Friday,26 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1428, (31 January - 6 February 2019)
Friday,26 April, 2019
Issue 1428, (31 January - 6 February 2019)

Ahram Weekly

Let the cards do the talking

More and more people are turning to tarot cards to find out their prospects in 2019, writes Ameera Fouad 

Let the cards do the talking
Let the cards do the talking

Om Amna is sitting by the beach in the Bahari district of Alexandria. Carrying a bag full of cards, she calls out to people to come and try their luck. Twenty years ago, she would have laid out stones or read coffee cups. Today, laid out in front of her is a pack of tarot cards. “Come and see what your luck will be,” she shouts out. 

Some people pass by, but others stop to find out what the future might hold, according to the tarot cards.

Om Amna has been in the fortune-telling business for more than 30 years. “The business has changed a lot, and now you can see women on television and on the satellite channels, educated and from very good families, working as tarot-readers and horoscope-readers,” she said.

“December and January are the best months of the year for our business. Sometimes we go to people’s homes, and sometimes people come to us by appointment. We are not fortune-tellers, but we can read the signs,” she added.

“2019 will bring very good luck to Egypt politically, economically and socially. We have gone through seven years of bad luck, but 2019 will be the first year of Egypt’s prosperous phase. In fact, we will be a quiet island in the middle of a tsunami that will hit the world,” Om Amna said.

Bassant Youssef, a tarot-card reader, agrees. Bassant is one of the most-famous tarot-readers in Egypt and the Arab world, and she has developed her own technique of interweaving the Zodiac signs with tarot cards.

“When tarot-readers examine a particular country’s luck, they always research the ways the planets move,” she said. She added that 2019 will be similar to 1518, 1934, 1990, and 2007. These years witnessed major events, and so will 2019. There may be some problems, she added, but we will likely enjoy stability and progress in the economy.

“The layman will see the outcome of the development projects the country has been undertaking,” she said.

Doaa Karam, a physic and a tarot-reader, says the cards do not tell the future. Instead, they reveal the unconscious, she said. 

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a European psychic movement, claims that “the most powerful sources of information come from within. The tarot aids in coming into contact with the higher self,” she said. “Card-reading for me is a layering of what one wants and is all about the energy you bring with you,” she added.

“If you are coming with preconceptions, the readings become blurred. You must come with peace of mind,” Karam added.

Though many people try fortune-tellers, horoscopes and other techniques on social media, fewer turn to them in real life. However, there is no accurate figure of how many people use fortune-tellers in Egypt.

“I turned to a local one when I was obsessed with the idea of death. I wanted to know when I would die,” said Mohamed Ashraf, 45, an accountant. “This idea ruled my life at the time and had overridden any happiness I could feel. This is why I turned to a fortune-teller who told me that I would die as an old man in bed.”

Though Ashraf is not sure of the exact year he will die in, having a response from someone whom he can trust has definitely reassured him. 

This is what Karam works on – what she calls the positive energy of human beings in parallel to the universe. All sorts of occult tools like the tarot are the keys to unlocking the doors of unconsciousness in our minds, she said. 

Many people are craving the ability to look into themselves and their lives with new and open eyes, something that the tarot offers in abundance. However, it is important to let the cards do the talking. “You must read the cards with no preconceptions about the person or the concepts they are asking about,” Yasmeen Allam, a tarot-reader, told Al-Ahram Weekly. 

Tarot-reading can be essential to mapping the soul, she said. Researchers say it is a deep psychological guide to self-empowerment, as imaged through 78 symbolic cards. The game originated in Italy in the 1500s, when it was called “taroccchi.” Later, it developed through the years until it reached the form it has today.

Tarot-readings are divided into questions and open readings. In both types, the tarot does not answer specific questions, but rather opens the receivers’ minds to help them to make decisions themselves. This is why it is very important to ask the right questions. 

Allam gives this advice: “Ask the burning questions for you personally; do not ask for someone else; keep out presuppositions, or the cards will not help you; and stay positive towards the session.” 

Many people also resort to card readings to help them overcome complicated issues concerning their partners and relationships. “There is no card that can show you that next week you are going to marry a handsome young man or a beautiful woman and that you will live happily ever after,” Allam commented.

“However, we can know part of the past and part of the future by the signs the cards can give us,” she added.

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