Magical Journey 2: When the Student is Ready
(Continued from this post)
Then Ridge came back into my life.
He was an old neighbour. The two families had been friendly when our children were small. His wife and I sometimes used to baby-sit for each other, and we all socialised a bit. We'd lost touch with them when their marriage broke up, about the same time we moved house. Then I bumped into him unexpectedly, ten years later, and we learned we were living very near each other again – he on his own now.
We were each filling in time in the same almost-empty café before different appointments, and had enough time for a longish catch-up. He confided that since I'd seen him last he had undertaken magical studies and become a Hermetic magician, adding that he had been clairvoyant since childhood. (His name was not Ridge, but that was the name he used as a magician.) As an example of his clairvoyance, he said he could tell I had just been somewhere very sad. I had. I'd been visiting a friend who was in dire circumstances at that time.
He came to call on us the following weekend, and resumed his friendship with our whole family, but often came for a chat on weekdays when I was the only one home. He was beginning to get old, had trouble finding work, and was lonely. I was working from home and could do my hours whenever I liked, so I'd make us a cuppa and ask about his clairvoyant and magical experiences, and he was happy to tell me. They were long and fascinating conversations. I didn't realise at the time that he was actually teaching me. I learned a lot about ways of using psychic gifts, and I also learned a great deal (albeit at second-hand) about the rituals, practices and powers of a ceremonial magician. He didn't appear to be teaching me, just yarning.
A few months later I began to have startling experiences of what seemed to be other-worldly visitations: sensations of someone else being in the room, and sometimes sounds or smells. I'm glad to say they were never scary – just puzzling and, yes, intriguing. I began asking Ridge, when he came for coffee, 'Who visited me last night?' (It didn't only happen at night, but often did – when I was sitting up late working on my poetry, with the rest of the household in bed asleep.)
He would say, 'Give us your hand,' then hold my hand and shut his eyes while he tuned in (as I have now learnt to call it) to whatever I had experienced. He would tell me to focus on the memory of the experience. Then he would gradually begin describing what he saw in his mind. He would give me descriptions of people, and occasionally would even get a name. I would usually recognise the people, even without names, as loved ones who had passed on: my Nana, for instance, or my stepfather. The latter I couldn't identify until Ridge said, 'He's got a funny walk,' and stood up and demonstrated; then I knew instantly.
He told me that the smell of roses without any physical cause, which I occasionally noticed, was known to indicate the presence of the Goddess Isis.
At one time, just in the course of chatting about himself, he explained that being a Hermetic magician meant he worked under the auspices (so to speak) of the Egyptian god Thoth. He described Thoth to me, and I gradually recognised a familiar friend from childhood, a grown man who used to come and talk to me in a somewhat avuncular relationship. He was one of those whom I eventually realised other people did not perceive.
Looking back, I wish I could recall the exact conversation. I know Ridge did mention that Thoth is usually portrayed with the head of an ibis, yet my childhood friend certainly did not appear like that, so how I made the identification I can't now imagine. It must have been from other things Ridge said – or was it something I picked up, as he spoke, about the energy of the being he was describing? I knew it anyway, and have had much confirmation since. I remember also thinking, 'That explains a lot!' Now, over 30 years later, I wonder what I thought it explained.
It did become evident that Thoth had been a guide and protector to me all along. I later concluded that he must have sent Ridge to me to help in a situation that was about to arise.
I started wondering why I was getting all the other-worldly visitors. When I asked Ridge, he didn't get any special reason and suggested maybe they were just coming to say hello, and that it was part of my spiritual awakening. It was that all right, and turned out also to be in crucial timing for a very specific event. Maybe that event was not a foregone conclusion so much as a possibility – I'm not sure how that sort of thing works – but it did happen. In 1981 a close friend died very young in circumstances both tragic and shocking. I was distraught, but if I had not by then had ample evidence that souls survive death, it would have been even worse.
