(I'm not a musician.) I was taught as a child that I must not 'blow my own trumpet' as in talking about myself – especially not to say anything good about myself. I was also taught that much of what I could say about myself was nonsense and I needn't expect anyone to believe it. If I myself believed it, I must be insane. If not, I was obviously a liar. Telling my story, therefore, became a very confronting task. I am now 76, as I begin this blog, and it is only a preparation – things I write on the way to writing the memoir.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Crossing a Threshold Part 2

Occupying the Space

(Apologies – some people who have read earlier attempts at this memoir may find me repeating familiar information at times.)


Why were we there?

We were still attending the Andronicus Foundation meditation group. It was a longer drive from Three Bridges in the Upper Yarra Valley than it had been from the Melbourne suburb of Beaumaris, but quite do-able. 

Then Ian, who started the Foundation, organised a residential long weekend for members from any of the meditation groups to get together for an in-depth sharing of our experiences and exploration of the phenomena. And it was to be in the Upper Yarra Valley, at another little hamlet just down the road from us. He hired a  comfortable venue with several bedrooms and a couple of meeting rooms, as well as kitchen, dining and bathroom facilities. 

Bill and I didn't sleep there, being so close to home, but attended daily. I suppose that meant we missed out on some of the after-hours fellowship, but on the other hand it meant Ian could offer a couple of extra places as we weren’t using the sleeping quarters. It also meant we didn’t particularly notice one attendee called Andrew, whom we were not acquainted with. Nor did he particularly notice us. Four and a half years later he was my partner, and a year after that my husband! 

The sessions were arranged so that the assembled company broke into smaller groups for the exercises and discussions. Andrew was in a different one from us. I didn't even remember his name or face afterwards. I expect it was wise of the Universe to ensure that we had no closer interaction ahead of time; no doubt there was a reason. We worked it out later that we'd been at that same event, at which point I vaguely placed him in memory but he still didn't recall me at all.

I did remember a story he told, though, of a very strange craft crashing in the playing field behind his school when he was a little boy, after which men in suits arrived and sternly told the kids they must say nothing to anyone – albeit giving them some explanation which would have been believable to people who hadn't seen the event. In hindsight he was sure it was a spaceship.

Various people attending had had personal ‘encounters of the third kind’. Others had done a considerable amount of research into the subject. Both kinds of information were shared and discussed. We also looked at more ‘spiritual’ or ‘psychic’ experiences. One woman present was a channel who could see into the deep reasons behind things. During a lunch break I asked her how come we had been placed at the property in Three Bridges by such a strange set of circumstances. I was wondering also how we could survive now that we had the whole financial responsibility. She closed her eyes and held my hand (a familiar method to me by now!).  

‘Do you have some special flowers growing by your gate?’ she asked, attempting to hone in on the property, which she had never seen. I told her that, yes, it had Bella Donna lilies (aka Naked Ladies) growing by the gate. When we first saw the place, I had taken them for a good sign, as they grew at my favourite childhood home and again at Bill’s and my place in Beaumaris, and I’d always loved them. [Picture from public domain.]




She told me that we were meant to be there. She said, ‘They have given it to you as an oasis of peace for your development.’ (We were familiar with ‘They’, whom Jenette referred to as ‘The Guys Upstairs’ even though some were female. We had all experienced the presence of multiple benevolent guides.)

‘That must be for Bill’s development in particular,’ I said. At that time Bill was the psychic and the healer, and fairly new to both, having received the gifts quite suddenly after particular life experiences. I was just a former librarian who wrote poetry.

‘No,’ she said.’for YOUR development.’ She added that I would be there as long as I needed to be. I was surprised, but she didn't offer more information, just said, ‘It will all unfold.’ I have learned since that things do. On another occasion, in our own meditation group, I enquired why I was seldom given much detail about my future. The reply, via the channel, was, ‘Because you like surprises.’ True, I do. I much prefer not to know everything beforehand. I certainly had plenty of surprises in our time at Three Bridges.

With that reader’s words in mind, I made sure to get outside a lot, and to meditate daily – both of which were very easy there.  Bill palled up with our next-door neighbours, a large Italian family, and tried to learn from them how to manage our property. There wasn't a lot we needed to do, as we didn't have cows like the neighbours. He just liked to be busy and have projects. He got Council permission to slightly divert the stream. I can’t think why now, and possibly didn't understand then either. It somewhat spoilt the beauty of it, and involved removing some bushes which had acted as a natural filter keeping the water pollution-free. But anyway, he did that sort of thing, enjoying the ride-on tractor that came with the place, and also found building and handyman jobs in the locality, while I wrote, meditated, and minded the house.

Our two cats thrived. They would come for long, frolicsome walks with us up the bush track. I used say that Sam got his balls back! Despite being neutered, he started acting like a big alpha male, leaving his droppings on top of tree stumps or flat stones instead of burying them – a sign, in the wild: ’Dominant male here. My territory.’ Sometimes we would look up to see both cats peering down at us, side by side, from the roof of the house. At night they would be on our laps purring in front of the TV – and the log fire in winter.  

We had no TV reception, being in a deep, enclosed valley, but we could hire and watch movies on video instead. We were among the few who didn't see newscasts of Tiananmen Square at that time – which may have been a blessing. We got to know spiritualists Doug and Rita Osborne, who lived in the hills closer to Melbourne, not too far away. They had been guided to their home and were advised from Upstairs not to have TV because it would interfere with their energy. They heeded the advice, and had remarkable gifts. So I guess that the lack of reception at our home was necessary for that spiritual development I was promised there.

Flint

Then my dog arrived. As I walked down the path to fetch the paper of a morning, I began ‘seeing’ in my head a dog accompanying me – a big, brown dog with a long nose and floppy ears. I felt I could reach out to where he (I knew he was male) trotted beside me, and give him a pat – which meant the top of his back was as high as my thigh. Sometimes I saw him dart into the bush beside the path and nose around as if chasing a lizard or rabbit or something. I had never wanted a dog for myself, only cats, though as a family we had had several dogs, but now I got interested. I mentioned the experience to a few people, and I’m glad I did or they would never have believed me when he manifested. I tried a manifestation spell and included a date by when this was to happen.

A musician friend was hired to present a special course at a school for a few weeks, and was  required to live in a cottage on the grounds so as to be available for more informal contact with students too, after hours.  Her young daughter was welcome, but the school could not accommodate her dogs. She had a black Labrador-Collie cross, a female, and that one’s son, who looked mostly Golden Lab. She asked if they could come to us for a few weeks; she would supply their food. Of course they could! This happened by the due date for my dog manifestation, and no other dog turned up in that time, so I wondered if maybe the boy, Beau, was the one I had been seeing. He didn't quite fit the description, but came close. 

Mother and daughter popped in to see their dogs at our place now and  then, but missed them greatly. So one weekend, when the school was empty except for them, Bill and I went over for dinner on the Friday evening and left the dogs there to be returned to our place late Sunday.  We woke Saturday morning to the sound of a bark in our yard. But hang on, the dogs were away. We looked out and saw a dog resting his head on the top rung of the metal gate to the back paddocks – standing on his hind legs to do so, we assumed. We thought he must belong to some nearby farmer, and if we ignored him he’d run back the way he’d come. 

Then he barked again, so Bill jumped up and opened the gate to let him through that way. It was just near the French windows to our bedroom, so Bill dived back into bed, and we saw the dog run past. Oh, much bigger than we’d thought. He would not have had to stand on his hind legs to rest his head on the top of the gate! Our front gate was open, so we expected him to run straight through our front yard and out.

We lay in bed then, idly musing on what kind of dog we’d like if we were to get another. We liked big dogs, but couldn’t decide what breed. Eventually we settled on German Shepherd. It didn't feel quite right, but we’d had two of them before, they were lovely dogs, and we couldn’t come up with anything else …and after all, we were just fantasising.

