An astrologer interprets the planets’ activity and puts it in the context of our everyday lives. A tarot reader develops a unique understanding of their deck and infers meaning from the specific cards they draw. Someone who practices palmistry analyzes the shapes and lines in a client’s hand for signs of their life path. All of these people practice very different forms of divination, yet they’re often lumped into the same ragtag category of spiritual workers known as “fortune tellers.”
In the public imagination, that term comes attached to an image of a wizened crone hunched over a crystal ball — hardly the social media savvy astrologers we turn to for our “fortune” needs these days, and yet it persists. It isn’t just that the blanket term for so many different disciplines of divination strikes us as inaccurate. When other titles and descriptions for these individuals’ practices exist, is calling them “fortune tellers” downright offensive?
Darcey Leonard, founder of Tarot Society, a divination reading room in New York City, tells Refinery29 her feelings about the term are, in a word, mixed. “I use it reluctantly,” Leonard, who identifies as a comparative occultist and a sovereign witch, says. “To the lay …read more