I know this will be a point of contention for some people but I am of the belief that all of the above is utter bullshit. Even if you don’t agree with me there, I hope you at least concede that 90% of it is fabricated.
It’s all based on the power of suggestion. It’s a very basic technique that is the core of advertising. In fact, the movie Inception sums it up quite beautifully.
Arthur: Okay, this is me, planting an idea in your mind. I say: don’t think about elephants. What are you thinking about?
Except in the case of reading “the future” or “your past” or “your personality” they are taking the obvious move of just telling people what to think. It’s basically suggesting an idea which your brain will automatically match up with past events or events that happen in the future.
By using vagueness and the most basic ideas in the human experience they can ensure a high percentage of accuracy. For instance, I could say “you have been hurt by someone close to you and it has changed you” and all of us will recall a time in our lives when this has happened because every person has experienced it.
What’s more, the power of belief does wonders for attaching significance to something that is quite irrelevant. If you want something to happen your mind will be actively searching for that or anything akin to it. Ever learn something new or interesting and then start to see it everywhere? It’s the same deal. So if I say “you will make a new friend soon” and then you talk to someone new at a party or online you’ll probably attach a significance to it that wasn’t there. The step further being that you will fulfil your own fortune by actively building a friendship out of what would have been a passing acquaintance.
Another great explanation from the media comes from one of my favourite shows, Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Sokka: You! I bet Aunt Wu (fortune teller) told you to wear those red shoes, didn’t she?
Man: Yep! She said I would meet my true love when I was wearing these shoes.
Sokka: And how often have you worn them since she read your fortune?
Man: Every day!
Sokka: …THEN OF COURSE IT WILL COME TRUE!
Man: You really think so?!
Lastly, as I’m someone who believes in God I’m sure I loose credibility in some people’s eyes. However, my spiritual beliefs don’t interfere in this explanation except to serve as a blockade to believing in any of this in the first place. I believe God is the only master of destiny and I may believe in prophecy from him but I’d be lying if I said I believed that every prophecy spoken over people was legitimate. I’ve had people, including my parents, admit that sometimes you just employ the vague “blessings” prophecy and recite God’s promises from the Bible.
It is my belief above all this that the future is never certain and never something to be taken in all seriousness.