If you’re Miss Gypsy Whitemoon, you toss in your job working for the government, put your three degrees (in criminology, teaching and social work with honours) into mothballs, and take to the road, reading people’s lives through a deck of playing cards.
What Miss Whitemoon does is called “cartomancy” (using a deck of ordinary playing cards to do readings, rather than tarot cards), and she started learning the art at her grandmother’s knee at the age of four. She also happens to have five generations of gypsy heritage (from Yorkshire) behind her.
Let’s backtrack a bit. How did I come into contact with Miss Gypsy Whitemoon?
Like many people, I did a double-take at the sight of her gypsy caravan parked on a site at the Junee park, a hundred or so metres away from ours. I wandered over to ask if I could take a photo, and found Miss Whitemoon packing up, ready to move on to the next festival at Port Fairy. She had been at Junee for the weekend, doing readings at the annual Rhythm ‘n’ Rail Festival. “I do 40 festivals a year,” she told me, “so I’m on the road a lot of the time!”
We started chatting, and of course I asked first about the caravan. Where did it come from?
“I started off doing readings in a tent at the markets,” said Miss Gypsy. “Then I thought I needed something to give myself an image, so I started looking at 50s-style caravans. I didn’t see anything I wanted… then one day, my three-year-old daughter bashed the keyboard of the computer, and up came a page on ebay with this caravan on it! I contacted the seller and arranged to see it.
“He was a country and western singer who used to perform from a stage out the back of the van, then got too old to continue. The van had been sitting in his garage for 15 years! It was mouldy and needed new canvas and wheels – but I knew it was just right.”
Miss Gypsy and the singer negotiated a price, and the van was hers.
Years later, she has scores of fans all over Australia, who are only too willing to testify to her accuracy. And of course, she causes a stir at every caravan park she enters!
You can find out more about Miss Gypsy Whitemoon and what she does at her website: www.missgypsywhitemoon.com.au
It’s more than likely that sometime soon, she’ll turn up at a festival near you!