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Tales of a Diehard Skeptic: My afternoon at the psychic fair 

I come from a long line of Irish-Catholic skeptics. When I told my sister I was attending the recent psychic fair at Between the Covers

I come from a long line of Irish-Catholic skeptics. When I told my sister I was attending the recent psychic fair at Between the Covers books she replied, "You mean the psycho fair?" When I regaled my husband with tales of seeing a certified Reiki Master that afternoon he quipped, "After this is she going to "reiki" the lawn?" So you can imagine my hesitation towards the world of the "healing arts."

 I hoped a visit with Clairvoyant Astrologer Eileen Lock would change things. I'm the kind of person who wears black most of the time and views Kafka as light summer reading. Without knowing this (or did she?), Eileen agreed to give me a complimentary reading a week before the fair. Eileen was affable yet straight-shooting, with a non-hippie-dippy delivery that enabled me to listen to her with open ears. But it didn't stick. With 40 years of experience, Eileen comes highly recommended. And I do believe many things she says have validity, except when she told me to wear less black because black means you are hiding something. I thought black was chic?    

In these weeks since the fair, either from my "charming" Irish stubbornness or what I view as the endearing post-Gothic angst I cling to, I have had a hard time incorporating Eileen's suggestions into my daily life...like accepting the concept of past lives, and how my fear of something, like water, comes from being drowned as a baby in another lifetime. Yeah, that could have happened, but what if I don't possess the leap of faith to automatically believe it?

I left my first psychic reading with more questions than answers. And I do admit that I am inherently dubious, but can attest to the fact that the practitioners at the psychic fair, all donating their time for the event, seemed to arrive at their vocations from a pure place. One of the healers, a certified Qigong teacher and clairvoyant, was endlessly excited to share her beliefs. I have to admit that displays of spiritual enthusiasm intrigue me. But I've also bought candles from Hare Krishnas at the airport and lit candles at the Notre Dame de Paris and politely accepted religious tracts from people downtown. It's because I want to have faith. What is a writer, or a human, without it?

Another practitioner held my hands and spoke to me with what she said was the voice of God. I found her calm grace both mesmerizing and strangely offensive. My first thought was, "How come I don't have a direct line to God, too? And if I do, why do I need her?" Another woman, one of the Reiki masters, told me my aura (truth be told, I'm not even sure what that means) looked like sunlight shining through root beer. For a moment this image made me feel effervescent, then confused. Then I felt like she could see inside me and know I've been eating too much sugar lately, which made me feel fat. 

I did leave the psychic fair with a desire to believe in something larger than myself. Even if we can't prove or disprove their psychic abilities, I do believe Eileen Lock and the other healers can help those who are in need of a sounding board, an open ear, a kind and concerned friend. For the time being, though, I am just too damned stubborn to let it be me. And no matter what anyone says in my past or present lives, I look terrible in pink. 

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