Leviathan 5: Reveal All but One of Your Secrets.

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There are lots of rules to be a fortune-teller, and one of them is that you can be friendly with your sitters, but you may never be their friends. Another rule is that you can be personable with your sitters, but you can never be personal. The power of a fortune-teller is possible only because the sitter believes that the fortune-teller possesses many powerful secrets. You who read this ought to know by now that there are many valuable secrets in the world, but fortune-telling contains none of them. Fortunately, that's not what your sitters believe. In the mind of he or she who would be deceived by you, all fortune-tellers are privy to occult secrets which are jealously guarded by the Illuminati. You know that your facade is empty, but your sitter will always believe that there's just one more secret you haven't revealed.

But having said that, there are still reasons to reveal secrets. One of the reasons to reveal secrets is that by doing so your sitter will feel privileged and special. And why not? In their minds, they just got an inside connection to the mysteries of the universe. Among my favorite secrets to share is how cards on the table link together. There is power in elaborating upon these things, but in my performances I prefer to focus on the narrative and let my hands dance around the table to show direction and significance without coming right out and saying why I’m doing this. 

The revelation of secrets can be very helpful, but the secrets that should be revealed are not pertaining to the truth of the deception, but the execution of the performance. For example, sitters are frequently intrigued by commentary on the numerology of the cards, how one card in a reading connects to another card, and how the cards on the table create the prediction. Not only do these secrets make them feel like you're revealing something not intended for their eyes, but they also make the sitter feel more confident about the message. After all, it isn't the fortune-teller creating the message—it's all from the cards, and the cards can never be wrong! 

For example, “Okay, you appear in this reading as the Whore of Babylon. This is interesting in itself for the reasons we’ve already discussed, but it’s also really important because the Whore of Babylon and the Tower of Babylon are part of the same triad and share almost the same meaning, differentiated only in how they express themselves. So this means when we see the Tower of Babylon in the position of your lover, it’s a really significant illustration of how she sees you.”

I also like to point out same numbers in a reading. For example, “So, you know that there are only four of a given pip card in the deck, and we’ve got three of them here: the 6 of Spades as your needs, the 6 of Clubs as your finances, and the 6 of Hearts as your personal life. This shows me that your personal life is dominated by your need to better handle your finances, but it also tells me by reason of the missing 6 of Diamonds that financial security is a long-term issue for you. I can tell a lot both by what’s present, but also by what’s absent. Does that make sense to you?”

Of course, not all secrets should be revealed, and there are a few reasons for this. First, nothing and nobody should remove the air of mystery from your performance. The allure of the occult is intense, so no matter what secrets you reveal to enhance the deception, you must absolutely never make the sitter feel that he or she really understands what's happening. The very moment you strip fortune-telling of its mystery, you've just become a fourth-rate self-help counselor.

Second, you should allude to the sitter that there are hidden messages in the narrative of your performance which you have not yet revealed. You can't be so dull as to come right out and say, "There's more but I can't tell you!," because this kind of hook is avoided by even the least aware sitter. Instead, you must allude to it otherwise. For example, after you make a pronouncement, you may hesitate, tap your finger a few times on a card, and put on a concerned face before shrugging it off and continuing with the reading. This is a favorite of mine not only because it makes the sitter ask me to spend more time (and earn more money) discussing an unrelated tangent, but also because if it fails to entertain my sitter I can always say, "Well, you know—I didn't think it was really much to talk about and that's why I wanted to move on."

Third, you should never reveal all your secrets because this will break the power differential which sustains your role. It is a rare sitter who can admit that he or she is embracing fantasy and temporary self-deception, and that's because such sitters typically don't pay to be deceived. Oh, they'll gladly enter into the ritual chamber, but because they understand the truth of the performance they know how to get this thrill on the cheap or for free. If you ever expect to be paid by your sitters, you should never reveal the first, last, and only secret in fortune-telling: that you're blowing smoke and moving mirrors. Reveal or invent as many other secrets as you like, but this last secret is one whose revelation will only deny your ability to play the role demanded of you.

For all these reasons and more, remember the power of not just revealing secrets, but of keeping them, too.