Reading Is Funny and Mental: Divination Gone Wrong

Reading Is Funny and Mental: Divination Gone Wrong May 23, 2024

I never doubt I’m good; I always have those killer gym teacher readings when I have moments of wondering, but sometimes, everything just stops working, and it’s pit of the stomach time.” –Deborah Lipp

“And so Doctor Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.”Deborah Pratt

A friend of mine was finishing up medical school and waiting to find out where he’d be placed for his residency. He hoped to remain in Houston, and there was a very good chance that he would. But the ultimate unknowability of the situation was starting to eat at him, so he set his rational, scientific outlook aside and dropped by the store for a reading.

“Will I be happy with my residency placement?” he asked, as we sat criss-cross applesauce on the floor of the stock room.

I gathered up my lithomantic stones, gave them a hearty shake, tossed them onto my casting cloth, and was immediately like, “Wow, yes, you will be very happy.” Jupiter, Mercury, and the Sun created a tight formation next to the Indicator, letting us know that everything was in place for the situation to work out beautifully for him.

The only ripple in the otherwise clear reading was the Home stone, which bounced its merry way across the cloth, finally coming to rest high above and far to the left of the positive cluster.

The face I make when I’m determined to look on the bright side. (Image courtesy of Dean Lewis.)

“Huh,” I said mystically.

“Is there an issue?” he asked, concerned.

“Not really,” I said. “It’s just that since the reading is so auspicious and shows you getting what you want, I would’ve expected Home to land near all the other good stuff. Taken at face value, this would mean that you’re going to be happy, but not in Houston.”

“But if what I want is to stay in Houston…”

“Then… well, maybe it’s just out of place,” I suggested. “Or, since the Home stone is physically right in front of you, it could mean that you’re not going to be leaving the area anytime soon.”

I know the latter sounds like a rationalization, but there is precedence. I once read for someone who wanted to know what obstacles were holding them back, and when I threw the stones, Saturn rolled aggressively off the cloth and lodged itself under her foot. Point being, sometimes the actual, real-time location of a given stone in relation to the querent themself tells us everything we need to know.

“So the stones are saying that my residency will be in Houston.”

“Yes. Probably. I think so. Yes.”

“Okay. Cool.”

I was not entirely sold, but I also couldn’t deny that the reading was flashing a favorable outcome. Plus my friend was satisfied: He wanted to stay in town, my tentative interpretation was that he would stay in town, end of story. I went ahead and rattled off my standard disclaimer, though, just to manage his expectations and remind him that when it comes to divination, nothing is set in stone. So to speak.

Although the magic rocks were as anxious as I was for results to come in. (Image courtesy of Dean Lewis.)

Two weeks later, he texted to let me know that residencies had been announced.

He would be attending school at the Houston-based institution he’d picked as his first choice and swearing fealty to me as the mightiest of soothsayers in Austin.

To say I was humbled is an understatement. I mean, logically I know that readings are rarely if ever 100% accurate, but to have one turn out so opposite of correct was a terrible blow to my confidence. And if I’m not confident in my ability to read, I won’t be able to read, period.

And while I normally adhere to the philosophy that what other people think of me is none of my business, I was worried how the experience might color my friend’s opinion of me. He knows me as a witch, and as someone with a side hustle as an online oracle, and I don’t need him (or anyone else) to validate my beliefs, but I also didn’t want him thinking, “Thumper just takes money to tell people whatever they want to hear.” Like, it wouldn’t bother me if he saw me as a nutjob, but it would cut deeply if he wrote me off as a fraud.

I brought this up when we hung out a few days later, and he assured me that his estimation of me had not changed.

“Here’s the thing,” he added. “Out of all the schools I visited, Austin was my favorite, and overall, it’s going to be the best fit for me. I just… really didn’t want to have to deal with moving.”

“Wait a second,” I said. “That means the reading was right.”

“It was,” he confirmed.

“But my impression of the reading was wrong, because I was working under the assumption that your happiness was contingent on you staying in Houston.”

“Also true.”


“As I suspected you would.”

Which means we’re both psychic. Who knew?

Now, one could make the argument that my friend was not entirely forthcoming with his inquiry, and there are methods of divination that will totally call querents out on that. But lithomancy is not one of them. Instead, it skips judgement in favor of providing answers to questions exactly as they are pitched: My friend asked if he would be happy, and the magic rocks were like, “Yes. Elsewhere. Et voila.”

There is no clever caption here: I just really like this picture. Lithomancy! (Image courtesy of Dean Lewis.)

Had a more unambiguous question been floated, a more unmistakable answer would’ve appeared — but that’s my hurdle to navigate, not his. And it’s my duty to present the details I divine as-is. If a querent doesn’t ask what they actually want to know, that’s really not my problem. And it’s also solely up to me to remember that.

And I am in fact remembering it! And I am proud of myself for that, since I am at heart a people pleaser who hates breaking bad news. But I have learned to stand my ground and keep my boundaries braced for impact — so when a client at the last psychic fair I worked clearly knew what she wanted to hear, I was able to read the stones objectively and handle the whole situation with tact and aplomb:

“Does he still love me?”


“Will he ever apologize for what he did?”


“Will I ever see him again?”



“But if you do, you’ll be in such a different place emotionally and financially that he will no longer matter to you.”

“Oh. That… ” [a long pause, then a sigh] “Okay. I needed to hear that.”

Which was fine by me. It was literally all I could share.

Like what you’ve read? You can buy me a coffee about it. (CashApp and Venmo are always options as well.)

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About Thumper
Thumper (Horkos) Marjorie Splitfoot Forge is a Gardnerian High Priest, an initiate of the Minoan Brotherhood, an Episkopos of the Dorothy Clutterbuck Memorial Cabal of Laverna Discordia, a recovering alcoholic, and a notary public from Houston, TX. His first book, VIRGO WITCH, co-authored with Ivo Dominguez, Jr., is currently available at open-minded bookstores everywhere. You can read more about the author here.

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