Your Zodiac Forecasts, from Jonathan Cainer



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John Michell was a best-selling author and world authority on the mysteries of existence. Between March 2001 and August 2002, John wrote a series of articles on a variety of esoteric subjects for Jonathan's website and the Daily Mirror newspaper in the UK.

Jonathan writes: It was a thrill to have John writing for us about unexplained phenomena. I have been an admirer of his work since I was a teenager. I hope you enjoy his thought-provoking work.


March 22, 2001

How did the world begin?

How did the world begin? The correct answer is a total mystery. That is also the proper answer to the other big questions about our existence - the ones that children ask but adults hate to answer. Questions like: "How did life begin?" or " Where does human intelligence come from?" or "How did language develop?" Everyone has ideas about these things, but no one really knows. If they did know there would not be all those different theories. We have all, for example, heard of the "Big Bang'. According to this explanation, everything in the cosmos developed from a tiny package of incredibly dense matter that exploded. One day, somehow, it exploded and our world began.

Adults are quite happy to accept this idea but it does not satisfy children. The next thing they ask, quite rightly, is: How did that suspicious package get there in the first place? Scientists don't find it so easy to answer that one. And they themselves are divided over the Big Bang. Some declare that there was no such thing, and that the universe has always existed. They say it goes on forever and has neither beginning nor end. Others disagree. Against this idea, they say, is the fact that all material things have limits. Recently, I pointed this out while discussing the size of the universe with a six-year-old boy. The next time I saw him he said he had been thinking about it, and he had reached a conclusion. "The universe," he said "does have its limits, but as you get near to them they run away!" Now how  do you answer that?

Most writers have their "thing" or main theme that runs throughout all their work. My "thing" for over 35 years - in books, articles, and lectures -  has been the mystery of existence. Within this unexplained universe is an infinity of mysteries. Wherever you look -- in archaeology and ancient history or in the modern records of parapsychology and strange phenomena - you find evidence to contradict  every theory and "certainty" of official science. The real world is quite different from the way our teachers describe it, and it is a great deal more interesting.


It's a fact

The earth is travelling round the Sun at an astonishing 18.6 miles a second.

The Sun itself is in orbit. It takes thousands of years to circle round a distant part of the Milky Way that we call the Galactic Centre.

There are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on all of our beaches.

The ancients saw the Moon as a protector which is TRUE. Its gravity attracts passing Earth-bound meteors.



March 29, 2001

Gods or space people?

Last week I mentioned the unsolved mystery of how civilisation began. In the fifth century BC, a very interesting answer to this was given by the Greek philosopher Plato. He was not just a storyteller but a learned initiate with access to ancient Egyptian records, so there is some authority in his account. He said that the arts and skills of civilisation were first made known by the gods. They descended to earth and governed it. Under their rule we lived in a state of perfect order and contentment. Then, one day, they left, but before going they trained certain people to maintain state rituals and standards. For a time all went well. But humans are not good at keeping up standards. Things were allowed to slip and eventually the great civilisation crumbled and dissolved.

It is tempting for some people to see this as a record of extra-terrestrial intervention thousands of years ago. The theory is that human intelligence and culture are not, like the body, earth-born, but come from elsewhere. It is an old belief, and it is held by many UFOlogists today. Yet though I have several times seen UFOs - strange lights and objects in the sky - I do not really believe in extra-terrestrials. In my view, there is no apparent evidence or likelihood of life elsewhere in space, and if there are intelligent beings in the far blue yonder, the distances are too great for contact. But I do believe in the gods. We may think we have banished them but, as astrologers perceive, they are still active in our lives. Also active are the spiritual forces in nature. Plato was right in saying that the gods imparted to us the secrets of civilisation, but they were the real gods, and one day we can expect them back.


The term 'flying saucer' was coined by the US press in 1947 after pilot Kenneth Arnold sighted several shining bat-winged craft over the Cascade Mountains in Washington state. He described their motion as like "saucers skipping over water."


Many UFOlogists claim that crop circles are the work of extra-terrestrials. In Sweden and Canada, similar claims are made for the phenomenon of ice circles, perfect geometric shapes up to 200 metres in diameter, which revolve slowly in rivers and lakes.


