Psychics and the Pandemic

Excerpted from the New York Times, this article describes how psychics are moving to more online readings and the rising popularity of consulting psychics during this stressful time.

PsychicWhat, if Anything, Can Psychics Tell Us About All of This?

Demand for their services has illuminated another kind of health crisis.

A few weeks before the U.S. presidential election, Zulema Hormaeche, a tarot reader in Los Angeles, chose a card to reflect the state of the nation. It was the one that depicts a tall building struck by lightning, with flames bursting from the top and occupants leaping to their deaths. “The Tower,” she said, “is the end of a system as we know it, the end of an era as we know it.”

Ms. Hormaeche has an intimate understanding of the ways this year upended people’s lives and sapped their optimism. She has peered into a huge number of homes during virtual consultations. Her clients tell her they are eating and drinking more, and that they feel desperately lonely. And sometimes they mention even more troubling details. One client, she said, described a dream in which she harmed her children.“All of us are feeling the fear of everybody,” Ms. Hormaeche said, and that fear, coupled with uncertainty about when it might abate, has caused demand for spiritual guidance to soar. According to data from Yelp, interest in businesses in the somewhat niche “Supernatural Readings” category more than doubled in April. Keen, an online marketplace for psychics, has reported a steep rise in customers.

These consultations function almost as armchair counseling sessions: clients can open up and have their thoughts reflected back at them through a nonscientific — even mystical — lens. And while there is good reason to doubt the material of psychic readings (the mystical realm being inherently unknowable, or at least, endlessly interpretable), these consultations provide comfort for some.


The Surrealist Artist Leonora Carrington Created Tarot Card Paintings

Hierophant-920x1024In a case of art meets new age, artist Leonora Carrington created a series of tarot card paintings.

As reported in Artnet news -

Tere Arcq didn’t expect anything like what she found during a 2017 visit to a collector while she was doing research for the 2018 show “Leonora Carrington: Magical Tales” at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City.

She knew that Carrington, the English-born painter who lived in Mexico and was part of the Surrealist group, was interested in all things occult. She knew she had done paintings based on imagery from tarot cards. But she did not know that Carrington had done a whole suite of small paintings based on the Major Arcana, the 22 trump cards in the standard 78-card pack.


“I was speechless,” Arcq said in a phone conversation. “It was an epiphany.”

She describes it as the greatest surprise of her research for the show, and one of the greatest achievements of the exhibition overall.

These paintings are now the subject of a new book, The Tarot of Leonora Carrington, published by Fulgur Press. A limited edition including the deck in facsimile with an essay on tarot by expert Rachel Pollack, an introduction by the artist’s son, Gabriel Weisz Carrington, and essays by Arcq and art historian Susan Aberth, priced up to $400, sold out within days. A limited edition of the deck alone also went quickly (but will be reissued and available from Fulgur Press direct in January or February). A trade edition of the book will be available in February, priced at $50.

Carrington took the Surrealist world by storm when, at just 19 years old, she fled the confinement of a wealthy English family for the freewheeling scene in Paris. André Breton took up her cause, and her work went on view in the Surrealist group’s exhibitions and publications. She left Europe for Mexico during the Second World War, where she befriended cultural figures including the filmmaker Luis Buñuel. Now firmly part of the art-historical canon, Carrington saw her work exhibited in museums worldwide before she died in 2011 at age 94. Interest has only grown since.

The Tarot of Leonora Carrington, published by Fulgur Press.

The Tarot of Leonora Carrington, published by Fulgur Press.

For Aberth, the discovery of the deck sheds new light on Carrington’s body of work.


“Once we saw the tarot, we immediately knew that this was very important to the iconography,” she said in a phone interview. “For many years, people thought her work was playful, a bit like fairy tales. But it’s a very serious study of esoteric principles—primary among them the tarot.” She describes a famous 1938 portrait of her then-lover, the artist Max Ernst, as being “exactly like” the Hermit from the tarot deck.

Many versions of the tarot deck exist, but, by Arcq’s lights, Carrington’s is unique. She primarily drew inspiration from the well-known Rider-Waite set, as well as the Marseilles tarot. But her use of gold and silver leaf, mostly when the imagery shows the sun or the moon, reaches back to conventions of older sets, and her inspirations were diverse: the figure of the High Priestess, Arcq says, looks to Egyptian renditions of the goddess Isis.

