We all know of those fortune-teller scams and those ordinary-looking houses with big signs that say “Psychic” or “Fortune Teller”. We are told to avoid consulting the so-called psychic because she is actually a con artist who convinces her clients to give her lots of money as the solution to whatever problems they have. And I remember, when I was younger, I had a book of Romany (Gypsy) spells and my grandmother said, “Ay! Do not ever try these spells out. They say that behind all the pieces of quartz and candles is the work of the devil.” She went on to tell me a story. It went like this: she and my grandfather and my uncle were in Spain at the train station. There were signs telling them to be careful because there were Gypsies around and they could snatch money out of a person’s hand or who-knows-what. Anyone could recognize the Gypsies by their big hoop skirts and colorful, ornate clothing, and they were carrying their babies in their skirts.
Then it was time for my uncle and grandparents to board the train. My uncle went first, my grandmother second, and then my grandfather was the last to come in. He looked behind, and there was a Gypsy, unzipping his bag and clutching his wallet (she didn’t get it out, just putting her hand on it). But she looked as if nothing happened.
The Romanies have always been mistrusted and persecuted for their ways. I have read in many books that we should always avoid any Gypsy; that their crystal ball fortune-telling businesses are certainly not barometers for facts. They are scammers. Criminals. Stick any bad name on and it wouldn’t make a difference. But wait…aren’t the methods the Romanies use for fortune-telling their beliefs? Romany beliefs are heavily influenced by Middle Eastern beliefs, and Hinduism. But we never said, “Avoid all people who follow Hinduism. Behind all those ceremonies is the work of the devil.” It’s like saying that, or “Don’t trust any Roman Catholics. I heard they eat the body and drink the blood of Christ. They are cannibals.” How hurt and insulted and offended the Romanies must feel! So maybe their crystal balls might not be accurate in predicting the future, but not all religious beliefs have been scientifically/historically proved true.
I think the reason the Romanies put up these crystal ball and Tarot card businesses lies in their hobbies. They like to gamble, and they are actually very positive and social. The Romanies want to share their beliefs. As Gadjos (that means non-Romanies), especially Christians, we must accept this and treat the Romanies as we would treat any other person, not ostracize and persecute them. Most Christians say that the work of the Romanies is the work of the devil, as I’ve said before, but even if it is the work of the devil, Jesus said to love everyone, including the devil and the Gypsies. And anyway, people really need to get to know other people before judging, and I don’t think many people did that with the Gypsies. Maybe you should.