By: Lily Martin
Photos by: Chloe McGill
“Articles about tarot reading never turn out good. You should stick to something more basic and interview an astrologist.” Well, one thing that Mrs. Natalie at Natalie’s Tarot Readings didn’t know is that we here at Georgetown aren’t basic, or at least we prefer to think we aren’t. Pop culture has become increasingly fascinated with spiritualist practices, progressing from checking our horoscopes occasionally to dabbling in more advanced methods. Last season it was crystals and integrating their unique properties into everyday life, this season it’s tarot cards and self-prediction.
D.C. has a long history with the supernatural, from the 1967 march on Washington where thousands of Vietnam War protestors tried to exorcise the Pentagon, to President Lincoln accompanying his wife to seances right here in our quaint neighborhood. These days you can find nine different psychics within three miles of our front gates, with two on Wisconsin Ave and one on M St. I took a quick trip to Mrs. Natalie’s on the corner of P St. and Wisconsin to see if I could get an expert’s opinion on the reemergence of the practice. However, I was given the cold shoulder and a quick dismissal when I asked if she thought anyone could actually read cards. In a way, that’s the beauty of the trade that has been capitalized.
Mrs. Natalie claims to have started reading people at the age of 4 while sitting on the floor of her grandmother’s shop, the same one she works out of today. It’s no wonder she took the idea of just anyone picking up a set of tarot cards to be offensive when for many occult-oriented families the art has been passed down through generations. Yet as with many things, we millennials have brushed off specifics and opened up the practice to just about everyone.
This resurgence can also be seen on the runway, with Christian Dior’s Tarot Resort Collection and Hermes’s own designer deck. In student life, tarot card design has become a viable side hustle. Plus they’re becoming a common staple in the “home” section of many popular brands’ online websites. Urban Outfitters and Free People both offer various decks and “how-to” books that you can check out here. Though the integration of these spiritual practices can be helpful to some, you have to wonder if crystals, tarots, and other similar rituals can be seen as cultural appropriation that generalizes what some consider sacred, dispersing it to the general public.