This article discusses the potential differences in the terminology and how the use of fortune telling and divination as a style and as a method may affect our approaches to reading.
Ultimately, I think we end up in similar same places but it’s worth exploring, especially as they are seen as different sides of the same coin.
Fortune Telling is a form of divine guidance. Fortune is also known as Fortuna, the goddess of Luck, Chance and Fortune. She is a divine being who has a particular role to play in our lives.
Wikipedia describes her as:
…the goddess of fortune and the personification of luck in Roman religion. Fortuna is often depicted with a gubernaculum [a ship’s rudder/steering destinies], a ball [usually standing on it to depict uncertainty] or Rota Fortunae [Wheel of Fortune] and a cornucopia [horn of plenty/ gibing abundance]. She might bring good or bad luck: she could be represented as veiled and blind, as in modern depictions of Lady Justice, and came to represent life’s capriciousness.
Knowing the above does give the ‘fortune’ part of Fortune Telling a bit more of an edge. It brings to mind thoughts like, ‘What has fortune got in store for me?’ and begs the question, ‘can I win favour with Fortuna?’ This raises questions about what a prediction actually is and if we have ‘free will’ or not.
I like really like the statement below as it shows that a predictive reading can also be empowering:
‘Fortuna Speaks Negative To Warn. To Be Warned Is A Chance To Prepare. Preparation Is Grace’– borrowed from a forum post.
Some people worry that readings take away free will but just as a reading can show us our fate, it can also offer us options about what can do about it.
I was lucky enough recently to hear Rachel Pollack tell a story about the Jewish tradition of ‘arguing with God,’ if we are able to connect to Fortune and Fate why can’t we argue our case?
What about Divination? How is that defined? The Wikipedia entry starts off with this:
Divination (from Latin divinare “to foresee, to be inspired by a god”, related to divinus, divine) is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic, standardized process or ritual.Divination, Wikipedia
The phrase that stood out to me is inspired by god. How powerful is that idea? Not to just be connected but be inspired by a god.
So at this point, the distinction between Fortune Telling and Divination is the difference between being warned or being told vs being inspired.
Because of the nature of the ‘language’ that comes from the cards, the decks and systems we choose do influence the reading we receive. A Lenormand or playing card reading is likely to be a more a ‘telling’ experience and from an oracle or tarot deck, we are more likely to get an ‘inspiring’ reading.
Another factor is the questions we are willing to put to our cards. There appears to be an acceptance to ask a more invasive question in a ‘fortune-telling’ reading than in a ‘divination’ reading.
And then there is the point where a reading of just the cards ends and where advice from the reader creeps in.
When I started to learn Tarot it was at a time where there was a push for Tarot to be as seen as professional and for it to move towards a more ’contemporary coaching-style’ rather than the more ‘traditional’ model of telling and prediction.
But since I’ve been learning to read Lenormand and other older cartomancy methods I’ve been forced into thinking differently. I am challenging myself around about what questions I am willing to ask, the nature of the answers I want the cards to give and how I integrate (if at all) my own views into that process.
There is also a conscious choice about whom want we want to reach out to in order to receive guidance. That is a very much a personal choice and goes into the realms of belief, which is outside the scope of this article, but I wanted to mention it as another influence.
Does choosing between fortune telling or divination make a reading unnecessary cold or overly comforting? An argument for a more fortune telling style reading is to keep a distance between the reader and the querent. whereas a divinatory reading can be seen as trying to empower the querent.
During a fortune telling-based reading you could stop at the telling level of giving information but that’s stopping you from taking it to the guidance level?
And with a more divination-based reading what’s stopping you from taking it back down to practical advice?
Nothing is stopping you defining your own rules. It’s a good idea to sit down an explore your boundaries and comfort levels, as well as being conscious of what style or styles you offer and how that may affect the service you offer.
I hope this has given you something to think about. What do you think? Is there a difference between Fortune Telling and Divination?
Day 17 What is your favorite way to Tarot Journal? Planners, apps, bullet journals? – Jen Sankey
I have a section in my Traveller’s Notebook for longer notes, in a Bullet Journal notebook I record cards and readings. I’ve got some in Evernote and some spreads I take pictures of and caption with Adobe Spark Post.
Day 18 What cards relate to you personally. NOT just your astrology association or court cards. – Lizzie Bolton
Page of Cups is still me
Day 19 If you were shipwrecked on an desert island, which five tarot or oracle decks would you want to have with you and why. – Lisa Sumiyoshi
Right this second I’d say…
Tarot: Deviant Moon Borderless, Orisha Tarot (I want to study it more), Tarot de Marseille Millennium Edition. Arcana Playing Card Tarot/Playing Card Marseille, & Alchemical Tarot.
Oracles: Mildred Payne’s Secret Pocket Oracle, Supra, Open Portals Oracle, Maybe Lenormand, & Animantras.
Day 20 What is your favorite Tarot Spread at the moment?
That’s a real tough one – if I had to say only a single spread I’d say a 5 card cross without fixed spread positions.
Day 21 Do you use the Tarot for mediumship readings? Why or why not? If no, would you like to?
I’ve done them once, at Reader’s Studio, under the guidance of Benebell Wen. I wouldn’t do them on my own.
Day 22 Where is one place in the world you would love to read the Tarot and why? It could be a sacred site, event, mystical shop, anything.
I honestly don’t know. I’d like to be able to read anywhere without it causing double takes or unwanted comment.
Day 23 What is your most sassy Tarot deck, what is your most gentle Tarot deck? Why did you pick these decks?
