Peering into the future

By Pari

Face it, we’re in an iffy business. There are too many factors out of our control. Even if we write the best mystery or thriller, one with brilliant plotting, spectacular pacing and outstanding prose – it still might never get published. Even if it does, it might tank. Critics might pan it. Or, it might never earn back the advance.

I don’t know about any of you, but sometimes I yearn for a good way to predict the future. I want to know, for a fact, that all of these late nights, worries, missed walks on gorgeous fall days, sacrificed cups of coffee with friends, the guilt . . . I want to know that they’re worth it.

Yeah, it’s impossible. But that doesn’t stop me from trying.

A long time ago, I used to go to psychics to see if my life had some greater destiny, if I’d be famous or wealthy or happy or married or if I’d save the world. After spending far too much of my meager waitressing earnings on these visits, I realized that most of what these seers told me sounded like utter bullsh*t. The final straw was the well-known psychic who told me that my soul had originated on Venus.

Sure. Right.

I’ve always been interested in astrology and as the years have passed, I’ve moved away from looking at it as predictive to a more psychological approach. Authors such as Liz Greene and Stephen Arroyo have given me many hours of excellent insights into people in general and myself in particular.

But I still want those glimpses into the future, the yes-no answers.

Will I make it in my chosen profession? Will all the sacrifices I and my family have made end with a good result?

I used to try to use Tarot like that (I love the Mythic Deck), but as I’ve grown as a person, so has my approach to that divinatory method. Liz Greene has influenced me there too – as has the wonderful Juliet Sharman-Burke.

Yet, an urge to know the unknown lingers . . .

The other day, I stumbled on a virtual magic eight ball. There’s no way I could go down my usual philosophical road with that, was there? So, I decided to give it a shot.

My very first question: “Will I become a well known and successful writer during my lifetime?”

The answer?

Cool. Just what I wanted to hear. It must be true.

So, today, I invite you to share what you do to feel better about an unknown future OR go to the eight ball, ask a question, and let me know what it answered.


“Will this blog inspire an interesting discussion?”

Answer: (Really, this was the answer. Hah!)

“Signs point to yes.”

39 thoughts on “Peering into the future

  1. J.D. Rhoades

    Itis an interesting topic…whenever I feel inclined to trust in oracles, however, I think back on the story of the Oracle at Delphi which, when asked by a Greek ruler if he should attack the Persians, replied, “A great empire will be destroyed.” He marched out…and his own empire was smashed. Then there are those tricky witches in MacBeth….

  2. billie

    Pari, I have all sorts of oracle tools around, and use them more for stimulating thought than to answer specific questions. More than a single thing though, what I look for is when a number of sources start giving me the same message, and for things in nature that might have interesting symbolic meaning.

    This week’s finds: a mushroom that looked exactly like a crayon drawing of the sun, a mushroom that looked like something out of a fairy tale – it was so perfect and un-real looking, an owl’s pellet full of tiny bones and claws.

    I suspect that owl pellet has something to tell me about the writing process, but I have been so busy since finding it I haven’t had time to think. (and only remembered it when I read your post today, so thanks for bringing me back to it)

    I’m asking the question: what do all of us at Murderati need to know today?

    And pulling one of the Chinese Fortune Sticks that happens to be on this desk I’m working at downstairs. The answer:

    You will suffer through extravagance.

    LOL. 🙂

  3. Alexandra Sokoloff

    For a Pisces from California (from Berkeley!) I’m not very attracted to oracles or predictions, even though I’m still dying for you to do Tarot readings somewhere, Pari!

    It seems too restrictive to have someone tell me my future, when my sense from yoga and meditation is that when I’m centered and balanced, anything is possible at any time. It’s when I get caught up in my own spinning mind that things can look chaotic or bleak.

    (YAY for MAD MEN – best show of the year, and that’s the truth.)

  4. pari

    JD,My attitudes around this subject have evolved tremendously during the last few decades. So much of “divination” is self-predictive in that we hear or see something, believe it, and make it come true.

