Carmen María hears voices


Her clients tend to refer to Carmen María Oca as “an angel”or “a light,” and insist that she has changed their lives. A politician says that he won’t take a step without consulting her first, and a restaurateur claims that after her session, she was left with “a sense of peace” and the idea that life might have a divine order. Nearly everyone who sees her is left in awe by her accuracy.Ostensibly a tarot-card reader, Carmen María’s secret is that she doesn’t really read cards. “They indicate something and give me a structure,” she says. “But the truth is that they really just tell me a little, maybe half. I see images. I hear voices. I could do readings without cards, but people would get scared. And although I can guess things, that is the least important part of what I do. I give clarity, I cure. I’m convinced that my job is therapeutic.” Carmen María arrived to Mexico City from her native Havana when she as a child, after Fidel Castro took over the island. She married at 19 and divorced at 27, and had been a mother, a public-relations woman, a marketing consultant and an assistant in a Lamaze clinic, among other jobs, before becoming a full-time tarotista. “If a cat has nine lives, I’m like eight cats,” she says. After learning the tarot she knew she had found her calling. “I said to the voices, ‘I don’t know who you are, and I’m terrified, but I’m not moving from here.’”