The forces in our life are great. We think ourselves individuals, but when we really look at the choices we make in life, how many are really down to our own mind? Are we the result of our own choices, or is this an illusion; a facade which finds its root in the ego and our certainty that we are our own person?
If an illusion, it is a powerful one. But that does not mean it cannot be an illusion; does not mean that we cannot be fooling ourselves; does not mean that, in reality, we cannot be ruled by fate.
Ah, fate. That great leveller; that unique path through life which takes us where it wants us to go, regardless of our own wishes. Fate, the great ever-moving advancement of our person, the engine of change, for better or for worse.
'Oh yes, it is all inevitable,' said Barnaby James one day when we were discussing fate.
Barnaby was an eccentric with a mass of curly white hair and blazing eyes. An occultist, I had met him in my research; through my wish to know what this thing called evil is. Yet as I came to know him more and more, I realised if evil existed it was not in this man. He was simply one who loved novelty, and mixed this with a sense of wonder; a sense to know, as strong as any scientist I had ever known. And in his eccentric way, everything he found in the occult had a logic all its own.
Indeed, when debating with Barnaby, it was I who became the Devil's Advocate, purposely arguing with everything he said, as if to pull out more information, more knowledge, to enrich my own search.
'So prove that fate is inevitable,' I said. Yet if I knew then what I know now, perhaps I wouldn't have been so keen to take up the challenge.
'We'll try scrying,' he said, reaching into a cupboard and taking out a crystal ball. Lighting a candle for effect, we faced each other from across a small, circular table, our heads almost touching.
He felt the crystal ball and channelled his mind upon it, and as I stared I was convinced that ghostly images could be found within it.
'You will have an accident,' he said with a sense of relish on his face.
'An accident?' I asked.
'Oh, nothing serious,' he continued. He looked deeper into the crystal ball. 'You will break your leg.'
'It will begin when you follow a red car. The car will take you to a beautiful girl - a brunette. You will not speak, but she will be going in your direction. But after a while, you will come across a building site. And it is in here that you will break your leg.'
I left Barnaby Jones with an intense sense of scepticism. To be honest, I don't think I'd ever heard anything so ridiculous in my life. Even the thought of me entering a building site was ridiculous, I knew. So for once I considered that Barnaby James may have been more eccentric than enquiring.
The next morning I left my home to go to an appointment. Yet I found myself following a red car. Initially I was shocked by this, but I soon began to understand where Barnaby was coming from. For the simple fact was the chances of me following a red car were quite high. I had no doubt done so many times, but not even thought of it. We only notice things when we are looking for them.
Eventually I parked my car, and as I walked out of the car park I found myself following an attractive woman with dark hair. A smile came to my face as I did so, and I wondered how many beautiful brunettes had I followed in my 1ife without even knowing I was doing so? Certainly dozens. Possibly hundreds.
Half way to my appointment, however, we began to approach a building site. And again I found myself being sceptical. Building sites existed all over every town in the world, and I must have must passed thousands of them. But at the back of my mind a thought occurred. What were the chances, the thought said, of following a red car to a brunette woman to a building site?
Ah, fate. What a strange thing it is. Or is it just egotistical curiosity? Was it that - my own choice - that made me walk into that building site?
What ever. The plaster comes off in six weeks.
© Anthony North, August 2007
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