Fortune Teller’s Stall, Yunnan FairFortune Teller’s Stall, Yunnan Fair

“Fortune Tellers, whose Min Chia name “Sua Mier Ni,” is clearly a corruption of the Chinese “Suan ming ti” and are, therefore, probably a product of contact with Chinese culture, are consulted for advice on sickness, and to interpret dreams. They are often blind men who earn a meager living by this means, for the fees charged are as low as those earned by the geomancers.

The interpretation of dreams is done by traditional rules, one of which is that to dream of evil is a good sign, and to dream of the death of some person is a sign of indigestion! It would seem that the interpretation follows the converse of the plain meaning of the dream.

The belief that dreams are caused by ghosts or the spirits of other persons is not known among the Min Chia. Neither the geomancers nor then fortune tellers can be properly described as magicians, for apart from the Sai Dser, the Min Chia do not depend on specialized aid in exorcising ghosts.”

Fortune Telling has a long history in China. In fact, the first written characters found in China were on devices that were used for fortune telling. Many different practices have evolved over time to tell the future. Chinese fortune telling has five distinct characteristics that relate to the good and ill fortune of an individual. They are fate, luck, fengshui, karma and education/study, these ideas originate from Daoist and Buddhist traditions. This picture of a Fortune Teller’s booth was taken at a Dali Fair.