A Load of Crystal Balls

I’m a scientist and an atheist. I don’t believe in ghosts or faeries or angels. I maybe believe in aliens, but only insofar as it’s an awfully big universe to only have us in it, and I’m with Stephen Hawkin in thinking the further away they are, the better.

I don’t believe in magic or the afterlife BUT I own at least two decks of Tarot cards and I have seen “psychics” on at least 4 different occasions, and I once read a book on cosmic ordering.

See, as much as I don’t believe in this stuff there is a part of me that sort of wishes it was true. If you sat me down and asked me to list my favourite books or movies, I’d give you a long list of fantasy and magical realism titles. I wish there was a bit of magic in the world, I have done ever since I was a child and I sat in my parent’s kitchen feverently praying/wishing that the Millennium Falcon would land in our backyard. Looking back now though I can see how impracticable that wish was, for a start our garden really wasn’t that big.

I suppose it’s a natural human trait to wish that we had insight into things unseen,or that we (or someone interceding for us) had the power to shape our world to our design. It’s natural to want to break the laws of psychics, and logic.

So I’ve gone to see “psychics”, intellectually knowing that they are a bunch of charlatans (albeit misguided and well-intentioned charlatans, along with the downright mercenary) but sort of hoping that maybe they would show me a bit of magic. Mostly it’s just a bit of fun, something to giggle about with my friends and a good excuse to use the phrase “in accordance with the prophecy” in every day conversation. It’s also given me a couple of fab ancedotes to share over the year, including the psychic who said he predicted two pregnancies very close together for me and was I pregnant by any chance already? I had to nod at that one and say “yes, about 9 months gone.”

There are any number of people online offering pregnancy/conception readings. A quick search on ebay will return dozens of people selling fertility spells and talismans. Fertility forums abound with people discussing what Jennyrenny or any number of other “psychics” have predicted for them. I found one particularly interesting thread yesterday where everyone on it had consulted at least four different psychics and got four completely different answers as to when they would conceive and what sex the baby would be.  The law of averages says at least some of them would get it right. I accurately predicted the genders of  about eight babies born into my family around the same time as my son but I had a 50/50 chance of being right, I’m not going to set myself up as a “psychic” because of it. I do however wish I’d gone to Ladbrokes and got odds on it.

The baby psychic thing does make me uncomfortable, about as uncomfortable as mediums offering messages to the bereaved. It sort of moves beyond the realm of having a few drinks and a laugh with your mates about how you’re going to marry a tall, dark, handsome stranger (presumably they’re not a stranger by the time you marry them) and instead hits right to the heart of the deepest desires of very vulnerable people.

Or maybe I’m just annoyed that I ordered my reading a full 24 hours ago and it still hasn’t arrived….

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