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Korean Fortune Telling

August 14, 2014


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We were actually quite surprised when we started looking into this topic. We don’t have any personal experience with Korean fortune telling, so we asked Soo Zee and some friends about it, and the more they told us the more fascinating the topic seemed to us. The idea of guys reading your palm as a pickup line, of how families can oppose your relationship if your Sajus aren’t compatible, of how fortune tellers aren’t stereotypically weird-hippy looking, all of this was really fascinating to us. The idea of Shamans, which we didn’t talk about in our video, is also quite interesting:

Shamans, aka Moodang 무당

Shamans are not nearly as common as all of the things we mentioned in the video. They’re a lot more expensive, and aren’t approached for casual fortune telling. They’re more for serious issues, like a lost person you’d like to divine the location of, or a necessary exorcism of a relative. There aren’t Shaman shops around Seoul. You gotta go looking for them.

You also supposedly go to get a 부적 (BooJeok) from them, which is a paper that works kind of like an amulet. The Moodang writes on it with different patterns. And that…does something, for the price of 50,000 won to 300,000.

More interestingly, Soo Zee went to one before. We didn’t get far enough into the conversation to ask what for. We were more interested in her description of the man. Supposedly, a Moodang is someone who has been possessed by a god, and has been given powers as a result. The one that Soo Zee met didn’t know he was a Moodang, and just thought he was crazy. He tried to commit suicide a few times, and cut off the tips of his fingers. Also, Moodangs aren’t supposed to marry, because they have shorter lifespans.

Note how unsure I am about all of this. Soo Zee was telling us a lot, and we wrote down as much as we could before we felt like we had enough to go on. I’m sure one of you here knows a bit more about it. If so, please let us know in the comments. It’s fascinating. I hope you all find this as interesting as we do :D

So that’s it for this week’s TL;DR. Let us know what fortune telling is like where you’re from, and how it’s perceived. My mom (Simon here) was really into a lot of this when I was growing up, but I haven’t heard of her talk about it since. She never did Tarot, but she did read my palms, though! And she told me that you’d click on the subscribe button below…so do it!



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Korean Fortune Telling


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  1. In America I think that psychics are the most common but I’m not really into that scene and it’s usually only something you may see in bigger tourist driven cities like New York or LA. I have met someone who offered to read my palm and do a tarot reading for me, which I did, but I don’t remember at all what she told me. Honestly I think most fortune telling is chance and coincidence. Plus, I’m Christian so I believe God has a plan for us already, but I also understand that we have free will and there are a lot of circumstances that are just unexplainable. Either way this was an interesting topic.

    1 year ago
  2. Well It’s time to confess….

    I am a tarot reader myself from the UK. I’ve been doing readings since I was 12 ish. I’m all into spirituality but like you mentioned about Korean readers, I am just an every day kinda gal. No ‘hippy’ looks about me. I do have a story tho behind my tarots as it was shunned by part of my family really bad. In fact my dad who bought me my tarots and myself got a really bad telling off back then because of my mum.

    Both my mum and my nan (her mum) had a tarot reading where the person came to the house and did the reading for them. This was done many years ago before I was around and they had at least 2 dogs… One of which felt some negativity about the reading and barked at the reader and wouldn’t come in the room where the tarot reading was done. The reading was focused on children and mentioned that one of 4 will survive (it mentioned the first would not be strong enough n that he would come back again as the survivor)….

    So after the reading and time lapsed, My brother before me indeed wasn’t strong enough and passed on… I was the second one (‘the survivor’) and my brother and sister passed away not long after their births. So the reading came to pass… To a point that my mum freaked out and so did my nan to a point that they were dead set against it (which was why they hated my tarot and ‘grounded me’ saying not to use them).

    For me, I don’t tarot read for money nor use them often as I have come to have an open mind about it and wish only those I tarot read to, to have the same thoughts about it. If it happens then it happens, but don’t dwell on what has been read to you with cards for you may subconsciously make it real instead of letting life take it’s course.

    Anyway… Ahem…. :)

    In the UK I’ve mostly seen tarot readers and other ‘mediums’ either through gypsies, Mystic shops and what we have here called spiritualist churches (these are like your Sunday Christian service of hymns and prayers but with mediums who can give insite to and futures or concerns over loss via the 5 senses in medumship) I could go on forever about these as I’ve known and done some of these things over the years. If you want to know more then let me know as i’m happy to tell. Wouldn’t want to send all to sleep tho. ;P Loved watching and reading this blog tho about Korean tarot. I wonder if there is any English tarot readers in Korea and curious about Korean spirituality? What beliefs/ religions do they have when it comes to spirituality/passing on ect? If it is a touchy subject then I apologise and understand if it’s not something to discuss.

    1 year ago
  3. I know my weird supernatural horror pretty well and I know it when I see it… so anyway… In the past I blasted the new Night Watchman’s Journal show for what I felt was maybe dichotomizing the experiences a bit too much.. and I said that.. maybe it will be a way for the show to tackle some more difficult or controversial aspects with polyvalence.. like in James De Mille’s Coper Cylinder novel.. I’m caught up now to the latest episodes on drama fever which I’ve been watching with my wife and we both really enjoy it, great show, two thumbs up.

    In Bride of the Century, there is a part of episode 6 .. a quote..

    “I don’t know why , but this place is really scary to me . Even if the wind blows a little bit, I get chills up and down my spine. But you’re so weird. You always hung out here when you were younger . And always hid here whenever you played hide and seek . And if you ever got in trouble, you wouldn’t eat, and always hid out here.”

    I’ve seen this sensation and emotion frequently in Korean dramas related to spirit communion – and it is the key argument made by Rudolf Otto in his Idea of the Holy, as well as the master thesis of H. P. Lovecraft in his essay Supernatural Horror In Literature .

    In episode 7 of Night Watchman’s Journal, this idea came up again but far more like in Chongho Kim’s research on Korean Shamanism, and I said in the past it is a real shame that he and other authors don’t reference Idea of the Holy when they have such an opportunity to. So anyway.

