How Much Do You Know About Fortune Telling, Tarot Cards, and Other Kinds of Mysticism?

Maria Trimarchi

Image: Steve Allen / Stockbyte / GettyImages

About This Quiz

Van Helsing may have described it best in Bram Stoker's "Dracula" when he asked, "Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are; that some people see things that others cannot?" Whether religious, spiritual, or philosophical, mysticism, it's argued, opens the world to insights and experiences beyond our usual perception -- to the divine, some say. See how much you know about mysticism and its practices.

What's it called when you attempt to foresee future events or gain insight into hidden knowledge, through supernatural means?

There are a lot of different methods people use to try to peer into the future. Divination, fortune telling and second sight are just three techniques for doing so.

Looking into a crystal ball or another reflective object to gain insight into future events is known as the practice of what type of divination?

Looking at or into reflective objects, such as a crystal ball or water, to gain insight into future events is a practice known as scrying.

Which is not one of the 12 modern astrological signs?

When you read your horoscope, your sign is one of 12 astrological signs, which include: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. Pollux, however, is not a sign -- it's actually the brightest star in the constellation of Gemini.

A Tarot deck is made up of 78 Tarot cards, split into what two categories?

A deck of Tarot cards is made up of 78 cards, including 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards. And while Major Arcana cards usually reveal a major life event, Minor Arcana cards are used to gain insight into small changes in your life.

Keeping a pendulum can be useful in helping you do what?

It can be difficult to find a lost object -- or person or pet. But some believe that a pendulum can help. All that's needed are three things: a pendulum, agreement with the universe on which direction is a "yes" and which is a "no" response, and some time for asking yes/no questions.

When someone has the ability to "channel," what can he or she do?

Channeling is a form of mediumship, which is communication with the spirit world. A person who channels, receives -- or filters, since it's being channeled through his or her body -- messages from the dead.

Fortune-telling by interpreting tea leaves is known as what?

Divination that's done by interpreting tea leaves (or coffee grounds or wine sediments) is known as tasseography (or you may hear it called tassology). The shapes of the wet tea leaves have corresponding meanings. For instance, sediment that appears as the symbol of a clover could mean good luck.

What might a fortune-teller use to give you a character reading?

Fortune-tellers primarily provide the service of being able to peer into the future. But some may also offer what they call "character readings" through astrology, palmistry (also called chiromancy), numerology, and more.

Don't cry over spilled ... salt? What kind of divination interprets salt grains?

This ancient method of divination interprets the patterns of salt that's been spilled or tossed over a flat surface. Some types of divination with salt include throwing grains into a fire, as well as reading the residue of salt on a bowl or plate.

What symbol is associated with life and fertility?

It's been associated with many things over the centuries, but this Egyptian hieroglyphic character, the ankh, today represents life and fertility -- including eternal life.

What is the Age of Aquarius?

The Age of Aquarius is an astrological age, not a part of astronomy. It begins in March, when the sun's position during the vernal equinox moves from the constellation Pisces and into Aquarius -- and it happens, roughly, every 2,150 years.

Which was considered one of the seven "forbidden arts" in Renaissance magic?

Geomancy, a way of using patterns of soil, rocks or sand on the ground to interpret the future, was once a popular form of divination. During the Renaissance, it, as well as aeromancy, chiromancy (palmistry), hydromancy, necromancy, pyromancy, and spatulamancy -- were reclassified as the seven forbidden arts.

There is one unnumbered card in Major Arcana Tarot cards. Which one is it?

The 22 cards of the Major Arcana Tarot cards are the foundation of the deck. Twenty-one cards are numbered, but one -- The Fool -- is not.

Sometimes, future events can be predicted based on an itch. What does it mean for your future if your palms itch?

Although your doctor may suspect you have an allergy or eczema if you were to complain of itchy palms. But among all things mystical, itchy palms are considered an indication that something is going to happen involving money -- it's a divination technique called Urticariaomancy. However, it can mean one of two things, depending on which hand's palm is itchy. If it's your left palm, you'll have to pay out. But if it's your right palm that's itchy, you can expect money coming in.

Mediumship is classified into two categories. What are they?

There are several types, but just two main categories of mediumship -- mental and physical. While both are able to gain insight into and communicate with the spirit world, they do so with differing methods. Mental mediums, such as clairvoyants, focus on sensing and listening. Physical mediums, such as those who practice materialization, instead rely on material effects such as knocking.

Which first lady held séances in the White House in an effort to communicate with her dead sons?

In 1850, President and first lady Lincoln lost their second-born son, Eddie, to pulmonary tuberculosis just shy of his fourth birthday. Then, in 1862, during the Civil War, Abraham and Mary lost another son, 11-year-old Willie, to typhoid fever. (She would go on to lose her husband in 1865, and a third son in 1871.) After the death of Willie, Mrs. Lincoln began consulting with mediums and organizing séances in the White House Red Room. She went on to claim the spirits of her sons also appeared to her in her White House bedroom.

Omphalomancy is a method of divination that uses what to determine how many children a woman may have in her lifetime?

Those who practice omphalomancy use the information they read from the shape of your navel, most often when you're still an infant, to determine how many kids you may have in your lifetime.

Which of these is not a name for the method of divination using a mirror?

Methods of divining using a mirror are known as captromancy, catoptromancy, and enoptromancy. Oneiromancy is also a method of divination, however, but it's based on dream interpretation.

One of the oldest forms of fortune-telling, what do practitioners of cartomancy use as a method of divination?

