Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Top 10 methods of divining the future.

Bored bored bored, that's what I am... Bored. Christmas is over and what do I have to look forward too? Valentines day?! A sucker holiday at best, at worst a day of obligatory amore...the best kind. What to do when you are this bored? I know...

The future!!! Who doesn't love the future? Why? Because it might be better than what we've got now, yet it might be worse. Whatever it is, it will be different. We hope. Nobody ever pays a psychic to tell them that everything will be exactly the same 3 months from now. Yet here we are. 3 months ago the only thing different for me was that it was 2008 and Christmas hadn't happened yet. Now, I've got longer hair, and Christmas is over and that's about it. A psychic would NEVER have told me that. They would have told me about tall dark strangers, or money that would be coming my way or some near death experience I should try to avoid. Whatever it is, the Psychic will make the future sound very different than your now. I've tried my hand at future telling and for whatever reason I have am fairly adept at it, this leads me to believe that anyone can do it given a chance. Of course I'm sure I can't hold a candle to the pro's but I never ask for money so I got that going for me. Anyhoo, here are my top 10 methods of divining the future. See which one you like and give it a whirl. Or keep away from it at all costs because only the Devil would dare tempt you with visions of the future. Either way...

10. Ouja Board/Medium - a Medium is anything that helps the transmission of something else. In the case of Spiritualism, a Medium is someone that helps convey communication to those that have departed (like dead people, not people that have flown to Cleveland, though there is still some debate). If you don't have a Medium around, you could always use a Ouija board. The Ouija is actually two words put together. Oui which is french for yes (so THATS what it meant) and Ja which is a few germanic languages for yes. So if you are Swiss (They speak both French and German) it means yes yes. For everyone else it means Wee-Gee. Not to be confused with the Bee-Gee's who could not tell the future at all. This is obvious because they hitched their wagon to disco's star. When I was growing up, there was no single tool that was a hotline to Beelzebub like the Ouija board. My dad had some GREAT yarns he would spin about the dangers of contacting spirits with it. He mentioned 2 guys and a girl that went to a 'haunted' house with a ouija board. One of the guys ended up dead, the other went crazy and the girl became mute after the experience. I don't think the movies made a better story. By the by, if you want to watch a really crappy movie about the Ouija board, give Witchboard a whirl, it sucks. Here's how it works: First you get a few friends. hopefully boy girl pairings if you want to make out afterward or however your Ouija swings. Then you each put a hand on a triangular device called a planchette. If you saw one today you would call it a cursor because it is a triangle shaped platform that rests on 3 small posts and looks very much like the arrow on your computer screen. The planchette rests and points on a board with the alphabet, numbers, a yes and no, and then some other random spooky stuff to make sure you get in the 'spirit' of it all. Now that you are all touching the planchette, you ask a question. something creepy like 'is anyone out there?' at which point the planchette will mysteriously glide over and point to YES. It's a creepy fun carnival ride at that point. You just keep asking questions and the spirit or demon on the other side will keep answering them for you. Eventually you will start asking questions about the future, it's an inevitability. You MUST have 2 or more players to do this, and 4 is optimal. Neat thing is, since all of you are subconsciously pushing the planchette to the answers you all think are likely, you will get a kind of creepy feeling as it starts moving on it's own. In the movies, it WILL move on it's own.

9. Crystal Ball - Crystallomancy is among my earliest memories of anything supernatural or other worldly. I remember it was Donald Duck in a turban hat that was making zapping gestures towards a crystal ball. The idea is that you gaze into the ball and you will see the future. People that do this are many times called seers by definition. So the Seer looks into the ball you ask the Seer a question. The Seer mysteriously repeats your question and gazes with a dead fish kind of look into the crystal ball. Then in a voice that will be a little different from their 'hello how are you' voice, the Seer will tell you the future concerning your question. There are actually books on how to do this. How many pages could you really fill on the fine art of staring dumbly into a glass ball? Apparently if you can make it through one of these books, you are qualified to charge money for the ability. This is one method that you will rarely see anywhere but the movies, or for a nominal fee to prove to the spirits you have no ties to mammon.

8. Tea Leaves - Tasseography is an interesting one. it ranks among many methods of fortune telling that involves the random placement of items after using or consuming something else. Killing a cow or goat and reading the markings left by the entrails is popular in some countries. Of course it is all the same thing so we'll stick with the tea. Reading Tea leaves is usually done by the wacky aunt or grandma in the family and will do it suddenly and without provocation. It's a real favorite among the quilting bee crowd. It requires that you drink tea that is unbagged or strained so the tea leaves are still floating around your cup like little bits of swiss chard. Once you have chug-a-lugged your tea whats left should be shaken out onto your saucer. The reader then looks at the shapes the leaves create and lets their mind wanter to the events the tea leaves portend. Once you have a few things in mind that seem to vaguely resemble the tea chunks, you start going on about future loves and future disappointments etc. This method is typically done by women for women. You don't see anyone trying to read the beer foam.

7. History Channel - These guys are the guiltiest culprits, and they do it for more money than all the other methods combined. Any given week the history channel will ply you with horrific visions of a future destruction of the earth or a continent or a people by way of one or another tragedy. Why do they show these shows so often? because they put butts in the seats. No two ways about it, people love hearing about future tragic events. If you are up late one night and wander into the History Channels sinister web of divination through science you will leave shaking and praying for sleep or death, but usually sleep.

