Wednesday, September 29, 2010
So here’s the rest of the story: Sophie and I came down from the steep walk down the cliff-side, and ducked into a little tea house and ordered a pot of Earl Gray with and ginger scones—my favorite! But even before they arrived, I launched into the story of what I had never told her—about finding a mentor, finding Tomas, and a Near-Death experience.
“When I was around twenty years old, and very lonely and yearning for my lover, I had this experience, which has always stayed with me….” I leaned back in the wooden chair and rested my hands on the arms. Sophie tilted her head, and looked at me curiously.
“Do I know this story?” she asked.
“I don’t think so; it happened so long ago, it was like a dream. So this is what happened: I was working on Cape Cod in a coffeehouse, and came in early one evening to see if I could quietly collect my wits. I sat downstairs in the basement by myself. I had been feeling strange for the last few days, as if something was bubbling up inside me, and it wasn’t comfortable. I knew that I was terribly lonely, aching inside for my lover who was indifferent to me at that point….and so I just sat….and waited. I took out my journal, but nothing happened at first, I just stared at the blank page.
Then…I began feeling as if this intense yearning was going to peak—my body felt strange; a little sick. And I looked up and “saw” a luminous golden light that seemed to be drawing me towards it--and I was being drawn into it, like a moth to a flame. It was warm and lovingly compelling. However….I sensed that if I allowed myself to go into its arms, into this brilliant Light, that I would physically die—and that I was being given the choice just then and there.”
“Wow, that must have been scarey…and yet awesome! So you must have decided not go into it—to live.”
“I did, but not at first. I wasn’t so sure at first, because I felt like dying. And while I was deciding, I got very sick from fear. In fact, I took myself up to the bathroom and as I was hanging over the bowl, I knew I had to make the decision—and as soon as I mad the decision to live—the nausea went away. I went back downstairs, and didn’t see “the Light” there, but I still felt the Presence. So I went over to my journal and began asking this Light what to do….and automatically…wrote it down, like taking dictation.”
“Really? You never told me this…”
“I know. Should I have?” Sophie didn’t say anything. “Well “It” said. or I said, that I should slow down my efforts to reach this “Spirit” and instead to get grounded in this world…and then, later in life, to come back to It. So essentially I’ve done that. And I remember that I wrote down I needed patience with the process of my life….and that I would eventually come back to this Loving Presence again at some later time. Patience was the key word.”
“Could you name this presence, this Light?”
I paused. I had often thought of that. I can’t say I remember seeing a face or figure, but it certainly felt like Sophie’s God. “Jesus…perhaps.”
Sophie took a deep breath. “And it felt really good? Yet it’s never come back?”
“Oh yes, it felt great, but it never came back like that. It felt like the presence of a reassuring Love in a way I’ve never experienced since. I’ve often thought that I will move into that Light when I die. I hope so…”
“Whew…! Well, if you didn’t decide to live, I guess I wouldn’t be here now, would I? Do you regret your choice not to go into it further?” she asked.
“No, not at all. However, there was one more thing.” I sighed, and wondered how to explain this.
“Well….just before your Dad, Alistair, and I separated, I had another experience of feeling this Presence in a different way, and it felt like it saved my sanity. I thought at the time, that I was going crazy.”
“Oh….was that when you were going through menopause and you were crying so much…? Your mother was calling you all the time, wasn’t she? After your father died?”
“Yes. And I went back to graduate school then too….I thought I could handle it all. You were a teenager then, so I’m surprised you remember. Anyway…my body chemistry started changing, and I felt weird—as if I was “stoned” all the time and the lights were brighter, and I couldn’t stop feeling this way day or night. Everything felt imbued with meaning, so I had to take things really slow, and it was hard to function. Some days it was hard to just make a cup of tea—whew!
Poor Alistair, he didn’t know what to do, and nothing he would do could change it. And then one night I had a dream. It woke me up with a start—like a bolt of electricity going through me. In the dream I was asking a Zen monk what to do…and he answered: “Thou shall not have any other gods before me!” The dream literally felt like a stroke of lightning and sat me up in bed.
So the next day, I asked myself what to do…and found myself remembering a charismatic Episcopal priest who was a healer, and “into Jung” as well as being a bit of a shaman. So I called him and went to see him. And then I saw him once or twice every week for three years.”
“Really? I think I remember you going to see that priest—didn’t he have just one eye…and smoke a pipe? What did he do to make the difference?”
“He prayed with me. And immediately I started feeling better; safe. So yes, that was Tomas. We would sit in our rocking chairs in his office and talk…at least for a couple of hours each visit. But what made all the difference was that at the end of each “session” he would take my hands in his, and pray together. It felt like he had a clear line of connection to God, to Jesus…to something that I could literally feel. He was a conduit for this love…this same Light….but only in that moment when we prayed.”
“Did he want you to leave Dad? Or be with him?”
“No, not at all. He wanted Alistair and I to stay together. He always wanted that. But I drifted away from Alistair then…and went into my studies.”
“Didn’t Tomas die a few years ago?” Sophie asked. “Yes, and I drifted away from him too after the three years…it was as if we had come together to do some healing, and when it was over, it was over. And then years and years went by….and I heard he died. I was listening to Celtic music at the moment, it was a warm autumn day, and I felt this grief come over me when I heard the news….the door was open, and at that moment, a butterfly flew in the door, and landed on a Celtic Cross that was next to me. It lingered there with me for a couple of minutes, till I ‘got it’. It was Tomas. He was coming to say it was alright. He was there.”
Sophie could see I was beginning to tear up. “Wow. Strange how I always saw you more as coming from your mind—with all your books and charts. You never told me this story before! Hm…what was happening astrologically for you then?”
“Transiting Jupiter was aspecting my South Node-Jupiter conjunction in the 8th house. I would translate that as a “gift of grace in a difficult time” and that Tomas was a mentor and healer of my South Node past life karma.”
Just then Sophie and I heard coughing from a weathered-looking bearded man sitting within listening distance to us. We couldn’t help but stare at him, but he didn’t make eye contact. He reminded me of the archetypal image of Saturn or the old senex. And then Sophie and I started talking about how her near death experience in the waters off Lindisfarne. We wondered about the meaning of this, as it had happened when she was experiencing the Saturn/Uranus opposition right across her North and South Nodes. She said she felt more of “God” today than she did with her accident…but that maybe it was something that needed to happen first. I agreed.
And so we sat there talking for a bit, wondering if her unexpected Uranus experience of near- drowning was part of her being “grounded by Saturn” as well as hearing my NDE experience of learning “patience” and the story of Tomas, the elder wise man. And though we didn’t say it, we both wondered about the presence of this numinous-looking stranger sitting next to us.
We finished our tea and got up to leave. Just then the man stood up, took off his cap, and nodded to us. He was doing it formally, in a way men don’t do nowadays. We smiled back and I noticed his stained teeth and milky eyes. A pipe was next to his cup. Was he another manifestation of Tomas? Or...?
And that’s what happened. On the walk back to the little hotel Sophie agreed to go to Zurich together and meet up with Alistair. But she didn’t want to go out to dinner that night with me. She was very kind, but said she said she needed some alone time. What do you think, Kendra….?