Recently, a friend invited me to go with her for a reading by her psychic. The friend swears by this psychic-cum-tarot-card reader and insists that she would never make a major move in her life without consulting this woman.
I hesitated. I have not had the best luck with tarot card readings. Shortly after my former husband and I split up, I wandered into a psychic fair at Balboa Park one Saturday and on a whim, since this was such a pivotal point in my life, sat down at the table of a tarot card reader. He had me pick a card. It was a horrifying-looking thing, like death, and indeed turned out to be, ja, the death card. The reader, mumbling something about being “still in training,” quickly shoved it back into the deck, shuffled the pile and had me pick again. Same card. Even though I really don’t believe this stuff, I could feel the sweat break out on my forehead. The reader, noticing my pallor, began quickly muttering about how there were all kinds of deaths, like, ah… ah…
“Relationships?” I said hopefully.
“Yes, relationships,” he enthused. I don’t remember anything else he said other than that I am still alive a couple decades later.
A few years into my impoverished new single life, I attended a New Year’s Day party at the home of some friends who are not into the occult, but had hired a tarot card reader, just for fun, to do readings for any guests who wanted them. At first I demurred. Wasn’t chancing that death card a third time.
That very same weekend, I had been presented with irrefutable evidence that my clunker car had to be replaced. To actually fix all that was wrong with it was going to cost at least $4,000. Did I want to sink that kind of money into a 10-year-old vehicle considering that the side mirror had fallen off, the ceiling fabric hung down on my head as I was driving (very annoying), the car made a funny thunk noise when you put on the brakes, and the engine looked like it had sustained a fire? Still, it was right after Christmas and I desperately needed to keep it running for at least a few more months.
At the New Year’s party, this tarot card reader came complete with a crystal ball that I kind of liked. I asked, “Can you just look into the crystal ball and forget the cards?” She said she actually used both. I was asked to concentrate on the questions I wanted answered as I picked five cards and placed them face down.
I should mention that everyone else who had already consulted the reader had insisted they received only “good” news. So I was more than a little dismayed when she turned over the first card and frowned. “This is bad news.” (Why me? Why me?) “This indicates you might be having some serious financial problems this year.”
I needed to hear this on January first? I was a chronically-destitute single parent. I could feel the familiar sweat on my forehead.
“Um,” I said hopefully, “my car broke down this weekend and I’m going to have to replace it and I really don’t know how I’m going to afford it. Could this be what this means?”
She saw how anxious I was. “Yes, that could be it. Some big expense you weren’t planning on.”
We both breathed a sigh of relief. Even so, I wasn’t sure I wanted her to go on to the next card. But this one was of a nice-looking young lady (the Queen of Hearts, I think it was called) and the one after that a nice friendly-looking man (the King of Hearts?) which apparently indicated that I would be much cared for by a certain man and that I would return the feeling. Couldn’t argue with that. The fourth card indicated that I was perhaps not fulfilling the career choice of my dreams. (Duh. Like I needed tarot cards to tell me that.) The last card (something to do with coins) showed this nice, friendly looking guy with a bag of money indicating that my future beloved was financially better off than I (which in that era would have encompassed 99.9 percent of the U.S. population.)
I said, “Does this mean he’s going to buy me a car?”
She said she couldn’t say. But she thought he might marry me.
“That’s nice,” I said. “But what I really need is a car.”
Ironically, the tarot reader was right. I did find the man of my dreams (Olof) who was indeed better off than I was and he ultimately married me and bought me a car. But not for a lot of years after that reading. Meanwhile, I bought my own car. Those cards need some work on time frames.
I passed on my friend’s offer of a reading with her psychic. Too old for the stress, I said.