The first major modern-era case of 'alien abduction' involved Betty and Barney Hill who took an unexplained seven hours to complete a short drive on a lonely road in New Hampshire. Troubled by marks which appeared on their bodies they underwent hypnosis to reconstruct events, telling of being dragged from their car by little beings and subjected to intimate medical examination.


A 1991 survey claimed that two out of every hundred Americans believed  they had been abducted at some time in their lives.


One UFO sighting has remained unexplained for more than a century. Thousands of residents of Oakland, California reported  a huge mystery 'airship' above their town in November 1896. The craft's speed and lights were in advance of anything known at the time.




April 5, 2001

No alien visitors

Some people get angry when I say I do not believe in extra-terrestrials or intelligent life in space. They point out that the universe contains billions of stars and planets. Some of these must surely be like our Earth, able to support life. And what about those UFO sightings, such as the many reported over the years in the West Country. If they are not part of our world they must come from outside it.

The problem is that beyond our solar system the distances are far too great to allow space travel. These vast distances are measured in light years. Light travels at 186,000 miles a second. It takes 1.5 seconds to reach us from the Moon, eight minutes to travel from the Sun, and four years to reach us from the next nearest star. So that star is four light years away. Beyond that the distances become so enormous that, even if we could travel at the speed of light, it would take millions of years to explore other galaxies. But no physical body can approach the speed of light. We can travel the universe in thought and spirit, but never in hard reality. And if there are extra-terrestrial beings, the same goes for them.

Even so, we are not exactly alone. Like many people I know, I have several times seen UFOs unidentified flying objects. That is as far as it went I never met 'aliens'. But back in 1966, while writing my first book, The Flying Saucer Vision, I interviewed several 'contactees'. Like all the others I had read about, they had been changed from their meetings with other-worldly beings. Some had become psychics, others were mentally disturbed. Their experiences were certainly genuine. But who are these beings and where are they from?

The great psychologist Carl Jung wrote a book on UFOs. He concluded that they are signs of coming changes. According to the records of astrology, he said, these changes take place when one sign of the zodiac is giving way to another. Such periods are always marked by 'signs and wonders' strange things seen in the sky.

I agree with Jung. The UFO phenomenon has certainly changed our outlook on the world. But I still do not believe space aliens are behind it. The creatures reported by UFO contactees were quite familiar to our ancestors. They knew them as 'elves, imps, daimons or mischievous spirits'. We may no longer believe in these things, but we never really got rid of them, and now we call them extra-terrestrials.


The first close encounter.

George Adamski, a hotdog seller at Mount Palomar observatory is credited as being the first modern-era contactee with aliens. On November 20, 1952, Adamski and some colleagues went skywatching in the Mojave Desert. Adamski claimed that he had contact with a tall Venusian who wanted to warn of the potential dangers the nuclear age posed to mankind. Adamski achieved fame but his colleagues later retracted their stories.




April 12, 2001

Instant justice: oaths and curses

May God strike me dead if I tell a lie! That is a terrible oath to swear, and there are many cases where it has proved fatal. English history records one, in 1053, when the Saxon noble, Earl Godwin, the father of King Harold, dining with King Edward the Confessor, assured him of his loyalty. "If there is any thought of treachery within me," he said, "May the next mouthful I take choke me." He then took a bite of meat, choked on it and fell dead. A similar incident took place in the town centre of Devizes, Wiltshire. It was marked by a large stone cross at the spot. Three market women agreed to put up two pence each for a sixpenny sack of flour. One of them, Ruth Pierce, swore that she had already paid her share, and uttered the fatal oath. She was immediately struck dead, and the coins which she had been hiding fell from  her hand.

There are enough stories of this kind to make anyone careful. Guilty or not, I would never utter such an oath, nor would I dare commit sacrilege or rob an ancient grave. As you will see below, many of the archaeologists who discovered Tutankhamen's tomb ignored an ancient curse and paid the ultimate price. That was asking for trouble. I know that people have experimented, daring God to strike them dead, and nothing has happened - or not immediately. But I have so often found that you get what you deserve or ask for, that I would rather not tempt fate.