Later my friend sent me a message through Ridge, to let me know it was all for the best no matter how hard that was for those left behind to comprehend. Ridge had not invited this message, but was contacted out of the blue and recognised my friend from details I’d mentioned. I used Ridge as a medium on a few more occasions after that, to communicate with my friend while I was coming to terms with what happened.
It got so that when I held Ridge's hand during these sessions I could see and hear in my mind whatever he was getting, and feel the emotions of the visiting spirits too. Eventually I didn't need to be in physical contact to tune in and get the messages – but I did have to have Ridge physically present.
It was over a decade later that I began to work as a psychic medium. I work in the same way Ridge did. I close my eyes, take the client’s hand, and tell them what I’m seeing, hearing and feeling. Lacking Ridge himself, I use a large crystal ball (which I put my other hand on) to help make the connection to Source.
Ridge developed cancer and died in 1984, not before he had considerably slowed a cancerous growth in our old dog by hands-on spiritual healing, and saved my husband Bill’s life when he had the bends (he was an abalone diver) and was incorrectly discharged from hospital because no experienced staff were working over xmas. Ridge, who was spending the holiday with us, had no medical training, but he had a very strong intuition that Bill should phone a certain doctor who was an expert in the field. He got through – on xmas night! – and after hearing the symptoms the doctor organised for him to get to a different hospital with better equipment, very fast.
Ridge introduced me to the Thoth Tarot deck, which I later used professionally for a number of years.
He saw clairvoyantly that I would publish my first book of poetry soon, and got tantalising glimpses of cover design and title – not clear enough to be helpful, but after the book was published I realised in hindsight that the fragments he gave me were indeed included in what I had arrived at. The book was published the year after he died.
'I see wisps of cloud on the cover, behind the title,' he had said. 'It has a cover that sort of wraps around. And it's called something cosmic. A word that means the cosmos.' I hadn't even begun planning the book then. When it did happen, an artist had free rein to design the cover without prior reference to me.
(You'll have to click and enlarge the pic to see those wisps of cloud.)
He predicted that I would study some kind of eastern spirituality which would change my life and be the basis of a successful new career. He didn't know what it was called, but said he could make out part of a name that included the letter R, an I, and maybe an H or K. I had no clue either what that might be. It was four years after he died that I was drawn to learn the then little-known healing system, Reiki, which is indeed a spiritual discipline too, and which originated in Japan. I went on to become a Reiki Master, earning an income by teaching Reiki as well as doing treatments for the next 30+ years.
Ridge was one of the most accurate clairvoyants I ever met. Of course I loved to take advantage of this and ask him questions. Some of them were very deep questions; I had always longed for understanding of the great mysteries. He said that through helping me his own development accelerated.
He taught me how to protect myself magically at a time when I was feeling afraid. Other than that he didn't officially instruct me in magic, but he did discuss it and explain things about it, so I got a good understanding of it without formal tuition.
When my Mum stayed with us a while, they became friends. He took her and me to show us the temple he had created in one room of his house. He invited us to stand inside his circle, which was set up permanently, outlined with rope on the floor. We could feel the difference in the energy when we did.
I used to think he must be one of the last of the great magicians (though now I think there may well be others, working equally anonymously). I have seen him call down fire by an effort of will. I asked his advice about a rather nasty document I'd received (long story; never mind). He recommended I burn it. I tried, over the kitchen sink, using a cigarette lighter, but the card it was written on wouldn't catch.
'Here, let me,' he said. It still wouldn't. He took a deep breath, clenched all his muscles, and concentrated fiercely. Suddenly the document burst into bright flames and incinerated slowly but thoroughly, leaving a small sticky lump of something coloured an evil-looking green, which we washed down the drain.
Although it didn't occur to me that I myself could develop psychic abilities or practise magic, Ridge showed me the reality and usefulness of both.
When he died, he left me several wonderful books on magic. Though they fascinated me and I treasured them, I didn't use them to learn from. Well, not until a decade later.