I got up to make us a cuppa to bring back to bed. Outside our glass front door, on the mat, lay the strange dog. I opened the door to shoo him on his way. He stood up, half eager, half tentative, and I took a good look at him. He was dirty and skinny. 

‘You’ve been on your own a while, haven’t you?’ I said. Well, I had dog food in the house, so I invited him in. He came hesitantly. I had to coax him. I wondered how many places he’d been chased away from before he found us. Or perhaps he’d been owned by people who thought dogs that size belonged outside.

Then, as he came in, I took another look and said, ‘Oh. You’ve arrived.’ Yes, he was the dog I’d been seeing. I gave him food and water and brushed some of the dirt out of his coat. He was very hungry and thirsty! Then he lay down happily by the hearth. I finally took Bill his cuppa, at the other end of the long house, and explained. ‘Congratulations!’ he said. ‘You’ve got yourself a dog.’

‘What will we call him?’ I wondered. From somewhere Bill hit on the name Flint, and I liked it too. ‘But first I’d better ring the police and the vet and see if anyone’s reported him missing,’ I said – hoping desperately that no-one would have done so. And they hadn’t. ’How long should I wait before I decide he’s mine?’ I asked the policeman. He said about two weeks, and  that I should advertise him as found. I put a notice in the local paper and displayed flyers at the vet’s and in shops. To my great happiness, no-one claimed him. I didn’t expect anyone would. I had already asked The Guys Upstairs if he was mine to keep and been told yes. But I did the right things for form’s sake, and so no-one could ever say I hadn't tried hard enough.

We had someone else’s dogs coming back the next night, and two cats in residence. I booked him into the vet that first morning to get checked for any diseases (not that I saw signs of any), to be vaccinated, and – with a leap of faith that he really was mine – to be neutered. Well, it wasn't such a huge leap, after the way I had ‘seen’ him, morning after morning, accompanying me to the letter-box, and after the reassurance from Upstairs. It had got to be how I lived then: in this world and the other-dimensional simultaneously, knowing both to be real and natural.

There were seldom-used leashes for the other dogs hanging in the cupboard. I borrowed one, and Flint drove with me happily on the back seat of my car to the vet, and sat politely in the waiting-room. I was to leave him there and come back three hours later, after his operation. Everything was fine until his name was called. I passed his leash to the receptionist, and she started to take him through the door. Suddenly there was a commotion, as he tugged against her and scrabbled frantically to get back to me. I turned round, put a soothing hand on his head and said, ‘It’s all right. You go with the nice lady and I’ll be back to get you later.’ He calmed instantly and went without any more fuss. At this point he’d known me less than half a day, and already had such trust. He was mine all right! 

The vet put his breed as Curly Retriever X. He said he couldn't tell what breed the ‘cross’ was. Flint was very much bigger than anything we see in Australia with the name Curly Retriever.  We used to say he must have been crossed with a Great Dane. A couple of years later a friend found pictures in a dog book of pure-bred Curly Retrievers in Ireland, the same size as Flint. He was beautiful, anyway, with a smooth face, curly hair on ears and body, long sweeping tail, barrel chest for swimming, and more delicate hind legs. They are bred to accompany duck shooters, and have soft mouths to retrieve birds from the water without damaging the feathers. But to us he was a dear companion, not a working dog.

When our musician friend brought her dogs back, they were outraged. They clearly thought we had moved them out in order to move Flint in. But he was gracious and deferential, putting himself at the bottom of the pecking order, so they tolerated him. He and Beau became pals. I’d had to train Beau and his mother not to chase our cats, but never needed to do that with Flint. He loved them and they him from the start. 

In a few weeks our friend’s time at the school ended, she retrieved her dogs, and then Flint came into his own. He was the most good-natured animal I ever met, as well as highly intelligent, obedient, and protective on the rare occasions that was called for. He had a deep, baying bark which could sound terrifying to people who didn't know him. Mostly he was the gentlest of giants. I don't have a photo of him, but this (from the public domain) is very like, except that his expression was even sweeter. 



Clairvoyance

It was a time in our meditation group when we were given various kinds of homework by The Guys Upstairs, and had astonishing experiences as a result. We became highly clairvoyant, though it was not permanent. I suppose we were being shown beyond doubt how much there is outside the limitations of the physical, but did not need to retain it all for daily use. 

I remember one time looking at a tree in our front yard and seeing – with my physical eyes – the foliage suddenly full of faces of Aboriginal men, women and children. Then in the blink of an eye (except I didn't blink) they changed to a group of different Aboriginal faces, before eventually disappearing. I spoke of it to a friend later and she said, ‘Oh yes, when you unfocus your eyes you can see all sorts of things.’ I have experienced this, but it was not what happened looking at that tree. I wasn't doing anything with my eyes except look, in a perfectly ordinary way. Another time I was in a building with group photos (stills) on one wall, and as I looked, the people in the groups started moving and interacting. (No, I wasn't on anything, I promise!)

Jennette suggested Bill and I might start a new Andronicus Foundation meditation group in our area (while continuing to attend the one at her place). We liked the idea, and put an ad in the Foundation’s newsletter. One young woman phoned up immediately to enquire, and so began my long association with Denise.

Reiki

We saw an ad for Reiki classes by Beth Grey, a visiting Reiki Master from America. I had experienced Reiki, from a massage therapist I sometimes had treatments from in Melbourne. We’d met at a personal development course. She said to me, ‘You look a little stressed; I may be able to help,’ and gave me her card. She was way across town, so I only went when I felt particularly stressed, often leaving many weeks between appointments. One time she said, “I’ve learnt this new thing called Reiki. It’s a more gentle laying on of hands. May I try it on you?’ I said yes, and blissed out, unaware of what she did exactly except that it felt good. Some months later, she said, ‘I’ve learned the advanced technique, Reiki II. May I try that on you?’ I said yes once more; blissed out once more. I didn't realise until much later that after that treatment I never felt stressed enough to see her again. (Reiki practitioners tend to lose their clients quickly, like that!) And eventually I moved out of Melbourne to Three Bridges.

So I viewed Reiki as a kind of superior massage technique. When I saw the ad, I had a huge hit to do the course. I persuaded Bill he should do it too. I saw him getting tired and drained if he healed too many people in too short a time. ‘Who heals the healer?’ I thought, and decided this technique would enable me to do that for him. I thought I would be using it only on him. Also he had buggered my shoulder by trying to do massage on it, and Jenette (a trained masseuse) had to come and put it right. I thought he needed some technique to put to his gift. (He wasn't charging anyone money, but even so.)

The time and money for us to do the course became available with the greatest of ease. It was as if the Universe miraculously smoothed the way. And of course it turned out not to be another kind of massage – not massage at all – but energy healing. There was learning involved – hand positions, the history of Reiki, and so on – but the ability was imparted from Master to student by a series of attunements, and then was ours for life. 

Because it is Universal energy, Divine energy (aka Unconditional Love) it does not deplete the practitioner but tops them up on the way through to the client – so Bill never again got drained when doing healings. Also, it is perfectly possible, and highly recommended, to use it on oneself. We loved it and did Reiki II, the technique for healing ’in absence’ (or at a distance) when Beth returned six months later. That qualified us to become professional practitioners if we wished. Funnily enough, it was I, not Bill, who did so. 

I started by giving visitors free Reiki treatments so as to practise what I’d learned. I found it easy and enjoyable. We bought a Reiki table and set up one of the bedrooms as a healing room. 

Tarot

A very psychic friend from Melbourne, Maatje, came to stay a few days and, as a favour, gave me a reading with her Thoth deck (the same Tarot that Ridge used to use – when he wasn't just holding my hand and closing his eyes). She went into a sort of trance while reading. She  told me I would become a very powerful psychic myself. ‘You will see far into the future,’ she said. (She was also, on the same occasion, the first person to predict my move to Northern Rivers NSW with Andrew, but like others assumed the man was Bill.)

