Syncing without Trace, but Czeching

I wish I could trace them – the tracks of my synchronicities.

Sometimes they feel like cross-hairs gradually coming together, to home in on the target, but it’s far more complex than that.  There are many strands and they cross and recross, ricocheting off one another in an apparently random mess, until gradually and subtly they begin building up a pattern.  Finally, with no clear idea how I got here, I find myself standing at the centre of an amazing piece of sacred geometry and the whole thing is laid out clearly for me to see, like those transit patterns the planets make with each other.

(Is that how astrology fits in?  Is it sacred geometry working out at a macro level??  Maybe Pluto or Uranus are not ‘influencing’ us – they’re just making the patterns of the synchronicity working through our lives visible.  Sorry: digression.)

So once I’ve had the ‘Aha!’ moment, I can try to work back to how I got there.  What was it that pushed me to open this file or buy that book?  I think – if I were the kind of person who could create such things – a diagram or flow chart would work better.  Alas, all I have at my disposal are strings of words, so they must suffice.  The process is not linear, but this attempt to unravel it will be, since that’s the way writing works.

  • Phone, Communication, ConnectionI publish a post on here which includes this image.
  • Someone comments on it and directs me to an interview with Stan Grof.
  • I become intrigued and read a book referred to in the interview.  At this point the lines of synchronicity are shooting off in multiple directions; one even points at synchronicity!
  • Grof intrigues me and, like my grandfather, he is a Czech emigrant.
  • The book tells of psychiatric regressions, with patients picking up ancestral stories from their bloodline, which were later authenticated.
  • In a quite different part of my life, I am buying a piece of Moldavite for a friend’s birthday.  I don’t know why.  I simply have a very strong feeling that this person needs Moldavite, now.
  • Intrigued again (being intrigued is a very strong indicator for synchronicities at work, I’ve found) I begin researching Moldavite.  I discover it comes from the site of a meteor impact, many centuries ago, and is only found at this one place on Earth –  in The Czech Republic.  ‘There it is again,’ I think. (Repetition/dêja vu is another indicator of synchronicity.)
  • While I’m musing on that, I start exploring that country, trying one more time to locate the village my grandfather came from.  I’ve tried on many occasions.  I knew its name from the postmarks in his stamp collection, which I inherited, but the German language forms of many border towns’ names were eradicated after WWII and I didn’t know the Czech equivalent.
  • This time, though, I find it.  I’m delighted and make a mental note to explore some more when I have time.
  • After an exhausting and rather frustrating day, I decide to have a quiet evening watching TV.  I select a film called The Secret Life of Bees, a rather sugary tale of life, death and the civil rights struggles in the American deep south in the sixties.
  • Incomprehensibly, I find myself weeping uncontrollably throughout the entire movie.  I’m identifying so strongly with every aspect of the story line and characters.  It feels personal.  It feels as if I’ve been there and experienced that and the pain is still unbearably raw.  Yet I haven’t.
  • By the end of the film, I’m a red-eyed, snivelling wreck, with a mountain of soggy tissues beside me.  ‘It’s just been a hard day,’  I tell myself.  I need to go and do something enjoyable.
  • I head for the computer and go back to researching the Czech connection.
  • I find the village my grandfather came from on Google Map.  I wander through its streets and peer across the mountains he grew up in.  I even find the post office where my ancestral relatives sent the letters whose stamps now lie, old and yellowing, in his album.
  • I read other sites, with histories of the area.  They tell how this once prosperous mining town, with rich seams of silver and agate crystals was ravaged by the Thirty Years War, fell into decline, was subsumed by the Austro-Hungarian empire and the native Bohemians persecuted and viciously suppressed.  This continued for decades.  The young men faced compulsory 10 year military service in their oppressors’ army.
  • So that was why my grandfather fled to England!  He died when I was a young child.  My father was embarrassed to talk about his origins while I was growing up.  Bohemia had become part of Czechoslovakia by then and was part of the feared Eastern Bloc during those Cold War days, so Dad pretended he came from Austria.
  • Finally, I feel I understand my heritage.  I know why the Bees film affected me so deeply.  I accept that ancestral memory still travels through my consciousness.  I see why dissolving prejudice has been such a huge part of my life.
  • I turn away from the computer – and stare straight into the eyes of my grandfather, whose pastel portrait hangs on the living room wall.  I pass it a hundred times a day, but at this point I really see it.
  • And he is smiling slightly.
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A Voyage Around my Grandfather

I remember only one encounter with my grandad.  I was four or five and he was standing at the end of a long hallway in a Victorian terraced house, bending down with his arms outstretched to greet me and chuckling delightedly as I ran into his arms.  There were clearly many forgotten meetings before that, but few after it.  He and my grandmother moved to the coast where he remained as an invalid for the rest of his short life, dying when I was nine.

