From the music and laughter echoing out of the front room as we approached the front door, my friend’s “At Home Hen Party” was already in full swing. Beside me on the doorstep my young daughter danced impatiently from foot to foot as we waited on the door being opened. It was my friend’s mum who eventually opened it, wine glass in hand.
“Ah, you’re here! We were getting worried. You’re the next to go in and Jean’s already been in a while,” she gushed. “Come away in, girls!”
A chill ran through my veins. The main attraction of the “At Home Hen Party” was an angel card reading. Suddenly my sixth sense was twitching. My own angel card experiences were all positive and reassuring but a growing sense of unease flooded my mind.
Too late to turn back now.
I politely declined a glass of bubbly – I had brought the car but the truth was that I didn’t want my senses impaired. As I sat on the couch beside my daughter I tried to relax. In the car I’d explained to her that I would be seeing “the lady” for a card reading and that she would need to wait with her auntie. Despite her pleas to be allowed to accompany me, I said “No.”
“She’s waiting for you, doll,” said the bride-to-be nudging me on the shoulder. “Bedroom on the left at the end of the hall.”
The white painted door was shut tight. Taking a deep breath, I turned the handle and slowly opened the door. A frenzy of wild ash blonde hair, white crocheted shawl and piercing blue eyes flew at me, hugged me tight and declared loudly, “What an energy you’ve brought in!”
With my personal space violated, my “guard” imploded.
“Sit yourself down,” she encouraged dragging me towards a plain wooden chair.
I did as I was told and sat with my feet firmly planted on the ground, my hands on my knees in a frantic attempt to ground myself and regroup my thoughts. Before I could stop her, the woman had taken both of my hands in hers.
“You’re a nurse? Or a doctor? Definitely a healer.”
I shook my head, not trusting myself to speak.
She stared at me intently, looking deep into my very soul. I could feel her mind probing the depths of mine and I was failing to shut the doors on my innermost thoughts as she probed her way around.
“You’re a witch. A healing witch,” she stated bluntly. “And you always have been.”
Instantly my third eye opened up to its past. The distinctive aroma of a peat fire filled the room.
I was no longer in my friend’s mum’s spare bedroom; I was in a low stone cottage on the outskirts of a village in the Outer Hebrides, on the shores of a loch. In front of me a small cooking pot hung over a peat fire. From the additional strong aroma around me, the pot contained fish that appeared to be simmering in some milk. Instinctively I knew that it was to reduce the saltiness of the herring that I’d bought at the pier that morning. As I stirred the pot with a well-worn wooden spoon, the smoke formed into a vision of a baby. Outside I heard the hoodie crow caw twice. It was time. Carefully I swung the pot to one side and banked the fire. Pausing to pick up my small hessian bag containing my medicinal herbs, freshly gathered that morning on the way back from the village, and drew my shawl round my shoulders.
Closing the door behind me I stepped out into the gloaming and walked up the steep scree path to the road. A young boy, his flaming red hair sticking out like a scarecrow’s, came running full pelt towards me.
“Mistress, you need to come now,” he gasped. “My mother needs you. It’s my sister’s time and the bairn’s not turned.”
“Calm down, Fergus. Breathe,” I heard my self say. “All will be well with this bairn and your sister.”
Suddenly I found the right door in my mind and slammed it shut. I snapped back into the present and was relieved to be back in the bedroom, even if “the lady” was still holding my hands.
The wide-eyed look on her face suggested she had share my vision – or was it a memory of my true past?
She loosened her grip on my hands and said quietly, “You’ve a daughter. She’s very like you.”
I didn’t respond.
“She’s got the same guardian angel as you. Same one you’ve had all through time. You’ve seen it. Your daughter sees it.”
“Yes,” replied the woman reaching round for the deck of angel cards that had until now lain forgotten on the bed. “She has a real butterfly personality your little girl. All pinks, blues and purples. There’s always butterflies about her.”
My blood ran cold as I pictured my baby girl sitting in the front room wearing her favourite t-shirt. The blue one with the large pink, purple and silver butterfly emblazoned on the front.
The woman slowly shuffled the deck of cards then, to my mild surprise, drew out a card for me.
“Perfect,” she breathed, handing the card to me.
In my trembling hands I held the image of a beautiful angel with her eyes cast downwards. Her wings were neatly folded behind her and in her hands she held a crystal ball filled with colourful butterflies, all shades of pink, blue and purple.
“There’s nothing I can tell you that you can’t see for yourself, mistress,” she declared staring straight into my unguarded soul. “This card says it all. You’re not ready to face your powers yet. The folded wings signify that. You’re focussed on all you hold dear to you. That’s symbolised by the crystal ball. When you’re ready you’ll lift your face to the world, spread those wings and soar. You and your daughter. She shares your gifts.”
I stared at the card in total disbelief at what I was hearing but at the same time recognising it as the truth I’d been denying for so long.
Something fluttering near the light caught my eye. It was a white butterfly dancing near the brightly lit bulb.
The smell of peat smoke filled my nostrils once more and, in the distance, I heard the first wails of a new born babe.