Thursday, March 2

Bali Blessed: An Interview with Canti Widyadhari

On a Sunday in February, the sun decided to shine so brightly after hiding behind the clouds for a whole week or so. A good day to meet with friends and acquaintances, yes? On that bright and sunny morning, I decided to head North Kuta to meet up with Canti Widyadhari! A bright and charming lady who owns a well-named tarot services in Bali, Foxglove Tarot. If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you must've remembered the time I interviewed her back in 2013.

Canti and I have never met before in real life, just throwing back emails at each other. However, our first meet up wasn't awkward as she went to the kitchen when my boyfriend and I arrived, making us herbal tea infused with her blessings.

Canti: How are the teas?

Janis: They are really good
But seriously though, they taste much better when you add an extra pinch of cinnamon, and you wouldn’t have to use any sugar

Do you put random flowers? Or do you have a recipe?
I like to cook by intuition, and just mix all kinds of herbs together. And usually, I can already taste the result.

Ah I see. I can really taste the chamomile though
There aren’t any chamomiles though… I put lavender, and French rose.

Oh (laughs). My mistake.
That’s probably the lavender

So, how are you?
I’m good

Could you introduce yourself?
Hi I’m Canti. I’m 26 years old, I read tarot (Foxglove Tarot) for living, and own a silver jewellery project called Coven.

How do you describe yourself?
I want to say I’m a weird person, but I don’t feel weird at all. I guess I’m the kind of person who believes in weird things, because weird things happen in my life. So far, I feel like I have different personalities. There are phases at times. It’s like I’ve been through a—I’ve lived different lives a lot, different personalities, different circumstances. I think that is what leads me to this job, and being able to talk to different people from different walks of life.

How is Bali doing for you?
Bali has been really good. We feel that we have more freedom in Bali, to be whom we really are, and to be happy. I think that’s the most important thing, to be happy and to feel really content. Because we don’t need to prove anything to anyone. We’re planning to stay for another year. I think it’s our third year, but we would love to make a home here.

How is Bali influencing your tarot reading hobby and business?
This goes back to where I feel happy and in content, because working in busy cities, you always have to exceed other people’s expectations, and that kind of build up your ego. You would have to prove you’re better than anyone else, and in terms of my work that’s unhealthy.

It’s unhealthy because if I live in that kind of environment, I won’t be able to help other people, and there are people (clients) who have values completely different from myself, and I have to understand where they’re coming from. My work is to advice them, not in a teacher-style, but according to what suits them best and paths they have to go through.

Thankfully, Bali allows me to do all of that. If I had live in Jakarta or in Singapore, I don’t think I’m able to do this. I think my ambitious side, or my ego would’ve chosen a corporate career. Because we humans have egos, and all we can do is suppress it.

Bali also has this vibe that allows you to chill and just go with it
Yeah, also it’s kind of weird to do have corporate career in Bali.

The process towards becoming who you are now must have taught you something. What have you learned throughout the years?
In a business way, it’s more like anything's possible if you put your mind, passion and time into it. I don’t think I’ll be able to have another job somewhere else. It can’t be done; you have to put 100% into it. The first few months I arrived in Bali, I thought I wouldn’t survive purely doing tarot, and so I started to work on other things. Then I just realize I just had to focus. However, it also works the other way around, sih. If you have an idea, no matter how silly it is, or how unconventional it is, but you really believe in yourself, other people will believe in what you believe in. It’s always about passion and time.

When I arrived in Bali, I met a lot of digital nomads. Purposely, we [my boyfriend and I] wanted to see new cultures with digital nomads. But then we decided to rent a house for a year, which technically means we’re not nomads anymore. As time passes, we met a lot of people, who work unconventional work but can make a living and travel the world. So we were like ‘If they can do that, we can do that too’.

In the spiritual side, is that sometimes other people’s businesses [choices] are not your business. That’s the main thing that I learned. It’s like, no matter how hard I try to tell my clients ‘don’t do this’ it goes back to themselves. 

Tarot reading is just a way to empower them to take control of their life. For instance they feel like their life is out of control, and tarot’s just there telling ‘it’s actually pretty simple’. However, in the end it’s still up to them whether they’re going to do it or not. If they don’t feel like doing it, or they want to but can’t, it’s probably because of their karmic journey.

What’s so interesting about tarot that makes you go further into it?
I think I told you on the previous interview that I switched to Wicca, where it all started. But the main reason why I keep on learning tarot it’s because I realize I can use tarot for a lot of stuff. Tarot is energy based. You can use tarot for writing, to help you make a recipe. If you’re bored, you can talk to tarot. It’s just fascinating.

"It’s always about passion and time."

Wow, that’s new. I know that you have your own jewellery line. How did that happen?
I have a lot of clients who—they want to do something about their life but lack a few things, like courage, determination, and patience. So I had an idea to create a type of jewellery, which is technically a charm bracelet. They really are charmed, where different bracelets have different blessings based on elements. For instance, this is a water element bracelet, therefore when I do the blessings; I do it during the full moon ritual, evoking the water element and filling the bracelet. But Coven is expanding now, where I focus on the charm, and it can be used as necklace, chokers, earrings, and stuff.

