In another life, I was an astrologer. I drew horoscopes and wrote an astrology column for a couple of newspapers. I was pretty accurate.
I was at my best reading for strangers. The less I knew about the person for whom I was reading, the better reading I could give.
I also sometimes read Tarot, but cards made me uncomfortable. In a horoscope, you only see what you look for. Almost never does something jump off the page and scream at you.
Tarot is different. Not only do you not always see what you expect, you will see things you wish you hadn’t.
Like death. That first time it happened, I almost jumped out of the chair with shock. I knew –100% — that the man smiling across from me would die in six years. He was young, just 32. He had already had a serious heart attack, but seemed to have recovered and was living a careful, but normal life. Not employed … he wasn’t up to a daily grind … but he was raising his boys and enjoying life. Laughing in my living room while the kids played outside.
“Read for me?” he had asked. I acquiesced.
So, I did a progressive reading for him. That’s where you use the “summary” card of each spread as the foundation card of the next reading. In the seventh layout, I saw him dead.
“I’m too tired to do this any more,” I said. “It’s just gibberish,” and I gathered up the cards and refused to say more. He died exactly when I’d seen. I could not go to the funeral. I couldn’t even explain why not.
I tried reading again after a while, but I started to see things. Secrets. Stuff I didn’t want to know and certainly would never tell. I learned things about people that changed the way I felt about them.
You can run, but you cannot hide. The client always knows when you aren’t telling them something. We have “tells.” Our pupils dilate. We become pale. Our muscles stiffen. We shift in our seat. They know.
I quit reading.
I don’t believe in telling people when they are going to die. Someone told me many years ago that this year — my 68th — would be my last. I don’t believe it, but it’s stuck in my head. Niggling, nagging, bugging me.
It’s a bell that will never unring, but I’m doing my best to hang around.