Gone Fishin’

Tomorrow, Aug. 8, 2008, my friend Patricia and I are driving to Lily Dale, N.Y. for Patricia Bell’s seminar at 8:08 p.m. We’ll be fishing for spiritual inspiration and trying to tap the power of 8.

I met Patricia Bell at the United Astrology Conference in Denver back in May, so this trip is yet another great thing that came out of attending UAC. By the way, the pictures from UAC are now up. You can see them here.

In the interest of communing with the spirits that are said to inhabit Lily Dale, I’m leaving my laptop at home. So if Amy Winehouse dies of a drug overdose or there’s an earthquake in Beijing during opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics, I won’t be able to write about it till Sunday, Aug. 10. Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

I’m really doing it: I’m turning off my computer right now.

What Will You Be Doing on Aug. 8, 2008 at 8:08 p.m.?

I’m not very knowledgeable about numerology, but evidently the number 8 is considered to be quite fortunate, especially by Asians. There’s even a New York Times reporter whose legal name is Jennifer 8. Lee and she uses this as her byline. Belief in the power of 8 has led the Chinese to schedule opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics on Aug. 8, 2008 at 8:08 p.m. local time. I’m going to run this chart and deal with it in a separate post.

Last night, at a cocktail party hosted by the Tempe (Ariz.)-based American Federation of Astrologers at the United Astrology Conference in Denver, I met Patricia Bell, a clairvoyant who lives in the spiritual community of Lily Dale, N.Y. (www.lilydaleassembly.com). Bell will be hosting a seminar on the symbolism of 8-8-8 on — you guessed it! — Aug. 8, 2008 at 8 p.m.

The same weekend, Barbara Hand Clow and Gerry Clow will be doing a workshop on Journeys Through Nine Dimensions. (It doesn’t conflict with Bell’s session.)

I love the energy in Lily Dale, which is just outside Jamestown, N.Y., the hometown of Lucille Ball. For the past three years, I’ve made a pilgrimage to Lily Dale for a psychic reading with Gretchen Clark.

I even dragged my husband to see Gretchen. He was skeptical until she told him that his father really appreciated the fact that my husband had dropped his Dad’s favorite watch in the coffin right before the burial. He came out of Gretchen’s charming Victorian house a believer before backsliding into cynicism. To wit: His first call to me at UAC started with the question: “How are things in Salem?” (No, dear, we’re not witches; we’re astrologers.)

I’ve sent friends to Lily Dale with mixed results. Some don’t like the church revival feel of the place, which is down the road from the biggest revival camp of them all, Chautauqua Institution. Today, Chautauqua is synonymous (look it up in the dictionary!) with lifelong learning and has moved far away from the Ole Time Religion for which it was once famous. 

Other friends don’t like Lily Dale because it’s a bit ramshackle, but I like shabby chic Victorian gingerbread architecture.

I got interested in Lily Dale after reading Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead by Christine Wicker, which traces the history of the spiritual community from its days of table rappers in the Victorian age to its modern-day hippy-dippy incarnation.

During the summer, the narrow lanes of Lily Dale are filled mostly with middle-aged women wearing tie-dyed T-shirts who are trying to communicate with loved ones on the other side. Since this basically describes me, I fit right in.  

No trip to Lily Dale is complete without a visit to the Lucy and Desi museums and landmarks in Jamestown, whose refurbished downtown was a recent finalist in the Main Street competition held by the National Trust for Historic Preservation (http://www.mainstreet.org/).

Last year, I passed through Lily Dale and Jamestown during Lucy-Desi Days, which are held every Memorial Day weekend. This event brings out the faithful in busloads to celebrate Lucy’s contribution to show business. It’s a weekend of high camp, that’s for sure.

Another big day in Jamestown is Lucy’s birthday, Aug. 6. Given that most tourists like weekend events, you can be sure that Aug. 8 will be a big day in Jamestown and Lily Dale, as well as in Beijing. Are you surprised that Lucy was a Leo? I’m not.

It’s never too early to start planning what you’re going to do to capture the power of 8 on Aug. 8, 2008. Maybe I’ll finally get out from behind the 8 ball.