[All images via the lovely and easy to maneuver Google Patents here]
Fortune telling and divination is mostly the subject of the pretty patents (below), a quick penny-ante for the fulfillment of the instant treatment of possibility. reckoning via mechanical means,easing folks out of the necessity to think about What May Come, and also, possibly, relieving some of them of the possibilities of worry should the fortunes agree with their hopes. And desires. Opposite, for the opposite.
This thinking goes back a long way into dark and dusty time, though it becomes interesting (to me, anyway) when it gets wrapped up in Renaissance magic and science.
I'm not sure what it reveals except for what people might have wanted to believe in during different periods of time.
Anyway, the patent drawings are pretty.
The ways of telling fortunes are broad and numerous and may have been dictated by the stuff that was readily available at hand; a veritable alphabet can be quickly summoned to deal with the most common of the sort:
Alectromancy (telling the future by relatively brainless modern dinosaur roosters pecking at the ground for stuff);
Astrology (thinking that the motions of stars that are light years away from the observer in a vast sea of space and their annotation on an infinitesimally small speck of universe dust called "Earth" can somehow interact with living organisms that are 1030000 the amount of space that can be affected by the light from the stars that are 1/1,000,000,000 of the age of those stars);
Augury (using the observation of bird flight);
Cartomancy (by using Tarot and other such printed media to interact with the aether of unconscious but deterministic sumpin');
Ceromancy (by reading the patterns of dripped wax);
Cheiromancy (by palm- and hand-size-reading);
Chronomancy (by divination and projection of important or lucky days to influence behavior on those and 'unluck" days);
Clairvoyance (by he usually-paid-for services of someone who can see in between the past and present and various unexplained and imagined dimensions of time and space and whatever else is available);
Cleromancy (by reading rolled bones, usually most effective when done in movies by beautiful but very indefinite and possibly dangerous scantily-clad people living in swamps);
Crystallomancy (the famed crystal ball which seems to have gone out of favor when so many other sexier things are available);
Extispicy (by getting live animals and making them dead, and then cutting them open and grabbing out their innards to be slapped on a dripping board and thus by an entrail-y miracle tell the future);
Face Reading (and old and completely useless fashion of determining not only the worth of people but also their futures.
Feng shui (a much more fashionable estimation of stuff because it has a better presentation and wrapping, using old Chinese bows and fewer words);
Geomancy (a very annoying practice of "reading" the Earth as though it was writing to people in its monumentally slow motion and movement in change);
Haruspicy: (sort of like Exispicy, above, but specializing in the liver for some other made up reason);
I Ching divination (hocus pocus with great age);
Kau cim (via counting the instructions from strewn pieces of bamboo);
Necromancy (listening to the silence of the dead for determination of noise in the present);
Numerology (a very old and, even in some religions that disparage divination, highly respected and sweetly worshiped way of tweeking out stuff by seeing arrangements of numbers that are either there or not, and applying them somehow to the actions in the present);
Oneiromancy (a very simple way of determining the future by mining the semi-made-up stuff of dreams);
Onomancy (another very cloying approach to future-mining via making a geology of given names);
Palmistry (by the method that produced S. Pa_in as a worthwhile candidate to be vice president of the United States, mostly via eye-laser massage and hand-holding);
Pyromancy (by reading the dancing and color of flame);
Runecasting (by a means that sounds much more interpreting than it is);
Spirit board (by touching stuff that touches a board with letters and numbers, the spirit forcing motion translated into the letters on the board, which sounds like a tremendous amount of effort considering that we have the internet and g_d only knows why it isn't haunted yet);Tasseography or tasseomancy (by reading the remains of a cup of coffee or tea, finding the bits at the bottom of the cup satisfactory enough to determine what might happen in the future in which the variables of weather and the actions of 7 billion humans and 100 trillion insects and animals and X-gazillion plants and trees are somehow determined).