(this piece was originally published on http://www.scarymommy.com, formally known as “themid” in August, 2015 under the title “Why I embrace a little magic in my life and hope my kids do too.”)
My kids were pissed, to put it mildly, that I went to the tarot card reader. A nerdy bunch, they are the ones that present me the statistics that coincidences are to be expected, that there are reasons for anomalies. I had tried to hide it from them, sneaking through my little town, but then when something fateful happened, I had to confess.
Backing up in history a bit, one could see that I just couldn’t help it. From the time I could read, I took notice of the little broken house on the hill with the sign “Fortune’s Read.” Positioned in the window, it always caught my eye on busy traffic days when my mom took the shortcut to avoid the main stoplight in town.
And when my parents brought me to the County Farmer’s Fair there would be a fortune-telling booth next to the one with pies, but I knew not to ask them, even though I was only a curtain away. I paused when we walked by, trying to get a glimpse of the woman in back who could tell me my fate, while my mom steered me over to the handmade quilts. “Aren’t they something?” she’d ask, but my mind was on bigger things.
I had concluded from these signs that there were definite places you could find answers to the uncertainty of life but I was precluded from receiving them; I was solidly entrenched in a sensible house with pragmatic folks who canned vegetables in their off hours. They were not drawn to mystical explanations for daily events; in contrast, there was work to get done. In this arena I was wholly on my own as I helped my mom take the wash “down the line”.
But finally, when I was a teenager, with some pocket change and independence, I asked some friends to join me and we ventured into a palm reader’s booth on the boardwalk. When I placed my hand in hers, I held my breath as my heart pounded. “Would my life be long?” She traced my lines with her finger. “Would I find love?” her brow furrowed as she carefully and slowly examined a curved line that I had never even noticed. It felt almost reckless to think I was about to learn my future, right then and there, while the rest of the world was buying hermit crabs and ice cream. Listening carefully to what she said, I wrote down what I could remember and tucked the information into my top drawer as some kind of protection against personal disasters. She said for sure I would live to a ripe old age. It held me over for a while.
But over the years, I find myself as fraught with the uncertainty of daily living as I ever was. The randomness of life unglues me. My original conception was flawed; I thought somehow that when the big gigantic questions had been answered, the ones about love, children and such, I would be at peace. But I am not.
So recently, while on a walk with a friend, who shares my hope that fateful coincidences are a possibility, she happens to mention that the local tarot card reader would be in town again. And just like that, I was smitten with the idea of seeing him to sort out a current conundrum about where I was headed. I needed some immediate answers about my purpose in this very short life. If the Tarot Cards might be able to help me out, I thought I should give them the chance.
I made my appointment, marking it with just initials on the family calendar, a practiced self-defense strategy from mockery if they were to see it. When the afternoon arrived, I parked my car in the lot across the street, grabbed my purse, all while happening to notice a man in a suit walking out. Slightly calmed by the sight of a man in a tie looking for answers like me (did this legitimize things?) I am simultaneously disgusted that I, a feminist, needed that.
But, now at the table, across from the boy-man with delicate features and long fingers, I shuffle the cards and spread them around. He tells me I can tape the session, another sign of validity. I will be sure to remember this if my kids ever find out. And, just like the night at the shore, decades earlier, my pulse quickened as I listened to his almost factual portrayal of my life’s current influences. When he asked if I had any questions, I soldiered up the one I had been harboring forever, the one that at times feels self-indulgent. I wanted to simply know what my life purpose was meant to be, if in fact there was one at all. I wanted to get a move on things. Time was running out.
He said something about the moon, and the fact that it was a fortuitous time to ask the universe for answers. I listened closely. He said that I could request some help now, so my practical upbringing takes over in the next minute as I blurt out, “How do I ask, exactly? What do I do? What words do I write?” My need for preciseness in a somewhat vague situation seemed so amateur-ish. But he was non-judgmental and very logically told me the wording I could use.
With his instructions on tape, I left the session with new confidence about my future, as I had a plan. At home, I drafted up my requests, seven of them to be precise, the number he said I could make. The universe is generous, I guess, when the moon is right. As I scribbled away, it took me a few attempts to really describe things and then I decided that they should be typed, lest there be any misunderstandings.
And finally, there I stood, loose-leaf paper in hand, and paused. Where does one put universe requests? And in this moment, my youngest pushes open the door to my room and finds my first draft. As he starts to read it aloud, I reach for it and grab it out of his hands and he starts to giggle; I crumple it and tear it in bits. But the commotion has attracted the rest of the lot and the kids demand an explanation of this manifesto that I am holding, and of course, I get no family support. I close my door.
Undeterred, I decide the best place to put my list is at the top of my dresser, nearest the window, the spot that I determine is closest to the universe. And then— I wait. I review my list daily, live more intentionally and a week later, when something happens that was actually foretold, I know in my heart it is not coincidental. I gloat to my kids.
I guess I want them to believe, too, that maybe there is a little magic in the world, or at least there is magic in the space of time when we make our intentions known, and offer them honestly and openly into the wild. Possibly, when the deepest reservoirs of our consciousness are aware of what we want to achieve, the doors open wider and we take the step. Of course, the pragmatists could argue that my fortunes shifted because of my own self-determination. And they could be right. Maybe it’s only because the energy of our belief carries us forward. And maybe it’s not. It’s nice to wonder.