THE FORTUNE HUNTER

I sit atop my bed sur­rounded on all sides by pa­per— Once again, as life dic­tates, I am at a cross­roads. form­ing bat­tle plans and con­tin­gency ma­neu­vers, to an­a­lyze my next moves.

Esquire (Philippines) - - THE MAN WHO BOUGHT THE WORLD -

But even with all this at­tempts at or­ga­niz­ing my world, I’ve never had a life plan. Dreams, per­haps, but never a plan. The never-end­ing manic phase that was my twen­ties en­sured that plans were sim­ply dreams; for­got­ten in the greater scheme of my life, where ev­ery­thing was a re­ac­tion to the mis­fir­ing pulses in my brain. I was lost in a haze and it took me a while be­fore I could find my bear­ings and begin to nav­i­gate with some mod­icum of clar­ity.

“Life and liv­ing are a vast ocean, so just keep swim­ming,” I keep telling my­self when­ever I’m feel­ing a lit­tle bit aim­less. If I just keep go­ing, I’m bound to find some­thing that takes me to what I’m sup­posed to do next. But what if my ocean was noth­ing more than a glo­ri­fied fish­bowl and I’m bound to swim around in cir­cles re­peat­ing, re­gur­gi­tat­ing, never re­solv­ing or…? In­sight. I need in­sight.

We seek ad­vice from our el­ders, those we con­sider wise. We seek coun­sel from friends, fam­ily, priests, and psy­chi­a­trists. So is it too far a stretch to seek guid­ance from those who seem to have a line to some­thing beyond the veil? Has our em­pir­i­cal view of life so nar­rowed that we refuse to be­lieve what we can­not see?

When did try­ing to un­der­stand the in­tan­gi­ble be­come lumped to­gether with fairy tales and myths? From be­fore the time the Or­a­cle sat at Del­phi to the present, di­vin­ing fu­tures has al­ways been a hu­man pur­suit. Em­per­ors, kings, and pharaohs who wanted a clearer, more di­rect line to the Great Beyond went to or­a­cles of the an­cient world: high priests, shamans, and sooth­say­ers. This isn’t New Age. This is isn’t even old; this is an­cient. But as the world pro­gressed, we be­gan to have less use for mys­ti­cal in­ter­pre­ta­tions. Em­pir­i­cal think­ing tuned us into a whole new, wholly dif­fer­ent Age of En­light­en­ment. We have the new gods of sci­ence, math­e­mat­ics, logic. We’ve for­got­ten how to keep in touch with our spir­i­tual selves.

Spir­i­tu­al­ism is more than or­ga­nized re­li­gion. I be­lieve in God. I be­lieve in the strength of faith. I be­lieve in the power of prayer. I also be­lieve that there is much more out there that we can­not even begin to com­pre­hend, and that some peo­ple are bet­ter at un­der­stand­ing th­ese un­known forces than oth­ers.

I be­lieve, for in be­lief there is faith; and where there is faith, there is the will to move for­ward, to per­se­vere, even if it is largely con­sid­ered to be just a bunch of ho­cus-pocus. I don’t know when the art of prophecy be­came more akin to a par­lor trick, but once upon a time ev­ery­one who was any­one checked in with those who could con­duit for the divine.

I must di­gress: this wasn’t sup­posed to be my story. I picked up this story when the orig­i­nal writer gave it up. By the time I de­cided to take on this tale, I had pretty much de­cided on what I was about to do with my life—but a sec­ond, even third or fourth opin­ion wasn’t a bad idea. And why not try a dif­fer­ent path to clar­ity?

My cast of char­ac­ters are as var­ied as they come, ex­cept for one thing: they were all women. But women were al­ways the pref­ered or­a­cle to the gods, the Pythia, high priest­ess of Apollo at Del­phi, be­ing the most fa­mous of them all.

I FIRST SPOKE TO PRINCESS, THE MENSA-

cer­ti­fied ge­nius who runs the Yin and Yang Shop of Har­mony in New World Ho­tel with her mother. Talk­ing to her is like tak­ing coun­sel from the Bud­dha him­self—she is so calm and col­lected, even when she is try­ing to help pre­vent disas­ter stars from af­fect­ing your fu­ture. The feng shui read­ing went a lot more dif­fer­ent than what I had ex­pected.

