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This guide to telling fortunes has been taken by the 1800s book “The Golden Wheel Dream-book and Fortune-teller” by Felix Fontaine. It will be helpful for anyone interested in novel forms of divination.
I have made very few edits to the text, mostly fixing spelling issues and improving readability by shortening paragraphs. Otherwise, this excerpt is an accurate view into the divination practices of the 1800s.
This book holds many different ways to divine different information, from palmistry (The Beginner’s Guide To Palmistry, Or Chiromancy) to dream interpretation. Its age can make it hard to read at times, but it seems to me to be a largely untapped resource into our heritage as witches, psychics, tarot readers, and fortune tellers.
Telling Fortunes By Dominoes And Dice
The telling of fortunes by the spots on Dominoes and Dice is a very ancient custom, and has always been practiced by the most celebrated astrologers and fortune-tellers.
The calculations have all to be made by drawing a horoscope from each domino and the spots on each side of a die; therefore the process is exceedingly tedious. We have given in the following pages the results of three years’ experimental labor on this subject; not constant labor, for there are but a few hours in each year when the stars are in the right position to draw the horoscope of any particular domino.
A good many of the signs predicted here have been proved to be correct within the personal knowledge of the writer, and he doubts not they will all be found to be accurate.
Method Of Telling Fortunes With Dominoes
Shuffle the dominoes well on a smooth table, with their faces downward, then draw one and see what it signifies according to the description given below.
It is useless for any person to draw more than three dominoes at one time of trial, or in one and the same month, as they will only deceive themselves. Shuffle the dominoes each time of choosing; to draw the same domino twice makes the answer stronger.
Be very particular and do not attempt to tell your fortune by dominoes on Friday or Monday.
What The Dominoes Mean
- Double-Six. Denotes much riches by speculation, and a happy and prolific marriage. It is not good to farmers as far as relates to crops and success in their calling, but it foretells that their lands will rise in value, and that they can make money by selling out. If a girl turns this domino to learn her fate in matrimonial matters, it is a sign she will marry rich, and have a large family of children.
- Six-Five. If you are in search of employment, this domino shows that you will succeed by proper perseverance. If in love, do not be discouraged by any rebuffs, for success awaits you. If you have planted a crop, or about to plant one, it will yield nobly. In money matters exclusively, you may not be fortunate, as the domino is not lucky for money.
If your wife is about to give birth to a child, and you try your fortune with special reference to such birth, this domino foretells its early death. If you are about to buy real estate, you will be lucky in the purchase—if to buy silverware, jewelry, or a watch, you will get cheated. If you expect a legacy, you will probably be lucky and get it.
- Six-Four. This domino denotes early marriage and much happiness; the sexes of the children will be about equally divided, and they will live, but will leave home early—the girls to marry, and the boys to do for themselves. It denotes neither poverty nor riches.
- Six-Three. This domino denotes constancy and affection. It is an excellent domino for lovers, who will marry early, and enjoy much happiness. It is also a sign of riches and honors; and no troubles of any account will mar your fortune. There is some danger, however, that you will die at middle age, but if you survive that period you will live to a good old age.
- Six-Two. Is an excellent domino for lovers, as it foretells a happy marriage. A gentleman turning this domino, will get an orderly and economical wife, and a lady will have equal good fortune in a thrifty and industrious husband. Those who turn this domino for luck in business matters, will realize all and more than they expect.
To dishonest and selfish people, however, the domino is fatal. If it is turned to determine the result of any scheme that is not fair and above-board, it foretells ill-success and exposure. To a married lady who expects to present her husband with an heir, it presents a beautiful and healthy child, and one who will excel as a mathematician, and (if a boy) will probably become distinguished.
- Six-One. This domino foretells to young people that they will marry twice, and the second marriage will be the happiest of the two. To married people it is a sign they will be better off in middle age than when young, and that one child will be faithful and remain with them, while the others will seek their fortunes away from home.
- Six-Blank. If you turn this domino you will hear of the death of an esteemed friend, or an acquaintance—will experience the loss of a relative or member of your family—or some one will die in whom you are interested. To a farmer, or the owner of horses or other animals, it may denote the loss of some of the animals rather than human beings; but it foretells death in some shape, and may even mean to warn you of your own decease.