The new book scratches several itches, including an overdue interest in women artists who were overshadowed by their male peers, and a new enthusiasm for artists with a taste for the occult (such as Hilma af Klint and Agnes Pelton).

But while the occult may be hot right now, Aberth points out that for Carrington, it wasn’t just a means of fortune-telling, but rather a guiding principle on a much higher plane.

“For a certain portion of the population, one of tarot’s appeals is divination,” she says. “Like in all divination practices, there is the element of chance unfolding a higher truth. But Carrington was way beyond divination. She studied tarot very seriously as a means to journey upon a higher realization path. It has a psychological as well as a spiritual element. It’s a guide for greater self-knowledge.”

Lena Rodriguez - Tarot Down Under

Lena Rodriguez is a fascinating Australian tarot card reader who has been conducting readings - primarily political - on YouTube. Her forecasts, no matter what your political persuasion, are fascinating as you can see in this July 17 reading:

Salvador Dalí’s Tarot Cards Will Tell Your Surreal Future

I want these cards!!

The deck was originally created for the 1970s James Bond film Live and Let Die, starring Roger Moore and Jane Seymour, but it never appeared in the picture.

If you think you already know everything there is to know about Salvador Dalí, this lesser-known factoid might change your mind: In the early 1970s, the surrealist artist ventured into the occult with a custom deck of tarot cards featuring himself and his wife, Gala, as mystical figures. The deck was originally created for the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die, starring Roger Moore and Jane Seymour, but it never appeared in the picture.

In 1973, Albert R. Broccoli, a producer for the 18th James Bond spy thriller, approached Dalí with an offer to create the tarot deck for a scene in the film. The cards were needed as props for the character of Solitaire, played by Seymour, a psychic who works for a menacing drug lord. As Bond films typically go, the psychic changes sides to become the spy’s collaborator and love interest.

Dalí accepted the offer and started working on the cards, possibly encouraged by his mystically inclined wife Gala, but it was rumored that the contract fell through when the artist demanded an astronomical fee that was too high even for the film’s $7 million budget.

The deck’s 78 cards combine classic tarot themes with Dalí’s signature motifs: dissected faces, ants, roses, and butterflies. The deck features the artist himself as the Magician, while his wife poses as the Empress. Dalí’s Ten of Swords card — which can represent betrayal, backstabbing, or the death of a relationship — is a depiction of the assassination of Julius Caesar. The Queen of Cups is a play on François Clouet’s portrait Elisabeth of Austria, Queen of France (circa 1571), whom Dalí dresses with a goatee and mustache. The Moon is a woman’s face looking down on at a modern metropolis and Death is an ominous skull in a floating, cut-off cypress tree.

Queen of Cups (© Cartamundi, Turnhout Belgium © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019)
Death (© Cartamundi, Turnhout Belgium © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019)

As a poke at the producers of Live and Let Die, Dali gave the Emperor’s face to actor Sean Connery, who was the first to portray Ian Fleming’s literary spy character in a film. Connery and Moore were in public rivalry at the time, each criticizing the other’s performance of the secret service agent.

Taschen Books’s edition of the deck comes with an explanatory booklet authored by tarot expert Johannes Fiebig. It includes an introduction about Dalí and a guide explaining the meaning of each card and how to perform a reading.

Salvador Dalí as the Magician on the cover of Taschen Books’ edition of the artist’s tarot cards (courtesy of Taschen Books)

Musings on Tarot

TarotFor those seeking a way to make sense of the world, I recommend a tarot reading with a reputable reader. I have found that tarot cards are really good at telling you what you already know but may not be ready to hear. And when someone reads your cards, you can also see what is revealed and discover something that may not be said to you.Knowing what certain cards mean can give you added insight into what is what.


If you see the following cards, you will get your wish:

The Sun

The Nine of Cups


If you see the following cards you can make your own success - I call them Grit cards:

Two of Pentacles



If you see the following card you need to pull back and meditate. You know the answer - you just have to hear it:

The High Priestess