Twenty years ago I wrote Confessions of a Spiritual Thrillseeker: Medicine Teachings from the Grandmothers, a book about apprenticing with and then leaving a teacher who was both shaman and sorcerer. I’ve resisted suggestions that the book be republished. I lived the story a long time ago, was at a very different stage of my life, and have a different perspective now on many things. I also like to think my writing has improved and I have no desire to rewrite the text.
But recently, someone I deeply respect told me how he has lent the book to many folks new to spiritual exploration and that they have found it very helpful for their journeys. Prompted by his urging to consider republishing and moved to think others might find it useful, I decided to take another look. My reservations remain and yet, I find I am not particularly attached to what others might think about either the writing or the struggles and choices of my early thirties. (A friend who knows the book recently commented, “Well, there’s lots of sex in it.” “Yes,” I replied with a somewhat wistful sigh, “that’s because there was lots of sex in those years.”)
I have not finished rereading the book, but I thought I would put a small excerpt on the blog (sorry, no sex in this excerpt.) Not sure why, but when I thought of the book, this was the scene I remembered first. So, here it is. Whatever else the book is, what I can tell you is that the story is true.
So here it is:
Something is terribly wrong. I look around my living room trying to orient myself. Nothing is where it should be. The furniture is gone, the room completely bare. The door to the hallway is on the south side of the room, the fireplace on the north. Everything is a complete mirror image of what it should be.
Immediately I realize what this means: I must be asleep and dreaming. I wonder if I should go upstairs and check to see if my body is still in bed, but I’m afraid to leave the room. There’s something here, something that shouldn't be. I can feel my heart pounding, my breath coming in shallow gasps.
A man I do not recognize enters the room. I know he and I have been married somewhere at sometime in a past I cannot recall. He is concerned for my safety. Before we can speak to each other a dark yellow streak with a dull luminosity enters the room and zooms around our feet. It looks like a tennis ball with a tail—like a miniature, three foot long, dark comet.
“Look out,” the man yells, “he will try to enter your body!”
Paralyzed, I know that whatever this is, I must stay away from it, and I begin to banish, using the words I have been taught by Raven. I’m surprised that despite my fear I am able to remember the words exactly. “I banish, into all eight directions, by the power of Law-Jup, Law-Jup, Law-Jup, Law-Jup, all energies or entities, incarnate or disincarnate, who do not love me or would do me harm to be gone from this place now!” The yellow streak leaves the room, but moments later flies back in,about six inches off the floor.
“Keep banishing, keep banishing! If it enters you it will be impossible to get rid of!” The man is screaming now.
I continue to banish, strengthening my tone and taking care to say the words correctly. Each time I do, the yellow streak circling menacingly around me leaves the room for a minute or two, but returns immediately. My banishing only seems to keep it at bay.
The man leaves the room as I continue to banish and returns with the vacuum cleaner. He plugs it in, turns it on and, holding the hose close to the yellow streak, sucks it into the vacuum, immediately detaching the hose and unplugging the machine. I’m surprised that his strategy worked, but I wonder how long the vacuum can hold this thing.
The man looks at me. “It’s the energy of a dark sorcerer. He’s trying to possess you.”
I nod, watching the vacuum cleaner. It has begun to glow and shake, and I know somehow that whatever this is, it will find a way out. I continue to banish.
Suddenly a glowing, twelve inch wooden ruler, like the ones I used in elementary school but with writing on the back of it that I cannot read, slides noiselessly out of the front of the vacuum and flies straight at me. It hits me in the center of my body, dissolving into my solar plexus and knocking me to the floor. Stunned, I sit on the floor, feeling a warm tingling moving around my navel.
The man is frantic. “Oh, my God, he's done it. Banish! Banish now and don't stop!”
My mind is clear and calm. I know that I have only a few moments to rid myself of this thing in my body. Once it is there for more than two minutes, I know it will be almost impossible to get out without a great deal of help, and may do me permanent damage. I also know it will be useless to continue to banish as I have been doing. I know I must increase my intent and focus, remain calm and gather my will, taking all the time I can to do so. If I rush I will not have the focused energy to be rid of this thing. If I take too long it will be too late. I must take all the time available and not one second more. I must not panic.
I sit and follow my breath into my body, relaxing all my muscles and feeling my weight drop to the floor. I pour all my energy and attention into my words, like focusing the light of the sun beneath a magnifying glass to start a fire. I speak quietly but with force, my tone low.
“All that would do harm, get out! Be gone!”
A murky yellow light streaks from my body and out the door. It’s gone. With a jolt I find myself back in my body, awake, lying in my bed. I can feel heat in my chest and belly. Was any damage done? Sending my attention down into my body, I check it out. Everything seems fine except for a blossoming headache. I touch my belly, my solar plexus and, moving my hand up between my breasts, realize my necklace is gone. I had gone to bed the night before with a silver chain around my neck—a Goddess figure hanging from the chain, arms upraised, holding a round piece of polished, deep-blue lapis lazuli. Now it’s gone. I search the bedding, the bed, the room, but it is not there. I’m disturbed by her disappearance. Somehow it feels connected to the dream, and I wonder what it means.
Excerpt from Confessions of A Spiritual Thrillseeker by Oriah Mountain Dreamer © 1991