    The scene I’m talking about is the one where she is walking being stalked by a shadow. She’s wondering how many paces behind her he is, eventually she gets the feeling that he is right on top of her. Her bells worn around her wrist start shaking, a sign that a spirit is descending into her, she nearly loses consciousness and collapses on the floor.

    Key Point — the feeling that Rudolf Otto called daemonic-dread, itself, is the means through which she could get possessed. The shaking of the bells, or the spirit stick.. is a sign or metaphor for the spooky shuddering/shivering sensation.

    Read — Supernatural Horror In Literature, by H. P. Lovecraft.. he is a real master, he was absolutely conscious of this in his writing, knew how to provoke the sensation, and his whole corpus of writing is bent on this concept.

    Also, Read — Rudolf Otto, don’t confuse his idea of the uncanny, and the sublime, with Burke or Freud. Another recommendation is Varieties of Religious Experience by William James, which Otto spends a lot of time talking about in his book.

    William James is more often read today, he’s more politically correct almost. What Rudolf Otto was getting at was so much more, a lot more like what Lovecraft was getting at.

    and , to really ‘get’ Lovecraft, if anyone wanted a good critical source on his writing that I would be approving of.. not S. T. Joshi, though an excellent biographer.. terrible critic.. but –

    from Houellebecq’s H. P. Lovecraft: Against The World, Against Life
    “[H]e brings to life entities well beyond the boundaries of our galaxy […] beyond our space- time continuum. […] [T]he characters move between precise coordinates, but they are oscillating at the edge of an abyss. This has its exact complement in the temporal domain. If distant entities that are several hundred million years old appear in the course of our modern history, it is vital to document the exact moments of their appearance. Each is a point of rupture. To allow the unutterable to erupt. […] The juxtaposition of “three hundred millions years ago” and “at a quarter past eleven” is equally typical. The scale factor, the vertigo factor. Again, procedures borrowed from architecture.” (Houellebecq 79-81)
    “H. P. Lovecraft’s architecture, like that of great cathedrals, like that of Hindu temples, is much more than a three dimensional mathematical puzzle. It is entirely imbued with an essential dramaturgy that gives its meaning to the edifice. That dramatizes the very smallest spaces. […] It is living architecture because at its foundation lies a living and emotional concept of the world. In other words, it is sacred architecture.” (Houellebecq 66)

    yes I’ve literally ctrl-c ctrl-v dump this stuff I’m a total nerd about it. When I read that I wanted to keep it to blast other Lovecraft fans with.

    1 year ago
  4. I actually got a face reading done when I was in Korea in May of this year with a woman in one of those plastic bag shops (which late at night feel a bit like the inside of Dexter’s killing suite), and it was very interesting. I even recorded it because I wasn’t 100% sure what she was saying–I had a friend translating roughly–and I doubted I would remember it all anyways.

    I have a lot of moles on my face, mainly small freckle like ones, but one larger beauty mark next to my left eye, and I remember her talking a lot about how those marks aren’t good and I should get them removed. Even the beauty mark, which I think is a pretty distinguishing feature of my face, and I have no intentions to remove. (The rest are probably sun spots, and might be best to get rid of since they seem to be just straight up damage.)

    She also talked about my nose, which is a tiny bit crooked and looks slightly different from each side…and which I’ve always been incredibly self conscious about…and how I should get it fixed. Like, she would not drop it; she kept telling me and my friend that I should change my nose because the inconsistencies, so to speak, of it did not bode well for my future.

    The rest of the experience was very interesting and not at all bad and I would definitely recommend other people try it out, but it was definitely very odd to have someone more or less tell you (or should I say, heavily suggest) to change distinct parts of your face while also threatening you with your future in their hands. It’s like, instead of saying “You’re ugly, get plastic surgery,” she was saying, “If you don’t get plastic surgery and change your face, YOUR FUTURE IS DOOMED,” which is way, way worse and more intense.

    Unfortunately for my future, I have no plans of drastically altering my face.

    1 year ago
    • DD

      I’m not export of these things but, generally professional face-reader, Saju-reader, Moodang in Korea are very expensive. I visited a face reader once with my friend, who wasn’t sure about her marriage, and got my face-reading. She was working in her office at her home and reading was individually done. So I wasn’t at my friend’s face reading.
      What I experienced was, about my proper job at my society and things to aware of (something habitually need to do) and suggestion for plastic surgery if I would like to. Surgery things were generally something about not recommended even if I wish, rather than recommending plastic surgery itself. She even warned me that plastic surgery can be dangerous(in her aspect ), since it is literary making artificial scar on my face. These things are very oppose to my experience. I’m very glad that you didn’t do anything on your face.

      1 year ago
  5. Ach, she’s German.

    1 year ago
  6. Hope you find this interesting. It is a story of a supposedly possessed austrian woman who came to Korea to see a famous shaman for a naerim-gut.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7OxM5XU4HY (2007 SBS documentary)

    http://www.andreakalff.com/ (Her website)

    1 year ago
  7. Has anyone gotten their fortunes read in Korea with someone who knows how to speak in English? Or if I’m interested, should I just maybe bring a friend who speaks the language? Just curious.

    1 year ago
  8. Alright! Something I’m quite familiar with. I actually got a reading done with an ex about 2 years ago in Hongdae. It was regular tarot and it went extremely fast. Initially I was hoping it would be longer, but turns out faster was better. The reader got pretty much everything wrong about our relationship: We met at school? Nope. He’s older? Nope. You’ve been dating for a few weeks? Nope. Was big dud. I hope to try it again sometime maybe with a friend so she can translate my personal analysis.