Af­ter some cal­cu­la­tions based on the time and date of my birth (it’s Year: Earth Horse, Month: Wood Tiger, Day: Wood Rab­bit, Time: Wood Rooster, for those who are won­der­ing), Princess looks up and says, “You’ve got a lot of wood in your life.” I re­frain from mak­ing a dum­b­ass frat boy joke and ask if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Princess smiles and tells me that there is no such thing as good or bad, it is sim­ply who you are.

Sandy from Cubao X’s Read­ing Room also tells you who you are, which may or may not be what you want to hear. She in­tro­duces her­self as some­one who uses a deck of cards called Soul­cards to look into peo­ple and see who they re­ally are: who they are at the mo­ment, who they may have been be­fore, and what they might be­come. From her, I gained en­ergy. The truth of who I re­ally am and what I am poised to be­come is in­spir­ing. And daunt­ing. And free­ing. And ter­ri­fy­ing. I’m not quite sure, but the stress of it all may have caused me to have my first ever bout of full-on, crawl­ing-on-the­floor, wish­ing-I-could-have-a-head-trans­plant ver­tigo. Okay, I ex­ag­ger­ate, but it did cross my mind con­sid­er­ing the ver­tigo started a few hours af­ter speak­ing to her. Noth­ing she says is truly sur­pris­ing, for deep in­side I know what she says res­onates within me. Whether I like what she is telling me is an­other thing al­to­gether. But this is what I asked for: a light shone into the sub­con­scious re­cesses of my mind. And that is ex­actly what I got. Go­ing to Sandy is like go­ing to a psy­chi­a­trist; the tough love kind of doc­tor who gives you ex­er­cises to do at home.

When I was in Madam Rose’s home, how­ever, I got a dif­fer­ent read­ing al­to­gether. It was the more tra­di­tional way of div­ina­tion— more what we would now call fortune-telling. She told me about loves I’m soon to meet (two, this Au­gust, the sec­ond of which shall be “The One”), the fu­ture we’re sup­posed to have (she sees us liv­ing our re­tire­ment years abroad), and the chil­dren we’re sup­posed to raise (twin boys, yeezus christ!). This sort of spe­cific pre­dic­tions un­nerve me. Though Madam Rose ex­claimed, “Why are you con­sult­ing with me? Your cards are fan­tas­tic! You have a great life ahead of you.”

She read my palms, too, show­ing me faint lines and thick lines that cor­rob­o­rate what she saw in the cards; crossed lines and bro­ken ones too, giv­ing in­sight to paths I have lived and paths I have yet to walk. I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of fear. It’s easy to know the endgame when con­sult­ing with psy­chics, but choos­ing which play to make in or­der to achieve it is what wor­ries me.

“Ah, I don’t like it when psy­chics tell you too much,” Tata Mapa says. “It’s not good for you.” I agree, the in­for­ma­tion, whether or not what she sees is true, shouldn’t give one the feel­ing of be­ing over­loaded be­cause life isn’t a done deal un­til you’re six feet un­der. A de­ci­sion here, a turn there can change a fu­ture. Through­out my jour­ney to part the veil, I’ve had my own Vir­gil in Tata. An ex-Sum­mit edi­tor, she’s well known in the of­fice for “say­ing things that freak peo­ple out.”

Close your mind !!!! Tata can read minds!!! Sasha Lim Uy, man­ag­ing edi­tor of Esquiremag.ph, mes­sages me af­ter she con­nects me with Tata on Face­book. It’s true. You don’t have to be­lieve it, but I do. A lot of us here in Sum­mit do. Tata mes­saged our ed­i­torin-chief, Kris­tine, a lit­tle bit be­fore she of­fi­cially joined Esquire. News of Kris­tine tak­ing over was still un­der wraps, but Tata

When did try­ing to un­der­stand the in­tan­gi­ble be­come lumped to­gether with fairy tales and myths? From be­fore the time the Or­a­cle sat at Del­phi to the present day, di­vin­ing fu­tures has al­ways been a hu­man pur­suit

had al­ready mes­saged of­fer­ing her ser­vices (you can see a few of her es­says in pre­vi­ous is­sues of this mag­a­zine). When Kris­tine asked how she knew, Tata sim­ply replied, “I’m Tata, re­mem­ber?”

