News / Africa

Tarot Reader Says It’s All in the Cards

  • Ursula Wania reads the future in a deck of tarot cards for clients in the quiet of a study in her home in Sharonlea, a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • Her card of ‘Strength’ shows another cherub stroking the mane of a lion promising “Good Health” and “Self-Reliance.” (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • The reader’s deck of 78 picture cards offer all possibilities - from the greatest satisfaction to precarious situations such as failing health or bankruptcy. (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • A cherub holds a bow on the head of death’s skull, balancing mortality with other possibilities Wania describes as major changes in the client’s life. (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • She sometimes wishes she were doing something else in life, but accepts that her skill “must be some sort of a gift … “ and believes it’s her path in life. (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • Wania’s deck of uniquely designed tarot cards are packed with prediction, but the reader says “what’s in the cards all changes depending on what cards lie next to one another.” (Photo by Darren Taylor)
Darren Taylor
— Incense oil burns slowly in a corner, emitting rich odors of cinnamon, maple syrup and roses. It’s quiet.       
 
The study in a house in Sharonlea, a suburb in the north of Johannesburg, is where Ursula Wania practices as one of South Africa’s top tarot card readers.
 
She has just instructed me to shuffle a pack of 78 picture cards. One card shows a cherub stroking a lion – the ‘Strength’ card, also marked with the words ‘Good health’ and ‘Self-reliance.’ Another is the ‘Nine of Cups,’ on which there’s a fairy-like girl holding a wand. This card reads, ‘Wishes now materialize.’
 
Then there’s the ‘Death’ card with a skull surrounded by a wreath of red flowers, below a cherub reading what appears to be an obituary.
 
An interview with the tarot reader in Johannesburg
An interview with the tarot reader in Johannesburgi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Reading life's changes

“That card doesn’t always indicate a death; it could also signify major changes in a person’s life,” Wania explained. “The interpretation of what’s in the cards all changes depending on what cards lie next to one another.”
 
In front of her is a card marked ‘The Magician,’ and another of a mother, father and child – ‘The Family’ card.
 
“‘The Magician’… now it’s lying next to ‘The Family’ card, so that would tell me there’s a family business going on. But for example if it lay like that (next to the ‘Nine of Swords’ card), it would show that there’s a lot of stress to do with the family business,” she said.
 
Using more cards, Wania then predicted my relatives’ marriage later this year. The relative did indeed become engaged a few months ago.
 
Next, she pointed to the ‘Knight of Rods’ card: a boy dressed in red, wings sprouting from his back, rowing a raft across water. “I see an overseas trip coming up for you soon; this card represents travel,” she told me.  
 
Dealing with the forces around her
 
Wania started interpreting tarot cards 27 years ago, when in high school.
 
“It must be some sort of a gift, and it must have something to do with the forces that are around us,” she reflected, adding that she sometimes feels a supernatural presence when she’s reading cards, that allows her to see certain events in the future.
 
She offered an example.
 
“I saw in one lady’s cards (‘Eight of Swords,’ ‘The Tower’ and ‘The Judge’ cards alongside one another) that she would go to prison. So I said to her, ‘Look, I see there’s some money involvement here and…  I’m seeing a lot of problems coming your way in the future.’
 
She asked me directly, ‘Could I go to prison?’  And I said, ‘Yes.’
 
“She was very angry with me, that woman. But I tell you what: she landed up being a good client. But she did go to prison (for fraud).”
 
Wania’s abilities have resulted in some “people in crisis” reaching out to her for help. A few years ago, she was contacted by a relative of a little boy who’d gone missing in the wilderness.
 
In a vision, Wania saw the boy drowning - although she initially didn’t tell this to his family. Instead, she marked on a map of the wilderness area where she thought the youngster was. 
 
“I said, ‘You better hurry up because this child doesn’t have long to go.’
 
“They were able to find him. But, (only) just (in time),” Wania recalled.
 
Rescuers found the boy on rocks in the middle of a rapidly rising river.
 
Predicting cancer and birth
 
In another tarot reading, Wania foresaw a major health problem for her mother, who immediately consulted a doctor. 
 
“He told her, ‘Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with you.’ But because of what my cards said she decided to get a second opinion,” Wania said. “She decided she’s going to go to the oncology center and she’s going to have herself checked out properly. I think she went in on Wednesday, on Friday they had to take her boob (breast) off. She had full-blown cancer in her boob.”
 
Wania commented that some people plan their lives according to her card readings.
 
“I had one woman… every time she came here I said, ‘You’re going to have another baby.’ Eventually she came for the third time and I said to her, ‘You’re going to fall pregnant again.’ Do you know that she went for a hysterectomy the following week?”
 
‘Mixed feelings’ 
 
Wania is adamant that the “greatest satisfaction” for her lies in helping people to avoid “precarious situations,” such as failing health or bankruptcy, in their futures. 
 
But some faiths, most notably Christianity, consider tarot card readings to be sinful.
 
Wania responded, “I do not see myself as being in conflict with anyone else no matter what religion or belief system they are from.”
 
She continued, “The thing is they don’t know enough, because they think of magic as being bad and magic is not bad at all. Magic is using the elements that God has provided. So, you know, at the end of the day we (tarot card readers) actually believe in God a lot more; we just don’t go sing in church and go to church, basically.”
 
Wania said she believes in God but added, “I am not as pedantic, hypocritical and narrow minded as some other believers are.”
 
Nevertheless, she acknowledged there have been occasions in the past when she’s had “mixed feelings” about her “gifts.”
 
“There’ve been a lot of times in my life when I’ve tried really hard to get involved in something different. Because to be labeled as a fortune teller isn’t so cool… But at the end of it all I’ve realized, ‘This is my path…’”
 
And that path, Wania insisted, consists of a “mission to help to give just a little bit of guidance” to people’s lives.
 
Finally, she said, “I can’t force people to be good people. My cards don’t make decisions for people, they make decisions. The best I can hope for is that I help them to make the right decisions and to be good people.”

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jim Wickson from: Las Vegas, NV USA
May 21, 2014 12:23 AM
Why don't English language media report the truth about Tarot and how the cards were actually intended for trick taking games which are still played today mostly in European countries such as France and Italy? It is negligent journalism to give readers the false impression these cards are only used in "psychic" readings. People also play games with these cards.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid