My mother was an excellent tea leaf reader. She had some
theatrical experience and read the leaves in a dramatic voice. Mother
seemed to really believe what she was seeing in those little, drowned
Theres a house. I see someone going in. Oh, theres
a tree hanging over the house. It casts a dark shadow
on it went. We looked forward to these thrilling sessions which she
didnt do too often. Fortune telling to me, at that time, was fun.
This may have influenced my own involvement in Astrology, which I studied
rather carefully. I was not good at math and Astrology is, if nothing
else, mathematical. I did manage to get the rudiments down and I started
reading charts for people, not just their personalities, which were
always interesting, but present, past and FUTURE!
I was just a teenager. This was a sport to me, a novelty, something
to bring attention to myself and give me a sense of importance.
A lady who lived nearby, in our Veterans Land Act subdivision
of Sprucedale, had two adopted children. One of them was a difficult
case. He was quite unmanageable. This boy would throw his books away
on the way home from school. He would walk in muddy puddles and then
march around the dining room table grinding the mud into the rug. He
seemed to be daring his adopted parents to hit him as if he wanted to
be hit to affirm something. He must have had the experience that everyone
did hit him eventually. Perhaps he wondered why these people werent
hitting him too. For whatever reason, he absolutely had to test them
in many ways. Hed run off and be found sleeping on the side of
a dry ditch. This testing went on and on. Her husband had a heart condition,
They didnt want to send the boy back to the institution. She was
desperate, quite literally desperate, to know how things would turn
out and asked a teenage girl who did horoscopes what his future would
Reluctantly, I cast his horoscope. Virtually everything in it was in
the House of Prisons and Institutions. The boy would be institutionalized
for his whole life. I know now that many convicts have subtle brain
injuries that came from being beaten about the head as children or from
alcoholic mothers. This may have been part of his problem. I knew that
I could not give his young adoptive mother such bad news.
Whether you believe or dont believe in Astrology is not the point.
The reading just came out that way and I could not tell her what the
result was, so I gave up Astrology for a while. I didnt need that
karma dogging me.
I didnt think too much about fortune telling again until I moved
to New York City in 1959 and started doing fortunes again. My best friend,
A.H. was an apprentice Astrologer. He later turned professional. A.H.
was fascinated by the movements of the planets and he developed his
own Sidereal system of Astrology. He stuck by it quite closely and it
worked for him.
My own Astrological efforts used to annoy him because he was, I guess
you could say, a scientific Astrologer. It was all by the numbers and
very carefully plotted. I was an intuitive Astrologer. I used a chart
like a crystal ball, a sort of starting place where anything could happen.
A.H. and I used to have a game where one or the other of us would present
a chart of someone known to both of us and I would have to guess which
acquaintance it was. A lot of the time I could beat him because this
was an area where intuitive Astrology worked well.
We would sit with friends over espresso coffee at our favourite East
Village coffeehouse, Les Deux Megots, and talk shop about Astrology
into the wee hours, to the bemusement of the acting manager there, who
was not mystically inclined.
I did Tarot for a while. Tarot readings are sort of about the future
but they are more like a weather report for the soul. That phrase is
a steal from the writer, Truman Capote. In New York City he came on
TV to give a weather report as a way of plugging a play of his currently
in production. He was billed that night as an addition to the weatherman.
What he gave was a weather report for the soul and this
phrase stayed in my mind. The New York TV station personnel didnt
get it, by the way.
Over time I learned the hard way that when you tell someones
fortune they give you all kinds of clues as to what they want to hear.
Involuntary movements, intake of breath, facial expressions, words.
Professionals, be they fortune tellers or cops or shrinks, learn to
read these tells. Eventually, I would only do a reading
if the subject promised not to speak. I would do the reading with my
back turned to them so as not to pick up on their freely-given clues
as to what they wanted to hear. This is something to think about in
case you are having your fortune read. Dont prompt the person
telling your fortune.
When push comes to shove, thats what fortune-telling is all about.
Its not so much about what is going to happen in the future because,
oh my golly, that is such a collection of variables. Its more
about the state of where you are right now with certain strong inclination
lines indicated. Paracelsus, one of the worlds great astrologers,
said: The stars incline; they do not compel, which meant
the element of free will is not eliminated.
Astrology and fortune telling give you a mirror to look at yourself.
Perhaps it is a fun-house mirror but a mirror nonetheless. You can look
at yourself in a different way and from a different angle. It makes
you think about yourself, about where youre at, about the state
of your soul, your body and your mind. When youre doing Tarot,
Astrology or whatever, all three body, mind and spirit
come together. Theres no split up between practitioners of disciplines
like a medical doctor, psychologist, priest. Its all combined,
as it should be.
This holistic approach and the new point of view you get are probably
the most important things about reading the cards, the runes or the
Does fortune telling work? Aside from giving you a different point
of view, it does not. Fortune telling is trickery, like stage magic.
Consciously or unconsciously the fortune teller literally reads the
tells from his or her subject and bases the fortune on reading
the subject, not the stars or the cards.
Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesnt? said
Chief Dan George, playing the role of Old Lodge Skins in the 1970 movie,
Little Big Man.
Does Astrology work? The answer is Yes and No because Sometimes
the magic works and sometimes it doesnt. The Astrologer
does not know whether the answers being given are true reading or simply
something plucked from their imagination.
I feel it is immoral to play with someones hopes and fears for
the future, where, possibly, they will act based on the fortune told,
in a way that affects their life, when the reading is really based on
the best guess made by the Astrologer
© Sonia Brock 2006