While looking at a glass implement today, checking it for dirt and flaws, I had a very clear flash that I had done this before, though at the time I did so with the intent of reading the future. This is the second time I have had flashes of memories involving scrying with round glass objects, but to date I remember nothing else about where these memories came from except a vague sense that it was some time between about 1400 and 1650, and it was in a dark room with a desk and papers. None of this really helps much since I can’t place the time period, country, or any identifying details. It could be cryptomnesia due to a passing interest I had in John Dee, though the feeling of deja vu as I looked into the glass was rather intense. I do know that Philip K. Dick often spoke of Jakob Boehme and may have believed himself somehow connected to him, but I do not know if Boehme pracitced scrying with glass or crystal balls or not.
Also, today I discovered that the Acts of Thomas- a work Phil mentioned often- was apparently not declared heretical by the Catholic Church until the Council of Trent in the 16th century. That means that- while this remains somewhat remote- it is possible that William Longespee knew of the Acts of Thomas and may therefore have been familiar with Gnostic scripture. I had always assumed that all trace of Gnostic belief had been expunged by the Council of Nicea but I see this isn’t necessarily the case.
By the way, on my memory of the Coptic text, it might be of note that I recently discovered that the Nag Hammadi codices (among which are several Gnostic gospels) were written in Coptic, and not in Attic Greek as I had naturally assumed. But the style of the manuscript I saw was not ancient papyrus, but medieval vellum. It is possible that this was a text we found in Jerusalem, since there are Coptic Christians there and probably have been for a very long time but if these gospels survived into the medieval period, they were no doubt suppressed, handed over to the bishops who traveled with us for disposal.
But maybe they weren’t. Maybe I risked my life and credibility to take it back to England to join what was already a large collection of manuscripts that I kept in my personal library. In that life, as in this one and in several before, I was a collector of interesting books and I can’t see letting something like that slip through my fingers if I’d known what it was.