New Age and the Occult are usually scoffed at for being unscientific. Just a month ago, I viewed a set of films at the UP Film Center shown by the Filipino Freethinkers, an organization of progressive atheists, agnostics and critical minds. And the unscienticism (my term) of New Age is among the movies’ main thesis, particularly those by academic Richard Dawkins.

Let me just say, I have much respect for these people and their kin all over the world. And I thank them for giving me the opportunity to broaden my knowledge and their perspectives will always be at the back of my mind. They have given me much stuff to ponder on.

I also totally enjoyed the films. I found Richard Dawkins documentaries thought-provoking. And I had a lot of laughs at the hilarious one-person acts of noted comedians taking pointed jibes at the creation story of the Book of Genesis as well as the skewed interpretations of Christian teachings. I also had fun relishing the sarcastic animations that surfaced the harsh judgements and forceful dominations of the mainstream Christian followers against non-believers.

With that, allow me to continue on my narration of my relationship with various spiritual belief systems and practices. This time I’ll tackle New Age and the Occult.

Redemption and Reincarnation

It was some time in college when I embraced the idea of Reincarnation. I had been puzzled for a long while about the Christian belief in Heaven and Hell. I thought if Hell awaited those who failed during Judgement Day, what then? They will just rot in the fires   eternally? I didn’t like the thought that there was no Redemption for people who didn’t know any better during this Lifetime.

I knew some basic facts about Hinduism and its conception of Reincarnation or death and rebirth in another form in a different lifetime. I was also acquainted with the idea of Karma which I understood then as simply repayment for unjust actions and reaping of rewards for good deeds.

Shirley Maclaine as My New Age Initiator

It was no surprise then that when I got introduced by a friend to Shirley Maclaine (yes, the actress and sister of Warren Beatty) through her book Out on a Limb, I totally got sucked into the New Age belief system. The book narrates Maclaine’s discoveries of her spirit guides and the strange coincidences in her life that she attributes to previous lifetimes. She also discussed what appeared to be the science of the New Age while relating it with other philosophical, spiritual and historical knowledge.

I devoured more of her books like Dancing in the Light and many more I can’t recall. In these documentations, she delves into her karmic relationships with the significant people in her life, her journey as an artist, as well as her natural inclinations. She presents New Age as an enlightening personal belief system, rich in purges and epiphanies.

Encounters with New Age Practitioners

Later, I would be intrigued with Astrology and tried to study it but never really got around to understanding its complexities. I was also exposed a bit to numerology and palmistry.

As a young adult and along with some friends, I would have occasional readings and consultations with psychics and intuitives or let’s just call them practitioners of various New Age and Occult crafts.

Just some random readings I’ve retained in my memory, which to me is significant so it’s worth noting down.

1)      A reader of my palm in Ora Café along Kamuning Road, saying I have a strong presence that is noticeable when I walk into a room. That I will be the cause of envy. That I was a gypsy in a previous life.

2)      An astrologer in Ora Café who said I had a lifetime when I was some kind of a male leader in my community and I chose my position over my family. That in another lifetime I was a depressive French artist who died alone in her old age.

3)      A card reader in Manila who said I have a “dilang anghel”.

4)      A card reader in Quiapo who cautioned me against being involved with attached men.

5)      An intuitive in Quezon City who said my birthmarks are scars from a terrifying and painful previous lifetime. That I was betrayed by a friend.

6)      An esoteric reader, who would later become my teacher and who said  that in a very early lifetime, I abused my powers trying to defend a friend and that I cast a painful and powerful blow to an old huge tree. That I had a lifetime in Germany but found my peace living near a body of water in Italy. That I was going to have two sons.

7)      And of course, Malou, who I met a few nights ago. I won’t reveal her specific prediction on who could be my lifetime partner because I don’t want to pre-empt my future and like to simply enjoy the present as it comes. She also told me I’ve been through hell, which is absolutely true, and this period of my life is one of growth and hopefully rewards. She pointed out the nature of the challenges confronting my new-found friend and she was right on the mark. She is a reader who inspires and motivates and warns, definitely not to arouse fear but to simply state what lies ahead and to make one realize that something can be done about it. She has a natural ability, a precious gift, and I wish her all the best in life.

And of course, there were other semi-professional readers and those who seemed just to have the gift. I met them through friends or in the course of work. There was Gigi, the Rune Reader. Shinette, the Tarot Reader, Rachael, a dear friend and tarot reader too, and some others whose names escape me now therefore I am unable to give them proper credit. These people helped me a lot in my specific problems and I thank them for being my counselors.

