Though there isn't a generally accepted history of the Gypsies, or "Roma" people, it is widely believed that the term "Gypsies" originated as "'Gyptians." 'Gyptians was a shortened form of "Egyptians," which the Roma people were sometimes called. Noted for their nomadic lifestyle in European cultures, the Gypsies have also been renowned through the centuries for their psychic and fortunetelling skills.
The Gypsy fortune teller tends to read the crystal ball very sparingly. This fortunetelling technique is demanding, requiring a great deal of preparation and practice to perform. The room for the reading needs to be darkened, as direct sunlight interferes with the images emanating from the ball. The ball should rest on a black cloth. In response to the questioner, the reader must gaze in to the ball, not stare. The difference between these two types of "looking" is subtle and must be practised over time to be mastered. As the fortune teller gazes into the ball, she interprets the images that appear for the questioner.
Palm reading is usually the first fortunetelling skill that a Gypsy mother teaches her children. This technique requires no equipment and can be practised anywhere. Palm reading is an interpretation of a person's dominant hand -- its size, shape, finger length and the lines that run across it. These characteristics reveal the person's character traits as well as offering predictions about the person's love life, career, health and longevity. Palms also offer the questioner a chance to learn about his past and present. Since the lines of one's hands are constantly changing, the predictions a Gypsy palm reader makes about the future are subject to alteration over time.
Gypsies are believed to have been the first to use Tarot cards for fortunetelling and might actually be responsible for inventing them. There are many techniques or reading Tarot cards, since there numerous types of card spreads from which to choose. A Gypsy fortune teller might interpret a three card -- past, present and future -- spread. She might also create a four or five card spread to address a specific topic the questioner wishes to focus on, such as love life, career or finances. The technique for interpreting the cards requires a knowledge of the symbols and numbers represented on each card face.
Reading Tea Leaves
Reading tea leaves became such a popular activity in the first part of the 20th century that "Gypsy Tea Rooms" were created as locations to not only sit and enjoy a cup of tea, but to have the leaves remaining in the cup read by a Gypsy. The Gypsy technique for reading tea leaves requires drinking the tea from a white or very light cup with a handle. Once there is a small amount of tea left in the cup, the questioner must swirl the tea in the bottom of the cup three times, in a counterclockwise motion. Then the cup is turned upside down to drain the liquid. The Gypsy fortune teller turns the cup right side up and reads the pattern of the leaves that remain in the cup's bottom.