It was through Tata that I be­gan to see the value in seek­ing out peo­ple like her. It was through their in­tu­ition that we ac­cess knowl­edge that might some­how be blocked in our sub­con­scious for one rea­son or an­other. We have a con­scious mind and a sub­con­scious one, that much we can all agree on. But whereas a psy­chi­a­trist treats our con­scious mind through ther­apy, the sub­con­scious can be treated by peo­ple like Tata through what is called “clear­ing.”

“Clear­ing is when you get rid of what blocks you from at­tain­ing your goals, de­sires, and hap­pi­ness,” Tata ex­plains. Imag­ine how great it would be if you could clear the past trau­mas that block you from want­ing to com­mit to a re­la­tion­ship, for ex­am­ple. You can clear neg­a­tive be­liefs, such as “money is the root of all evil,” and be able to at­tain bet­ter fi­nan­cial suc­cess. “Many of us reg­u­larly clear blocks on a sur­face level such as when you de­cide to stop hang­ing around a neg­a­tive group of friends,” Tata con­tin­ues. “But what makes en­ergy heal­ing so ef­fec­tive is that we are able to go into the sub­con­scious to clear hid­den blocks you might be un­aware of.” So if go­ing to ther­apy clears out the con­scious mind, the mind that re­mains ac­tive and at the fore­front of our thoughts, go­ing to psy­chics like Tata helps de­lib­er­ately draw out those sub­con­scious is­sues that keep us from achiev­ing our goals. You know those goals: the ones you de­lib­er­ately try to achieve but al­ways fall short. Th­ese in­clude those ob­jec­tives that al­ways seem thwarted by out­side forces no mat­ter how hard you try.

Tata sent me to her friend, Tin Jac­into, for con­sul­ta­tion and clear­ing. Tin—who came armed with a deck of tarot cards and a small pen­du­lum—in­trigued me the most. Her face is bright and open, wel­com­ing. She be­gins with the pen­du­lum and the cards, swing­ing it back and forth between her fingers, her eyes closed, eye­lashes flut­ter­ing. “What hap­pened to you when you were 36?” She sud­denly asks. I think back and I re­ply. This ques­tion re­peats it­self twice more. “What hap­pened when you were 27?” The is­sues sur­fac­ing were buried deeper still. “What hap­pened when you were 19?” Three big blocks were re­vealed through th­ese three ques­tions, and those were the blocks that Tin in­tended to help clear. Again, she used her pen­du­lum to help the process along, swing­ing it between my fingers above my open palm. Tin whis­pers in­vo­ca­tions, ask­ing for th­ese blocks still hang­ing around me to pass. I can’t help but close my eyes and pray along with her. Please, God, help me find the next path I must take. Please, God, help me heal the hurt and pain. Please, God, help me let it go… let it gooooooo… That song an­noys the hell out of me. I snap my mind back to the present be­fore I start sing­ing out loud. Tin is look­ing at me slightly be­mused. I won­der if she could hear the song in my head.

The last psy­chic I vis­ited is the fa­mous Ms. Stargazer. She’s be­come a celebrity in her own right, count­ing among her clients the likes of Kris Aquino. She struck me as a tough cookie, the kind that won’t stand for BS. “Why are you here?” She asks im­me­di­ately af­ter of­fer­ing me a seat. I ex­plain that aside from want­ing to hear what she has to say about me, I’m writ­ing a story about fortune tell­ers. She looks at me tri­umphantly “I knew that there was some­thing else. You can’t lie to me be­cause I’ll know.” I’m not al­lowed to record our con­ver­sa­tion be­cause the en­ergy that she em­anates tends to fry elec­tron­ics. Her air­con­di­tioner, she says, is al­ways on the fritz be­cause of it.

