I’ve always scoffed at superstition – but will the tarot have the last laugh? | Coco Khan

Adult learner

Some might say the cards are divine. I say they are a Rorschach test

I have always been suspicious of superstition. I know people are entitled to their beliefs, and that reading a horoscope or wearing “lucky” socks is hardly hurting anyone. But I still bristle when someone slanders a Gemini, as though a line has been crossed. (“You can’t write off a twelfth of the population,” I fume, the freedom fighter no one wants or needs.) So when Auntie B says someone “hexed” her, I immediately counter: “Maybe you got a parking ticket because you parked on a red line” – almost as if I want to be a jobsworth.

I blame childhood. Some family friends put so much stock in hocus-pocus, it was laughable. I will never forget one telling me about a genie that could be summoned by saying its name in the mirror three times, only for me to explain that it was not an ancient ritual but the plot of a 1992 horror film, Candyman.

So when a friend said over dinner that she had got into tarot, and had brought her cards with her, I was reluctant to do a reading. “Do the other girls first,” I said.

But as I sat there in the candlelight, expectant eyes watching shuffling cards, and listened to my friends find meaning – “The card could be talking about Dad” or, “That could mean pregnancy” – I was moved.

For the uninitiated, when tarot cards are drawn, it’s up to the reader – and the person being read – to interpret them. Some might say the cards are divine. I say they are a Rorschach test.

Perhaps it doesn’t matter which, and anything that helps people open up and speak about their troubles must have value. And so I appreciate once more how therapy comes in many forms, and am less quick to judge. Later, I take my turn at tarot. The first card reads “The Adjustment”. Well, I know what that means.












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