October 25, 2008

Traveling with Tarot Cards
Apoldu de Sus, Romania

It really boggles the mind how someone with such a large, heavy, overload backpack would insist on lugging around several books and two decks of tarot cards with them (all in their original retail boxes), but Tatiana is adamant on such things, no matter how much I plead with her on the points of their infrequent use and (substantial) volume and weight.

We've been in Eastern Europe for well over three months now, but I believe today was the first time she'd actually used them—Aidric's presence doesn't really give much of a opportunity. But I'd told our host about her fortune-telling hobby, and he was happy to learn about something he had no first-hand knowledge of. (Tatiana won't do a reading for just anyone, but certainly likes Stephan enough to do so.)

The origin of tarot cards is uncertain; they were perhaps introduced into Europe by Crusaders between 1096 and 1291 or by the Roma (Gypsies), and are known to have been in use in Italy in the early 14th century. Although the game of tarot is still played in central Europe, the cards are now mainly used for fortune-telling.

Stephan's conversational English is perfect, though the card summaries presented in the tarot interpretation books have rather verbose descriptions that even a native English speaker might have a hard time comprehending. I simplified them as best I could.

Despite the burst of unfamiliar vocab, he certainly enjoyed escalating excitement as the 10-card sequence progressed. I think we all agreed that his cards told a pretty interesting and accurate picture of his current (and upcoming?) life.

I'm not a believer in horoscopes or astrology—I find it generally absurd to group over six billion people into only twelve groups and expect their personalities to be in line with each other—but I do enjoy being a part of one of Tatiana's hobbies, especially when there's some good entertainment value involved. So, as I did a little over a year ago in the Philippines, I asked her to deal my cards.

The results of my 'Celtic Cross':

  1. Your current circumstances
  2. Ten of Swords: The dramatic ending of an era is predicted, often due to the culmination of several factors, so it is, in a sense, inevitable. This closure can be related to a relationship or your state of mind; be open to the new possibilities that now await you.

  3. What's helping or hindering you
  4. Three of Wands: An excellent time to being a new venture, artistic pursuits, and expressing ideas that represent an intrinsic part of who you are. Financially auspicious, as money comes your way you become more confident and creative.

  5. The best you can do at present
  6. The Chariot: Travel, progress, success, determination, completion, and triumph. Hard work pays off, and endeavors are crowned with success, which is entirely deserved. You may have had to constantly defend your position in order to get through difficult times, but now you can afford to relax a little and enjoy the rewards.

  7. Hidden factors around you
  8. Six of Swords: Order and the solving of problems. You may be able to distance yourself physically at this time, as there may be opportunities to travel abroad. There's still work to be done, but this respite allows you to recharge your batteries and sense the success that the future holds.

  9. The effect of the past
  10. Page of Swords: An eagerness to learn and progress, the appearance of good tidings, mentors, intelligence, and being a shrewd judge of character. Muster your wits and stay one step ahead in disputes and negotiations.

  11. Your next move
  12. Two of Cups: The prediction of a love commitment, such as an engagement or marriage. It's also an auspicious card for creative partnerships, and friendships at this time will be rewarding. Agreements are reached harmoniously.

  13. How you see yourself
  14. Two of Wands: Material stability and financial success for those who have belief in their skills. A creative partnership is revealed, and good management that ensures ideas are realized. If any enterprise or personal relationship is in doubt, keep trying, and efforts will be justly rewarded.

  15. How others see you
  16. The Empress: Fertile, harmonious, loving, productive, maternal care, material and domestic comfort, security, and protection. An abundance on both a material and emotional level.

  17. Hopes or fears
  18. Ten of Pentacles: An inheritance or other capital that's due, such as an investment maturing, shares, or a generous gift. Generally an extremely good omen for finances, and can also indicate a marriage that will be both prosperous and loving.

  19. The outcome
  20. Ace of Swords: An omen of great victory and the success of projects founded on intelligent ideas and practice. Forceful events are about to take you by storm, and you'll need mental alacrity to withstand the pace.

I also asked her to deal a spread that's supposed to give a glimpse into the upcoming week. As it's Saturday, and we've got some serious travel ahead of us (pushing into Bulgaria and another two CouchSurfing hosts, plus my injuries to consider), I thought it fun to see what the cards had to say about it. The results were quite interesting:

  1. Significator: The Wheel of Fortune: Change, beginning, endings, and dreams
  2. Sunday: The Chariot: Travel, progress, success, and determination
  3. Monday: Strength: Struggle, danger, inner strength, instinct, and integration
  4. Tuesday: The Sun: Joy, innocence, protection, and creativity
  5. Wednesday: The Devil: Struggle, decisions, manipulation, enslavement, and potential
  6. Thursday: Temperance: Fluidity, growth, finances, reconciliation, and compromise
  7. Friday: Death: Change, moving away, new beginnings
  8. Saturday: The Tower: Change, speed, insight, and is the harbinger of bad luck

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