The Curse of the Pharoahs

Archaeologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon broke into king Tutenkhamen's tomb in late 1922. Earlier Carnarvon was sent this warning, received in 'automatic writing' by the famous mystic Cheiro: "Carnarvon not to enter tomb. Disobey at peril. If ignored would suffer sickness; not recover; death would claim him in Egypt." Carnarvon went ahead, saying he would "challenge the psychic powers of the ages". Inside the tomb a tablet of hieroglyphics warned: "Death will slay with his wings whoever disturbs the peace of the pharaoh." The following April, Carnarvon died of illness attributed to a mosquito bite. Within six years 22 of his co-excavators died prematurely in mysterious or tragic circumstances. By 1930, only one of the original tomb raiders was left alive the director Howard Carter.




April 19, 2001


When overseas visitors come to Britain, the thing they most want to see along with the Bloody Tower and Shakespeare's alleged birthplace - is Stonehenge. Why Stonehenge? I wonder. It is only a scattering of old rocks in a field on Salisbury Plain. You have to pay to get near it, and even then you cannot enter the stones. It was also recently revealed that restoration work to give the site a facelift has taken place since the turn of the last century. It sounds a poor deal, but the place is crowded with visitors who still find Stonehenge awe-inspiring. Stonehenge has its own natural attraction. There is something about it that draws people there. It has always been like that. Founded about 4,000 years ago, around the beginning of the Age of Aries, it was the national temple, the Westminster Abbey of its time. Great men were buried around it and, according to bardic tradition, a priestly choir maintained a perpetual chant within its stone rings. There were constant rituals, geared to the sun, moon and seasons of nature. This is indicated by the astronomical features of Stonehenge, particularly by its orientation to the midsummer sunrise. At that highpoint of the year, people came from all directions, set up camp around the Stones, settled their legal and other forms of business and held midsummer festival.

Stonehenge is a monument of the Bronze Age, an age of priestly rulers, when the standard of crafts and culture was higher than ever before - or since. It was a time of ritual magic, and the magical atmosphere of Stonehenge has ever since been attractive to artists, poets and romantics. From whatever angle you study it you come to see that behind it was a great mind and a great ideal. Encoded in its dimensions are an ancient secrets which, when revealed, will change our whole perspective on history. That is why no imaginative person can resist going to Stonehenge.


Stonehenge facts

The first Stonehenge, started around 2,800BC, was a ditch and bank enclosure, probably partly used for burials.

Its stone rings appeared linked to phases of the sun and moon - effectively an early computer to show when to sow or reap.

No-one knows how the stones, some up to 50 tons, were brought from 20 miles away. At least 700 men, or 50 oxen, would have been needed to drag rocks over land. Later phases used Welsh stone, transported 240 miles.

Stonehenge has long been associated with druids. But the celtic priesthood did not appear in Britain until shortly before the Christian era. The druid temple theory is now largely discounted. Modern druids are allowed on site for the summer solstice in June.



April 26, 2001

Crop circles

Soon, with summer about to come, it will be time for crop circles. These mysterious patterns, formed by swirled-down areas in wheatfields and other crops, have been delighting and infuriating their followers for over twenty years. And still there are no clear answers to the primary questions, Who or what is making these patterns? and why? and how? In 1991 there was a sensation when two elderly jokers claimed that they had been making the circles. They had done them, they said, to tease the UFO enthusiasts. There was no proof of this, but the press and media lost interest in the subject, and most people expected the circles to fade away. But still the circles kept on coming, each year more beautiful and elaborate, Finally, in the summer of 2000, the most wonderful designs ever seen appeared overnight in fields around Avebury, the prehistoric temple of Wiltshire.

The most popular explanation for the phenomenon is that there are several unknown teams of hoaxers -- or anonymous artists -- who somehow create these masterpieces, illicitly, in a very short time and without ever being caught. Certain people and groups of circle-fakers are known to be active, but their results are not as good as the real thing, and they too are puzzled by what is going on. I have studied this subject for years, and once edited a magazine on it, but I still have no firm theory to offer. One thing I am fairly sure about is that at least some of the crop-designs were not done directly in the fields by hoaxers. There is evidence to be found of 'action at a distance'. Is there someone with a computer, making patterns on the screen and then somehow printing them out on farmers fields? Or is the answer something even more fantastic?

This year will be crucial. Due to the foot and mouth outbreak, fields and footpaths are closed to visitors. Crop-circle making will be a crime, and this will deter hoaxers. So will the circles continue?