I was already doing Tarot readings for friends with the Rider Waite deck. I didn't need to be psychic. I just read the cards according to what I had learned. They always turned out accurate.

In Melbourne two different friends had read for Bill and me with the Rider Waite deck. It wasn't from any urgent need. They were readers, and we were curious. In both cases we were impressed.  One day at the local shops, I wandered into the bookshop and found myself led to a particular shelf, where a set of Rider Waite Major Arcana cards (the ‘destiny’ part of a Tarot deck, which can be used alone) fell off the shelf to land at my feet. Yes, I picked it up and bought it. I can take a hint! Someone told me,  ‘Your first Tarot deck is supposed to be given to you.’ Well, I figured the Universe gave it to me!

A range of one-word meanings was written across the bottom of every card. So I started playing with them, and later got a book with the interpretations. Later still – after Ridge died – I got the full Rider Waite deck. I used to read for people, ‘just for fun’, with the book beside me to look up what the cards meant.  

Ridge loved his Thoth deck, and I had thought to buy one like that, but when I went looking for one, it seemed to me that its energy was cold and sinister. The man in the shop said, ‘It doesn’t suit everyone,’ and found me the classic Rider Waite, but with an unusual back picturing pink roses, very soft and non-threatening.  Then, a few years later, when I saw Maatje’s Thoth deck, the energy seemed very different, full of love after all. Perhaps I had grown into it! Or perhaps the Reiki energy transformed any negativity for me. So then I got one, loved it, and used it happily for many years (still do occasionally).

Setting up in business

It was probably early 1989 that I got a strong ‘message from Upstairs’ to advertise Reiki treatments and Tarot readings.  I put a tiny little six-line ad in the local paper – and the phone started ringing. Some people wanted Reiki, some a reading, some both. They were mostly women, and with most of those who booked in as a result of that first ad, I felt impelled to say, ‘I’m starting a meditation group for – um – psychic development, and I think it could be something for you.’ They all accepted with alacrity.

New meditation groups

I invited Jenette’s daughter Kerry to come to an early meeting of our new group, to act as the channel. And that was the beginning of her long friendship with Denise. 

Denise herself was able to act as a channel, and by then both Bill and I had tentatively begun to do that too. We went in a somewhat different direction from the other Andronicus groups, as people asked to explore various ways  of being psychic, such as holding some item like a ring that one of the others had worn, and sharing what impressions they got (which is known as psychometry). We all turned out to be very accurate with pieces of information we couldn’t possibly have known by any normal means.

That group met of an evening. I started another, daytime group, and that too filled up quickly. We had some dramatic experiences, such as, on one occasion, a headache that leapt around the room from person to person. One person complained of it, then shortly afterwards said that it had suddenly gone, then another said, 'I've got a headache now,' and so on.

Other things that happened were pleasanter. Both groups rapidly developed their psychic abilities, learned about other dimensions, and found their health and their lives benefiting from regular meditation. The morning group didn't last long, however. I think such phenomena as jumping headaches proved a bit too confronting! A number of people didn't return after that day.

I myself was exhausted after that session, from trying to deal with the energy and look after group members too. Denise, who came to both groups, and had become a close friend, suggested I should lie down for a while, and helped Bill tuck me up before she left. I fell into a deep sleep. When I woke a couple of hours later, it was to see that the bedroom curtains had kindly been drawn to help me rest. I thanked Bill, but he said he hadn't done it. I thought it must have been Denise, but when I got a chance to thank her, she denied it too. Neither of them had any reason to lie, and seemed truly mystified. And I knew it hadn't been me! Next time that we went to a meeting of our original Andronicus group, I mentioned it. A kindly voice spoke through the channel: 'Yes, we are still looking after you.'

Spirit Visions

I saw some things which had a different flavour from the other clairvoyant experiences. I knew almost nothing about Druidry, yet one day when I was walking in the bush and 'saw' (not physically) a strange male face that gazed down through the trees, I got an inner conviction that this was a deity of the Druids. I got the name Tyr, which actually belongs to a Norse god, but I later discovered he has a Druidic counterpart. (Years later I joined the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, but they did not focus on particular deities so much as the creative force, or Awen.)

Another, unforgettable time, I looked out our bedroom window across to the back gate and the bush beyond. (The master bedroom was the width of the house; this window was the opposite side from the one through which we'd seen Flint arrive.) Standing just outside the gate, under a big tree, was a woman. She looked across at me, holding my gaze with hers. It was a long, serious look we exchanged. What did it convey? I search for words, and the one I come up with is 'recognition'.  Another would be 'acknowledgment'. Some deep knowing and communication passed between us, at a level beyond consciousness, though we were cosncious it was happening.

I expect she was fully conscious of it all. I don't know who she was, except that she had no age. Neither young nor old, she was timeless. She was dressed very plain, some kind of long grey or brown smock or tunic, perhaps – I hardly noticed, I was so riveted on her face. Her hair, too, was a nondescript colour, loose but tidy and maybe shoulder-length. I saw her physically, but I knew she was not human and would not be visible to anyone she did not choose should see her. 

I knew she was a nature spirit, but nothing like a fairy, nor yet a being such as the Sidhe. I felt she was connected to the tree, or perhaps all the trees. I would have been willing to believe she was Earth Mother herself – only it wasn't fertility that was displayed, so much as wisdom. I felt understood and approved.

At last we broke our gaze by mutual consent – knowing that consent at the same moment, without word or gesture. Quietly, undramatically, she vanished.

Why did I receive such visions? Confirmation, perhaps, that I was indeed in the right place at the right time, and that Nature gave me permission. Permission for what? To be there, I suppose, and to do whatever I was given to do there.

I expected to stay there for the rest of my life. I imagined myself as a slightly eccentric old lady, years hence, still walking through the bush with my staff and my dog. But no, the Universe had other plans. However, that would be a few years down the track. We still had things to do and experience in that oasis of peace.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Crossing a Threshold, Part 1

Arriving

It was late 1987. I was still married to Bill, living in Melbourne with our sons. David had nearly completed his first year at Monash University, Steve was due to begin at Melbourne University in 1988. 

Bill knew he'd about reached retirement age for an abalone diver. His experience of being 'bent' had shocked him. Without Ridge's urging that he phone a specialist who was an expert in the condition, he would probably have been crippled and might well have died. As it was, he had to spend days in a decompression chamber, closely supervised, gradually getting his body back to normal. He was 51. He could still dive, but started to think he should get out while the going was good. 

It would make a big difference in our lives. He had encouraged me to give up my library career years ago, to concentrate on poetry. (Not that I needed much encouragement.) Without the diving income, he tried to tell me, we could no longer afford our big, sprawling house with the swimming pool, in a posh, tree-lined, bayside suburb. It was a great house, scene of famous parties combining poets, ab divers, and musician friends from when Bill owned a coffee lounge before we met (the first in Melbourne to invite musos to play, though others soon followed). Our kids had grown up in that house. Several beloved pets had lived and died there.

Bill wanted to get a much smaller place in a less prestigious locality (therefore cheaper to buy). I remembered the fortune-teller I consulted soon after we bought our house (not realising then that I myself was psychic). She read tea-leaves, and was famous. Everyone was traipsing to her door, and friends persuaded me to join them.

'Never sell that house!' she had said, long before we had any thought of selling. 'You will never again get that house for that price.' She was right about that – and about a number of other things – but Bill insisted that we must, for the financial reasons. I couldn't make a convincing case otherwise. It soon sold to a young couple. We needed to find somewhere new before they were due to take possession.

At this point our friend Gabriella (not her real name) and her new boyfriend came to see us. They had not long before become interested in a channelled being known as Ramtha. Bill and I never got to any of his public events, but saw a DVD, got some of his books, and were very taken with his teachings ourselves. Gabriella and Tom told us excitedly that Ramtha was now advising people to move out of the cities, grow their own food, preserve and store food supplies, etc. etc., in preparation for earth changes to come. 