Yet, there are also some, fakes you can call them. There was this gay reader in Café Ruins in Baguio, whom I scolded because he gave biased opinions and allowed himself and his issues to get in the way of an enlightening reading. He was young and his values veered towards the materialistic and unjustly utilitarian. He was definitely no guide for spiritual growth.

There was also this supposedly known reader in Lapaz, Iloilo. I sought her out but was disappointed. I felt she told me things she thought I wanted to hear. And her motivation was primarily money, not using whatever gift she has to help others.

And of course there are playing cards readers who vend their supposed skill in the beaches of Puerto Galera, Boracay and other places. I don’t know and therefore can’t appreciate their system in reading. And I usually feel their evaluations of your personality and their forecasts are banal and generic instead of sharp and specific. They are rarely any help. But I consult them sometimes out of curiosity and also to help them in their financial woes.

Becoming a Tarot Reader

Later, I was introduced to Wicca. I read about the various faces of the Goddess. I learned a little about Wiccan structures, practices, and beliefs – covens, feasts, creation and destruction stories, and others.

I acted on a desire and bought a Goddess Tarot Deck of Cards with beautiful artworks and representations of Goddesses around the world. Lakshmi, is strangely the one I particularly recall now.

I practiced reading on my own, guided by some information I gathered from the net as well as from the booklet that came along with the deck. Later, I tried it out on friends. And much later, I decided to do readings professionally.

That decision was a result of the coming together of events. The readers at Runes near Tomas Morato were sometimes unavailable. My bar-owner friend was amenable to the idea of me reading. I got an earlier encouragement from Rachael, who told me that her friend visiting from abroad wanted to have a reading by me. The thought that if I could help people, I could only help those who will seek me out. That I should get paid for my services.

My Take on Tarot Reading and My Personal Ethics as a Reader

My philosophy then about reading the tarot which I explained to customers prior to a reading was that it is not predictive. It is a mere reflection of their hidden unconscious and that they have the power and ability to shape their destiny and solve their problems.

I thought then that I am simply there as a guide, an instrument in others’ enlightenment and process. That whatever I say that resonates in them must be taken seriously and must be thought about. That the cards do not reveal that which they are unprepared for. That the cards are a tool that some more open-minded and experimental psychologists could even use.

My Clients

I don’t know if I have helped any of my clients. Some of them were too preoccupied with mundane concerns. Others were more open to insights for self-development and empowerment. Others were hooked to what the future brings. And then there was that one girl who wanted me to confirm whether her boyfriend was being unfaithful. I did not say anything revealing because I did not know at all.

There were skeptics and just plain curious ones. There were true believers and addicts of readings. There were ambivalent ones. There were opposing forces. There were religious fanatics out to explore other methods and inclinations.

There were a few happy ones who were satisfied with the interaction and gave more than they should. There were disappointed ones who felt themselves duped. There were clear-minded ones who got the confirmations they wanted. There were helpless ones who learned nothing at all.

There were gays and women, males and actors, a journalist, an activist, a mild-mannered soul, a stupid cow, a do-gooder, a bored person.

Overall, I enjoyed that experience. There were times when I was blocked by energies and debilitating mental thoughts. Other times when I was inspired and confident about the nature of my readings.

When I had my second episode, a loved one, I don’t know which, took away my Goddess Tarot. I don’t know where it is but if it’s still somewhere hidden, I’d like to have it back. I won’t say please because I lay claim to what is mine.

My German Rider Waite Deck of Cards Now

Several weeks ago, I’ve again taken up tarot reading. This time it’s for personal use. Sometimes it’s helpful, other times, it’s not.

This deck of cards was given to me by my friend Niklas when I was at their home in Wuppertal, Germany in March 2006. I think I might have shared my fascination with tarot to him such that he volunteered to give me his deck. I don’t know if he used to use it, what purpose it served him or if it had been helpful to him.

The Rider Waite Deck is in German so I had no use for it then. But I kept it as a memento from my dear friend, who is now among those I consider my best friends.

It is wrapped in a light blue bandana given to me by Egoy years ago, upon my request. This same bandana used to hold my Goddess Tarot.

Whatever power this deck of cards has, it is balanced by the energies of Egoy, myself and Niklas. Egoy is basically freedom-loving, I am everything, and Niklas is himself. That is all I have to say for now.

P.S.

I would like to acknowledge the energy, the Goddess archetype and the spirit that guided me in this writing. Particularly, on my discussion of the Tarot and my experience with it, I was propelled by an energy to say what I hope are the right words. I found my body twisting while typing so I can flow with the energy and punch in the correct letters.

I would also like to give credit to myself for being able to shift from conscious to unconscious and back again. No, I did not die. Neither did I faint. What I mean is that everything written here is a result of striking the balance between conscious comprehension and unconscious understanding.

Thank you very much to all those present. May this account have some use to others.

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