The first circles usually appear in May, and they keep on coming up to September and the end of the harvest. I look forward keenly to the coming season.


The first crop circles in Britain were seen in 1980. There may have been earlier ones but they were not recorded.

Similar circles occurred during the 1970s in Australia. They were called 'saucer nests' and were thought to be UFO landing sites.

Up to 200 crop formations are reported in England each year. Most are concentrated in the Marlborough district of Wiltshire.

August is the best time to see crop circles. For information on the latest developments, visit the Barge Inn, Honey Street, Pewsey, Wiltshire where enthusiasts gather.

For more information visit:





May 3, 2001

Do monsters exist?

Every child loves monsters, and I am fascinated by them too. What are these creatures, and how do they fit into our modern view of the world? I am talking about the giant apes or hairy men that appear in the mountain lands of Asia and North America. And in seas and lakes everywhere - most famously in Loch Ness - people have often seen 'monsters'. I have no doubt that these creatures exist. The best evidence are the trails of huge footprints in snow, discovered both in the Himalayas and in American 'bigfoot' , country. No ordinary creature could have made them. In a recent TV programme some Yeti-hunters in Nepal found a hair from an animal 'unknown to science'.

But the sad fact is that no one has ever caught one of these creatures - not even on film. There are plenty of photographs of Loch Ness, showing something that might be 'Nessie'. But in every case it could be something else, or a fake.

In 1967 Roger Patterson recorded briefly with his movie camera a large, dark, man-like creature in Californian woodlands. Was it the fabulous Bigfoot? Or just a hoaxer in a monkey suit? The image is not clear, so we are left guessing.

Based on wide study of the evidence, my conclusion is that these monsters are not entirely of this world. They can be real enough, but not in the flesh-and-blood sense. In other words they are phantoms. They belong to a world that lies between physical reality and the world of imagination. That was made plain by St Columba in the sixth century. His encounter with Loch Ness's 'monster' is the first on record. He recognized it as a creature of enchantment and drove it away by his holy magic.

In recent years, sightings of bigfoot-type creatures have greatly increased throughout the United States. Often they occur in association with UFOs and other weird phenomena. So what is behind this outbreak of phantom monsters? One way of seeing it is this. In our modern world we have forgotten something that everyone once knew. We have forgotten the spiritual powers in nature, even though they influence our daily luck - or lack of it. This causes stress and confusion, and nature reacts by a display of monsters and other things that science can not explain. We are being reminded of lost knowledge and a way to happiness.


Loch Ness Monster mania began with many sightings in 1933. Commander Gould RN, an expert on sea serpents, investigated, and identified Nessie as a gigantic form of common newt. Other experts theorised about a trapped sea-serpent or a primitive reptile. The traditional view is that the Monster is a phantom creature whose appearances have local significance.


Many lakes around the world where there are stories and sightings of monsters are too small to support such a creature.


The best-authenticated Yeti trail was recorded by Eric Shipton's 1951 Everest expedition. At 18,000 feet they found footprints, stretching over a mile, of a creature walking like a man and about eight feet tall.


In 1969 in Washington State, a trail of over a thousand 18-inch footprints were found, suggesting that the upright creature that made them was more than ten feet tall.




May 10, 2001

The decline of fairies

Some people do not like hearing about fairies. They think it is soppy and a waste of time. Children are not so inhibited, and most of the fairy sightings reported today come from them. But the fact is that fairies are rarely seen nowadays, unlike 100 years ago when they still lingered in the remote countryside. The mystical Isle of Man, famous for its fairy glens, was one of their last strongholds. First-hand accounts from people who had seen them were collected by W.Y. Evans-Wentz for his delightful book of 1911, The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries. Often they were seen as dancing lights which, when you looked closer, took on the forms of little people. As they grew rarer, the old Manx folk blamed their decline on the rise of modern education and the increasing pace of life.

The decline of fairies has gone on for a long time. In the Middle Ages contact with fairies and spirits was a regular part of country life. It is said that women complained of being molested by them. For that, and other reasons, the Church began a campaign to stamp out these disreputable beings. Preachers and exorcists were sent around the country, to houses, farms and every nook frequented by fairies. They performed rites and scattered holy water to expel the 'demons'. The result, said a satirical poet of the time, was that women were now safe from fairy seducers. But they had better watch out for the young priests and friars who had replaced them!

