(Due to technical difficulties, this post was posted on Monday 4th March, rather than 28th Feb. Apologies.)
by Adina West
by Adina West
The world of the mystical is well entrenched in our otherwise scientific modern society. Everyone knows their star sign, right? Horoscopes are a common fixture in women’s magazines and newspapers, and there are online and telephone hotlines, and even SMS and Twitter services providing astrological and psychic readings and more.
The largest consumers of this information are undoubtedly women. Who among us doesn’t have at least one friend who has consulted a psychic? Perhaps you’ve consulted one yourself. And the attraction is obvious. Life is an uncertain thing, often filled with disappointments, and having a ‘reading’ done can provide a plan for the future. Something to work towards. Something to hope for.
There are those who like to have their cards read (cartomancy or Tarot), or their palm (chiromancy or palmistry), or read a detailed horoscope based on their time of birth (astrology). They might have a general psychic reading, involving perhaps a reading of their aura or of some valued and often worn possession like a ring or watch (psychometry).
Many of the methods used by a psychic or clairvoyant to ‘divine the future’ have histories of use dating back hundreds, even thousands of years. Most would agree that none of these methods of reading a person’s past, present or future require ‘magic’, and in fact they’re often backed by what is (sometimes unkindly) termed pseudo-science. Because there are the sceptics. Many of them. Since in most cases very little scientific ‘proof’ of claims is possible, this is an area that relies on faith. Either you believe, or you don’t.
I wanted to explore that whole concept in my novel, Dark Child. I chose to augment our familiar, and very real world, with an alternative history. An alternative past where witchcraft was once frighteningly real, and where events of the past led witches and other extraordinary beings to fade from human sight. To hide themselves away, behind magical runes. But to blur the line between the real and the imagined, I’ve also included many of the mystical elements that a large proportion of modern people do actually believe in. My heroine, Kat, though, is your original dyed-in-the-wool sceptic. It’s her housemate who convinces her to visit a psychic, where she has a Tarot reading, and has her palm read, with truly unnerving results.
When researching Tarot for this novel, I came across some wonderful information on the history of this form of fortune telling. The earliest tarot decks were hand-painted in the 15th century, and were decorated with gold or silver leaf – though when they were originally commissioned by Italian nobles in and around Milan these cards were used for everyday playing. Today, Visconti-Sforza tarot cards are a highly sought after and valuable collector’s item. In Dark Child, I chose to imagine that the psychic who tells the fortune of my heroine, Kat, is in possession of a rare set of these cards, that have been passed down through her family for many generations. The cards themselves are very beautiful, and certainly lend themselves to such imaginings.
Dark Child is being released by Momentum Books in serialized form; five episodes in five months, from February till June 2013.
Kat can run a marathon without breaking a sweat. Catch anything you throw at her. Differentiate blood types by smell alone. And she’s spent years hiding the fact. But secrets from the past have a way of slipping out when least expected ... and a simple blood test is enough to turn her quiet life in the shadow of the Appalachian Mountains upside down forever.
Kat’s been craving raw meat. When she visits a psychic she’s told her lie is about to change forever. Kat isn’t so sure change is a part of her plan, but when a fabulous offer to work for a research organization comes her way, she’s tempted to say yes and make the move to New York. It just might be her chance to find out if there are others in the world like her…
Will her dream job bring answers to her questions or will it lead her into more trouble than she could ever imagine?
You can read the free sample for Dark Child: Episode One here.
So, which side of the psychic divide do you stand on? Are you a believer? Have you consulted a psychic, or do you know someone who has had predictions from one come true? For those who have consulted a psychic, how did they do your ‘reading’, and did they use cards, palmistry, or other tools? Did they know things about you that they couldn’t have, shouldn’t have, known by any other means?
Share your experiences with the mystical world of astrology and clairvoyance in the comments below – and you’ll be in the running to win a copy of Dark Child: Episode One. Or (as Episode One is currently on promotion and is free for a limited time) you can choose Episode Two if you prefer.
Winner announced Saturday 8th March.