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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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