My first encounter with psychometry (the picking up of feelings from objects, also known as clairsentience) came completely as a bolt out of the blue. It felt literally like a bolt of lightning.
The circumstances were personal, but the basics were that a member of my family had died in a car – he took his own Life – and on seeing the car for the first time afterwards, I felt an overwhelming need to touch it.
As I placed my hand on the car roof, I felt such a huge wave of positive, peaceful energy that it almost knocked me off my feet. I was totally unprepared for it. If I was going to feel anything, I would have thought that it would be sadness, but no. I passed my experience on to family members, and I think it offered some comfort; it was almost like he was trying to tell us that finally he was at peace.
But I digress … The term psychometry was created in 1829 by Joseph Rodes Buchanan. By putting together the Greek word “psukhe” meaning soul and “metron”, meaning measure, he maintained that it was possible to “feel” energies given off by items associated with previous owners or their experiences.
My feeling is that this was probably what I was inadvertently trying to do at a John William Waterhouse exhibition some years later. I was with my mother, and felt that I just had to touch a particular painting called “Circe Invidiosa” (or “Circe poisoning the sea”).
The jewel green and blue colors called to me like a siren. I gradually edged towards it, and with my heart thumping in my ears, I reached out and touched it. On this occasion, I was slightly disappointed to feel nothing. What I may have been more likely to feel would have been a curator’s hand on my shoulder ushering me out, but I was lucky. Still, I had touched something that Waterhouse had touched, so I was quite happy. My mother, for her part, was very quiet, and only admitted to me outside that she wished she had been brave or foolhardy enough to do it too.
Fast forward a few years, and I was visiting Pisa with my daughter. I had a vague idea of finding where poet Percy Bysshe Shelley had lived, but hadn’t tracked it down, and tourist information had no idea what the mad English woman was looking for.
On the last day, we took a stroll to a park we had come to love, for being able to chill and watch sand lizards in the sun. I happened to look up, and there, lo and behold, was a commemorative plaque in Italian saying it was the former residence of Shelley.
I fought past the chicken wire and through the overgrown jungle that had replaced the garden. I had to touch the walls of Shelley’s house, and as soon as I did, unbidden tears rolled down my face. The feeling was so incredibly strong. It affected me so deeply, that I felt I had to prise out a few pieces of the ancient mortar, which I have to this day.
I still hadn’t really taken on board that maybe I could pick up feelings from objects, and it only came back to me when I visited Avebury with Doktor Snake. We sloshed around the stones through glutinous mud. I just thought I would try touching one of the stones, and initially felt nothing, but after finding a place where my palm fitted to the contours of the rock exactly, and stilling myself, I felt a strong “heartbeat” coming from the stone that was pulsing at a different rate to my own. It felt like magick coursing through me.
A short while after that, we visited Baconsthorpe Castle, Norfolk, England, the ruins of a 15th century moated manor house. As Doc snapped away taking atmospheric photos, I tried to find a place in the walls that my palm would mould to completely (see, I’m learning). I decided to ask out loud what their story was, and with a jolt, I heard a booming voice say “This is MY house!” It made me smile, and after that, I acted in an extra respectful way. I didn’t want to disrespect ANY voice that was that powerful. I don’t feel that it was menacing in any way, it just wanted to put me in my place.
And so I have come to the point where I think I’m going to try to consciously develop any talent I may have in this direction. Buchanan (remember him?) held that everybody has a capability for psychometry, and it is simply something that we have lost in our increasingly technological lives.
If you want to join me in this experience, it’s very simple to start, and requires no special equipment.
To begin with, start by stilling yourself, and sitting quietly. Allow your mind to empty as far as possible. Feel yourself flooding with white light. As you are doing this, pick up the object you are using. Initially, use an object that you are familiar with, and see what feelings and memories it brings to mind. This is not cheating, as you are still using the power of your mind to retrieve details, so you’re just giving your subconscious some guidelines as to what you’re trying to do. If possible, use something that you may not have touched for a while.
When you are comfortable, state your intentions aloud, and wait to see what comes to your mind. A most important part of this exercise is to make sure that you have a notebook and pen/pencil to hand, as you need to ensure that you record any feelings or visions that you pick up.
This is a skill which will develop with time and practise, so you may well pick up energies from an object that seem to make no sense, however, particularly when you move on to random objects, you may well find that things begin to drop into place.
If you decide to give it a try, let me know how you get on, and if anything unusual or surprising comes to light. You may well find you have a hidden talent that you never knew was there!
Writer and purveyor of the magickal arts.