“Muggles do tarot Ronald, they have for centuries. They actually practice more old magic than wizards do. Besides…would you really want to get her into trouble with the Wizengamot? Is it worth getting her obliviated?”
Ron chewed on his bottom lip, let a hand rough up his hair, still red as ever.
“I know Hermione. But it’s conflicting with the vows I’ve had to make as an auror. I can’t help but think she’s doing something wrong— and me not telling anyone means I’m doing wrong too.”
Hermione knew Ron was serious about this; his brow was furrowed and eyes looked watery. He was conflicted.
He also knew she wouldn’t want to get involved with a friend’s business— a business she doesn’t not condone but also doesn’t support.
“If it will make you feel better I’ll swing by while she’s doing a class and a take a look. But really— I doubt anything breaking magical law is happening.”
Except she wasn’t sure of that statement. But she had been doing a lot of thinking lately, about muggles and magic, old gods and pagan beliefs. And she doesn’t think this is an issue she’ll press if she sees anything interesting.
Luna Lovegood’s tarot shoppe Can You Seer Me? sat snug in a London alleyway, between a woman-owned pub famous for post rugby parties, and a candle shop. During the few hours that all three shops were open, their scents floated in the small space, never turning unpleasant. Yeasty lager and malt vinegar mixed into spicy peppermint from the candle store’s winter special, which complimented the earthy incense that Luna kept burning outside of her door.
The tarot shoppe hosted events, classes and a little gift shop. Luna had studied divination at Hogwarts and obviously kept up with her magical creature knowledge; that alone was an extremely well rounded education on divination, even in Hermione’s view. But after the war, Luna decided she wanted to further her studies of tarot and future telling. She wasn’t a natural seer, but she did feel the world in a way others never get to experience.
Luna moved to London and shared a large flat between 5 other witches; they formed a coven, mixing old and new magic practices. They focused on potions, creating spells and manifestation. They used tarot less to tell their futures and more to guide their decisions.
When they did use the magic of tarot at its fullest, it was breathtaking. Hermione was gifted a perfume salve for Christmas, made under a full moon with a Lovers card nearby. It made her tingle. It made her yearn for love, one that could be blinding and tender at the same time. She used it sparingly so she could always have those feelings on hand.
When Luna moved on her own, she grabbed a tiny storefront with an even smaller flat up above. Her Shoppe was in a Muggle neighborhood, but on the edge of Wizarding London.
“It helps screen my students. If you don’t want my store where it is, you aren’t wanted.”
Hermione never thought that Luna would be giving classes to Muggles, though it did make sense. She wasn’t lying when she told Ron Muggle’s did tarot. They did that, and a multitude of other magical-adjacent things. They practiced paganism and worshipped old gods that heavily influenced even the Hogwarts founders. Muggles also read tea leaves, and make salves and tinctures that bordered on being potions. She found all of this information during panic research one day: an old head in the Wizengamot for some reason proposed legislation on Squib restrictions. How much magic they can witness, where they can go to school, if they can stay with their families. It disgusted Hermione, so when leaders decided the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures would have to make arguments she did as much research as she could on magic customs beyond their world.
It was vast. It was more than she ever dreamed of— more than she knew growing up as a Muggle child in England.
She still wasn’t sure how she felt about Ron needing to know what Luna was showing Muggles. It’s funny— since they’ve been out of Hogwarts, Hermione leaned more into breaking rules while Ron and Harry steered into the opposite direction. Becoming aurors made then fully appreciate rules and law abiding and safety. The longer Hermione worked in the Magical Creatures and Beings division, the more she recognized laws for what they truly were: society’s ways of boxing people in and making them lesser. Not always, she knew this, but enough that rules needed to be broken from time to time.
Even if it was for a branch of magic that she didn’t see as important.
“This is interesting…”
Interesting was Hermione’s mantra as she looked through Luna’s store. She was dropping in on a midweek class, and got there early to look through the wares and catalogue the other students.
The metaphysical supplies were all things she deemed non magical: rose quartz and amethyst crystals knocked together in bright blue velvet bags, hand sewn with endearing crooked stitches; a “grown on the roof!” sign (despite the winter temperatures outside) accompanied bundles of rosemary and thyme; other herbs sat dried in jars, no signs denoting what their use might be.
The only item directly tied to the Wizarding world were the tarot cards.
Rider-Waite tarot cards were classic in the Muggle and Wizard worlds. Not the first deck ever made, but definitely the most common. Dedicated to taking the class seriously, Hermione mulled picking one out. She hadn’t let divination take up much brain space since leaving Hogwarts, but the Rider-Waite had the easiest to decipher photos, so it would be easier to keep up.
But there were other decks that caught her eye. A Badger deck set, not in a fancy wooden box like the Rider-Waite’s were, but in a cardboard box. Several cards were spread on the shelf, badgers of course, along with foxes and crows and rabbits. Some Major Arcana had other members of the animal world. It would be harder for her to understand, but she enjoyed the cute animals, and the challenge of understanding.
Another deck among the many presented caught her eye, the orange box glinting in the golden hour glow from the window. Something in Hermione’s heart swelled; she couldn’t describe it but she needed to hold those cards. They needed to be the ones she used.
She extended her hand for them but someone popped beside her and grabbed them first.
“Hello Hermione. I’m pleased to see you dropping in for a beginner course.”
Luna was slightly shorter than Hermione, so she inclined her head when greeting the girl. Her smile was big, and seemed all-knowing as ever.
“Luna! I had meant to greet you when got in, but I got distracted by the shop. I am…excited to be a part of the class today.” She returned the grin but clenched her fists a little, knowing she actually wasn’t that excited.
