Man craves to reveal everything that is concealed. He has a quenchless thirst for solving mysteries. He yearns to know the unknowns and hunts for the hidden truths of life. Fortune is one such thing that a human mind longs for but it is interestingly the thing that can never be known in advance. What's written in one's destiny is always hidden. One can get to know your future only in future! But with the tendency to unfold mysteries of life, man sets out to know his fortune. He wants his fortune told! Fortune telling is a practice of predicting one's future.
It is practiced with the help of mystical powers and at times with the purpose of commercial gain. It is often combined with divination, the religious practice of foretelling the future by interpreting omens.
In America and Europe, methods like 'astromancy', 'horary astrology' and spirit board reading are employed for fortune telling. Astromancy is derived from astrology. In horary astrology, the astrologer designs the horoscope for the time at which he received the question and bases his predictions on it. A spirit board or an Ouija board is a board printed with letters, names or symbols. An indicator pointing to it is supposed to answer questions put by people. Cartomancy and tarot reading take the help of cards to predict the future while crystallomancy is based on reading from a crystal sphere. Palmistry, also known as cheiromancy, is another common method of fortune telling in Europe and America. In the African-American society, fortune telling without the help of any devices is popular. The fortuneteller is believed to get indications from some supernatural powers.
In Asian countries, fortune telling is practiced through a variety of methods. Palm reading associates the lines of the palm with different aspects of life. The shape and size of the palm and the fingers also determine a person's fortune. Face reading bases fortune telling on the facial features. According to a certain theory, the upper portion of the face symbolizes the youth, the middle portion, the middle age and the lower portion, the old age. In Kau Cim of China, a bamboo cylinder is shaken resulting in an incense stick leaving the cylinder. The characters that are inscribed on this stick signify fortune. In Western countries, this method is called 'Chi-Chi sticks'.
Some techniques of fortune telling base their predictions on numerology. In numerology, the numbers that constitute the birth date of a person are believed to impact his/her fortune. Other forms of fortune telling rely on the behavior of animals. In some cultures, cats are held in high esteem. Their actions are interpreted as indications about the future. For example, if a cat sneezes, it is said to rain or a black cat crossing someone's path is an indication of bad luck. Some cultures consider snakes as messengers of God. Graphology is another technique of predicting one's future. It is the method of interpreting one's fortune from his/her handwriting. It is primarily used to determine character traits but can also be utilized in predicting one's future.
The Chinese society respects fortunetellers, who advise people about the major decisions of life. In Africa, the practice of fortune telling is not prohibited. People often consult fortunetellers. In the Western countries, women commonly seek fortunetellers for guidance about their futures. It is practiced in different forms in different parts of the world.
It is not an exact science. It bases itself on pseudosciences such as astrology. It is rather a system of beliefs. It is up to you whether to base your decisions on what fortunetellers say or on your decision-making capabilities.