I recognized Coleen Rowley from her photo in The Independent, which advertised her talk on Earth Day, as soon as I walked into the theater on Victoria. I was running in from the parking lot in the rain like everyone else. A little breathless, as soon as I saw her, I started to introduce myself. As my eyes attuned to the dark, I could see that she was engaged in conversation with a polite Santa Barbaran. She was inquiring how long Ms. Rowley was staying and indicating pleasure that she would stay long enough to teach a couple of classes at the University, and get to experience some good Santa Barbara weather. I waited politely myself.
“Hi, my name is Batya Weinbaum.” I stuck out my right hand. She shook it with her own. “I write a palmistry column. Do you mind if I read your palm?” I had turned her right hand over quickly, and then reached for the left.
“Now, or later?” Coleen asked.
“Now is fine,” I answered, already engrossed. “Of course, if you would be more comfortable later, we could reschedule.” Holding her left palm in my right by now, I could sense that she was nervous. Knowing I would have to leave her speech in an hour, I tempted Coleen to stay with me in the moment. “But for now I can see, you have a leadership triangle in your left palm.” I pointed to the triangle that was nicely formed by three lines coming together in the center of her palm, with my left pointing finger. “The left palm shows your potential.”
“Well, if I do have leadership potential, I haven’t found out how to use it yet,” Coleen deplored her own personal situation, I thought, rather harshly. This registered with me as a bit self-deprecating for a woman who had been named Time Magazine‘s Woman of the Year in 2002. She had led the nation in confronting FBI bad practices and possibly equally bad politics by writing a 13 page blistering memo, the story of which would come out in her speech to those who gathered that afternoon. The FBI Director failed to heed Coleen’s request for a warrant to search the laptop and personal effects of a suspected terrorist who had just paid $8000 for flight school training in Minnesota, where she worked for the Bureau as a lawyer. “Why do you say that?” I reserved my opinion and asked.
“Well I only got up to a certain level in the FBI, and then I got demoted.”
Coleen-who had worked for the Bureau for some twenty years before retiring-reeled off some numbers that didn’t make sense to me. I must have hesitated. I couldn’t catch the lingo entirely; she spoke too fast for me.
“And I tried to run for Congress and didn’t make it, and:”
“Let’s see your other palm,” I interrupted forcefully. I found myself incredulous. I was not ready to believe that a woman who made such a large impact on our national consciousness so underrated herself. ‘What gives,’ I thought.
She promptly offered me her other hand, fingers extended.
“Oh, I see. Here, in the very center of your other palm, which shows what you have actually done, a leadership triangle hasn’t formed yet. But I do see all these writers’ crosses; three to be exact. So perhaps you could perceive yourself as taking leadership in that respect, in thought and education of the public with what you write.”
“That’s true,” she admitted cautiously.
Emboldened, having hit the mark, I continued cautiously myself. “Next item of interest, I see, is that your life line is crossed many times. This indicates that you are very influenced by current events.”
“You are right on that one,” she agreed quickly.
“And here,” I added, bending her fingers back gently. “See how easily your fingers bend back? That shows you have psychic potential.”
“Really?” asked Coleen eagerly. “I wasn’t aware of that.”
That is all I caught before we were ushered in and urged to take our seats. My fabulous daughter had saved us a couple up front while I had cornered our afternoon speaker. Soon Coleen was introduced and news clips were run from when she had appeared on PBS for writing her strident memos. We heard a taped interview with Amy Goodman from Democracy Now. Once she took the stand and was interviewed, the crowd heard how she was one of the first women ever to be allowed into Bureau as an agent. In the early 70s she had been sent a pamphlet from Hoover himself, indicating that women were only fit to be stenographers and support workers, due to the fact that they were not fit to put themselves in dangerous situations. “Now that is a topic for some women’s studies people,” Coleen offered only half-humorously.
To make a long story short, evidence of Coleen’s psychic ability came out in her talk. Within one minute of watching the Twin Towers be hit by planes, she was on the phone to Washington as she knew instantly and intuitively that what the world was watching on TV was connected to the suspect she had wanted to investigate.
She also demonstrated psychic abilities when she went to Washington to testify to FBI staffers. She deduced that the old-boy cronies who were listening to her report might just bury her message about the Bureau ignoring her first alert. After all, these guys in the service had done so to others before her. So, after giving her verbal report, when the committee of lifetime staffers asked if she had anything else to say, Coleen whipped out a prepared memo. She had spent three days writing the document, after spending two sleepless nights brooding about what she would say when summoned by her higher ups. After giving her comprehensive report to her inquisitors, she furthermore intuited that she should give the damning memo to a couple of members of the Senate on the Intelligence Committee as well.
Thanks to the Goddess for combining intuition with writing skills in this particular person, and for the women’s movement of the 70s that resulted in the push to get the FBI to integrate females into its apparently dysfunctional system.
A little woman’s intuition goes a long way to shake things up in this world, apparently. I didn’t have a chance to see if Ms. Rowley had a long deep line on either palm that ran from inside her pinkie finger as far down as her wrist. But my guess is that she did.
Batya Weinbaum is a local palmist in Carpinteria. To have your palms read, mail a Xerox of each to 4902 Sandyland Road, #140, Carpinteria, CA, 93013, or call 216 233 0567 for an appointment. Parties and groups are $150 an hour.