Fortune Telling in Hong Kong
My life's been a bit of a mess over the past few months, so I decided to visit Hong Kong fortune teller Letao Wang from The Healing Kingdom to see if things were going to get any better. I'm not exactly a stranger to card reading as I was sent to scope out Letao at my old job, where he gave me a general six month reading. Since a few things worked out eerily as he'd predicted (and he's a peach), when he told me he'd scored a couple of new card decks and wanted me to try them out I thought why the hell not.
Call Letao a tarot card reader and it'll make him visibly uncomfortable. While he does have a couple of tarot card decks, he tries to go beyond gimmicky expectations of Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost. Instead of proclaiming exact dates and places that you'll meet someone tall, dark and handsome, his readings are about leaving his clients better than he found them by providing advice using what he's found in the cards. Having trained with acclaimed psychic reader Paris Debono in Sydney, he's got the gift of the spiritual gab and has been helping clients in Hong Kong ever since.
I booked in for a group reading with my homies Vanessa, Aydee and Shaneli and chose to visit Letao at his modest reading room in Tai Hang, which is really just his cosy apartment. Perched on the edge of his bed, he asked us each to tell him what our birthdays were and what our birth times were so he could do up an astrological chart. After that, he asked us what we wanted: did we want a specific reading that went in depth into either our career, love life, family or health? Did we have a specific question we wanted answered? Did we want a general reading? Depending on what we answered, he would bust out one of his many decks catered to our needs.
He's got a lot of beautiful cards, ranging from a Roman deity pack that he had specially commissioned for him to his 'hot guy deck' full of muscular men in various states of undress - a pack that he uses mainly for his gay clients. I chose to go with a reading that covered my career and love life over the next six months and he pulled out the quirky Gypsy Tattoo deck, designed by his teacher back in Sydney.
He asked me to shuffle the cards and then to ask what I wanted to know. Here's a quick rundown of what happened below:
How's my career looking in the next six months?
I pulled three cards and he flipped them over: a woman, a cherry and a goldfish. He explained that because of the way they'd been chosen and the fact that the woman was facing the other two cards meant that I was looking at a lot of career opportunities coming my way. However, he warned me to be selective about what I chose in case I got bogged down.
How's my love life looking in the future?
This one was a little trickier, I pulled another three cards and they wound up being the toxic heart (huzzah), man and letter. He said that I was still really hurting from my last relationship and that I needed to take this time to heal, while there might be interest over the next six months I had to focus on myself first.
After that, he decided to move onto his beautiful traditional tarot deck which I'd seen before to give me a quick general reading. Same deal, I shuffled the deck and handed it back to him then we began pulling cards to gauge how things were going. Amongst the cards that cropped up were the Hermit and Death, so this was already shaping up to be fun.
While it wasn't the most optimistic of readings, I knew deep down he wasn't wrong.
Going to Letao isn't about nailing down specific events in your future or churning out vague fortune cookie slips, and that's what I really love about going to him. There's not an insincere bone in his body and when he reads for you, it comes from the best place because you can tell he wants to improve his client's lives - but he's not afraid to pull punches if the readings aren't that good either. Even if you don't believe in what he's telling you, listening to his advice and experiencing the session does make you reflect on yourself and your problems in different ways. Like a friend of mine said as we walked out of the group session, going to Letao feels like some kind of cosmic therapy.
On our way out, we asked Letao if he'd had any bad experiences with clients and his mood changed. He told us, "There was this one really rude American woman. She demanded a reading and as I was explaining her cards, she told me I was a liar and refused to pay and left. That was really hard for me because I could tell from the cards that she was so angry and in so much pain. But there was nothing I could do."
He began packing up his cards and tucked them away reverently. "That's the worst, when you have the ability to help somebody who doesn't want to be helped."
To book a session with Letao, head to his website here. An hour long session is priced at HKD$600 per 40 minutes and can be held either at his Tai Hang reading room or upon request.
Images: taken by the lovely Aydee Tie