A Conversation with Uversa, the Union Square Oracle
July 12, 2016
Uversa Oumbajuah rests perched at the fountain in the southwest corner of Union Square amidst a jumble of ex-con chess players and devotees chanting Hare Krishna. 50 years young and make-up free, she has a small tattoo on her third eye and a wild mass of dreadlocks piled atop her head, tamed with a cotton wrap. She wears a U.S. Army jacket, combat boots and a giant quartz crystal around her neck, known for expanding the mind to touch the spirit world. Her regal presence is perfectly complemented by the sheaths of rich purple fabrics and crystal balls that surround her. She believes the fountain marks the squares’ division of the homeless from the wealthy but is willing to use her gifts as a sensor and a seer to help either sect. Unlike the typical $5 fortunetellers who tend to resemble more the pushy salesperson, Uversa does not display a sign – those who want to come, will.
Born Melody Clark, Uversa grew up in Indianapolis and knew she was different from a very young age.
“I was the most quietest baby ever. The only time I cried is when I needed something like my food or my diaper changed, according to my mother’s report. So even in my unconscious stage of being, I was in some way looking at the world on another level. Like I was looking at my mom like, ‘We’re rich. You’re acting like we’re poor. You’re acting dumb. He doesn’t love you. You’re having sex. You’re seeking pleasure when you should be working.’ But I never said anything. I just kind of was silent.”
She recalls struggling to realize her gifts due to popular disbelief. “I would say, ‘The lady down the hall is beating her kid, call the police.’ ‘But you don’t know that for sure. We might be false accusing them.’ And I would be like, ‘No, she’s beating her kid. You don’t believe me, alright.’ And then I didn’t care too much about the world or society.”
It wasn’t until she started going to school and meeting people that she recognized she had an insight that others did not possess.
“I began to say, ‘Tell your mom your father’s touching you,’ and they would be like, ‘How do you know my father’s touching me?’ And then I would say, ‘You’re gonna get pregnant, stop having unprotected sex, stop skipping school,’ And this was when I was like in high school with my friends. But I would not know why I knew that.”
Uversa discusses the very real consequences of being a seer.
“When I got to college, I turned it off, because my boyfriends would leave me. I’d say, ‘You was having sex last night at 2:30.’ Because I would wake up with an orgasm, and it was very hurtful. Why am I having an orgasm? My lover’s having sex.”
Thus began a frustrating lifelong pattern of suppressing her gifts. Instead, she channeled her energies into becoming a businesswoman. She has dabbled in many career paths, never staying in any one for too long. She tends to move in cycles with her business ventures, oftentimes in accordance with the natural changing of the seasons. She has a photography business, Photography by Clark. For four years she ran a successful fashion business, Melody’s Closet, where she would design, sew, and dress women from all walks of life in her clothing. She is also actively working on a book that will be published under her born name. It wasn’t until she moved to Atlanta, Georgia that she realized there were people making a living doing exactly what she had been told nearly her whole life was a load of crap.
“You had all these false people. They had like the hand sign, readings for $5. And then I went in there like, ‘Wow, what you wanna tell me?’ And then the stuff that they tell me I’m like, ‘You’re freakin’ lying. I don’t need to come back here and give you $200 for some candles because you think I have – what the hell lady, you’re a gypsy! You’re swindling me, this is not true.’”
She is highly aware of the stigma against those who practice her craft, and the very real threat of competition in a bustling metropolis such as New York City.
“There’s a lot of women out there who do pose as a reader, or clairvoyant. That’s why I was so mad at the lady the other day, when she went and set up like right there [points to about 20 feet away] and put this little sign out, ‘Tarot reading’ and I was like, ‘[gasps] We, we, we are not out here doing readings. You are not me.’ I knew she was lying to them [customers] but I was like, ‘Oh well, there’s more than one chess player.’”
But it wasn’t the threat of competition that bothered her so much as it was the falsities she knew the woman was relaying to her customers.
“She’s misleading the people. That’s a definite kill. You do not mislead the people. Not according to the coven that I’m a part of. You tell the people the truth. You help them. You don’t just get $5 just so you can go and read something stupid and then say bye, and hope that they don’t question you. Because I see it.”
Uversa honors the well being of the people first and foremost. She uses her gifts to help those in need to tap into their abilities so that they may reach their highest potential. Her going rate is $40 per reading but she will take whatever you have to offer and won’t accept any money until the reading is complete. She offers free counseling to the homeless in Union Square, an eclectic population that is growing by the day. During our meeting, an older homeless gentleman approached us and Uversa began speaking with him as if they were old friends. He had just come from a meeting with a board whom assign housing to the New York City homeless, and he thought it went well. The man seemed eager to discuss this exciting prospect with Uversa but being that we were in the middle of a conversation politely asked the man if they could speak later. He then told her he needed some money for lunch. She made a face that seemed to say, “There’s always something more” and proceeded to dump a coin purses worth of change into his hand. After he left she explained to me that this man is what she likes to call a ‘professional beggar’, but that she can’t resist because, “Even though he’s old, he still has some swag.” It turns out he is but one example of someone Uversa has helped to turn their life around.
Perhaps the most sobering part of our conversation came when Uversa explained the time when she realized she could no longer ignore her gifts, and knew she had to use them to help those in need.
“The only time I took it serious was when I had my children. After every birth I got stronger. And I have four children. I could know what the doctor’s doing, what the nurse is doing, what my kids are doing, what’s happening downstairs, the Taco Bell down the street. But what was scary was the negative – the missing children, the domestic violence, the kids who were being beaten by parents, and they go to their room and cry and then they get beat again. I would see that. Like the news is all a lie. I see it. The voting, pssht, I’m not gonna stand in line all day to vote. They already know what President they want. But then they wanna make me think, ‘Your voice count, vote.’ So I never really involved myself into the propaganda of that. And then when I began to do readings out by the fountain it was only because I was hungry. And then people would walk away like, ‘Oh my God, I just saw a therapist and I paid them like $2,900 and you just told me the same thing for $40!’ And I’m like ‘Really?’”
My name is Uversa Oumbajuah, and I read the Tarot. In my case, that means, I read five different decks along with the runes. I connect with the cards and the symbols, and then the magic begins. I've been reading by the fountain since 2012, and I've met people from all over the world. I provide direction, confirmation, and insight.