Last month I mailed a lock of my hair to a ninety-year old German medicine woman so that she could swing a pendulum over it, in turn discovering the inner workings of my current health.
Why? Because science. That’s why.
A makeup artist and reiki healer, whom I met at a press launch, by the buffet table, recommended Maria in Richmond to me. I was casually situated close as I could reasonably get to the mini French toast, and as we exchanged small talk I repeatedly apologised for my gluttonous snaffling of the carbs.
Side note: my version of small talk is basically TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU LOVE! And that’s how I ended up ordering a book called A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principle of A Course in Miracles, and joining a Buddhist temple.
“The funny thing is, I’m doing a sugar detox this weekend,” I laughed, picking up some more blueberry waffle.
“Well,” the makeup artist replied, “I recently got diagnosed as being sugar intolerant by the most incredible healer. Told me I was eating too much fruit. So I detoxed, and have never felt better.”
“I think I’m addicted to sugar,” I said, spraying sugar crumbs out of my mouth as I spoke. “I have no off button with it.”
“Go see her,” she said. “She can truly help.”
Apparently, Maria in Richmond had been recommended to her by a friend, who’d also learnt of her from a friend, who had, predictably, come to know her from a friend. That many friends can’t be wrong. Right?
I also really trusted the nice makeup artist lady because, two minutes into chatting she stopped to put her hand on my arm and said, “You were put on this earth to bring a lot of joy to people, weren’t you?” and yeah. She found my Achilles heal: ridiculously superfluous compliments that make me blush.
I called Maria, who told me to send a lock of my hair to her address, detailing my own contact information and birth date. She’d call me when she was ready to see me, she said.
Three weeks later I picked up an unknown number. “Hallo? Is vis Laura?” Her thick accent was difficult to understand. “I vud like voo to come see me, please.” We arranged a time and date, and last Saturday I knocked on her door, sweating and fifteen minutes late. She invited me in.
What struck me was how much her facial features were like those of Virgina, the five-year old Italian girl who inspired my banana-in-a-hat tattoo. Then I thought, Ha! I’m in Richmond and I’m thinking of Virgina! And that made everything seem more… fated? I like fate.
Maria is tall, and looks no more than 70. She had a bowl cut of bright white hair and thick, drawn-on eyebrows. She wore a floor-length caftan in tie-dye blue colours with nothing underneath. I know this because when she sat down the low sides exposed her belly roles. She was magnificent.
The small granny flat was dark, and I could barely get in the door for piles of books and exotic masks and trinkets and memories and then some more books. She took me through to the main room where literally no surface was without midget-height tomes on alternative therapies and horoscopes and remedies.
“You see, I study a lot!” she said in German song.
“I see that,” I smiled.
Over three hours, Maria explained to me that she had, fifty years ago, been diagnosed with bowel cancer. The doctors, she said, cut into her and pumped her with pills and eventually it turned out that she did not have cancer at all. They found out when she had an anal fissure that rendered her helpless and almost dead.
Her misdiagnosis lead to a huge distrust in traditional medicine. “They do not treat holistically,” she said, shaking her head. “Why cork-stop zeee problem wivout understanding zee cause? My scars hurt everyday.”
She came off the drugs and started to study alternative solutions. Part of that was tuning into the energy of the universe to douse- use a pendulum to receive answers to her questions.
She demonstrated it in action, that her energy meant if she asked a question and the pendulum span anti-clockwise it meant yes, and if it span clockwise it meant no.
She’d done this over my hair, she said, and ascertained- from the energy of the universe- that I am allergic to cow’s milk, and wheat. I have a sugar blockage that is causing my adrenal glands to work too hard as my pancreas struggles to process what I feed it. I must detox from sugar to give my body a break, but then will be fine, she said.
She had prepared a prescription for me to remedy some other imbalances in my bone marrow and enzyme levels. A combination of 48 little white herbal pills a day. Everyday. Until they are gone.
She told me to maintain a mixed diet, and to come off the contraceptive pill. “Voo think a man wud play Russian Roulette wiv his reproductive system like dees?” she chastised.
“No,” I said. I didn’t.
“Don’t come back to me again,” she said as she showed me out. “You have everything you need, now. Teach yourself to douse if you have questions. Help yourself.”
And, Internet, I think I will. Because to reiterate: science.