Historical map with Bohemia proper outlined in...

Historical map with Bohemia proper outlined in pink, Moravia in yellow, and Austrian Silesia in orange. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As children we were simply told he was too ill to see us and our exotic Bohemian grandfather (that’s a geographical term, not a comment on his lifestyle) became a shadowy  figure of mystery.

Grandad Oscar had arrived on these shores to seek his fortune at the beginning of the twentieth century.  He was a barber-surgeon, possessing in his tool kit, amongst other things, an amputation saw and an amazing machine with dials and probes that produced some kind of early electro-therapy.

He seems to have wasted little time in sweeping the daughter of a London policeman off her feet and together they produced three sons in quick succession, the oldest being my dad.

As I understood it, when the First World War broke out, Grandad’s pronounced Germanic accent didn’t go down too well with the British authorities and he was interned for the duration of the War, leaving his young bride to rear the little boys alone and in considerable hardship.

Eventually the family was reunited and Dad told fond stories of how he accompanied his father on foraging trips in Epping Forest, collecting mushrooms, or of the hands-on healing skills he employed to relieve Dad’s migraines.  It made me long to have known this gentle, sweet man for longer.

Something I’d all but forgotten was that a portrait of him as a young man, drawn in pastels, had been passed down to me by my father.  In the manner of such heirlooms in bad novels and TV antique shows, it really had lain at the back of a garage for many years, swathed in bubble wrap.

Grandad OscarYesterday, when the Ex arrived at the cottage with a car-full of my possessions, the portrait re-emerged.  The frame had come loose, so we took the opportunity to prise it apart and examine the picture.  Once the glass was removed and cleaned, I was able to see the image clearly for the first time.

Quite apart from the time-slip sensation of staring into the eyes of my grandfather as a man around my son’s age, I was impressed with the skill of the artist.

Hidden beneath the frame was a signature: Lino Ve?co 1916.  The letter in the centre of the surname was either a ‘g’ or an ‘s’.  I Googled both.

A famous auction house had recently sold a landscape by Lino Vegco for a couple of hundred pounds.  They’d clearly had the same problem we had in reading the signature.

Lino Vesco, however, appeared as an Austrian artist born in 1879.  His pictures were selling for considerably more.This rather wonderful interior, for example, changed hands for over $3000.

 Animation dans la galerie des Abencerage by Lino Vesco So how did my grandfather come to sit for so distinguished an artist?

“He was your grandfather’s best friend,” my Ex informed my casually.  “He did the portrait as a present.”

Apparently my father had shared this information with him, but neglected to tell my brother or myself.

Quite how it came to be drawn during the middle of the war, when Grandad was in a prison camp, I’m not sure, but still.

The next mystery was the ornate frame.  The carefully carved oval at the top has a strange inscription.  This really is sounding more like a cheap detective story by the minute, don’t you think?

2015-01-25 17.15.36Here’s a very blurred image of the inscription, to give you a general idea.

I hadn’t a clue what language it was in, let alone what it said.  My son, having done some searches of his own, tells me it’s Arabic and seems to be a name – Arno Lawrence being the most likely translation.

I wish I could end this post by explaining the link.  I fear it will forever remain a mystery.  (Although yet another Google search revealed that around a hundred years ago DH Lawrence was staying in a room overlooking the River Arno and that TE Lawrence  – Lawrence of Arabia – was fighting in Arab lands…)

Hmm.

Perhaps one day, when time and funds allow, I’ll try researching my family tree and discover more about this grandfather I barely knew and his friends.  For now though, although mystery will continue to surround him, I will enjoy our new-found connection as he gazes thoughtfully down at me from the wall of my living room in Lime Cottage.