Fortune Telling Vs Reading Cards

Fortune Telling, getting your cards read, seeing a psychic is there a difference? Fundamentally no, I don’t think there is. The only difference is semantics and how we see ourselves. There is a difference in perception about each kind of reader, depending on your culture.

Psychics stand on top of the food chain as it were, perhaps because of famous people like John Edward, Allison Dubois and Gordon Brown being called psychics, though they are in fact mediums- they focus solely on passing on messages from the dead. Most people believe they have a higher level of integrity. There is also a perception that their messages are some how more pure, or accurate, that psychics are somehow super gifted people who’s words we should heed with alacrity. Overall, psychics have a good reputation bar a few. The big excpetion to this is of course the skeptics. It is worth reading what the skeptics have to say because it’s always worth having two sides of the story. The skeptics save the worst of their vitriol for psychics and mediums because they are in the spotlight and because it boils down to the psychics word vs the skeptics. But that’s a subject for a later day.

Card readers have slightly less authority in the general population. Perhaps because there aren’t any super famous ones. I sometimes get the feeling that card readers are the poor cousins of psychics. Maybe that’s because the general population feels that if they knew the meanings of the cards they could do it too (they can!). From the outside it doesn’t look as if you need a special gift to be a card reader, you just need somewhere to learn it. Which is true.

Fortune tellers have the worst reputation. We are associated with charlatans and gypsies and have a reputation for saying what the person wants to hear so long as we get paid. When people think fortune tellers, they think dark, dingy hole in the wall shops, full of smoky incense and an old woman clattering with heavy jewellery. They think Hollywood stereotypes of scary women who freak people out. It’s because of this dodgy reputation that card readers, whether oracle or tarot, tend to dissociate themselves from the term.

Fortune teller is a general term which includes other forms of divination than card reading. If you can read tea leaves or palms or scry or whatever, you are a fortune teller. In a nutshell though- card reading is fortune telling.

What psychics, card readers and fortune tellers have in common is a fundamental understanding of archetypes, human nature and a deep trust in their intuitions. Everyone gets flashes of insight, gut feelings and true dreams from time to time. Some true psychics really are very gifted but in the same way that some people have stunning singing voices but all of us can learn to sing. Even those truly gifted benefit from training, practice and discipline.

Fortune telling itself is as old as humanity and has had many ages. Sometimes it’s been viewed with respect, sometimes it’s been persecuted (usually because G*d ‘said’ so) but it has never really died out because it’s in our nature to be curious, especially about the future. In many places it has had to go underground because it is actually illegal to be a fortune teller, though thankfully this is changing in most places. You may have noticed the legal disclaimer on professional readings which says “for entertainment purposes only”, fundamentally, this exists because despite this being the 21st century, some people still consider fortune telling to be evil. In the modern world fortune telling is dressed up with a depth of understanding about human nature. We are more self aware now then at any point in history, so our explorations into the mysteries of the future also involve explorations into the mysteries of ourselves.

Most card readers don’t like to consider themselves fortune tellers because they feel it limits them, that it takes the power out of the hands of their sitters and leaves it up to an unchangeable fate. Which can be quite true- hence my mission to clear up as many misconceptions about fortune telling as I can and reclaim the term as it was meant to be.

When people go to a fortune teller, they think that what that fortune teller says is set in stone, but when they go to a card reader, they expect advice and options. No matter what we call ourselves, a good fortune teller, card reader, or psychic will leave you feeling better then when you walked in. It is our role to help you, give you options, help you anticipate the pro’s and con’s of your actions and of those forces outside yourself that you have no control over. A good reading, no matter who gives it to you, empowers you.

So is telling fortunes any different from reading oracle cards? No, I don’t think so. The methods may differ but the heart of it is the same. Most readers, psychics and fortune tellers just want to help.


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