Man has always been fascinated by the prospect of getting to know the future- the unknown. Since time immemorial people have had faith on different types of fortune-telling methods, to see what destiny has in its hold for them. In today’s world people are crazy for reading their every morning newsletter of daily horoscopes in their inbox, or for browsing the newspaper for the day’s zodiac forecast. And many of them consult one or the other fortune teller, to get a glimpse of their fate out of curiosity or to take some decisions.
Fortune telling essentially means predicting the future through various means that involves thorough observation of a phenomenon or entity, psychic analysis and interpretation, done mostly for gaining something in return. Fortune tellers prophesize the person’s future love life, work prospects, success, money, fame and even death through various techniques.
One of the very common methods of fortune telling all around the world is dream interpretation or oneiromancy. It is a common belief that dreams are windows to future and in sleep a person has enough of the psychic state required to peep through the future. People having faith in it write their dreams the very second they wake up, lest they should forget. Some maintain elaborate dream journals too. In ancient times, kings had special dream interpreters in their courts, to find the real meaning of their dreams and assist them in taking decisions and in their rule.
Next very popular method is tarot card reading or cartomancy. In Indian villages, men can be seen sitting in the roadside stalls with cards and a parrot, and luring the passersby to succumb to their curiosity through various tactics. The parrot would pick a card for the customer which would ‘hold’ his future. Now days, in TV channels too tarot card readers have created a niche for themselves. People eagerly watch these shows where the very well dressed card reader shuffles the beautiful, artistic cards with her perfectly manicured hands and effortlessly manages to hold the audiences’ attention.
Astrology is another method, which is considered more scientific than mystical. It is all about zodiac signs- both sun signs and moon signs, and horoscope. It studies the positioning of the sun, the moon, some important stars and constellations and other planets in the sky during the birth of the individual, to predict the future. Horoscope matching is done before marriages to see if the couple is compatible or not.
In numerology, numbers could be used to reveal one’s future. Ones date of birth and time of birth can predict future events. In palmistry the lines on the palms are studied to tell about lifespan, intelligence, health, marriage, foreign travel, happiness etc. It is said that we are born with our fate written in our hands, as the lines on our palms develop when we are just fetus inside our mother’s womb. Another method is tasseography, in which future is interpreted by analyzing the shape, form, wetness and stain of tea leaves or coffee grounds after a cup has been emptied.
Some of the methods that are becoming less popular with time are crystal gazing and use of spirit boards. Crystal gazing involves looking through the crystal with full concentration till the time one attains a meditative trance like state, and channel psychic energies to view future events and incidences. Spirit board method is one of the most mystical methods that involve communication with spirits, who are believed to know all about past, present and future.
Though attractive and satisfying all these methods seem one disadvantage is that all are fallible. Which fortune tellers are professionals are which are fake can’t be easily distinguished, and innocent curious customers tend to fall into their traps. One important question that all of this leaves us with is “can fate, fortune and destiny really be branded?”