by Yasmin Boland

Jessica Adams knows about charity – and has to be one of the spookiest people in Australia

SYDNEY: December 1999 A few weeks ago, writer/astrologer Jessica Adams had to make a rather difficult phone call back to her boyfriend in London. She was ringing to tell him that she was ‘coming out’. As a medium.

Like Princess Diana’s medium Rita Rogers, the much-loved Doris Stokes and Australia’s Margaret Dent, she claims to communicate with dead people. This has been happening on and off, she says, since she was a school girl, but recently the pace has been upped.

“I rang him just to say, you know, ‘I’m going to be doing a lot of media and I’m going to be talking about my work as a medium’ …”

He was very supportive. “He’s very broad-minded and he’s very sympathetic and curious,” she says.

He and her friends are used to the twists and turns of the dark-haired 35-year-old’s brilliant career. So she talks to dead people? So they are supportive.

Jessica, who grew up in Swan Bay, in northern Tasmania, and went to Brooks High School, now lives in Sydney, Bellingen and London, in three monthly cycles. Having left Tasmania for Sydney at the age of 21 to attend the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, she is now best known for her work as an astrologer. She’s been casting charts since she was 14 and working as a professional astrologer since she was 23. For the past three years, she’s been the Daily Telegraph’s resident astro expert. The thousands of charts she’s studied over the years must have revealed some special encoded information regarding the secrets of success, because Jessica, once a journalist, has had a run of accomplishments which are turning her into the Helen Fielding Rolled Into Mystic Meg of Australia.

As well as writing astrology columns read by more than a million people around the world each week, she now also writes fiction, as well as astrology books. Her first novel, Single White Email, topped the best seller lists in Australia and the UK. She’s just launched a series of twelve sign-by-sign astrology books – Handbag Horoscopes. She’s also “writing my next novel, Tom, Dick and Debbie Harry, my next astrology book Astrobloke, my columns for Cosmopolitan and Woman’s Own and the Daily Telegraph and I am working on Warchild, Warchild, Warchild. I’m working 6 days a week.”

Warchild is a charity and her current lovechild. Their mission is to help the kids affected by war around the world and Jessica is helping set up their Australian offices. Her website (www.jessicaadams.com.au) has a link to theirs. Right now she is organising an anthology including Kathy Lette, Karen Moline, Candace Bushnell, Nick Earls, Jane Green, your truly and, of course, Jessica Adams.

She hasn’t written her own submission for the collection yet, which has been sold in the UK and goes up for auction in Australia this month, but says “in my wildest dreams I hope it will raise $1US million”.

Note: Since this article was written in December 1999, the Girls Night In book Jessica co-edited with two UK authors, Fiona Walker and Chris Manby, has raised more than a million Australian dollars already, with the profits still rising as she works on Girls’ Night In books two and three. See end of page*.

Jessica is also donating part proceeds from her Penguin advance and sales to Handbag Horoscopes, helping to fund a small business selling fabric flowers, to raise money for Warchild.

“I believe in Joseph Campbell’s paradigm ‘follow your bliss and give back to your community’ and I just thought, ‘I am following my bliss’. I’m very lucky to love what I do. Without making a drama about it, I just think it’s time to start giving back to the community. I think it’s part of the law of the Universe. It’s like if you eat a lot of tomatoes, chuck a few seeds back in the soil to grow – it’s that principle – if you’re doing well out of life, chuck some stuff back because you can – don’t just sit on it. Buy a Tiger Lilly fabric flower for East Timor, even if you’re not interested in fashion.”. Or buy a copy of Handbag Horoscopes, even if you’re not into astrology.

While Jessica’s happy to talk about her work, and Warchild, she’s not so forthcoming about her private life. Having written Single White Email – a novel indirectly about the delights of being Single In Sydney – she was briefly in danger of being typecast as the voice of single women around Australia. Right now, though, she is “seeing an guy who lives in London”. And that’s all she’s saying.

So does she analyse the astrological chart of each and every new man in her life?

“I used to do that. But I’ve no idea what his birthday is. His human qualities are more interesting to me than his chart. I can guess his chart. It matters more to me that he’s a decent human being and he’s got a brave and good heart.”

And he doesn’t mind her channelling, either, which must say a lot for a bloke.

Jessica’s work as a medium started when she was 11-years-old.

“The first time I remember being aware of it was walking home from school and I saw my cat Maisy, a tabby, about three kilometres from home. I thought this was quite strange, because Maisy didn’t usually wander that far. I bent down, made a fuss of her and then headed home. I’m vague on my memory of if I expected her to follow me, or what, but when I got home, my father told me Maisy had been run over and killed by a car the same morning.”

Being a medium – or channelling – humans who “have passed” means that she makes “contact with spirit”. Which has happened a lot lately.

“I was flying back from Melbourne three days ago. I was reading and had my ear-plugs in, as I can’t stand noisy flights. Just as we were about to touch down, the woman I was sitting next to tapped me on the shoulder, made me take the earplugs out and said ‘I’m so sorry. I’m English and I don’t normally do this sort of thing, but I felt I had to speak to you.’ I said sure. She said ‘I’ve just come from a funeral’ and she burst into tears.”

Jessica says she was able to make contact with the spirit of this woman’s friend in a way that was meaningful to her. That gave her proof that although her friend was dead, he was with her in spirit.

“I have been in denial for most of my life because – like most people – I’m terrified. I viewed it as weird, scary, negative, all those bad things and that’s such a shame.

“When I do a lot of media, the journalist who’s talking to me often wants me to look at their astrology chart or do a psychic reading. Whenever I do radio, the switchboard lights up because everyone wants to know what’s in store for them. My job is being made easier by being able to cross over to these peoples’ guides, talk to their guides directly and pass this information on. It can be something as extraordinary as survival evidence of someone who’s died who you thought you had lost but who in fact is still around you, to something as incredibly useful as advice about your job situation.”

She says what’s she’s feeling is nothing special.

“Everyone has their own story. You know, they say: ‘I was driving down the street and a little voice in my head said “turn left here” so I turned left and avoided a five car pile up.’.” She says these impulses are “people in spirit” – our guides – talking to us.

So, out of curiosity, how do the voices come to her? How does she receive this information? In words, pictures, feelings, sounds?

“All of those things, and you can add the sense of smell as well,” she says, screwing up her nose matter-of-factly.

Her unreal stories have a ring of truth which can send a shiver down your spine, literally. I have a Sixth Sense that’s the secret of her excellent success.

* In England, Girls’ Night In and Girls’ Night Out – Boys’ Night In have already raised 400,000 pounds, including advances and foreign rights sales. That figure will rise, obviously, as soon as Girls’ Night Out – Boys’ Night In is released in June. In Australia, the total from sales and advances for Girls’ Night In and Girls’ Night In – Gentlemen By Invitation, is $100,000. So basically, the two books have raised over $1 million Australian already, even before the sequel is actually published. War Child have made so much money that they were able to fund a new children’s school project in Dili, East Timor, this week. Next year’s book, Big Night Out, will be published in the second half of 2002 in America, Australia and England.

C Yasmin Boland 1999

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