“I went to read a tarot card on a canal boat in east London and apparently I’m getting married soon”

I wouldn’t say I’m the wittiest of people. I’m not averse to learning and listening to people who are, but I can’t say I believe in the supernatural. I’m open to anything, so when my friend told me about this mysterious man on the channel who does tarot card readings, I was all ears.

Merlin Trotter was his name and he took readings from his riverboat which travels along the river from London Fields to Islington. I knew where to find this mysterious man but not the exact location which only added to the riddle of the experience.

As I strolled along the canal in search of Merlin’s ship, I could feel my heart beating faster and faster and the prospect of what he was about to say or reveal. Would death be around the corner? Am I doomed? Am I doing the right thing with my life? I didn’t know what to expect. My anxiety surprised me as I considered myself a skeptic but alas my palms were sweaty.

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When I got to the ship, Merlin was there sitting at his table almost as if waiting for me. The boat had a mystical feel. There were pillows with mirrors, multicolored throws, different kinds of artwork hanging from them, and Merlin with a vest, hat, and his cards in his hand. All Merlin asks for a reading is a ‘donation’ but I only had £20 with me so £20 was it.

After a long walk along the canal I had found Merlin

He welcomed me on board and I sat down, my heart beating faster and faster. Merlin asked what my “Sagittarius” star sign was, I said. Like him, he replied. Instantly something to bond with. The Sagittarius card came out and I was then handed the cards.

He said, “I want you to shuffle the cards, but really think about what you want the cards to tell you, as you shuffle imagine what you want the cards to show you.”

I’m not going to lie, I was more concerned about how to shuffle this massive deck of cards I was handed, but I started concentrating and talking to the cards (in my head). Merlin then fanned the cards on the table and asked me to choose seven cards. Once they were laid out, he explained that the cards represented a bit of me, a bit of where I am now, and a bit of what the next six months will look like.

Tell me I’m gonna be rich, please, Merlin

Since I did some research, I learned that tarot cards, like a normal deck of cards, have suits or minor arcana. Rather than spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs, the suits are wands, swords, cups, and circles or pentacles, each with a different meaning for how you approach life. I was getting a lot of “baguettes”, which apparently means I’m fiery and passionate. He added that he could tell I love learning and love my job – so far so good.

He said there had been a lot of uncertainty in my life over the past three months, but I was lucky. All this worry and uncertainty will soon pass and I will be confident and secure in my life, although he warned me not to get too confident.

I was asked to shuffle the cards again and draw 10 this time – it was a closer look at what lay ahead for the next six months. At this point, there was a lot of pointing at the cards and saying things like “Aries,” “Cancer,” “Pisces.” I couldn’t quite follow and had no idea what these things really meant other than that they were astrological signs.

Merlin isn’t the kind of man to stay in one place, so best to call him if you want a reading

But then Merlin said he saw a proposal coming in the next six months.

“I’m proposed to?!” I say, a little anxious.

“Well, that’s a proposal,” he pointed out. “It could be you getting a wedding invite or something, but definitely some sort of proposal.”

A wedding invitation I could handle, a marriage proposal – carry on. Then he said there were a lot of trips ahead. He could see two trips for me and that was something he was pretty sure would definitely happen. I haven’t booked anything yet, but watch this space.

Merlin accurately guessed that I had two previous relationships and then asked me how old I was. When I said 27, he told me my love life was about to change. “From the age of 28 women start having relationships, you have already done the hard work. From the age of 28, it is the men who start to lose and the women who win.

I couldn’t help laughing and waiting to tell my boyfriend that things were going to change in a few months, so buckle up. And just like that, the cards were put away and it was over. Am I a believer? I’m not sure, but I’ve definitely left parts of my life in question that I may not have thought about before and it never hurts to have a little more self-awareness and reflection. – it’s cheaper than a therapist, I guess.

I then told Merlin how relieved I was that he hadn’t seen any disturbing maps and that my future looked bright.

“Oh no, the death card is a good card. Believe me, that means change is coming.

I am not convinced about this.

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