Article by: Hazafa Hasan
Luck is one thing that can make or break you. The most talented of the people when faced by wrong timing or momentary decisions, get thrown back to the end of the status-quo. There are all sorts of professionals who will tell you your fortunes and you might be inclined to laugh them off and think it’s all good fun. However, you mustn’t forget that there are some people born with a gift of sight who can guide you or warn you about the path you are about to take. Mariam Aftab’s name is not new among these professionals. She uses tarot cards to help and guide her clients when faced with big choices. However, she is also renowned spiritual healer who can soothe your aura and help you get into a positive state of mind.
Recently, I was given a chance to meet this master reader. Let me just say this that tarot cards have always fascinated me. Their shapes and labels are all very mysterious. I am one of those people who really enjoys all things mystical. I also believe that every action of everyone, every day contributes to the wheel of fate that weaves and interlocks our destinies. My idea of seers and psychics have formed from the pop-culture sources and fantasy novels that I keep devouring. When I hear about someone with a third eye, what I see are seers from the Vikings, Once Upon a Time, or even animated Hercules (three witches sharing an eye and snipping threads of mortal life). They have this soulful voices that predict your doom and it turns out that you cannot actually do anything to change what has been prophesized.
(Photo: Once Upon a Time, CW)
Suffice to say, meeting Mariam was an education and a reality check. I went up to her office and to my surprise, it was quite unimpressive. There were two emerald green pillars in front of an unmarked building, leading to a staircase that led me to a sitting room which looked like something from a medical clinic.
Her own private office doesn’t send chills down your back. Rather its quite cozy looking with brown leather inviting sofa’s and a large desk and a chair. She has lots of books and paintings in her office. So it looks more of a cozy parlor that incites spilling secretes over tea, instead of whole gypsy tent with beady curtains and black/scarlet candles. She doesn’t even own a crystal ball for heaven’s sake! Mariam is a painter as well, who has lots of Asma-ul-Husna paintings (her originals) done in eastern calligraphic styles. She adorns them with stones and crystals so you will know that she isn’t a woman who will lead you astray from the righteous path (if that sort of things keeps you away). My first impression of her was of a really well spoken, stylish lady who instantly put me at ease. I loved that she wasn’t vague in her convictions and tells you outright what she can or can’t do. Following is an account of her our conversation with her:
1. Mariam, you don’t need any introduction in Lahore. However, for our readers out of town and out of national borders, we’ d like to ask you how would you like to be introduced?
I would rather like to be called a healer than a tarot card reader because each reading is based on the aptitude of people. It is based somewhat on the confusions, fears and thoughts of people, as what we usually do is a map of the unconsciousness. I also have a psychology degree which helps me read people in a way that they cannot do for themselves and that helps them become more sorted. This is why I like to be called a healer.
2. Tarot cards are fascinating to many people. Please can you enlighten us with how can these cards guide or predict events?
Your timing can either be good or bad and that impacts your life choices. Like a career or profession might suit you on a certain time. Especially when it comes to marriage there are 36 points (as also called ‘Chattis’ (36) gunn in Hindi) and if these points match 17 times or more then it is considered a good union. I can do analyses of the names. I was once called Aisha but I had it changed to Mariam. Your name can have deep rooted implications over your personality. I can also check if there is evil eye or negative energy surrounding the couple and how to neutralize it.
3. Your tarot cards aren’t usual looking, did you create your own deck? And if yes, why?
I use eastern tarots, which is why they are labeled differently.
4. What are the usual concerns of brides to be when they come to you?
You see women and men come to me before a rishta is accepted and finalized. Once they are brides to be, they are in it. Then they can only come for compatibility improvement guide and how to remove evil eye, if there’s any. And ask about the good and bad to be expected and how to counter it.
The brides that come to me also ask about the semi-precious or precious stones used in the jewelry. Stones like sapphire or feroza might not be for everyone. And if you want to go safe, you can go with rubies they suit everyone. We also discuss the color they should wear.
5. Is zodiac compatibility a myth or a fact? Do you truly think that incompatible signs might lead to unsuccessful marriages?
Yes, Zodiacs and names matter in compatibility. Like the points mentioned earlier, you can tell if a girl would bring wealth, or if a guy would be lucky to sire children. Because that’s how it goes, men’s luck is associated with children and women’s with wealth.
6. What’s the one advice you will give the men and women who are looking to get married?
I think that marriage is the essence of life and the luck of two people in a relationship can be mapped beforehand. It may sound unromantic but it’s like placing the foundation of a business really, you can weigh the pros and cons. If people are well-suited they can lead a very happy life. In this arrange-marriage culture of ours, it pays to enter the martial contract knowing what’s to be expected of the person you are going to be with. I personally am a believer in arranged marriages as some of the perfect couples I know were married as arranged by their respective families.
7. We are sure that you get this a lot but how did you enter this profession? Is this something you always wanted to do?
I entered this profession purely by coincident. Back when I was studying in Berkeley, I attended a psychic event in Los Angles. I have always been interested in occult and I had my own cards read. The teller told me that I will earn much fame in this field. To tell you the truth, I scoffed at the thought of being someone like a palmist back then. I asked him if this was his way of cursing me? You see I wanted to become a film actress and I had drama as a minor subject at college. Being a tarot card reader was the hand that fate dealt me and the more I ran away from it, the more persistently it followed me. It was purely my destiny.