    The face reading sounds super interesting. I think I’ll take a look at that movie~

    1 year ago
  9. I’ll go out on a limb again,

    Peter Steele, from Type O Negative – had a spiritual emergence psychosis that he speaks about in this interview here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2ha1ismWL0 , the album cover for World Coming Down depicts the Brooklyn bridge spanning into an occulted Other-Wordly New York City. Rather spooky. It was at this time in his life when a number of people in his life died. the Self-Loss known to trigger a manic psychotic state in Korean shamanism books I’ve read, this also happens in other mediumship traditions, I feel is depicted rather accurately.. as it is in Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner or Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Yellow Wall-Paper.. in this song titled All Hallows Eve.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EV2WmIQp2L4 , according to my personal opinion *shrugs* he had called for the descent of spirits reflected in the lyrics of that song. I suggest a causal relationship . Hrrmmrmr Yeah. This mystical experience must have meant a lot to him and he makes fun of his own fanaticism in a subsequent album called Dead Again in a song called Profits Of Doom, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qyZQDuUJyk . It is commonly believed that Gilman’s psychosis was from post-partum depression, then why did she express it in a gothic horror tale? Something to think about. Very common experience around the world.

    in The Darkened Room: Women, Power, and Spiritualism In Late Victorian England by Alex Owen, the author talks about how in those days, they considered psychosis a rite of passage, and she poured through mental asylum records to form her argument. This spiritual emergence psychosis was called an epidemic of insanity in Victorian times in the press, and by doctors encountering newly initiated mediums in hysterics in hospitals. She claims in her research- she’s a feminist author- that they were being diagnosed as hysterics falsely, and I believe her conclusions about that are wrong.

    1 year ago
    • H. P. Lovecraft praises Gilman’s story — rightly, as a weird supernatural horror tale. Expressing the collapse between subjective and objective reality. Her room becomes a shrine. The realization that she can perceive the creeping shadows through all the windows at once, is an example of temporal distortion that only someone who went through mediums’ initiation and psychosis, could attest to. Lovecraft knew his horror. He called it as he sees it. Also noted is the time in which it was pubished, the decadent period.. when everyone who was anyone in writing was dabling in eastern mysticism , the occult, etc.. Percival Lowell’s Occult Japan and Soul Of The Far East had already been published at this point. That her story is not regarded this way is seriously pathetic. To call it part of feminist discourse is seriously intellectually dishonest. Golden Dawn? No Way! /sarcasm. No Shit it was. Plain to anybody with any knowledge of what that period was like.

      1 year ago
  10. So right now in Sports, the Little League World Series is being wildly talk about. Although its almost over, can you do a TL;DR on it? Today South Korea won against Japan and they’re now going to the International Championship. If Japan wins against Mexico, they’ll be facing South Korea again… Anyway, can you talk about how this is for South Korea? Like are they interested in it like how they were for the World Cup or is it just something that doesn’t interest them?

    1 year ago
  11. Hi guys
    I know you’ve cover health care in the past but can you maybe touch on prescription medicines. There was the whole scandal with Park Bom on this topic. What about other drugs like those that are used to treat depression, epilepsy, physical injuries, and so on
    thanks :)

    1 year ago
  12. In the Arab culture there are many types of fortune-telling, the most prominent (I think) is reading the coffee residue in the cup. You drink a small cup of black coffee, then you turn your cup upside down (for a couple of minutes). Then a person (who claims they “see”) reads the residue and tells you about your fortune, usually nothing straight forward, like “you’ll be married tomorrow”… something along the lines of “fear the friend, not the foe”. Very like the tea leaves reading in Divination Classes of Prof. Trelawney/ Harry Potter.
    Their is also palm-reading…
    But the creepiest in my opinion has to be reading the shells… more specifically called Cowrie shell divination. (this one is more African culture though). That one is straight up weird ass shit. The woman who says she can “see” is usually dressed weird and has weird mannerisms and claims to be a psychic.(read: Prof Trelawney) Even standing next to here sends a chill down your spine. They grab a handful of shells, toss it on the floor or a basket, and reveal things about your life that you would never imagine they would know. Then they tell you your fortune (which people swear is 100% accurate, I personally never went to one). To add to the creep factor, it’s pretty hard to find a Cowrie shell psychic. Usually a “friend of a friend” tells you where to go to one.

    1 year ago
  13. In Greece, a few years ago fortune-telling was somewhat popular, especially the coffe-reading. It originates from Turkey and it actually is when you predict the future based on the coffe leftover marks arround the cup after the cup being turned upside down.
    Nowadays most people are into astrology than any kind of fortune telling.

    1 year ago
  14. Hi hi,
    I was wondering if you guys could do a TL;DR on Korean-Americans going to Korea, and if you know anything about their experiences because I’ve want to go after graduation, but my mom keeps saying it’ll be more difficult because I’m Korean.

    1 year ago
  15. Hey Simon and Martina I know you’ve met a lot of planned celebrities over the years through guest appearances, tv shows, and interviews. But i was wondering if you could do a TL;DR’s on all the celebrity encounters you’ve had that were not planned. For example: like you were walking down the street one day and you saw some members of Super Junior coming towards you or you were at a restaurant and 2NE1 walked in and you had to use every ounce of power not to fallout fangirling/fanboying. Or even ones where it was the celebrity that recognized you and they were the ones spazzing out!

    1 year ago
  16. For the next TL;DR I would really like to hear about your experiences with student loans and such while working in Korea. Was it hard? Did Korea’s low living cost factor into how much you could pay? Also were your banks, loan givers, etc understanding? Becoming an ESL teacher myself, I would really like to hear about this! I know I’ll be in debt, but should it stop me from going to Korea, Japan, etc immediately post graduation? Thanks :)

    1 year ago
  17. Totally unrelated but Martina—your makeup looks especially fantastic in this video!

    1 year ago
  18. I have one question…what are your favourite reality programs that are shown in Korea? Please at the very least (if you have time :D ) reply!and have you or have you not seen the ‘Global we got married’ stuff? thanks ;)

    1 year ago
  19. Oh Korean shamanism… This has become an obsession for me. The good news is that.. I’d like to think and I really strongly believe this.. some people would call me an empath.. or crazy.. look up the song “Are Friends Electric?” and the album cover , ‘Replicas’ by Tubeway Army , before they changed the name to just Gary Numan. Anyway.. that spooky album cover is the mystique of korean shamanism to me. very different than the ‘new age’. even the lyrics and the way he talks about the normal world from the Other-World.

