Born and raised in Louisiana and living in New Orleans for the past three years of my life, there was one aspect of the culture I somehow never took part in; the supernatural. Luckily for me, New Orleans is the perfect place to do so. It is the home of voodoo queen Marie Laveau, a vampire community of over 50 people, countless ghosts, each with their own story. It was explicitly the psychics on Jackson Square, however, that drew me towards this culture, this experience.
When I decided to get a psychic reading, I ensured I would go in with an open mind. I had a natural skepticism about how legitimate their psychic claims were, but I wanted to get the most out of the experience I could. Before getting a reading, I conducted some research on which type of reading I wanted to receive. I came across methods such as palm, aura, past life, animal totem, and so many others I began to feel overwhelmed and could not pick. It was once I learned about tarot readings that I immediately felt that it was the type of reading I wanted. I always had an affinity for playing cards, and I thought it would be a medium with which I would be most familiar and comfortable. Now that nothing was holding me back, I hopped on the streetcar and took in the beautiful scenery as I mentally prepared for what was to come.
As I approached the woman who was to give me my reading, she immediately began a conversation and was charismatic and welcoming. It was not long after, however, that the reading began. What happened next was beyond belief. When we were discussing my past, she seemed to be able to pinpoint some skeletons buried in the deepest corners of my closet. It was refreshing to acknowledge and address past struggles. It lifted a heavy weight off my shoulders. The next part of the reading was more forward-looking in nature. The reader’s predictions outlined some challenges I still had ahead of me but ensured they were going to pave the way for great things to come.
Just as seamlessly as the reading began, it ended. I thanked the reader and was on my way. I took with me not only feeling more secure and rejuvenated but enlightened. Enlightened to a culture and community I knew nothing of before.
The way the reader was able to teach me about supernatural readings and, more importantly, about myself and how to evaluate things that happen in my life were unfamiliar. The reader was nonetheless able to guarantee that I experienced the reading fully. This was something I did not expect to receive that day; a lesson on teaching.
It all began with the reader’s ability to immediately establish a connection between them, as a teacher, and me as a student. Once the psychic established the relationship, even on a shallow level, I already felt more receptive about what they had to say for the rest of the session. The experience was further enhanced by the reader’s ability to acknowledge all aspects of the supernatural and the reading that were most foreign to me. It seems they pinpointed exactly what I was least comfortable with or knew least about.
Maybe it was their psychic ability, but It is regardless something all teachers should try to do. It is not easy, but if educators intentionally learn about their own culture, the context they’re in, and the culture and experiences of their students, they can identify possible cultural conflicts that exist and do their best to address them.