For those who want physical evidence of fairies there are plenty of interesting relics. They are scattered about the country, mostly in obscure museums and manor houses. There is a well-worn little shoe, less than 3 inches long, made of mouse skin with tiny stitches. It was found by a labourer in an Irish bog. Also from Ireland, found within a fairy ring, is a little coat, a noble garment, fully lined, with cloth-covered buttons and a high velvet collar. But it is only six inches long and less than two inches across the shoulders. Its owner must have fallen upon hard times, for the coat is frayed and greasy from long use.

The greatest contribution that fairies have made to our culture is in music. Many traditional country dance tunes were copied by local musicians from music they heard played by fairies. That same music is believed by some still to be played, but modern life is no longer attuned to it.


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, was a believer in fairies. In 1920 he published photographs, taken by two young girls, of fairies playing in a Yorkshire glen. Many years later the girls confessed that they had faked the 'Cottingley fairies'. But they always insisted that they had faked only what they had really seen.


One of the last British places cleared of fairies was Shetland. The man who expelled them was Dr Ingram, a powerful preacher, who died in 1879 aged 103. He did not entirely succeed, for several groups of 'trows', the Shetland fairies, have been seen since.


A follower of ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius asked him if fairies exist. He replied that it is best to conduct your life as if they do exist.




May 17, 2001

Dabbling in The Occult

Many good Christians and other religious people are suspicious of astrology and esoteric studies generally. They say that they lead to dangerous ground, to obsession with spirits and demons and, in the worse cases, to madness and hell. To some extent I agree with them. Plenty of innocents have been led by occult practices into situations they could not handle, and have come to grief. But I do not accept that churches are the only source of guidance in the realm of spirit and imagination. It is no secret that the best and only reliable way of investigating our existence is by following Truth and forgetting self-glory. You do not need a priest to tell you that.

There are people in politics and big business who have come to power by ruthlessness, as if they had made a pact with the Devil. Perhaps they have. Satan is always ready for a deal and will give you whatever you want in this world. But the price is so terrible that no sane person would consider it. You do not follow astrology for the power it gives you over other people, but for the knowledge it brings of yourself and the world around you. There is no harm in that, quite the opposite. The ancient philosopher Plato said that if you acquire that knowledge you benefit both yourself and your neighbourhood.

In the ancient world there were 'Mystery' schools, where suitable candidates were initiated into the secrets of life and death. The most famous of these schools were located in Britain and Ireland. Their professors before Christian times were druid monks. Julius Caesar wrote about them, saying that they taught not only astronomy and classical subjects but also about the progress of the soul from one life to the next. Instruction was through rhymes and verses which students had to learn by heart. The full course lasted for about 20 years. Its climax was the initiation process, involving the experience of death and rebirth. Those who completed it lost all fear of death. In gaining wisdom they also gained happiness and spread it around them.

Are there such schools today? Not, so far as I know, in the western world. We have lost our ancient traditions and the security they once gave. But true knowledge is immortal. It is called 'occult' knowledge because for long periods it is hidden and goes underground. But at certain times, recognised by astrologers, it reappears, renewing culture and spirit. That seems to be happening now.


Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) shocked the world with his uninhibited magical practices. They included raising demons, blood sacrifices and ritual sex. He called himself the Great Beast 666, and the press called him 'the wickedest man in the world'. He was a fine poet and writer. But his excesses caught up with him, and he died, poor, lonely and drug-addicted, in a Hastings boarding house.


The most famous English magician was Dr John Dee (1527-1608). He was the greatest scholar and scientist of his time, but he wanted to go beyond science and discover the Philosopher's Stone, the key to all knowledge. Not being psychic himself, he communicated with spirits through scryers or mediums. Queen Elizabeth made him her court astrologer, and state policy was largely determined by his advice.



May 24, 2001

Mysteries of The Holy Grail

The best thing that can possibly happen to you, the mystics say - far better than winning the Lottery - is to discover the Holy Grail. This is a big claim, so let us look into it.