8. Did you face many hurdles? Was your family supportive?
Oh yes, my father was quite angry with me. He said any Tom, Dick & Harry can walk into your office to get a reading for a pesky amount. To that I responded even doctors heal people and work the same way, so how was my work any different? For a long time, I set up my shop behind a shoe store. No one from family knew. They were more supportive when they saw my success and now they are very happy.
9. What’s the one question most people ask you and you wish they wouldn’t?
Most people ask me how long will they live and that annoys me. I am not God so I cannot tell you that. Also, asking that question is like committing shirk. You cannot expect a human to tell you when you will die.
10. Have you ever considered giving up on this career? If yes, then why and vice versa.
Many times. Like I said the more I avoided it, the more stingily it held onto me.
11. Was there ever a reading that was tragic that you wished you didn’t see it?
Yes, once a friend of mine referred me a client and asked me not to charge her. This woman came to me, clad in an abaya. She was wearing gloves and shades as well. I asked her for name and the date of birth. She wouldn’t give me either. I did a reading anyway and there were a lot of disturbing cards. The fire, death and rebirth. I knew something was severely wrong with her. The cards were dark and tragic. I tried to placate her saying it will all be well. She got so mad and said some harsh words. I was offended too, that this woman won’t reveal herself and expects me to listen to her abuse. She then said if you want to see my face, let me just show you. She unveiled her face and I realized that she was an acid burn victim. I was stunned and I wondered that why my friend who referred this woman didn’t mention this? I mentioned this incident in my book ‘Journey of Insights’, I called that chapter unveiling. Because I only learnt later that this woman used to be an escort. I found it tragic that a woman who used to have money thrown at her when she unveiled was now unveiling to cause fear and mistrust. You can find rest and more about this turning point in my career in my book.
12. And that prompts us to ask you that how you deliver the bad news to clients? And how do they take it? We’ve learnt that you don’t like to sugarcoat stuff so how does it usually go?
If there is an illness in people’s card, I can only tell them to look after themselves. I usually don’t like looking into bad health and its consequences. If it’s a relationship bound to fail, I like people to open up to more alternatives. I try to lighten things and come up with a positive way to make the best of a bad situation. However, I don’t keep things from my client. I do tell them. Always. If they are beaten down by it, that’s when I can help them get back at their feet. Even when sometimes things don’t seem to go in the positive direction or feel like it, I tell them that nothing is the end of the world.
13. How does reading someone’s fortune work to help them if (as they say) everything to happen has already been set in motion?
I used to be confused about this as well and then I read this quote by Hazrat Ali R.A and that’s what I stand by now:
“I heard a hadith of Imam Ali A.S that a man came and asked him do we have free will or is everything predetermined. Imam Ali A.S asked him to stand on one leg; after a brief pause Imam Ali A.S asked him to raise his other leg. Obviously he couldn’t. So Imam Ali as said that is free will.”
We are in control up to a certain point and then it’s only Allah SWT from there onwards.
14. What are some common misconceptions about your work that you’d like to address?
If a person isn’t well equipped to handle the power of a suggestion, then he or she shouldn’t visit the people of my profession. I will tell your readers that sometimes it pays to consult an objective source who can analyze your problems without biasness. Your family and friends have an opinion about your problems which makes them biased. A person like me who has nothing to gain will be able to be more free with their advice. Tell you the truth, I sometimes wish I had someone like this in my own life. I would visit them twice a month just to do a personal catharsis.
15. Do you get couples as clients too? Has it ever happened that something that was supposed to be a secret was revealed in these readings? Any interesting incident? You can skip the names.
Yes, the couples do come to me. And if I find something that wasn’t supposed to come out, I request them to come individually. I am not here to spoil relationships but to help them grow. So, when the spouses come to me separately, I can sort things with them.
16. Now we live in an Islamic Republic State and that means that having a profession as a tarot card reader might face some backlash. How do you deal with it?
First of all, I don’t predict the future, I just make suggestions to improve the present. You may call my gift the sixth sense and I combine it with things like Asma-ul-Husna, the crystals and the third eye to improve them. Tarot cards are just a tool to do that.
17. Tell us about the healing crystals, how do they work? Was there ever any incident that could lead us to believe that they actually work?
Healing crystals can be programmed. Mine is garnet but it’s not what I usually wear. Sometimes when these crystals break when you are wearing them, I believe that’s when the negative energy or evil eye is neutralized.
(NOTE: You can learn more about the Mariam Healing Center by visiting: http://www.mariamhealingcenter.com/, or https://www.facebook.com/MariamHealingCenter/?ref=br_rs
For appointments, contact: +92 300 4804218)
18. Your sister Dr. Aliya works on various forms of spiritual and mental healing? Do you ever consult on a case together?
Yes, we have, but we do not disclose their case details. We think it’s unethical.
19. You have many international clients as well. Do you think that their concerns are different from our desi folks? If yes, then how so?
My international clients, I have to say, are much nicer. They know about Islam and the concept of Allah (even non-Muslims). They are more open and accepting. Here people don’t even thank me for a reading, but I find international clients to be way politer. I think they appreciate my healing work more
20. In your opinion how relationship dynamics are changing in the present?
I think girls are becoming smarter about their priorities and what they want from life. Many men who come to me are still seeking a trophy wife in this time and age. Men are seeking wives who are educated and well turned up so they can show them off in society. It only makes sense for women to realize their own wants and needs from life as well.
21. How did you like working with team Bridals.pk?
It was very nice. Thank you for having me.