Malta, Sicily and Déjà Vu

The dream which I had this morning is consistent with the hypothesis of my putative life, two lifetimes ago. This life was based in France but had elements of travel to the Holy Land for purposes of crusade and the acquisition of knowledge.

In this lifetime I was an ordained priest, a scholar and also a trained warrior. I was very often accompanied by the same man who was my confidant and assistant. His name was Cédric. The life involved sailing from somewhere near Perpignan on occasion, but was based further North, in a green land and near a watermill. There was a small village, a church and a mill race. When the normal village priest was away on business, I would stand in for him at the church.

As a child when I flew from Zambia to boarding school in England it was customary and necessary to stop on the way for fuel. On my first such flight, barely aged 10 by a day or so, we landed in Malta at dawn. I woke my mother who was taking me that first time to school and remarked at the beauty of the dawn over Malta. I was also having a truly massive attack of déjà vu. Somehow, I knew this place. I have been back a couple of times as a tourist. It feels so darned familiar. A similar baseball bat strike of déjà vu hit me when I went to Erice in Sicily for the first time. Bam! I have been here before…Bam!

Visions possibly associated with this life broke through a little after the Buddhist ones. There was an arrival by sea to Malta. There was study on the misty mountain top at Erice. I was in some kind of liaison role and for whatever reason I was generally acceptable to both the “Arabs” and the Jewish kabbalists, from whom we sought knowledge.

All was fine until one time me and a small band of fellow travellers got captured by a rogue group and paraded through the town, virtually naked. They took our chain mail and our white tunics with the rosy cross. It was a sea-front town, a small port, which they had recently captured. Everywhere there were torches burning some kind of dense tar like substance. The smell was powerful, almost noxious, the noise of celebration and “music” was loud. They led us down to a beach. There was much argument about what to do with us. They tied us to makeshift wooden crosses. They lit a big fire on the beach. They then inverted the crosses and placed them in the sand. They only did a few of us like this. The others sat huddled, praying and watched.

They, our captors, danced around the fire whooping and hollering in victory. The smell of the tar, the bitumen, burning was intense. It was difficult to remain conscious upside down. So, I drifted in and out.

When they were bored of the dancing they came over to us swearing, mocking and cursing. My wounds sustained in the capture were unstitched and much blood had run out of me. They prodded us with spears to antagonise, not to puncture. Some whipped us. The frenzy of the torment raised up a notch and they started to break the skin. They slit my throat. I can feel it now.

Soon I was above the beach looking down. I could see the fires and the half-crazed victors. I saw them moving towards the others and then I looked up and there were stars. Lots of stars.

The smell was at last gone.