This is a Love story – eyes meeting across a crowded café; love at what was literally first sight; instantaneous recognition; Soul Mates re-united; a relationship in which the whole has proved to be greater than the sum of the constituent parts…and the best part of this story?

It’s all true, and it’s on-going – 25 years on actually, and every aspect of the relationship is now as good or better than in those first deliriously delightful days of wine and roses, “rocketbells and poetry” (with apologies to Mama Cass Elliot – we will share some of the poetry in our book*, the rocketbells are ours alone…)

What is a Soul Mate?

Well, everyone has their own idea, and in our book  “What is a Soul Mate and How to Find One” we address this question in more detail.

Suffice it to say here that (we believe) the reason you can be powerfully attracted (often instantly or with indecent haste) to someone you have ostensibly known for only a very short time (or just met) is that finding a Soul Mate is actually a re-discovery – there is an inherent recognition as you become re-acquainted; you have known each other before.

It has become apparent to us that the doctrine of reincarnation and karmic law are both relevant (indeed karma is unavoidable) and can be especially poignant in this context – you are encountering someone with whom you have had a previous relationship (and there may well be unfinished business between you…).

In mundane terms this is the story of two people who were unlikely to have met in the ‘normal’ course of events…a visionary artist and a sports broadcaster – she never went to football games, he never went to art galleries and preferred to stay home playing video games which he still do with the help of professional Overwatch boosting, but their lives changed dramatically on the 1st of September 1989…

As Pamela remembers it: “In 1989, my situation was similar to that faced by many women of my generation – after a long struggle to liberate the mind and spirit from millennia of repression, it was apparent that our male contemporaries had mostly failed to make a similar quantum leap.

There seemed so few men interested in spirituality and the new Age of Aquarius. The men all seemed to be still in the ‘waters’ of the Piscean Age while we spiritually active women were reaching for the stars in the new ‘air’ Aquarian Age

We needed to be more assertive and men more receptive in order to reconcile this diversity in attitude. Having been born during the war (within days of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941) my male contemporaries were ‘old school’, sometimes pretending or attempting to be more liberal but constantly giving themselves away in subtle (and not so subtle!) ways, always slipping back into the old assumptions and conventional roles.

Post war ‘baby-boomers’ who were born about 6 years after me were significantly different from war and pre-war people. This was the feminist, ‘flower-power’ rebel group and far more open to new attitudes. Since my marriage break-up, it was often this group who were my friends.

As an advocate of various techniques such as visualisation, treasure maps and the growing recognition of the power of art to manifest and reveal, it was time to put my theories into practice. An old sketch had ‘winked at me’ and it seemed like the blue-print for my prayer. I began to paint quite a large canvas: a spiritual woman from the stars (Age of Aquarius) drawing a young man out of the waters of the Age of Pisces.

This work became known as “Reconciliation of the Sexes”, a prayer to the ‘divine lover’, to come to me – at least in spirit, if not in physical form.

As I worked on the painting, a number of different components were shown to me: primarily a call for men to ‘arise’ from the old ways – to emerge from the water of the old age of Pisces, a patriarchal era, into a new way of being: whole, equal and mutually supportive with women.

Emerging from the sea, the man in the painting is tender, even vulnerable; new to this “air” environment (the age of Aquarius) and receptive as never before. The woman, representing the resurgent Goddess energy, is gentle but also able to be assertive; breathlessly they anticipate their first kiss: a new era begins…”

Reconciliation of the Sexes
Reconciliation of the Sexes

As Richard recalls, 1987-88 was a traumatic period: “Cuckolded, separated, divorced and orphaned, I returned home to New Zealand (from Australia) early in 1988 and invoked the Old Mates Act – hospitality, sympathy and advice on where to eat out were all provided: ‘try the Kitchen Sink Salad at Dominoes Café, the food is excellent and you’ll also meet some good people’.

Never a truer word (thanks Steve!) – the salad really did have everything in it, but the many colours of the vegetables paled alongside the variegated splendour of the woman sitting alone at a nearby table…

As I racked my mind for a semi-sophisticated (or at least not completely gauche) opening gambit, a sparrow flew in from the al fresco dining area and flitted around the café, conveniently acting as a conversation-starter and touchstone between our adjacent tables.

Helene proved to be an excellent conversationalist and we struck a harmonious chord immediately. She and her long-time partner are prominent New Zealand painters, and towards the end of 1988 Helene suggested that I would get on very well with her friend Pamela, a ‘lovely lady artist’.

Alas, in the interim I had embarked on a hedonistic relationship with a fellow journalist, the Fashion Editor of a daily newspaper and a socialite of some renown. While I enjoy a good time at least as much as the next guy, carousing is for me not an end in itself. The demise of this relationship was both inevitable and dramatic, with the trauma compounded both by the loss of my position as Sports Editor at one of Auckland’s leading FM radio stations (where management felt good ratings may be improved even further by employing a television sports anchor in order that our audience might put a face to the name); and the need to find a new address as I had been living in the house of the lady concerned, while my apartment floors were fixed, luckily they learned to drilling tiles from atlas ceramics so the job was going to be finished pretty soon.

