City Lights

That time I took my Instant Lenormand cards (free download) out for a chat with San Francisco.

When I visit my local corner shop I sometimes feel like a spy. Having lived in many cities, old corner shops and my visits and friendships with people who work there tend to flash by in a montage of reality-bending proportions.

It’s Rafa who sells me soft drinks today but only a few years ago it was El Chino in New York City who saw me drunk more times than my mother and always took care of me. He kept the Mexico spirit alive in the middle of the busy collection of lights, colors and other spirits that is the borderless area between Little Italy and Chinatown.

I know the spirits of my cities well. Good old London who makes everyone feel like the whole world could fit inside its limits and still continue to grow in strange and unexpected ways. He knows how to transform whilst keeping everyone calm, and is a great ally to all who accept this.

New York the playful risk taker. Fall in love tonight, fall out tomorrow. Dark alleys become shop-lined streets overnight, he’s a younger spirit of course. Everyone is welcome to become instant BFFs with her but that also means the door is always packed. Traces of many spirits weave through it and form an incredible tapestry that always lives up to the ‘new’ promise in her name.

Mexico City my old, giant, ragged, bitter mother. Why wouldn’t he be? Its rivers were covered with cement and all her symmetry sacrificed, for what? Spare her the reminder and give it a chance to speak because he has seen everything, a wise, harsh, know it all who wants to show you the best of itself but can only do so if you let go of assumptions and find the small scattered pieces of the great long colorful plumage on top of her scales.

Last year I visited San Francisco, I stayed on the other side of the Golden Gate bridge but on one occasion I hopped aboard the Sausalito ferry and made my way to the city, I wasn’t too surprised when the city’s spirit waved at me so of course I waved back.

From the ferry to a cable car ride I explored the city’s many wonderful corners and magical spaces, bought vintage clothes, enjoyed coffee and overpriced bubble tea drinks, overpriced everything actually. I remembered some of my visits as a child and how much I’d enjoyed the unconventional vibe of the place.

Sometime before the sun set I found myself in the heart of a beloved landmark and not a soul in sight.

And what better place to continue my conversation! I took out my Instant Lenormand printed at home on Avery business cards, trimmed square and left without decorations. I shuffled and called on the spirit of the city.

“I’m here! Bright and friendly.”

I continued to read the cards in conversation.

“They’ve given me the name of a holy man, like a dog, but I shape shift easily and can take on many forms. Find me in the light, in distorted reflections. I will guide you.”

I recalled the many changes the city has gone through, a fire, an earthquake, the tech boom or whatever it was that made it so expensive. I thanked the spirit and as I always do in every city, made my way to the best bookstore in town. On arrival, I was greeted by the spirit again on the sign at the door: City Lights Books (wink).

Inside I browsed until it got dark. Before I left, by the poetry section, I found tucked neatly inside a book I decided to flip through, an Eight of diamonds playing card. Not only my lucky number but in twinkling lights! I thanked the spirit again for offering me this gift and took it home along with a good read. I still take it out whenever I need some extra spark.

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