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On Fortunetelling: Why People Seek It and What It Does to Them.

Updated: Aug 18

WHY do people seek fortunetelling services?

Fortunetelling has been around since Ancient times. The Oracle of Delphy notoriously proclaimed Socrates the wisest of all men in Athens - IQ evaluations and standard testing were not around yet to provide some statistics on the abilities of citizens. Still, when you need to point a single figure of authority, what better or more reliable arbiter than the disinterested pure happenstance of providence channeled down to the mortals directly from the Gods of Olympus? The prophets in the Abrahamic tradition also play the part of messengers from a transcendent (higher-order) divine realm who provide guidance in service to the people too narrowly planted in the flat material reality to have the objective bird-eye view necessary for "evolutionary" advances towards that higher order. Thus, for any believer in any kind of higher power who also believes in the existing separation line between Good and Evil, the thought of consulting a higher-power representative is quite tempting for any, some, or all of the following reasons:

  1. The past, present, and future are connected beyond comprehension, why not get the competitive advantage of outsmarting my circumstances with the support that is so readily available for those who need it;

  2. I can continue fighting for the causes of the higher power if only it could keep reminding me what they were really as there is nothing in my immediate environment to suggest to them;

  3. I believe I am "meant" to be/ have/ do x, y, z; I just need some guidance on how to get there;

  4. I want to do everything right, but I just don't know what is right;

While all of the above reasons/ motives sound pretty benign, there is a dark side to all of them that applies to any believer in any kind of higher power who does not believe in the existing separation line between Good and Evil. Instead, they measure everything in terms of power: powerful and powerless. Here are their motivations, corresponding to the ones above, line for line. They are the same, just under different light and from a different point of view that characterizes the seeker in a new, very specific way:

  1. The control freak seeks a fortune teller to regain the feeling of control over their lives by making themselves more prepared for the future and so less frightened by it should something negative be prevented. Their major fear is losing control. (= becoming less powerful)

  2. The hopeless seeks a fortune teller to buy themselves a dose of hope that in spite of the gloomy period they find themselves in, something better is just around the corner. Their major fear is losing hope. (= becoming less powerful)

  3. The helpless seeks a fortune teller who could recommend to them any (old) trick, ritual, spell, or procedure that promises to provide a to-die-for sought-after result (get that thing or that person), provided it does not require giving up the sought-after result. Their major fear is not succeeding in hitting their target. (= becoming less powerful)

  4. The rigid seeks a fortune teller to hold their hand along the way, navigating them in every step like a coach that would be there to take both praises and blame instead of them. Their major fear is (losing their standings by) making a mistake. (= becoming less powerful)

  5. The curious/ naive first-timer may seek a fortune teller out of boredom (ennui) to instill into their minds and hearts some new dreams, visions, ideas, thoughts, and feelings that will shake up and freshen up their life frozen at a standstill. Their major fear is boredom.

*Combinations of the above motivations in different measures are also possible. The one who is all of the above is the most loyal client to the fortune teller's buisness and the most disloyal person to themselves.

At the core of these 5 weaknesses is a certain type of fear and all fearfulness stems from the discord between the mind (the rational) and the heart (the irrational). The mind cannot trust the heart to make all major decisions the way it is supposed to, and the heart does not trust the mind to prepare all the calculations needed before the decision-making is to take place. Such disconnections happen when one is much stronger than the other: the mind is louder than the heart or vice versa. Most often, though, I have noticed that women who visit clairvoyants regularly have (big) minds too sharp that break their own (small) hearts with their constant questioning and doubt that need higher-than-life advice to make up their minds. On the other hand, men who are regular have their (big) hearts continuously breaking because they refuse to listen to their (small) minds. In short, the fortune-telling business targets the too-rational women and the too-irrational men.

WHAT do these men and women get out of fortunetelling?

-Less than nothing. Every single client of a fortune teller, with no exception, always loses because by opening up their minds and hearts for the ideas and feelings that the clairvoyant is to implant into them, they grant that person full access to the creative power over their own lives. [Of course, every movie, book, song, story of a friend, news, and everything we appropriate with our senses is already such a trigger, but the difference is that in the case of getting "inspiration" from our environment, we have the power to choose where our attention would go - the only real freedom we have is the choice of focus we exercise. But when you attend a clairvoyant with the purposeful intention of focusing, absorbing, and taking their input as 100% trustworthy, we have granted that person too much power that we have taken away from our senses. On the other hand, if we do not grant that 100% trust, the whole exercise loses its point because the magic of trust/faith/belief is gone. There is no point in approaching a fortuneteller without trust, and no one really does it, no matter what they say.] After we have delegated our creative power, we later (unwittingly) delegate also our decision-making power to the fortune teller; finally, we become subject to them.

Fortune tellers' clients pay not only with their credit cards but with their potential for independent creation of their own lives. And by that, I do not mean that the fortune tellers are ill-intended to make our lives worse. I mean that we lose the chance to base our decisions on the firm ground of the feedback of our environment, and we substitute it with the words of a stranger. This is the beginning of the road to insanity, isolation, passivity, and addiction. Here's how in reverse order:

  • Addiction - The more we delegate and outsource the decision-making (or the inspiration behind certain ideas and decisions) to an outsider, the more we become debilitated to make a move "unguided." So we seek their "support" with ever-increasing intensity. If we are not satisfied by it, we move to the next provider for a "second opinion" until we get to hear what we want to hear and when we hear it, we no longer want or believe it is possible because the joy is prematurely killed by the sense we have not worked on it to deserve it. Instead, we have only wasted our time in "consulting" rather than actually doing the job necessary to console our fears ourselves.