Alchemical is probably the sassiest deck I own, and the Fountain Tarot is probably the most gentle. The Alchemical doesn’t pull it’s punches – it’s very clear. The Fountain feels more gentle when it delivers its messages.
Day 24 What Tarot card do you feel is the most misunderstood and why?
Ooo The Devil? Maybe? It’s good to be bad sometimes.
Day 25 Do you have any Tarot self-care rituals that are only for your personal practice?
I was going to answer NONE, but that’s not really true. I tend to clean my hands, ground my feet, and draw cards randomly from
Day 26 What Tarot deck do you wish you could get into or vibe with but just can’t and why? (this is not an opportunity to deck or deck creator bash it is more about how we all work with different decks and like different things.)
Let me see… Anima Mundi as it just made me cold. Sorry.
Day 27 How do you pick your Tarot decks for readings?
Mood… or intention.
Day 28 What is your ‘go-to’ Tarot book and why?
This one has changed through the years. I really enjoyed what’s now called Tarot Reading Explained by James Rickleff.
Day 29 How do you feel about Tarot deck modification? Do you draw on your decks? Trim the borders or is it a no go for you and why?
I am not brave enough to do any of this. But I recently saw a Mary-El that was trimmed with silver pen – and I am going to try that when I some sharp scissors.
Day 30 Do you carry out predictive Tarot readings? Yes, no, why?
Hell yes, more with Lenormand than with Tarot but I’m a proud fortune teller.
Day 31 What question/s do you most often ask the Tarot? (for yourself and for others)
Anything and everything.
Day 1: 2019 Reading – Energy & Major Lesson
Energy from the Brady: Wake up – don’t sleep walk – shore up your hard work – don’t be like the beavers – don’t let your dreams get away from reality.
Major Lesson from the Brady: Stop playing dead – stop making things worse than they really are – live!
Energy from the Deviant Moon Borderless: Dance on the ice – yes it’s fragile – yes it could crack – move forward anyway .
Major Lesson from the Deviant Moon: You’re going to have or find pride in your work and get the work done.
Day 2: Top 5 Tarot Decks of 2018 (ones you purchased and or released in 2018)
- Arcana Tarot Playing Cards
- Spirit Within
- Crystal Unicorn
- Spirit Keepers
Day 3: Top 5 Oracle Decks of 2018 (ones you purchased and or released in 2018)
- Mildred Payne’s Pocket Secret Oracle
- Cartomancer Poker Deck
- Money Manifestation Cards
- Spirit of the Animals
Day 4: Top 5 Tarot Books of 2018 (ones you purchased and or released in 2018)
- Untold Tarot
- Tarot of the Earth
- Petit Lenormand Encyclopedia
- The Card Geek’s Guide to Kipper Cards
Day 5 :The card that stalked you in 2018
I honestly can’t think of one but I’m always pleased to see the Page of Cups when he turns up.
Day 6: The deck you finally crossed off your wish list in 2018
Mildred Payne’s Secret Pocket Oracle
Day 7: Most worked with Tarot deck in 2018 and why
Deviant Moon Borderless Tarot – It’s still my favourite deck since I fell for the Borderless version but I got to use it a lot in Reader’s Studio in April 2018 and it we went deeper.
Day 8 Top 5 decks on your wish list now
- Light Seer’s Tarot
- Blood Moon
- Trzes Mamuk
- Mary El, 2nd Edition (I’m hoping for matt card stocks and better reds in the images on the cards)
Day 9 Tarot goals 2019
- More reads for others
- Explore other forms of divination
- More personal Growth
- Grow Jones Davy’s Locker
- Day 10 Tarot decks that you want to work with more in 2019
Day 10 Tarot decks that you want to work with more in 2019
- Arcana Playing Card Tarot
- Tarot de Marseille (Millenium Edition)
- Spirit Keepers
Day 11 Oracle decks that you want to work with more in 2019
- Mildred Payne’s Secret Pocket Oracle
- Compendium of Constallations
- Open Portals Oracle
Day 12 Have you ever dealt with Impostor Syndrome in your Tarot practice? – Maria Alviz Hernando
Yes, all the time.
Day 13 From the Major Arcana Cards, what card correlates to your sun, moon and rising sign? How has that resonated or played out in your life?? – Nya Thryce
I don’t know as I can’t find out my time of birth, which kind of puts me off.
Day 14 Which tarot decks give you the most insight by way of the imagery and symbology of the cards rather than intuition or basic tarot knowledge – Elizabeth Harkin
Smith-Waite Tarot, Deviant Moon Borderless and Sun and Moon (I know that it has keywords but the images are still evocative).
Day 15 What is in your Tarot ‘to-go’ bag? Your Tarot travel bag. – Nya ThryceI
I don’t really take the cards with me. I tend to reply on apps, especially the Gilded Reverie Lenormand. But if I’m reading I’ll take Deviant Moon Borderless, Sun and Moon in a Tin, and Maybe Lenormand or Hermes Playing Card Oracle.
Day 16 What Tarot card in the deck do you look out for the most when you get a new deck? If you don’t like that card does it ruin the deck for you?
At the moment it’s the Three of Swords. I really can’t see why we keep needing to see a stabbed heart. There are other meanings and other ways of expressing the essence of the card.
“When you come right down to it, reading Tarot cards is really very simple. You decide on your subject and your questions, you shuffle the cards and then you turn them over , usually one card per question, and see what they tell you. The trick, really, lies in the seeing.”Rachel Pollack, Tarot Wisdom