The urge to know one's future takes many forms. Children count cherry stones or daisy petals, adults observe *omens and interpret *dreams; formerly, young women performed *love divinations on set nights such as *Halloween or *St Agnes' Eve to find out who they would marry. Fortune-telling, however, involves more complicated systems which require interpretation, either by a paid professional, or by learning from handbooks. *Astrology, palmistry, and numerology were known in the Middle Ages; cheap booklets explaining them were readily available from the 16th to the 20th centuries. The 18th century saw the beginnings of fortune-telling by playing-cards, and by reading * tea leaves and coffee grounds; the late 19th century brought Tarot and crystal-gazing, and the 20th century the I Ching and various newly invented systems using fanciful cards, runic symbols, and so forth. Since the 1960s, interest in such things has greatly increased
   *(Davies, 1999a: 130-42, 246-70).

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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