“Would you like to hear your misfortune?”

In the early days of the internet, in Ye Ole Livejournaltown (c. 2000-2005), I went by “Araminta.” My first journal has since been deleted and purged (and taken over by a gothic model), but I have fond memories of my time as Araminta/”Minty.” No one knew my real name. I made so many friends. Over the past year, I lost nearly all of them.

In Ye Olde Livejournaltown, I posted silly .wav files as Miss Minteh, a psychic medium in the style of Miss Cleo. Instead of a feigned Jamaican accent, I spoke in the gruff, whisky-guzzling voice of a crazy old bag lady pretending to be a voodoo queen. I still remember the recording that made everyone laugh the most. It went almost exactly like: “Spirits! Miss Minteh is here for you! …Now where are those spirits? (Drunken slurring, bottles clanking.) What’s that? Yes. Yes, I hear you! Yes, Miss Minteh is listening, mmmm-hmmm. And now I will commune with… with… Tupac!” The recordings were over-the-top ridiculous, yet each one seemed to delight my friends. I lost the recordings during a laptop crash in 2006, and I began to go by my real name. Everyone seemed to prefer Araminta to Larissa. Around this time, Livejournaltown became a ghost town.

I miss the rosy days of internet yore–I do.

Miss Minteh was created in response to what most South Floridians had known for years: Miss Cleo was a fraud. That is not to say I didn’t/I don’t believe in psychics. I come from a line of women I refer to as the old wives: West Virginia women who embody the Victorian vision of someone associated with the occult (country magic, folk remedies, intuition, a belief in the supernatural and the Christian god). My mother and my great-grandmother both speak/spoke to the dead in their dreams, and my mother is a particularly gifted psychic. I, too, strongly feel I have communicated with ghosts in my dreams, and many of my “dream visions” have come true (sadly, most of these dreams have concerned natural disasters). My mother says my “gift” is stronger than hers. We’ve butted heads a bit, because I don’t believe in the Christian god. When I was a teenager, I flirted with Wicca (my mother became terrified I was a Satanist), but I’m not sure I believe in any deities. I believe in elemental energy (the life force radiating from all living things), and I believe in science. The main problem I have with Christianity–apart from its hateful, judgmental practitioners–is that it is clearly the creation of man. The bible is literature. I would sooner believe in the Greek gods, because while it doesn’t make sense for an all-powerful deity to come from nothing, it makes sense for a pantheon of gods to be descended from the primeval god-sludge of the titans–sort of like the big bang, the universe, human evolution, etc. In any case, I don’t presume to know what’s out there. I only know I am drawn to nature.

dark faery
I Was a Teenage Faery: Dabbling in Wicca at Sixteen

I don’t speak much about my belief in ghosts and visions, because I don’t want anyone to view me as a kook–the way I view Christians as kooks. In my belief system, anything that goes against science (creationism, say) cannot be real. At the same time, I realize ghosts, visions, and energies have been dismissed as hokum by science. I am aware I sound just like a Christian when I say it’s possible there are mysteries we do not understand–mysteries that may eventually be explained by science. My rational self is at odds with my spiritual self.

But this is backstory.

In early October, as I considered the selection of strawberries at the grocery store, a woman approached me. I could feel her staring at me. I thought I was in the way, so I smiled at her and moved my cart. She complimented my eyes. When I thanked her for the compliment, she said, “Were you aware someone cursed you?” I was taken aback at first, but you know, I did know. For some time, I have felt the bad energy directed at me. The woman asked me whether I had ever had my cards read, and I said that I had. She said she normally charges for readings, but that negative energy so permeated my aura, she wanted to help me. We sat down at a table in the cafe next to the produce section. She pulled out an ordinary deck of playing cards and told me to shuffle the deck. She then told me to select three cards: I chose the Eight of Hearts, the Queen of Spades, and the Three of Hearts. She said I was the Queen of Spades, and the person who cursed me was the Three of Hearts. She said that, while this person may not have intentionally cursed me, this person (a woman who feels betrayed) has worked to turn others against me. She then said curses are a “low energy vibration” that can be deflected. I asked her about the rule of three, and she smiled and said, “You won’t cause her harm. Just be positive, and the curse will be broken. She wants you to be miserable, and is telling people the fact you are unhappy is ‘proof’ you wronged her.” She then tapped the Eight of Hearts and said, “It probably feels like everyone in your life is against you. There is a lot of negative energy directed at you, and not just from this woman and the friends you once shared. Just be positive, and things will change. I can tell you are in a lot of pain.” I asked her whether the playing cards corresponded to certain Tarot cards, and she said she was unfamiliar with the Tarot–that her mother taught her to read playing cards, and the method worked well for her. She then said, “I think your mother taught you certain things as well.” She said I have a gift and should explore the spiritual path I abandoned. It was all very eerie. She wished me well and went on her way.

For a while now, I have felt the pull toward green witchcraft. I look around my house, and I see how I organize my crystals and statues in clusters, like little altars. While I do not believe in deities, there are certain aspects of Wicca I never gave up: Tarot reading, scrying, lucid dreaming, herbalism, gardening, meditation. That’s all it really is: a balancing of the self; attunement with nature and one’s living space. I think of this attunement as being similar to the law of attraction. I know I am negative. I know I am impacted by what has happened to me in my life and the way people treat me. I believe this balancing will help, in the same way a healthy garden feels different from a dying garden. I’ve neglected my garden (and my house–man, do I ever need to clean out my closets), and I really do think tending to it is the first step toward tending myself and breaking this horrible cycle of negativity.

I won’t smear the people who dislike me. I’ve done that enough. They wronged me, and in most cases, I did nothing wrong (beyond standing up for myself in my admittedly abrasive way), but that is the past. It is time to move forward. I wish them well. They do not like me, and they are no longer a part of my life, but there is no reason to hold on to this anger.

So, when xoJane ran a piece about a Tarot card reader, I requested a general reading. I suspected the three cards I drew during my playing card reading were the Eight of Swords, the Queen of Cups, and the Three of Swords, and I wanted to see what a Tarot card reader had to tell me. I wasn’t disappointed:

tarot
The cards are so lovely!

And there it is: the Eight of Swords.

According to Ananda:

For you, this card indicates the best course for you right now is to
focus internally. Heal the wounds within you and that will lead to the
spiritual understanding you seek. This will mean exploring unknown
territory. Try some new methods of self-examination, especially
modalities that help to change negative self-talk. You will have to face
your fears to move forward, but you will be most successful if you see
this as a time of adventure and growth rather than something painful and
difficult. You must focus inward now, but later this will lead to better
decision-making and a clearer mind.

EVERYTHING IS EERIE!

Say what you will about Tarot readers: Ananda is the real deal! Everything she wrote mirrors what the playing card reader told me (with one exception: Ananda told me people would want to hear my story and offer support, whereas the playing card reader told me people would only want to be around me if I maintained a positive attitude and didn’t discuss negative things–which I find to be true). While it is no secret I am troubled (I really put it out there), my renewed interest in green witchcraft has been a secret until now. I feel cautiously optimistic about the future.

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