A fortune telling story in Taiwan

Credit : taiwanaut

Find out what lies in store for your future at Taipei Story House's "The Story of Fortune Telling" 算命的故事 exhibit.

Find out what lies in store for your future at Taipei Story House’s “The Story of Fortune Telling” 算命的故事 exhibit.

The fortune telling business is prevalent throughout Taiwan.  You can find entire streets dedicated to the practice of telling the future and help you meet your fate.  The Story of Fortune Telling 算命的故事 is an exhibit at the Taipei Story House that walks you through the history of the practice, and you can even (supposedly) discover what lies ahead in your life.  Check out some photos from my visit after the jump.

The Taipei Story House always has great, Taiwan-centric exhibitions.  When I head about one dedicated to the mysterious art of fortune telling, I had to see what they had to offer.  I have to preface this with the fact that I don’t believe in any sort of fortune telling whatsoever.  Nevertheless, the custom has a long history and many types of divination to try out.

I have to admit, some of the methods were quite confusing.  The big wheel in the first picture uses a method called bazi 八字 or the four pillars of destiny, which takes the year, month, day, and hour of your birth.  This number correlates to a text which determines your personal future.  Even after doing some research, I’m still quite confused about it.  Though I suppose it wouldn’t be as fun to have everything so easy and spelled out for you, there’s supposed to be a degree of mystery!

Not only does it have your typical signboards and photos, there are a lot of hands-on activities.  When you first enter, you’ll see people huddled around a rounded table with different ways to check your future.  Tarot cards, complicated birthday math, stick-pulling, there’s a lot of ways to figure out what you should or shouldn’t do.  One thing I wish they had was an actual fortune teller.  I assumed they would have hired the cream of the crop for the exhibit, but sadly its up to you and the exhibit’s volunteers to help calculate your fate.  Check out some photos from the exhibit.

The sign right outside the exhibit.

The sign right outside the exhibit.

When you enter, you are given a form to fill out that will help you with figuring out the divination methods.

When you enter, you are given a form to fill out that will help you with figuring out the divination methods.

Guanyin watches over the exhibit's patrons.

Guanyin watches over the exhibit’s patrons.

My first card. This can't be good.

My first card. This can’t be good.

Most of the information is in Chinese.

Most of the information is in Chinese.

A typical fortune telling booth. The symbol on the mat is from the I Ching, an important divination text.

A typical fortune telling booth. The symbol on the mat is from the I Ching, an important divination text.

Some fortune tellers have birds to help them out (not a real bird in this photo mind you).

Some fortune tellers have birds to help them out (not a real bird in this photo mind you).

Birds pull out sticks that discuss your fortune.

Birds pull out sticks that discuss your fortune.

In this fortune telling game, the figure at the bottom backs into the temple, then reemerges with a scroll dictating your fortune, which drops down into the bottom tray.

In this fortune telling game, the figure at the bottom backs into the temple, then reemerges with a scroll dictating your fortune, which drops down into the bottom tray.

After some calculations, you are given a number. Pick the stamp with your number to discover your future.

After some calculations, you are given a number. Pick the stamp with your number to discover your future.

Pull a stick and follow it carefully.

Pull a stick and follow it carefully.

As with other Taipei Story House exhibits, there are a lot of nice photographs throughout the house.

As with other Taipei Story House exhibits, there are a lot of nice photographs throughout the house.

The gift shop has a lot of pricey, themed tarot cards.

The gift shop has a lot of pricey, themed tarot cards.

In the second tarot activity, I got a better card.

In the second tarot activity, I got a better card.

Location

Take the MRT to Yuanshan Station and go north towards Zhongshan North Road.  The yellow Tudor-style Taipei Story House is behind the Taipei Fine Arts Museum.  The exhibit ends June 29th.

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