6. Astrology - the actual practice is Astromancy when you are dealing with the future. The idea is this 'So in the heavens, So on the earth' So by looking up in the sky and by certain points you should be able to divine the future based on the positioning of various celestial bodies. This practice appears to take the most work and practice in order to perfect. You may have to actually throw some science in there just to make it look good. There are many different versions of astrology so we will stick with the Western model because I am most familiar with that. Each month of the year is roughly controlled by a specific sign of the Zodiac. These signs and their relative position to the earth when you were born allows the educated (?) to create a horoscope. This horoscope will tell you what your life will be like based on what the stars will look like in the future. We know what one will be so we will know what the other will be as well. Makes sense right? Astrology is probably the most widely followed form of fortune telling that we have. It's in the newspaper, it's all over the internet. You could buy those little star scrolls at the end cap of the grocery store. I'm a Cancer by the way. So according to my sign I am easily flattered. Man that is so true. I'm a believer now.

5. Runes/Bones/I-ching - A fun method of divination that requires throwing things in a random fashion. Runes are old Germanic symbols that have different meanings. They were originally etched on stones (24 of em) and there is no longer original significance to the symbols but they are derived from a combination of I-ching and Astrology. So basically it's funny characters on rocks that people forgot the meanings of. That leaves it wide open. I-Ching on the other hand has a WEALTH of information printed about it. It is not just based on the individual meanings of the various Hexagrams, but also has different methods of casting the same thing. basically there are 2 sets of 3 lines that make a total of 6 lines. 3 coins are flipped to indicate each line and then flipped again for the second set. Once you have that you have your answer. There are loads of websites and books devoted to this one. Bones on the other hand are chucked and whatever direction the bones point will indicate their disposition. same basic idea. they either fall up and down, left and right or diagonal. Each bone should be different and mean something different so you get some real flavor to your reading. All in all, these things are the same. Chuck some junk at random and then see where it falls. Maybe there is an art to reading cigarette butts. After all, life is very random, isn't it?

4. Palmistry - Chiromancy is just what it seems like. Look at the lines in the hand and it tells a story that has an ending. This one goes back to Hindu Astrology and has some very promising books lending near credence to this 'art'. Each of the lines made by the constant flexing of the fingers and thumb on the hand tell a different aspect of your life. Life line is usually as far as people go in their knowledge of this arcane practice. But there are actually 7 lines. Life, head, heart, girdle, sun, mercury and FATE. This kind of thing is very similar to Face reading or even Phrenology (bumps on your head). The best thing about palmistry is if a cute girl wanted to read your palm in high school, suddenly you became a willing skeptic hoping she could convince you as she held your hand.

3. Magic 8 ball - Do not doubt the power of the Magic 8 Ball. It's dark purple fluid all but obfuscating the light purple letters from appearing. While not a certain science it was certainly as accurate as any of the other methods and only cost about 8 bucks. The Magic 8 ball looses some of it's punch if you shake it up too much and there are too many bubbles inside the magic fluid. So like many things, shake it gently for best results. 20 different results on the magic 8 ball were MORE than enough to tell your future both immediate and long turn. the Magic 8 ball had ties to mystic sources as referenced by 'my sources say no' but it was not always tuned into these sources as you would receive 'reply hazy, try again' and sometimes the 8 ball would know better than to tell you because of the harm it might cause with 'Better not tell you now' oh the wisdom of this large plastic globe. the best thing about the Magic 8 ball was you quickly learned that you need to ask 'positive' questions. like 'Will I win the Lottery' because 10 of the 20 answers were yes with 5 being no and 5 being maybe. I always wondered if there was grapejuice in there or what. ... DO NOT DOUBT THE 8 BALL!!!

2. Tarot - This method I have the most experience with. I was told by a religious leader in my youth that fortune telling cards were 'tools of the devil' I prefer to call them bits of color on cardboard. It's where I realized that the magic is in the teller not in the cards. With great trepidation and some attraction to the mystery, I procured my first Tarot Deck when I was a lad of 17 and Disneyland. I told my first fortunes at school to RAVE reviews. Sure I know what they mean and how they fit, but the truth is, it's how you work them together that makes them convincing. Lets see, first there are the major arcana, these are the big shot cards that you see in the movies. cards like The Tower, and the Lovers and Death that all have big significance and can't be downplayed in the least. These cards when they show up usually are accompanied by some kind of dramatic music or at least a thunder clap. The minor arcana on the other hand are just 4 suits of cards of 14 cards each. the 4 suits were Swords, Wands, Pentacles, and Cups. If you use very little imagination those suits will turn into Spades, Clubs, Diamonds and Hearts quite easily. They are fun to look at and quite fun to tell fortunes with. The person who is getting the fortune told should shuffle until the cards feel 'comfortable' after which the reader will lay them out one by one in one of many different positions depending on the question and the reader. Then you tell the fortune. If your doing it right both you and they are amazed.

1. Casting Tin - I saved this one for last because it's obscure but still my favorite. When I was a kid I desperately wanted to believe in fortune telling and luck and anything else mystical. When I spent one Christmas in Finland with my mom's family they had a very peculiar new years tradition that involved melting tin on the sauna rocks and then dropping the molten tin into a bucket of water. These days the metal is lead. I'm sure because it melts at a lower temperature and is cheaper. You purchased tin shaped in horse shoes, or lucky stars or any number of other lucky shapes. Each person got a blob of melted tin that could look like anything. If it was smooth and ripply it meant there was money in your future that year, if there were pits in it I think it meant work. If it was just a bunch of random chunks it was BAD luck, so you wanted to make sure and pour the molten tin all at once, don't dribble it in. I remember the first tin blob I got looked like a horse, but the beauty was, it looked like anything you wanted it to. Like all fortune telling, it really depends on the person getting their fortunes told. If they want to believe, they will see the alignment of what was said or shown to what happens in their daily lives. I wish I would have kept some of those tin casts, but they have long since disappeared and if they were really made of lead, maybe it's just as well I'm dumb enough without help.

Hope you all have a fortunate new year with many good things happening to you. I think you probably deserve it.

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