What is the Grail and why should one seek it? Christian legend identifies it with the chalice that St Joseph of Arimathaea brought to Glastonbury after the Crucifixion. But in earlier, Celtic, tradition the Grail was the central symbol of a mystic ritual, the purpose of which was to hold each individual, and the country as a whole under a mythological enchantment. This was the Golden Age that we glimpse in moments of nostalgia. At such times the Holy Grail is revealed and everyone is happy. At other times it is hidden and idealistic people search for it. That great French scholar Rene Guenon, defined the Holy Grail as "partly the original human perception and partly the ancient tradition of wisdom". Here is what I think he meant. Natural perception is that of a child or innocent, full of wonder at the world. The ancient tradition is a spiritually-based science. At its core is a simple code of universal knowledge. This tradition is quietly passed down through the generations, and sometimes it becomes widely known. At those times the Grail is within reach.

But these are also times of great danger. Spiritual power is morally neutral, and unscrupulous people can hi-jack it. It happened during the Nazi period, when SS leaders conducted power-seeking rituals within the sanctuary of their Grail Castle. That is properly called Black Magic, which is well known for bringing grief upon those who practise it. I feel sure that Guenon was right, and that the Holy Grail is achieved by a combination of two things. One of them, knowledge, can be gained by well-directed studies. The other, called love or understanding, is the state of existence you must determine to gain. So the revelation of the Grail means acquiring happiness - which is more than you are likely to get from the Lottery.



Ancient Welsh writers described a magic cauldron or Grail vessel. From it came wisdom, perpetual youth or whatever you chose to eat and drink. It was used in rituals to maintain or restore happiness.


The Grail chalice that St Joseph brought to Glastonbury vanished in 1539 when the Abbey was destroyed. It is said to be buried somewhere nearby. When it is found, a mystery will be revealed, bringing new light to the whole nation.


The High History of the Holy Grail was compiled around 1200 from records found at Glastonbury Abbey, where King Arthur (a descendant of St Joseph) was buried along with Queen Guinevere. The surrounding country was called the 'Moors Adventurous', because the episodes in Arthur's Grail Quest were located there.




May 31, 2001

Animals and us

Biology is not a hard-and-fast science because our knowledge of animals relies so much on people's chance observations and how they are interpreted. At the centre of it all is the mystery of how we are related to animals and to what extent we can communicate with them. Some scientists take it for granted that animals are like machines, programmed to behave in certain ways in their own self-interest, with no capacity for affection, grief or other 'human' emotions.

Yet there are many well-witnessed accounts; from ancient times up to today, proving that animals often rescue or defend other creatures, not always of their own kind. The best know examples are the dolphins and turtles that help drowning people to land. And another, the one that I find most fascinating, is where human children, abandoned in the wilderness, are found and brought up by wolves, bears, monkeys or other creatures. One of my favourite books is Gazelle-Boy by Jean-Claude Armen, about a boy, lost as an infant in the Sahara desert, who was adopted by a family of gazelles. He learnt to run and leap like them, and to live on grass and leaves. Armen gradually made friends with the boy and protected him from the scientists who wanted to capture and study him. He gives other examples of children fostered by animals, including an Arab boy who spent ten years living with ostriches. As a lost toddler he had found their nest with hatching eggs. The mother accepted him as one of her chicks, and he adapted happily to their ways and diet.

The expert on human-animal communication is Dr Rupert Sheldrake. His studies are confined to domestic animals or 'pets', and one of his discoveries is in a book called Dogs that Know when their Owners are Coming Home. They know it, apparently, from the moment the owner decides to come home. That is when they begin their routine of running to the window and so on. Most dog-owners are aware of this already, but Sheldrake with his scientific methods has nailed it down as a fact. So if there is an animal in your household, and you feel mental affinity with it, that is not weird but perfectly normal and scientifically recognised


Rudyard Kipling's story of Mowgli, the wolf-boy, in The Jungle Book was based on true accounts he had heard of in India.


The most complete scientific record of children reared by wolves was made by Indian missionary the Rev J. Singh and his wife. Singh was present when villagers killed a she-wolf and took the cubs from her den. Among them were two little girls, one aged about eight the other only 18months. The younger one soon died, but the eight-year-old was adopted by the Singhs and lived for another nine years. They tried to educate her, but she never lost her wolf nature and learnt to speak only a few words. That has been the case with most children taken away from animal protectors.





