Reading from an Empty Book

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Walking up a craggy path of a mountain on the outlying areas of Amman , Jordan where I used to live, I experienced great excitement and enthusiasm as I was to meet the lady who everyone knew of but few were lucky enough to meet. I had been told that she had airline tickets sent to her by Jordanians living all over the world –these people were rich, in difficulties and wanted her guidance. The first thing I noticed when I entered her tiny one room house built into the mountainside was a number of these unused airline tickets on a shelf in the corner of the sparse room. The first thing I wanted to check out was apparently true. She never used the airline tickets as she had no desire to leave her shanty town like room that had been her home all of her life.

The old Muslim lady had long red hair and appeared to be in her seventies. I thought strange that she did not know her age any more than did her fellow Jordanians. This lady had always lived there in her one room home since anybody could remember –she had always been there. She had the reputation of having a kind heart for any who needed her reputed exceptional psychic, mediumistic or healing help. I had been told people went to her to make a long distance telephone call with those who had passed on, to help with health problems, and to learn of past, present, future and distant events. I went to see if indeed this lady was what I understood to be a shaman – a person who has much in common with some of the select mediums around today.
The first thing she expressed to me was her concern that I may not understand all she had for me, my two accompanying Jordanian friends intervened to say that they would help me understand any of her older style complicated Jordanian Arabic phrases. I had studied written Arabic in my first degree and had learnt basic local colloquial Jordanian Arabic since living there and teaching English.

The stage was set and she consented to “read” for me. She took out an ancient looking leather book from a box beneath her bed in the corner of the clean and tidy room and then sat back down in her chair opposite me and asked for my mother and father's name. I gave the names to her and asked how that helped-she explained that let her know what page to look at in her book. This was novel especially when she opened her book and I was astounded to see the page she turned to was blank-I commented on this to learn from her that all the pages of this special book were totally blank! Yet the reverence she paid to the book was exceptional and she never worked without it and I learned it had been in her family for generations. How she began to read and read she did what appeared to be a small section from the story of my life will always be a mystery to me. I remember thinking at that time that Muhammad the Prophet of Islam was told to “recite” when he received his revelations that resulted in the writing down of them which is known as the Koran. My other thought at the time was of the Akashic records, the belief that all knowledge is stored for retrieval in these records.

She began by ‘looking up Eric' my father's name in her book and giving me detailed information from a section of my father's childhood (who is presently 81 years old) and the loss of his young brother with TB and also that of his mother at a young age and that he had been bullied by some older boys at school and had won a book as a prize for an art competition. She moved on to speak of his Scottish heritage. After furnishing me with further detail as though she was reading from his personal diary she looked up “Eileen” my mother's name. From the blank page in front of her she began to read about Ireland where my mother's side of the family had lived and then later moved to England . She spoke of my mother's Scottish father James and the fact that he and my grandmother also an Eileen had had a divorce as they had married when they were mere naïve children who had fallen in love in their school days together.

I was surprised that she had names that were foreign to her and gave them to me slightly mispronounced in her strong Jordanian accent. This shaman or medium of superior abilities then informed me that I would be leaving Jordan within months as two years there was the time she had in her book. She spoke of my teaching job there, the pull the Middle East had had on me since my childhood and my childhood determination and passion to travel as soon as possible in the Middle East to learn more about and experience first hand numerous sites of religious archaeology.

Without getting too personal she told me that there was a named person who I had become fond of was in for a nasty shock as his mother was having telephone conversations with a woman in Syria unknown to him to have him forced into an arranged marriage of his Syrian mother's choosing. She told me that if he did not comply with it his mother had forced his father to tell him that he would have to leave the family business that he had been running and would not receive the apartment that they had had build for him and all that they would give him was his clothes! The mother had done this as she wanted her son to care for her when the older father passed on. The old lady warned me he would be devastated and would confide this in me before I left Jordan . The lady informed me that he had studied in the United Kingdom although I had not known him in the UK and that he had learned our free thinking ways and that he had mistakenly thought his parents had adopted these ways as they had sent him and financed his study in Britain.

It is always the case for the reader to dismiss a strange occurrence like this particularly when it is someone elses experience that is recounted from their diary some years later. For me however, no-one in Jordan knew about my parents, grandparents or their childhood experiences and origins. The two people who had accompanied me to this lady's home did not know the friend that she spoke of in Jordan . Arranged marriages did occur but the friend she named did inform me before I left the country of his shocking news. He believed his life was ruined, and that he had been betrayed by his parents who were forcing him to spend his life with someone he did not love or as yet even know. It was a shock as they were a modern professional family.

I will always remember the feeling when I left her home, it was like she had looked through a lense into the apparently blank pages of her strange and precious leather book and showed me ‘a day in the life of my father as a child' my mother as a child and also the childhood of my grandparents which led to their marriage as romantic childish teenagers –it was made even more strange that she was not only speaking of the past that I was barely aware of but also speaking about people at the other side of the world who I had not seen for nearly two years and had little telephone contact with. She picked up detail and emotions connected with them too much to go into here, just as she seemed to have such a knowingness of what made me tick on a personal level too.

For the sceptic even if this shamanic-psychic-mediumistic lady used brilliant guess work on me, the information she gave on each of my parents and grandparents was much too detailed for it to have been guess work. Some may argue she used telepathy digging deep into my mind. Some may think she used her precious, ancient, leather and apparently blank book as some might use tea leaves in a tea cup, or tarot cards, as a tool to focus her mind, to pick up detailed information regarding past, present, and future events perhaps from the Akashic records.

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