    That’s one reason I’m very careful when I read Tarot for others now. I only do it when I think the person is emotionally stable enough to take it for what it’s worth rather than as gospel . . .

  5. pari

    Billie,Why am I not surprised ;-)?

    Even though I want that yes/no, I most frequently find myself being attuned to “omens” which is kind of what you’re describing.

    And as I wrote in the post, I use Tarot and astrology etc in a much different way than I used to.

    Frankly, though I know many, many people who believe in the true power of these different techniques (I Ching, Runes etc) to tell the future, I think they truly reflect more of the reader’s internal emotions — they’re useful because through them we’re able to access thoughts and ideas within that were buried deep.

  6. pari

    Alex,Yes, I am surprised, though your balance explains a lot.

    As for reading Tarot — name the time and place and if I can do it . . . I will.

    You also make a good point about when I most want that kind of oracular reassurance: it’s always when I’m struggling or overwhelmed.

  7. Jake Nantz

    Mr. Rhoades, my class just finished discussing that very same play, and those equivocating weird sisters. Perhaps that’s an omen. Hmmm….

    I’ll be honest, Pari, I don’t believe in divination at all. I never have. When presented with a situation where I desperately need to know the future, I pray. If that doesn’t help calm my anxiety (because I know it won’t reveal anything of what’s ahead), then I just go forward and see what happens. Usually the outcome (good and celebratory or bad and mournful) finds me responding to it in much the way of the Porter…and drink is a great provoker. Though lechery it provokes and unprovokes. It makes him, and it mars him. Sets him on and takes him off. Makes him stand to, and not stand….ahem, well you get the idea….

  8. Allison Brennan

    I think everyone is naturally drawn to know the future to a certain point, but I believe that if we know the future, or we think we know the future, we can’t help but change it. If we know our lives are going to be fabulous, we’ll be rich and successful, we might question every decision and ultimately change that future. If we think our lives will be miserable, we may end up in despair and quitting.

    I am FASCINATED by time travel stories in science fiction. THE SOUND OF THUNDER by Ray Bradbury is one of my all-time favorites. And if you watch Star Trek, the episode in Voyager where the guy is blowing up worlds in the past in order to bring back his wife because he was playing around with changing the past and ultimately caused her non-existence. And MINORITY REPORT was brilliant in many ways (even with the movie’s flaws) in addressing issues of ethics in trying to change the future to prevent crime.

    I don’t want to know. Most of the time 🙂

  9. pari

    Ah, heck, Jake,Don’t think less of me for this wild imagination and willingness to believe in things unseen. 😉

    I never try to push my views on others, but they make my life darn interesting.

  10. pari

    Allison,Great perspective.

    I wonder, though, if any of us who play around with divination techniques actually believe them through and through?

    I know I don’t. I still second-guess and doubt — perhaps that’s because in my heart of hearts I know there’s too much magic out there to “pre-ordain” life’s journey.

    Actually, some of the scariest and most unpleasant people I’ve ever met are those who know — with absolute certainty — the future (their future and, perhaps, the world’s . . . but I digress . . .)

  11. Louise Ure

    Pari, I’m with Jake on this. I don’t hold with tarot or Magic 8 Balls or psychic readings. (Although I adore my sister’s insistence that she was born under the sign of Clitoris, with Penis rising.)

    But if it gives you peace … or an interesting life … nothing wrong with that!

  12. Jake Nantz

    Oh Pari, please don’t get me wrong. I said I don’t believe in telling/seeing the future, I didn’t say I don’t believe in things unseen. Hell, I’m an athlete, so I’m automatically superstitious about really weird things (you didn’t want to go near my dorm room as the lacrosse season wore on…I finally had to put my pads out in the camper shell on my truck).