So they had been looking for a property in the nearby hills, which was where Ramtha seemed to be suggesting, and had found one which sounded perfect – only it was more than they could afford on their own. But it was a big place, with space enough for all of us, including her two young sons, if we would go in with them. Not what Bill's thrifty down-sizing ideas had been running to exactly, but he got caught up in the excitement and so did I. It sounded much more our kind of thing than a small house in some run-of-the-mill suburb. We arranged to go and have a look. 

It was wonderful. We fell in love with it at once. 14 acres, seven of which were uncleared bush running up behind the house in a gentle slope, with a dirt path dividing our bush from more on government land. Beautiful gardens around the house. Some cleared paddocks beyond a stream. Views of hills and mountains opposite. 

The long, ranch-style house was spacious indeed, with the huge lounge-room that we later used for Reiki seminars, another big living area adjacent to the kitchen, and – as well as four bedrooms and a decent bathroom along a central  passage – at the other end from the huge lounge, an enormous  master bedroom with ensuite. 

Gaby and Tom told us we should have the master bedroom, and also the huge lounge, suggesting we could walk around the outside of the house to get from one to the other, rather than go through 'their' area. (Later, in practice, that proved inconvenient and silly, and we all used the passage.) The smallest bedroom, next to the master bedroom, could be my study.

As someone said afterwards, our sons didn't leave home, home left them. We were moving too far for them to commute to their universities, so they found share houses with other students. The only animals we had left were our two young cats, Sam and Ishtar, who came to the new home with us.

On the same day that we saw the property and immediately decided to buy, the men repaired to the local bank with the owner and got bridging finance. They arranged between them that Bill and I would pay the first instalment off the loan, Gaby and Tom the next, and so on, turn and turn about.

We only found out after we moved in that Tom had lost his job. He was sure he'd find another without trouble, but it didn't happen. Gaby wasn't in a 9-5 job either, but starting a business as a beauty consultant, working out what clothing colours best suited her clients. However, they both seemed very certain that the finances would be no problem. More fool us! 

(Much later a neighbour remarked that when he asked them what they did, they replied, 'Oh, we are very creative people!' without any further particulars. They could cook nice meals, I'll give them that, but I never saw either of them create anything else.)

And then we struck the usual snags of sharing space with other people, as well as some unusual ones.

The kitchen was the first point of contention. At first we thought to share all our stuff, plates in this cupboard, saucepans in that, and so on. I liked things stacked neatly for easy retrieval. The other family was used to shoving things in any-old-where, and scrabbling through the higgledy-piggledy piles to find what they were looking for. It freaked me out. My neatness freaked them out. We ended up assigning separate spaces for 'ours' and 'theirs'.

'If we'd known you were FUSSY...!' Gaby exclaimed, putting me sweetly in the wrong. I refrained from rising to the bait.

We had different tastes in art, too. Gaby put up pictures and ornaments which we privately considered the height of kitsch, though we didn't say so. She, however, did keep remarking on our differences in taste, in ways that insinuated she had all the knowledge and class whereas we were uncouth. 'Oh, you LIKE that?' she would say, staring at one of our pictures or ornaments, sour-faced. (We kept our decorations to our own quarters but they weren't so separate that we could avoid seeing each other's.) 

It became apparent that she was a drama queen, always wanting all attention on herself. Life around Gaby was not peaceful! She resented the fact that we didn't want to buy into the dramas. We refused to take sides in their many stormy arguments. She wanted to have long talks to me complaining about Tom; Tom wanted to do the same about her, with Bill; we kept shutting off those conversations. 

One night we woke to hear cries and loud thumping coming from their bedroom. I started up. Bill grabbed my arm firmly. 'Stay here!' 

'But he's hurting her!' 

'Sounds like she's giving as good as she gets. Don't you dare go in there. You'll be the one who gets hurt.' 

Eventually everything went quiet. I lay awake, feeling fearful for her, and guilty about not having rushed to the rescue. 

They didn't emerge first thing in the morning. When they finally did, Tom apologised sheepishly for 'the disturbance'.  I was horrified to see that Gaby had a split lip. But they assured me he was the one who needed to be taken to hospital right away. She ushered him tenderly to her car and drove him there. I wonder how they explained the injuries! It turned out he had a dislocated arm and a broken rib.

Relations deteriorated. Things got edgy behind a surface politeness. I felt I had to be on my guard all the time, in my own home. Yet Gaby kept up the fiction that she and I were affectionate girlfriends.

Even when she was being snide, she was also flirtatious, not only towards Bill but me. I don't think it was seriously seductive, so much as a compulsion to get everyone on her side.

One little incident was quite funny. She was in our room discussing something, probably trying to wheedle some favour, Bill dug his heels in, and it deteriorated into an argument. She said something to which Bill rudely replied, 'Up your bum.' She, wearing only a dressing-gown, immediately turned around and flashed her bum at him. A very pretty one, I couldn't help noticing, but Bill, keeping his cool with some effort, said, 'I've seen better.'

She was outraged, and came cuddling up to me, all little-girlish and pouting. 'You have not! Has he, Rosemary?'

'Well,' I said, extricating myself from her clingy embrace, ' you can't expect me to agree to that. The one he sees most often is mine.' She flounced out, somewhat abashed, having suddenly realised that she had just exposed herself to him in the presence of his wife. For a moment there she had me so firmly cast in the girlfriend role, she rather forgot herself.

Money was tight, as Bill had stopped diving and was getting work as a builder's labourer and handyman wherever he could. We couldn't eat into capital we needed to finance our home. 

Our son Steve had a birthday coming up. I asked him what he'd like to do to celebrate. Perhaps thinking of our pockets, he assured us he didn't want anything fancy. He just wanted to come up and have a quiet dinner and chat with me and his Dad, and stay the weekend. We told 'the others', as we had taken to calling them, what would be happening. It would be very low-key, I explained, and asked what time would suit for us to have the kitchen. No problem, they said – they'd be buying dinner out that night, anyway.

We were sitting at the kitchen bench over our meal, chatting quietly and happily, the three of us, when Gaby and family breezed in with a couple of their closest friends, laden with fancy food and wine, and gathered around the nearby coffee table. 

'It's George's birthday!' she called to us gaily, and they proceeded to celebrate with ostentatious merriment, making a big fuss of their pal George (who was probably unaware he wasn't the only birthday boy present), toasting him, exclaiming over the goodies they were eating, and generally upstaging our modest get-together with Steve. It was very pointed. Gaby was clearly the script-writer and main actor in this drama (as she was in most). Steve said afterwards that he didn't mind, but she succeeded in making me feel that we were treating him shabbily. 

When my friend and mentor Jenette visited one day, she told me afterwards that she was worried about me. 

'She keeps firing verbal arrows at you. It's quite sneaky. You need to bring it out into the open – like, next time you could clap a hand to your chest and say, "Ouch! You got me." '

I did that once or twice, which Gaby found disconcerting. She didn't know how to reply, and got all flustered. More often, I started challenging some of her remarks and standing up for myself, rather than hoping politeness would prevail. She would make excuses, but did back down – in a roundabout sort of way.

One day I decided to play her at her own game. She had a way of saying things with apparent innocence, but with a cutting edge. It was indeed as sneaky as Jenette said. She would be subtly wrong-footing me all the time, but with a veneer of friendliness and even helpfulness. I decided to become her for a day.

I can do that sometimes, but I couldn't tell you exactly how. It's deeper than play-acting. It's the same kind of thing that made me a good High School debater, and later on a good performance poet. I get into a zone.

Gaby was totally flummoxed, getting more and more uneasy and agitated as the day wore on. I look back now and see that it made her lose control; I had wrested it from her, and that was seriously disturbing to her. 

It was kinda fun for a day – a small, sweet revenge. It was also exhausting to sustain. I realised I had no wish to do it any longer than that one day. It would be awful to live like that! She was actually never real, never authentic, always calculating, always adopting a persona. 

