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Coming Soon

by on September 21, 2016

                                                                     Coming Soon

                                                                 by Marco M. Pardi 

“No man is crushed by hostile Fortune who is not first deceived by her smiles.” Seneca the Younger (5? BCE – 65 CE) Moral Essays.

All comments welcome.  To those readers who have been hesitant to comment or ask questions, please be assured you may do so freely. In recent days several new people have signed on as followers, enabling them to comment freely, and it is hoped they will. All previous posts are open for comment by clicking on “uncategorized”. Reader participation keeps this site vibrant. MMP


My maternal grandmother, from Liverpool, England, was an avid tea drinker.  In my very early years I watched her load tea into a perforated steel ball, with attached chain, suspend the ball in her teapot and pour in the boiling water. She had some internal clock which told her when the tea was ready. She poured it into a cup, added a spot of milk, and put a heavily knitted cozy over the pot.

Of course, this method left tea leaves in the bottom of the cup.  And, swirling the cup and tipping it so the leaves were left distributed on one side she would “read the leaves” for me.  Her readings varying greatly from day to day, and my days being the same from one to the next, I took more interest in how she saw what she saw than in what she saw.  Try as I might, I could not discern a picture, much less a future.  But as a 4 year old I had a very vague and limited sense of future anyway. I did not then know that foreseeing the future was an interest, indeed a compulsion in every culture for which we have records.

The Etruscans, a culture I’ve long been drawn to, read, among other things, non-human entrails and organs, especially the liver. So entrenched was this method that they had bronze mock-ups of livers, carefully mapped and etched to serve as guides for the haruspex, a person specially trained in haruspicey or reading of organs.

After a few more years had become the past a family friend gave my brother and me a Magic 8 Ball.  Some readers may remember these (even those who thought them tools of Satan).  Simply a softball sized piece of plastic filled with a dark fluid and a faceted answer ball,  and having a viewing window through which your “answer” floated up, I recall only a few of the pre-scripted answers such as “Yes”, “No”, “Try Again”, or “Fuck Off”.  Of course, it was simply an amusing toy.  But it’s popularity spoke of a deeper compulsion.  And again, it was foreshadowed by the early Roman device called The Oracles of Astrampsychus, a purportedly ancient Egyptian magician to whom there is no known connection. Indeed, it was a simple fortune telling kit complete with a numbered list of 92 likely questions and a list of more than a thousand possible answers.  The seer would listen to your question, go through a suitable period of mumbo-jumbo – while scanning the list of answers – and deliver your answer with suitable woo-woo ambience.  If 92 questions and over 1,000 possible answers sound too formidable, consider that while individuals may frame their questions differently the questions basically address a very limited number of areas: Sex and money are foremost, with health and well being trailing along behind.  

Time went on, regardless of whether anyone had foreseen it, and I moved into ever more complex life situations.  I read about the Soviet 5 Year Plans, read books such as Poor No More, learned that others carried daily planners, and thought I should map my future.  My 5 Day plans usually fell apart.  So much for that.

Still, in my studies I kept encountering various cultural practices for divining the future.  And, I yielded to a girlfriend’s pressure and went to see a woman who “read cards” (I’ve described that elsewhere).  This person used regular playing cards and, while I was at that time somewhat familiar with Tarot I wondered how she saw – in precise and accurate detail – what she did.  I’ve written elsewhere on this blog about the difference between people and devices; some devices appear to have the answers within them, and some people appear to use the devices simply to achieve an altered state wherein they find the answers.

One device which appears to have the “if you do this, the outcome will likely be…” kind of answers is the Chinese I Ching, or Book of Changes.  I have the original Wilhelm/Baynes edition, with forward by Carl Jung, published in the West.  Since yarrow stalks are hard to come by here, the version includes directions for the substitution of coins. This text is revered throughout the East. Indeed, when a person presses a question too frequently the text itself tells the person to back off. Probably hard for many to decipher, it nonetheless presents astoundingly accurate hexagram verses.

In covering various cultural divination practices in my Anthropology classes (in the 1970’s) I reviewed and explained them, including the I Ching.  I then found out the local Barnes & Noble had sold out of them days after my discussion and had a case on back-order. Each semester I taught the store would stock up, knowing they would have a run. (I never asked the management if they consulted the I Ching about this, or if they just went with sales figures). I suspect the latter. But the message was clear: People were curious about how to foresee possible consequences for the actions.

