It doesn’t take a crystal ball to notice that fortune-telling has become fashionable. Peering into the future has never been so popular.
Yet why spend a fortune on having your cards read (up to £120 for half an hour) when you could learn to do it yourself? Joanna Watters, author of several books on tarot and astrology, runs a summer school on the Greek island of Lefkada, where you can combine a liberal dose of sun, sea and calamari with a decent grounding in tarot or astrology.
‘It’s a study holiday, with a firm emphasis on fun,’ says Joanna, who’s lived in the village of Nidri for 24 years.
Sunbathing and sightseeing: The seafront village of Nidri where Joanna Watters lives
She knows everyone, so you’re welcomed like a best friend wherever you go and mate’s rates clearly apply with free bottles of wine appearing and bills miraculously shrinking.
My B&B is on the beach and study days run on four days of the week, leaving plenty of time for sunbathing and sightseeing. Our little group (all women, all firmly over 50) gather at Joanna’s home on the edge of the village. Some want to become professional tarot readers; a marketing consultant plans to introduce divination to the boardroom. Others, like me, are simply curious. ‘Modern life creates anxiety,’ says Joanna. ‘Astrology and tarot can give guidance and answers. I’ve seen it work thousands of times.’ We learn the meanings of all 78 cards, how to lay out a spread and, crucially, how to interpret what it all means.
As we practice on each other, the ice swiftly breaks. Tarot is as much counselling as cartomancy and, while nobody demands you spill your secrets, the cards tend to be a giveaway. The broken heart, the struggling business, the straying spouse -whatever’s going on in your life is bound to pop up.
Ice breaker: Joanna Watters reveals the cards for Jane Alexander and tells her fortune
I blush as my parlous financial state reveals itself, but it also makes for superfast bonding. There’s always someone up for a boat trip or a stroll round the shops.
I leave with a broad smile on my face.
Whether it’s from the laughter or because the cards say my future is decidedly rosy, I’m not sure.
A week’s study holiday with Joanna (joannawatters.com) costs £325. Easyjet (easyjet.com) flies to Preveza from £164 return.