Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Fortune telling

I have a skill which I don't often tell people about. It tends to make them look at me as though I am an unexploded bomb that may go off at any moment. The world divides into skeptics who think that anyone who talks of clairvoyance is deluded, and those who will beg for a reading.

Not that I go in for that sort of thing: I have prophetic dreams. Sounds impressive, eh?

It isn't though. Usually what I see is a section of a tv programme I am going to see, a chapter of a book I will read, or headlines on newspapers. Nothing useful... on the occasions that I see something of more importance I usually don't realise until afterwards. And what use is a vision of the future that you only understand once you are in that future? I have no unfair advantage over those people who do not have such dreams.

Ah, but it's just like that cold reading the mediums do... I hear you say... you've seen the tv programme and forgotten it. Or read a review of the book, or the headline is one of those the papers drag out from time to time. Maybe, maybe that IS all it is, and I am deluded.

If I can see a pattern in my life, can see meaning in the small and insignificant things that happen, I don't think that can hurt anyone unless I start to believe I am God and try to entice people to gather on the white cliffs for a leap into eternity. And I don't plan on doing anything like that. Not this week, anyway.

The incident which impressed me the most was a dream I had, some years ago, which seemed completely entrancing and marvellous - so marvellous I told people I knew about it in minute detail. I don't usually inflict my dreams on others, there is nothing quite so boring than someone who recounts their dreams in detail. The wonder and the richness of the experience always melts like snow in sunshine, and you are left with a wet patch where the brilliance was.

A week later, I was away from home, and visited the magnificently potty Martello bookshop in Rye. It was owned then by Cynthia Reavell, who had a very eccentrically English way of running a bookshop. Instead of bothering with the critics from the national newspapers, Cynthia used to read the books herself and write her own terse review of the books, which was placed upon them on a card.

Cynthia, for those who do not follow such things, was a leading fan of the writer E.F. Benson, who was determined that, despite all evidence pointing to his having been gay, no one should actually label him as homosexual unless there was independent evidence from witnesses under oath. I will save Fred for another time. Cynthia used to write enraged letters to editors when E.F.B.'s books were reprinted, (having come briefly out of copyright when the law changed and they went straight back in again) and they'd put a foreward on which implied or said E.F.B. might have been gay. I should say that the circumstantial evidence for the whole family being gay is quite strong: and those that weren't gay were rather odd. His father told his mother that he planned to marry her when the mother was still a child and the father was an adult, and the mother, after her husband's death, took up with the daughter of another Archibishop and slept in her bed.

Anyway, I whiled away a little while browsing the bookshop, and came across a book called Destiny, by Martin Heald. It looked interesting, and promised a story of reincarnation. So, I bought it, and a little while later began to read it. And there, in black and white, was the substance of my dream, in detail.

I have often wondered what the message for me was in that experience. I know, I know, you will say it was coincidence, and that there is nothing of significance to be learned from it. But I don't know. I like looking for the meaning in the things which happen to me. And I like to think that E.F.B., or Fred as he was known to his friends, who wrote stories about reincarnation and was interested in the beyond...as the dutiful son of an Archbishop of Canterbury should surely do... would have approved.

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