    Inspired by a theologian named Rudolf Otto, author of Idea of the Holy.. he looked for the numinous as expressed in hymn , liturgy, like Bible verses and stuff, as well as music, the arts, particularly poetry. Incredibly, he finds the numinous or expressions in the divine not in The Lamb by William Blake, but The Tyger. He analyzes the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and spends little considerable time on Wordsworth.. for instance, in one of the appendixes, the author quotes Kubla Khan,

    A savage place! as holy and enchanted
    As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
    By woman wailing for her demon-lover!

    in that, he finds God. This is the kind of theologian he was. So much of Korean shamanism can be compared with a poem like this . Studying it I really believe this strongly has enriched the study of english poetry to me. Samuel Taylor Coleridge actually describes shinbyeong in Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the whole process, the self loss, the reciprocity, the infilling of holy spirit, the paranormal spooky feeling of dread, temporal distortion, shivers down his back, the lewd sexual nature of the woman who visited him, “with skin as white as leprosy” , his glowing glittering eye, his mania, “The devil knows how to row!” — Shamanism is very -edgy-, to use a cliche term. so is weird supernatural horror fiction! The shamanic journey is not taking ayahuasca in the jungle, it’s Hamlet by Shakespeare! In Hamlet, Shakespeare writes about a man who communes with his father , to cleanse the world of misfortune, or sin, to bring peace and wellbeing, at the cost of nearly losing his mind. That’s so english! there are so many stories in my own language my own culture .

    Other incredibly moving descriptions of the shamanic journey..the true one. without intoxicating yourself. through a kind of love or empathy to the spirit world (hard to explain).

    A Voyage To Arcturus by David Lindsay, more like a story of lineage, less shinbyeong, direct transmission, unlike what happens in Coleridge’s mariner which is more like kangshinmu experience, this is more like a dark kind of faith healing. i’ve studied faith healing in Christianity and it is actually rather dark . this is a very accurate testimony of mystical experiences .

    A Strange Manuscript Found In A Copper Cylinder by James De Mille . also recommended is The Gift by Marcel Mauss about the law of reciprocity through the economics of mana, and Sleep Paralysis: Night-Mares, Nocebos, and the Mind-Body Connection by Shelley R Adler . He’s as inspired in this book by the Maori of New Zealand as the Old Hag sleep paralysis folklore of Newfoundland . lots of scenes of sleep paralysis in korean dramas. compare with the Wild Hunt, the horse-riding generals? the Valkyrie. the Viking culture and the ancient horse riding gods of Mongolia and such are linked.

    I’m fascinated by this. In ethnographies about koreans shamanism and i posted a more detailed comment below i’ve found the long lost pagan sources of my own culture . it made me realize WHAT to look for , in terms of mystical experiences. it’s been mesmerizing to me to read authors I deeply love and care about who move me like Lovecraft , that are some of the most highly regarded critically , english authors in the world today , and see in him Shinbyeong. to realize why it happened to him, how it happened to him, how he expresses it, read From Beyond, The Colour Out Of Space, DREAMS IN THE WITCH HOUSE is practically a story of using a kamidana shrine, and Motohisa Yamakage author of The Essence of Shinto warns of psychosis in his book.. that’s Hamlet! Charlotte Perkins Gilman, author of The Yellow Wall-Paper, that’s shinbyeong!

    if anyone would like to discuss with me, feel free to contact me. http://www.facebook.com/daniel.w.gill

    1 year ago
    • DD

      I’m very glad that I could see your several mentions about english researches of east asian shamanism. Part of my ongoing research is related to Korean shamanism but couldn’t get good clue of english references. I’m very appreciate this to you even if it was unintended.
      My impression of folk religion and korean moodang is, even if the 강신무kangshinmu’s (it literary saying direct transmission on their name) rituals are something absolutely overwhelming, those gods of shamans are very peaceful and even cute as most folklore tradition. Probably it is the influence of Buddhism in shaman’s training I guess. I agree that The myth of Cthulu can be similar to the impression on status of 강신무 kangshinmu shaman’s ritual and Shinbyung, though still it does not look like that aggressive. Lovecraft’s old god were generally angry god and expressing so extreme existence of it. As a literature, it is very opposite from Korean gods in old literature. Korean old folklore songs are sometimes threatening the god who brought bad luck or asking help to lead the recently dead soul and ghost. Still some of the rituals of 세습무sessǔmu is very peaceful and likely to priest. I was surprised by your mention of Lovecraft related to Korean shaman. However I agree at certain similarity on the descriptions between at Love craft’s writing and Korean shaman’s talk ( in broadcast ) and in related literature.

      1 year ago
      • ok , on Coleridge,

        Coleridge And The Daemonic Imagination by Gregory Leadbetter

        a quote from Coleridge himself,

        “A compact with of the Noumena to place themselves in a [?monas/moral] state. One of the strangest and most Peculiar aspects of my Nature (unless others have the same, & like me, hide it from the same inexplicable feeling of causeless shame & sense of a sort of guilt, joined with the apprehension of being feared and shrunk from as a something transnatural) […] It consists in a sudden second sight of some hidden Vice, past, present, or to come […] – which never deters me but rather (as all these transnaturals) urge me on, just like the feeling of an Eddy-Torrent to a swimmer/. I see it as a Vision, feel it as a Prophecy – not as one given me by any other Being, but as an act of my own Spirit, of the absolute Noumenon/ which in so doing seems to have offended against some Law of its Being, & to have acted the Traitor by a commune with full Consciousness independent of the tenure or inflicted state of Association, Cause & Effect […] = repetitions or semblances of the original Fall of Man – hence shame and power – to leave the appointed Station and become daemon.”

        the Rime of the Ancient Mariner –is real– , it’s a testimony to do with his mystical experiences. This is a great examination of his poetry. It’s fanciful but he’s painfully describing his most private thoughts. Particularly interesting are notebook entries like this one that he had avowed to himself that no one would ever see.

        His poetry talks about this idea of becoming. Normally we think of mystical experiences as mediated away from the experiences of the transcendental. This is an excellent podcast with the author of that book, Gregory Leadbetter, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6swvElUnS-s .