- Double-Five. Is a decidedly lucky domino in everything you undertake. It foretells success in all enterprises, but does not assure you that you will become rich.
- Five-Four. This domino shows to a lady that she will probably marry a poor man, have a large family of children, and then become a widow. He may be pretty well off, to appearance, when she marries him, but if it be so, she will find that he has debts and expensive habits that will bring him to poverty and the grave.
It is not a good domino for money matters, for if you have lost money, or if people owe you, the turning of this domino shows that you will not be apt to get the cash. To a farmer it is a sign of good crops; but it is also a sign that something unfortunate will occur in connection with the farm—such as cattle lost or injured, or property of some kind destroyed.
- Five-Three. Denotes ample means, without any other peculiarity of fortune. If you turn this domino you may calculate you will never be poor, and may become quite wealthy. But to one already wealthy, it shows that though he may not become poor, he will never be any better off than he then is, and perhaps not so well off.
To young people the domino denotes comfortable circumstances after marriage, but not over-zealous love. It shows no positive bad luck in love matters, at the same time that it does not assure you of devoted attachment of your proposed partner for life, of either sex. On the whole, it is a pretty fair domino for any one to turn.
- Five-Two. If you are in love, you will probably be unfortunate; for though you may get the person you want, and an apparently happy marriage may follow, it will prove an unhappy one in the end. Nevertheless, your happiness may continue for some time after marriage.
To a gentleman this domino foretells a thrifty and industrious wife, though one with an unhappy temper or disposition. To a single lady it denotes thrift and independence as long as she remains single. If a man is engaged in a speculation, or is about starting any new enterprise, he will not be likely to succeed.
If you are a candidate for office, you will be defeated. On the whole, this is not a lucky domino for gentlemen, though for ladies it is a pretty fair one.
- Five-One. Is a jolly domino for persons fond of excitement. It predicts that you will receive an invitation to a dinner, or social gathering, or to some place where you will enjoy yourself. If a married lady turns this domino it is a sign she will present her husband with a triple addition to his family—all boys. To a young lady it predicts a beau, who will not be rich or refined, but rather a rough customer, and she will discard him and marry another. If you expect to earn or to receive money, this domino is one of disappointment.
- Five-Blank. If a man turns it, he will be either a gambler or a rich rogue, if he has brains enough, and if his intellect is not sufficient, he will probably be a small swindler, or the favored lover of a lewd woman, or both. Although these will be his characteristics, yet circumstances may place him in a different position; but he will always be mercenary, selfish, impudent, and without pride of character. To a girl this domino foretells an unhappy marriage, and misfortune by that means; but if she remains single, and keeps clear of lovers, she will avoid the ill omen.
- Double-Four. Is a good and smooth domino for lovers, for farmers, and for laboring people of all kinds. On the contrary, lawyers, doctors, or professional men who turn it, will probably have a spell of hard times to encounter.
To little girls and boys it predicts that they will soon be invited to a party, and have much pleasure. If any one is about to give a party, and turns this domino, he or she may count on a first-rate time, for everything will go on well, and the party will be a decided success. It likewise predicts that a wedding will come off very soon.
- Four-Three. Those who turn this domino will marry young, live happily, and will not probably have more than one child that will live. It denotes neither poverty nor riches. To a couple who are childless, it is a sign of a second marriage. If a married person who has children turns this domino, it is a sign that the family will be reduced by death or long absence.
- Four-Two. Foretells a change in your circumstances, condition, family, relations, or your ideas. It is not known what the change will be, but that there will really be a change, fate has ordained. It may be nothing at all serious, or it may be something that will affect your whole life.
For instance, a young person who turns this domino may get married—that will be an important change, but whether the marriage will be a happy one, is not known. A married person may lose their partner—a man may fail in business, or may become pious and join the church—a family may break up housekeeping and take board, or may lose a favorite child.
Indeed, a thousand little incidents may occur in life which will cause a change in your usual routine. To farmers and persons who work hard for a living, the change will probably be a favorable or happy one. To rich and lazy people it will be an unfortunate one. To any other than these two classes it is uncertain what the nature of it will be.
