Colourful characters

Naomi Foyle

By David Bramwell

When searching for a little entertainment and colour when out and about in Brighton at the weekend, every good resident will know that they need look no further than East Street for a healthy dose of street theatre, live music and the dulcet tones of the ten pee man. Though long-gone is the lady who used to spend the day balancing (unsuccessfully) on one leg on a tiny bit of carpet, during the warmer months this Mediterranean corner of the town plays host to a vast array of Jazz bands, statuesque mime artists, and have-a-go heroes torturing Beatles songs.

One of East Street's most familiar faces
Of all those familiar faces, the street's most recognisable patron has to be resident Tarot reader, Naomi Foyle. From early spring until winter takes grip, Naomi can be found - resplendent in her long Afghan coat and trademark hats (either the multicoloured, crocheted one or the Mary Poppins one stuffed with flowers) - perched at her table outside Regent's Arcade or the Gog shop, imparting wisdom to passers-by. But East Street is not the only unusual place where Naomi has done readings. She has read in New York, India, at Gay Pride, the Cirque du Soleil, Brighton's own 'Eligible Balls' and even a cash register conference in Dubai!

A reputation for sensitivity and accuracy
Taught how to read Tarot by her mother from a very early age, Naomi developed a reputation for sensitivity and accuracy. As she describes it, 'we are happiest when we fulfil our patterns. The Tarot shows us how to get back to those patterns. I get frustrated when someone tells me that a 'reader' once told them that they'd die at a certain age. This is not the purpose of the Tarot.'

But if they were to pick the Death card?
'I usually re-assure people about the death card. Picking it rarely refers to a physical death. Generally it represents a radical change in one's life. I did, however, once have a client who sat down, picked up the pack and kissed the top card. I took a peek at it - it was Death! Though the reading was actually very positive - with an emphasis for him to make the most of life - at the end he revealed that he'd got cancer. But that still didn't mean he was going to die. The cards showed he had the strength to beat it.'

Naomi's own reading: the vagabond
For her own first reading, Naomi revealed that the first card she turned over was the Fool.
'This turned out to be quite prophetic. It represents the vagabond, the risk-taker and maverick. Someone who's not afraid to look foolish.'
So how you do you deal with people who see Tarot as a lot of nonsense?
'Well I like to say - I've had many a sceptic sit down but never a sceptic stand up!'
Naomi can be found reading Tarot on East Street or at Blue Skies Ozone Therapy Centre at Hocus Pocus on Gardner Street

This is one of a series of articles by David Bramwell published in the Insight between 2001-2004. David Bramwell is the author of the Cheeky Guide to Brighton.
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