Years ago, we all said everything is now. Oh, and a few memories about how each of us perceived that “now” at one intersection of time, space, and mind or another.
So, when somebody wants a stack of money from me to show me how to predict the so-called future, I don’t quite know how to respond to that other than “I think not.”
Typically, we assume time works like the drawing shown here. That means that the astrologer, psychic, tarot card reader, or snake oil salesperson wants to give me a peak into that cone at the top of the drawing.
Their deals always leave something out of the magic answer: me. To put it simply, when a person tells me s/he will give me insight into the future, they’re telling me what I’m going to do tomorrow and next week. Like I don’t know that already. I have a calendar on my desk with stuff written on it for the upcoming days, weeks, and months. If somebody breaks into my house, looks at that calendar, and sends me notes about what they see, they believe they’re providing me with a valuable service. At a premium rate.
The “I’ll Show You The Future” spam plays on people’s fear that the so-called future is already set up by forces unknown and we’re at its mercy. If we’re at anyone’s mercy, it’s ourselves because everything that shows up in that cone at the top of the drawing is what we put there.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of magical realism and contemporary fantasy novels and short stories.
When I used to read Tarot cards and the I Ching, people were simultaneously curious about the future and nervous about hearing what it might be. A person’s feelings about the results of fortune telling were based to a great extent on what exactly they thought the future was/is.
Some people believe in fate, a concrete future stemming from the workings of the cosmos while others believe in destiny stemming from an individual’s probable decisions leading toward a specific or general situation or set of circumstances. I don’t believe in either or that the future is engraved in stone in any way.
The best point of view I heard about a psychic reading is an old one, one that proposes that a reader is standing on the roof of a tall building viewing multiple city streets that are, of course, not totally visible to people or cars on those streets. S/he sees two cars approaching an intersection without traffic signals. They’re moving a the same speed. One prediction might be that there will be a collision. Yet that prediction is not fixed because either car may change its speed, pull into a parking garage, or stop at a store. The prediction, then, is merely a possibility based on current conditions.
Some say that the future is part of (or all of) God’s plan and that He/She moves in mysterious ways. The Presbyterians used to believe in predestination about not only the future in this world but whether or not we’d end up in heaven or hell in the world to come. The outcome was considered fixed. I was a Presbyterian in my K-12 years and thought that belief was silly. Later, Kabalistic studies convinced me there was nothing mysterious about the workings of the Creator.
Some say all time is now. Everything thing that will happen is happening at this moment in one venue or another. We just can’t observe all the venues with our physical senses. Lena, the cat in my Florida Folk Magic Series, has this view.
Some quantum physicists say that everything that can happen, will happen in one universe or another. This tends to be my view because I believe we create our own reality. That is to say, the future is what we are creating unconsciously (usually). A lot of people subscribe to this idea in a speculative sense but deny it when it’s applied to real conditions. They don’t want to believe that if they’re in one of the two cars the psychic sees from the roof of the tall building, they have chosen to be in the collision if there is one.
That notion is counter-intuitive and/or horrifying when you get down to specifics and so people think it’s easier to say that God, fate, destiny, luck, or randomness determines the future rather than to say one has any responsibility for it. Personally, I want the responsibility and find that much more palatable than disagreeing with Einstein and believing that God does play dice with the universe. You won’t be surprised to hear that I never express this belief in public after a tragedy because that would shake up the belief system of another person who is suffering a loss.
In fact, most of the time, it’s just better for me to keep my mouth shut except in “what-if?” posts like this one where many readers will just assume I got into the locoweed again.
I’ll confess, I didn’t do this reading myself. I went out to tarot.com which is kind of a fun site and checked to see what my three-card free reading would be. I learned that the world’s leadership has collapsed and that I should stay alert.
Okay, I can stay alert.
I’ve had decks of tarot cards in my desk since I was in high school. I enjoy the symbolism a lot. The 78 cards cover almost all of life’s situations. When the cards appear to fail, the problem is usually the person reading the cards.
Readers must always recognize that the future isn’t engraved in stone. The cards indicate what will happen based on current conditions. You’ll find the same thing to be true if you use the I Ching, the book of changes, to ask questions about current conditions or the so-called future.
I’ve gotten rusty using either oracle because I discovered a long time ago that I can see the situation better through meditation than on relying on either the Tarot cards or on the I Ching’s hexagrams. In either case, the probable future related to your question always comes from you. The cards and hexagrams are crutches, so to speak. Perhaps “guides” is a better world.
When I was in high school, the country was gripped by one of those recurring new age fads in which folks were reading cards and the I Ching and trying to become one with the universe. As I’ve gotten older, oracles have become less important to me because I realize that I am creating the future events that I will soon experience in everyday life.
While I think oracles can provide a lot of guidance, it’s been helpful to me to leave them behind for the most part. I feel confident that I am on the right path. So I don’t need to keep checking my Tarot deck or my copy of the I Ching to see if I’m right. At some point, constant checking translates into uncertainty and doubt, and once we’re preoccupied with those feelings, we are going to hell in a handbasket.
I find that I’m usually aware of signs, the cries of birds and the appearance of clouds and winds and blowing leaves. I see this as no different than an inner-city dweller being streetwise to possible dangers around the corner or a farmer being aware of changes that might affect the sowing of seeds or the harvesting of crops. Some would say I’m superstitious. Possibly so.
When we become attuned to our environment, whether it’s a mountain town or a big-city suburb, we certainly know better where it’s safe to walk and where it’s not safe to walk. Yes, the Tarot cards can tell me that. But my thoughts are faster.
The whole shebang–whether you call it “the future” or “the big picture” comes down to trusting oneself. Conjure women used to say that if you have to keep checking on how your latest spell is proceeding, you’re signifying doubt
In Frank Hebert’s novel Dune, we were told that fear is the mind killer. That resonated with me when I read it back in 1965. It still does. I also think doubt is a mind killer because it counteracts the positive thoughts we have about a specific project or the future in general.
Symbols tend to resonate with us. Some say that’s like hitting one tuning fork with a mallet and having a nearby tuning fork make the same sound. Art impacts us. Stories impact us. So do “chance” meetings with others or odd changes in the weather or the pictures we find on a Tarot card deck. All that is like computer input. Consciously or subconsciously those symbols alert us to probabilities and help us find our way through the ever-shifting maze of life.
My novel “Lena” continues on sale for 99 cents through October 5th.