Just in time for Halloween.
Jenna's recent post about her experience with a psychic made me think of my own trip to Sister P*. When we were trying to conceive our first children, her prophecy brought me a modicum of comfort. When we were pregnant with the twins, it made me physically ill. And now, I can't help but feel a little stifled by the notes she made me promise I would keep.
But I should probably back up to how I came to be sitting in Sister P's cramped, lawn-ornament-filled shack...right?
A long time ago, my sister had a women's group who got together once a month. The host chose the topic. One woman taught them how to invest money and another taught about quilting (I remember the investing money one; but the quilting one was thrown in there just to balance the sentence. Sorry, the club is part of my sister's memories. The rest of this experience is my own).
One host brought them all to a psychic.
I have to admit that I'm not that into psychics. I'm not 100% sure I would want to know my fate. If it was good, it would obviously bring great peace along the way. Or would it? Would I ever believe the next thing on the list even if all the ones before it came true? Beyond that, if it was terrible, I would probably laugh it off in the moment, but the words would stick with me forever. This happened for a friend who was so taken with the story I'm about to tell that she drove out to see Sister P (driving, I should mention, about 14 hours one-way to the midwestern state where Sister P lives) who told her that she would struggle with money for the rest of her life and die without ever attaining the marriage or children she sought. At 36, my friend is still single, still childless, and still struggling with money. Not every prophecy is something you want to know beforehand.
My name came up during my sister's reading. When my sister sent her then-husband to the psychic for his reading, my name came up again. My sister asked if I would want to see Sister P next time I came out to visit her. I really wasn't sure. On one hand, I didn't want the information, but on the other, there was a psychic who was asking about me. Overall, I was in a pretty terrible place in life during that time and it was sort of like dangling a ticket out of Hell in front of my face and then asking, "do you really want it? It may get you back to earth. It may take you somewhere far worse." Who wouldn't want to know if they were doomed to remain in the same cycle forever?
I went to see the psychic.
Sister P lived on a psychic compound, a metaphysical church complete with graveyard and tiny cottages reminiscent of the gingerbread houses of Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard except with less gingerbread and more faded wood. Rickety. Each cottage was one-and-a-half stories with a dilapidated porch. Sister P's was covered with children's toys. There were no children in sight. In fact, there were no people in sight at all. My sister took her dog with her to walk in the deserted graveyard.
I sat on the porch, shivering and wishing I had brought heavier clothes, when the door opened. Out walked a squat, greying, brown-haired woman with tight curls and glasses that gave her a look of perpetual surprise. Without speaking, she enveloped me in a hug and then simply said, "you came."
She ushered me into the cottage, asking as she laughed to herself. "What was a nice Jewish girl like you doing at a Buddhist monastery this week?"
A few days before I left home to visit my sister, I had gone up to the Peace Pagoda in Leverett, Massachusetts, a few miles from my home. I went there probably once a week, either to sit at the pagoda and think or to speak with one of the nuns who was a friend of a friend. It's still a place I always need to visit whenever we're in Western Massachusetts.
I'm not usually pegged for Jewish. Latina, Middle Eastern, Italian...sure. I wear nothing that would mark me as Jewish--no religious jewelry, for instance. But I could roll with the idea that Sister P knew my heritage. My sister could have even put her up to that. But the Buddhist monastery was confusing because my sister didn't know that I went up there at all. Only my friend Pete and the nuns knew about my visits to the Peace Pagoda.
Sister P had a lawn chair set up in the center of the room in front of a mahogany desk. She sat behind the desk and I sat down in the lawn chair. The room was packed with lawn ornaments. Hundreds and hundreds of cement lawn ornaments--on the floor, stacked on top of shelves, toppling over in piles. It was fairly dark in the room. Sister P asked me if I had brought any paper and asked me to take notes. She said she was going to go through some things in my past so I would believe her when she told me about things in my future.
And then she began.
to be continued...
*I googled her name and it came up immediately so...I'll leave it at Sister P.