If you asked me to describe myself, “religious” and “spiritual” are words that would not be on the list. And yet, whenever I’m faced with a huge dilemma, I don’t make my final decision without first consulting the metaphysical. No, I don’t participate in seances or visit the temple oracle. Instead, my preferred medium (pun intended) is usually one where “spirits” aren’t so actively involved: tarot cards, fengshui, palm-reading and astrology.
My husband poo-poos the idea that these things could remotely have an ounce of influence on your life. My sister frowned a little when I shared that I had been to an astrologer before meeting her for tea. A friend told me how her psychology lecturer demonstrated in one class how horoscopes are written in a way that make them seem relevant to just about anyone. “Who doesn’t want to believe that ‘you have been hard at work’ and that ‘you will finally see the light at the end of the tunnel’?” she explained.
While I would attribute my growth in publishing as a result of my dedication and exemplary work ethics, I also believe fengshui had a role to play when it came to ensuring the right opportunities presented themselves at the right time. I mean … some people are stuck in one position because there is no space to move up. I didn’t have that problem.
And, how would you explain a random palm-reader at a Malacca night market accurately pointing out that my lifelong ambition had been to become a lawyer — even before I had said a word?
Between 2009 and 2016, four fengshui masters advised me to move out of my beloved studio apartment, my bachelorette pad. The last even hinted that the apartment might be haunted and was “blocking” my job hunt. He pushed the right button: told me my career was at risk. That was all the push I needed to put my apartment on the market. Did my luck change for the better? Well, the moment the buyer signed the contract, I scored a new job.
Maybe I’ve always had a nose for sniffing out opportunities, maybe it was just timing that the sale of my apartment coincided with the job offer. But the metaphysical arts have been an incredible source of comfort and assurance especially in times of self-doubt and confusion.
Recently, I was faced with another life-changing dilemma. And while my most logical friends said the answer was obvious, to me, it was a struggle. I had to choose between what I hated to lose and what I wanted to have.
I had to choose between what I hated to lose and what I wanted to have.
After much deliberation, many conversations, and the inevitable emotional episode where I sat in my car bawling my eyes out for a good hour, I went with “what I want to have”. I won’t deny — at the point of writing this — that thinking about “what I hate to lose” sends excruciating pangs of “what-ifs” coursing through my veins. What if I made the wrong decision to leave? What if I woke up one day and realised what I hated to lose was also what I wanted to have?
And because Debs isn’t really Debs if she didn’t have a million and one neurotic conversations happening inside her head, I consulted my astrologer before I hammered the final nail into the coffin.
After much deliberation, many conversations, and the inevitable emotional episode where I sat in my car bawling my eyes out for a good hour, I went with “what I want to have”.
Shouldn’t I already have enough information and advice to work with? By going to an astrologer, am I saying I don’t trust my friends?
1. Because the people who know us want what’s best for us
They know our history, the context, and sometimes, even the actors involved. While the opinions of my friends are important, at the end of the day, I want to hear from a person who is going into the story “blind”. I want to know, all things being equal, if the stars are holding information that say I should reconsider my decision. Without the burden of background information, would my astrologer tell me something I don’t already know?
2. Because do we really know what’s best for ourselves?
I listed out the pros and cons, I weighed and measured the situation, and found the present wanting. But why was I still entertaining thoughts of staying? I wanted my astrologer to give me an explanation why I was having such a difficult time pulling away. Did that mean I actually wanted to stay?
“You’ll always have a problem leaving because you’re a Taurus,” said my astrologer. To skeptics, it meant nothing. To astrology-fans, it meant everything. Those born under the sign of The Bull are known to be fiercely loyal and form attachments easily. According to him, leaving will always be the hardest thing to do for me.
To skeptics, it meant nothing. To astrology-fans, it meant everything.
3. Because we prefer spiritual guidance to come with a voice we can actually hear
“Let go, let God,” was what one of my friends said when we were 18 and I was having some boy problems. For a lot of Christians, they make their move and pray that God will guide them to make the best of the situation and watch over them. That’s not enough for me.
Instead of a calm, serene inner voice assuring me, “Have faith, my child, for all will be revealed in its own time”, I prefer to hear it from a human being seated across the table, saying, “It doesn’t matter if you stay or go. The big opportunity comes in 3 years’ time and that’s the jump you need to make.”
I don’t know for sure if I might have decided differently had my astrologer said I should stay, if I’d feel slightly disappointed at his answer, or I’d ever revisit our session when I’m less emotional and wonder if I simply paid money to have someone tell me my decision was right.
But one thing’s for sure: many moonshots in my life were taken because the stars confirmed I should. And so far, they’ve not gotten anything wrong.