Reading cards in public places can be an interesting activity. It’s something that I do whenever possible. Either with clients, or even when I just feel like pulling some cards. Specially by myself, as some clients don’t feel too comfortable just sitting on a park bench or in a coffee shop or a pub and have a reading. Those are the persons who value their privacy for whatever reason and prefer their readings to be kept hidden from prying eyes.
Anyway, this post is not about them. It’s about what can happen when one is exposed as a card reader.
If you’ve ever read in public, you know what I mean. People will glance over. Most of them with curiosity, some even wanting a reading. Others, just begging for an opportunity to expose you as a charlatan.
I specially enjoy the latter ones. The ones that with just a rapid look are quick to spell their judgement. ‘It’s all nonsense!’, ‘Bunch of rubbish’ and even more colorful expressions usually come out of their mouths. The ‘You can’t actually predict anything with them’ is one of my favorites. What happened to playing with the cards, to just look at the images or otherwise work with them? What is it with cards, that makes most people assume that we’re predicting anything?
There’s a Portuguese expression, “Quem muito fala, pouco acerta”, which could be translated into something like “He who talks too much, is usually wrong”. So, when I hear someone talking about my business by the mouthful, I usually like to see by how much he or she is wrong.
My latest experience of the kind happened just this morning. A guy, in his thirties, well dressed. Pack of cigarettes just bought from the vending machine. He glanced over as I was playing with my Rider-Waite set and casually uttered its sentence. ‘What a bunch of bollocks!’ Naturally, I was interested. What exactly were the bollocks he was talking about? Surely not some card playing done at a coffee table over some liquor and snacks.
So I quickly shuffled my deck and took out three cards. The Moon, the High Priestess and the Devil. I guess they were offended. A card about fears and the unconscious side. A card about secrets. And a card about dungeons buried deep beneath the earth. The whole reading reeked of repression and insecurity.
Carefully, I asked “Why would you say that?” His answer came quickly. ‘You can’t predict the future. No one can. Things happen how they happen and there’s no way people can tell what’s ahead of them’. ‘But look’, I replied. ‘I wasn’t trying to read anything. Just now, for example, I was wondering why would anyone wanted to live a life so insecure he or she would feel the need to bottle up. You see, I got these three cards to help me with my thinking. But everything in these images point out to a need to control everything so great, it becomes oppressive. What do you think?
You could sense the mood shift. He was uneasy, now, and trying to maintain his ground. ‘About what?’, he asked. ‘This’, I said. ‘You obviously seem someone who likes to speak its mind. To shine a light over matters. Why would you think someone might bottle up and not speak hir mind?’ ‘I don’t know. That’s all a bunch of crap’. ‘Oh, alright then. You see, this card here actually seems nice’, I said pointing up to the High Priestess. Like life could be easier, if people just unburden themselves. But it seems they don’t want to. That they like things nice and tidy. Everything in its place. And here’s the thing: you keep putting everything in its place, things don’t move. They get stuck. You get stuck.’
‘Are you talking about me, then?’ ‘No, not really. Just wondering about stuff, you know?’.
If you’d ask me, my first answer would be that these type of readings aren’t about trying to get whomever happens to be on the other side to change their minds. I mean, of course they are. They’re an invitation to experience it from a different angle. That’s one of the reasons why I read cards in open spaces, after all. To invite people over.
But they’re also my way to not stay stuck inside four walls, or just do readings for a closed circle of people. To throw myself into the world and connecting with it, engaging with it. And fulfilling my own world.