This week in Sunday Life I visit a witch. Yep, a witch.
On long road trips, in the back seat of the family Ford Falcon XB, my five siblings and I played the hypothetical game “how much would you have to be paid to…”. How much would you have to be paid to, say, drink a cup of warm sick? Sit in a pond of leeches for five minutes? Ten minutes?
You know how it went. Before Wii, we all played a version of it. It was deliriously fun and simultaneously flexed our little moral compasses, preparing us for real life.
So, let me put this hypothetical quandary to you: if you could be given a vision of your future, but it could mean learning some seriously dire news, would you sign up?
A while back I learned of a witch who’s reportedly one of the best tarot readers around. The caveat is that she tells it as it is, warts and all. Ly de Angeles is the high priestess of the international Coven of WildWood Gate. She’s been practicing as a witch for 30 years and she once told a young woman, “Looks like there’s a death in the family… No, it’ll be you.” She detailed it was going to be in a plane crash. And so it came to be several years later.
I wavered for a while, and was warned against it, but curiosity pulled me in and on Tuesday I fronted up to her dark basement abode to get slapped with my destiny.
I’ve covered phenomenon before in this column that tends to raise a skeptic’s brow. My take is always this: I’m actively curious and I sometimes choose to believe the “scientifically” unprovable. Or trust a “knowing” that can’t be pointed to in a petri dish. I choose to. It works for me.
Witchcraft, you might think, would push even my woo-woo boundaries. But researching it this week I found it to be one of the least confronting traditions on the esoteric map. In fact, witchcraft, which has been cited as the fastest growing “religion” in Australia, is intrinsically non-confronting. Ly stresses it’s not a religion. There’s no set deity and it doesn’t adhere to notions of right and wrong, instead working to “harmony” and “discord”. It doesn’t acknowledge Satan or heaven and hell and no newt is harmed in the process. It’s essentially an earth-revering tradition that encourages taking responsibility for how we coexist. “We refuse to be defined,” Ly says. Which I think is part of the reason it’s been so ostracized and broiled up with all that troubling poisoned apples and stake burning stuff – it’s not part of witch-y thinking to define or deny or defend.
But back to my future. Ly lay out her tarot cards and, speaking as fast as I think is humanly possible, she relayed to me what I “already know”. This is a tough concept to get in a world where truth is tied to linear time. It requires comprehending the idea that everything “always already” exists, as described by countless philosophers and spiritualists, a discussion of which is beyond the scope of this column.
But no matter. Ly, who doesn’t mince words, doesn’t try to describe how she does what she does. She just “knows” what she sees. And experience has shown it to be so, she says. She picks up on some fairly banal stuff in my life, as well as specific details of a man posing as a women (spot on – a troublemaker on my blog!). Then she describes events set to happen in the next 2-3 years (if I end up in London at a book reading with a Dutch Sagittarian man who studies history and we arrange to go scuba diving, please do remind me of this discussion). She also delivers me a grim prognosis on a health issue and a career direction. My reaction? I’m cool. Strangely the insights don’t surprise me. Did I always already know it? Or do they simply fit with my life patterns?
Everyone I spoke to about my witch encounter asked if I was freaked by it all. Interestingly, it made me amusingly aware of my patterns and how consistently they play out, including into my future. “Are you going to try avert fate?” asked my friend Tim. Nope. That would be like trying to change where the tide rolls in. You might be able to pool it to the left or right a little. But ultimately it will still roll in somewhere. We know this.
I asked Ly to explain how tarot works. She provided this rundown. Anyone wanting to know more, or to learn tarot, her book Tarot Theory and Practice is meant to be rather definitive…
If we take the theory of the Big Bang, or the moment of the speculated “creation of the universe” into account we were there.
…otherwise we would not be here now. Inherent in the DNA of every living thing is the existing memory of all that has preceded it. The iron in our hemoglobin is still the original iron, the hydrogen molecules within our body’s water are still the same hydrogen as is every other element and compound that makes us us. The knowledge has been passed from our biological parents, to them from theirs and so on all the way along the Arrow of Time, even before we were, theoretically, amoeba in a soup of one-celled creatures floating in the viscous seas of infant Earth with no discernable differences to blow-flies or elephants.
We are so conditioned to think that our lives began with our births and will end with our deaths (no matter the belief, or lack of it, in an after-life) that we do life an abysmal injustice. We live in conscious ignorance of our immortality.
So my theory is that when an individual shuffles the cards that represent Tarot they actually unconsciously sort them into effective order – an impossibility to do consciously – that something other than randomness is most definitely involved. This supposed shuffle is akin to an accomplished pianist playing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor. He or she certainly does not have to think about what each individual finger is doing or about which note goes where.
After much practice the masterful performance is effortless. Looking at the individual piano keys would make it impossible to play.
Every individual has had at least since the Big Bang to practice.
What’s your take? Are you open because being open makes life better?