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December 05, 2022

Flower Power

By Lydia Manx

flowers on a hillside

Okay, I'll admit it right up front that I am a natural skeptic with a lovely bit of my own fey in my make up. Doesn't everyone know when the phone rings who's on the other end -- without caller ID? That said, when I pay $30 to 'have my flower read' I am well aware I am going to be biting my cheek at some point. Yeah, I don't know everything, sometimes not much of anything, but I am willing to try new things every now and then. I wasn't told much about the flower readings other than the cost and that I had to bring a flower I cut from my yard. Well, with the damn heat wave last week my options weren't exactly varied. I went out back and found flowers not overly open or rotting.

I was a good girl and resisted letting my fingers do the walking through Google. I wanted to sit there and be nonjudgmental and listen. My birthday had been on Friday and I thought I would venture into the unknown. Yet I did have some clues.

Last time I had heard about her having a flower reading I had met up with her husband and he'd said, "The guy is nice and doesn't say anything mean."

Okay ... so what the heck ... right?

The lady hosting it told me last week during Mother's Day weekend a tidbit that was a bit off, "Oh, wait until we see if someone comes over!!"

Nicely I said, "Oh?"

And she goes on, "He had so many spirits show up last time."

Well you know me -- I couldn't wait -- this had to be good! So I was thinking it was like tealeaf reading, where they dump the stuff upside down and tell ya, "I see a tall and dark stranger in your future. Don't bet on black." Resisting the tug and keeping my hands far away from Google I went Sunday at 1:30 to my friend's home.

I had been busy so I snipped two wild red roses and some pink geraniums from the hill in the yard. Running a bit late, I jammed them in a Ralph's water bottle and topped it with a cotton ball. I meant to yank one out when I got there but there wasn't any time and the damn flowers had sharp little thorns and didn't want to give up the joining.

My friend had lovely appetizers and a bunch of middle aged white women in her house. I was expecting some of her usual family members who are wickedly fun and well traveled. I wasn't the youngest but one of the younger ones. I was also without makeup and wearing black Capri jeans, dark blue tank top and a light blue flowery shirt ... feet jammed into black leather sandals, pretty casual and comfortable. I was happy about the comfortable in a few hours.

She put me to work in the kitchen helping prep the snacks. I tossed some lemon slices for garnish on top of a bowl of guacamole, slivered some of the lemon for tea. By about 1:50 there were a dozen folks there. Minor chitchat with the ladies I didn't know. During this time we were to hold our flowers for 15 minutes and to not touch anyone else's and then put them on the glass table in the other room. I tried to untangle them when I pulled them out of the bottle but they didn't budge. I shrugged and figured at least they looked pretty and were from my yard. The women were giving one lady money and blank cassette tapes. I watched how nervous some of the ladies were and wondered what the big deal was.

Soon the hostess asks that we all head into her living room and to make sure that we used the restrooms first. Naturally part of my brain wondered if I would be laughing so hard I would ...well ... need to be empty. I shoved that thought down deeply because I had promised myself I would be open and see what was what and just have a unique experience. It was completely outside my comfort zone but it was a lovely day and the ladies gathered were pretty nice.

I picked a chair in the middle of the room. There was the lounge chair picked by one gal who said she'd been to many of these before and she sat off to the side. She was calm and somewhat blasé about the whole thing. The coffee table (with the flowers scattered artfully, untouching) was in the center of where the couch and chairs faced. The couch had three ladies, one of who was going to put the tapes in so she needed to be close for the recording.

Okay, here's where I had gotten a tad skeptical. I am jaded. I know this. Also I don't trust well. Cynical ... ya know the drill.

Before we 'gathered' the lady who was going to do the tapes asked us to identify each of our flowers so she would know when to run the tape recorder. Hmmm ... sure. Fair enough but every cynical bit goes -- hmm, doesn't that give the man a chance to know a bit ahead of time. Right?

He was 'outside' while we all settled into our places. Cue music right? Not real music but mysterious music, suspenseful type of music. Some of the women had been to the readings before and the hostess told me she'd been having them for over four years. She is very spiritual and has a few arrangements to her ancestors in her home. I did smell that the air was musty in her house since I had been there the week before when her granddaughter had a birthday.

So I asked her if she 'cleansed' the house. Having been to New Mexico often, I was reminded of the scent of the smudge sticks used in ceremonies. She laughed and admitted she had and mentioned to her friends how observant I was to have noticed it. I was just thankful she hadn't used one of the pine scents that set me off sneezing or I would have been so out of there.

Back to the seating arrangement, I sat in the row behind the couch dead center with two women on either side of me. Behind me were three more ladies. Twelve total. Sitting waiting now I would add a dramatic pause if I was taping the event. Our hostess came in and sat in the back row and let us all chitchat while she'd greeted (I noticed later when I left that the envelope we all had been putting the money into was gone).

Now my first clue how long it would be should have been the pillows on every chair. Right up front I will tell you that straight back chairs with pillows aren't comfortable. A dinner party lasts at the most forty minutes start to finish. The average dinner lasts less than ten. If you don't believe me time it some time. But, I do admit that for an afternoon's entertainment I got my monies worth. My tush didn't forgive me for another few days but I digress.

In strides a medium sized ... well medium. He introduces himself. I am busy mentally writing his description while noticing he had a British accent and a theatrical voice. His hair is nicely dyed or naturally much of the same color, solid brown. His dark gray Dockers are well pressed and I found his open collared golf knit shirt a bit casual. (I never have been one to like seeing chest hair sprouting out of a collar.) He is wearing a ring on his right hand. His arms are covered with a dark pelt and well tanned. It appeared he usually wears a watch by the light swath of skin on his left wrist. His oration is mildly witty and well practiced. He sets down a large mug of water on the glass coffee table where all the flowers are and he is a pacer.

