"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."
~George Bernard Shaw
I am frequently asked by clients and acquaintances if I can see the future for myself. I tell them that this is comparable to trying to see the back of my own neck. I know it's there and can feel when there's something wrong, but I do need to ask someone else to take a look at it from time to time to make sure there's no suspicious rash or horrific growth forming beneath my hairline. I have experienced some wonderful readings from gifted astrologers and Intuitives over the years, and I have also had some comical encounters which serve as sobering reminders of the strangeness of my profession.
I recently relocated from California to Washington state for reasons which are not entirely clear to me but probably have something to do with the fact that every seventeen years, the planet Uranus does a devilish foxtrot through my house of bad decisions. I had been feeling a strong pull to the north for years, so when some encouraging signs began to appear (signs which, in retrospect, seem sketchy and half-baked), I threw caution to the wind and leaped into the void of the unknown. As part of my self-imposed assimilation process into this new place, I decide to investigate the local metaphysical scene and happen upon what I assume is a bookstore, but instead turns out to be the office space of Mrs. Eucalypta*, a psychic advertising the following services:
-Exorcisms (animal and human)
And hand-written in purple ink at the bottom of the menu of services taped to her door:
Ask about our weekly
Against all better judgment and the wisdom I have supposedly gleaned through the decades, I push open a heavy wooden door and find myself in a dimly lit, hazy (gift shop? museum? opium den?) jammed from floor to ceiling with dusty multi-cultural statues on dirty glass shelves, faded plastic flowers exploding out of mismatched pottery urns and inspirational plaques on the wall urging me to Dream! Believe! Hope! Smile!, some of which I have seen recently in the clearance section at Target.
Mrs. Eucalypta materializes out of the shadows, delighted by the hapless fly who has just blundered into her web. She takes me by the hand, leading me further into the gloomy vortex towards a massive metal desk that appears to have done hard time in a WWII bunker. This is where she does her readings, and it's clear by her iron grip that there is no way out at this point. My fate is sealed and there will not be an opportunity for edging towards the door - and freedom - while pretending to browse through the thousands of paperback books lining the walls or examining the snake skeleton specimens in shadow boxes. I am in the wicker chair and being read at the "
Even though the smoldering incense is creating a thick fog, I am able to make out the enormous diamonds this woman is wearing on every finger. I soon learn (because a mere fifteen of the forty minutes spent in this place is about me; the rest is a rambling diatribe about her complicated life) that her father purchased miles of commercial real estate in Malibu back in the 70s at rock-bottom prices and now happily hands cash to anyone in the family who asks for it as long as they are not on drugs. I then hear a little something about each of her seven children before she asks me to shuffle the Tarot deck in such a perplexing and complicated manner that she has to bark at me that I'm "doing it wrong" three times.
Once the cards are shuffled to her satisfaction, Mrs. Eucalypta lays them out and clears her throat as though she is about to make an important speech. She inquires repeatedly if I work for "the government". Each time I say that I do not, nor have I ever worked for any branch of the government. She continues to prompt me, saying that if I was in the military, that counts as government. I assure her that this is the farthest thing from what I do for a living. Switching gears, she asks if I am thinking of signing a contract. I affirm that yes, I am hoping for a publishing contract. She says excitedly, "Are you writing something for the government?"
Now I am casting furtive glances at the front door and thinking of plausible excuses for why I must leave immediately (left the iron on/water running in the bathtub/tea kettle boiling/worried that the dog might eat my homework). She insists, shaking her head and staring at the cards, that I have dark, abusive men all around me who want to control me, which is also the furthest thing from the truth. Finally she asks what I do for a living and I divulge that I also do psychic readings to which she replies with a snort, "Good luck with that. You are much more suited to a government job with benefits."
I can't say for sure if my chakras were balanced during our session, but I can report that her little white dog, which she hastily ditched into the bathroom when I arrived, never stopped barking or scratching at the door, so maybe my annoyance with that situation forced one of my errant energy centers back into alignment.
During the scant fifteen minutes we are speaking about me, I learn the following things about myself while suffocating on Nag Champa fumes:
1. This is the lifetime in which I will be unlucky in love. Probably because I broke so many hearts in my previous life, Mrs. Eucalypta surmises while squinting at the cards and drumming her manicured nails on the desk, this will be my karmic payback. I am told that I may as well get comfortable with the fact that I will never have a satisfactory romantic relationship. It's my cross to bear, she explains smugly, no doubt thinking of her fantastic husband, their phenomenal sex life and freedom from financial burdens and her seven perfectly well-adjusted children.
2. I am a carbon copy of my mother. Like it or not, I am her spiritual twin and will live out my life in the same way she is living out hers, which means I am destined to own a modular home in a retirement community in Florida, hoarding family photos, dying my hair an unnatural shade of auburn and refusing to speak to my adult children. Why fight it any longer! Today I might as well begin drinking boxed wine and collecting small dogs with matted hair that I can fuss over in front of company when I'm not weeping in the bathroom from hurt feelings.
3. I should have been born a boy. This news is delivered with a look one would receive from the convenience store guy who tells you that your card has been declined, forcing you to dig around in the bottom of your purse for enough money to buy the Snickers bar you so desperately need. Apparently, there was some cosmic mix-up with the genetics, resulting in my female attributes which, according to Mrs. Eucalypta, has been the root of most, if not all of my problems in this lifetime (see revelation #1).
Prior to this fiasco, there were other notable encounters through the years:
~During a reading with a woman living and working out of an Airstream parked on rural property, a cow with runny eyes continually peeks in the windows, licking the screens and judging my choices in life.
~At the same reading, it is determined (by the psychic, not the cow) that I must drink a shot of Peach Schnapps to clear my throat chakra of the memory of being decapitated in another lifetime. She takes a shot, too, just in case my bad karma wants to wipe its ass on her dress.
~A Tarot card reading which starts off just fine, but quickly deteriorates when the psychic dissolves into tears and begins a long-winded story with too many details about her cheating boyfriend, an empty bank account and a raging case of herpes. By the end of the hour, I am counseling her, and yet she still charges me for the reading.
~The Sedona psychic who carries on animated conversations with invisible (to me, anyway) entities in the corner of the room who are supplying him with bits and pieces of information about me, all of which are wrong. I bring the session to a halt when he asks if he can touch my bare feet in order to "remove the demons" from my body.