Then came the day when Bill said to Tom, 'Our quarterly roll-over of funds is coming due, and it's your turn to make the payment.'  

'You know we've had a bit of a delay with our work situations,' said Gabriella. 'Could you carry us, just for this time?' It turned out that they had imagined Bill and me to be far more wealthy than we were. When he outlined to them the true state of affairs, Tom went a bit pale and said, 'We'll have to leave.'

They organised that quite quickly. As they packed up their stuff, she begged for various items that came with the house, for example some curtains I thoroughly disliked. I told her she was welcome to them. 

'Because you don't have my taste!' she cried, with the usual superior toss of her head.

'No,' I said, 'I don't.' My tone was ever-so-slightly dry, but my face was straight. She looked at me suspiciously, before deciding – I could see the wheels turning – that I couldn't have meant it the way it almost sounded. 

She kept asking for things, things that came with the house – the house which she had not paid anything for. In effect they'd had three months of free accommodation at our expense. She would have half-stripped the place, but we calmly said we needed most of the items – which we did. As they bundled themselves out of the door for the last time, she cast an eye at a stained-glass lampshade, one thing we all agreed was beautiful, and opened her mouth. I gave her an 'I dare you' look, and she shut it again. 

And off they went, adults, kids and luggage, practically overflowing his smallish car. It was only mid-morning. I waved goodbye, feeling a little sentimental after all. I told myself that although it hadn't worked out, it had been a noble endeavour, entered into with honourable intentions.

I walked out our front gate – truly ours now – and down the dirt path to the letter-box at the roadside, to fetch the morning paper. I had it open as I walked back, glancing at the headlines, only looking up as I made the little turn into our gate. And I was nearly knocked over.

The whole place was shining – every leaf, every grass-blade: radiant, glowing, golden. The trees were positively beaming at me, absolutely sentient and intentional. It was the concentrated energy that took my breath away, so that I felt I might be knocked over by the sheer force of it. But it was far from aggressive. The place was rejoicing! 

I not so much heard as felt – as something addressed to me by the place and all the natural components of it, individually and collectively – 'NOW we begin!'


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Being a Mentor


Being a mentor myself to others comes in different ways.

In my maturity, several young women who encountered me online have asked me to mentor them. I told each, ‘I’ll do my best. Ask me any questions you like, and meanwhile here are the links to my blogs.’ None has asked a lot of questions, all have asked some. I express an honest opinion when asked, and applaud any good things they do for themselves. I don't feel I have been especially helpful, but they tell me that I am – which I’m glad of – and assure me of their gratitude. I rather think their own willingness to put themselves in the way of learning and growth, actually seeking it out, is as crucial as anything I may say.

Another thing that happens in my life is that I am sometimes given a job to do by the Universe. I know that the Universe is the source of them by the way they come about – and by a sort of feeling I get, an energetic signature which I recognise. (That's too hard to try and describe, and I suspect it’s personal and subjective anyway.) In one sense, I’m always working for the Universe, in everything I do. But there are also these special jobs. They don’t happen all that often, but it’s exciting when they do. Not all of them are mentoring jobs, but some have been.

I think particularly of a seven-year-old boy called Joshua. Andrew and I were renting what had been built as a granny flat over a family home. The house had also become a rental property owned by the same absentee landlord. We’d had the dickens of a time finding a place to rent, after being given notice by our previous landlords whose daughter needed a home. Rentals were hard to find in our area at that time, so it made sense to them to offer her the one they had – which meant we had to go. But where to? It took weeks, but finally the granny flat became available. It was less than ideal, but we were desperate by then. Now I look back and believe it was engineered.

The downstairs tenants, a family with two teenagers and two younger kiddies, were friendly and welcoming. The oldest boy had left school and had a job, but the other children sometimes used to come upstairs and talk to Andrew and me. That's when we first realised how good youngsters are with computers. Andrew couldn’t figure out how to use Photoshop. Joshua asked if he could have a go and, not having encountered it before, had it mastered in a few minutes.

I can’t remember how he learned that I was a witch. Perhaps he heard someone else speculating about it, because I remember him asking me if I was. I answered him with an honest yes, and he immediately asked if I would teach him to do magic.

‘Only if your parents give permission,’ I said. He raced downstairs and came back almost at once. 

‘Dad says OK, as long as you don't teach me any bad magic.’ Then he looked at me with big round blue eyes and said with absolute trust, ‘You wouldn't do that, would you, Rosemary?’

‘Of course I wouldn’t, Joshua,’ I said.

Then I had to figure out what to teach a seven-year-old. What would be useful to him? What could he cope with? 

That was 15 years ago. I don't remember all the details now. I imagine I taught him psychic protection. I know I taught him how to get yes or no answers to questions. I would definitely have taught him how to summon up unconditional love and to work only in that energy. I do recall that we had some great conversations. He was a bright boy, and a beautiful soul.

Then suddenly all sorts of things brought the lessons to an end. There was a cooling between the two sets of adults: Andrew and me on one side, and Joshua's parents on the other – not because of the lessons but due to some differences as neighbours. It wasn't an outright row, but it was harder to be civil and we were no longer pally. 

Then I put my foot through one of the steps up to our flat – old timber, not well maintained – and nearly followed it with my whole body! At least that got some action from the very neglectful estate agent, to whom we had complained several times already, but it did nothing to help us feel happy and settled.

Then the landlord, who lived in England, paid a visit to Australia, inspected his property, and decided he'd like to visit more often and to stay in our flat when he did. This meant he needed to keep it empty, so we were given notice again. 

'Oh well,' I thought, 'I must have taught Joshua everything he needs to know for now.'

In the end, Joshua's family vacated the premises even before we did. They never said why; they were there, and then suddenly, very quickly, gone. Perhaps they had received notice too.

Our whole tenancy of the granny flat lasted only six months.

That's the way of my jobs for the Universe. They arrive in front of me serendipitously, in circumstances which make it easy and almost inevitable that I'll take them on. And they come with a great sense of excitement which makes me want to take them on – so much so that while they last I realise that all the things I usually think my life is about are merely pastimes. Working for the Universe – THAT'S what I live for! 

And then, when a particular job is over, the circumstances that make it possible alter abruptly. The job comes to a sudden stop. It may be days or years before the next one is placed before me. (More usually years.) In the meantime I have my interesting life and absorbing pastimes. And I have the faint memory of that special excitement; the expectation that it is waiting for me again, down the track.

Joshua was a lovely young lad. I'd love to find out some day what became of him, what he's up to. But I never ran across that family again, and I don't expect I shall. I can make a very strong guess that he himself must have some work to do for the Universe, in time. The lessons he had with me must, in some way I can’t know, have helped prepare him.

The Guru

What shall I call her? OK, for reasons of my own I'll label her Laura (which is not her name). I’m planning to say some critical things about her, so I don't want to identify her – even though she’s been dead 15 years or so; and even though some people may think, rightly or wrongly, that they guess.

Looking back, it would be easy to think she was evil – a consummate con-artist. But it was much more complex than that.

A young man I'll call Tim (because it's not his name) was in a spiritual development course with me and others. He took a weekend trip to do another course he'd seen advertised. He came back to Melbourne full of enthusiasm, telling us of the remarkable gifts of the woman leading the course and the wonderful experiences he'd had. Not only that, but he had news that the course leader, she whom I'm calling 'Laura', was soon to move to Melbourne bringing her programs with her. We could hardly wait!

Laura arrived with her family and an entourage of staff and course assistants, rented a large house, found suitable teaching venues, and started promoting her programs. She also offered some individual advisory services with a spiritual slant. Tim introduced us to her and her work. A number of us enrolled enthusiastically. 

