Can occult cards predict your future? I demystify the art of tarot cards by visiting a tarot reader in Singapore and this is what I learned...
As a kid, I was always fascinated by the supernatural. I blame Harry Potter and Charmed (what a throwback) for that. But even a modern city like Singapore has its fair share of local superstitions and haunted places. With that being said, I believe there’s always a bit of truth in legends and old wives’ tales.
In recent years, new age practices have been going through a renaissance of sorts. Think healing crystals, palm reading and tarot card reading — the latter has always piqued my interest. My first brush with mystical cards was when I was around 13 at a sleepover. I can’t remember much of the details, and I’m sure it wasn’t done properly but at least we had candles. As I entered adulthood, I’ve been some sort of a sceptic over the years. So in the name of investigative journalism, I decided to find the answer to the age-old question: can tarot cards predict the future?
Let’s talk tarot
“It’s not as magical as people think it is,” says Pearlyn Siew, resident tarot reader at The Moon bookstore and the brand manager for Lunar Leaves, its sister company. “It’s more of a journey of self-exploration. People start to learn a lot more about themselves when they read for others or for themselves through the cards.”
So why is there a veil of mysticism attached to it? Well, the true origins of tarot cards are unknown but it’s believed to have quickly gained traction in Europe in the late 14th century. It was used as a medium for divination and fortune-telling. Fast forward to the present day, the practice still continues.
Things like spiritual healing, tapping into your intuition and sensing energy can’t be proven with science. That’s where the magic comes in. At the end of the day, it’s up to the individual on how they view the cards. Pearlyn’s personal belief is that it can be used for divination. However, she mentions that our fortunes aren’t cast in stone. “I believe in accountability and taking responsibility for our own actions.”
Meet the cards
For every standard tarot deck, there are 78 cards. Each features an alluring, beautiful illustration to represent a character. Some popular cards in the deck include The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor and The Devil. Each of ‘em has a specific meaning. And if it presents itself upside down, the meaning completely changes.
The interpretation of every card is different – a lot of factors come into play like the reader’s intuition, the recipient’s energy and the preceding questions. For Pearlyn, she does tarot readings based on the past and present, looking into potentials and blockages. Her direction leans towards creating opportunities for personal growth.
She also highlights that she rarely lets anyone hold the cards. “I’m very sensitive and if someone touches my card and they’re in a heavier headspace, I become very receptive. Sometimes when I’m not careful and discerning, I might end up holding onto emotions that aren’t mine.”
The deck she usually lets people touch are oracle cards, which she uses for clarification during the session. “Oracle cards have very specific messages, and it depends on the illustrator and the author’s intent of that card.” All that’s to say, every tarot reader is different – and by extension, so is the outcome of your reading.
What’s in the cards for me?
So after learning so much about tarot reading, it only seems natural to experience it first-hand. I met Pearlyn at The Moon on a Friday afternoon. I got myself a cup of tea, which is complimentary when you sign up for a tarot reading, and we headed to the second floor. We were the only ones in the cosy space, which created a comfortable atmosphere for me to be open to the session without any prejudice.
I didn’t want to ask any specific questions, so we started off with my general state of mind. She shuffled the cards and a few fell on the table, forming a picture. Pearlyn immediately dived straight into, dare I say, my psyche.
Emotions are a tricky thing, and I do journal them down but articulating it can be tough when you’re drowning in feelings. However, Pearlyn managed to do just that. She spoke eloquently, without pauses or looking at me to read my body language, which made me feel her words were based on my cards. Talk about laying your cards on the table.
Some things she mentioned in the reading were spot on. Like how I think with my heart and not with my head, but “that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” she interjected. While I was getting goosebumps every time she said something that rang true, I believed I wore my poker face well.
But there were moments when I felt a tad bit uncomfortable. ‘Cos in a way, a complete stranger had insight to my inner feelings. She mentioned my throat chakra was blocked and suggested singing, but I thought to myself, “I can’t even hold a note if my life depends on it.” Strangely, as if she read my thoughts, she said “screaming and shouting can also be used as means to purge [your] emotional baggage.”
After the reading, I felt light with a sense of enlightenment that I wasn’t seeking initially. The best way I can describe my experience is to say that I was looking at a mirror and it showed me a reflection of myself – even the things I thought were tucked away in the recesses of my mind.
Are tarot cards the real deal?
Although meeting Pearlyn was a breath of fresh air, I had my fair share of experiences with tarot readers which didn’t go well. Partly, I’m to blame. My perception of tarot cards was that it’s 100% magic, so I took everything they said as gospel truth. When their predictions didn’t come true, I figured it was a whole lot of mumbo jumbo.
Ultimately, I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. If tarot cards are used as a tool of introspection, they can provide you insight into your situation, allowing you to take a step back and see things from a different perspective. Call it a form of self-care, if you must. As for the specific cards that show up in your reading, well, that’s when the enchantment factor comes into play.
We make our own destiny, and sometimes these tarot cards can help you along the way to manifest your dreams.