Day Five of the Chronicle:
On the Monday (eight months ago)…
Time to seek help…
It begins with a skype conversation with my wife. She’s stunned, sympathetic and supportive. And she says ‘call S. Remember, he works as a spiritual advisor, and he’s a friend.’
He advises on this kind of stuff?
‘Who knows? Find out.’
I promise to do so. In the meantime, I have begun other avenues of potential help…
I had looked to local sources. I had made some calls. I had left an extended message with the local Diocese of the Catholic Church. I had spoken with a spiritualist of the New Age variety. In both instances, I said that I might be possessed. The former didn’t return my call (until weeks later, when the Catholic Church was no longer relevant). The latter said she can’t help me. But she might know someone who can, someone who occasionally works out of a New Age shop in Chinatown. I got the number and made a call, spoke to someone who promised to pass the message on to the person who deals with this kind of stuff. I arranged to drop by when this person was in attendance.
My wife encourages me in all these things. She’s rattled. Understandably so. But then, so am I.
I send a note to S. asking if we could meet up for coffee. We arrange to do so at a café the following evening. In the meantime, I head down to Chinatown and step into a store selling crystals and other paraphernalia. And sitting in an armchair is a woman about my age.
We’ll call this person J. When I walk in she sizes me up, smiles and says hello. When I explain that I’m the one who called and left her a message, she’s surprised. She tells me that I’m very centered, very grounded. We retire to another room and have a conversation. I describe what I’m going through. She says ‘we can fix that.’ She’ll do a remote reading on my house, the bedroom, etc, looking for paranormal presences, and portals. All she needs is my address. She offers me a discount on this service. By this point, if she’d said this’ll cost a thousand bucks, I would probably have agreed anyway. Things are decidedly desperate. But no, about a hundred bucks. Okay, I say, and what else?
Homework. For twenty-one days following the cleansing I am to invoke a ritual prayer every evening. Miss a night and start all over. Burn sweetgrass, read the invocation out loud. And read it like you mean it.
Well, don’t worry about that. Now, is this a succubus?
She shrugs. A ‘negative energy’ suffices for her.
Is it in me?
Doesn’t look like it, but something might be attached to you. It may want in. Don’t invite it in.
She’s very reassuring, very relaxed, very calm and collected. I actually like her. I don’t see a wing-nut. Nothing flakey. We end up having a great conversation about all kinds of things.
Okay … I leave there with some measure of relief. Next up, my café meeting with an old friend S. who just happens to hold a PhD in Religious Studies and works as a Spiritual Advisor. The context of our friendship relates back to a writing workshop I ran about ten years ago, which he and his wife attended. I was aware that S. practiced some form of either Buddhism or Hinduism, that he meditated up to four hours a day, and that I had always liked the guy.
My request to meet up gave no details. Turns out he knew anyway. He was happy enough with the term ‘negative energy,’ and he said ‘don’t worry, we’ll send her away.’ I told him about J. and the ritual and he quickly nodded and said, ‘Yes, absolutely. Any and all help you can get. People may come at this from different angles, different beliefs, but each one has something to offer.’
The ensuing conversation is a massive weight being lifted from my shoulders. As with J. he continually tells me to not worry. He also hints (I see now, in retrospect) that there’s more going on here than just some negative entity paying me nightly visits. We arrange to meet up again in a few days.
In the light of day, I can feel better, more confident that this will get sorted. I now have allies. If in the past I would not have accorded such esoteric beliefs (as propounded by J. and by S.) much credibility, now I humbly acknowledge that I have no choice, that experience is telling me that the universe is not the placid, unidimensional, Cartesian/Newtonian reality we keep telling ourselves is the sum total of existence (and let’s face it, what a presumptuous, arrogant and self-centered notion that is).
But come the night, when I lie in bed alone and dealing with the presence of something other, things remain, shall we say, disconcerting.
S. advised that I fill up my bedroom with holy books of any and all creeds. That I do a clean-up, change the linen, wash everything. He gave me a meditation exercise, a relatively simple mantra (in Japanese), and suggested prostration rituals. He told me that names have power, so invoke them. Jesus, Buddha, The Virgin Mother, Mary Magdalene, the Dalai Lama. I’m on board with that.
But the visitations continue, although in the course of a couple nights, the dark patch and the chills stop coming. I’m still experiencing all the rest.
J. contacts me a few days later to give me her report on the remote cleansing. A few minor poltergeists, a couple minor negative entities, and three portals in the house. She tells me she dismissed the entities and closed the portals. She tells me that my soul is a Visitor, here in this world on sabbatical. Not common but not unique either. She says it’s now time to begin the ritual invocation. Twenty-one days without break.
I do so.
My next meeting with S. is a bit of an eye-opener. Apparently, my energy precedes me into the café, that something’s pouring off me. It makes him very emotional to sit in my presence. Then he tells me that he’s met the negative energy. She’s beautiful, falsely apologetic for any harm she’s caused, treacherous and ‘sticky.’ S. also tells me he brought allies with him for the confrontation and subsequent dismissal, including Ganesh(!). And finally, he smiles and says ‘she’s gone. You can relax. Just make sure to never invite her back. While she’s weak outside of you, if she gets inside, she’s very strong. Don’t let her back in.’
And here’s the thing. She really is. Gone. No dark patches. No chills.
And here’s the other thing. Every night something arrives, sits on me, makes the bed and mattress shake, sends tingling through me, settles weight on me, brushes the back of my head, strokes my neck. And every day something rolls in waves through my body, jumps around inside, lifts me and shoves me internally and just WON’T LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE.
My Panicked Third Meeting with S….
S. is smiling. He seems to be enjoying this. He tells me this: ‘surrender. Utterly. What you are going through is an Awakening. A Kundalini Awakening. And you need to surrender because, guess what? You can’t go back. You. Can’t. Go. Back.’
And this energy bouncing around inside me?
‘That is your chi. It’s unleashed. I can’t sit with you longer than an hour because I simply want to cry, there is so much love pouring off you.’
Huh, I’m making S. high.
So, what am I supposed to do with all this chi, with this Kundalini whatever? And please, can I start paying you for these sessions?
‘No. Not yet. First exercise for you is this: be charitable and kind to people. Random acts of kindness, that sort of thing.’
Well, sure, I often am anyways. But now I’ll do it mindfully. Not a problem. What else?
‘Keep up the meditations and rituals and we’ll see. Above all, relax. Don’t fight it. Don’t fear it. It has work to do.’
The next day I am buying milk from a grocers near my house and take note of a small clinic nearby, offering acupuncture, cranial massage, etc. On a spur I walk in.
Two people are sitting in chairs near the front window. There might be a receptionist behind the desk at the other end of the room but if so I don’t recall her presence. Anyway, in the chairs and looking relaxed, a man and a woman. The woman, L. does acupuncture and cranial massage sessions. The man, M., does … other stuff (I presume, as he doesn’t elaborate).
I sit down and explain to them everything that’s been going on. Everything. By this point I don’t really care what people think. Well, both manage to keep a straight face, so right off the bat I am appreciative. When I describe the energy jumping around inside, this chi, L. says that a session of acupuncture might well help. When I mention Kundalini Awakening, the man, M., gives me the phone number to his old Tai Chi teacher. M. no longer teaches Tai Chi.
I make an appointment with L.