Satan 9: A Primer on Cold-Reading and Body-language.

Buy The Satanic Tarot
Book | Deck



Fortune-tellers employ a variety of tools to enhance their performances and create stronger and more stimulating deceptions. A deck of Tarot cards is one of those tools, but another is lesser magic, or the way that Satanists learn to manipulate, guide, and steer the people around them. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, lesser magic is the ability to tell somebody to go to Hell in such a way that he or she will ask for directions! It's important that you as a fortune-teller learn the basics of lesser magic not only for how these things will improve the quality of your interactions with other people in day to day comings and goings, but also because these principles will allow you create the most immersive and fantastical performances for your sitters.

Dr. LaVey's "Satanic Witch" is an authoritative treatise on lesser magic and at least for me it's tied with the Satanic Bible for the work which most influenced my earliest understanding of Satanism. I won't repeat anything he said here—I recommend you read it yourself—but I will share what he didn't address: how to use cold reading during the performance of fortune-telling.

As I've stated before, and as is worth stating again: the most important thing to remember is that there's rarely anything you can do to impress your sitters more—only less. If your sitters already trust you enough to retain your services as a fortune-teller, then you've already got the upper hand because they've agreed at least for the duration of the performance to regard you as more powerful than themselves. From this point onward, you need only play the role given to you by your sitter.

You may have an opportunity to prepare depending on where the performance is taking place, so remember the importance of setting the stage! Shelves stacked with books of occult knowledge, large pillar candles, carefully arranged stones and crystals, old bones, a cloud of incense, a sacrosanct tablecloth, and dimmed lighting will go a long way to enhancing your deception.

An important part of your performance is avoiding anything that would put the sitter on the defensive. Look at the sitter's chest for rapid, shallow breathing. Look at the sitter's eyes for darting apprehension. Look at the sitter's nostrils: if they're flared, the sitter is oxygenating. All these indicators show that the sitter is having a fight-or-flight response. If you don't calm the sitter, he or she will run away before you can perform the desired deception and he or she can cross your palm with silver. 

If the sitter turns or leans away from you, he or she is either uncommitted or scared. Invite the sitter to shuffle the cards, touch a magic crystal on the table, or hold hands with you. Pick a pretense—such as communicating with the cards or inviting the spirits in order to encourage the sitter to participate in the deception and lower his or her guard.

If the sitter has crossed arms, you can be sure that he or she disapproves of what you've said or isn't interested in listening. Repeat the previous step, or even make up an excuse that you've "lost the connection" and the sitter must participate in order to restore the psychic unity. Of course it's nonsense, but it does fix the problem of the sitter retreating from the deception. Every time you ask your sitter to participate in the performance, this is a compliance test which if passed gives the fortune-teller greater power to enhance the deception and create the escape the sitter came to receive. You can also subtly steer the sitter in your direction by mirroring their body language. This will establish rapport, and after a few minutes you'll notice that the sitter will even begin following your own body language and adopting your movements. 

And of course, don't forget the importance of watching the sitter's eyes, face, and posture for important clues. You might think that this is going to be very difficult, but the truth is that the sitter is usually so involved everything else that's happening that he or she won't notice what you're doing. Utilize the command to LOOK and your sitter will be so distracted that you could strip yourself naked and they still wouldn’t see it.

There are different ways your sitter will let you know you've hit a live wire. Lowering the arms or placing the arms on the table, opening the arms, leaning in toward you, raising both eyebrows, widening of the eyes, and opening of the mouth all show that you're moving in the right direction. Opposite body language such as crossing the arms, furrowing the brow, narrowing the eyes, leaning away, or a tightly closed mouth all show that the sitter is losing interest.

Finally, keep your sitter aware that fortune-telling is a participatory experience: he or she should ask questions during the performance and share lots of stories and anecdotes to move the deception along. Ask lots of open-ended questions, and then ask more open-ended questions about the answers provided. If you've got a quiet sitter who doesn't know how to talk, then you can fix this problem by finishing your statements with, "Does that make sense?" Theresa Caputo, the famed Long Island Medium, makes extensive use of confirmation questions to keep her sitters invested in her performance, and even if her TV show is highly edited, it's still highly enlightening (although not for the reasons most of her sitters believe.)

It's important to learn all these things not merely because it will help you enhance your performance and deepen the deception, but it will ultimately make you a better communicator. After all, communication isn't what's said, but what's understood, and what's understood is best estimated at 55% body language, 38% intonation, and only 7% the actual words you speak. For these reasons, spend more time minding your body language and tone and less time tripping over your choice of words and you'll be amazed by the results. You can’t go wrong if you use this advice to read your sitter's body language and steer his or her involvement in the deception. 

My final word of advice to the would-be performer is to not let your ego get in the way of your performance and accept that sooner or later every show comes to an end. When the curtains start to close and the lights go down, take a bow and get off the stage because it's time to go.