Thursday, 1 July 2010

Stranger things in heaven and earth ...

Long ages ago, when I was in my middle twenties, newly divorced (1st time around) with not a clue how to start a conversation with the opposite sex (the last time I had done so with any intent to further things into a romantic relationship had been when I was sixteen), I renewed my interest in astrology, tarot and the divinatory arts. In all honesty, mainly to provide a starting point in conversations with girls. I'm a bit reticent about recounting anything about this period in case I come across as a total nut job. But then again, perhaps I am...

I started casting horoscopes (and don't even dream of asking, the answer's no) when I was in my middle teens, after my early Christian* period (you know, suddenly you try and turn yourself into a holy vessel for the lord to come and complete you, when what you need is a good screw, if only you'd realise it) and still, as one does, searching for answers. There's something about being a teenager - that mixture of searching and rebellion - which means that you're very prone to finding answers, ways and places that your parents have never (you believe) prospected and can never understand (you think). So, quasi-scientific divinatory trappings are very attractive.

Astrology falls into the quasi- bit. It takes serious effort and study to learn about it and cast a horoscope. Not to mention serious time - I eventually got a basic natal horoscope down to about 15 hours effort. So, given that amount of effort, there must be something real about it? And indeed, many of my horoscopes were uncannily accurate, even down to one barmaid, after I'd left her horoscope behind the bar, reading it at the start of her shift and saying to the landlord "sorry, got to leave now". It took some explaining that all I'd done was a natal horoscope. Without going into detail, it showed two people - a public and a private, very different, personae. Different enough, with some Saturnian stresses with Pluto, to indicate serious psychological problems even down to schizoid tendencies; enough certainly for me to recommend that the more positively indicated trends be pursued as a matter of urgency and seriousness. I also did one for my brother, that showed that he was going away for a dirty weekend; when he turned red, I was amazed! He denied it in front of my parents, but later admitted that it was true!

So I was pretty convinced by the time I got to casting the horoscope of my closest friend. I started reading the interpretation to him and looked at him, he looked at me, and I had to say "Yep, it's accurate as the stars lie and yep, it's b******s". We even got on the phone to his parents to make sure he hadn't been a born via a c-section (which can change the time/date of birth considerably). Nope, it was accurate according to best books and wrong, just plain wrong. (It also showed that I had been honest in my casting, though!)

As a sixteen year old I did a tarot reading for one of my mother's friends, which had the Tower [Struck By Lightning] reversed in it, something you really, really hope not to see, I translated this as that someone close would pass away. She had an elderly relative who was on the way out, so it was almost acceptable as an interpretation. Almost because the Tower overset is simply the worst that can happen - her husband committed suicide three days later. Walked into the Thames. And that was the true interpretation.

Sometimes these psychic, quasi-scientific methods of divination work. But in limited circumstances. I have my theories about what actually happens and even some yet more quasi-scientific reasons as to why they might work.

But, do I want to know the future anymore? Do I want to uncover any more horrible surprises. No thanks.

*The Scientology period lasted 30 minutes while I was being chatted up by this gorgeous, but as eventually became clear, loopy, acolyte in the Tottenham Court Road. She was part of a group proselytising for the 'movement'. I'd read L Ron Hubbard as a very bad science fiction writer and I had now discovered that he was a very bad religion maker!