BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ- Fortune-telling isn’t just for the Halloween season. One of the most universally practiced forms of fortune-telling and future forecasting is tarot. Tarot consists of a deck of cards, all with different meanings, that are placed in specific formations in order to “predict” certain outcomes. 

While tarot cards might seem too witchy for year-round use, Governor Livingston senior Sommer Campbell has picked up the practice just for casual fun.

How does one get into tarot? According to Campbell, she took on the hobby after receiving a tarot reading from a GL graduate. She was intrigued by the mystery and technique behind it—plus, she thought it would be fun to do readings for herself. As for how she acquired her own deck of tarot cards, she recalled she “went into Unique on Route 22. I always check the miscellaneous section, and I saw the tarot deck there for two dollars. I thought, ‘This would be good to have.’” By studying some quick online guides, Campbell was able to pick up the skill and build on it.

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Since then, she has given readings to friends at lunch as a way to pass the time. Her friends ask for readings on anything from immediate success in school, relationships, and jobs to the shape of the future on a greater scale. In an ideal reading, she is first asked a question that does not have a yes or no answer, such as “What will this school year look like for me?” Then, she produces the tarot cards, shuffles them, and asks her subject to select a certain number of them depending on what formation of cards—or, in tarot terms, what spread—she intends to create. One of the more common spreads is known as the Celtic Cross, which involves 10 cards. Once she arranges the cards according to the spread, she begins to explain what the placement of each card means in respect to the question asked. The time it takes to complete a reading varies. “Five minutes is a good average, but I can stretch it out. I’ve also done it in fifteen seconds,” she explains.

With any type of fortune-telling, the question of legitimacy always exists. “Personally, I don’t believe it works,” Campbell confesses, “I don’t believe it’s supernatural or anything. It’s just a fun thing that I do. People want readings for the novelty of it.” Whether or not the tarot reading is taken in stride is up to the recipient of the reading. 

From Campbell’s perspective, tarot provides a possible direction for those seeking guidance, but not an ultimatum for the future. With that in mind, tarot remains a fun activity for her and her friends to enjoy regardless of the season. 

Editor's Note: The Highlander is the student newspaper of Gov. Livingston High School featuring articles written by staff and guest writers covering a variety of topics of interest to the students.