Fortune-telling

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Fortune-telling is the practice of predicting information about a person's life, often commercially.

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 gypsies.

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, a cephalopod of the Sea Life Aquarium at Oberhausen used to predict the outcome of matches played by the German national football team.[1]

There is opposition against fortune-telling, in Christianity and Judaism, based on Old Testament prohibitions against divination.[2]

Contents

Methods

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), lithomancy (reading of stones or gems), 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").

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