In exchange for an honest review, I received a copy of the Fortune Teller’s Handbook: 20 Fun and Easy Techniques for Predicting the Future, by Sasha Fenton (2002, 2017, Hampton Roads Publishing Company). Here’s what I thought.
The Fortune Teller’s Handbook contains a lot of good introductory information. With 184 pages and 20 chapters, it can’t go into anything too much. Consider it an overview for anything you might want to study more in-depth.
The book covers a lot of well-established methods of fortune telling, like tarot cards, palm reading, runes, and tea leaves. I was particularly impressed with the crystal ball chapter. There was helpful instruction for novices, such as asking your guiding spirit for additional details.
The chapters on palmistry, tarot, and tassomancy (tea reading) were also pretty good.
However, other chapters felt somewhat lacking. The “Witch Doctor’s Bones” chapter was only two pages. It could have gone into much more detail, such as techniques on throwing and other objects to include in the bag. (However, I say this after attending Chas Bogan’s excellent workshop on Throwing the Bones at the Earth Warrior Festival. I’m afraid nothing will compare to that highly specialized plethora of information.)
One chapter in particular — Flower Reading — didn’t seem to be true fortune telling. In flower reading, the querent picks a flower and seer “reads” the flower. I personally discount this type of fortune telling, as a clever person could select a flower that would tell them what they want to hear.
There are some ways in which the book could be improved. I wish there were more explorations into the history and cultures the methods came from. The book gives a few backstories, but I’d like to have read more. A bit more on the mystical science and the “guiding spirit” behind the readings could make for an amazing introduction.
I would prefer the pronoun gender to be a neutral “they/them” instead of always being “he/him.” While the writer admits it’s for ease of writing, it makes the book seem as if it was written early last century. The cover doesn’t appeal to me either, as the image is very dated. Something witchier would be more exciting to me. I should note this book isn’t pagan at all. It doesn’t have to be; however, some added spirituality would liven it up. Notably missing is the ouija board; though dominos, playing cards, i ching, dice, dreams, and several other somewhat obscure methods have chapters.
Consider this book more of an introductory, spiritually neutral guide for testing the waters. It could be a great book for novices at a party who just want to have fun. 3.5/5 stars.