|Photo Credit: Mike Licht|
I decided to offer up some of my own views regarding popular myths on the matter. This is hardly exhaustive of even my own thoughts, as one question tends to lead to another, and another, and so on. Nevertheless, I have to start somewhere, don’t I! So here goes:
1) Fortune telling is disempowering.
There seems to be a school of thought that suggests that explaining the most likely turn of events in a client’s situation removes any ability to influence their own circumstances. Hell, if that were true, I would certainly not be a fortune teller – I’m all about empowerment! When done well, fortune telling identifies what will probably take place in the client’s future, and also aids the client in determining an appropriate responsive action, or at the very least, helps the client by allowing them to mentally/emotionally/materially prepare for what’s coming. There is nothing disempowering about that. A very simplistic and practical illustration: I read my daily cards and if I see rain, I bring an umbrella. If I see a check bouncing, I move funds over. If I see an X-factor that could throw a wrench in my fabulous plans that surely could never go wrong, I make sure I have a Plan B. You learn how to read the future by doing it regularly, by being a dedicated student to the art, by seeing how things play out over time; by being painfully correct, and on occasion by being "off" and having to recalibrate. When you understand what you’re seeing, you can respond to it. Thus fortune telling can be extremely invaluable.
2) Fortune telling exists in a vacuum.
Most readers who read “fortunes” also read using other styles. Just because someone engages in fortune telling doesn’t mean that it’s the only approach they use, or even that it’s a preferred method.
3) Good/ethical/caring readers distance themselves from anything related to telling fortunes.
What I have to say to this: Bah humbug, semantics. It’s all semantics, and don’t let them try to convince you otherwise. What do you mean by “fortune telling?” What do I mean by “fortune telling?” I would venture to say that most readers, regardless of their discipline, and regardless of their self-perceptions and/or preference of labels, tell fortunes. Long ago I wrote a post about fortune telling and mentioned that any reader that pulls an “outcome” card in a spread is engaging in fortune telling. Many readers attempt to brush off the act by saying that they are simply looking at “what could be” – but also assuring the client that he or she is entirely able to alter the outcome by changing their decisions. I don’t buy into that 100%: #1, I think that in some cases it’s simply a matter of a reader being uncomfortable with attempting to discern the future, in which case saying that the future is "set in sand" relieves the pressure of feeling responsible for being correct (or incorrect!), #2, in some instances readers adhere to the false idea that by reading the future you are robbing the client of agency (in which case, see #1 in this post), and #3, I think that life is simply more complicated than that. Sure, I agree that we can and do influence our future every day. But I also believe that some things are beyond our influence. Perhaps that thought is frightening to some, but I find that by being aware of that, I’m more able to influence what is in my power to alter, or if nothing else, I’m able to alter my mental or emotional approach. As they say, “forewarned is forearmed.”
Another interesting thing to note here is that most readers I know, even those that eschew the notion of fortune telling, talk quite openly about how accurate their future-oriented readings are (“I told her this would probably happen, and she didn’t believe me, but hey - it did!”). I think that’s great, who doesn’t want to be highly accurate? But I do find it a bit hypocritical.
4) Fortunetellers identify themselves as fortunetellers.
I call myself a card reader, because that’s the clearest and most direct definition for what I do. As I said in #2, I don’t only look into the future. I look into the present. I uncover hidden agendas, inner agonies, the need for healing, frustrations, unrealized strengths, talents on the verge of blooming. I look into the past to see what came before and how it’s impacting the present, and how it may well continue on to impact the future if it’s not addressed. I don’t like labels, really, and as much as I don’t have a problem with the term “fortune teller,” I don’t tend to call myself one any more than I’d call myself a “Tarot counselor.”
I entirely understand the desire to dissociate from a term typically associated with the circus doomsday proclaimer, and I wholly support the fact that as diviners we have a responsibility to help empower our clients. I also recognize that there isn’t really any other term out there at the moment that carries the appropriate definition (except perhaps "predictive reader" or “divination”??) to describe what fortune telling involves. But I also think that criticizing the practice both insults the art and those who ethically practice it, while at the same time supporting the negative myths associated with the term. I feel that once there is a better understanding of what fortune telling truly is, and how it’s most commonly practiced, there will be a gradual decline in the number of readers that object to its existence in contemporary divination circles.