June 7, 2001


The clearest indication that life is surrounded by mysteries is the phenomenon of coincidences. Carl Jung called them 'synchronicities' but I prefer the older and simpler word. Everyone knows the 'talk of the devil!' effect, when a person you have just been speaking or thinking about calls or turns up. And there is another one like it, which I have several times experienced, where you mistake someone in the street for an old friend and then a few minutes later that old friend comes along.

This happened to a woman I know, when she was a child. Her father had taken her out to a cafe, and while they were sitting there a man walked in. The father recognized him as someone be had known in the Army. That was many years ago and he had not seen him since. But as he rose to greet him he realised it was not that man. So he sat down disappointed. But then another man came in. And this time it really was his old friend from the Army.

Mostly these coincidences seem trivial and meaningless, but sometimes things happen in such a timely way that it looks like fate or as if there is an underlying script to your life. Happy couples often tell of the amazing stroke of luck that brought them together. It was meant to happen, they say.

My own view is that when coincidences keep occurring, it is a good sign. It means that you are in tune with life and going in the right direction. A sure way of bringing them on is to keep a 'coincidence diary', noting all the odd things that have happened during the day. I did that once, but the trouble was that my life became so intense and full of meaning that I could not stand it any more. So that was the end of the diary. But if ever you feel that life is boring, try noting down your minor coincidences. You will be amazed how quickly they increase, and the adventures they land you in.


In 1911 three men were hanged in London for a murder they committed on Greenberry Hill. Their names were Green, Berry and Hill.


The Titanic disaster was foreshadowed in a novel written 14 years earlier. It was about a giant ship, the Titan, colliding with an iceberg in the Atlantic during her maiden voyage. In 1939 at the same spot where the Titanic went down, a ship's navigator had a premonition of disaster. He stopped the ship just in time, as a giant iceberg loomed up. striking its side but with no serious damage. The name of the ship was Titanian.


Just before the Allied landings in Normandy on D-day, June 6, 1944, the compiler of the Daily Telegraph crossword was questioned by Military Intelligence. His recent crosswords had included words and names such as Omaha, Utah. Mulberry, Neptune and Overlord. Unknown to him, he had used the chief code-names of the D-day operation.



June 14, 2001

Library angels

Last week's subject was coincidences. And so is this week's, beginning with the question that we would all like to have answered. Do useful coincidences just happen at random, or can we do anything to encourage them?

Here is an example of what I mean by useful coincidences. If you are a writer or engaged in any kind of research. you have probably had dealings with 'library angels'. That is the name that Carl Jung gave to those 'unseen helpers' who bring timely information. All experienced writers know about these 'angels'. and I have collected many almost incredible stories from those I know and others who have recorded them.

Typically they are about a book turning up 'out of the blue' - the one book which you happen to need. One of these stories was told me by Colin Wilson. While writing his book, The Occult, he went to his shelves to look up something. Suddenly a book fell out on to the floor. It was the very one he wanted and it fell open at the right page.

There are certain conditions in which this sort of thing is most likely to happen. It is when your mind is intensely concentrated when there is something you desperately want to find out. That sounds like an answer to prayer. And in some cases people have prayed for the information they received. But my experience is that the angels, or whatever you call them, have their own ways of rewarding honest seekers. and it is best to leave it to them.

This opens the way to other subjects, such as how to find lost objects. There is something magical about the way familiar things come and go around you. Many of us know cases where something goes missing from its usual place, and a few days later, there it is back again. This, it seems to me, reflects the ebb and flow of one' s luck. But if you want to recover lost objects there are harmless, traditional way of doing so - Every religion has a god or saint responsible for such things - for Catholics it is St Anthony ... and prayers to them are often found to work. On the other hand, you can just do your best and trust to luck. And if you do so, good luck is quite likely to be attracted to you.


The Russian writer, Alexander Solzhenitsin, tells of a book that came in response to prayer. Exiled with him in a Soviet prison was a famous physicist. To solve a problem, he needed a certain book of mathematical tables. Every week three books were issued to each inmate from the prison library. The physicist prayed for the book of tables, and he duly received it. Knowing this to be a miracle, he learnt by heart the data he needed. He had just done so when an inspector came round and confiscated the book.