Ms. Star (as she is of­ten called) picks up a pas­tel crayon and starts color­ing around a pho­to­copied sheet of pa­per fea­tur­ing the out­line of a hu­man form. She is us­ing the pas­tels to show me the color of my aura. I’m sur­prised to see my aura is ba­si­cally yel­low and or­ange, two col­ors I’m not very fond of, but Ms. Star picks up yet an­other color, a flat yel­low­ish-beige and be­gins to color over the yel­low and or­ange, cre­at­ing a muddy mus­tard color. It looks sickly, al­most jaun­diced. I never get to ask her what that means be­cause af­ter a lit­tle more talk, her eyes light up and she smiles, stat­ing that my aura has changed as I spoke, the or­ange and yel­low, leap­ing up and around like flames. Ap­par­ently, I am happy, I am en­er­gized, I am ex­cited by my plans. She pulls out an­other pho­to­copied sheet of pa­per and shows me the cur­rent color of my aura. It was pure yel­low and or­ange, with small sparks of or­ange flash­ing at its bor­ders. I feel bet­ter, re­as­sured. Ms. Star also uses my birth­date to fore­tell my life path. My life path is a four, which for all in­tents and pur­poses is a great num­ber to be filed un­der. Those who fall un­der the num­ber four are strong, or­ga­nized, en­dur­ing. But then I re­mem­ber that in feng shui four is a most in­aus­pi­cious num­ber. Though in feng shui four also means be­ing grounded and hav­ing strength and pro­tec­tion, it is com­monly known as a bad luck num­ber be­cause the Can­tonese word for it sounds sim­i­lar to the word for “death”.

And therein lies the un­cer­tainty of hav­ing your fortune told: who do you go to? Who’s the most re­li­able? Whose words do you fol­low if pre­dic­tions begin to con­tra­dict? Yet an­other an­cient ques­tion. Croe­seus, that very wealthy king from Ly­dia, tested or­a­cles from near and far to see who was the most ac­cu­rate by ask­ing each or­a­cle what he was do­ing at a spe­cific time. (For the cu­ri­ous, the win­ner of the test was the Or­a­cle at Del­phi, who cor­rectly pre­dicted that the king was mak­ing a lamb and tor­toise stew.) Lack­ing the re­sources of a crazy rich Ly­dian, I begin to amal­ga­mate the prophe­cies th­ese women have laid out be­fore me. From Ms. Star, Sandy, and Tin, I got in­sight into my sub­con­scious. From Madam Rose, I got a fore­cast of what is to be. From Princess, I got un­der­stand­ing of the en­ergy that sur­rounds me and how to har­ness and at­tract the pos­i­tive around me.

At the end of this jour­ney, I re­al­ize that whether or not I truly be­lieved, I felt bet­ter be­cause of the ex­pe­ri­ence. In our progression as hu­mans, we must stop es­chew­ing the es­o­teric. Clear­ing the clut­ter cre­ated by the past is al­ways a good thing. This is KonMari for the soul.

Be­cause I write for a men’s mag­a­zine, peo­ple keep ask­ing me how this can help men. I sim­ply can­not un­der­stand the ques­tion. Can’t this story ben­e­fit ev­ery­one? What if this so-called for­tunetelling is noth­ing more than the con­duit from which we see a dif­fer­ent as­pect of life? The life that we, be­cause of what­ever life hangups or trau­mas in­hibit us from be­com­ing the whole, pro­duc­tive, and en­gaged hu­mans that th­ese women see? Whether you be­lieve in the mys­ti­cal or not, all th­ese women say the same prac­ti­cal thing: clear the clut­ter in your head, open your mind to pos­si­bil­i­ties, make peace with your past is­sues. To live an ex­clu­sively em­pir­i­cal life is to deny a world so bright with imag­i­na­tion and pos­si­bil­ity. Be­liefs can cre­ate the blue­print for your life. It drives your pri­or­i­ties. It’s the jum­ble of un­re­solved is­sues and trau­mas that get in the way.

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