Part II: The High Priestess
Ashanti Myers trotted along the Gryffindor tower corridor,
following the tall, stern woman who served as her Head of House. She caught
up with McGonagall outside the painting of the Fat Lady. "Professor
McGonagall? Do you have a minute?"
"Only a minute, Miss Myers."
"Professor, our assignment in Divination for our
final is to do a Tarot reading for someone we haven't read for yet. Would
you mind if I did a reading for you?"
McGonagall's eyes narrowed. "Miss Myers, you know
what I think of that particular subject." Her mouth thinned in disapproval.
"Yes, Professor, but I wanted to ask you first,
anyway. We weren't required to read for our teachers, I just wanted to
do a more challenging reading."
For a moment, McGonagall hesitated, as though weighing
the advantages of helping a student against the disadvantages of having
to listen to Sibyll Trelawney's comments on Tarot and the forces of fate.
Finally she sighed. "Miss Myers, if you weren't one of our best Prefects,
and an excellent student, I wouldn't even consider doing this, but....
Very well. Let's go to my office."
Ashanti's Tarot deck bore illustrations that might have
come from a book of medieval legends. Knights, kings and queens, pages,
peasants, and a host of others were rendered in colored pencils on the
cards. As McGonagall shuffled, one card caught the side of another, missed
the deck altogether, and dropped onto the table. It was the Nine of Swords.
Both McGonagall and Ashanti stared at it for a moment; then McGonagall
hastily picked it up and slipped it back in among the other cards.
Once she had finished shuffling, McGonagall gazed down
at the deck in her hands, an unreadable expression on her face. Then she
sighed and handed the cards to Ashanti.
"All right, Miss Myers, let's get this over with."
"Yes, Professor." Ashanti began turning the
Present: Four of Wands (R)
Immediate Future: Page of Swords
Goal/Destination: Wheel of Fortune (R)
Distant Past: Two of Swords
Recent Past: Six of Pentacles (R)
Future: Three of Swords
Querent/Questioner: King of Cups
Inner Emotions: The Star (R)
Final Outcome: The World (R)
Ashanti began noting the cards on her parchment. "Well,
to start --"
"Miss Myers," McGonagall interrupted. At Ashanti's
started look, she closed her eyes briefly and sighed. "My apologies.
Would it be possible for you to do your interpretation at a later date?
I really do have a great deal to do this evening. And you already know
that I put no faith in foretelling the future."
Ashanti nodded. "Yes, Professor." She hastily
scribbled the names and positions of the cards, put away her ink and quill,
and gathered the cards up. "Thank you, Professor."
"You're welcome. Goodnight, Miss Myers."
Outside McGonagall's office door, Ashanti glanced at
her watch. It was still early enough in the evening that the library would
still be open. The Hogwarts library was one of the only places she could
openly meet with Roderick Haviland and Leanora Summerlee. One of the
disadvantages of being in three separate Houses, she thought wryly.
Well, in a couple of weeks it wouldn't matter anymore; they'd have graduated.
Once out of Hogwarts, the three of them could arrange to meet as often
as they liked.
A few minutes later, Ashanti was settled at a library
study table and had the cards spread out in front of her again. This time
she carefully noted the cards and positions on a new sheet of parchment,
and began to write her interpretations:
Present: Four of Wands (R): Loss of tranquility; conflict.
Something tragic has recently happened. Querent should acknowledge this
and realize that s/he needs to reflect on what blessings or advantages
s/he already has.
Immediate Future: Page of Swords: Vigilance and insight.
Querent should be watching for difficulties ahead. [Note: also can suggest
a young person who is watching out for Querent or who can help Querent
by being vigilant. Sounds like something Professor Moody would appreciate
Here Ashanti grinned, then continued writing.
Goal/Destination: Wheel of Fortune (R): Failure, ill
luck, unexpected results. The path for the Querent will probably be difficult,
with ups and downs. However, the Wheel stands for luck, which is always
Distant Past: Two of Swords: Balance or stalemate. Indecision.
Might represent something the Querent should have acted on when s/he had
Recent Past: Six of Pentacles (R): Selfishness, envy,
greed. The Querent has apparently recently had dealings with a person
whose selfishness has caused harm.
Future: Three of Swords: Struggle, opposition. A third
person meddling in a relationship or partnership. Ashanti paused.
She respected McGonagall a lot; but she just couldn't imagine her in a
relationship, at least not a romantic one. She tapped the quill against
her cheek thoughtfully, then continued. Querent is going to face a
great deal of sorrow, possibly over being parted from someone s/he cares
about in some fashion. There, that was vague enough. And depressing
enough. Trelawney would love it.
Querent/Questioner: King of Cups: Someone generous
(emotionally). Usually stands for an older man, often a father or favorite
uncle, or an older man in an authority position. Doesn't seem to represent
Querent; probably stands for someone the Querent respects or who works
as a supervisor. Professor Dumbledore, maybe, Ashanti thought.
Environment: Magician: Creativity and self-reliance.
Having the abilities necessary to do the job. Is probably the Querent,
but can also suggest that the Querent is surrounded by people many talents
Inner Emotions: The Star (R): Disappointment, imbalance.
Finishing an unpleasant business. Suggests that the Querent is not satisfied,
or that things s/he wishes or hopes for won't come to pass. Ashanti
stopped writing and rummaged in her bag for her Tarot book. Book also
suggests that the card might stand for a person who's pessimistic and
lacks faith that things will work out. She read over the last sentence
she had written, then crossed it out. Her own interpretation sounded better,
Final Outcome: The World (R): Clouded future, or a delayed
triumph. Suggests that the final outcome will not be positive, and that
the Querent will have to put forth more effort before goal can be reached.
She stared down at the last reading and sighed. Well,
no wonder McGonagall didn't care for Divination -- this was a really depressing
reading, and Ashanti couldn't believe that McGonagall would give up on
something just because a bunch of cards said the outcome was difficult.
Then she remembered the card that had dropped out while
McGonagall had been shuffling. Ashanti added Nine of Swords fell out
while shuffling. She shook her head; the Nine of Swords was one of
the most depressing and difficult cards in the Tarot deck. Frustration,
isolation, hopelessness. Seems to stand for someone who has dealt with
difficult situations alone. Or that the Querent is facing difficulty and
danger alone. Ashanti frowned. McGonagall was a schoolteacher; aside
from having to deal with Fred and George Weasley's attempts to completely
disrupt the lives of everyone around them, how many problems could she
Maybe a lot. For the first time, Ashanti considered just
how much she and her fellow students didn't know about their teachers.
She had no idea what McGonagall, or anyone else on the staff (with the
possible exception of Hagrid, who was not only a teacher but the school's
gamekeeper) did when the students weren't around. For all she knew, her
teachers were all married and had ten kids apiece and collected thimbles
Ashanti laughed softly. Thimble collecting didn't seem
like McGonagall's style at all. Still grinning, Ashanti put her Divination
work to one side and pulled out her notes for Charms. She could work on
that while she waited for the other two to show up.