(ZS) We are late. And it’s all my fault. “As the driver, it is important to balance scenery and timeliness. It’s a duty to the passengers,” I say to a worried Sophie Silverstone, or Mama Soph as she has been lovingly deemed. As is the case with many of my adages, it hardly convinces her. It would seem I have put too much value on scenery and not enough on timeliness.
We—Sophie, Rachel Robertson, my partner in intern-hood, and me—are on our way through downtown, along Main Street, under a bridge, across from the GTI building, and into a gated parking lot at Crone’s Hollow. We are having our futures read. Well, Rachel and me, at least. This is a capstone moment, the mystic twilight in an altering sky: Rachel and I have completed our internships at CATALYST Magazine and are looking toward the future with a questioning and hopeful gaze.
“Creeaak,” says the door, “ding-dong,” calls the bell, and we all tumble headlong into the heady, incense-scented storefront. We three, the door, the bell, and a Miss Ravenstone are now acquainted. Ravenstone stands behind a glass counter in the storefront. The room is filled, absolutely brimming with crystals, powders, bones, herbs, rings, books, necklaces, poppets and fairy dust. Ravenstone eyes us, the clumsy intruders into this hallowed place.
“Uhh, hi,” says Mama Soph, “we’re from CATALYST.” Ravenstone—dark hair, wise eyes, faded jeans, and a vertically striped shirt—says “Ahh,” summing us up in so few syllables, “let me introduce you to Aisling, today’s reader.” A few steps, a cough, an introduction, and an order-deciding intern-exchange later, I am seated on a padded chair, centered in the milky way, Earth, North America, Utah, South Salt Lake, care of a velvet tent in a concrete building. The light is musky, the curtain beads are catching in the draft; it is just Aisling and I.
She, of Irish-Gypsy descent, in a dark purple gown, says “I want you to ‘make the deck’: shuffle it, mix it up, put your energy into it. I want it to speak to you, not to me.” I take the cards, like a seasoned Vegas dealer, and shuffle. Me and my grandma play a lot of Gin; I know what I’m doing. Aisling takes the deck, closes her eyes, breathes in my energy, my aura, my very being, and we begin….
“It was an honor to talk with you laddie,” says Aisling as I thank her, leave the tent, and find a seat next to Mama Soph. “It’s your turn,” I say to Rachel, “Good luck.” And what happened with Rachel and Aisling?
* * *
(RR) I’ve never had my cards read, I’ve never really actually thought about it before. I’ve read my horoscope if I came across it, or the weekly reader Aquarium Age from CATALYST. Yet, I’ve never been invested in seeking out the future.
The future, has always been something I’ve been curious about, but something that would just appear and be.
Yet, as a ceremonial last duty for CATALYST, Zac, my fellow intern and I are in the eclectic Crone’s Hollow shop having our futures and fates read.
Crone’s Hollow smells of burning incense and is adorned with a collection of fixtures and artwork that catches the eye.
In the back room hang white orbs from the ceiling with a parlor waiting room. And there, in that room sits a crimson velvet towering tent, with a beaded curtain. The tent is propped up, waiting for you, waiting for Aisling to tell you what the future holds.
“Who’s first?” the question lobbed up into the air. Still a little nervous about what to ask, I push Zac to go first. I haven’t the slightest clue what I want to ask, or more accurately what question I want answered.
Entering through the beaded doorway, is intimidating at first, still not knowing what I am going to ask or what all of this means.
Overwhelmed with cards splashed on the table in a circle with stones, cards stacked in the far corner and wooden sticks piled high in a box… I realize I haven’t the slightest clue what I’m doing.
Yet, that feeling is how I feel about most things. And then we’re off, cards are being pulled and I’m lost in the process.
Then we’re at the end: Hawthorne. The piece of wood with scribbled ‘hawthorne’ is my final pull. That is what is going to govern my entire calendar year, according to Aisling and the Celtic wood.
Hawthorne meaning “protector the innocent.” Aisling relates it to protecting my inner child and self as I make decisions this year. Protector of the innocent and self, sounds like a solid ending to this experience.
I step out of the velvet tent, back down onto solid ground and reality.
* * *
(ZS) “This song was a summer staple in West Valley,” I say to Mama Soph and Rachel, who have been subjected to my musical tastes for incalculable hours over the past few months. We are listening to “The Point” by EatmewhileImhot!, and by the look on Sophie’s face, I can tell that my affinity to pop-punk stuff with breakdowns hasn’t rubbed off on her. Rachel doesn’t seem to mind. We—two mystified interns and our mindful [25-yr.-old] matron—are on our way back to the office.
The rest of the ride is filled with Fall Out Boys’ acoustic version of “Grand Theft Autumn/Where is Your Boy” and “Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa (Sad Song)” by Otis Redding—two songs I love, with two people I have come to know, to care about. And this is a good day.
* * *
(RR) Staring out the backseat window of Zac’s car, the time I have left as a CATALYST intern is short. I have learned and experienced a plethora of goodness.
I will miss Zac’s tales and knowledge of music. I will also miss the eclectic CATALYST office, that seems to always be bursting with life and comforting energy of dogs, people and plants.
The CATALYST community is a living, breathing organism that is filled with the power of change, hope, wisdom, love and a sprinkle of mischief. I have been lucky to be a part of it. Whatever the cards may have said in my reading, or whatever the future may hold I hope that there will be a CATALYST influence within it.
* * *
(ZS) My time at CATALYST has been a lot like this little adventure: mystic, enlightening, filled with friendship, music, and all the little things one can’t help but remember. I will be forever grateful. Being able to see how a magazine thrives and grows has been amazing, and to play a small role in that has been even better. Greta, Sophie and John have been essential to my personal and professional growth at CATALYST, thank you. I’ll, of course, miss Rachel’s required NPR listening and all our conversations on music and politics—it’s a pleasure to know someone who knows so many things that I don’t. And, to my Novices, it has been a blast exploring the mysterious known and unknown with you in my weekly Novice’s Grimoire. Sincerely, thank you.
Ohh, and the reading? You mean, you, dear reader, want to know all the dirty secrets of my future, past, and present? You want me to divulge every last insight shared in that velvet tent? I am sorry, all that is between me and Aisling. But rest assured, you’ll know about it soon enough; great things are coming. u
CATALYST is grateful to Zac and Rachel for their hard work and good natures. We can not wait to see what the future brings for us all.