Pep Talk with a Tarot Reader

Among the many advantages of working for a government entity, is that one gets the privilege to attend numerous pieces of training. You could get trained on how to collect coronavirus samples yet you studied anthropology. You could be trained on phlebotomy yet you have a degree in metaphysics. Never have I missed any opportunity to attend any training. A weeklong training on Stata Software is the most recent I have been to. I was somehow convinced by my biochemist colleague that research and statistical analysis are compatible, complementary, interdependent, interrelating and all manner of words describing their co-relation. So I attended with the motive of gaining the benefits that come with training. Petty benefits like a bottle of water every two hours, a handful of éclairs after every meal, free pens and notebooks and the opportunity to feel important being taught by accomplished individuals.

Our trainer was one Professor Achia. That guy has 65 publications in Research Gate with 15,854 reads and 358 citations. He has been cited 468 times in Google Scholar. He has supervised 55 Master of Science candidates to completion and not less than 20 Ph.D. candidates. He is a guru in linear regression models of statistics, multivariate statistics and spatial statistics among many other hard statistics stuff. He has a skill in teaching. I hardly remember anything he taught except for a statement he kept repeating every day for five days, ‘One of the greatest faults in most observational case studies has been the failure to make explicit the quasi-statistical basis of their conclusions’. Looking up that, I learned that Becker’s quasi-statistics are a way to make non-precise counts like ‘some’, ‘usually’ or ‘most’ more precise. People study statistics for four years? Professor Achia, though, was a great guy. I have a certificate of completion for data analysis using the Stata software.

On the third day of the session, I met Chepchumba. She was relatively new to the organization and she had the vigor of a scientist. A scientist never relaxes. A scientist is always hoping to come up with an invention in their respective fields. Chepchumba had that vigor. Chepchumba had melanin that I would wish to have too. Her skin color was that of espresso. Black coffee. Her teeth’ enamel were milky white complimenting her skin tone. She is the type of lady who, courage has no choice but to be mastered so that, you don’t part minus exchanging pleasantries.

“Orina, how is the Stata training auguring with you?” she asked.

Like Eve of the Bible, I answered the contrary.

“Professor Achia is out of this world. I have never met such an eloquent statistician.”

Chepchumba was clever and asked again.

“Did you understand the aspect of bivariate linear regression?”

“Not quite but then I have mastered the commands. I have them in my ‘do file’.” I said with a lot of confidence despite my dishonesty.

“Awesome! I’ll look for you in the evening you help me out.”

My intestines twitched because neither did I have the ‘do file’ command nor did I hear bivariate linear regression being mentioned by professor Achia.

“Why do I detect an American accent in your English?” I tactfully changed the topic quickly.

“I did my undergraduate in Canada.”

“Really! Have you ever met Miguna over the weekends as you strolled about in your leisure time?”

“Ha! Ha! How many times have you met Atwoli or David Ndii in your leisure walks over the weekends here?”

“I have never met either.”

Our conversation flowed with equal energy. She had a lot of sense of humor. The subject of our discussion changed when she mentioned that she did tarot reading and I thought she was bluffing.

“What is tarot reading?” I asked.

“It is the practice of using tarot cards to gain insight into the past, present or future by formulating a question, then drawing and interpreting cards. It is a type of cartomancy.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“You see the way magicians shuffle cards and pick say 9 of clubs? It is the same thing that I do, but now as a tarot reader. Each of the tarot cards has a specific symbol and image with which has a meaning that can only be deciphered by one with skill like myself.” She replied with a grin.

“What is cartomancy? That is the hardest word I have heard of this year.”

“It is fortune-telling or divination using a deck of cards. People who do cartomancy are known as cartomancers or card readers.”

I thought to myself, ‘does she think I can buy what she was telling me?’

As I was vehemently brushing off her words as stories, she asked me what I would love to know about my future.

“When will I marry and to whom will I be married to?” I asked.

She ejected a stack of cards from her purse and shuffled them swiftly for about 2 minutes. Then she let one card lay on her lap. It had a drawing sort of a knight that is usually the king in the game of chess. She studied it hard or rather appeared to. She squinted her face a bit then lit up with a smile almost immediately.

“I am unable to tell when and to who but I can tell that your marriage will be prosperous.”

“Chepchumba, I know you love magic and you watch a lot of magical movies. How should I believe that? Give me your cards please.”

I shuffled them at a faster rate than she had previously done. I let two cards fall on my laps and then I told her that the two cards were interpreted to mean that she would be successful in her professional life but she would face some bit of trouble in her marriage life.

I had made all that up of course.

She hysterically laughed and brushed off my sentiments and stated that that is not how tarot readers go about it.

And I went ahead and checked out tarot readers on YouTube. Those guys are for real. But they don’t make sense to me.

“It’s said that the shuffling of the cards is the earth, and the pattering of the cards is the rain, and the beating of the cards is the wind, and the pointing of the cards is the fire. That’s of the four suits. But the Greater Trumps, it’s said, are the meaning of all process and the measure of the everlasting dance.”
― Charles Williams

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