Divining the future

Fortune telling
The occupation for which the Gypsies have always been most famous is the woman's activity of fortune telling. It has appealed to the Roma, because it gave them an aura of mystery and of magic. Since it was the one means of close contact with the external (gadjikane) world, fortune-tellers were useful in learning of the social, political, and economic climate of a region they were visiting. Their clients often took them into their confidence, revealing facets of local conditions the Roma would otherwise be unable to judge. Finally, of course, fortune telling was a relatively simple way of earning money. The fortune teller is always a woman, called a drabardi. The concept of fortune telling contains several independent elements that are misleadingly grouped together. One element is foretelling the future, called drabaripé or drabarimos. Another element relates to healing powers, which the Roma do practice among them. Both elements are based on a belief in the supernatural. Gypsies are known to read tealeaves, see visions in crystal balls, analyse the future from reading cards, and from interpreting the significance of numbers. They have practised palmistry, judging a person's fate, character and aptitudes from the shape of hands and fingers and the designs of lines in the hand. Though they claim that their great powers of prediction come from supernatural sources, the real skill of fortune-tellers lies in their remarkable abilities in judging human character and in manipulating human desires. Fortune-teller woman knows that most people remember what comes true and forget what does not. She knows, too, that she is capable of adding an exotic, exciting element to the life of the gadje. To please their believing clients, they most often predict a favourable future. There will often be mysterious warnings of perils that might well be avoided by preventatives provided. As a rule, Roma never practice their skills as fortune-tellers on other Roma. They practice it only to profit from the gadjos.
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies