by Iovanna Borjas
Kayla Orefice sits down in the big sofa of her living room. The whole room is dark except for a lamp behind her. She holds a deck of cards in her hands, organizing them as she gets ready to use them. Her face frowns with concentration but her hands are steady with readiness. She hands the cards to James Peña, asking him to shuffle them around and explains to him how the reading works. He must start thinking of his life in general.
“Your first card is the lovers,” she said after Peña handed her three cards from the deck. This first card represents his past. “You met somebody that you pursued romantically, and I feel like changed your life in a lot of ways.”
Kayla, who prefers to be called Kat, is a witch. She has been practicing Wicca since last year. Her whole life she was surrounded by Catholicism. However, she has always been interested in what she calls “the dark aspect of religions.”
Peña looks back at her cards. He is interested in what Kayla has to say. His face shows the human desire to discover the unknown. Kayla is about to tell him all about his present.
“Your present is the Sun,” Kayla said. “You are kind of in a safe place where you are planning your future and what you are going to do, and you will have to trust your instinct.”
Kayla proceeds to read the last card. This one represents the future, the card some people anticipate the most.
“You drew all major arcana which are very powerful cards,” Kat said, surprised that he managed to do so. “Your future is the moon. This card goes with the sun, which also talked about following your intuition; there might be some things in the future that might catch you off guard but don’t over think it.”
After the experience, Peña shared his thoughts and beliefs about Tarot.
“It was very interesting because I never had my cards read before,” said Peña, who is the boyfriend of one Kat’s friend. “The first part, my past, was very accurate, but I feel like the other two were connected to the first one, so they were more irrelevant.”
Kat, who is a University of Tampa junior communications major, is just 20 years old. However, she had been looking for the right religion for a long time. After many failed tries with Christianity, Kat decided she was an atheist.
Wicca, derived from paganism and a form of neo-paganism, is a religion that encourages individuals to find power within themselves. This is, according to Kat, her favorite part of the religion. To her, Wicca is “a discovery of who you are and an exploration of the magic inside you.”
She has been drawn to the supernatural since she was a kid. She has had, in fact, close interactions with spirits from “the other side.” She said her house is haunted and that she has always been able to feel spirits around her.
After giving up on religion, Kat felt a connection towards Wicca. She mentioned it to one of her friends and together they went to a coven. One of the witches there explained to them what they needed to know and the materials they needed. Kat started practicing her own spells soon after that. She said she is particularly good in the practice of divination. However, she is also interested in herbology and contacting the dead.
Coming from a Catholic family, Kat has never been able to fully practice her religion. In fact, she said she has received a lot of skepticism about it. She said people often tell her that Wicca is not a “real religion” and that she is “satanic.”
Kat’s roommate, Nick Kane, said that he is in fact a little scared of some of the aspects of Wicca.
“Our apartment is haunted ever since Kat started practicing magic,” he said. Kane also comes from a Catholic family and as a marine biology major, he said it is hard for him to “understand things you can’t see or test.”
“The idea of talking to the dead seems wrong to me,” Kane said. “It is also freaky how accurate Kat’s tarot readings are.”
Now, Kane said he has gotten used to Kat being a witch and that he respects and understands her religion a little bit more.
Kat stands up as everyone is sitting together in the living room. She is putting her tarot cards away. They are a sacred thing that must be treated with respect. She is confident she has done a good reading.
For Kat being a witch is “the most beautiful and empowering thing I have ever done in my life.”
Iovanna Borjas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org