        1 year ago
      • Rudolf Otto’s theory was that what appears from the outset that ghosts are spooky, that through the process of worship and the exchange mana or alchemy that those initially demonic presences can become beatific. The spooky sensation itself is a catharsis relating to energy release. In Shelley R. Adler’s literature analyzing the science of sleep paralysis, and the work of http://www.TeemingBrain.com bloggers like Ryand Hurd, and now classic books like The Terror That Comes In The Night, etc they speak of confronting hostile and demonic presences, placating them, and the process of doing this turns those experiences around. There are communities online who purposely invoke sleep paralysis experiences by lying on their backs, which you will commonly see in S.Korean dramas.. normally in western culture we lie in fetal position on our sides which prevents sleep paralysis.. I’m not too aware of sleeping customs in other cultures but the experience of lying on your back to induce sleep paralysis tends to make for a restless but more lucid dreams in sleep. You’ll have a tendency to wake up in the middle of the night etc. Some scientists like Dr. T. M. Luhrmann study cultures with more communal sleeping patterns, where this will occur, and this notion disputes the claim that we ought to get X hours of sleep in a given evening. Anyway , the pitch would be that having this perspective on your sleep empowers you whereby you can engage consciously through your dreams with those presences. In Vietnam, they use a second shrine to angry ghosts placed outside in the wilderness. After the war, this was a way for them to stitch society back together.

        Ghosts Of War In Vietnam by Heonik Kwon

        War And Shadows: The Haunting of Vietnam by Mai Lan Gustafson

        Dreamtime: Concerning The Boundary Between Wilderness And Civilization by Hans Peter Duerr

        Korean Shamanism: The Cultural Paradox by Chongho Kim

        These are some books that meditate on this idea of us in relation to the Other-World. Dr. T. M. Luhrmann also studies how in schizophrenic experiences, depending on the cultural contexts she’s studied, some people who engage even angry spirits there is science to suggest that it betters unsettling hallucinations. Whether people think it’s ‘real’ or not, there is science now proving that it alleviates it.

        for Buddhism studies,

        the Lovelorn Ghost and the Magical Monk by Justin Thomas McDaniel

        Haunting The Buddha by Robert DeCaroli

        and in yoga, somewhat relevant

        Sinister Yogis by David Gordon White

        So, again.. Rudolf Otto’s theory and I consider this pretty accurate.. consider the story of Buddha’s enlightenment, a story in which the demonic presence of Mara foreshadows the climax of the tale before he vaults the palace walls or whatever journeys into the nightside wilderness.. she is there.. when he sits under a tree, his enlightenment directly follows his empathetic gesture of compassion to the dreadful forces shadowing him. McDaniel talks about in his book this way in which Thai buddhists, I mean in the popular folk culture, consider ghosts and the world of the dead to be an instrumental part of their buddhist practice. He suggests that actions by the government and I guess what people would call orthodox Buddhism for continually beatifying those dreadful experiences away is in fact an essential loss.

        Authors like Coleridge, Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, placed themselves and their readers in that original context, as Buddha was engaging with Mara. Rudolf Otto suggests that the development of religion continues from this line.. demonic encounter, beatification, conventional worship, and lineage, and he suggests that what gothic horror attempts to do is place the experience back on the other end of the scale. This is why in his now famous conception of the numinous, he’s conscious of this problem, and he coined that word numinous as necessarily morally neutral. This moral neutrality for the Other-World became essential for the health of the Vietnamese after the war, as people engaged an angry spirit world.

        It’s kind of complicated but can be basically equated as,

        Demonic- The Unfamiliar

        Beatific- The Familiar

        There’s a middle process between them possible through placation.

        1 year ago
        • DD

          Again, thanks for the references. I will check these out. My research is of archival science practice on korean death ceremony. Korean shamanism part is surely small but probably the core of the major differences btw Korea, Japan and China. I got some thought about your mention that may not directly connected, but helpful to understand somewhat different notion about the unfamiliar/familiar things in Korea.

          Since most of Korean ancient records were written in Chinese after Buddhism dominated period, I really can’t count the influences from Buddhism in Korean Shamanism: also the influence of Chinese philosophical term in the letter system as well. However, asian philosophy was genuinely belongs to duality of a thing. So, god, ghost all have two faces or individual names that converges to each two terms: nothing is just +/great or -/unrespectful at here. The term ‘life’ is next to the death; not clearly separated from the “other world,” whether they were friendly or not. For instance, every old Korean houses have their own shrine in the house.

          This link may help you to get sense of something horrific/weird in Korean tales. It is one of the old books about horrific stories that written around late 17c and translated 1913 by american baptist, called Chun Aye Rok천예록. I’m not sure about the tone of writing, but these type of story is one of the weirdest/horrific type ever in Joseon Era; others are usually not this much. Hope you enjoy.

          1 year ago
        • I recommend tracking down , petty easy to find, on youtube the film adaptation of David Lindsay’s novel A Voyage To Arcturus, because I feel that he has… pointedly… remarked on a paradox .

          Mystical Occult groups, being Occult, don’t want to be your friend. They have a history of isolating people from the rest of society . I guess Japan can be somewhat like this too, however it’s much better understood that if you wanted to go to a temple : you could. They’re around. Not so where I am from.

          Every religion here has two faces. There is an apparent community and a hidden one.

          David Lindsay and especially prominent in the performances of the film adaptation.. strikes up this paradoxical idea.

          More than your friend. An intimacy with a person that you don’t know.

          He goes on a trip, to another world, but within his society he is lost at sea.

          Novels like this are very important, because being an occultist is kind of like being gay. Dr. Jeffrey J. Kripal criticizes the lack of women in positions of authority within western religions. It’s hard to be religious and be a guy. It’s also kind of like being closeted, and there are a lot of unusual experiences laid bare within that novel and film which ostensibly remain in the closet of western society.

          Out here in the west we have a considerable problem with community. We tend to be anti-collectivist. Well if religion IS collectivism.. where does that leave us? Curled up in a ball in the corner of the room making “new fiends”. I recommend authors like this because they’re articulating problems in western religion still unreconciled after nearly 100 years.

