I’m scheduled for a mammogram, I have an appointment with a cardiologist and apparently I have high cholesterol.
Why? Because I had my tarot cards read at Stampede.
I’ll backtrack. My girlfriend has a Stampede tradition where every year she makes her way into the exhibition hall and has her tarot cards read. Celebrating this year’s centennial with her, I was coerced into having my cards read as well. Why not? I thought.
Sure, I read my horoscope daily and I’ll wish on a star here or there but do not for a moment think I go to psychics to diagnosis my medical conditions.
All of that said, we pay $25 each for a 15-minute card reading. The booth is tucked at the farthest end of the BMO centre and has tables with little square timers on them, folding chairs so you don’t get too comfortable, and silk tapestries line the pseudo-walls for effect I suppose.
Our names are taken down as we pay and we are brought to Amy. Amy looks like a weathered psychic from the movies – bangles clang with each gesture, around her neck hangs some “healing stone,” her dress is Indian-inspired, her skin says she smokes and her fingertips are elaborately done with rhinestones encrusted into her pinky finger nails.
“When is your birthday Christine?” she begins, flicking on the little timer.
I tell her.
“You’re a Scorpio,” she says.
Yes, woman – I know this. Remember – I read my horoscope daily. I have read the bestselling guide to astrological signs, Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs, and I know all about me. Tell me about the future! I don’t say this out loud.
“What do you want to know about?” she asks while shuffling the tarot deck.
“My health and a boy,” I reply.
“O.K. we’ll begin with your health then.” She asks me to cut the deck as many times as I’d like. I cut it in three. Apparently, this means I crave control and I enjoy consistency. This is true.
The first card that drops is “The Devil.” I’m terrified. The card has a horned creature with clawed feet sitting above a male and female demon pair who are chained to his pedestal. He’s got a pentagram on his head and black and grey smoke are the background, amidst flames of course.
“Do you get headaches?” she asks.
Every card she lays down appears to have some character crouched in agony or completing some arduous task
She begins lying down the rest of the cards and constructing a pyramid. The spread consists of scenes straight out of Dante’s Inferno. Every card she lays down appears to have some character crouched in agony or completing some arduous task.
She tells me I need to request an MRI from my doctor. I may need a minor surgery. I will definitely have to see specialists she says as she flips a card that pictures men in gowns consulting over a tomb. You bet I got the Death card too.
She begins to flip the cards frantically in a straight line as though she wants to give me a better answer and: she does, whatever it is that’s going on with my body will be dealt with in two months time. She’d love to see me in three months to see what happened, she says as she finishes while she looks at the clock. We’ve gone over the 15 minutes.
I look at my girlfriend, who’s sitting next to me, and her mouth is open. It’s her turn now. She gets her cards read but I don’t really listen. My mind is consumed with thoughts of dying.
As we’re leaving, making our way out of the BMO centre, my girlfriend and I don’t say much to each other. We’re both contemplating what Amy has said to us. Later, when we’re going to eat my girlfriend says to me, “I’m sorry if I downplayed your reading. That was terrible. Just make sure you get checked out.”
Later that day, I call another friend to tell her how awful my tarot card reading was and how scared I am as a result of it. Instead of comfort from her, she says, “That’s strange, I had a dream you died last night. Don’t worry, it wasn’t medical, you just got into a car accident. I have to go, I’m dropping off the boys.” She hangs up.
I cried. I laughed. I Googled a doctor and had an appointment the next day.
I did not tell the doctor about the psychic. I did tell the receptionist though.
I’ve had a full physical, I’ve gotten blood work done and like I said, I am going to see specialists for my heart and make sure there’s nothing cancerous growing in my chest.
Why? Because I had my tarot cards read.