There is the false assumption that those with Religious OCD are super pious or extremely religious. While this is definitely possible, it’s not always the case. I currently consider myself a very devout Christian, but in my younger years, I explored while still being “Christian”.
In my early 20’s, I struggled greatly with trying to find work that I could manage while also managing severe depression and the beginnings of physical issues that later were diagnosed as Fibromyalgia.
In my teen years, while exploring my individuality, I had dabbled with Wicca and that avenue of spirituality. I had acquired and still had a very lovely set of Tarot Cards from my youth. Whilst searching the internet for viable work, I stumbled upon an ad seeking people to work as phone psychics for the ever famous late night TV Psychic Miss. Cleo.
This sounded like a prime opportunity, work from home, and just “dial-in” so I receive phone calls to provide callers with Tarot Card readings. I could overlook my phone anxiety to do something so easy!
Yes, laugh with me now. I’ll wait.
Because I knew my mind tended to blank when I got nervous, I went through a ton of prep before I accepted my first call. I made a 3-ring binder with printed pages listing the tarot cards and their general meanings, so that should my mental faculties leave me, bam… flip to the page, just read and make it through.
It actually didn’t start off so bad. I was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect, and they coach you to keep people on the phone as long as possible. You got bonuses if you kept them on for a certain length of time, especially since the first so many minutes were free for them.
I didn’t blank, though I was a bit awkward a few times. Tongue-tied perhaps. I dialed in for a few nights, a couple hours here and there.
And then it happened.
The call that made me decide I couldn’t do it anymore, no matter the money (more than double minimum wage at the time), nor convenience.
The call started seemingly normal enough but I could tell the caller had a limited time, I think she had purchased a time card.
Let’s call this lovely lady Rose, just to make the retelling easier to understand.
I introduced myself and got some basic information from Rose. She was elderly and dying from a brain aneurysm. She disclosed to me that her son had taken all her money. She was looking to me to give her answers.
Me. With my deck of tarot cards, I’m supposed to provide this dying woman the answers she seeks to comfort her, after her only son leaves her with nothing?
I knew her prepaid time would run up and it would prompt her to buy more, but I did not want to drag this woman’s time out despite my directive. I opted for a 3 card spread, it was quick and to the point.
I don’t remember the other cards, but I remember one card and I remember it distinctly to this day over 15 years later. It was in the last card spot.
Justice was in her future, according to her tarot reading. I did tell her this, and I’m not sure if she found comfort in it. I want to think she did. I hurried through the rest of the call, to be honest, I remember the desperation in her for me to provide answers and me being uncertain how to give her what she was wanting.
The reason I found that call so hard, and the reason when I signed off that night, I never signed on again? That woman truly believed I had all her answers to her suffering and what was to come of her future. Meanwhile, I got into it to provide entertainment, thinking it would be young people just curious and blowing money, or wealthy people addicted to psychics.
I had not been faced yet with someone who was a true believer in such things. Someone dying, spending their last pennies.
I look on such things as tarot cards differently now. My 20’s were not the peak of my Christianity (obviously?), nor my mental or physical health. That season, doing that job, I did at that point in my life for a reason, and I grew from that experience.
When we travel and I pass by a building that houses a psychic, it always triggers that memory. It’s not really bad, it’s just a memory. I do feel a bit of shame, and perhaps occasionally still say a small prayer to God for forgiveness. I know God does forgive me for stepping off the path though. My 20’s were bleak, what I can remember of them.
I’m proud of myself for not feeling excessive guilt and shame, nor compulsively praying for forgiveness, so there are baby steps of progress in all things.