As NYU students, we are lucky to be immersed in a diverse student body with many beliefs. Among us are those who feel a deeper connection to the universe, who practice the art of reading tarot cards.
These are not your average deck of cards. With the help of spiritual energy, they can reveal your past, present and future, while providing guidance and self-reflection. Readers can gather this information by drawing several cards from the deck and arranging them in a particular pattern. Although tarot cards have been around for centuries, Tisch sophomores Christian Corpening and Grace Sessinghaus still use them today.
Corpening spoke about his first experience with tarot cards last year.
“I got a reading done from Kyler, the guy who does it in [Washington Square Park],” Corperning said. “The rest of how I learned came from my research — lots of Googling, reading a book or two.”
Sessinghaus had her first card reading a few years ago in Salem, Massachusetts, the town notorious for the Salem witch trials in the late 17th century. When she came to NYU, she was reintroduced to tarots through a friend, then decided to learn through her tarot card book and website tutorials.
“I thought it was a really cool way to kinda see possibilities in your future and give you an interesting perspective,” she said.
Corpening also explained why he loves giving tarot card readings.
“Other than giving advice and being helpful to people, I feel like it’s a really cool way to feel connected to everything, especially to feel connected to strangers,” Corpening said. “I see the deck as a tool for exploring the many different angles to a problem.”
Sessinghaus interprets the cards as a guide from energies telling her how to spend her time.
“They just help me reframe how I look at the world,” she said. “I don’t necessarily think that they’re telling me my future, or telling me a certain way to live my life, but if I have a question of like, ‘What should I put my energy towards today?’ and then I get a card that is talking about friendship and relationships, then I’ll put my energy more toward relationships that day.”
As there is much speculation about whether tarot cards and psychics are real or just fun and games, the psychics — as well as some students they have read cards for — explain the validity of the readings.
“I don’t approach it from the view of like, ‘This is the one finite solution to your problem,’” he explained. “Rather like, ‘This is one very possible outcome out of all of them.’”
Taylor Redmond, a CAS sophomore, had Corpening read her cards last fall.
“I feel like the cards can always be relevant because they’re relatively nebulous meanings that are open to interpretation,” she said.
Sessinghaus is uncertain about how the cards work but recalled her many mystical experiences with them.
“I have had multiple times, more often than not, when the cards are so accurate to either my situation or another person’s situation and it’s absolutely freaky,” she said. “So I’m not necessarily stuck on the idea that they’re 100% accurate or that there is a science behind it, but I would not be surprised if there was some sort of energy pulling you to pick a card out.”
LS sophomore Madi Torem spoke about her experience when Sessinghaus read her tarot cards last spring.
“It was so crazy spiritual,” she said. “Everything she was saying was so on the nose.”
Torem recently went through a breakup, which Sessinghaus had no prior knowledge of. But during the reading, she foresaw the event had occurred.
“It was insanely accurate,” she said. “The energy in the room was different.”
Corpening and Sessinghaus also discussed whether or not they believed in other supernatural occurrences, such as a sixth sense (a sense that can see beyond the physical realm) or mediums (those who can channel the energy of spirits who have passed on).
“I don’t,” Corpening said. “I do believe there is a sort of sixth sense related to one’s emotional intelligence and how one utilizes their life experience combined with their emotional and social intelligence to relate to and assist the client in any way they can.”
Sessinghaus has a contrary view about the supernatural.
“With my personal experience of interacting with spirits and energies and with the paranormal stuff that’s happened to me, I definitely do believe in mediums and psychics,” she said.
No one can say for sure if there is some mystical force behind tarot card readings and paranormal connections in the world, but these students definitely feel a deep pull to our universe.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Mar. 2, 2020 print edition. Email Addison Aloian at [email protected]