancy or tassology) is a divination or fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds, or wine sediments.
The terms derive from the French word tasse (cup), which in turn derives from the Arabic loan-word into French tassa, and the Greek suffixes -graph (writing), -logy (study of), and -mancy (divination).
Divination attempts to gain insight into the natural world through intuitive interpretation of synchronistic events.Tengenjutsu (fortune telling)
Tengen-jutsu (天源術) is a Japanese fortune telling method. It is based on yin and yang and the five elements, and uses a persons birth date in the sexagenary cycle and physical appearance to predict ones fate. Tengen-jutsu originated in various Chinese practices, but was first systemized by the early Edo period monk Tenkai. It is also the origin of Tōkyūjutsu.Turkish coffee
Turkish coffee (Turkish: Türk kahvesi) is coffee prepared using very finely ground coffee beans, unfiltered. The same method is used in many Middle Eastern and Southeastern European countries.