No home, no partner, no job – perhaps it is when we are on our knees that we are most likely to seek intervention, a concept I was not unfamiliar with given that my father had been a clairvoyant and healer of some repute, often working closely with the Maori people in whom spirituality is often highly developed and who regarded him as a tohunga (visionary priest/healer/medicine man) and accorded him great mana (respect).

My dad had passed on some years previously, so in August 1989 I sought the assistance of a trance medium of my acquaintance, a woman who channelled a spirit guide known as Celan (pron. ‘Salaan’) and while I do retain a poor-quality cassette tape recording of this session, I hardly need refer to it as the essence of what was said remains very clear in my memory to this day…

After roundly upbraiding me for my slothful tendencies (‘you really must get out of bed earlier in the morning – if you were mine I would throw a bucket of water over you…you who could do so much more than you choose to do!’) I was reminded of my heritage: my father had been able to view the Akashic record and regress the individual soul back through previous incarnations, and he obtruded himself via Celan to ensure that I was made aware of both my spiritual birthright and obligations in this lifetime.

Suitably chastised, I was then offered huge encouragement for the future…all would be well with my stalled broadcasting career, with my profile to rise significantly: ‘you will really enjoy the build-up’ (within six months the Sky Television Network commenced operations in New Zealand and I was appointed senior Sports Anchor with all the attendant media fanfare: I did indeed ‘enjoy the build-up’)

Even better, it seemed I was to be lucky in love at last: ‘very soon you will meet your woman…she is 47, maybe 48 years of age – close to 50…very bright, very colourful (Celan laughed merrily at this juncture before continuing) – and by the end of the year, you will be a very happy chappy!’

Immediately upon hearing these (oh so welcome!) words I knew instinctively and with absolute certainty to whom she was referring, and on my return home I telephoned Helene regarding her ‘lovely lady artist friend’.  Eager to check out the accuracy of Celan’s prophecy, I enquired of Helene as to the age of the lady in question, to be informed that she was 47, and would turn 48 in December…later that night I called Pamela (who had spoken with Helene in the interim) and we arranged to meet for lunch at Dominoes Café…

On the 1st of September 1989 I strode through the door at Dominoes my usual 10-15 minutes late, scanned the room, and as our eyes locked, I recognised her instantaneously (albeit we had never met or seen photographs). Recognition extended from eyes to solar plexus, taking hold of my emotions and permeating my entire being in a manner which defies description – suffice to say I was gripped and focused as never before…


Within minutes of sitting down, and with what must have been indecent haste, I took her hand and found myself gushing effusively about our long association through the ages (‘my old friend, where have you been, I have been looking for you for so long!’)

Alarmed to hear these outrageous words tumbling out of my mouth, I was acutely aware that Pamela was fully entitled to seek the safety of the pavement and the great outdoors to escape the attentions of this babbling lunatic – I am eternally grateful that she remained seated…

Shortly thereafter, as we strolled around the near-by Auckland City Art Gallery, a psychic who knew Pamela and admired her work approached and spoke to us in a manner which casually assumed we were long-time lovers…and by the end of the year, I was indeed ‘a very happy chappy!’

That was 1989, at the time of writing it is 2014 – with the wisdom of hindsight, it seems that Pamela knew “the Secret” long before it was widely articulated as such and promulgated in recent years by Oprah Winfrey and others…she painted “Reconciliation of the Sexes” as part of a conscious effort to attract a spiritually compatible man into her life, then within months of us getting together she completed “Ecstasy”, which (glad to say!) not only continues to accurately reflect our relationship, but has also sold tens of thousands of copies world-wide as a Print, Poster and Card – we just hope it works as well for the many other couples who have the image up on display as it does for us!

Incidentally, very shortly after we met Pamela came across a sketch she had recently drawn for an upcoming calendar – when set alongside a contemporary photograph from Richard’s talent (actor/model) portfolio the likeness is uncanny…

We have been together since the day we met, and finally got around to getting married on 9th April 1995, just five weeks before my 40th birthday, with Pamela a youthful 53 on that blissful day – it really is a case of “happily ever after”…

While we have no children together, Pamela tells me I am father to a healthy number of spiritual images – certainly she has become extremely prolific in recent years…the “Living Christ” image is revered by Christians and indeed by spiritually aspirant seekers of all persuasions, while the 28 originals for her “Goddesses of the New Light” divination deck proved to be merely a warm-up for the 112 paintings from which the Aura-Soma New Aeon Tarot deck is derived (both decks have now gone to multiple printings).

Although too modest to tell you so herself, Pamela Matthews is widely regarded as a leading exponent of the visionary surrealist genre whose work is a source of inspiration to all those with ‘eyes to see’- I am in no doubt whatsoever that meeting her (again) on 1st September 1989 was the best days work I have ever done in this life…

Richard Symons
Grail Gallery
Waiheke Island
New Zealand
August 2014