My sister Pam went to see her first psychic when she was 21. Mum went first, then she took us then we took some friends. One of my dearest friends Sue, an unlikely candidate for this kind of thing, came running out of her session with "Ivor" and burst out, "You should have heard what he said about you Jane! Oops he told me not to tell you!" And she slapped her hand over her mouth dramatically as if to say, not telling. I said, "You better bloody tell me!" He had said that I wouldn't meet the right man until I was much older. Great! Actually it turned out to be true. He told Pam she would live in America, he also told her she was psychic. She went to see various psychics over the years, all of them told her she was psychic. She never thought she was but she had a kind of knowing was how I described it. She just knew. One time she had an out-of-body experience after reading a book on the subject which scared her. Pam was always into metaphysical stuff, well she was a Scorpio. I on the other hand got into it later on.
When I was 39 I was having some sort of midlife crisis. I resigned from my job selling apartments in Covent Garden, London due to clinical depression. I did this work in between acting jobs but ended up doing it full time hence the clinical depression. I got involved with The Landmark Forum a personal development course that used to be called EST but left because they maintained that 'life is empty and meaningless' which kept giving me a severe migraine. I then got involved with a female new age guru type (it's not sounding good is it?) which is where I met Nikki, a tarot card reader. "Do you teach tarot?" I asked her one day. Well of course she did for a little matter of 100 pounds. And so, since clothes shopping wasn't having the same hit anymore, I began a spending frenzy focussed on healers, astrologers you name it. I started going to Nikki's flat in Swiss Cottage to learn how to read the tarot. I liked her flat she had new age paraphernalia all over the place. Buddhas, angels, crystals, altars, candles, incense the lot. Mmm mystical and goddessy and all that jazz.... much like the picture below.
Nikki used the Rider Waite deck to teach me, the cards that she worked with. I was certainly enjoying learning about these cards, their ancient symbolism intended to assist the hero on his journey. I didn't feel like a hero but I could have used some help on my journey! At the end of my training Nikki got me to try what she called psychometry. You hold an object and try to get some psychic information from it. She started me off with photos. She put a photo face down so I couldn't see the picture and told me to put my hand on top of it and 'tune in'. She kept saying not to judge what came into my mind, to trust what I saw. I remember the first photo very well because what happened surprised me. I lay my hand on it and closed my eyes. Shaking my head and shrugging unconfidently I said, "Well I'm kind of getting a woman in a long white robe and she's hugging everyone." I looked at her and smiled doubtfully. She smiled back and turned over the card giggling. It was an Indian woman dressed in a long white robe! "She is Amachi," she said. I didn't know her. "Is she famous?" I asked. "Well she is quite famous for what she does... she hugs people." "You what? Hugs people? Honestly?" I got it right, I was amazed. "Let's do another!" I said excitedly. I went on in varying degrees to describe something of what was in the rest of the photos. Another photo that stands out was when I got an image of the circus. Nikki kept saying no and finally turned the photo over. I looked carefully at the picture of a man standing by a wall. "There! I said, "In the background. Look he's standing in front of a poster of a circus!" Nikki missed it as her mind was focussed on me figuring out who the man was.
"Right," she said, "I want you to do a reading for me now." I became nervous saying, "Oh no I don't think I'm ready, I'll probably get it wrong." "Don't be so hard on yourself Jane, it's just practice." She handed me a photo of her mother who had died and I tuned in. Straight way I got a very strong image of bunnies, rabbits. "She's holding a baby, she's nursing it happily from side to side and smiling like she's giving the thumbs up." Then Nikki gave me a photo of her grandma. "Again," I said "I'm getting a child, something about a child but I see sticks, like sticks knocking against something, like there's some trouble.... I don't know Nikki, I feel like asking you...you're not pregnant are you?" I laughed amateurishly. "Actually Jane I am." "Get lost!" I blurted out totally stunned. "You're bloody joking!" "No Jane, I did a pregnancy test this morning and it was positive." "Honestly? This morning? Really? You didn't." "You see Jane I told you you're good at this." And it was true, she was having a baby. "I am going to have an abortion," she said. "But your mum is all for it!" I protested loudly, surprising myself a little. "Yes but Jane the sticks are right, it is a troubled situation." So Nikki had an abortion and I felt strangely disappointed.