Cartomancy has been practiced since cards were introduced, as far back as 14th century Europe. Although decks vary from reader to reader and region to region, card readers, or cartomancers as they're also known, in English-speaking countries typically read with a deck of Tarot cards.

What is the practice of numerology?

Those who practice numerology believe there's a relationship between a number and a coinciding event (or events). Beginning with your "life path" number, which is calculated using your date of birth, numerologists use your numbers to gain insight into your personality and your future challenges. For instance, those with a life path number of one are considered natural leaders, but tend to have headstrong tendencies.

What U.S. university was home to the VERITAS Research Program of the Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health, until 2008?

The VERITAS Research Program of the Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health was part of the Psychology Department at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Its primary purpose was to test the hypothesis that a person's consciousness survives after his or her physical death -- including mediumship and survival research. A similar program, called the SOPHIA Research Program, used to investigate claims of communication with deceased persons through a guide (a medium) was created in 2008 to continue paranormal research.

What is it called when you attempt divination by the casting of lots -- such as coins, pebbles, or any other item?

Cleromancy, also known as sortilege, is the practice of divination by the casting of lots, which is the tossing of small items such as coins, crystals or pebbles -- it's been described like rolling dice, but with divine intervention. Sortilege is the inspiration for our modern-day card games and board games.

It's believed that placing something made of silver, such as a dime or quarter, on which board game will keep evil spirits away while you use it?

Did you know that in the 1973 film, "The Exorcist," a Ouija board is used to explain the girl, Regan's, possession -- a demon she names, "Captain Howdy" during the board game scene? This board game is more than a century old, but it retains its mystery still to this day. Spoiler alert: The science behind the Ouija board has to do with the players' ideomotor actions -- those are the unconscious movements we make when we're touching the planchette, because we have preconceptions of what, such as with a Ouija board, should happen.

Rune stones are used as a tool for predicting what?

Rune stones (or, sometimes, rune cards) are considered tools of divination, and they're used to help gain insight into your future. The "stones," which are most often made of wood or glass, come as a set of 24 ancient alphabetic symbols.

Hydromancy is a form of divination that relies on what method?

Hydromancy is a form of divination based on the appearance and movement of water. Instead of gazing into a crystal ball or a mirror, etc., practitioners gaze at the ripples produced in the water to gain insight into future events. Dig in a little deeper, and, specifically, "hydatoscopy" involves interpreting rainwater, "lecanomancy" the interpretation of sound of water, and ''pegomancy," which is interpretation of water in wells, polls, and springs.

Which form of divination uses the movement of cats to gain insight into future events?

Ailuromancy, another form of divination, uses the movements of cats as a way to try to gain insight into future events -- in particular, the weather. Using ailuromancy skills, a practitioner would be able to predict a storm coming by observing a cat curl up with her forehead touching the ground.

What type of weather does it predict if a cat turns his or her tail toward the fire (or a heat source)?

Ailuromancy is divination using observing the movement of cats. And a cat that turns his or her tail toward a fire or other heat source, is a cat that's indicating a rainstorm is coming.

When practicing crystal healing, what physical property of the stone determines which problems it can heal?

Certain physical characteristics of crystals can determine the ailments that it's able to affect. A practitioner in crystal healing would place specific crystals around your body, or directly on your body and often corresponding to your chakras. For instance, clear quartz is known as "The Master Healer" because it's so versatile, whereas amethyst, known as "The All-Purpose Stone" is thought to relieve anxiety and boost your immunity.

Which is not one of lines of the palm read by a palm reader?

There are many things a palmist can interpret from the palm of your hand, but, technically, there is no career line. There is, however, a fate line, which does provide insight into your career and your finances -- but not everyone has a fate line.

Similar to palm reading, podomancy is a form of divination that uses what part of the body in its practice?

Practitioners of this method of divination view feet as the symbol of your soul. And podomancy, which you might also know as solistry, is based on interpreting the shape of your feet and lines on the soles to gain insight into your past, present and future.

Which of these is the third-eye chakra?

The sixth chakra, known as the Ajna chakra, is located where you'd imagine your third eye to be -- just above and in between your eyebrows. Mastering the third-eye chakra means you have the ability to see clearly into your own as well as into the heart and soul of others.

What term describes a willful out-of-body experience?

During astral travel, known also as astral projection, it's believed your conscious mind leaves your physical body (don't worry, it's tethered), and travels in the astral plane. This, practitioners believe, is experienced while awake, through lucid dreaming, or during deep meditation.

What is a crystal-gazer practicing when gazing into a crystal ball?

Crystal-gazing is the art of using a crystal ball or other shiny object to see visions of the future. It's called many names, including crystallomancy, scrying and spheromancy. It's also been called gastromancy, as well as the simple crystal-seeing

A chirologist can read the palm of your hand. What does a rumpologist read?

Just as the lines, crevices, and other interesting parts of your palm can be read and interpreted by a palm reader, or chirologist, your buttocks also may play a role in your fate. Rumpologists examine and interpret the dimples, moles, and other bumps and lines on your backside to gain insight into your future.

While science has no proof of "quantum mysticism," which modern-day New Age guru has a "quantum theory" that aging is caused by the mind?

New Age guru Deepak Chopra explained his "quantum theory" that our aging is really all caused by our minds in his books, "Quantum Healing," in 1989, and again in "Ageless Body, Timeless Mind," in 1993. But the science community disagreed, awarding him a parody of the Nobel Prize in physics, an Ig Nobel, for the guru's "unique interpretation of quantum physics as it applies to life, liberty, and the pursuit of economic happiness."

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