Saturday, February 12, 2011

The House of the Spirits & Big Fish: Fortune Telling

Fortune-telling is the practice of predicting the life, usually of a group, through mystical or natural means, and often for commercial gain. It is often conflated with the religious practice known as divination.

A. Talk to a partner about the following questions:

1. Is it possible to predict the future? Explain it.

2. Do you believe that there are people who can actually predict the future? Talk about it?

3. What are the possible ways you know people use to tell fortunes.

4. Do you think our lives are pre-determined by fate or is the future unknown?

5. Would you consult with a fortune teller? Why (not)?

6. Make a list of three things you would like to know and three things you would not like to. Share it with the class.

B. Watch the movie segment from the film The House of the Spirits and discuss the questions below:

1. Describe the scene.

2. Who is the fortune teller? Who is being told the fortune?

3. What is the prediction?

4. How would you react if you were the one whose fortune was being told?

5. Do you believe children are more sensitive to this kind of experience? Why (not)?

6. What kinf of fortune telling (look at exercise C) is it?

C. Look at the kinds of fortune telling described in Wikipedia. Check the ones you had already heard of. Which one do you think are feasible ones?

alectormancy: by observation of a rooster pecking at grain

astromancy: by the stars.

astrology: by the movements of celestial bodies.

augury: by the flight of birds.

bibliomancy: by books; frequently, but not always, religious texts.

cartomancy: by cards. And sometimes by hand

cheiromancy/palmistry: by palms.

chronomancy: about time, lucky/unlucky days.

cybermancy: by computers.

gastromancy: by stomach-based ventriloquism.

ceromancy: by patterns in melting or dripping wax.

clairvoyance: by spiritual vision or inner sight.

cold reading: by using visual and aural clues.

crystallomancy: by crystal ball, also called scrying.

geomancy: by markings in the ground, or the way earth or soil lays when thrown.

horary astrology: by astrologically reading the time the question was asked.

hydromancy: by water.

I Ching divination: by yarrow stalks or coins and the I Ching.

lithomancy: by stones or gems.

extispicy: by the entrails of animals.

feng shui: by earthen harmony.

haruspicy: by the livers of sacrificed animals.

numerology: by numbers.

palmistry: by lines and mounds on the hand.

oneiromancy: by dreams.

onomancy: by names.

spirit board: by planchette or talking board divination.

pendulum reading: by the movements of a suspended article or weight.

rhabdomancy: divination by rods.

scrying: by looking at or into reflective objects.

taromancy: by a form of cartomancy using tarot cards.

tasseography or tasseomancy: by tea leaves or coffee grounds.

necromancy: by the dead, or by spirits or souls of the dead.

pyromancy: by gazing into fire.

D. Now watch the segment from the movie Big Fish and answer the questions below.

1. Describe the scene.

2. What kind of power does the witch have?

3. What did she predict?

4. Would you like to know when or how you are going to die? Why (not)?

5. What kind of fortune telling (look at exercise C) is it?

6. How will the characters' lives change after what happened in the scene?

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