East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

The turn of a friendly card


2swordsI can’t find my tarot deck anymore – it’s here somewhere, but ever since I moved to the country, I’ve been unable to find it.
Misplaced, not lost.

I had an interest in the subject, in cards and divination and so on, as a kid – what with dabbling in stage magic and reading the Tarot books by Piers Anthony.
I got my tarot deck as a joke, in the mid-80s.
A set of Hanson-Roberts cards – beautifully drawn.
With time I learned how to read the cards, and I read some good books on the subject (Alejandro Jodorowski!), and so on.
Now, let me get this straight

Do you believe in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis?

My answer, Janine, is No.
And yet…

In very practical, materialistic terms, tarot cards are a great tool for asking questions and exploring answers.
So, card readings can really be useful, as long as you do not want to know the future, but you want to reason on what might happen if, given what came before, and things being what they are, you should follow a certain course.
Let’s call it practical psychological counseling.

As the Piers Anthony Tarot sequence shows, the cards are very good as a tool for storytelling – the three novels (78 chapters, one for each card) are actually also about myth-making and storytelling, and using the tarot as a visual support for teaching.
Sort of an ancient form of PowerPoint.
And obviously Jodorowski stresses the Jungian and the narrative elements, too.
And improvisational storytelling.
And acting.
But there’s more.

eb1df743d299efc179bcb95b3360c515When I lived in London, I met a very charming lady – very goth-looking, in an elegant, quite expensive way.
She made a living reading tarot in pubs and cafeterias.
Easy work schedule, pleasant workplace, and it fit her personality – she loved talking.
She had three rates, depending on the complexity of the reading.
Nice and smooth.

This – the fact that you can make a buck in times of crisis through cartomancy brings back to me the punchline of the Ghostbusters bit I was quoting above…

Ah, if there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.

I was talking about this with a friend of mine – another writer, trying to make ends meet.
It would be fun, we admitted in the end.

And after all, I’m a storyteller, I’m good with words (ladies sometimes tell me that), and I can read the cards.
Would I sit in public places giving card readings to strangers?
Heck, I stood in classrooms teaching statistical analysis of environmental data to post-grads – I’m scared of nothing!

And apart from the money – I think it would be fun, as in amusing and diverting.
Especially in the place where I live.
Goodness, I can just barely imagine the rumors!

But I can’t find my beautiful tarot deck.
Which strikes me as a sign.
A sign I need to buy me another.

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Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

6 thoughts on “The turn of a friendly card

  1. And when the new deck will be in your hands, the old one’ll come out of the blu 😉


  2. What a lame article… it would help you too if you actually do research in psychology.


  3. Pingback: Lost and found | Karavansara

  4. I am happy to see my post sharing….India Jones like man! Good luck on your traveling work…I love traveling for an ancient healing
    and adventure as well….see up there on the road!


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