    I’ll often joke that I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’m afraid of them. Stehphen King once said he was a rational man who knew there was nothing under his bed waiting to grab an ankle….He also knew that when the lights were out, as long as he didn’t hang anything over the side of the bed, what wasn’t there couldn’t grab it. That’s definitely me. I mean come on, I’m a Christian…how much more “faith in the unseen” can there be?

    And wild imagination? We’re writers. Trust me, I know we’ve got wild imaginations. I wouldn’t think less of you for it…quite the opposite in fact.

  13. pari

    Brahahaha, Louise,I love your sister’s comment.

    I know there are many, many people who don’t go down this road and I thought long and hard before writing this post.

    Believe me, I wish I had a divinatory technique to tell me many things about the world today — but I’m not sure I’d totally believe them, anyway.

    The discussion this morning is quite interesting so far. I hope it continues.

  14. pari


    Actually, you make a good distinction and it’s helping me frame my own attitudes as well.

    I do think that there’s something to all of this divinatory stuff . . . just not quite sure what it is.

    As to things unseen, I’m glad you clarified.


  15. Tammy Cravit

    See, I’m the opposite of you, Pari — I only do tarot readings for myself, because for me, the cards are nothing more or less than a mirror which reflects what Younger Self, the playful, right-brained, childlike Yungian part of my psyche, is thinking. Younger Self likes pictures, and she responds well to the Tarot cards. (I use the Sacred Circle deck).

    When it comes to telling the future…well, I’m eternally curious, of course, but I recognize that it wouldn’t matter what the Oracle told me anyway.

    It’s like the old story about the kid who plays violin and dreams of being a concert violinist. In college, he takes a class from a renowned violinist, and he asks his teacher for an unbiased evaluation of his skills. The teacher listens to him play, then says “I’m sorry to say, you don’t have what it takes to be a concert violinist.”

    The young man is crushed, but gives up his dream to pursue a successful career in investment banking. Years later, he meets his old teacher, and tells him about the success he’s had. “But tell me,” he asks, “how could you tell from just a few minutes that I didn’t have what it takes.”

    “To tell the truth, I barely listened,” the old man says. “I tell everyone who asks me that they don’t have what it takes.”

    “But, that’s terrible!” The student is horrified. “But for your words, I might have gone on to become a great violinist! You derailed my dreams before I even had a shot!”

    The old man shakes his head sadly. “No, you don’t understand,” he replies. “If you really had what it took, you wouldn’t have paid any attention to what I thought.”

  16. Fran

    Pari, I have several tarot decks, and I don’t read for myself but I do read for others, and in fact I ought to do one soon.

    I used your virtual magic 8 ball to ask two questions. The first one I know the answer to: Will we be moving soon? And it gave me “All signs point to yes.”

    Then I asked, “Will our marriage be recognized across the country?” since Lillian and I went to California and got married on Friday. Its answer? “Cannot give an answer at this time”, and I have to believe that, considering the current political climate!

    I’ve read tarot for decades now, and I tell people that it can be just a game, if that’s how you want to see it, or it can point you in directions if you choose to take it that way, but the future’s always changing, and every action we take sends ripples that have unseen effects. So, as long as no one’s going to get hurt, go for it!

  17. pari

    Tammy,We’re not the opposite at all. I do readings for myself precisely for the same reasons. I’ve come to this after years of reading for others . . .

    I think that cautionary story you gave us could be applied to every single person who writes and doesn’t give up!

  18. pari

    Fran,What decks do you like?

    I like your attitude and think it’s a good way to introduce the idea of reading the cards for others. I just found that, because I’m terribly intuitive and have this authoritative way of saying things, that people believed me too easily.

    I didn’t like the responsibility 😉

    Sounds like the 8 ball was pretty accurate, no?

  19. j.t. ellison

    First off, FRAN!!! Congratulations! I hope you and Lillian find years of happiness in your future.

    Pari, you should have never given me the address of that damn eight ball. Though it’s telling me what I want to hear, I still don’t believe it.

