One thing that has been is consistently popular since 1996, is the new age fair (or "alternative convention", as it is actually called). Several major cities in Norway hold one each year, and this time of year is when Bergen's has its fair. It is always popular.
A former co-worker had a gift for sensing things her five senses couldn't sense and eventually took a daring step and turned her ability into a business. She tested the waters about 10 years ago at our new age fair, giving Tarot card readings at a friend's booth. A couple of years later, I got to give astrology readings at the same booth. Heady fun! But I gave it up. I don't have the mindset for that sort of thing; I get bored when three different people ask me the exact same question. My friend, however, finds it thrilling, and turned her Tarot card reading into a full-time job, quitting her nine-to-five for good.
I ran into my Tarot-reading friend, who has legally changed her name to Hope, earlier this week, and took that as a sign, because we've actually been out of touch for about four years. This weekend, my free month's worth of newspapers started arriving, too, and what do you know: My friend again, in a nice spread in Saturday's paper. So I told her I'd see her at the fair, partly to lend her my copy of the DVD "The Secret", since she'd mentioned reading the book and being curious about the movie.
The fair is held in our concert hall, which doubles as a convention hall. About 150 booths, umpteen lectures and talks each of the three days, and quite the crowd of people. I ran into a neighbor who was so happy about the good vibes this year! I noticed that some old stand-bys were not present, that other regulars had changed places, and that even the numbering of the booths on the map had changed. Numerology probably played a part in changing the vibrations, and maybe so did changing the color of the convention aids' T-shirts from a visible but unflattering sun yellow to a regular red.
So I buzzed by the booths, marveling at the choices in decor so many "psychics" choose (and people think I have bad taste for liking tigers painted on black velvet) and came to yet another change: Hope's usually dark blue booth was now plain white and rather tiny, but offered privacy for the customer during the reading thanks to a strategically placed white curtain (probably drawn back in the newspaper photo). Next door was her friend Malu, who had lent Hope the booth space back when. Malu's decor had changed from various drapings of blue crushed velvet, to a calmer and uncluttered look with soft pink tulle as her backdrop.
I finished the organic, freshly-made carrot juice I had purchased (discovering it left an after-taste in my mouth; that was disappointing), and walked down another row of booths. One booth was offering all sorts of Feng Shui trinkets, but I got rather overwhelmed (do I need protection? Better memory? A lover? All three? Something else entirely?) so bought nothing. I did buy the movie about Neale Donald Walsch and his "Conversations with God"). Another booth was set up by an acupuncture practice in town, one I had seen in our yellow pages, because I had been looking for something that may help me with my digestion. I paid my NOK 200 and had points around my cuticles on my fingers and toes prodded, and was told that my bladder qi and liver qi were very low. So, since I had planned on checking them out anyway, I made an appointment for Wednesday at 3 pm to get needleless acupuncture. My plan is to use my monthly Wednesday off for treatments until the summer.
All in all, I spent exactly one hour at the fair. When this all first started, I could spend hours; I was still looking for books, Tarot cards, fellow astrologers, fellow metaphysicians, curious about my aura, my future, the lines in my hands. Now it's both comfortably familiar and largely irrelevant, though seeing several familiar faces and exchanging smiles is always nice.
I sometimes have to remind myself that the cow was once a calf (as the Norwegians say) when I meet "newbies" who are checking out everything at such fairs, looking for answers, looking for the answer. I shouldn't shoot them down right away. After all, I enjoyed such searching myself at one time. I still search; I just don't look out there any more. I look within because I now know there's little money can buy that'll matter. But looking within isn't as much fun as having some man with large, intense eyes and ditto aura about him tell you what a beautiful soul and vessel for it you have.
Hmmm... I wouldn't mind a repeat of that, come to think of it.