Skipping all the background baggage of how we came to be, I think it’s safe to assume that humans have the greatest skill of thinking about ourselves. We think about what we are going to do. We think about our past. And we think about our possibilities or what-ifs. But the one that tends to be a popular one is our future and our fate.
Or, particular, our fortune.
How does it all end? What will become of us and our goals?
Will be successful? Or will be complete utter failures?
Thinking about questions and ideas will drive a person mad to find out the truth. And offering a sensible solution like a chance to peek into the future… who wouldn’t be tempted to use such a service? But the problem with these services is that they’re usually all scams and trying to cash in on your own desires and dreams and hopes.
There are people utilizing the powers of sleight of hand and the art of deception for personal gain — like declaring themselves some sort of prophet.
Can you still believe that’s still happening in some parts of the world? Hopefully, with better access to social media and information, these people can realize the truth. Luckily for us, there are some magicians who do travel to these parts of the world to try and disprove these types. I think there was a show a while back that essentially was this.
But, let’s come back to what I was thinking about.
Tarot card readers.
I’m not here discredit anything. In fact, I do own a deck of tarot cards for my own research years ago and actually came to the conclusion that it can serve as a personal tool at meditating with your own thoughts. Using symbology to connect with what’s happening in your deeper thoughts and subconscious. A way to conduct a self-therapy with an internal discussion with what you feel connected to, based on whatever the cards are handed to you. They’re general enough to connect to some part of what you desire to seek. Similar to how a mentalist would work — they ask the right general questions before funneling down to specific ones based on physical and verbal cues that you give them. For us, it seems like reading your mind, but really, they’re just reading what you’re giving them to use. You are essentially reading yourself.
And that’s how I have been using tarot cards for my own personal use. Not as a tool to access black magic or some darker force that exists in the inner realms of this world and the next… but just a tool to reflect on life.
That, I like.
Then, we get those who use these types of tools with the act of trying to sell you the idea that they can be used to read your future. And that’s when I have to say, bullshit.
Taking a stroll in a developed city like Toronto, you wouldn’t believe they would still have establishments like these anymore. And yet, there they are, out in the open and plainly written to read your fortune. (I’m curious, wouldn’t it be false advertising?)
I admit, I haven’t conducted any personal research into the heart of the matter but it’s starting to tickle a part of my body that makes me want to dig deeper into the local scene. To find some truth and shine a light on how we humans still desire to know the truth about our fate. We all know that our time is finite. We all know we are going to die. But we live in a fantasy world filled with the latest and greatest technology that tends to upgrade every six months or so. And here we are… still wasting away while we occupy our minds from the truth.
But when we do get curious about it, we try to cheat ourselves through methods that seem silly. We have our zodiac signs. We have our animal signs. We have our numerology and our superstitious beliefs rooted in culture and mythology. And it’s… really, cool.
From that standpoint, mythology and the art of story are still alive in many shadowy parts of our society and the way we conduct ourselves. Like, first thing to pop into my brain, how we still have elevators that don’t include 13 (or 4, depending on the manufacturer or location) due to the belief rooted in folklore and religion and history… one explanation is that at the Last Supper, Judas was the last to sit at the table… making him the thirteenth person to sit.
How does that even relate to the elevator? It’s just a symbol, but then, it becomes truth to the power of belief. And this, along with fortune readings and even ghost sightings, all comes back to how bad do you wish to believe it to be true.
And if we had to reference the three poisons again — we can call upon the delusion to help explain why we want this to be true. Like a throwing a veil of ignorance over our faces, we want it to be true when we know it’s not.
Or we convince ourselves until it becomes true.
(Aside: If we do it to others through abuse and manipulation, it’s called gaslighting.)
The other day, I was having dinner with some old and new friends. One of whom, “Diana”, shared a story that she had gone to get her fortune told. She said it was a group reading and when it was her turn, they sat her down and started slapping her head.
Slap to the right.
