Confessions of an ex-Woo

Confessions of an ex-Woo

by Sharon Sifford

My name is Sharon and I’m an ex-numerologist and ex-tarot reader. I was always prone to magical thinking, and would, as a child suffering from sleep disorders, as I then believed, have visitors in my room some nights. My parents would tell me the next day that they were not real, but I would nod my head and think differently. I would think: “How could my imagination be in my bedroom? Imagination is what goes on in my head. You weren’t there, you didn’t see them with your own eyes, I did.”

This has carried on with me to date. With my magical thinking firmly set in place at 17, I went with some friends to a tarot reader. I was so excited. In truth, I can’t now remember a word of it but I do remember being in awe of a person with magical powers. From the age of 17 to 31 I would go once a year, again in awe and excited to see what the future had in store for me.

I gave birth to my twin daughters on 27th December, 1999. Things changed. I found it a struggle. I didn’t have the usual “get up and go”. We then moved when the girls where 6 months old, through my husband’s job, and I was now stuck in the middle of nowhere, no family/friends and two weeping/crying machines to take care of. My husband’s Auntie would ring me once a week and would tell me all about the tarot course she was on. I found it so exciting and loved our conversations. It was something else to think of rather than what times their next feed was due and had I got enough nappies. She offered to photocopy the course notes and I snatched them from her hand, yes please! I loved it. I would sit with my new cards, reading my tarot books, and felt like I was enjoying life again, I had something else to think about. This, in turn, led me to buy a book on numerology. I would do readings for family and my neighbours and the few friends I met at the baby club. I was rocking. My self-esteem was low as I felt I wasn’t cutting it as a mother, I didn’t feel like I expected I would and to think I had a magical gift, that I could tap into people’s lives via cards and numbers was wonderful, I felt special. No one could take that away from me.

A friend of a friend recommended me to the local psychic group who asked me to join them. Once a month, on a Friday night, we would do our thing at the local schools for all the mums and dads. I loved it at first. I met some lovely people. I even had a mini following – I’d be a liar if I didn’t say was an ego boost. The other psychics where very friendly. I had no doubt of mine or their gifts, as we had so many times that we got it right – the feedback was good. I then, with two friends, set up a MSN web-site where we offered free readings, the usual stuff. I felt so happy. It felt like I was back at work, in the thrust of things. I also started to really enjoy the girls. Finally, I felt like a mother and a helper of spirit.

The first Tarot reading I remember was for my first friend, my next door neighbour. I went for an easy spread, was still learning, and used the annual spread. I laid out my twelve cards and started. I remember for the month of December she got the Sun card and to me that meant promotion at work. I said that it looks like you are getting a promotion. She looked puzzled and explained in her job at the bank the position she held wasn’t one where she could get promotion. It put me off a little bit, but I continued. During December, around the 15th I think, her son knocked on my door with a bunch of flowers. Puzzled, I asked why. He told me they were from his mum, she got some good news today, they were having a re-shuffle at work and she was being moved to another section and promoted. You can imagine how excited that made me. I saw her in person the next day and we were both excited at our own victory, laughing like school girls. That reading was my spring-board. It wasn’t until I started to have serious doubts, that I suddenly thought “Hang on a minute here, I did 12 months for her and only got one right.” Let’s just say I didn’t get flowers each month and I can’t for the life of me remember what else I said to her for the other eleven cards, I just obviously now know I hung onto my hit.

I was at my happiest at the psychic fairs. I was mixing with adults and loved the fact I was meeting and getting to know new people. I’d done fourteen years in Boots The Chemist, had three customer service and a Supervisor of the Year awards under my hat, I was helping others, at my best, loved it. I had a purpose. I would work out their life path number and use the three tarot cards that corresponded with the three numbers that make the life-path number to give them a tarot/numerology mix. It was the usual “Do you? Have you? Will you?” Plenty of questions (which I didn’t realise I was doing at the time), but they always seemed to accept the information. I was convinced it was the real McCoy. I mean, how else would I know the stuff about them, their lives? One woman, I never forget until the day I die. She had a total life-path number off 22, the master number, master builder, things of lasting value. I worked out her number, did the three part bit, then finished off her total, explaining that it seemed she was going to build something of lasting value. Now, in reality, this can mean strength in relationships, family structure, not actual buildings. She informed me that she had just started a project with the council and was involved in the building of a centre for the blind. I was gob-smacked. She was one of my first readings that night and, as you can imagine, word got around, and I was busy all night. That example and the one above are what had me hooked and believing, that was until I discovered cold readings.

