Profession of a Fortune Teller: Origins and Myths


Velcome, velcome have a seat as I gaze into the hazy mist ov times to come. My crystal ball will reveal vhat fate holds for you. Actually, it won’t, I’m just a humble content writer, and by no means a ‘seer’ or a sexy gypsy enchantress with one too many shawls and my accent sucks. I don’t even own a crystal ball, well I do but I use it as a very ineffective door-stop (stupid thing keeps rolling away) and not as a viewing glass into the mysteries of things to come. Joking aside, though, we all wonder once in a while what awaits us with the next click of the hour hand or during the next Cat themed calendar (2016 is going to be purrrfect, “joking aside” doesn’t count within parenthesis, it’s in the imaginary bi-laws of writing, look it up). Any form of the unknown is integrally and inherently fascinating to humanity and just like we’ve been flying to space, we have also wanted to see into the future. So let’s take a small exploratory trip into the world of fortune telling [author disappears in a puff of vanilla smelling smoke].

The Origin (or at least the dusty old ancient world equivalent)

Seemingly tracing back to 4000 B.C.E. to parts of China, Babylonia and Egypt fortune telling was actually part of many religions of the ancient world. It seems that these guys had a pretty cushy gig. Because they were part of the ecclesiastic system and, in most cases, held a high position they were treated like royalty. At least after they had be made eunuchs. Furthermore, oracles such as the Ancient Greek Pythia, would get high off of (what most researcher’s assume was) methane and sulfurous gases that emanated from the earth below Delphi (considered the navel of the World, but sulfur smells like rotten eggs so I think that they had their anatomy mixed up), and in a daze and manic state she would deliver her prophesies. I’m surprised she didn’t get the munchies and want to go hide in the temple and eat figs and olives.

The Evolution

Through the Renaissance, fortune telling was strongly associated with the Romani or Gypsy people an icon that is pervasive even today. The tarot cards have come to be a staple of the modern fortune teller, which are a deck of 78 playing cards that have been used since the 15th century and started becoming especially popular for divination in the late 18th century. If you want an online tarot reading click here, and let the truth of destiny shine on to you. You can also turn ‘Zen’ on and off, whatever that means… personally my ‘Zen’ is always off, stupid hippy shit.

Forms of Fortune Telling

Throughout history various forms of fortune telling have been used including astrology, which uses the movement of heavenly bodies to discern certain interpersonal outcomes; palmistry, which uses the creases in a person’s hand to read their future; and of course one of the more popular methods, tarot reading as mentioned above. Other lesser forms include numerology which tries to extrapolate relationships between dates, events and interpersonal happenings. Of all people Pythagoras is considered the father of this pseudo-mathematical system. Finally, dream interpretation is also used in an attempt to reveal or decipher future events. 

Christians, Laws and Fortune Telling

As fortune telling is seeped heavily in medieval occultism Christianity and states that are largely Christian disallowed divination. In Christian and Judaic dogma, divination is strictly prohibited as a sin. There is an off-shoot though of Judaism called Kabbalah, which does have certain members that practice divination under the esoteric teachings of the Tora. Although Buddhism does not disallow the practice it does warn against becoming a slave to the fortune telling.

It’s Not An Unfounded Belief

There are numerous articles from reputable sources such as the BBC and the NY Post that actually substantiate predictions and disseminate them. Individuals such as Nostradamus have been a point of contention between believers and non-believers, as many of his prediction materialized. Some of his most “astounding” predictions were the rise of Hitler, World War 2 and the Atomic bomb to mention a few. A contemporary version of ole Nosi was Edgar Cayce which predicted the Stock Market crash, the shifting of the Earth’s magnetic poles and also World War 2. Unfortunately, both of these mystics’ “predictions” were vague at best; here are Nosi’s words on WWII: “The two greatest ones of Asia and of Africa, from the Rhine and Lower Danube they will be said to have come, Cries, tears at Malta and the Ligurian side.” And Cayce’s, which is significantly more convoluted:

“As to the affairs of an international nature, these we find are in a condition of great anxiety on the part of many; not only as individuals but as to nations. And the activities that have already begun have assumed such proportions that there is to be the attempt upon the part of groups to penalize, or to make for the associations of groups to carry on same. This will make for the taking of sides, as it were, by various groups or countries or governments. This will be indicated by the Austrians, Germans, and later the Japanese joining in their influence; unseen, and gradually growing to those affairs where there must become, as it were, almost a direct opposition to that which has been the THEME of the Nazis (the Aryan). For these will gradually make for a growing of animosities. And unless there is interference from what may be called by many the supernatural forces and influences, that are active in the affairs of nations and peoples, the whole world–as it were–will be set on fire by the militaristic groups and those that are "for" power and expansion in such associations...”

The Brain and what it does

Humans are nature’s most talented pattern recognizers but sometimes that also works against us, in the case of divination for example. In a mad dash to contextualize a bombardment of chaotic information and extrapolate logic from it the brain must find a pattern, and it does this relentlessly to the point where it actual creates non-existent patterns. Pareidolia is when we recognize significant objects in non-significant items, such as animals in clouds and faces on intimate objects and Apophenia is when the mind sees patterns in random data, like Jim Carey in that crappy movie “23” it’s old and a kinda crappy movie but I feel obligated as a movie buff to say: “SPOOOILERS”. The same thing happens with slightly vague predictions, once the brain sees even a slight correlation between the words said and the events that happened, the brain goes: “Holy Crap, it came true!” There’s also a bit of self-fulfilling prophesy in the mix for all you sociology buffs, which basically says that if a belief is adhered to strongly enough or even become a delusion, even if it isn’t true it will still influence the person that holds the belief. Right that’s a little convoluted so let me explain: simply if you wake up in the morning and say: “Ooooh I have the feeling that I’m going to have a horrible day” and then repeat it while drinking your coffee, while you’re driving to work and while you’re at work, guess what? Most probably you will have a horrible day.

See Also: 5 Simple Questions You Won’t Believe Science Can’t Answer

Can you see into the future? Then let me know in the comment section below!