It's a Friday afternoon and I had been putting off my reading with Banicki—a tarot reader who hears melodies and songs during readings—for a few weeks. To be perfectly honest, I was feeling afraid in general about the future. In light of widespread uncertainty permeating the world right now, the excitement that I usually feel toward spiritual and mystical wellness practices like tarot reading was on pause in favor of scarier and decidedly less magical vibes.
In the midst of a nationwide lockdown to fight the spread of the coronavirus and my thesis due date looming (I'm earning an MFA in fiction on the side of my full-time gig), I wasn't so keen to get a reading about the future, because I wasn't sure I was ready to hear what it may hold. So, when I finally worked up the courage to go through with my hourlong session with Banicki, it was with hope that she'd ignite a sense of enthusiasm in me—or, at the very least, hope—about the coming months unfolding under COVID-19's shadow.
What a musical tarot card is like
First, some background on musical tarot card reading. Banicki reads tarot cards, and the musical element of her process reflects the melodies she often hears when she's speaking with her clients. Within five minutes of our session, Banicki—who offers virtual sessions—decides that I'm completely in love based on the songs that pop into her head while she reads my cards: "Ride Wit Me," by Nelly and City Spud; "I Like That," by Richard Vission; and "Mystery of Love," Sufjan Stevens. "Part of your learning in this next year will be about this relationship," says Banicki.
Within five minutes of our session, Banicki decides that I'm completely in love based on the songs that pop into her head while she reads my cards.
This thought resonates immediately with me, especially given that my boyfriend and I unofficially moved in together when stay-at-home orders were first issued. "The cards show me you're working through a pattern in this new relationship. They're telling me that you should try not to repeat what you've learned from the past," she adds. This pairing could be my last, she says (using the two words: "soul mate"), but only if I can learn to shed expectations and accept that this, right here, is how it should be.
It's nerve-racking to hear my emotions reflected through Banicki's clairvoyant cards, but I quickly feel myself getting excited about the future again. Though most of us are working to live day-by-day right now, in non-pandemic times, I consider myself to be a "tomorrow-oriented" person; Banicki's reading helps me recover that part of myself—especially when she shares her vision for my work-related future.
"You should just be writing, writing, writing. The first card that I draw for you is like my writer card," she says, adding that I'll have some sort of breakthrough in October and November with the novel I'm writing, and that I should find an agent next summer. That is absolutely something I can look forward to, and I take it as a good sign that Banicki sends me a playlist after our session that includes "The Mystery of Love," a song that appears in the movie adaptation of one of my favorite books: André Aciman's Call Me By Your Name.
The playlist of songs is a unique feature of Banicki's musical tarot card readings. It includes all of the tunes that flip through her mind as she's reading your cards, and she sends it via email after each session. While she doesn't give specific instructions about what to do with it, I understood my bespoke playlist to be a tool allowing me to continue mulling over the lessons learned in the reading, even after it ended. In fact, I'm still listening to the playlist, picking up on new insights in the lyrics.
What my musical tarot card reading taught me about the future
Even though Banicki and I are talking about the future, I suddenly find myself feeling so lucky for what I have right here in the present: My job encourages my writing and creativity, I have so much love in my life, and—cheesy as it is—my dreams have never been more within my reach than they are right now. And even though its not my natural tendency to embrace uncertainty, through this new tarot lens, I'm able to grasp at hopeful optimism. How I'm feeling really plays out in Marion Black's "Who Knows"—another song Banicki picks out for me. The lyrics go: "Who knows what tomorrow will bring // Maybe sunshine, and maybe rain // But as for me I'll wait and see." Black's right: The months ahead are kind of a giant question mark.
In fact, Banicki tells me that 2020 is my five-year life cycle, a date based in numerology that heralds a journey of new experiences, learning from mistakes, travel (lol), change, freedom, and more. She directs me to a website of numerological insights on what this year could mean for me, and while so many lines stick out to me, I latch onto one in particular: "Make freedom your prime concern. Understand that you are where you are so that you can prosper from the experience of it. If you are to make the appropriate choices and changes, you must be aware of reality at all times. There really are alternatives to your present circumstances, but first you must recognize what needs to be changed inside you."
When I read those three sentences later, after I've hung up with Banicki, the lyrics of "I Melt With You" flood my mind. I realize that even though I'm living with my significant other and am feeling happy about what we share, this song isn't about us. It's about my relationship with myself. "Dream of better lives the kind which never hates // Trapped in the state of imaginary grace // I made a pilgrimage to save this humans race // Never comprehending the race has long gone bye // I'll stop the world and melt with you."
Maybe that's what the future's all about, I think, learning to melt with myself.
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