You don't need a crystal ball to tell you that Raleigh's on the up-and-up, but it's good to know that two of Raleigh's finest fortune-tellers agree that the future's looking pretty bright.
A standard tarot card deck has 57 cards; 20 were randomly selected from Johnson's deck and laid out on a wooden table under the glow of candles. It's from these cards that we get our first glimpse into Raleigh's future.
"The cards reveal an energy cycle around families," Johnson says. "Raleigh will remain a good place to raise children and have a healthy family. Property will start selling again when the war is over and all of our troops come home. Money that is overseas will come back here. We'll go back to how it was in the Clinton years."
Johnson says businesses will continue to locate in Raleigh, and with them, naturally, will come more jobs. So what will we do with this increase in cash flow? "Build. We'll have more concert halls, more plays. Museums, big department stores, art," Johnson says. "It'll be like a little New York City coming to Raleigh."
But we'll have to take the bad with good, she adds.
"More people from other cities will make decisions for Raleigh in the future," says Johnson. "This will help financially, it'll be good for families, but there will be a mixture of locals and outsiders trying to make decisions."
Johnson warns that some outsiders will cause "problems and confusion."
"There are things we will need to say no to," she says. "The town will prosper but crime will need to be addressed. We'll need to make sure schools are safe. We'll need more law enforcement in the poorer areas of town. People will try to legalize things here, like gambling, which could be the city's downfall."
Overall, however, Johnson sees the good outweighing the bad. "All types of people will bring creativity here that we'll all love," she says. "There will be a lot of new tastes and new culture in Raleigh."
At Melissa Peil's, she draws a card from a quasi-tarot deck. She keeps that card—which she calls "priorities"—in mind during the reading. "What's in the highest and best for Raleigh going forward?" Peil intones. She closes her eyes, takes a few deep breaths and waits for visions to come to her.
"I'm being shown this image of a target, and it's like a puddle in how it continues to grow outward," Peil says. "One of the big things that keeps coming to me around this is the sprawl. Competition continues to increase."
Peil points to a definite conflict between old and new. "We're phasing out of the Old South and bringing in the New South, continuing to transform and change," she says. "When I'm shown the image of a butterfly, that's exactly what it means. So that's good; Raleigh is still transforming and changing."
Culturally, Raleigh will flourish. "Because there's such diversity here," Peil says, "because we're pulling in people from all over the place, this is really going to become more of a cultural hub." She was unclear if cultural traditions would cluster around Fayetteville Street. "But it feels to me like there's a center somewhere, where that becomes something that the city does."
Peil foretells a figurehead who will take Raleigh forward, with the support of six other key people.
"I feel like Raleigh is going to experience a political shakeup," she says. "With all that comes in, there's so much change, there's more liberal ways in a constrictive kind of place. That's how I feel like this new leader comes into play. This person is more radical. Whoever this person is will make sure the job gets done, and that it's done in a peaceful, respectful way."
Any dark clouds on Raleigh's horizon? "Overcrowding," Peil says. "Where there's too many cooks in the kitchen, too many people try to impose their ways." Transportation and parking downtown could also become problematic, though Peil says not to discount the idea of getting some kind of light rail service in the near future.
As to Dix Park, Peil senses that if citizens get their say, the parcel will become a park. "But don't mark my words on that."
The last image that comes to Peil is a tornado, but it's one, she says, that the people of Raleigh create and control.
"It's going from the ground up," says Peil. "It's not crazy, like, we're all going to be rushed into a whirlwind. We create the whirlwind. We're on the cusp of something big and there's a lot of excitement as we're ready to take the plunge in."
This article appeared in print with the headline "Pick a card, any card."