When I was younger, I wanted to be psychic SO BADLY. This was long before I became a professional psychic (through the use of tarot cards). Long, loooong before I even knew about tarot at all.
Not only was I obsessed with all things psychic, crying into my crystals how I was never going to be one of those elite few who seemed to be able to see through it all: people, situations, lies, manipulations, down to the cold or warm or hard truth… I was also obsessed with finding my soulmate. Long before I was truly even ready to date anyone, let alone find “the one.”
I don’t think I’m unusual in this regard. Many classic late-80s to early-90s board games were MADE for this kind of weird obsession I had, making me think that many pre-teen to teen girls were also similarly fixated on both witchiness and finding a boyfriend.
The one I most remember was Ask Zandar, which had a “crystal ball” in the middle with a wizard in it, and as you moved your pieces around the board, you would ask the crystal ball questions. This crystal ball was a mini-Zoltar of sorts, spewing out audio predictions in a tinny metallic-sounding voice that was a poor facsimile for what a mystical wizard was supposed to sound like. Yet, my newly formed teenage mind held tight to those pre-fabricated “predictions” like the last piece of Halloween candy.
Truly, this was a board game that encompassed the two things I was searching for at that point in my life: love and supernatural powers.
An article I found online entitled “Most Awesomely Ridiculous Girl Games of the 90s” had this to say about Ask Zandar: “The game, which involved a robotic plastic wizard in a crystal ball that told you your future, wasn’t inherently sexist; the fact that nine out of ten questions girls asked it involved boys, however, was.”
Yup. That was me. I took the bait. Took it all the way to the bank.
My twin obsessions of being psychic and finding a soulmate took me to some strange places, and reading some weird things. I practically lived in the Warner Library’s “occult section” (behind the main library desk and up the stairs, 2 aisles over to the right… it was a SMALL section, and it wasn’t called occult either: most likely new age or self-help, I knew how to read between the lines). Around this time I found books like Bridge of Light by LaUna Huffines and started trying to weave visualized bridges of light between my heart center and my crush’s. Spoiler alert: It didn’t work, but there were odd side effects, like increased compassion for people that I previously couldn’t stand. Huh. Maybe there was something to all this, after all?
Soon after, I discovered Laura Day’s work, and my little white spiral-bound notebook filled with my notes from Bridge of Light, a crystal-charging workbook, and some magickal dabblings quickly became filled with answers to exercises from Laura Day’s book Practical Intuition: “predictions”, if you please. Some of the exercises I didn’t understand: how did these exercises relate to the development of intuition? How did visualizing an apple turning in my “mind’s eye” relate to finding the name of my soulmate so I could freaking find him? [Creative visualization, by the way, is an excellent way of beefing up your magickal muscles: if you can’t visualize it crystal-clear and in minute detail, how will you manifest it in your life?] I didn’t know how all this visualization related to finding my soulmate, but I kept trying, doggedly working each exercise and jotting “results” down in my notebook: and in hindsight, only writing down what I “thought” were real results… when I should have been writing down EVERYTHING. To be fair, when I finally got to the section of the exercises where I got to ask actual questions about my life, the results that I did write down were uncanny: automatic writing about the question of who my soulmate was turned out to be surprisingly precient in hindsight! [I seriously got half of his last name. But I didn’t understand the prediction until AFTER the fact, which is sometimes how this weird intuition thing works.]
The funny thing I didn’t know about soulmates was the following: sometimes, soulmates are not the solution to all your lovelorn problems… in fact, just because you find your soulmate, doesn’t mean your love life is set in the slightest. In fact, the love of your life can come after a pretty big disappointment. And that a soulmate isn’t regulated to a “one and only someone” as the movie Saving Silverman would have you believe.
In the end, I didn’t have to ask Zandar the questions Will I be married? And will I be psychic?
The answer to both is ABSOLUTELY [in the tone of an electronic wizard, of course!]. But the journey and the not knowing was much more interesting than certainty in love at sixteen years old. And what life holds for you can’t be told to you in a board game.
Comment below if you actually remember this game, or if you remember any zany boardgames from your childhood, such as Mall Madness and Dream Phone. Let’s discuss!
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© Hilary Parry Haggerty | Tarot by Hilary