          1 year ago
        • RYAN HURD writes “Visions, Dreams, and Visitations” for The Teeming Brain. He is is founder of DreamStudies.org, a website dedicated to sleep, dreams, and consciousness research. He is also a frequent contributor to Business Insider and Reality Sandwich. His books include Lucid Immersion Guidebook: A Holistic Blueprint for Lucid Dreaming (2012) and Sleep Paralysis: A Guide to Hypnagogic Visions and Visitors of the Night (2011). As an educator, Ryan has presented to a wide range of audiences, including invited lectures at Stanford University, the Institute of Buddhist Studies, and the Rhine Institute. As a qualitative researcher, he has presented and published papers on sleep paralysis, lucid nightmares, and the application of dreaming for uncovering researcher bias and novelty. He has a MA in Consciousness Studies from John F. Kennedy University, as well as a bachelor’s degree with a specialization in archaeology, and is a board member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. Other professional memberships include the American Anthropological Association and the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness.

          1 year ago
  20. While I am in Korea right now, I’ve never done any of this kind of stuff in Korea.
    I have, however, done it in Ireland (tarot card reading) and the US (psychic). Both were extremely interesting–both I did with my mom. Her and I are both into that kind of stuff (I’m pagan ^^). So I studied and did a lot with this stuff when I was a teenager/college age. I think it’s all very interesting and if I could find an English speaking one I would do it in Korea without thought. While I never think they’re 100% accurate, they do give you an interesting perspective on your life.
    As for palm reading, some of my students have grabbed my hand and talked about it. Mostly why my lifeline is short/forks. (Sad, huh?).

    1 year ago
  21. Hi Simon and Martina! Here in Brazil it’s pretty common these fortune ritual things, specially when it comes to find your mate. The streets are full of posters – I mean, REALLY full – with promisses like “I can bring your beloved”, with the professional phone number. Althought it’s not THAT strong in brazilian culture compared to Korea, fortune telling, tarot reading, cards etc, are very popular among adults and desperate lonely people hahaha maybe you’ll never experience a teenager saying “hey, let’s go for a palm reading today”. The fortune readers also uses tv commercials and local newspaper to sell their services, and offers promotions like 40 brazilian reais a month to receive horoscope texts everyday, telling what color you should use or whitch number corresponds to your personality.

    1 year ago
  22. My friends love face reading and palms reading, this is what they told me.
    From your face they can know your personality, eg you are trustworthy or not etc. There is a Chinese proverb “your facial features come with your heart”, So if you have this feature, you mostly have a particular personality (but does not go the other way). Face reading is a statistical thing, and affects by ethnicity, as every ethnicity has its own iconic features.
    They can also roughly see your past and future on your face as you can count from 1 – 70 years old from different part of your face, eg. if you were born in a wealthy family.
    Btw, plastic surgery does not help a lot in changing your future or personality.
    Palms reading tells you about your personality, past and future in details. So you have to know both face and plams reading coz they support each other

    1 year ago
  23. Sorry, but I’m an anal Virgo, and I just have to correct you…it’s pronounced “tarO” like “arrow”. The “t” at the end is silent. :)

    Carry on!

    1 year ago
  24. Hey! I wanted to know what radio is like in Korea. Do they have a lot of commercials, or few ? How common is it to hear a KPOP song on the radio? And what kind of different radio channels are there?

    1 year ago
  25. Dee

    Hey Simon and Martina!!
    I have a question for you guys which I hope I can get an answer to because I’m super curious about this issue!! >.<

    What is it exactly the school uniform regulations in south korean schools?? You know that there are a lot of school uniform brands (that are also advertised by Kpop idols) like IVY CLUB and Elite which provides whole range of model, colour, and material that you can choose but then why do I rarely (as far as an outsider like me know) seen korean students wearing stylish school uniform?? Like, most of them wear the same model and colour too.. so then are those uniform brands can only be purchased by certain type of students (maybe from a private/ really elite school) or are they only purchased for fashion?? Then, if public korean students/ korean students in general can't buy uniforms from those uniform brands, where do they buy their uniform?? does the school provide them?? or maybe you can buy from those uniform brands but the school have to approve first??
    it's so difficult to understand but I'm really curious about it… so if you can answer my question, I would be really, really happy! :D
    Thank you again!!

    P.S : Congratulations on the opening of You Are Here Cafe!! I saw the pics and it looked like so much fun! I wish I could be there! :') maybe someday… :) Congratulations once again!!
    :) :)

    1 year ago
  26. Fortune telling in my community is pretty weird. In Judaism you sort of make your own luck / destiny. For example my cousin delayed getting married for about 3 weeks until it was a particularly auspicious day (for example Tuesdays are in general supposed to be good, and the first half of the month is better than the second etc.) The other kind of ‘fortune telling’ I see people actually do is with dreams. According to Jewish tradition there are seventy people alive at any one time (who don’t know who they are), that however they interpret a dream it comes true (massive oversimplification, but that’s the gist). So if someone tells you about a dream, you always have to try and give a positive spin on it in cases you are one of those people. In terms of changing destiny if you are having a life and death type problem (e.g. terminal cancer) as a sort of last ditch attempt to change your fate you can change your name (often something to do with the problem for example Rafael after the angel of healing if you were sick). There are other types of fortune telling, but I rarely if ever see anyone actually use them, for example I know of communities where asking a Rabbi if a particular business venture is a good idea is common practice, and if it is advised against they won’t go through with it, but again I can’t say I personally know anyone who has done it.

    1 year ago
    • A professor at my university faculty is a worldwide expert on Dybbuk possession . Something I know is pervasive within Judaism but that nobody ever publishes about . There are libraries and libraries of forbidden Jewish books written by mad monks out of an H. P. Lovecraft novel, Rabbis i guess, “not meant for the eyed of mortals” . That S.Korea publishes about what “lies beyond the vale” that is “beyond the pale” is one of the most precious treasures of the world, because so many other cultures don’t publish on it at all. it’s the weirdest thing. s.korean shamanism studies is pretty common in academia and it penetrates to a rather deep level of description. the more i studied it and about vietnam and thailand, the more i saw in english weird supernatural horror fiction , the stars came out. thanks to s.korea — it’s hard to express how important their shamanism tradition is within a globalized trans-national 1st world.

