The camera takes a first exposure of your physical self and a second of your energetic overlay.
“Who were you?”
Her question gave me goosebumps and left me contemplating what magical badassness I might have conjured up in a previous life.
I had reconnected with an old friend, a fellow Caribbean queer and community collaborator, while I was in her city. We were sitting, legs folded, on my king size hotel bed when she candidly revealed that she is a healer and does readings. She had spent months doing an apprenticeship and energy work with a spiritual alchemist.
I didn't flinch at the revelation. In fact, my first inclination was to ask for my reading to be done. Unsure about proper healer/tarot etiquette, I hesitated and watched inquisitively as she unpacked the sacred items from her altar and laid them neatly on a beautiful, intricately adorned piece of fabric.
It was a new moon that night, she shared. My eyes opened wide.
I had no idea what that meant.
She went on to explain that lunar energies were at their peak and that that was the reason she was traveling with her altar. Now was the perfect time for readings.
I timidly admitted that I never had one done. She excitedly offered, and I accepted.
We both laughed at me struggling to shuffle the deck. I tried hard not to focus on the mechanics of it all, and instead breathe deeply. I nervously handed her back the stack.
I’ve always wanted a tarot card reading, but not out of some deep desire to know what the future holds. I’m intrigued by the psychic women hustling on city sidewalks or at fairs, their bright neon signs sometimes flashing atop a small storefront, me oftentimes strolling by with a lover or a bag of groceries in hand, politely refusing their solicitations.
There was something that drew me to them—some I believed to truly be tapped into their intuition; others looking to make a quick buck from whoever will listen. Perhaps my fascination was a product of growing up on too many "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" episodes. Perhaps it was more.
That entire week, I had been feeling particularly receptive, for the first time really hearing not just listening to what the Universe was saying. In various moments of silence, my body feeling an unfamiliar sense of stillness and calm, a series of revelations had come to me. I was away at a leadership retreat, being challenged in ways to dig deep, unearth past traumas that were influencing the way I lead. I was open, bare, raw, and exposed to the Universe, welcoming her guidance. And she was giving it to me.
One of my readings that night precisely pointed out that I was in a place of reflection and my new focus was uncovering my authentic self. A harp card indicated that harmony was in my future.
I used to think I had super powers—that I could talk to the wind, ask her to blow forcibly and sweep the resident meangirls up from the playground if I wanted to. She would gently soothe me if I needed, playfully ruffle nearby leaves and whisper secrets before the school bell ushered us back inside.
If I wasn't teased for my thick accent, I was mocked because of my acne, being too tall or talking too proper. One day a classmate decided to poke fun at my appearance.
"Doesn't Kim's nose look like a shoe heel?"
She burst into laughter with the surrounding group of girls. Feeling defeated, I walked to the other end of the schoolyard and pressed my face against the metal fence. Who did she think she was?
I soon felt the stirrings of a light breeze that picked up quickly to a powerful gust. Then up went my bully’s skirt and the skirts of her posse. They frantically tried (and failed) to keep the uniforms down. I laughed to myself, assured that the wardrobe malfunctions were my doing.
Perhaps there was some cosmic connection I experienced as a child. Becoming an adult with bills, breakups and social media has a tendency to connect us more to Twitter than to any higher consciousness we might be attuned to.
“Who were you?” my friend had asked after flipping over three goddess cards that all represented magic.
“This never happens,” she informed me smiling.
Pulled from a stack of sorceresses from various cultures and traditions, these Divine women—Mother Mary, Goddess Rhiannon and Goddess Dana—were urging me to have faith, and remember that I am full of sacred knowledge and have the power to manifest my clear intentions into reality.
Mostly importantly, my first tarot reading and my friend in all her browngirl fierceness and mystical glory reminded me to never underestimate what happens when we sit still enough to realize the answers are already out there--and within us. We just have to be quiet and open enough to hear them. Twenty years later, I’m working on harnessing that magic I so confidently knew as a child I possessed. It took that tarot reading to remind me I’ve still got it.