If you have offended your lover, or any particular friend, this domino shows that you will soon make up and become stronger friends than ever. It is a lucky domino for farmers in business matters, although it does not point out any particular good fortune that awaits them.
- Four-One. Those who turn this domino will marry happily, and no uncommon event will mar their nuptials: the omen connected with it usually points to childless couples who are well off; and I find that where children are born, the parties will lose their wealth and position in proportion to the number of their offspring, which will never exceed four. In most cases there will be no children, but ample means.
- Four-Blank. Is an unfortunate domino for lovers, as it foretells quarrels and separations, old maids and old bachelors. A girl who has a lover, and turns this domino to find out his peculiarities, had better look somewhere else at once, for she will certainly either lose or discard him. It is the same with a gentleman—he will never marry the girl he then expects to, and may be jilted.
To married people the domino gives a prolific promise. A married lady who turns it will probably have twins or triplets at her next maternity. If you think to entrust a secret to a friend, this domino denotes that it will not be kept. It also foretells that your future husband or wife will be a very credulous person—perhaps a believer in Spiritualism or some other absurd doctrine.
- Double-Three. Denotes immense riches, but has no allusion to matrimony. It is an excellent domino for any one to turn, as it points to money in abundance, and does not intimate any unhappiness: therefore, the person who turns it will get plenty of cash, and be happy or not, as fate may ordain.
- Three-Two. Is a fortunate domino in the following cases: marriage, love-making, recovering stolen property, going on a journey, entering into a speculation, planting a crop, collecting a debt, or making a purchase. This domino shows also that you may be lucky in collecting some old claim or debt that you had given up as lost. It is bad for gamblers, for a woman about to give birth to a child, and for peddlers.
- Three-One. A young girl who turns this domino will be in danger of losing her chastity; therefore let her be careful. A married woman turning it will have an outside admirer who will flatter her with a view to an improper intimacy. To a man it foretells the loss of money through his illicit intercourse with the opposite sex. It is not a favorable domino to any one.
- Three-Blank. This domino denotes that your sweetheart is artful and deceitful. If you get married, your wife will be either shrewish, or vain and unprincipled, and perhaps run away and disgrace you. To a girl it foretells a putty-head of a husband—one who is easily influenced, and whom she can wind round her finger. If you turn this domino, it is a sign you will soon be invited to a party and there make a new acquaintance, with whom you will afterwards have a quarrel. If a married man or woman turns it, it predicts a family quarrel.
- Double-Two. The turning of this domino denotes success in love matters and much happiness in the married state, together with good children who will live and be prosperous. It also denotes success in any undertaking, and thrift, though not great riches.
- Two-One. The turning of this domino denotes to a lady that she will marry young, and that her husband will die, leaving her a large property, and childless. For a long time she will be a gay, rich widow, but will be caught at last, and marry happily. To a young man it denotes a life of luxury; he will never marry, but will be a favorite of the ladies, and have several mistresses. It is not a good domino for business men, as it foretells losses by failures.
- Two-Blank. The turning of this domino denotes poverty and bad luck. To a marriageable young woman it predicts a poor, dissipated and dishonest husband. On the birth of a child—if a boy, it is a sign that he will be poor and shiftless, and perhaps dishonest—if a girl, that she will not marry well. It is not a bad domino for a girl who lives unmarried, for she may do very well alone. It is a domino of good luck to thieves and bad people.
If they turn it, it is a sign of success in any dishonest undertaking. Should you turn this domino in reference to a journey, it shows that you will go in safety. It predicts an easy deliverance in case you are attacked and should be obliged to defend yourself.
- Double-Ace. Denotes affectionate constancy and happiness in the marriage state. It is an excellent domino to turn, both for lovers and married people, as besides the above it indicates a competency of this world’s goods.
- Double-Blank. To turn this domino is the worst sign in the whole set, and is only favorable to misers, usurers, gamblers, and unprincipled cheats and seducers. To any heartless, selfish person, the turning of this domino foretells good luck—to all others disappointment. We hope that no young girl turning a domino to ascertain her fortune as to marriage will turn this one, for it surely foretells disappointment and sorrow. If she has a lover, and should he marry her, he will desert her afterwards.