Following on this information, I carried the knowledge of this curiosity into my Death & Dying classes.  In the context of cultural premonitions, dreams, etc. I briefly reviewed the I Ching and other devices and asked the class the expected question: If you knew of a person or device which you felt could absolutely and accurately tell you when you will die, would you ask? The responses were significantly in the Negative, but there were many in the positive and, on my request, they put forth some cogent reasons for their preference.   

Over the years I’ve not gotten much closer to understanding how divination works when it emanates from the person and not the device.  The same is true for the devices; I shrink from rhetoric such as, “Your vibrations” go into the cards, or the coins, or the runes, or the buffalo chips or whatever you’re fiddling with.  The case of people is actually easier to deal with since we are becoming far more aware, through quantum mechanics, of a field universe we had never dreamed of.  But even keeping the manual right there (which I have done) for objective analysis of how the cards laid out, or the coins formed hexagrams just doesn’t get me from hand motion to result. And I’m not talking some glib bullshit like “You’se gonna’ take a dark trip wit’ a long stranger.” I’m talking concrete specifics.

On most occasions when I’ve met someone claiming to be able to divine the future, through devices or not, I’ve asked, “If you see something I don’t want to happen, can I change it?”  And, you guessed it, I usually get the same wishy-washy “Yes, you create your circumstances, you create your reality. Nothing’s written in stone.” Wait a minute. Either you’re seeing it or you’re not. You aren’t giving me an out, you’re giving yourself an out. This is at the same logical level as telling a religious snake handler he got bitten because his faith wasn’t strong enough. I got a bad outcome because I didn’t exercise enough spirit power, or the right spirit power to change it.  Or, I got a good outcome because, unbeknownst to me, some ethereal aspect of myself changed my circumstances. If at Point A you claim to see the reality of Point B either you are irretrievably right and Point B happens or you were wrong at Point A.  Vipers don’t strike because of your faith or lack thereof, they strike when they sense the appropriate cue.  Handle a snake and you better know the cues; you want a certain outcome in the future then handle your present and know the factors that lead to that outcome.

Yet, the What does my future hold market is apparently quite strong.  A neighbor often brings me a free magazine circulated locally for this, and related markets.  Very slick and expensive to produce, it features dozens of ads for various woo-woo practitioners with endless trains of initials after their names implying degrees from some actual institutions.  Obviously, someone is paying the bills.

And so this leads us to our daily cup of tea.  But I bet you saw that coming.  I don’t need any devices to predict a Trump presidency would be a planetary disaster for reasons too broad and too complex to enumerate here (You’re welcome).  As we sit captive to the demented Punch & Judy show we call the 2016 Presidential race we may find ourselves wishing transport into mid-November just to get it over with.  But then, we might wonder what awaits us.  Our daily gaze at the tea leaves, the national polls, has us as certain and secure about our future as that 4 year old boy wondering how his grandmother saw what she saw.

Too many people go to a Seer of one kind or another to learn where they, at Point A, will be at Point B with no thought of the concrete steps to get there or the initiative to take them. For them, it’s all in the cards, or whatever, and all one has to do is sit back and let it happen.  There is one clear way to grasp the future: Identify the steps to getting there, take those steps – including voting, and have a fall-back in case your candidate loses.  If you get bitten it won’t be because your faith wasn’t strong enough; you’ll get bitten for not taking the appropriate steps.

From → Uncategorized

  1. Great post Marco, enjoyed reading most of it, especially the introduction since I’m also a big fan of drinking tea.

    As for the whole predicting the future predicament, I’m more lenient towards the skeptical side, which is what you seem to be proposing as well. While I can understand that there are charlatans and people who believe in this kind of stuff, it doesn’t take long to realize that it’s almost all a conjecture of the mind, perhaps a delusion.

    Now, whether people actually do possess some paranormal or psychic abilities and are able to accurately foresee the future (or carry out some extra-sensory form of activity), of that I’m not so sure. There are, and have been, many anecdotal claims of interaction with the supernatural world, but with no objective and scientific way of proving them. I don’t know if this makes any sense or if I’m contradicting myself.

    Anyways, thanks for sharing/posting, regards.

    P.S. Hopefully Trump doesn’t get elected, hah!


    • Thanks, PSY. I have seen some baffling stuff from people who apparently can see Point B from Point A. How they do it, of course, is beyond me. Unfortunately, the success of the few leads to the support of the many and that’s where the whole thing comes off the rails.

      Apparently much of the world, except the Russians, is concerned about Trump. I’m not placing any bets, given the intellectual level of so many voters here.

      Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ray Rivers permalink

    Marco – I recall being served tea at a rather formal diplomatic event in China and watching the Chinese hosts busy blowing the leaves to one side so they could drink. They would have to do this several times until, they’d mostly finished the cup. I drink mine black, so leaves around the inner base of a cup are bad enough but milky leave residue is just plain disgusting. I don’t know if reading tea leaves polluted by milk is as formative for these tea leaf readers.

    And in any case, it’s not tea leaves which will determine whether Trump or Clinton win – it will be what they do and say between now and the election, and whether the voting audience pays attention and thinks about the future of our planet.


    • Thanks, Ray. You’ve raised the bar almost impossibly high when you require the voting audience to pay attention and to think about the future of the planet. I’m almost ready to cast the knuckle bones and settle for my fate.


  3. My Journey Out of Darkness permalink

    Great read, Marco! I thoroughly enjoyed it! As someone who “Connects With Spirit” and reads Tarot, I have a tendency to stay away from predicting the futures of others. It is risky business and it is their business, not mine, to know. I would rather facilitate reunions and consult Spirit through Tarot for advice on the here and now. An intelligent decision now leads to a better future. Also, I am a huge fan of tea, also! I got John addicted at an early age and every evening we went through the same ritual as your grandmother (minus tea leaves reading). I also had an 8 Ball but found I connected and received answers from Spirit on my own much better without it. Also, I remember all the responses except “Fuck Off”! – Michelle


    • Thanks so much, MJ. I’m probably projecting that Magic * Ball answer back into the past. But, time isn’t real anyway..

      Yes, I can appreciate your desire to steer clear of predicting futures. The people I’ve known who did so were inundated with requests to “read the cards” and soon found themselves nothing more than a tool.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Gary permalink

    Inshallah, Marco. I used to rely heavily on Chinese fortune cookies that one finds in take out with the “Dinner for Four” selection. However, for the last few times I keep getting one that reads, “Help, I am being held prisoner in a Chinese fortune cookie factory.”


    • That has me deeply concerned, Gary. Perhaps we should ban all Chinese cookies, but the trade repercussions could be Huuuuuge.


  5. This is a tough one; I’ve long been fascinated by parapsychology in all its varied forms, prognostication being the one under discussion here. Can the future be accurately predicted? and can it then be changed? It’s the age-old question of predestination versus free-will.

    I read the Tarot for a while, only for myself, and with no great talent. I find it fun and interesting, but hold no faith in what the cards tell me. I still have to use the book to tell me the meaning of most of the cards. On the other hand, I had a card reading once at a school carnival, and the results were uncannily accurate, speaking of current events, and making no attempt at predicting the future.

    I had a “psychic reading” once; it was fascinating and fun, as all such things for me. She spoke accurately of the past, but placed a warning caveat on her readings of the future; “These things will happen unless…” I happen to believe that the past is immutable, if sometimes subject to interpretation, but the future is being made with every choice we make. Are these choices predestined, and thus predictable, or are they only the possible outcomes of how things will be… unless?

    Unless we think, unless we take action to make right the things which are slowly destroying the world as we know it. The last time I was so worried about how an election would go was when Ronald Reagan was elected. I can only do what I can do to affect the outcome, but you may rest assured that it is being done.


    • Thank you, Rose. Like you, I’ve had some amazing experiences with this and there were several things I certainly did not want to happen, but did. I also felt, as I recognized both positive and negative events as they happened, I could not possibly have engineered the outcome either way.At least, the I that I normally walk around in. So it all makes me wonder who I am and how I fit in the matrix. And, while I try to keep steps in mind, I remember the old military axiom – the plan of battle is the first casualty.


  6. There you are! No matter where you’re at, there you are! I haven’t been getting notifications of your postings and have been busy and haven’t checked. I was hoping you were ok. It’s good to know and ‘see’ you!

    I programmed an 8 ball for my text chat client (IRC – Internet Relay Chat) that any chatter can use in the chat. They type !8ball and their question and get the lame answer. It does include for an answer of “Fuck off! I’m busy!”.

    I even find that Erik says he’s not allowed to say or it isn’t time to say certain things yet the outcome is for everyone to be able to do what Jamie does and love everyone since we’re all from the same source. Well, that’s not helping us achieve this goal and we suffer greatly while the powers that be on this plane continue to totally screw things up royally with no concern for the well being with others. And as I always say, “and not a damn thing will be done about it.” The only thing
    we do know for sure is you can change the past by the way you perceive it.

    Life is what happens when you plan things.

    The Dumb Masses rule.


  7. Thanks, P.O. O guess it’s a good thing there is distance between you and your fellow 8 Ball users.


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