The bubble I’m talking about isn’t the thin membrane of false assumptions and wishful thinking that begs to be pierced by way of earnest but unsolicited advice (“I hate to burst your bubble, but . . .), it’s the veil of semi-secrecy that many of us as diviners operate behind for most of our days. We’re like the hyper-allergic kid in that old John Travolta movie, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, afraid of exposure that might compromise our credibility (and our livelihood) in the “real world.” I used to work in an industry where employees had to be vetted by the FBI, and my fingerprints are most likely still on file in some forgotten database in Washington, DC. It goes without saying that my esoteric interests went unspoken in that environment for over thirty years.
I’d like to think that there are enough open-minded, curious people in the world who can take our unusual avocation in stride to give us at least a minimal outlet for social engagement in our chosen field. Instead, stifled snorts of derision and barely restrained eye-rolling are more likely among the general populace (“You really believe in that stuff?”), unless we live and work in a particularly free-thinking area. Consequently, we wind up practicing our skills on ourselves, a few family members and a small circle of close friends, while dreaming of someday “going public.” At this advanced point in my life I’m thick-skinned, ready and willing to endure ridicule from the ignorant and uninformed, but I’m still not making much headway in expanding my horizons. Part of it is inertia, but much of my reluctance to push the envelope is still due to the pervasive hostility of our materialistic society toward anything that doesn’t qualify as “science” in the eyes of the institutionally blinded. I can’t be quite as snotty as John Cleese in Monty Python’s Architect Sketch (“blinkered, philistine pig-ignorance,” eh?) but the thought is there. The “Enlightenment” certainly didn’t do you and me any favors.
I haven’t exactly been in hiding. I’ve had a professional tarot-reader’s profile published in a regional newspaper and my writing has been featured a few times in The Cartomancer quarterly and the American Tarot Association’s monthly and quarterly periodicals, but breaking the ice on the social front is another matter. You don’t exactly walk up to a new neighbor and say “Howdy, I’m a cartomancer (say what?), do you want a reading?” Maybe I should just buy a silk turban and a crystal ball (well, to be truthful, I already have the latter) and hit the party circuit. Of course, anyone who knows my name and has the savvy to look me up online will see exactly what I’ve been up to; there are no secrets in cyberspace.
If it weren’t for the internet, most of us would be howling in the wilderness (although if we’re completely honest about it, many of the more vociferous among us are still howling, but in multi-part harmony if not always in total unison). I’m a bit lukewarm about the tarot forums and Facebook pages; too many of them are thinly-disguised venues for getting free readings in the form of “advice.” I’m sometimes suspicious that those who ask for detailed help with interpretation of a spread are just going to turn around and sell our observations to a client. (But then, what Scorpio wouldn’t be.) There once was a thriving community of esoteric thinkers on the longest-running of the forums, but that evaporated upon its demise, so I’m not getting much satisfaction there either. If I were willing to do on-line readings for pay, I might feel more connected to the pulse of our culture, but I won’t so I don’t. That leaves me paying for the privilege of talking to you here, and I seem to have found at least a modest audience. Thanks for following me.