      1 year ago
      • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjoCmYimeIo . this is a great clip of S . Ansky’s play adapted for a Polish movie. It’s some of the only Dybbuk anything that you’ll catch on film, or in print. When I think of libraries full of forbidden books, I immediately think of Jewish mysticism. I’d be interested in studying it, but I can’t.. really.

        1 year ago
        • alright something I found interesting, and I encourage others to make sweeping generalizations and leaps of conclusion… not merely jumps but leaps.. I think this is all rather simple at least in so far as the emotional registers of it. Compare the incantation spoken in the Dybbuk clip to this one, from Heonik Kwon’s Ghosts Of War In Vietnam .

          Those who died beheaded
          Those who had many friends and relatives but died lonely
          Those who died in the battlefield
          Those whose death nobody knew about
          Students who died on the way back from an exam
          Those who were buried hurriedly with no coffin and no clothing
          Those who died at sea under a thunderstorm
          Those who died with a shoulder hardened by too many bamboo poles carried on it
          Innocent souls who died in prison

          All spirits in the bush, in the stream, in the shadow, underneath the bridge, outside the pagoda, in the market, in empty rice field, on the sand dune
          You are cold and you are in fear
          You move together, young ones holding the old
          We offer you this rice porridge and fruit nectar
          Do not fear
          Come and receive our offering
          We pray for you, we pray.

          1 year ago
        • I know it is common today not only because I’ve spoken to people but also because I know how easy it is to do yourself. Since I’m familiar with Otto and weird supernatural horror fiction, etc.. lightning strikes twice..

          1 year ago
        • There are a few academic texts on Dybbuk possession, trying to unpack practices done historically a few or a couple hundred years ago, but I know people who are Jewish who told me it is still really common today. /Anyway.

          1 year ago
  27. I just found another mistake in my first post. It should be 1 min 15 sec not 5min 14 sec.
    I should not be let out without a keeper.

    1 year ago
  28. They do the chart reading thing in India as well. From what I’ve seen, with super conservative Hindu families, before fixing a marriage they check the birth chart – which is based on the exact time and date that your were born (called a kundali) – of the man and woman to see if they are compatible and only then is the match fixed. A lot of people living in cities don’t do this anymore but it’s still quite prevalent.

    Also regarding the possession thing, in the part of India where I live (around Mumbai) there is a practice where sometimes women will pray to a certain goddess to possess their bodies. (DISCLAIMER- I have never actually seen this happen, but heard about it from my grandmother). When this possession takes place, its a huge spectacle. The woman will usually start chanting and swaying her body. People gather around her and offer prayers. So they’re scared of her, but it’s also a kind of worship. These women will usually be social outcasts – widows, women with no children, unmarried women. This is not very common and mostly happens in rural Maharashtra, not in cities. In Marathi we say ‘devi chadli’ or ‘the goddess has taken over’. This usually becomes a way for these outcast women to kind of make their place again in society. (Again, I specify, this is quite rare nowadays and I have never seen this happen. I don’t even know if it still does in villages)

    1 year ago
    • very similar to the idea in s.korean shamanism that they are low class, and yet divine. the shaman gives their soul away much as the in the english weird horror fiction is all about the terror of losing your self .

      1 year ago
  29. When I posted the link changed to click thru. My Bad

    1 year ago
  30. I live in central West Virgina USA,we don’t have very many fortune telling locations. The county fair
    and the state fair have a few booths.When I watched this TL;DR I remembered this CPTV adventure.
    Since Simon and I got the CRAYON POP infection at the same time,and this video ties in spot on with your video, I thought I would post a link. I could not make a click thru link but copy & past will work. If your are in hurry go to 5 min 14 sec.


    1 year ago
  31. ooou I love things like this! I remember trying to learn some things from my mother as a child about palmistry, astrology, and face reading. and those coffee grain readings that I never liked since I dislike coffee D :
    even though she knew a lot about fortune telling and gave serious readings to friends, she didn’t know about tarot so I decided to learn it myself. I even gave out some pretty rad readings :D
    but it’s really hard and I got really frustrated that I threw away my deck after not touching it for a whole year U__U
    a couple years after that I bought a new deck but it’s not the same! lol anyways it’s really hard but still fun :D

    1 year ago
  32. Here at Portugal, things like fortune telling are quite popular, I guess, at least I know at least someone who got their hands read or went to get their tarot card reading, and there are a good number of fortune tellers, there’s also a famous tarot reader that appears on television quite often, so I’m pretty sure around here people are used to those things in a way, even if they don’t believe in them. I think the mentality here is that older generations believe more in those “superstitions” than the younger generations, but at the same time I see alot of teenagers interested in hand reading and such.

    1 year ago
    • Hey, I’m from Portugal too!!
      Don’t forget all the magazines about all kinds of fortune telling xD They are quite popular too. I once found one that taught hand reading.

      1 year ago
  33. I was just in korea and for fun i got my tarrot card reading….apparently theres no boy in my future for the rest of the year. That i wont be in a relationship and that there may be a guy in the fall but even then i would have to try really hard for him. lol

    1 year ago
  34. My grandmother is an astrologist, and listening to your description of saju it IS actually a part of astrology. There is more to it than just the tiny little horoscopes in magazines. My granny does something similar to saju every year for me and the rest of my family on New Year so we know what’s to come, and whlist I don’t actually believe it, it sometimes does come true. For example my grandma predicted I will do lot’s of travelling this year, and I indeed have been abroad for 4 times already whereas normally I go like one time.
    We live in Poland (high five Simon~) and it’s not really looked down upon but people often think it’s weird and laugh at it. My grandma has clients though and she even did astrology courses, so it’s not that uncommon but it is something wealthy businessmen would be ashamed of doing.