    I’ve never had my cards done. I’m scared to hear what someone might interpret off me and project into my consciousness. So much of this is self-provoked, I think there’s no way to have a pure, unclouded view. We always have desire, and it can mess with hope, I think.

    That said, the one and only time I’ve had my palm read it was so eerily correct that I swore never to do it again. I think I’m an easy read – I don’t know how to have the karmic walls up, so to speak.

    Have you seen the ads for THE MENTALIST? I’m interested to see how that show works.

  20. Kaye Barley

    I’ve never had my cards read, but would LOVE to do that! But I suspect I’ll react the same way I do to that eight ball when I don’t like what it says. I say “ACK! Wrong answer, let’s do it again, please!” Is that allowed??

  21. pari

    JT,Yes, I think a lot of “reading” is reading the person.

    That said, I’ve tried to subvert some readings that others have done on me and they’ve still be accurate AND really, really eerily detailed.

  22. Catherine

    I really prefer to just roll with things rather than overplan. I’m able to adapt faster this way.I drive my father(Virgo)nuts with this though.

    To not overplan is a logical progression of what I’ve learnt as an adult.I’ve had too many certain things, be anything but.

    To me any forecasting, is just looking at possibilities.I handle an unknown future by accepting my responsibility within it. Personally I feel it’s up to me to recognise the good stuff happening right now, and also up to me to be ready to embrace the possibilities in the future.

    Congrats to Fran and Lillian too. I hope your joy keeps expanding.

  23. pari

    Catherine,I admire and strive for that Be Here Now attitude, but sometimes it’s a true challenge.

    That said, I’m usually quite content with the present.

  24. Fran

    Pari, I currently use the Sacred Tarot deck, although I have an Aquarian that was bequeathed to me, and Goddess and Fairie decks as well. I also have runes.

    My favorite deck that I used forever was destroyed by someone who wished me ill. She said it was an accident, but we both know it wasn’t. And the sad part is, I have no idea what deck it was.

    Thanks for all the good wishes, y’all. We’re over the moon happy!

  25. PK the Bookeemonster

    I don’t think I’ve wanted to know the future in that sense — I believe that as a human and especially a female I have the free will to change me mind on any outcome. But I HAVE wanted to know what my purpose was — just give me an answer to what I’m supposed to be doing, is that too much to ask? I mean, other than I’m supposed to be doing the laundry when I’m reading a good book.

    Much love,PK the Bookeemonster

  26. Brett Battles

    Anything that is said to predict the future actually scares me. I don’t want to know. I’m afraid of two things…1) getting an answer I’m not happy with, and 2) exactly what Allison said, afraid of doing something to change what will happen. Intellectually I KNOW none of these things probably really work, but I steer clear of them anyway. No sense in tempting fate!

  27. pari

    Fran,I’m going to have to check out the Sacred Tarot. I do like the Aquarian deck but only have the Mythic one now.

    Do you like runes? I used to have some but didn’t get into them.

    Also used to love the Medicine Wheel deck . . .

  28. pari

    PK,I think that’s what I like about Tarot; it can help you see some of the workings of your own subconscious in ways that are enlightening and fun.

    I don’t use it to predict that much because I guess, when it comes down to it, I believe in too much magic for that.

  29. pari

    Brett,Nice to see you 😉

    Yeah, I hear you.

    The good thing about these “techniques” is that if you don’t like the answers, you can ignore them.

    And as far as influencing the future — Tammy had a nice story about that here earlier today. My view? We all influence the future no matter what we do.

  30. Stephen D. Rogers

    I got a flat tire on the way to work today. What was I thinking about when it happened? What challenges have I been facing in my life? If the flat tire is a message, what does it mean?

    Looking at how I interpret the event, what does that tell me about my state of mind and gut instinct?


  31. pari

    Stephen,Heck, I don’t know. I was trained as a therapist (MSW with a specialty in therapy)and never worked in the field because I can’t get past how much people obssess about themselves. (NOT a good thing to find irritating 😉 )

    Sometimes a flat tire is just a flat tire.


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