Slap to the left.
Slap all over and saying some incomprehensible things while doing it.
Then they shoved her head down and snipped a piece of her and told her that it was done.
Another fun part of it was when she asked about her most compatible partner in the future. And usually, based on the stars and signs, they would give you a vague picture of who this person was. And for her, the person had nothing. She was astonished. Normally, you would think they could lie about someone or anything — but this reading just had a big and a nope — sorry, there isn’t anyone.
All for the total cost of 1.2 million VND (approx. $52 USD or $67 CAD).
And then, you have people giving fortune as an act of some sort of deceit.
Over lunch a few days ago, a close friend of Bunny shared a story about her brother and his newly wedded wife. His wife’s aunt came to talk to them and wanted to share her prophetic dreams. Sharing that the ghost of an ancestor who listed out specific details of what they had to do.
- They shouldn’t buy a new motorbike yet because they had to save money to buy a house because within three months they will have a child
- this child will take after the father
- they shouldn’t have another child the following year because having a baby girl will be a bad omen for the pair because of some sort of reasoning and numerology mumble jumble…
- On the first night of sleeping in their future home, they must have the mother of the wife slap the bed THREE times to christen their new home to ward off all evils
There were more details I simply forgot but that’s a different story. It seems like people in some cultures like to use the combination of fortune telling and authority figures like a great great grandmother to cement the idea of doing or not doing something.
So, why are we so obsessed? I think it has something to do with the grand tradition in all of our cultures to wonder about the unknown. The grand scale would be the afterlife part, which unpackages loads of opinions from different perspectives. But the immediate and deeply personal one is simply — what happens later down the road for us?
And I think from this, we are obsessed with what will happen. And from this, we have the fear and self-doubt of failure and the problems of what-ifs. So, just the possibility to see some sort of glimpse of our future is enough to drive anyone mad. Take, for instance, the story about my maternal grandfather and grandmother. The story goes that my grandfather had his fortune told and his fate laid out. He would ultimately be alone when all his children would leave him. My grandmother took this misfortune to heart and ended up aggressively persuading my grandfather to maintain his health, which ultimately led to them to regular check-ups.
My grandfather had a bit of a health issue… this part I am not really clear but I think it was like a tumor-like growth on his body. It was nothing out of the ordinary because he had this for many years and never really affected him but my grandmother was concerned with the idea of his early demise. And this aggressive push led to an operation that had some misfortune. The rumor was, this so-called “best doctor” at the time, made a medical error and ended up cutting too much, based on the description of his surgical scar that ran the length of his abdomen to below his belt.
His condition grew worse. And his health failed. Was this a classic case of self-fulfilling prophecy? In the way the story played out with the various conditions, it sure seemed too much like fiction but it was all true.
Even today, there are people in countries like Vietnam who seek out these fortune tellers to get some kind of idea of their future spouses and to gain good fortune. In my family, there is an uncle who is an “expert” at feng shui and numerology and for some damn reason, I have some relatives who draw on his “skills” to make important decisions in their lives. Thank god, not all of my relatives. Anyway, he got lucky because, at an important funeral of a government official, this uncle met some important dude. And after talking and giving his advice — the dude followed it and became successful.
This, became my uncle’s jackpot — because, by association, he was able to abuse such a powerful ally to advance himself financially. He is the purest form of a manipulative opportunist. And still today, he would ask family members about their animal signs to draw conclusions for the upcoming year and what they should or shouldn’t do.
It’s ridiculous, but again, different country, different rules.
Anyway, I think I’m getting off-point now. But, overall, I find it fascinating that after centuries of technological development and having unimaginable access to information, we still believe in seeking out a little folk magic to gain insight about our future and make decisions based on someone’s good word.
So, am I calling it all bullshit? In many cases, yes.
In some rare cases…
Sometimes, it’s good to have a magic and folklore to make life a little more exciting.
Just don’t let it run your life into an early grave, that’s all.