We Asked a Bunch of Psychics About Their Predictions for 2017
You thought 2016 was bad? Wait until you hear what Indonesian psychics are predicting for next year.
All photos by author
When 2016 finally draws to a close, it will mark the end of what has been, for much of the world, a difficult year. Here in Indonesia we've had to deal with a struggling economy, a terrorist attack, natural disasters, and, now, a bunch of protests in the capital. Abroad we have Trump, Duterte, a never-ending war in Syria, ISIS … the list goes on.
So, like many people, I'm pretty eager to start 2017. But what will the new year hold for Indonesia? Is it going to be amazing? Or is it, somehow, going to be even worse? I wanted to know. Thankfully, I saw an advertisement for the "2017 Metaphysics Study Group Workshop"—an entire event focused on predictions for the coming year.
The event was being held at a restaurant and conference hall in South Jakarta. It was already an hour into the workshop by the time I walked into the medium-sized auditorium and took a seat. A woman named Endang Tarot had just finished her reading for 2017.
Endang Tarot had finished readings on the film industry, the music industry (especially dangdut), and domestic politics. Her method of predicting the future, in case you can't guess, is tarot cards. So, how did she feel about 2017? Not very optimistic it seems. The next year will be a time of chaos, she explained. It's going to be neighbor vs. neighbor until a figure comes along to unify the nation and forced everyone to reconcile their differences.
"In the third quarter of 2017, we will see a figure of hope," she said. "In the most chaotic moment, we will see a figure who speaks like Sabdo Pandito Ratu. This figure will be undeniable!"
OK, so Sabdo Pandito Ratu is a Javanese prophecy that says a wise figure who speaks like a king will rise during a period of conflict to rule the nation and herald in a period of peace and stability. So who is this person? Endang Tarot wasn't giving me any hints. I even asked her for just an initial, anything to go on. She refused.
Next, a mystic named Gunadi used astrology software that turns the stars and constellations into charts and graphs. The line on the screen was red—a clear sign that we needed to be cautious, Gunadi told me.
"It looks like chaos," he said. "Everything we see. It's all because the Earth is healing itself! How? Well, the wars, natural disasters, everything! The Earth is overpopulated."
"Chaos" seemed to be the theme of the day. Indonesians are pretty used to psychics and mystics predicting doom and gloom. I have no idea why, but there seems to be this overarching belief that the country needs to descend into utter Mad Max-style chaos before it rises again like a Phoenix. Or maybe it's a Garuda. It's probably a Garuda.
Basically, those who believe in the old prophecies are obsessed with these kinds of predictions. When I was a kid, there was this psychic on TV called Mama Laurent. She would always offer predictions on the important topics of the day—things like the love lives of celebrities, or the success (or failure) of dangdut stars. Mama Laurent once predicted that the Situ Gintung canal would break. Well, she said that a canal would break.
Another psychic, one who specializes in celebrity predictions, said the national economy was going to get better.
"The economy obviously isn't at its peak this year, but next year will be different," said Erwin Bagindo. "It'll be the Year of the Rooster, and it means the economy will be better."
Finally, I thought, some good news. But then Erwin's predictions started to take a turn. Some celebrities are going to get divorced. OK, I thought, no worries there. Oh, he continued, and it will be a pretty tough year for Indonesian minorities.
"We're no longer the bhinneka tunggal ika [unity in diversity] that we believe in, just look at those protests," he said. "I could only thank God that we made it through that. But there will be more devastating 'tests' for us, and I'm afraid it will affect the minority ethnic groups most than anything else. Definitely more than the pribumi."
So more bad news. Annoyed, I left to listen to Permadi SH, a man who claims to have predicted Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential election. Permadi bases his predictions off the Jongko Joyoboyo—the works of Joyoboyo, Indonesia's Nostradamus. He explained that not only Indonesia, but the United States too, is sort of fucked.
The recent protests in Jakarta are signs that the nation is dissatisfied, he said. In the coming year, it's only going to get worse. Eventually, people are going to start to choose sides. The chaos will continue until "after 2018," when a figure rises up to lead a new, more prosperous Indonesia, he explained.
"There will be a true leader who goes by the name Satrio Piningit!" Permadi shouted. "God is preparing Satrio Piningit at the moment, and He will send for him at the right time. Under Satrio Piningit's leadership Indonesia will be the world's lighthouse!"
Satrio Piningit is the "chosen one" who is destined to spread the word of Sabdo Pandito Ratu. He's basically Sabdo Pandito Ratu personified. Under his rule, Indonesia will rise to become a more powerful nation than Russia, China, or even the United States, Permadi said. How does he know? Because of the rise of Trump.
"Since the beginning I have said that Donald Trump would win!" he said. "Why? Because God is in the process of burning United States to the ground!"
The auditorium was silent. Some were nodding their heads in agreement. Others looked visibly anxious. I sat there thinking about Permadi's predictions. A great leader will rise "after 2018?" It all seemed pretty convenient that the nation's savior was going to appear right in time for the next presidential election. And this was all coming from a man who is a proud member the Gerindra Party—the political party that lost the last election to current President Joko Widodo.
Permadi's predictions were looking pretty suspicious. But thankfully his seminar didn't last all that long. The mystic apologized and said he had to go visit his friends—two of whom were recent arrested for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government. I wonder if he saw that one coming.
Eventually I found Ki Narto, a man I previously interviewed, speaking to a sizable crowd. Was he all doom and gloom as well?
"Repeat after me," Ki Narto instructed the audience. "I am perfectly healthy and fit. I am in harmony with myself and the world. I am content and I am happy."
He then counted off a song. "3… 2… 1... if you're happy and you know it clap your hands."
The audience around me eagerly clapped along, awkwardly singing the lyrics in unison.
"Once more!" Ki Narto shouted. "And louder, please!"