  • Passivity - We appropriate a sit-and-wait approach to life instead of the go-getter's one, and so we miss on the things that may really have been coming our way to cross paths with us. Because we changed our speed and direction after the influence of the fortune tellers, what they predicted is out of our track now. Some believe that if they manage to forget about the prophecy, it will come with a higher probability, and that has logic in it. Still, it is impossible to forget it if we have sought that prophesy hungrily and consumed it to the full word for word, memorized by heart.

  • Isolation - The more we put trust in a fortune teller, the less we put it in ourselves and our immediate environment. Ironically, the immediate environment provides more clues on how we can be happy than the transcendental guidance of a "see-it-all" clairvoyant.

  • Insanity - As isolation prevents the realistic examination of the situation with the tools of trial and error and rationality, our minds start wandering to lands far away from common sense.

What you can do to break free of the dooming habit of consulting with fortunetellers/ clairvoyants is to trust your own mind and your own heart - If you are too calculating about the matter at hand, you need to delegate more authority to your heart - it could happen in a blink of an eye if you let it, so be brave; If you are too irrational, you need to delegate more authority to your mind to do its slow calculating job - it takes time, so be patient :)

WHAT do the fortune tellers get out of their clients?

The client's money (and/or other gifts of some sort), obviously. Less obviously, the client's energy, creative potential, peace of mind, and stillness of heart!


Next time when you feel overwhelmed by any of the 5 fears above, weigh them against the losses they will bring and toughen up to fight them on your own or with the help of your close friends and family! I promise your courage and independent initiative are not only going to alleviate these fears but also make you more immune to and stronger against them in the future!

A possible alternative to fortunetellers.

If you do not give up on your belief in a higher power, you can always pay close attention to your dreams. Unlike a clairvoyant, they are 1) directly implanted into your mind and heart without "mediums," 2) come for free, and 3) you cannot go to them; only they can come to you, which prevents addiction to visits at the fortune teller's chamber of secrets. On the other hand, not all dreams are pleasant, relevant, or successful in getting their point across. You could deal with these setbacks methodically if you dedicate time to observe them by keeping a Dreams Diary ( or simply taking notes on your phone) where you record them right after waking up and later return to them to consider possible interpretations. Keeping such a record will help you remember your dreams; you can tell the significant ones from the less important ones by the higher level of emotional intensity they provoke. If you do not have dreams at all, you should rejoice for being released of their burden, for the present is enough of a challenge on its own accord to have yourself linked to another realm on top of it all. That said, I consider not only the visits to fortunetellers and the like malignant but also all sorts of fortune pies, cookies, "fortunetelling" rituals at weddings, and other customs on traditional celebrations that are to be read as "omens."

While dreams may present themselves as warnings, they never present solutions; they simply raise our awareness of the intangible details of our lives that we may easily ignore in our matter-of-fact day-to-day life. While I strongly believe dreams do deserve our attention, and the way we treat them makes all the difference between fear and courage, I also believe that they may "make good stories, but everything important happens when we're awake."

In sum, consulting with fortunetellers ultimately (results in):

  1. Giving away/ delegating our responsibility for our future actions to an outsider. But every alleviation of responsibility brings about a loss of freedom too, as the nature of freedom is both a privilege and a responsibility.

  2. Exacerbates hope addiction.

  3. Fosters the fixed mindset rather than the growth mindset.

  4. Implants the impressions of a stranger in a space that is naturally reserved for creative brainstorming.

  5. Brings about/ calls for sacrifices in the name of wished-for outcomes or the avoidance of a dreaded threat.

  6. Limits the possibility for a feedback loop from the immediate environment by neglecting and blunting the proper/ own physical senses.

  7. Blinds for the immediate present by sharpening the sight into an (unknowable) future that causes the sickness of the head (Don Quixote)

  8. Is the opium of the masses, the superstitious element in religion that disables the vitality of self-made, sensible, and passionate humans of lucid joy, strong emotions, and clear thought.

  9. Slows us down but also reduces the pain of climbing the path of wisdom on the way to the top of satisfaction.

  10. Postpones and procrastinates the transition from wisdom to love; from thinking to feeling; from self-absorption to team-playing; from stillness to action, from waiting to making things happen; from weighing pros and cons to finally deciding; from reflection to manifestation.

  11. Wastes our time waiting for the promise to come true instead of us using this time for the trial and error of a (social) reality check.

  12. In practice, it works like a moneylender who “saves the day” by poisoning the future with a flood of psychological and emotional debt.

  13. The act/art of selling the skill of foresight to scared, desperate, lost, lazy, and bored people with no initiative/ idea for their own life is morally criminal, but it is not mad the one who eats the "banitsa."

  14. Reinforces the wrong visions (fears or fantasy about the future & trauma or nostalgia for the past) that come along during or after the "intuitive" guidance of a fortune teller; The right/ “meant-to-be” creative visions come along during or after the guidance provided by our own minds and hearts.

  15. Fortunetelling gives the mind and the heart something to believe in when they cannot/do not know how to get along together in order to believe in anything else.

To finish this tragic post with a comedy, I will recommend Woody Allen's classic - You will meet a tall, dark stranger.

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