In business matters, too, it is decidedly unfavorable, and is a sign that your business will decrease. If you are wanting a situation, you will not be likely to get it, and if anything is lost or stolen, it will not probably be recovered again. It is generally a pretty bad domino for decent people—but a good one for all the dishonest ones, who, if they have got anything by trickery and fraud, will be apt to enjoy it.
Method Of Telling Fortunes With Dice
Take three dice, shake them well in the box with your left hand, and then cast them out on a board or table, on which you have previously drawn a circle with chalk; count the number of spots on the uppermost sides of the dice, and look at the signification of the numbers, as given below.
Be careful and do not attempt to tell your fortune on Mondays or Wednesdays, as they are unlucky days for dice. To throw the same number twice at one trial, shows news from abroad, be the numbers what they may.
If the dice roll over the circle, the number thrown goes for nothing, but the occurrence shows sharp words, and if they fall to the floor, it is blows; in throwing out the dice, if one remains on top of the other, it is a present of which I leave the ladies to take care.
What The Sides Of The Dice Mean
- Three. If a young girl throws this number, (three aces,) it foretells that she will have numerous lovers, and if she marries will have a good crop of children, and then become a widow. To a young man it denotes that he will never marry, but will be a great favorite of the ladies, and probably a gay seducer. If a married person throws it, he or she will become a widower or widow, as the case may be.
- Four. To throw this number denotes frivolity in love matters. Unmarried persons who throw it will have many lovers or sweethearts, and will not be fully satisfied with either. It foretells to a married woman that her husband admires the sex generally quite as much as he does her; but it also denotes that she will have many children, and that both herself and husband will live to raise them.
- Five. To throw this number of spots of the dice, foretells good luck in a land speculation to any one who is about buying lands. It is a very good number for farmers, prognosticating a fortunate season to come. To lovers it shows that some obstacle will present itself to their marriage, or else that they will quarrel.
In a family it is a sign that some person will soon visit there that is not welcome. If you are about to go a journey, and throw this number, you will meet some one who will bother you, or that you dislike, or else some disagreeable accident will happen; but the accident will not be serious.
- Six. If a girl throws this number, (three deuces,) it denotes that she will be of gay disposition and have many lovers, but will never marry; if she escapes illicit connections, she will be fortunate, and probably get some money by will.
To a young man it denotes that he will marry a gay wife, who will be of loose principles; and also that he himself will keep a mistress, and perhaps become a gambler. He will not be poor as long as he is young and attractive, but he will either die young or become poor in middle age. To gamblers, the throwing of this number is a sign of success in winning money.
- Seven. If a man throws this number it foretells that he will never marry, but will be lucky in business speculations. A young lady who throws it will be apt to marry a wealthy husband, though he may not be an agreeable companion. To farmers and mechanics it is not a particularly bad number, though it does not promise them much success, and it foretells that they will have pretty hard work to keep even with the world.
- Eight. This is the miser’s throw; those who throw it will probably be well off, though not rich. It foretells a miserly or stingy disposition, and a character too close in money matters to be very prosperous. If a girl throw this to test the character of her lover, she may be assured that he will not be poor, though it is possible he may lead her an unhappy life from his selfish and penurious habits.
- Nine. If you throw this number with the dice with reference to your future husband or wife, be assured that you will be lucky in your choice. It foretells an orderly, energetic and industrious person. I should not want a better wife than this number predicts. To a young girl it does not promise riches with a husband, but it foretells thrift and plenty, and that she may be rich, too. It is a fair business throw also—foretelling pretty good luck in everything except games of chance, and predicting bad luck in such games.
- Ten. If a young girl throws this number, she will not marry very soon, and perhaps not at all; but she will have good luck in other matters, and rise above her present position in society. If a man throws it, he will get a rich wife. It is a favorable number to the male sex in love matters. A married woman who throws it will rise in the world, or have a legacy left to her.
- Eleven. This throw foretells extravagance and fondness of show and display. Those who throw it, or for whose fortune it may be thrown, will probably have the command of means, but all will be spent in gimcracks, parties of pleasure, and in adorning the person; and though they may not come to poverty, they will leave nothing but debt to their heirs. To laboring people it denotes that they will be always in debt, and live above their means.
