So I Got Me a Psychic Reading

A bit of disclosure: this post could be considered advertising of sorts for, for which I have received no compensation beyond a free psychic reading.

Like most college-educated folks these days, I have an unseemly and obnoxious interest in poking fun at spiritual matters. We cheer on The Amazing Randi as he debunks frauds, mentally high-five Christopher Hitchens or Twisty Faster as they skewer yet another godbag (for vastly different reasons), and generally feel quite content sleeping in on Sunday mornings à la Homer Simpson.

Nonetheless, we're still curious about the unfalsifiable - all that hazy spiritual stuff that we can't quite ignore because its premises operate beyond truth and falsehood (repugnantly misogynistic/ homophobic/ racist statements and actions proceeding from said premises do not operate in the same epistemic realm, however – those are empirically verifiable and they suck). So when my bloggy friend and peer Cecily offered to set me up with a free reading, I thought, “cool.” And then I thought, “Hell yeah.” Then I wanted a taco, but there's nowhere to go in this city for decent Mexican food.

The reading, I found out, could be done by phone. This sort of thing always amazes me, but humans are capable of figuring each other out in tweets and text messages, so why not a phone call? Their web site even offers a free email reading.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I dialed the menu, but I enjoyed the system they have going. You punch in an account number and then you're taken to a menu of available psychics. You can listen to various psychics introduce themselves and explain their style of reading – it seems there nearly as many ways of divining the truth as there are diviners.

I picked James, who was a) the first person on the menu, b) had a kind and thoughtful voice, and c) used a mix of Tarot and astrology, with a dash of Native American spirituality. It felt a bit like a Unitarian service I attended once. James had fewer questions for me than I imagined – just my first name, my date of birth, and whether I had any particular question in mind. I did! I wanted to know a little bit about my career. Because my career is what the kids like to call “nascent,” which is a fancy way of saying that I'm a broke-ass freelancer.

Based on my sun sign (Leo), James picked a particular deck, whose name I didn't catch. Then he asked me to clear my mind and visualize myself in my ideal career. Because my ideal career is a successful freelance writer (as opposed to the kind I am right now), I pictured myself exactly where I was at that very moment, but with a clean shirt. James told me that he was shuffling the deck as I cleared my mind, but for all I know he could have been rubbing silver paint on Kim Kardashian's nipples. Probably not, though: I hear that Kim's nipples really demand your attention.

He told me he'd be drawing the cards in a Medicine Wheel formation (fun fact: I've been to a Medicine Wheel). For the hub of the wheel he drew The Star, which is one of the major arcana. James told me that this was a really good card to have at the center of my wheel. He filled in with some details that I didn't catch, but the basic message of the star, as it relates to my career, is: Go For It. Nothing To Worry About.

I imagine this is the kind of thing that the Jameses of this world tell people who ask about their career prospects, because it's encouraging and can't really be disproved in any way. Part of me felt like saying “I can't go for it, James! I'm a quadriplegic with an axe through my head! James, this axe really hurts! Can I change my question to something more axe-related?”* But I trusted that a less auspicious card – say, the godawful chaos of The Tower – would have prompted him to give me a more cautionary message.

Crossing my Star card was the Page of Pentacles. This meant that I would be receiving a message soon about job prospects, but it also meant that I should be active in hunting down my job, using the Yellow pages and talking directly to managers at companies where I wanted to work. Not something I needed the Tarot for, but still: good advice.

Following those two cards, James laid out my near future with three cards capturing mind, body and spirit. The first card he drew was the Four of Cups, which he said was “an unusual card” in this configuration. But it was a good card! He then asked if I was married, which was probably the only other point in the conversation where he directly solicited information from me. When I said I was, he launched into an exploration of love and connection. The card indicated that I was happy and in a good relationship, but that it might serve me well to renew my bond with my partner in some way. During the call I thought that the cards had actually thrown him for a loop and sent him on an unexpected path, but it occurred to me afterwards that Valentine's Day is coming up. Ah well.

The physical aspect of the future was represented by the Two of Swords. This, apparently, is not a good card. It's about communication, but it carries the possibility of miscommunication and mistakes. He told me to remain open and available, and not to shut myself off. Again, good advice for the job seeker.

The last card, the spiritual one, was the three of cups. Again with the cups! Either he was too distracted by silvering up Kim Kardashian or the cards really do have a vision of my future. This was another good card, with its image of three women making a toast. It indicated that a spiritual event in the near future, a celebration of some kind, would be connected to my career prospects. Networking at a wedding, maybe?

He went to draw further cards, telling me that my chief motivation was 'moving forward' and not money, reiterating that I should go for it, whatever it is that I may want to do. He threw out a few educated guesses that maybe I had an unfinished novel or album that I was working on, which wasn't too far off the mark. If I were a different kind of person, I might have jumped in at that point and said “Yes! Yes, I have an unfinished novel!” but I kept as quiet as possible.

To finish up, James advised me to wear blue – particularly sky-blue – and something silver to my job interviews. I probably should have followed this advice earlier, since I've been wearing my pink shirt to interviews. Damn you, pink shirt. Damn you and your french cuffs.

I'm not convinced that James contacted some divine truth or jacked his third eye into the quantum-entangled psilocybin matrix that binds our existence together and will one day beam us into eternity to merge with the Star Whale that created us all. On the other hand, he was perceptive, courteous and seemed genuinely engaged in reading and interpreting the cards – no small feat. I enjoyed the session and I wish him well. And I foresee some silver nipples in his future.

*"Like, should I apply for a job as a professional axe remover? My only qualification is my personal experience with this axe in my head."