Tuesday, 17 March 2009

MADAME SOSOSTRIS, FAMOUS CLAIRVOYANTE

I don't have a bad cold and nor am I the wisest woman in Europe, but I am considering reviving my sideline in casting horoscopes and reading the Tarot. Or tealeaves, being a very customer-focused kind of person. You name your preferred divination method and I'll try to oblige.

In truth, I'm on the hunt for new money making schemes so I can finance the luxury lifestyle to which I've become accustomed.

Now that the economy has contracted, I can no longer afford those little consolations of Mrs Trefusis. The tiny treats that made life seem so much lovelier are now irritatingly not only way out of reach, but also way down the list after the ghastly dull oven and the just-kill-me-I'm-so-bored-thinking-about-it washing up machine. The sheer enjoyment of looking and feeling good seems to have become the subject of extreme recessionary disapproval. But as we plunge from recession into depression, the economy merely operates as a metaphor for my mood.

I started this blog as an alternative to seeing a wincingly expensive Bond Street psychoanalyist, with the realisation that if the thought of new shoes was infinitely more cheering than having my head-shrunk, I was feeling rather better. To borrow from Linda Grant in The Thoughtful Dresser, "If I were heading into the Great Depression, I wanted to arrive there well-dressed". But now that the world is in economic depression, I can neither afford to be so well-dressed, nor therapy, nor new shoes, nor any of the other bibelots that formed a cossetting palisade between me and the tenebrous, liminal places in my head.

But I am at heart a pragmatist. If I can't learn not to rely on these things to shore me up against my ruin, I will have to find new ways to fund their purchase.

I considered following in the footsteps of the Catholic church and selling saints fingers as relics (as tipped off by Jaywalker, though Cardinal Newman apparently had the last laugh) until it was pointed out to me that this was simony and would result in immediate excommunication followed by hellfire for all eternity. Nice. A little trip back through Dante* reminded me that any experience I had - however distant - of fortune-telling automatically relegated me to Circle 8 along with the simonists anyway, and since the start-up costs of selling 'relics' might require hard cash, my pecuniary interests have led me to reconsider dabbling in a spot of astrometry.

Once upon a time, before the children came along, I wrote horoscopes for a magazine, alongside the usual day job. And having spent several years training with The Company of Astrologers, I'm no end of the pier fortune-teller. I have my credentials, and I'm quite sure that in these uncertain times there's a market for it: I simply need to find my customers.

It might take several horoscope castings to collect enough cash for shoes though I rather think a tarot reading would get me the price of a blow-dry.

I've had a lifelong struggle trying to settle on what Aristotle called The Golden Mean. Will this latest wheeze help turn me into a happy medium?


*take the Dante's Inferno quiz for yourself and find out where you're headed.

14 comments:

Cassandra said...

I think it's a good idea. I had a friend at university who was WELL into astrology. I'd tell her about my latest romantic disaster and she'd say "ah, that's your Virgo rising" or "well, Leo and Pisces (or WHATEVER) aren't meant to be." I thought that it was BOLLOCKS but fascinating. Can you do those detailed chart things for people?

Mrs Trefusis... said...

Ah yes,indeed. I can do the full-on chart casting thingy, though I tend to do it with a computer these days as the maths is just pointless showing off. I love astrology for the way it gives you a massive get-out clause; talk about blame your planets - all you need to say when anything goes wrong is 'well, of course, uranus was in applying transit to my natal moon' if one is feeling technical, or merely sigh and say 'I'm a pisces - I just can't say 'no''....

Welsh Girl said...

In an ideal world you would be able to cast your runes and find out where the money is all hiding and then go and get it!

I've just signed my mortgage papers and fear I will now never be able to afford anything ever again. Heinz baked beans may be aspiring too high.

Anyway, back to the point - go for it! What you need is to become an astrologer to the stars (scuse the pun). They will pay you gazillions of pounds and you will be able to charge mere mortals similar wodges of cash because you'll be best friends with Gwyneth Paltrow and Sienna Miller.

Kitschen Pink said...

Perfect timing. The worse things get the more people will want to look into the future to see when they'll get better - so, when will that be exactly? Just out of interest, on passing....

Katherine said...

Completely agree with last comment; they could act as a balm to sooth troubled minds in these difficult times: plus, end of pier wouldn't be a bad idea, there's probably going to be a lot more seaside day trips as opposed to actual holidays taken this year. All in all it's a win win situation. One of my friends swears by star signs and character traits; whenever one of her kids decides to play up, she'll shrug her shoulders and resign herself to the fact that "It's the virgo in her" or some such...no darling, I want to reply, she's just stubborn...

Katherine said...

Oh oh, new idea...maybe you could eschew fortune telling for creating "shabbalistic spaces"...undercut Ian Schrager and you're laughing.

Katherine said...

Tut, thought Ian Schrager was responsible for this Rough-luxe concept but it appears not...bah; must find out who is and get in on the act.

katyboo1 said...

Well if it works and you need an assistant, I used to work as a jobbing psychic when I lived in London. Tarot cards my particular speciality although I don't actually need them to do the reading.

I could be your 'up North' contact if you don't want to travel away from London, and let's face it, who would blame you?

mothership said...

I forsee a marvelous future in this endeavour!!
The more uncertain the times, the more people wish for guidance and soothsaying. There was a huge market for all things psychic and fortune telling in the 1930's, so you are right on the money (words carefully chosen) with this one for the current times.
Add into it a little psychoanalytic language, some literary allusions and a spot of astrology with some tarot flavour and you'll have a signature style of your own which you can trademark and flog to discerning clients for high-end shoe prices.
I love it!
my wv is flumbo which is irrelevant but I like the sound of it anyway

The Unreliable Historian said...

I absolutely second Mothership's suggestion. I am quite capable of throwing a birth chart, or doing a tarot reading for other people, but it is completely different when somebody else does it for me. There is that piece that only comes through the interpreter. I would be fascinated to see your literate witty style through the fortune telling lens. Put on your gypsy scarf and hoop earrings and do it. How exactly it works on a blog is not entirely clear to me- but I am confident you will come up with a clever new hybrid.

Lucy Fishwife said...

Oh I love the Tarot cards. I keep mine (Rider Waite pack) wrapped in a silk scarf on a top shelf (they're supposed to be the highest thing in a room) and freaked my friend Mark out with a scarily accurate reading about his work prospects (the Queen of Swords was causing him problems in H.R.). I can't say I believe it 100% - I wouldn't marry, bungee-jump or invest on the strength of a reading - but people will definitely pay to hear mysterious pronouncements from someone with an assumed air of the occult... And I am, after all, a Pisces...

myspace said...

Iknow I'm late reading this but I just got the link to your blog yesterday and I'm working my way up! Made me laugh out loud in the office (embarrassing!) just like another blog I'm following: The Johnson Diaries-Life on the Edge at wwww.nora-johnson.blogspot.com.
P.S. I'm sure you'll be much more successful as a clairvoyante than all those who failed to foresee the credit crunch coming!

justme said...

You and katyboo should definately go into business together! Perhaps you could do online surgeries too....

More than Just a Mother said...

Just popped by to say thanks for following my blog. I'm off to peruse your site now, which looks lush. Anyone with a penchant for shoes gets my vote...
p.s. I'm a Virgo.