Gypsy Sorcery And Fortune Telling – Charles Godfrey Leland
Mr. Leland has been very industrious in collecting himself the strange lore of „what is really the practical religion of all peasants and poor people, that is, their magical ceremonies and medicine; “ and he also sets forth in an interesting manner very much material derived from authorities little known to the common English reader. Fortune-telling,witch-doctoring, love-philtering, and other kinds of sorcery are very fully described; the volume is, indeed, quite a cyclopedia in its way.
Gypsy Sorcery And Fortune Telling.
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Background on Fortune-Telling (from wikipedia)
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 sees 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.
(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)
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