Humans of Harker: Unraveling the mystery

Eva Chang (12) seeks to enrich her day-to-day life through insights

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Anoushka Buch

“The cards are there to guide you and subconsciously influence what you think of a situation. They’re self-evaluative and focused on reflection. It's a great way of manifesting your intentions: [reading the cards] is a reminder to look out and make active choices to put yourself where you need to be,” Eva Chang (12) said.

Walk down Main Hall any Friday afternoon, and you’ll find one door at the end of the corridor wide open, exuberant chatter and bubbly laughter emanating from within. Inside English teacher Christopher Hurshman’s room, you’re bound to find a variety of students, one of whom is Eva Chang (12), sitting on a worn beige couch with five or six multicolored cards spread out on the table before her.

Ask Mr. Hurshman what words come to mind as he remembers Eva throughout the past three years. “Insightful, sensitive and observant.”

“Since she was initially shy and reserved, I didn’t expect her to lob in the kind of insightful observations that she does,” Hurshman said. “I discovered over time that she is much more aware of things than she seemed to be at first.”

One task that requires these capabilities of intuition and mysticism is tarot card reading, an uncommon skill that uses tarot cards to gain insights into oneself and one’s life.

A few months before her junior year, Eva taught herself to read tarot cards after attending a summer writing camp in the Idyllwild Arts program. Between a few superstitious friends and a few opportune moments, Eva became intrigued by tarot cards.

The tarot is a 78-card deck that contains 22 Major Arcana cards, which tell of more holistic spiritual messages and 56 Minor Arcana cards, which are useful in the trials of day-to-day life.  Each card contains its own imagery and symbolism. Unlike fortune telling, which hints at the future, tarot cards help guide individuals intuitively through anticipated events.

“The cards are there to guide you and subconsciously influence what you think of a situation. They’re self-evaluative and focused on reflection,” Eva said. “It’s a great way of manifesting your intentions: [reading the cards] is a reminder to look out and make active choices to put yourself where you need to be.”

Hurshman also noticed that tarot card reading helped develop Eva’s sense of the world around her.

“What I find interesting about [Eva’s tarot card reading] is that it represents a desire to be in tune with the world around her,” Hurshman said. “It’s a sensitivity to the complicated relationships between people [as well as an] openness about the big questions of life, like what sort of things are predetermined and fated versus what things are under your control.”

Though Eva focuses primarily on the mental and emotional benefits that tarot card reading brings to her, she’s also realized that her readings often have some degree of truth to them, something that her close friend Sofie Kassaras (12) observed when Eva read Sofie’s cards for her.

“I was having problems with a friend of mine, and Eva did a three-card layout [for me], which is the past, present and future. The cards told me that I’d be anxious about [my situation] but that I just had to handle it, go forward and take it step-by-step, which was good advice,” Sofie remembered. “Eva’s cards give her a sense of how to handle a situation instead of telling her what the situation is going to lead to.”

Eva agrees that tarot card reading has helped her develop this sense of self.

“Tarot is very unfamiliar to a lot of people,” Eva said. “But the real purpose of me taking out my cards is because I love sharing it and teaching others about it.”

This theme of mysticism doesn’t stop at tarot readings. Since the beginning of high school, Eva’s worked to create her own vibe, one that she defines as “mysterious,” through her clothing. She draws inspiration for her sense of style from the music she listens to—alternative indie, at the moment—and primarily dresses in darker colors.

“I’m an introvert. I knew that wasn’t going to change about me,” Eva said. “As time went on, I’ve learned that it’s okay to just listen. It’s cool to observe and to know things without having to tell the world that you know these things.”