- Twelve. Shows that an event of some kind is soon to occur in your affairs, either for good or evil. To a farmer or a laboring man it will probably be fortunate, but it may be otherwise. To a banker, a money-dealer, or a jeweler, it is generally a bad omen—to other trades, uncertain. It has no special reference to love matters.
- Thirteen. I hope no virtuous young girl will ever be so unfortunate as to throw this number, unless she be possessed of a resolution as firm as a rock, for it foretells that she will be sorely tempted to become profligate.
It is emphatically the throw of an unchaste female. If a man throws this number, it is a sign that he will never marry, but will associate with harlots, or live with a woman who is not his wife; if he throws it with a view to discover the character of his lady-love, he may guess the result.
- Fourteen. This is the gambler’s throw, and denotes dishonesty and an unprincipled disposition in men, and misfortune in women.
If a man throws it, he will be either a gambler or a rich rogue, if he has brains enough, and if his intellect is not sufficient, he will probably be a small swindler, or the favored lover of a lewd woman, or both. Although these will be his characteristics, yet circumstances may place him in a different position, but he will always be mercenary, selfish, impudent, and without pride of character.
To a girl this number foretells an unhappy marriage, and misfortune by that means; but if she remains single, and keeps clear of lovers, she will avoid the ill omen.
- Fifteen. If you are a speculating character—a buyer of lottery tickets or lottery policies, or are engaged in any games of chance, such as gambling, horse-racing, shooting at a mark, betting, or in fact any scheme that you expect to win money by, this number foretells bad luck and discomfiture. If you try to test your luck in any such matters, and this number turns up, you may be sure you will lose, and had better give up at once.
If you want to buy land, you will be apt to get a good bargain and be fortunate. This number foretells good luck to a farmer putting in his crops, and the same to a girl choosing a husband; for though she may not get a rich man, yet he will be industrious, thrifty, comfortable, and good-hearted. To consumptive people this throw is not a favorable one, as in many cases it predicts a short life to them.
- Sixteen. This is an unlucky number to a merchant, a banker, or a mechanic. It foretells bad luck of some kind, though it is generally a forerunner of a brisk and profitable business. An excellent run of business may come first, and the bad luck afterwards, or vice versa, but the misfortune is sure to come in somewhere.
To a farmer this throw foretells abundant crops, and to a gold-digger good luck and plenty of the precious metal. A young girl who throws it will get a thrifty husband, and have a numerous family.
- Seventeen. If you are a girl, and think of getting married, you will be apt to lose your lover unless he is a farmer, a gardener, a well-digger, a gold-miner, a brewer, a coal-heaver, a grave-digger, or some occupation that makes him use a shovel a good deal. If you think of marrying any such man, this throw is a good one. For a man of any other occupation, it foretells disappointment.
To a young man, this number shows that by perseverance and industry he will do well in the world—that his luck will be good if he only tries his best to get along. If you have had anything stolen from you, or have lost valuable property while walking or riding, this throw is unfavorable; you will probably never recover what you have lost.
- Eighteen. People who throw this number may congratulate themselves, as it foretells riches, honors, and a happy and contented life. It predicts unexceptionable prosperity in all kinds of business, good luck in love matters, and advancement to those who are honorably ambitious. To rogues and dishonest people it is an omen of discomfiture, detection and punishment.
Why Do We Tell Fortunes With Dice And Dominoes?
Obviously, these two forms of divination are optimal for witches that are in the broom closet and can’t reveal that they practice witchcraft. You can carry dice around with you and explain it away as tools for playing tabletop role playing games or tools for teaching math to kids.
Dominoes are too heavy to take with you at all times, but they are seen by most as a harmless game to play with friends. You can put them on a shelf next to Monopoly and no one would ever be wiser.
The best time to do any form of divination is when you, and your environment, are calm. That is why so many people prefer to practice telling fortunes in the evening or at night.
The reason these two forms of divination are written about together is that China developed dice into dominoes. For that reason, they are practically the same tool for telling fortunes.
Even the Dalai Lama has been reported to use something similar to dice called mo. They are balls of dough that have had pieces of paper placed within them that have choices written on them.
These mo are used to help making important decisions, and is a popular form of divination in Tibetan Buddhism. Various Lamas have written books on interpreting the casting of mo or dice.