Friday. Phone message to say that my 9am meeting had been cancelled. Another phone message to remind me that I’d booked a massage. Perfect. So I headed down to Obs to see C., the massage therapist. I’ve been to her once before and she does a mean thing to knotted muscles. This time, though, she was zooming around the house, from one room to another, with all the soothing sensuality of a ringing telephone. How is this woman going to do a massage, I was wondering, when she spun round and the bony finger of her seemed to announce somewhat accusingly: You don’t need a massage today. You need a healing.
I had no idea what “a healing” was, but when a woman who seems to be vibrating on a terrifying frequency tells you need one, you don’t really want to argue.
That would be lovely, I said. I was half wondering what on earth she meant, and half wondering who doesn’t need a healing. But to be honest, I was relieved that at least she knew what was going on.
She pushed a pack of tarot cards at me. Go shuffle these – not like playing cards, please, they are delicate. Then pick – yes, pick three.
I took a long slug of water and set about shuffling the cards. I mean, what else was I to do?
I took my time, splitting and resplitting the pack. Eventually I spread the cards on the table and picked out three and turned them over. We read together the significance of the three birds, and she snapped the book shut, told me to let the three images float in my mind during the healing. She lay me on the massage table, covered me with heavy blankets, closed my eyes.
The music slowed. C. became quiet and set about doing things. I would see later that quartz and amethyst had been laid out beneath me. There was a lot of burning things, placing things, replacing things. I heard her breath, her movements. Hands rested on my head until I wasn’t sure they were there anymore. Hands swept over me; took my feet; took my own hands. My mind ebbed and flowed as it would in a meditation, in a massage, during a swim, on a long walk. They skated over recent work demands, conversations, thoughts, memories. A few nasty visions from last year appeared, vivid and awful, as they do when I lie down anywhere for more than a few minutes. Tears trickled down my face, steadily, for an hour. And they spiralled away too, as they do when I leave them be. I did not sleep.
Later she stood quietly by my head, and told me she was finished, or told me I was finished. I can’t remember. She told me to rest quietly for a bit. The sunlight filtered mildly into the room, and I found myself looking at the bookcase, piled with art books and novels. I recognised a lot of the titles.
When she entered the room again, she asked me what I had noticed. I told her. She nodded, lips closed quite tightly. Then she told me what she had seen and felt. She spoke about sadness and woundedness and a lot to be cleared. She looked serious. Oh! she said suddenly, I had to – tell me, have you been … abused or molested in some way? I burst into tears. She looked neither surprised nor concerned. Violated, I suppose, I said. I had to clear … layers of stuff from your base chakras, she said, motioning with her hands to her pelvis like it was an orbit path around her hips. I felt rattled. It’s one thing knowing there’s a wound in you; it’s quite another having someone lay it out before you.
She spoke about other things, subtle and arcane. Past lives. Visitors. I eyed the stones under the massage table. In a film or an artwork, I thought, how powerful it would seem to me to have a symbolic laying of hands, a burning of past pain. And yet, to sit in a house, even a house with a beautful fireplace and bookshelves that looked that they might open to more comfortable places, and undergo such ritualised acts, it felt to me impossible, strange. She was not oblivious to my skepticism; she motioned fingers to her ears. It doesn’t matter that you don’t want to listen, you don’t have to, you know, she said. This works on another level. Just as well for that, I thought, wondering about my past-life visitor and whether he would care whether he seemed real to me or not.
Her advice? Be gentle to yourself. Eat some good hot meals. Sound enough.
Here’s a song that has played on repeat in my mind since then. I have no idea of the significance, but I think it’s beautiful: