Fortune-telling is the practice of seemingly predicting the future, usually of an individual, through seemingly mystical or supernatural means and often for commercial gain. It often conflates with the religious practice known as divination.
Common methods used of fortune telling include astromancy, cartomancy(fortune telling with cards), tarot card reading, crystillomancy (reading of a crystal sphere), and cheiromancy, (palmistry, reading of the palms). The latter three have traditional associations in the popular mind with the Roma and Sinti people (often called "gypsies"). Various forms of fortune-telling appear throughout the world. Typical topics that fortune-tellers make predictions on include future romantic, financial, and childbearing prospects.
In contemporary Western culture, it appears that women consult fortune-tellers more than men: some indication of this comes from the profusion of advertisements for commercial fortune-telling services in magazines aimed at women, while such advertisements appear virtually unknown in magazines aimed specifically at men. Telephone consultations with psychics grew in popularity through the '90s.
Most scientists regard fortune-telling as pseudoscience. They believe that several factors explain its popularity and anecdotal accuracy, among which are a predisposition to remember those things that are correct, and to forget and ignore those predictions which prove to be incorrect, and also that cold reading is often mistaken for fortune telling. Cold reading is when a reader picks up things from the details you provide, and then develops those themes without really providing any insight from another source.
However, this doesn't seem to reduce people's interest and fascination in the subject. People undoubtedly draw perceived benefit from having their fortune's told. Whether it be for solely entertainment purposes, or for gathering more insight into something that confused or puzzles them.
It's difficult to see why some people have such an aversion to some forms of fortune telling, while others are regularly accepted in mainstream society, eg. astrology and horoscopes. An even greater example, especially from previous decades when accuracy was even less than today, nobody seems to question the seemingly random accuracy of weather forecastsing on national television stations!
Like most things in life, if taken in the right context, and viewed with a healthy open-mindedness, and in the absence of blind acceptance of anything one is told, fortune telling can be something to participate in and enjoy! And if you want to learn more about all the many different methods of fortune telling then we can't recommend enough the following title- it really is the most easy to read guide on all methods of fortune telling we've found- and is a must for anyone seriously interested in fortune-telling.