My husband Andrew and I did a number of her courses, including one residential long weekend. I have to say we got a lot out of them. She displayed considerable knowledge about healing, and mystical matters in general. She helped her students shift old energy blocks and evolve. But how? Was it through genuine healing ability or was it merely the psychological effect of the things she had us do? (And does that matter anyway if it comes to the same result?)

The exercises we did were active, interactive and full of drama. That is what I most remember now, rather than any particular piece of wisdom or even information.  Or no – wait – there was that prediction she made ... and there was the wisdom from beings who spoke through her.

Laura was a full body channel. She said that her consciousness went off somewhere else while the channelled beings inhabited her body. After she returned to it, she had to rely on other people, plus any recordings that may have been made, to let her know what had been said or done in her absence. 

During her courses some amazing beings channelled through her. One in particular was an ancient Oriental sage and healer: a kindly, wise, humorous and humble soul. When he came into her body, which happened in front of the course participants, it visibly expanded in size. Not hugely of course – though there was one tale of her coming back in to find he'd split her slacks – but you could just see that the energy, and hence the body it inhabited, had expanded. He sometimes used to say, as he came in, 'Now, what is she wearing today?' If that included high heels, he'd wriggle out of them and give his teachings barefoot.

The Sage delivered whole lectures on healing, including some exclusively to Reiki people, which gave us a deeper understanding of that modality. (Laura herself had not learned Reiki.) And he taught other methods of healing, which were valid, practical and demonstrable. Some of them were methods of energy healing, and they certainly worked – not only during those classes but in all the years since, whenever I've had occasion to use them. He also wrote two books during the time I was associated with Laura. That is, he dictated them, when he was using Laura's body, to one of her assistants. They are excellent, wise, beautiful books, which I have always quoted to my Reiki students. I still have my treasured copies. One was published, using Laura's name as the author for legal reasons. The other was photocopied for a select few people, crediting the Sage by name as author. 

Laura channelled many beings, including archangels and ancient Egyptian deities.  At the residential weekend, one evening she had us walk in turn along a short pathway her assistants had created, as a symbol of leaving behind old burdens and limitations and travelling into a new self. We all lined up and traversed the path one by one. Laura – or rather the Sage, who was inhabiting her body at the time – ceremoniously ushered each of us onto the path. As I was coming up for my turn, I heard Laura/Sage say quietly to one of her assistants, 'Raphael's coming in on top of me'. I didn't understand what was meant; then as I was walking the path I heard behind me a huge, booming male voice utter the word, 'ELOHIM!' It reverberated to the rafters of the big hall we were in and echoed around the walls; I nearly left my own body with shock. Archangel Raphael, in Laura's body, then conducted the rest of that exercise. That was the first, and in fact only time I was present when she channelled an Archangel. It was vividly unforgettable.

At the end of one evening's lecture she did some predictions, as herself, for each person present who wanted it. It was a gift to us, and also a demonstration of her skill as a psychic. She asked her husband to blindfold her with a thick black cloth, so that she couldn't see who was in front of her. Her husband beckoned each of the volunteers up on stage in turn, and he wrote down what she said and gave the piece of paper to the person afterwards. Laura was seated. Each person in turn knelt in front of her, and she took their hand and then spoke. This was very similar to the way Ridge had read for me, and was another factor influencing me to read that way in my turn: holding the client's hand, shutting my eyes....

The messages were brief but important, and very specific; it was clear she knew who was in front of her, or that whatever guides were speaking through her knew – if that was what was happening. (This was not full body channelling and she used her own voice, but presumably she was receiving the messages from somewhere.) 

She only addressed one person by name, as part of a spontaneous poem in which she worded that particular reading. The rest of us she identified by accurate labels. Everyone present could recognise that each label applied to that person; but even more, it resonated deeply with the person. She addressed me as 'Weaver of Dreams' – not a bad description of a poet. To me it meant that, and more than that; I knew that whoever was giving me the message had 'got' me. 

On another occasion, during a group exercise, she asked us to please focus extra energy. As a Reiki Master, I used Reiki energy. The way I did this was with visualisation and intention, not by any sound or movement – invisible to the naked eye. But not to Laura and her husband. During the lunch break they remarked to me with surprise and pleasure what a powerful burst of energy I'd sent forth. I was startled to realise they could see it (though it seemed they didn't realise it was specifically Reiki energy). I have occasionally met other people who can see energy, but it's rare. 

A great deal happened in the couple of years I was associated with her. Some things appeared positively miraculous. I’m telling you just a few of my experiences so that you can see I had reason to perceive her as the genuine article, not any kind of fraud or charlatan. Looking back, I still perceive these things as genuine.

But powerfully gifted beings, for all the good they may do, are not always nice people. She presented as charming, delightful, benevolent, as well as wise and gifted. Also she had both aplomb and charisma. And there was another side.

I was of course impressed with her from the start; most people were. I talked about her to people I knew, many of whom were Reiki people, and encouraged them to come to her events. At an early one, when she went around the room asking people how they heard of her, a number said, 'Rosemary'. I saw her looking at me speculatively. She was very nice to me, and spoke to me more as an equal than a student. Then I brought along my Reiki Master, Ann, who was also very impressed and encouraged her students and colleagues to get involved. Laura made a great friend of Ann. In hindsight I believe she assessed correctly that it was Ann, more than me, who was the centre of a large network and would bring new students to her. Many years later, someone who had been one of her assistants told me that in private she not only criticised but ridiculed Ann (who would have been deeply wounded had she known).

A funny little thing happened. Ann asked me why, when I had first taken her to meet Laura, I had not introduced her as my Reiki Master. Actually I had told Laura beforehand that that was who she was to meet. But Ann said Laura had remarked to her that I had not mentioned this. It wasn't said in a nasty way, I was told; it was more that Laura was puzzled. I could only reiterate that I had actually said it; she must have forgotten. Ann remained a little shaken by it for some time. I had great respect for Ann. I gathered there had been some kind of insinuation that I had shown I did not. I look back now and see an attempt to drive a wedge between us, but in the long run that didn't work. 

One friend I introduced, Sheila, was young, shy and naive. She attended some events I was unable to. It never occurred to me that she wouldn't be taken care of. (I had been taught a duty of care to my students, and imagined all teacher-healers would have the same.) The first time Sheila went to an event, it was fine. In fact Laura and several other women greeted her as an old friend, saying, 'We know you,' and claiming past life recollections. But the next time, she was in an exercise that involved going around a circle, looking into people's eyes, and sensing when to move on to the next person – or so I understand; I wasn't there. Sheila told me about it afterwards, in great distress.

She didn't understand the exercise, had never done anything like it before, and kept looking into the first person's eyes, waiting for someone to indicate when she was to move on. The group became very uncomfortable, and eventually someone pulled her away. Then the whole group, with Laura in the lead, accused her of draining the man's energy. She was publicly scolded and humiliated at length, and finally allowed to leave with the command never to return. (I don't think they refunded her money, though.) Not that she would have had any desire to return. She still didn't understand what she had done to incur such punishment, and she was utterly traumatised. 

Now it may be that, on some level, by standing still and gazing into the person's eyes, she had drained him energetically. But she was quite unconscious of it. Not only were Laura and her chief assistants unkind to her to the point of cruelty, they seemed also curiously lacking in perception – especially for people supposed to be highly psychic. I would have thought any fool could see that Sheila was gauche, well-meaning and unaware. I had expected they would help her to gentle awakening. Now I think that, on the contrary, they picked on her BECAUSE she was so vulnerable.

I was indignant at the way they had treated her, but by that time I was having little to do with Laura and her programs. I was very busy with my own life, and also, even before learning of this occurrence, some instinct had me keep her somewhat at a distance. Later I became aware that she sometimes did this public blaming and shaming to other people too. I deduced it was a sort of group bonding – giving them a common enemy.

She evidently became jealous of or threatened by a friend and colleague of mine, Maria. Maria welcomed her to Melbourne, enrolled in several of her courses and brought other clients and students to her. Maria herself was a powerful teacher, channel and healer. It wasn't in her nature to resent Laura or see her as a rival, so she didn't expect that Laura would feel that way towards her. 

