A rational conversation with friends.

My husband and I finally went out to the pub with his workmates, and had a lovely night out. Twice so far! As a dear friend remarked, “one would almost think you had a life!”

Well, yes, it would almost appear so.

Few things are more stimulating to me than a good talk with someone. I am thoroughly “blonde” (in the best possible acceptation, blondies out there) most of the time, but also have a pretty serious outlook on life at the same time. Well it isn’t serious as such, but I’m serious about it. Anyway.

One of P.’s colleagues, K. is one I was warned about how great he was except if you spoke about such irrational things as religion, tarot reading, homeopathy and so on. He is highly intelligent, and a programmer. They warned me, don’t talk to him about tarot. To me, that’s a challenge.

The first night however, we merely talked about language, sense of nationality, all sorts of really interesting stuff, accompanied by great beer and the occasional talk with others at the table. I was completely charmed. And, among other things, he called me a “geek”. I said no no believe me I’m no geek, I am pretty ignorant in most things, all I ever studied in depth was literature, I only know what people have told me and make my conclusions (pretty much always temporary) about life and other things based on what I hear here and there. He then insisted and told me it’s not how much or what you know, it’s your attitude towards knowledge. He asserted: “You are indeed a geek”. Well I felt flattered, and told him I would treasure that and tell the world and all my friends about it. Most of whom will laugh about it I know, but there you go. I was called a geek and I told him I would hold onto that until he got to know me better and changed his mind.

The next time we managed to go to the pub, last Friday, K. had had a pretty bad week. He still managed to be his usual brilliant self, but when we went outside to have a fag (I don’t smoke, but on these occasions, it kind of fits), he updated me a little on his condition and his worries about it. For some twist of discourse however, as we walked back in I had come to mention the forbidden “tarot”.
I am currently writing a book about them, because a book is what it takes (at least) to say all I think about the cards, but I managed to spend a few minutes (more than half an hour!) actually talking with him about the “unmentionables”.

One of the biggest problems when attempting to talk about tarot I believe is the enormous amount of tarot readers who ascribe “magic” to them. By doing so, anybody wishing to use tarot (because one might study them for entirely different reasons, as part of an art course, for example, or a sociological study about how they are used within this or that society) whether to have them read or to read them is assumed to have to believe in magic.
It is hardly surprising therefore that you have two main fronts: those who believe in magic, and the people who think people who believe in magic are loonies.
So of course, by mentioning tarot to K., he immediately took me out of my cherished “Geek” group and placed me in the “Loonie” group. But, credit to him, he heard me out, and I hope his opinion has reverted to, if not Geek, at the very least “I don’t know how to categorise her yet”.
I don’t believe in magic.

Merriam-Webster’s online definition:

Main Entry: 1mag·ic
Pronunciation: ˈma-jik
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English magique, from Middle French, from Latin magice, from Greek magikē, feminine of magikos Magian, magical, from magos magus, sorcerer, of Iranian origin; akin to Old Persian maguš sorcerer
Date: 14th century

1 a : the use of means (as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces b : magic rites or incantations
2 a : an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source b :: enchantment
3 : the art of producing illusions by sleight of hand something that seems to cast a spell

Ok maybe I believe in the third option: I believe there are people called magicians who produce an illusion. Unfortunately, in our society and for an enormously long time, there should be a 4th definition:

4 : the art of creating the illusion that a perfectly natural (often as yet unstudied by science) process is caused not by a natural interaction of human beings but by some supernatural source.

Does it perchance remind you of anything else?
Perhaps religion? Or drugs? More on that later. The point was: do not rule it out. Allow me to read your cards, sooner or later, without bias from your part. Yes it may well be that I am instinctively an excellent psychologist who can analyse people to such an extent that I say what I see and then convince them that the cards are saying that, not me. Psychologists wouldn’t be very happy about that considering the time and money they have spent to distinguish themselves from plain old me. But how do you explain the fact that that particular card, which you can see, has an image on it which quite specifically relates to the condition I am talking to you about? Do you think I am also a magician who can ensure the right cards come out that will back up my psychological analysis?
Add to that the problem that I may on occasion be wrong, or read the cards wrong. I believe the times we are wrong are caused by interactions with the person the cards are read to, and other factors. All perfectly explainable and avoidable with experience.

So, right now, before we enter into more talks and hopefully sooner or later I will succeed in my aim to make cleverer and more relevant people than me study these matters and change the society we live in through those studies, all I ask is that you allow yourself to be curious. That you allow me to talk about it without you defining me a loonie who believes in “magic”. Believing that there might be a rational approach to magic that does not necessarily imply saying it is all pointless and plain wrong babble, is already a start.

(Thanks to Kev for some very delightful chats)

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