I can’t pinpoint where it all started to change for me. I just started to notice things. On the website I would notice a new member ask for a reading, would spot them asking for readings on other MSN groups and noticed that the info was completely different. It didn’t make sense to me, yet something inside me just knew I couldn’t voice my finding with the other two managers of the site. Why did two other people have different cards than me? Surely, we should have all gotten the same outcome for her? I mentioned this to my husband, who is a skeptic. He suggested that maybe I could check out some skeptic sites on the Internet. I did and I found information on cold readings. I couldn’t believe it. I remember thinking that they were so good, my readings, I wasn’t doing cold readings surely? I had a magical gift after all didn’t I?

I then explained to my two managers that I had to leave. I couldn’t think straight, I needed to get my head round it. One thought I was going through a crisis and the other was cross with me. It was dreadful. When I needed friendship the most, I felt like I was cast out like the black sheep and I couldn’t understand it. I can see now that my doubts and rejection are a party no-no in the world of believers. I trailed the sites with skeptic info. It felt like the rug had been pulled from under my feet. I felt embarrassed, yet at the same time I honestly did not know about cold readings during my psychic fair time. I once had a woman ring me to order a numerology chart. I explained, tactfully, that I no longer believed in them. She was so cross with me; Not that I’d previously charged her £5 for her chart and was now saying it was worthless. She was angry that I no longer believed. How could I think that, after all I had gotten so much right in her chart. I pointed out to a few of my friends what I had found, cold reading, etc, and it just seemed to make them worse. I wasn’t trying to change their mind was just trying to explain why I had and hoped they would understand. They didn’t, so I stopped trying and just disappeared.

I then joined a believers’ forum as I wondered if I had got it wrong. Maybe afterall there was something to it all. I hung around, and blended in. In my head I knew I’d read enough on skeptic sites to convince me, but at the same time it felt a bit like the nicotine monster. When I stop smoking I get the odd urge for nicotine, even after 6
weeks when the nicotine is out of my system. My mind doesn’t understand why I no longer smoke, it hasn’t re-programmed itself to the smoke-free Sharon. I found the same with magical thinking, I had a Magical Thinking Monster raise its head, as though a part of me couldn’t understand the change of mind. But I found the people on the site very nice, very helpful and supportive to each other. During the time there and through reading their posts, the Magical Thinking Monster raised its head less and less, it was dying. The odd time I did get carried away, I would say STOP to myself, there is no evidence, just people’s stories/experiences, it means nothing in the grand scheme of things.

So that brings me to date. Still have to keep a check on the MTM. If it raises its head again in times of stress, I will say stop, that was the old Sharon, and have a word with myself. To be honest, I haven’t found the cross-over easy. I know it will get easier and that my mind is well on its way to being re-programmed. I also have found being a mother wonderful, I no longer need to be anything else, just me, mum and friend to my two lovely girls.

I look back now and realise I was asking all the questions. I would ask “are you thinking about moving jobs”, “do you have a female in the family giving you trouble/are worried about”. I now see that they did all the work, filled in the gaps. Granted, in the two examples above I gave direct info, but I only mentioned those because they were the only two that stood out that I can remember in two years of doing readings. There were times where I suppose I took a chance and it paid off, and times where I got instant feedback. I never once said: “Joan (sisters name), your sister is ill and you’re worried.” I would say “is there a female you are worried about?” The answer was obviously yes, as I now realise we all have a female in our circle who we are worried about, whether it be family, neighbour, or friend at work.

I feel a bit silly now and think to myself, fancy you believed it, silly cow, yet at the same time, had her childhood experiences with no-one actually explaining what was happening in a language you understand (hallucinations). Add to that, the fact of some cracking hits here and there, and I don’t suppose it would be that hard to understand why people believe. I just know better now.

And it turns out my mum and dad where right after all: It was just all in my imagination.