Laura began undermining her to other people, accusing her of damaging her clients during energy healings, for instance. Her story was that these people came to her (Laura) in a mess after Maria’s treatments, and she had to work hard to fix the damage done. This certainly didn't fit with my personal experience and observation of Maria's work! Laura also tried to persuade Andrew and me that we should not remain so close to Maria, on the grounds that her energy wasn't quite what it should be. We were flabbergasted.

'She's a very old and close friend,' I said firmly, and Laura had the sense to abandon the attempt. She did it gracefully, as she did all these things, assuring us that she had the greatest respect for Maria, was only speaking from deep concern, etc. Why did no-one take her to task for slandering good people? Somehow she convinced you it was all said with the greatest goodwill. She was so charming and lovely, and so plausible, I repeatedly found myself glossing over such nastiness, not quite seeing it for what it was. 

Even when she bawled me out over the phone one time, I didn't argue, defend myself or hang up in her ear. I remained astonishingly polite, though not obsequious. Andrew and I had put out a newsletter to my Reiki students and gave spare copies to friends involved in energy work. I gave a few to my friends amongst Laura's followers (for that's what they were, followers). One piece of spiritual advice in the newsletter was similar to something Laura taught. She accused me of stealing it and taking all the credit, and told me off for my ‘arrogance’. Actually I had been teaching my version of it before I ever met her, but I couldn't get a word in edgewise, and by the time I could I didn't bother. She was forthrightly angry, to the point of rudeness, whilst claiming it was all said for my own benefit. Afterwards neither us ever referred to the matter again; it was as if the conversation had never happened.

I didn't for a moment let her brainwash me into thinking I was in the wrong. But I allowed her to suppose I was suitably chastened; I didn't challenge her. Why didn't I? It wasn't that I was cowed, though I was very much taken aback. I can only think I was, in some way, charmed – yes, even in that situation.

It became apparent to me in some of her courses that she had training in Ceremonial Magic, and at some point I perceived that she was very good at casting a 'glamour' over herself. That is, in her presence people perceived her as radiantly beautiful – even though we also knew she was overweight, had a big nose, and so on. Sometimes, in the moment, I felt as if I loved her overwhelmingly; when I was not in her presence, I knew that was a great exaggeration.  

As you may have gathered by now, she loved being the centre of attention. She thrived on adulation, and played up to it. From my present perspective, taking everything into consideration, I suspect Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

I am well guarded and guided. As I said, instinct kept me from getting as fully involved as many did, and except for that one time she was always very cordial to me. Andrew and I were not among those she was able to manipulate – largely, I think, because we kept that degree of distance and gradually attended fewer and fewer of her courses; though we did maintain some connection, until right up to the time we left Melbourne.

After that we didn't stay in touch with her, but did hear of her through others from time to time. Some of her students fell away; new ones came. Somehow she got into drugs, but managed to conceal the fact from many people, explaining some of her symptoms as psychic attack by the forces of evil. The symptoms were described to me by someone who witnessed them, and I later found out they were classic symptoms of addiction to a particular drug. 

It was probably her addiction that killed her. She was away from home at the time; no-one was very clear on the details, but it seems she had some kind of seizure or collapse, very quickly lost consciousness and could not be revived. Her husband and three children survived her. Even the youngest child would be an adult by now. I have no idea what became of any of them.

Yet I list her as a mentor too. So why? 

She did teach me some extremely useful things which I never found anywhere else. But also she is a negative mentor for me, showing me what not to do and how not to be. 

One of my friends, who studied with her only briefly and saw through her quickly, once said to me, 'It's a full-on cult!' I replied that if so it was a very small one – but I see that there was cult-like behaviour. The group bonding over savaging a scapegoat, for instance. And the personal aggrandisement of the leader.

She taught me, by bad example, not to fall into the trap of being a guru. It's an innocent word which really only means teacher, but has acquired other connotations, of being exalted and special. That must take a lot of work and energy, I think! I'd rather be loved and admired for real – or not at all. It's not necessary that everyone like me. 

If a student asks me a question, and the truthful answer is, 'I don't know,' I'm happy to say that; I don't think it means there is something wrong with me. Then we can find the answer together.

Though I can stand on my dignity if necessary, I don’t take myself too seriously, and I don’t let students do so either. 

I think I have a better life by remaining humble – honouring myself, certainly, for being willing to do the work I do, whilst remaining conscious that I'm only the instrument of higher powers. I was taught that by both my Reiki Masters: Beth, from whom I learned Levels I and II, and Ann, who trained me as a Reiki Master. Jenette and Ridge, too, were examples of gifted people who remained entirely human, not conceited. Laura was a terrible object lesson on what can happen to someone highly gifted if it all goes to their head. 

Thursday, 2 February 2017

The High Priestess

A new mentor

In the Tarot, the Fool is the human soul on its journey through life, from childhood on. The Empress and Emperor represent the child's earthly mother and father: guides and guardians in all practical matters. The Magician and High Priestess are the spiritual parents, or spiritual mentors. In the beginning most parents fulfil both roles; but then we may experience other spiritual births during a lifetime, with new spiritual guides / guardians showing up as special people who come into our lives.

As I related previously, I had an actual Magician, Ridge, as a mentor, opening the door to what (it would one day become clear) was my personal spiritual path. After he left my life, my High Priestess appeared – although not immediately recognisable in that guise. 

I met Jenette in 1985, in a personal development course called The Forum which we were both enrolled in. (Far from being parental, she was near my own age.) The Forum itself was an important part of my development, opening me up to the perception of life as full of possibility, and to the creative power of our own choices. 

Jenette and I did some of the same follow-up courses too, and started to socialise in a group with several of the other participants. She was a good friend. I particularly remember her, later on after I broke a leg, driving a long way to bring practical assistance such as a long extension cord for the phone (it was before the days of mobile or even cordless phones).

I had begun playing with oracles such as the Runes, and used to carry them with me and try them out on my friends – much the same way as, in my first year of High School, at night I used to study a book on palmistry that someone had given Mum, then next day read all my friends' palms during recess. I was training myself with the help of these willing guinea-pigs.

Jenette was not well-acquainted with oracles then, but was fascinated and sought my counsel often in order to learn more about such phenomena – and, like everyone, in the hope of receiving insights into herself and guidance about her direction.  She once told me she wondered if she might have spirit guides, but if so she was not aware of them. I assured her she must have them. Everybody did, I told her confidently. I think in truth I knew very little more about the matter than she did.

She didn't know how to open up to that aspect of life, and I didn't know how to help her. However in a surprisingly short time she had a dramatic spiritual awakening. It probably seemed a long time to her. She told me that she knew you were supposed to meditate, so that's what she did – and absolutely nothing happened. She persevered and still a whole lot of nothing happened. I think I would have given up!

But she didn't, and eventually some kind of door opened. Then all sorts of things happened, as her 'clair' senses (clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, claircognisance) awakened. That's her story to tell, not mine. Suffice to say that, like so many of us who have that kind of experience, she went through a stage of wondering if she was crazy, then finally surrendered to and accepted her new reality – after which her development accelerated. It became very clear that she did indeed have guides, extremely active ones.

The Andronicus Foundation

She was led to join The Andronicus Foundation, a network of meditation groups. This was formed after a group of Melbourne educators decided to research various channels and psychic mediums to see if there was any truth in their claims. They were convinced pretty quickly when the same beings spoke to them through different people around the country – and not beings that might have been expected, or faked, such as archangels. 

I don't know if the beings they encountered identified themselves as 'higher intelligences' or the educators named them that, but it was what they came to be known as. They were spirits who'd had lives on earth. The main one, who introduced himself as Andronicus, they thought was probably the ancient philosopher, Andronicus of Rhodes. Others did not have famous names, but all were clearly wise and benign. 

