My tarot-learning is progressing well, I think – I hope to at some point this week make a post dedicated to my thoughts on it completely. Additionally, inspired by my new hobby, I decided to include a tarot-reading scene in TLOB – which, by the way, is now at 210 pages. I was originally going to give Derekk a three-card reading and Jak a full Celtic cross one, but after Derekk’s three-card reading used up as much space as it did, I decided to give them both three-card spreads. The first half of the scene (it spans a chapter division) is below:
When the cards were shuffled and cut to the man’s liking, he had Derekk turn over the top three in a very certain way. Then he shot a look at me. “Right then, young man – you weren’t concentrating, were you.”
I sat straighter. “Of course I was! Don’t be silly,” I shot back. Derekk still seemed oblivious to my discomfort. The man was hypnotizing; I glanced nervously behind me, and thought I may have seen a shadow move.
“And I’m a sparrow.” His long, thin finger fell upon the card closest to me. “This card’s energies are at odds with the previous two – a shame, as that card represented the most likely future.”
Derekk sighed. “Does that mean we have to do it all over?”
The man looked thoughtful for a minute, then nodded. “Yes.”
I began to roll my eyes again, but Derekk’s look stopped me. He really wanted to do it. I resisted the urge to tell him that the cards were just pictures and any seeming divination that came from them were just a result of you projecting your mind onto them, and instead found myself apologizing for my lack of concentration.
We began again, and this time I concentrated – for Derekk. When the cards were laid out again and the man leaned back with satisfaction, Derekk smiled gratefully at me. I smiled back, then checked behind us again. Is someone standing at the corner?
“Ah, now look at your past, see here?” The man pointed at the card farthest from me. I shifted my attention to it. “The Devil. Ignorance, imprisonment – the will of chains. The hold of the Devil is receding from your life – perhaps letting you move forward?” The man stared intently at Derekk. “How are your parents?”
Derekk’s mouth twisted in a sad smile. “They never let me go – they want me to stay out of the ‘dangerous’ parts of the city, and try to micro-manage my life – except for some afternoons, when my therapist says I have to get some time away from them. But even then, they try to watch me – it took me forever to get my watchers off my back so I could come here.”
I could have hit him; telling a seedy fortune-teller in a back alley that one’s rich and noble parents had no way of knowing where he was not the best of ideas. The man grinned slightly. “It’s always the same story.” Liar. “But their influence is receding, as I said – you shall soon be free of those chains.”
Derekk brightened up. “Really?”
The man nodded sagely. “Really. Now, onto the present.” He turned our attention to the next card, then, showing a man and a women, each holding a cup, beneath a caduceus and winged lion’s head . “The reversed two of cups – companionship. The lesser version of the Lovers.” He stroked a wispy goatee that I would have sworn had not been there a second ago. “Normally, this card signifies companionship, truce, bonding – but its energy is not free to flow. It has become blocked by something.” He smiled. “The energy of romance is there, but to free it, something must be done.” Winking, the man turned over another card and placed it above the two, closer to him. “I’ll give you a fourth card free of charge.”
“Thank you!” Derekk sad before he could stop himself. I half-smiled, and again glanced behind me. Nothing that time.
“No problem,” the man said patiently. “The Fool – in this case, urging you to be spontaneous, and start a new journey – likely with this person that charges your romantic energy.” He smiled sidelong at me, and I glared again. “To unblock the energy of the two of cups, then, you must have faith that things will all turn out alright and embrace spontaneity. Perhaps initiate the first kiss soon.” I would like that, I thought to myself, carefully avoiding Derekk’s gaze, though I felt his eyes glance over at me.
“Perhaps the imminent release of the chains of your parents will free you to take that first step into a new world with your new love, and allow the energies of romance and companionship to begin.” I could feel Derekk smiling, and it made me glad.
“Now, let’s look at the last card – the future. The outcome.” The man smiled warmly, and I was again surprised at how genuine it felt. “The ten of cups. Emotion and powerful forces govern your life, young man – only Major Arcana and Cups, the suit of emotions, found their way here. But this card signifies joy and family – a good future for you and your new lover, I think. Good tidings, I hope.”
Derekk was grinning now, and I was forced to smile a little as well. That did sound good. “It looks like your new lover will be your permanent partner once you have freed yourself from the chains your parents placed upon you,” the man said.
Derekk thought a moment. “But… the ten of cups signifies family?” The man nodded. “But I’m gay – how am I supposed to have a family?” I had often wondered the same thing about myself.
The tarot man winked. “There’ll always be a way.” He scooped up the cards and shuffled them back into his deck. “Watch out for those large forces, though – they can be rather unpredictable. And there are large forces in your life.”
The man turned his attention to me and took me in. I began to stand – I had no intention of having my fortune read. “You, young man, have the feelings of power about you,” said the card reader. He had stopped shuffling, and leaned forward intently. “I would be honored to read your fortune – and I’ll do it for no charge. A full Celtic Cross.”
I shook my head. “No, I think I’m goo-”
“Then just three cards, like your friend here.” He placed an odd emphasis on the word “friend,” causing both Derekk and myself to blush. We are just friends right now, I reminded myself.
“Come on, Jak – it’s fun!” Derekk said, eyes shining.
I shook my head and began to turn away. “No, I’m good – come on, Derekk, let’s-”
Something pinned my hand to the table. I turned around to see the tarot man’s bone-cane lying across the back of my hand. He smiled at me, and I caught what may have been a hint of malice in that one. “No, Jak – I insist.”