Isn’t it strange how customs have changed, even over the few decades we have recently lived through?
I recall my sisters saving up to go to the fortune-teller. They were not alone. All the young teenage girls were anxious to consult this particular font of wisdom, this Oracle.
Because it was a money-making project, there were rogues and charlatans one needed to avoid, but there was always some one girl who could vouch that this one was the real thing.
She would demonstrate her knowledge by telling one particular girl how many siblings she had, where her father worked, what her preferences were in style and music (‘You really like Elvis!’ Like, who didn’t?), what illness had recently beset her, and so on. Before long, all were eating out of her hands.
A visit to the fortune-teller then was a rite of passage: these mysterious creatures – they inevitably were old ladies of inestimable wisdom, in total communion with ‘the other side’ – knew (and could demonstrate their knowledge) not just everything about you and your past, but could confidently predict your future partner, when and where you would meet him (her clientele too was inevitably female), how many children you would have, what path lay ahead, when, where and how good fortune would visit you.
In our innocence, though we dwelt in an uncertain, shadow world, we felt that our future was pre-ordained; that magic was not just possible but real, a valuable asset to be explored and exploited. Her powers were magical.
I remember one sister coming home glowing, her horoscope just outlined for her.
‘I’m going to marry a really rich man. He will love me dearly. We will have three boys and two girls. I will live in a mansion and drive my own car – a really expensive model!’
She was glowing with faith. Oh, had the Church done such a fine and thorough job of conversion!
Rarely was any ill-fortune predicted, and when it was, the fortune-teller was held responsible.
‘She’s in touch with the devil! Say your prayers and it won’t happen.’ God was relegated to the first line of defence.
Of course, all predictions related to the medium-term future, and were soon forgotten or over-ridden by those of a later fortune-teller.
Minnie the Caddy told fortunes. I’ll tell you about it later.
… more later …