My Expo Experience

Most of us are guilty of checking out our horoscope in a magazine or the daily paper. Even if we don’t believe a bit of it, we look anyway. We can admit that we find it interesting, and we want to see if the predictions of the “universe” come true. It was that same curiosity that agreed to attend a Spiritual Holistic Expo in Allentown, PA. My entourage was made up of myself and two fifty-something women, my mother and my aunt.

The rundown, yellowish exterior of the hall gave it a tired air that carried through to the inside. As we shuffled in, letting a bored looking lady stamp our hands with the word “SATURDAY” in bright red ink, we were just as underwhelmed as one might assume. Funding for the expo was obviously lacking, as was its presentation. It was a warehouse type of place, with large drapes of cheap, purple fabric haphazardly hung to disguise the slate grey walls.

The Allentown, PA fairgrounds

We made our rounds, checking out all of the little booths set up with an excess of tie dye and glittering crystals. Each mini storefront offered something new, and often super weird. One woman claimed to be able to read your spirit, then tell you which dog you would be. Multiple people advertised photo booths that would depict the color of your aura. From clairvoyants to meditation gurus, the place had it all and it was pretty off the wall. The crowd there was also exactly who you would imagine. Hippie-esque women with unsettlingly long hair, and sweaty, fat, bald men in cheap suits and costume jewelry.

At 11:30 am, we sat down in this dinky, roped off corner of the venue right next to the bathrooms to watch a presentation. It was really a performance, if anything, by two self-proclaimed mediums. One of the women seemed, though suspiciously, fair at her craft, as far as talking to the dead goes. The other, the older one, seemed to put up a facade that began crumbling within minutes. Let me first establish, the audience was not a young one. Most of the attendees were elderly. This so called medium tossed the “dead mom” line out to sea so many times. It really doesn’t take any special ability to get that yes, their mothers are dead because otherwise they would be about 102. The real entertainment of the whole thing cam when the medium’s line did not catch anything. Some lady’s mom actually WAS 102, and that sent our psychic expert into a tizzy. She began rambling off different female relations one might have, claiming she must have mixed up the signals. In the end, she might as well have asked if the audience member had a dead human. She moved on as quickly as she could and didn’t say much after that.

When the unimpressive show was over, my trio took to the aisles again. My mother had a tarot card reading that was wildly inaccurate, but she nodded and went along because she wanted to be polite. We moved along, and signed up for some readings. I put myself down for a past lives assessment at the ridiculously inflated price of $45 for a 20 minute session. My mom sat with me behind the little booth, and we met this short, pixie like woman who would be diving into my lost past. She described her methods, saying how she would “feel” the universe to know which direction to take the reading. She would then consult with my “spirit guides” to get more in tune.

She began with telling me how many past lives I had, 75. Apparently, I was a male in half of them and a female in the other half, including this one. My most recent past life occurred around 1860, and I worked as a seamstress, making costumes for plays. As for my past careers, she found that I never gravitated toward science, sports, or the armed forces. I have to say this got my attention, as I absolutely despise science and am the antithesis of athletic. However, she lost me when she told me I had been an African tribal dancer. OK. She went on to tell me it was likely I would find a college in New Jersey, and that I would be successful as a teacher. That’s all well and good, but I have no interest in either of those things. I did like how she told me that I had been with my beloved mother for 15 of my past lives. That was kind of sentimental, for my mom is really my best friend.

She was best friends with her mom, too. And she was hoping that my grandmother would come through in the reading she signed up for. Right after we delved into the mysteries of my reincarnation, my mom went to the booth of the medium from earlier — the good one, not the old goon. My aunt also scheduled a reading for the same time, so I was left to wander the expo by myself. My phone died and I had no cash, so I had an hour to kill by just walking around. I must have circled that place a hundred times. I read all of the posters, inspected every single tapestry, and gingerly scrutinized all of the “prayer stones”. Just when the repetition and boredom was becoming to much, my crew finished their sessions.

We spent the car ride home swapping stories and recapping the day. Interestingly enough, my mom had gotten her reading recorded, and burned onto a CD. We popped it in, and gave it a listen. As it turns out, my grandmother did come through, though she took some coaxing. She died just a few months ago, and I know she is missed. The medium picked up on her ring, which my mom has on a chain around her neck. I wasn’t surprised, I figured if there was any truth to this, she would have to. But I was very surprised to hear that she was hanging out with my deceased great aunt, Lucy. Apparently, they are very chummy in the after life, and Lucy had a lot to say. In fact, she urged my mom to buy a specific pack of tarot cards and to use them. Lucy said that she should guide her in reading them. Decades ago, good old Luc was very into the tarot cards and crystal balls and all that junk. It contradicted her devout Catholicism, and she made a promise to God that, if her husband returned home safely from the war, she would no longer indulge in the occult. He did, so she did. But I guess she is right back at it, because my mom bought the cards sure enough.

I’m very luke warm about the anything spiritual or holistic. On the one hand, its cool and I want to believe. But on the other, it kinda seems like total crap. Whichever the case, it was a fun and interesting experience.