Luna swept behind her, placing the deck on the counter and finding a large fabric square in a burnt orange to compliment the coloring on the back of the cards.
“These just feel like you. Like you’re meant to have them. Your aura is awfully orange today. You know what that means.”
Hermione did not know what that means. Right as she was about to lie, Luna spoke again.
“But anyway, a gift from me. You can lay them out on the square as we learn; some like to use fabric like an altar cloth. Watch once we start and you’ll see how I normally do it. Please do tell me later how you feel about the deck.”
She wrapped the box in the fabric and dropped the package into Hermione’s hands.
They weren’t heavy, but the energy crackling from them made her fingers tingle. It was almost like when she first received her wand. Professor Trelawney had forced them to find a deck, but Hermione never imagined they would ever be a tool for her, and she had not felt like this when selecting her basic deck for divination class.
They had never felt like real magic.
Distracted from her original reasons for getting there early, she found a seat at one of the long tables Luna had set up, and unwrapped her deck, holding tight as the magic simmered in her hands. She waited for class to begin.
In many ways, learning tarot could be academic. Hermione saw merit in that, and took notes diligently even when Luna used words like heartspace and intuition. This course was actually the first in many on learning the tarot for the first time (Hermione almost let herself think that it was even intuition that may have led her to select this certain course) so she jotted notes on basic numerology and elemental energy. While having roots in real magic principles, the teachings seemed to be Muggle understandings of concepts hidden from them. Luna was leaning into their beliefs, not giving away secrets.
But she was close. It worried Hermione enough that after the course moved from “lecture” to “practicum,” she had already decided she needed to see more.
The practicum was connecting with their decks for the first time. Most students seemed to have at least looked at a deck before; theirs were securely wrapped in fabric similar to the square Luna gifted Hermione. Some even stored them in elaborately carved boxes; she could have swore one girl’s even had a rune for guidance on the lid.
The woman next her had a brightly painted one, that reminded Hermione so much of Lavender Brown’s old tarot case she had to turn her head before tearing up.
“Have you picked one yet?”
Luna reached out and gently laid a hand on Hermione’s shoulder— she had frozen mid shuffle and looked down to see a single card laying her lap.
“Yeah, I guess I did.” Realizing she hadn’t taken a look at the deck Luna picked for her, she noted the printing on the back was a lighter orange, with darker markings tsimilar to the wood carvings she’d just been staring at. She flipped the card over and the peered at the single cup glinting up at her.
“What an offering!”
“I suppose so?”
Hermione started writing her very clinical notes for the card:
Ace of Cups
A singular cup
“An offering” of some sort?
A giggle reminder her Luna was still lingering, hand more firmly on her shoulder than it was before.
“Everything is an offering Hermione. Try more journalistic writing. Like you’re looking deep into your mind for the meaning. Not like you’re studying for your NEWTS.” She squeezed the shoulder she was holding and moved on, praising the next student for their Artistic prowess in rethinking the Devil card’s image.
Journaling. Of course Hermione had done that before, but it was usually straightforward: these are the things I’ve been doing, and the things that need to be done. Sometimes she did doodle in the margins, usually crudely drawn unicorns or magical plants; rarely, she jotted notes in the margins that were more personal…
She couldn’t imagine those notes being paragraph form. And being projected onto the meaning of a card that she didn’t think would really tell her anything. But Luna asked, and she didn’t want to disappoint her.
Maybe a list will be less intimidating.
Ace of Cups: a mindless list of possibilities
- When i thought i poured coffee in my spelled tumbler for work, but I arrive and it’s empty. Annoying.
- What does this cup even have in it??
- Who needs a chalice. So much more fits in a chalice. My only special cup is my earlier mentioned work tumbler.
- There is sky here. An orange cup in open air that shimmers blue green.
She pauses in her list making and her brain goes on a tangent.
Sky. Rain. Rain can be annoying or a gift. The cup can fill up and you can be mad, or pleased. Who knows what will happen?
“Thank you all for coming! Don’t forget to get to know your decks this week, and I look forward to seeing you all next Wednesday.”
Luna’s voice broke her out of her thoughts. All she had written down was “Rain will fill up the cup. Do I need it?” It felt an okay note to end her evening on.
As Hermione went to exit, she was glad to see Luna had waited on her.
“I’m so glad that you decided to come by. Your aura is shifting now from orange to green, so I know you’re tired.
Will you be coming to our session next week? We will dive into those Major Arcanas I brought up earlier.”
Hermione was staring at her fingers trying to see any color, but popped her eyes up to answer.
“Actually, yes. I think I might enjoy this more than I originally thought.” She ignored the part of her brain that noted her statement wasn’t a lie. She didn’t like that she couldn’t put her finger on what she enjoyed exactly.
Luna just smiled, her cheeks tinging red slightly. She surprised Hermione with a tight hug— the blonde girl smelled floral, like Winter’s Roses that were in season this time of year. Maybe she grew them on the roof too, beside the herbs that had to be kept alive magically.
Exiting the shop, Hermione found her thoughts circling around rain, and those flowers, and about whatever she needed.
What she needed was to get enough information about the classes to convince Harry and Ron that no magical law was being broken, and then after, figure out how to kindly let Luna know she wouldn’t take anymore courses.
When she got home, instead of worrying about those plans, she took a plain coffee cup and studied it. It was a tiny cavern. It held her favorite beverages. Coffee for an early morning, earl grey for a midday pick me up.
She guessed that was an offering to herself. Precipitation is an offering from the sky.
Whatever it was, she let herself think dumb. She placed the coffee cup out on her flat’s fire escape. That night she knew for a fact they were calling for rain.