OOhhh ... I forgot. The hostess had us all take a few Kleenex because sometimes the 'spirits' revealed make women cry. I am not a crier. I have snickered during the death scene of many sob fest movies at home. But I took the tissues and smiled. I stuffed the tissues in my pocket and noticed many of the women nervously clutching theirs.

Right away I noticed the man didn't meet the eyes of the women gathered. He gave a run down of his life story and how he came to find that psychic mediums ran in families. And his family naturally had both tea readers and psychics. My family is pretty odd so I would grant him that but I didn't go over board mushy about it like some of the ladies. They were so willing to believe anything 'told.'

Now like any good conversation, high emphasis in my brain on the 'con'. You have to feed the crowd proper clues. He began to explain how he worked. He would arbitrarily choose a flower and read it as best he could. He would ask questions of the spirits around and at times he would ask of the lady. Some women's auras were tucked so tightly that he needed more than just the flower and of course, here's the part that made my mind snort, the average human's aura was 18 inches wide. Then he added that it was said Jesus' aura was a half-mile and we all had to work to get there. He covered most religious bases and covered his ass with the best lines. He used a different word than "Flower reading" some fancy C word I hadn't heard before and will have to research in my free time someday.[ Editor's note: The word would have been Flower "Clairsentience."]

He said at times he would tell the person something that they may not have any clue about because they were still tied to their human bodies. But the spirit world didn't lie and they just wanted to help each of their loved ones attain a better state. They were directed to go home and think on it if it didn't make sense and dream of it. Then he began. He ended his little opening comments saying that stuff he told could be interlinked and that much like Vegas, what happened here stayed here. I didn't recall signing any such nondisclosure, so I kept my mouth shut.

He picked up a long stem with a cluster of purple flowers on them. I didn't recall the name, but we have tons in our backyard. They come in white usually and propagate tons and are in bloom right now large flat leaves at the base ... like a lily family? (Agapanthus is the plant I was told by Sand who knows all things gardening.)

The flower he picked was by a lady who was writing down what he said. Gee, hard to make that leap now isn't it? She did that, she said, because the tapes she'd had done before magically erased or garbled after a few hearings. She had been to a few of these, I gathered.

I had to hand him an A for showmanship. He paced and touched the flower, talking to the flower and speaking without seeming to be reading the crowd. Since I can do the same thing, I liked the touch he had of looking up to the left. He would roll his eyes up to the left of the room while speaking. "Aren't you a happy little flower? Look at the aura of creativity." and so on. He wasn't really mean or overly critical. But I kept feeling like I should be going, "Woohoo Dr. Phil!" He had that shrink-speak mixed up with spirit.

The medium gave a good fifteen-plus minutes of attention to the agapanthus and made comments on the spiritual aura and creativity of this person and that she had reached a higher plane and was just trying to finish out this time. His final words each time were, "Where are you? Who are you?" Then once the lady raised her hand blushing he would said, "Ah, there you are! Do you understand?" or in my case, "I knew this was you."

He would continue his reading now that the victim ... ahem ... guest was revealed. And then each lady was allowed one question. Most were the expected ones about finances and love life. Easily answered with vague neutral happy answers. He framed his 'readings' with "I feel ... " -- nicely giving wiggle room.

The first woman had spirits around her but the thing that made me bite my cheek was, "I see a little dog." Then he gave quite the detailed description of a King Charles Spaniel. Cavalier dog, whatever ... and she goes, "I don't have a dog and I am a cat person." He then tries to see if any of her family has a dog and no, she can't recall such a dog since she's stuck in human form. He adds, "Because that little dog is leaping up to be on your lap!" A lovely Hallmark moment.

I was one of the last of the group. During the various readings he made some very specific comments, and most the women had total confused looks on their faces. I could see the mental, "Who the hell is that??" Process of elimination and how the women dressed and held themselves pretty much told me whose flowers were whose and I hadn't been doing 'readings' for over 26 years.

I have taken courses in communication and nonverbal communication in college. And emphasis on how folks presented themselves gave clues in conversations, interviews and to jury trial teams what folks felt. There is an art to it. I made sure to frame my body how I would be the least confrontational and 'open'. But he was good. He picked up my flowers and commented on how complicated they were and said it looked like someone wanted to trick him.

Damn. My dad later snickered and said what'd I expect, he made a living doing this.

And Sand commented, "Crap. You did that subconsciously."

Yeah, he was close on some of the stuff. I used to know what various flowers meant. But he didn't read the same type of flower the same. AND he remembered nearly verbatim what he'd said to a few of the women before ... even to the wrong parts.

My reading prior to his "Where are you? Who are you?" was very loosely worded and extremely broad. He didn't claim I had a puppy jumping for my lap or some spirit guide at my elbow. No talking to my dead relatives nor did he comment on how many folks I had buried (which is shockingly high). He did say I was amazingly lucky and protected.

All in all, I enjoyed the afternoon. I scooted out before the last flower was read. The woman had told me in prior conversation how important it was for her to talk to him and she'd recently buried her mom. I wasn't willing to watch that reading. The hostess was in the kitchen; she, too, knew her friend's need and distanced herself. A hug and I was out the door having glimpsed the power of flowers.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2007-06-04
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