What’s the story behind the name Foxglove Tarot and Coven?

Foxglove is a plant. Every time I try to make a name for anything, I like to scan the energy first, whether the energy and I connect. Before deciding the name, I searched names of goddesses, plants, flowers, and planets. There were a lot of different choices, but then the Foxglove name’s energy was in line with me and I didn’t know why. So, I decided to really read about it, and apparently foxglove is a flower that’s poisonous if you consume it, but if you extract the plant properly, it’s a healing plant. And it’s really good for the third eye chakra. Different sources have different definitions of foxglove, but they all say it’s poisonous.

For Coven, I want the jewellery to create the sisterhood feeling for everyone who wears it, the feeling of in this together. Sometimes I really want to introduce one client to another, like 'hey you guys are experiencing the same thing loh you guys can help each other', but that means I’m spilling their secrets and I can’t do that. About 98% of my clients are females, so yeah, the sisterhood feeling.

What inspires you to do what you do now?
After I graduate university, I had a hard time. But then, one day there was a voice inside my head, saying ‘Hey you should move to Bali’. I’ve only been to Bali once at that time, but I decided to follow the shit. I talked to my boyfriend, and we decided to move.

We had to move to Bali soon, but we haven’t got it all figured out, like what were we going to do in Bali. And the voice inside the head came back, saying ‘just do something, like reading tarots’. I didn’t want to read tarot for living, but it kept pushing me to go into that direction, and here I am. 
I kind of know why I'm here now, but last year it was really blurry. So there aren't any inspiration. It’s just a flow. It’s just a feeling that you’re a leaf in the middle of the river, just following the stream.

Do you get more local or foreign clients?
Oh they’re mostly locals.

Really? How is the perspective of tarot from locals?
They’re okay. Strangely.

I thought there would me more foreign clients rather than locals
I thought of that too, but there are a few reasons why most of them are local. It’s probably because I promote Foxglove within a local circle, and I have more local followers on Twitter too. I get foreign clients usually when I am opening a stand or a booth in a market, so that’s the only time, which is very rare.

There are a few foreign people from Instagram, but they don’t end up being clients. They’re tarot readers as well, and we just get to know each other and become friends.

So that means there are quiet a few tarot readers in Bali?
There are some. I haven’t got to know a lot, but I heard there’s a lot.

"As time passes, we met a lot of people, who work unconventional work but can make a living and travel the world. So we were like ‘If they can do that, we can do that too’."

Do you feel like there’s a competitive feeling between tarot readers in Bali?
It’s a mixed feeling. I think it depends on who the person is. Sometimes, when you get to know someone and you just don’t like the person’s vibe, you start to go ugh. But if you scan someone and they give good vibes, you’re suddenly friends. I think it’s just a matter of normal human relationship between one tarot readers to another. Diversity is needed in tarot, because one tarot reader cannot be connected to everyone. It depends on the energy, whether it’s a match or a clash.

What are the ups and downs of being a tarot reader?
The ups, well I get to meet a lot of interesting people. The people and their stories are really interesting. I get to learn a lot of them.  My clients are amazing.

The downs, is that sometimes I feel like a therapist, where I have to be careful on what I say. Especially when I'm about to deliver a really bad news, and I don’t know whether it’s true or not, but I feel like I really have to say it.

What are your future plans for Foxglove and Coven?
Awesome! I do have a future plan! (Laughs). For Foxglove, is to rebrand the website. Rebranding, but not the whole thing. Just aligning some of the—I don’t know if you know some marketing terms—I don’t change my logo, I just want a coherent theme throughout all the social media. Because the first time I created Foxglove and the current Foxglove is different. So I have to rebrand the website. And for Coven, it will not be an individual brand, but within Foxglove.

So like merchandise or extras on Foxglove?
Yeah! I just realize it was really hard to manage two brands, and I only have a day off every week, which is Monday.

You have readings everyday?
Not exactly. When I don’t have a client, I usually make articles, work on the website, usually from 10 am to 5 pm, and I work again at night. When you have your own brand, you have to make a personal schedule otherwise you won’t go anywhere.

So that’s the plan for now. And I would also want to create a community, but this is still a long-term goal. When a client chooses me, that mean my energy aligns with them, which means my other clients’ energy is align with them too. Therefore the goal is still to have my clients meet each other, so they can help each other. 

Fast Five
Home is... where the heart is
To achieve trust in people you must... trust yourself. Does it make sense?
well-spent Sunday morning is... reading an e-book and drinking some tea.
Love is... being able to be happy with someone who is beside you and have almost no complaints about him or her at all
Three priorities in life are... money, love and happiness. It’s hard to balance all three. You can find happiness in a nice breakfast, a nice avocado on toast breakfast, but that means you’ll have less money.

This interview is conducted by myself, accompanied by Fikri on Sunday, February 5th 2017 in North Kuta, Bali.

Get to know Canti:

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