Monday, March 27, 2006

Fortunes and dreams

Shrine on Ingwansan Mt.

I've wanted to get my fortune told by one of the mysterious white-bearded, palm reading mystics near Insadong since I first saw them but I haven't been able to find one who speaks English. Oftentimes I've found that if I have a fascination towards something or someone it's not necessary to go out of my way to pursue it because it usually finds me, sometimes in the most unsuspecting places.

On Saturday I followed a sign in an alley in Insadong to a place which translates into 'Meditation and tea'. I like both so I decided to go inside and check it out. I ordered a cup of hot, red 'omicha', or five-tastes tea to stimulate all my taste buds with it's salty, sweet, bitter, tart, and peppery flavor. I was getting settled in on my cushion on the floor with my book in hand when a Korean man dressed in robes who worked there came and sat at my table. He asked if he could do a body constitution reading for me. He said he wouldn't charge me because I was a foreigner and his English wasn't very good. I didn't know what I was in for but I of course agreed.

He started off by asking my birth date and time (January 15, 1981; 9:30 am). He closed his eyes for a few seconds and then began telling me about the five elements and something about metaphysics. He said I was the 'Earth' element and went on to tell me many things about me, some of which I found to be very far off from the truth. He told me I'm uncomfortable with change; In reality I'm uncomfortable with routine. He also said I have problems trusting people, which I disagree with (if anything, I have the opposite problem). He told me that I have good concentration, strong principles, my best seasons are spring and summer. He said weak areas on my body include my neck and my ankles. After telling him I was a vegetarian, he tried to persuade me that I need to "eat flesh" for nourishment for my body. One particularly random thing he said was, "cheating boyfriends are attracted to you."

He asked me if I had any questions and I asked him about sleep and dreams and told him I've always had very vivid, strange dreams. He said (and I completely disagree) that people dream because we have unsolved problems that we're trying to work out in our heads. He asked me to give an example of one of my dreams and I told him the first one that came to mind:

(A guy comes up to me and starts talking to me and for the first couple minutes I amazingly fail to realize that he has two heads. One of them is not a functioning head and cannot be removed because a major artery is connecting them and an operation would be deadly. Almost as strange as having two heads-- the "dead head" has a shoe shoved completely into the mouth and has somehow morphed into being part of the head. As I looked at this guy I knew that the "dead head" was once his only head and functioned normally until there was a terrible accident with the shoe. The new normal looking head was a clone of the other one and was actually grown on the neck of this man. We walked for awhile and I was surprisingly not very disturbed at all talking to a two headed man... it seemed almost normal. )

Afterwards he said, "Your dreams, not small problem. Big problem." He told me to start eating sour foods such as grapes and oranges to help with this "problem". Overall, it was interesting and I'm happy to have randomly found my way into the tea shop with the fortune tellers.