Of course my sister Pam was getting a blow by blow account of these sessions over the phone in America where she now lived (I wonder why! Psychic reading by any chance?) When I arrived in Newport RI a couple of months later to spend the summer with her, Pam had me holding people's watches, doing tarot readings galore! I was mortified, sitting there holding some bloke's watch as not a thing came into my head. But Pam, not bothered about being 'cool', pushed me into it with unabashed awe and wonder. Still it didn't seem to work the same and I was dead uncomfortable and embarrassed as hell doing readings for people so I put my foot down and told Pam she could copy all my notes from my tarot lessons, let her read the damn cards! Anyway she was the one who was supposed to be psychic, not me! One spooky thing sticks in my mind from that summer. Pam kept getting me to do tarot readings about her relationship with Keith. He was her boyfriend at the time and they were having plenty of difficulties. They split up for three years before they got back together and got married. Anyway I would do little five card spreads over and over for her. We would constantly get the Death Card and the Tower card. It was weird. Nikki taught me that the Death card is hardly ever negative, that it means the ending of something, transformation, major change, a snake shedding it's skin. The Tower is sudden, bolt out of the blue change. Life falling apart, a shock that feels like something has been taken away from you. Pam and I would end up shrugging unable to figure out what it meant. Pretty bloody obvious now what it bloody well meant. In this case death meant exactly that, death. I sometimes think back to us doing those spreads together like little girls playing. If only I had been a real psychic, I could have warned her.
A few years later Pam went into a little new age shop in Long Island where she was living and the owner said to her, "Why don't you work here and do psychic readings?" "Me? I'm not psychic." Pam said. "Oh yes you are. You can do it." And the owner marched Pam into it (as Pam did with me that summer in Newport) and set her up in a corner of the shop like Gypsy Rosalee. "Thing is Jane," Pam told me on the phone, "I'm getting it all right! This lady came in with her husband and I started describing an old woman in red-framed glasses in a red gown, next thing the lady burst out crying and said, "That's my Grandmother!"
Over the years that we 'dabbled' Pam and I visited Glastonbury a few times. A supposed spiritual hot spot. Pam visited this place on her own one time. Below is her word for word account of breakfast at The Barn.
Woman: (female, mid-fifties, sick of not getting enough attention) Do you want to know what I do?
Pam: Yeah, what do you do?
(Interruptions from other guests)
Woman: So do you want to know what I do? I'm a Shaman and I work with stones and do lots of exorcisms.
Pam: Do you? Do you do exorcisms?!!
Woman: Oh yes. That's an interesting stone, what is it? (pointing to Pam's ring)
Pam: I'm not sure. That's a lovely ring. (pointing to shaman's ring) What's that stone?
Woman: Actually there's a funny story about this. It was interesting what my friend picked up when she held it. Here, hold this. (she gives it to Pam)
Pam: Oh, er, I won't get anything from it. I feel daft.
Woman: Go on! See what comes.
Reluctantly and embarrassed Pam holds the ring with closed eyes sighing while the others chat.
Pam: Well the thing that comes up for me is meridians, blood flow and the heart. Is that right?
Woman: (shrugging irritably) I don't know.
Pam: (feeling a fool) Oh. Hold my ring and see what comes. (She hands her ring to the woman)
Woman: Oh this needs cleaning!! (thrusts it back patronizingly)
Pam: Oh does it?! How do you do that?
Woman: (irritably) I don't know.
Pam: (feeling a fool) Oh. It's a shame we haven't got one of those crystal books.
Adrian (B&B Owner) I've got one...here. (He gives it to Pam)
While they are all chatting Pam looks up the woman's stone.
Pam: Eh! I got it right! It's about meridians and the flow of blood through the veins and the heart!
Woman (coldly) Could you pass the muesli?