Google Sasha Fenton and you will get enough book results to make you as happy as Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. Red Wheel/Weiser already republished one of her successful titles on Fortunetelling by Tarot Cards and depending on your location December or January 2018 another one will be available for the masses again. If you are all about foreseeing the future Sasha Fenton’s latest reprint, Fortune Teller’s Handbook | 20 Fun and Easy Techniques for Predicting the Future, might be right up your alley. Based on just reading the blurb my prediction is: fun reading for the beginning diviner and a way to decide which rabbit hole you want to fall down in.
Fenton’s Fortune Teller’s Handbook is a 186 pages counting paperback. Orange tinted back and cover with a classic Zohar gazing into a crystal ball. The subtitle basically gives away the angle of the book and the fact it won’t be an independant study of a particular way of divining. The Handbook shows “20 fun and easy techniques” and the intro adds these twenty chapters are “merely the tip of the iceberg. In all cases there are excellent in-depth books available on divination method in question (..)”. So, you can see where my prediction came from. Fortune Teller’s Handbook is meant for those who’ve already chosen a method to gaze into the future, but is merely a foundational workbook to get a feeling for all of them and have some fun while doing it.
Starter kit for diviners
In my humble opinion that doesn’t mean it is only interesting for bachelor(ette) parties or the so-called cliche ‘bored housewife’. While there is a chapter for tarot cards and this website aims to prove information for cartomancers, a lot of tarot/oracle readers use an extra divination method together with their cards or are considering to do so. If you haven’t found out which method that might be Fenton’s Handbook is an excellent way to get started. And of course, if you’ve landed on this website because you are a total newbie on the divination path: welcome! This review is just as much for you.
Like I said Fortune Teller’s Handbook shows the reader 20 types of fortune teller and the most expected varieties can be found: tarot & playing cards (separate chapters luckily), numerology, Crystal Ball reading, the I Ching, Palmistry, Predictive Astrology and Pendulums. These are the classics…and perhaps we could add Runes -also in there – and dream interpretation to that. What I really like about this divination exploration book is the fact Sasha Fenton also didn’t shy away from very old and ancient techniques or those that are more common in certain cultures, other than the Western ones.
The crazy & weird
So, if the classics always felt a bit boring to you, you might want to open the book for Flower Reading, Phrenology, Moles and Itches, Tasseomancy and even With Doctor’s Bones. There are a few more, but these were the ones that really jumped out at me when it came to ‘the weird factor’ or just plain interesting techniques we rarely stop to try out.
Let’s start with Phrenology. When I saw that title in the Contents I did get a bit of a chill. If you know a little about Nazi-Germany and the nationalistic movement of the 20’s (which included cleansing policies and race-ideals all over Europe) you’ll know that this originally Victorian method and the ideas behind it was adopted for all the wrong reasons: merely to test who wasn’t a member of the Aryan race or who was ‘stupid’ or worthless enough to be euthanised or locked up. Phrenology, the study of the cranium, isn’t exactly a fortune telling method, but merely a way of defining someone’s character. The shape of their skull basically shapes their mind, so to speak.
Fenton acknowledges the fatal Nazi-hijack of this ‘science’, but shows we can still make it work in a good way. Parts of this practice are outdated science, but some theories about brains and skulls back then have been proven. Besides: all you need to practice phrenology is a ‘willing victim’ whose cranium you can feel up and then you can use the 8 pages in Fortune Teller’s Handbook to check out the 7 divisions of the skull and the 42 areas of the head to see if your test subject has a sense of humor, can be counted on as a loyal friend or might have diving powers of his/her own. You have all the schematics and everything is explained very easily.
Sasha Fenton’s writing style works perfectly for this 20 fun and easy techniques idea. With only a few pages per chapter and subject you don’t need jargon and complicated philosophies. Just a simple introduction and then immediately an ‘how it works’ + ’how you can do it’. All texts are very approachable and also simple to read for non-natives. Last summer I wrote an article on how to Divine without your cards (in case of a holiday or other ‘disaster’) and plenty of the techniques mentioned in Fenton’s Fortune Teller’s Handbook can also be done without the need for tools.
Other than the techniques you need a person for, like the earlier mentioned Phrenology, but also Dream Reading, Palmistry, Face Reading and the Moles and Itches, even a lot of the more classic or ancient ways don’t need much . Or what you do need is easily obtainable. You can find a bunch of flowers or a plant nearby most of the time in order to Flower read, Pendulum reading can be done with a necklace and if you’re lucky a game of dominoes, a pack of playing cards or a board game with dice is close-by. All you need after that is the Fortune Teller’s Handbook and you can get cracking and predict if you’d better go on that excursion to the mountains or drink cocktails by the swimming pool. This makes this book an excellent way to get some divination done on a trip and expand your horizons. But it also makes it a relatively cheap way to see if there is a method you’d like to get better in.
Of course, bear in mind that this optimistic divination news does not count for all of them. Runes still need runes (unless you have a way of finding decent stones and a waterproof marker), reading tarot still requires tarot cards (ok, not always, see that earlier mentioned Divining without a Deck article) and if you want to gaze into a Crystall Ball a trip to a special store is definitely needed. Having said that ‘easy’ is mostly what this book does and most of it is fun too.
The Tarot Cards part of her book is very much in line with the book Fortune Telling by Tarot Cards. This chapter is basically an introduction to that book and I really liked it (apart from the few shoulds/musts and traditionalist fortunetelling ideas on the Swords), so if you are very new to tarot but happen to have a deck, you could very well use this little section of the workbook to test out a deck you might have lying around. If you want to continue working with tarot card to get from absolute newbie to beginner status Fenton advices you to go with her Fortune Telling by tarot Cards book to really get into it.
Basically that is what she does for every divination chapter. As the intro already said, the author knows full well she has merely touched the subjects and probably only tickled your diving muscle. Which Rabbit hole to fall down into? If you’ve chosen, there is not only a tip in every introduction on the chapter on how to get better or an acknowledgement on the fact these are just basics, but she’s created a whole list of sources for you to dug into. Whether you choose to go forward with Runes, Palmistry, Tarot Cards or one of the more archaic, original fortune telling methods, Fenton has given you a path to walk on.
Sasha Fenton created a thorough sampler of divination methods. This book was never meant to give you an in-depth study, but is merely a way to introduce you to the many possibilities – grown over centuries even – there are to predict next week, to get insights into someone’s character or to show you how a relationship will develop. All you need is a tool or a way to create that tool and a sunny disposition to be surprised and amazed. If you choose to go beyond the idea of a fun exercise and really want to study the tarot, Runes or any other divination method Fenton has already taken care of you too with an advanced reading list.