A Skeptic, a Psychic, a $10 Tarot Reading
Originally published in the New Paltz Oracle
A couple of weeks ago, I saw a psychic for the first time. It wasn’t something that I had ever anticipated doing, but the opportunity came to me in the form of a $10 tarot reading. As a complete skeptic who occasionally entertains the idea of the supernatural for fun, I trotted along with my two friends into The Awareness Shop.
There were crystals, candles and ceramic creatures in the display cases surrounding me, and I thought how wonderful it would be if they could cure me of my woes.
As my Believer friends had their tarot cards read, I thought about how vulnerable I would be to psychic perception at that moment, were it real. I was going through a rough time, and sans coffee, I felt weary to my bones. Despite it all, I eventually caved and decided to have my cards read. It was ten dollars, after all—a fairly low price to pay to predict the future.
I wandered behind a bookshelf to meet a woman in a billowy shirt. She pulled out the first deck for me, but when she realized they had some negative connotations, she said “no, these are bullsh*t for you,” and graciously swept them aside.
She had me draw from a “healing” deck, and though I don’t sharply remember what the cards said, their meanings moved me.
Though I had walked into the shop with nothing but doubt, the psychic woman still told me that when she touched my hands, she felt a sort of high energy in me. I tried to dismiss it, but she read my personality with disturbing accuracy.
Mostly, she tried to help me and guide me. Despite my best efforts, by the end of the fifteen-minute session, I had burst into tears.
“I don’t know why I’m crying!” I said.
“You’re crying because someone finally saw you,” she replied.
She gave me a hug, and I felt relieved and understood and light-headed. I wandered out of the lilac-colored building with my head full of essential oil fumes, thinking that maybe, just maybe, I could be swayed to believe in tarot.
For many years, I have wanted to believe in mysticism, magic or a celestial power up above. I briefly went to church as a child, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make myself believe in Jesus or his 12 friends.
In middle school, I turned to meditation, and I eventually ordered a Buddha statue online for fourteen dollars, naively hoping that the mass-produced object would somehow help me to understand the four noble truths. Unsurprisingly, neither of these endeavors succeeded in soothing my soul.
I sometimes wish that I had a religion; to be able to see luck and be comfortable calling it “God.” To sing songs about a higher power, or to believe in something as simple as ghosts.
When I am sitting in my room thinking about my significance on this planet, I imagine myself as I truly am, rather than as some kind of spiritual being. I think of myself as a small creature that has evolved to have too much self-awareness, conducting its life on the epidermal layer of a spinning rock that does not care if the creature lives or dies. Wouldn’t it be easier if I could think of myself differently? With simple labels like “Leo Sun, Libra Moon, and Cancer Rising?”
Without organized religion, many of my young friends turn to pseudosciences like Astrology, crystal healing, and other forms of spirituality to feel grounded and safe. In particular, befriending these non-skeptics has given me the desire to believe in something. Even something weird like Numerology! Unfortunately, I am not easily convinced, and the only things I truly believe in are Gravity and human kindness.