Celia Moodie, 12 August 2015

As part of the On Coping editorial commissioned for Sleek Magazine, writer Celia Moodie produced a new text – A Reading for Anybody. Developed from a tarot consultation between Celia and Auto Italia, the piece forms the core narrative of the On Coping editorial; both fiction and strategy, encouragement and cautionary tale.

The full piece is featured in the Cabinet section of Sleek 46 Summer 2015 – Contemporary Collaboration. 


In a pub or better yet in your car, double taking as you pass the unpunctuated sign reading Danger Children and rapidly reducing speed to ascertain what it is, exactly, about these children that makes them so reckless, something falls – PLAP! – out of the glove compartment.

You retrieve the heavy, colourful carton from beneath the seat and slide it open. A booklet unfolds into your hand, soft, like a pocket handkerchief (the booklet, that is, not your hand). Being no longer a teenager, your hands are gravely calloused. On realising these are Tarot cards you read on, eagerly. The present holds very little value after seventeen.

The booklet contains a note on the right approach, reproduced here:

1) Be humble. Forgo anything marked in your filofax as exclusive and, if you are invited, attend the opening of a sash window instead. Sit, one haunch on the sill, and watch the drift. Come to understand that, historically (which is how you will come to look at everything eventually), this daily occurrence carries the same weight as any summons or ceremony, and is many times more pleasant to boot.


This much at least, says your first card, The Wheel of Fortune, landing reversed in this, the position of current influences.

As a card it is as present as can be and sails close to the wind. Fortune, like a kleptomaniac compulsively pocketing hair clips etcetera off the shelf, can take things literally. She’s saying: you’re here because you’re not thinking about now. But then, who is?


Next the hermit. From his appearance you could well believe he deals in riddles. But riddles, as you know, are merely a way for superior people to keep unimportant secrets. Situated here, he warns of the perils of too much introspection. The longer you look into the lamp he holds before him, or into the dark it doesn’t illuminate, the longer you are in thrall to sweet Fanny Adams. Strap yourself to the mast, stop your ears and direct yourself forwards, expecting a trip or two.


Justice, a difficult card. There’s no wind stirs that drapery. You’ll return to her by and by.


Here we have The Chariot with the figure at the top cut off from the actual vehicle, which rides empty, hinting at issues of control. You think of a panicked ticket inspector finding the driver drinking a G&T in first class: but…if you’re here who’s driving the train?! sort of thing.

As you turn the next card you peer from the window, now spotted with a little rain like a sneeze on a salad bar guard. The Lovers, honouring the harmonious relationships of your past. You conclude that it’s about persistence of vision, affixing them back to back, you make a thaumatrope and rotate: now the chariot has three riders.


There’s not much outside the compass of The World, and so much the better, as it is the first card in your series to look forward. A nearly naked woman, environed with garlands, eagles, a bull and a lion with a horrid, human face. In consulting the booklet, you are surprised to find this card is one of realism, and unity. You suggest travel. This much is certain, but not leisure.


With the card of Judgement, landing reversed, you can return at last to Justice, who presided over the site of your specific goal with a certain boring mystery. Judgement sits askew in the place of The Questioner, that is you, and suggests that judgement and the fear of it, is simply not your bag. You yearn, perhaps, to get beyond value, and value judgements. The Sun announces in his bald way that this is eminently possible, and the climate positive for your intent.

So much for the exterior. Your penultimate card sits in the place of inner feelings: you turn over The Moon, A Lunatic Fringe arrived to qualify the worldly sun, and just in time, you think – it was feeling a bit un-shuffled.

Nearing nightfall, a loud smash wrenches you from your reverie. In the hurry to pull away your final card – V, JUPITER – the moral guide, synthesising all concerns of authority and where it lies, slides back to the hot, carpeted floor, chin in hand.

As you turn to smile benevolently at the children who have gathered to throw rocks at your car, you understand that you are not in too much trouble.


On Coping for Sleek Magazine is a project by:
Marleen Boschen, Kate Cooper and Marianne Forrest
Photography and CGI: Theo Cook