Discovery by divination

The stars, ancient runes and a deck of cards offer a portal into self-exploration.

Psychic Christine Athena reads a client's tarot cards on Wednesday evening at Magus Books & Herbs.

Bridget Bennett

Psychic Christine Athena reads a client’s tarot cards on Wednesday evening at Magus Books & Herbs.

Callie Sacarelos

For a brief period every fall, witches, wizards and the supernatural come out to play with the mainstream.

It’s a great time to explore some of the practices and lifestyles that are a reality for some people 365 days a year.

Divination is easily approachable. Whether you choose to get your reading at a strip mall, a quaint old house or a regular storefront is up to you. 

It isn’t about whether it’s “real” or scientifically proven to work. Readers feed you the shell of a thought, a basic truth about you or something that’s going on in your life. Then you flesh out that idea by connecting that shell to what you know about yourself.

All forms of divination offer different ways to view yourself and your life. The only trick is finding a good reader.

 

Written in the stars

When Heather Robbins started my 15-minute reading at Eye of Horus, it was my first astrology reading and the first time she had seen my chart.

She pulled up my chart on her laptop by using my time, date and location of birth.  The details of my chart sounded like a foreign language: “Virgo moon in Scorpio with a Cancer rising — one degree cancer … Jupiter had just risen over the 12th house. Mars in Aries was directly above the chart …”

I had no idea what she was saying.

Western astrology readings are a complex interplay of elements like the zodiac, moon nodes, astrological houses and many other things that are, frankly, hard to fathom.

Basically, the position of the sun, moon and some of the planets has an effect on our personalities and future depending on when we were born.

After a basic personality reading that seemed freakishly accurate, I told Robbins I was considering moving. She immediately cautioned me to wait a year because, according to my chart, I have some important personal matters to attend to first.

Fifteen minutes is hardly enough time to even scratch the surface of all the information your chart has to offer. If I went again, I’d wait until I wanted specific questions answered, and also budget more time. A 15-minute reading costs $35 at Eye of Horus.

 

Cards on the table

The tarot deck includes 78 cards with characters, scenes and symbols. The reader can interpret the meaning of the cards individually or how they tie together, depending on the spread.

Getting a tarot reading is like getting a pep talk from your best friend. Tarot readers have rarely told me something I didn’t already know about myself or a certain situation, but they got me to think from a different, enlightening perspective.   

The reader places the cards in a specific layout. Each spot in the layout represents an area of life ranging from personal challenges to career trajectory to romantic entanglements.

The simplicity of seeing all the major areas of your life categorized into little piles on the table can make problems that once drove you crazy suddenly obvious.

I met Christine Athena at Magus Books and Herbs in Dinkytown.

I was a little put off at first by the crystal ball sitting in the middle of her table. It smacked of the swindling stereotype that makes so many people skeptical of divination. She told me it was just a prop for her store setup, but that images do appear if a person stares at it long enough.

Athena used a Celtic Cross spread, her card layout of choice, for my general reading.

Her interpretation of the cards that she drew for my family, career and relationship situations echoed many of the same things I heard in the astrology reading the previous night.

At times I felt like she was reaching for something that wasn’t there, like when she asked if my mother was a worrier.

 

The Norse connection

Runes are letters that were used in Germanic languages before the Latin alphabet ruled the world.

Although there isn’t much proof that runes were used for divination in ancient times, modern readers created their own systems based on snippets of rune history.

The set Kari Tauring uses at Eye of Horus looks like small wooden medallions cut from a skinny tree branch, all etched with simple symbols.

 Each symbol has a shape, sound and meaning from both cultural and mythological Nordic stories.

Tauring handed me a basket containing the wood chips and instructed me to shake it as I thought about my questions.

During the reading, I drew three runes from the basket. The first represented my past, the second represented my present and the third represented “necessity,” or what I need to work through the situation.

My past rune was Raido, which looks like a capital ‘R’ and represents a vehicle or journey.

I drew Othel, a fish-shaped symbol that represents homeland and ancestry, for the present.

Hagal, the hailstorm rune shaped like a capital ‘N,’ represents necessity. Hailstorms cause destruction but also clear things away. The symbol represents a clearing of all the things in my life that don’t serve me well. This self-examination and exploration might be stormy, but after the hail clears a path, it melts away.

In the context of the three runes, Tauring said I am about to embark on a journey of deep personal exploration that will include looking not only at myself, but also at my family history while exploring my homeland.

Tauring’s interpretation of the runes centered on my relationship with my mom, a recurring theme that popped up in all three readings.

I thought it was significant that each reader told me that before I could enter the next phase of my life, I had some issues to work out with my mom. Then again, who doesn’t?