That’s so Raven

Raven. Courtesy Larry Maples and Raven.
The chocolate, palm and tarot reader focuses on fun in the here and now.

For Raven, life is not merely like a box of chocolates. It is a box of chocolates, Godiva’s Assorted Chocolate Gold Gift Box, to be exact.

“I prefer Godiva’s, because there are many shapes, and the boxes are consistent,” she said. (With apologies to Forrest Gump’s mother, you really do know what you’re going to get.)

That makes them perfect for the chocolate readings she conducts, along with tarot card and palm readings, as part of Modern Divination, Oracles as Entertainment.

We first encountered the engaging, Titian-tressed reader for a story in December WAG on a curated afternoon of shopping and lunch at The Westchester in White Plains that was co-hosted by Harper’s Bazaar magazine and its executive fashion and beauty editor, Avril Graham. In a treasure-hunt format, we hopped from store to store — selecting flowers for a bouquet from KC Creations at Neiman Marcus and having our portrait sketched in watercolors by fashion illustrator Bil Donovan at Louis Vuitton. 

At Tiffany & Co., we chose a milk chocolate open oyster from Raven’s Godiva box and she told us about ourselves. The straight lines and scalloped curves of the confectionary shell spoke of our dual nature (analytical and intuitive), she said. Further analysis after a bite of the heavenly creation — hey, someone had to take a bullet for the WAG team — revealed our independent personality, one that might find itself traveling to San Francisco or Dubai in the future.

But Raven isn’t really about the future or the past. She’s not going to tell you the story of your past life or future outcomes. And she won’t summon the dearly departed. She’s more concerned with present connections — hers with you and you with your inner self — as she travels the country doing playful readings at corporations and luxe shopping centers. (Past clients have included Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg and Barnes & Noble at Manhattan’s Union Square.)

“For me, I don’t tell people’s fortunes,” she said. “I’m interested in the person’s personality and what they’ve done over the years to create who they are. I’m a strong believer that we all have choices in life. It’s not crystal clear.”

The people who engage her “are not people looking for answers to their future. They want to learn more about themselves.”

To that end, the oracles are a big help — chocolates, tarot cards, the palm of the person’s dominant hand. She has also created something she calls doodleology — a kind of handwriting analysis that features a doodle and your signature and wows the CEOs and artists alike, she said. (Raven staged one doodleology event at Mont Blanc at JFK International’s Terminal 8.)

Having attended a similar, flower reading some years back — you selected a flower instead of a chocolate — we asked her if oracles are merely the means to get you to relax so she has time to observe you. 

“It’s possible, but it’s not really what I do,” she said. Indeed, for her it’s hard to say where observation leaves off and intuition begins. “As I sit, I get a sense of the person. Sometimes it’s not about talking but listening to them. It’s a feeling, more on an emotional level.”

One spurred by the will and honed by the mind. “I’ve spent my life studying the soft sciences and always had a desire to understand people and what makes them tick.”

The self-styled Jersey Girl had a maternal grandmother whom she never got to know but who would exert a powerful influence on her life. Her grandmother was a tarot reader, Raven said, something her own mother and older sister had no interest in. But when Raven was born, her grandmother said to her mother, “She’s the one. Look at her eyes.” This was something Raven’s mother would remember when her teenage daughter began delving into tarot cards. At first, Raven found the cards vague and frustrating. So she tracked down a retired naval intelligence officer who was an expert in tarot and palm reading.

“He had such a style,” she said. “He helped me change my way of seeing what I do. It doesn’t have to be dark and eerie. It can be insightful…and then people take that information and apply it…. I’m always touched by people who come back and say I’ve helped them in some way.”

The Bellport, New York, resident isn’t the only “reader” in her family now. At Becton Regional High School in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the teen Raven would do a tarot reading for a boy named Larry. He in turn would do magic tricks for her. The couple, now husband and wife, have been together for 29 years, playing colleges and appearing at corporations and on cruises as the mentalists Larry and Raven.

An ability to read each other’s minds must pose challenges at home, no?

Said Raven:  “We have a very quiet house.”

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