    1 year ago
  35. Weeeeeeeell…..my brother actually has a scar like that in his forehead….XD Though he got it from some guy smashing him with a baseball bat resulting in A LOT of blood and that scar XD

    1 year ago
  36. I love love LOVE supernatural stuff (esp this topic) Lots of people I know don’t believe in star signs or fortune telling and even though a small part of me knows it’s fake, I still like it and want it to be true :’)

    1 year ago
  37. One of my ex-classmate do a poker card reading and it’s pretty accurate. She can tell my ex-crush’s appearance by reading from the cards or even my attitude and my study life. I once asked her if I could stop having a crush on anyone till grade 12, the answer is “no”. She told me that I’m a kind of person who can fall in love with someone so easily. However, this time is not so accurate cus since then, I haven’t had any interest on anybody for a year now :P

    1 year ago
  38. I live in the U.S and I don’t here much about fortune telling here, but it seems to be very prominent where my family is from(Mexico).It seems in Mexico it’s a lot more popular.It could be that, at least from what ive seen, that they are much more superstitious.People get their palms read, tarot cards read, spiritual cleanses, go see witch doctors,etc. I remember when i was little,my dad would go and get his fortune read once every few months as well as my mom ,they’ve both stopped since.However, from what ive been told by my family, one has to be very careful with who you go to, whether it be cleanses or fortune telling, you have to know the right person.

    1 year ago
  39. Personally, fortune telling kind of freaks me out. I’m curious but there is a bigger, more paranoid part of me that is terrified they’ll foretel my death or something :P

    1 year ago
  40. I dont know if its the same thing but I’m hmong and I was shaman once. I remember when I was a little kid my family would have these gatherings which we called “Ua Neeg” or “Hu Plig. My grandpa was somewhat similar to a Moodang where he had spiritual powers to communicate with the other side. He would use these powers to go to the other side and ask for help or a blessing. This is what “Ua Neeg” Other times he would use his powers to call home spirits who lost their way, also refered as “Hu Plig” I also have a friend who is simialr to a Moodang. She told me that her powers run in her blood. She described to me that she has these two male ghost that are like her guardians. They help and protect her for when she travels to the real world to the other side. I don’t really know if she’s a Moodang but it sounds similar to one.

    1 year ago
    • Sleep Paralysis: Night-Mares, Nocebos, and the Mind-Body Connection by Shelley R. Adler is a fascinating medical anthropology book about Hmong sudden death syndrome. When they immigrated to the U.S. many of the young people stopped worshipping their ancestors, the spirits got angry, and hundreds of them died in their sleep. Scientists have been fascinated by it for a long time for nocebo effect evidence, like the opposite of placebo effect. Another potential reason was that the generation who died had been born under bad astrological signs? I don’t remember everything in the book but it’s worth reading. http://www.TeemingBrain.com is a great blog all about weird sleep paralysis and horror fiction , other strange goings on. in english culture we commonly tend to believe that the supernatural is some happy jolly thing but the people who are shamans and go to the Other-World risk their lives, pretty much, to do that. and it’s not a happy go lucky thing to them. communing and praying to spirits, getting possessed, is serious business. too often today people think that religion is like buying a happy meal. makes me angry that its taken more seriously.

      1 year ago
      • I’ve never experienced sleep paralysis but my sister experiences almost every night. She said that its like your whole body is paralyzed as your whole body is being crushed by a ghost. It seems as if its a dream but you can feel everything as if its reality. One time she told me that as she was sleeping she saw this old dead bride dressed in black staring at her, then all of a sudden the ghost just dropped onto my sisters body and began choking her. She woke up crying that night. Sleep paralysis happens so often to her that she used to it now. Sometimes at night I’m so scared because sleep paralysis can happen to anyone and its not something that I would like to experience.

        1 year ago
        • Well. That website I linked has a lot of good professional advice on it. Some people find in sleep paralysis experiences, what first appears to be nightmarish can be a way to reconcile with spirits anger, they are powerful spirits regardless, and those experiences can become beatific. Science has found links between sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming, astral projection, and so on.. the sleep paralysis experience itself is a lucid or waking dream, as you had described quite accurately. In the drama Bride of the Century, the ghost is very much struck along that line she is beautiful, terrifying, haunting, but also a powerful guardian.

          1 year ago
      • lol sorry i mean makes me angry that it isn’t taken more seriously.

        1 year ago
    • My mothers a moodang and she uses her powers for good over money. Like praying for peace in the world and also to help the dead spirits find their path to heaven etc.
      Just last month she performed a ceremony to help the victims of the sewol ferry leave earth as they refused to go due to veangeance anger and utter betrayal. That day the spirits of the victims revealed the truth of the sinking and now it all makes sense!
      The whole thing was a planned ‘accident’ the cargo was purposely filled to dangerous levels because the government NEEDED IT TO SINK. And they actually had to try multiple times before finally that fateful day the ferry sunk. A huge tragedy of the loss of innocent lives would only be too perfect to cover up the suspicious dirty work going on with the Korean government (the higher people were taking billioms of dollars for themselves out of the government money and it was all forgotten after sewol). Of course the captain was in on it too, thus his quick decision to flee the ship and he knew he’d get a small sentence (& what do ypu know surprisingly he did!) and soon after would be paid immensely.
      The one thing that really got to me was that the school’s principal, who you may remember or have seen in news articles was that he committed suicide right after being rescued.
      I remember thinking “why on earth would you want to do that? He should be grateful for his life!’
      But it all makes sense. His spirit told my mother that as he was on the ship, one of the people who were in on the scheme screamed, “LEAVE THE CHILDREN! IF YOU WANT TO LIVE GET OFF NOW!”
      Soon after the principal realised that it was all planned. The lack of rescue effort. The constant footage of news was focused on the sewol sinking for a whole month on korean tv on all channels and NO OTHER NEWS was broadcasted. This is exactly what they wanted, a huge tragedy to cover up their own corruption.
      I guess I went on a huge rant and honestly you dont have to believe any of this but nothing can take away from the fact that the sewol tragedy smelt nothing but fishy. Ive always wanted to write up a post on the internet about the truth of the sewol si king as I had many sleepless nights in anger for tjeir lives but I guess I found it hard to explain to the western community on how I would have evidence for such information. Im really glad eyk has provided me the context so you guys might be able to understand.

      1 year ago