People from all walks of life are drawn to the occult. It makes sense that authors and screenwriters can’t resist the aura of mystery and magic surrounding the tarot and other esoteric practices, which often pop up in TV series or movies as well as books, including my own debut novel. Mystic Ridge is a rural romance which features a gifted tarot-reading heroine.
Here are my top movie and TV picks in no particular order:
Live and Let Die
This 1973 Bond film was the first major film to feature the tarot, when Jane Seymour as Solitaire reads for Roger Moore as Bond. Solitaire, who is sworn to celibacy, believes that the cards never lie. The scene where Bond seduces her by offering her a pack from which she draws the Lovers card would raise some thorny issues around consent in a contemporary movie. The last frame shows that he stacked the deck entirely with the Lovers, which most viewers no doubt thought was hilarious back then. Let’s hope James Bond has caught up with the times.
The Prisoner of Azkaban
Emma Thompson’s Professor Sybill Trelawney is goofy and useless at predicting anything—most of the time. She accurately foretells the return of Voldemort whilst in a trance state, and then immediately forgets that she’s done so.
The White Lotus, Season 2
Spoiler alert! Who could forget the scene in the Sicilian resort where Jennifer Coolidge as Tanya sends her tarot reader packing when she tells her that her husband is in love with someone else—and the camera lingers on the Death card? The tarot reader’s English fails her, but she doesn’t stop talking. No doubt she’s describing Tanya’s impending doom (her actual death) as Tanya forces her out the door.
My tarot teacher, Alexis Murphy, says to also look out for tarot reading scenes in current streaming series Bump, Totally Completely Fine, Carnivale and True Blood.
One of the earliest appearances of the fortune teller in popular entertainment was in Shakespeare’s play The Comedy of Errors, way back in the sixteenth century. In fact, Shakespeare invented the term ‘fortune teller’.
His is ‘a hungry lean-faced villain’ and a ‘threadbare juggler’.
‘A needy, hollow-eyed, sharp-looking wretch / A dead-looking man: this pernicious slave’.
It’s apparent that fortune tellers weren’t regarded as pillars of society back in those days. In fact, over the centuries they’ve been subjected to punishments ranging from enforced exile to imprisonment.
Unlike those persecuted characters of the past, Mystic Ridge’s contemporary heroine, Claire, is mercifully free to practise her skill with her tarot cards. She helps the people who come to see her shape their lives into a coherent and meaningful narrative. The tarot can be used or misused, but at its best, it celebrates life and offers hope for a happy ever after, just like a good romance novel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lucy Lever
Lucy Lever is a former social worker who lives in the bush on Sydney’s coastal fringe with her husband. Always an avid reader who would never think of going anywhere without a book, she decided to give creative writing a go late in life. Luckily it wasn’t too late. Lucy makes frequent visits to family on the NSW north coast, where she found the inspiration for her debut novel, Mystic Ridge. She’s a proud member of Romance Writers of Australia.
Don’t miss Mystic Ridge
Sparkling rural romance meets quirky rom-com in this delightful debut story of love, magic and fighting for home. Perfect for readers who love Rachael Johns and Alissa Callen.
Is love on the cards?
Reading the tarot is in Claire’s blood. It’s a gift she inherited from her late mother. But her genius in helping others discover their path fails her when it comes to finding her own, especially once she learns of plans to bulldoze her carefully regenerated rainforest home and build a high-end wellness centre. She vows to rally her small community and save Mystic Ridge, although she has no idea where to start…
Perhaps her first port of call should be the local newspaper, but after a fake-dating misadventure with the new editor, Leo, rising tensions – and chemistry – get in the way. Meanwhile, her old love, soapie actor Jake, promises to help protect her home. Yet Claire suspects his loyalties lie elsewhere, and she doesn’t know who to trust anymore.
Will Claire find the courage to fight for the rainforest, her family and her chance at love?
With a colourful ensemble of small-town characters, and a dash of ghostly intervention, Mystic Ridge offers surprises at every turn.