Jenette and her husband formed a new meditation group to invite communication with higher intelligences, and asked some friends including me to be part of it. That was the start of six years of extraordinary learning for all of us, being 'trained by Spirit' as we put it. Jenette, who had never done anything like it before, proved to be a very clear channel. Her daughter Kerry, who joined the group some time later, turned out to be another. 

It was not what is known as 'full body channelling' where the person's consciousness totally vacates their body and someone else comes in and speaks through it. Jenette said it felt as if she was the armchair and someone came and sat in her. There was a time-lapse between hearing the message in her head and 'putting it on loudspeaker'. She asked her guides for it to be this way. She wanted to monitor what came through her rather than let in just anything that turned up. We also set up safeguards to allow communication only with beings aligned with unconditional love.

Even those of us who didn't channel received messages and visions. After meditating we shared these with each other. They were individual, subjective experiences but with much overlap of theme and content. To take one very simple instance, on one occasion we all got the giggles before the meditation began; then were told that this had been engineered to lighten us up. Our collective energy had been too heavy for easy communication. 

In the end all of us became able to act as channels, and sometimes did. It took me ages; I found it very confronting. At first I didn't even receive messages. I had suppressed that kind of 'hearing' so hard for so long (since childhood) that the suppressive mechanism took some undoing. Gradually I became aware of messages coming towards me through the ether, then my mind would swat them away, in instantaneous reflex, before they could actually enter my consciousness. I realised I must have been doing that all my life. (What energy and effort it must have taken, albeit on unconscious levels!) I had to learn to breathe, relax, and let the messages in. It wasn't easy and it wasn't quick, but it did finally, gradually happen.

I’ve been doing it for years now, particularly in my own work as a psychic medium. I don't even withdraw enough to be an armchair. People don't always realise I’m channelling. It just sounds like me speaking with my own voice. But I have to keep speaking what I am getting, putting it on loudspeaker as Jenette used to say. Otherwise it stops. If I don't say what I’ve just ‘heard’, I don’t get the next bit.

As well as Andronicus and co, we were contacted by angelic beings, extra-terrestrials, and other spirits (some of whom had had lives on earth, some not). The communication was telepathic, and transcended language. That is, all the minds concerned seemed able to automatically translate the ideas into whatever language they personally used. 

The other Andronicus Foundation meditation groups reported similar experiences.

Mainly, these higher intelligences encouraged us to use our group energies to send love projections for healing and wellbeing to individuals in need, whether our personal friends or public figures – and to whole countries, and the whole planet. These beings added their own energies to ours for this purpose. 

In addition we received information we had not dreamed of, e.g. that some very advanced societies operate as group minds.

For the most part, we gathered, the ETs were far away; in fact had no need to come here in spaceships when they could mind-travel so well. I for one got the impression that some were not only geographically distant but inhabited other dimensions.

Our psychic abilities became heightened during those years, like muscles that are used. Also we were sometimes given specific training. For example, we were asked to spend one week walking around our houses with our eyes shut so as to discover that we could ‘see’ anyway. We did and we could, which was exciting – but I don’t know that I could now; I’ve never tried it since. It was a demonstration of what’s possible, I think, rather than a tool we had specific need for.

We were sometimes asked to send love projections that would take effect in the future, e.g. we were begged to send as much energy as we could to Japan. The beings asking this expressed great distress and compassion for what Japan would face in the future. We know now what they were anticipating, but this was decades before Fukushima and they didn’t go into detail at the time. I can only hope we may have helped alleviate some of the suffering. We'll never really know.

Our group stopped meeting when our individual lives went through such changes that it seemed we had reached a natural stopping-point. We felt it must be time to take our work, and all that we had learned, out into the world in different directions. (I, for one, started Reiki Master training.)

Jennette never wanted to be group leader; she saw it as all of us having equal input. However it was clear to the rest of us that she was the leader because of her innate wisdom, intelligence and commonsense, plus her ability to cut decisively through bullshit. She was spiritually daring, not hidebound by preconceptions or other people’s ideas. At the same time she could be bluntly down-to-earth and was beautifully practical. 

It was she who insisted at the outset that we set up safeguards so as not to bring through anything untrustworthy. And it was usually her insights which made the best sense of our often mind-blowing experiences. She was also the one who gave us direction – e.g for some time we produced the Andronicus Foundation's newsletter (with input from the other groups).

Completions Process

Alongside all this, Jenette privately developed a very efficient process for clearing emotional, psychic and spiritual blocks. It can also be used for past life regression and for removing entity attachments. It came partly from adapting some studies she had done, while much of it was given to her directly from Spirit. The love projections we practised in our meditation groups were an important part of it.

I became one of her guinea-pigs while she was developing it. I benefited greatly on the personal level as well as learning a lot more about the human psyche including my own, and about the other-dimensional Universe.

After some years I trained as a facilitator of the process. I've used it successfully with many people, often in conjunction with Reiki treatments or psychic readings as may be required, and often on its own. It has been invaluable, for myself as well as others.

Other, somewhat similar processes were developed by other people, e.g. Brandon Bays’s Journey process and Phyllis Krystal’s Cutting the Ties That Bind (some of which I have also experienced and even trained in). I still find that Jenette’s process addresses things very thoroughly and deeply. It is now being offered by her daughter Kerry via this website.

This process has had various labels over the years, trying to convey the most accurate description of something so comprehensive. Jenette and Kerry have now settled on Completions Process. That was always the original vision – to get people complete on whatever issue they present with, so they need not find themselves dealing with the same thing repeatedly.

The Master Game

Jenette was then inspired to create a 10-week course: personal development with a spiritual focus. 

A graduate of a number of personal development courses, at that time she was training the assistants on one of them. She took this on as voluntary, unpaid work, but told the Universe she wanted a new career out of it.  Not everyone liked her methods; she was taken to task for being 'too confronting' – and immediately realised that in future she only wanted to play with people who were willing to be 'too confronted'. So the Master Game was born.

Participants attended weekly group sessions and also had ongoing clearings via her process. It was powerful! (I know; I did it.) She didn't tolerate anyone playing small. Participation was by invitation, and she chose people whom she saw as anything but small – bigger than we saw ourselves, as a rule. We got a lot bigger under her tutelage! 

I also did the follow-up course, Master Connections. That was where I met my late third husband, Andrew – a happy side-effect! Twelve months later, Jennette helped us create our marriage ceremony. We had two of them. One was small and private, family only; and legal, conducted by a civil celebrant. The following day we had a huge shindig, with Jenette conducting a beautiful spiritual ceremony enhanced by her sense of theatre (she had been a drama teacher).

Andrew and I moved away from Melbourne after another year, but remained friends with Jenette and her family, reconnecting with them on visits to Melbourne. More than 20 years later, she's still someone I can always call on if necessary for help, advice, healing, whatever, and she'll do her best.

I should mention that she went on to study the colour healing system AuraSoma, became a practitioner and teacher, and for some time produced a newsletter for the Australian AuraSoma people. Again her work benefited me, as a sometime client.

Her interest in colour and her receptiveness to spiritual guidance combined to make her a talented artist late in life – what's known as an intuitive artist. Some of her first pictures were of her chief guides.

Not only has she been instrumental in my life in the ways I've described, she has also been a shining example of a strong, authentic, vital, loving woman. While we have never had a religious connection, so she is not my High Priestess in that strict sense, she does embody for me the Tarot High Priestess – a spiritual teacher in an informal, intuitive, rather than orthodox way; committed to speaking her truth regardless of how it may be received; and a passer-on of messages from the Unseen. I have learned a lot from her, not only in the projects we've engaged in together but also by simply being in conversation. Her sharp mind gets to the guts of things, while from her wise heart she shares her insights freely.

She tends to see herself as 'an ordinary suburban housewife' to whom extraordinary things have happened. It seems to me she has been very much at cause in her life.