Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Confessions Revisted

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


  1. I liked it way back then. I still like it now.

    As I've thought about the question it's been clearer and clearer that rewriting is wrong: you could write a different book but Confessions is a description of how who you were then saw those events. And I suspect a lot of people will be excited to see that. (Even aside from the sex scenes ;-)

  2. Oriah,

    As you are very much in tune with your feelings, I'm sure you'll know and feel if and when you absolutely "need" to republish or not. Good for you that you do not feel attached to the opinions of others. It's your book and your experiences and your life. And that's that.

    I have visited every seminar/coaching-thingy on the planet in the last 10 years and am absolutely amused at how eager I was to learn and get it "right". The one thing I figured out is that it's mostly the same old stuff filled in new colourful bottles and what really matters is that I never loose my sense of humour at laughing about myself and being grateful for the happy moments even when life totally sucks.

    In my opinion you have always been a strong powerful woman and you still are. Sometimes we simply have to live through the darkness (the sorcerer's energy) and accept it and then we can make it go away as well, if we really want to, if we focus on our power, on the good stuff that always happens even if it's small things.

    I guess that you remembered this story from your book was to remind you of your power and that all is possible and you can make it happen. You did it then and you can do it now. Even if you do not publish ;-) You already did it. You lived through the ending of your marriage and all the pain that it involved.

    Re. the sex: I guess if you would not had the wonderful sex you would have not written this wonderful poem (which you put on your older website) about how you made love and how the man next to you was frightened sort of about the power and the longing that you had during making love. I love this poem. Maybe you can re-post that one? Only if you want of course, it's up to you. This poem has touched me so deeply, it is the one that has touched me almost as much as The Invitation. You have so beautifully and artfully written it, that one can feel what you felt while writing it. I long for someone who can treasure the act of making love like you wrote in your poem. It is pure bliss, divine magic reading it, it touches the soul, the heart and the body. THANK YOU!

    Much LOVE,
    Sabine :-)

  3. I would love to read the poem Sabine describes above. I am intrigued...

  4. Oriah,

    As someone who has been attempting to learn, grow, and expand my awareness for many decades, I have had a broad range of energetic experiences - including with a sorcerer.

    I can certainly relate to being hesitant to republish old works, but I would like to say that sharing experiences like the one you did today can be extremely supportive for people that are on a similar path. Energetic intrusion is something that I still struggle with after many years of growth and healing. It is a gift to hear of experiences like the excerpt above because it's supports my belief that genuine power cannot be overtaken and encourages me to continue on my path. Even though you may view some things differently now, truth will shine through.

    Thank you for your posts. You are an inspiration, so I hope you will consider the gift of republishing your work for those of us who may have missed it originally.


  5. Okay, here's the poem Sabine mentions above:

    Fierce Longing

    There are moments
    when making love
    when a door
    to something else
    I am never prepared.
    There is no preparation
    for the way it takes me
    and leaves me.

    Sometimes it is brought
    by a movement of tenderness:
    soft lips that brush my forehead
    and murmur my name
    as the fire burns through
    me making
    my hips rise
    and my blood moan.

    Sometimes it is brought
    by a moment of great courage:
    eyes that dare to meet
    and hold mine as the flood
    of silky amber honey
    takes us both over the edge.

    And sometimes
    it is brought
    by the sting of what is not
    and the memory of
    tenderness and courage
    that has been.

    And when that moment
    catches me
    and tosses me
    I am helpless.
    The words spill
    into the night:
    "I want ... I want ... I want..."

    they leave me
    suspended over the chasm
    of my own bottomless
    for that fleeting something
    I glimpsed
    or imagined
    just beyond.

    Gone before
    I could name it.

    The breath catches
    a strangled sob
    tears me
    opens me
    and I fall back
    eyes wide and
    on damp pillows
    my face
    wet with tears.

    And his eyes
    frightened by the fierceness
    of my longing.

    Oriah Mountain Dreamer © 1995 From Dreams of Desire

  6. I think maybe I'm the only person who has read your work to prefer your first book to everything else! I like it's rawness and questing and not quite sure bits and 'imperfections' and uncertainties and feeling of unfinished stuff and choices to be made. It just felt so raggedly honest to me.
    Take care

  7. Bless you so much for posting it! :-)))
    It touched me then deeply and it still does.


    Lotsa Love & Tons of Hugs,

  8. lately am asking myself are they real? Are they just my deep unconscious expressing itself and it's fears through the images of a culture I have immersed myself in? Or is there truly a spiritual reality similar to that which you describe? I love your acceptance of the mystery in your writings, and I wonder if all of this is truly a mystery that cannot be grasped or understood, how can we know what is real, what is the unconscious, what is symbols and images arising from our world view, what is a true spiritual experience. And then I wonder if we cannot know, is there any value in it all, or is it a distraction from living life daily? I am genuine in my questioning and I would love to hear replies, opinions or answers.

  9. Mureed, I guess we would have to figure out what you mean by "real?" All experiences have some level of reality to them. My dreams are "real dreams" - and the symbols in them are very real to my psyche- and because pysche cannot be separtated (we are mind-body-heart-spirit embodied souls) what happens there will impact my body (heart rate, blood pressure, health) and all other aspects of being. When we ask if something is "real" what we probably mean, is it verifiable by "empirical" standards- ie can someone else share the experience and/or duplicate it. For me, it matters less to determine exactly what level of reality an experience has (is the drug-induced vision real? ) than what we do with that experience- does it change us, teach us, guide us and if so, how? in what direction? Just some of my mulling on your question. O

  10. Wonderful. The making love of non-love making. Making love while walking. While eating. While listening. While speaking. While touching. While feeling. While seeing. While doing the dishes. While angry. Thank you for playing your music on the holeless flute. As I am listening not with my ears and catching the sounds with my hands.

  11. Hi Oriah,

    I did a Google search looking for your book. Speaking from a practical standpoint, there are people discovering the shamanic path, and will be for generations to come, who would like to read your book, but since it is out-of-print, booksellers are charging $100-300 for it! It would be nice for those of us who are beginning this adventure to have access to the book sans the extorted prices.

    Many thanks for all your wonderful words,

    1. Lori, I hear you - I don't get a penny of those horribly inflated prices and I can tell you that it is not worth that kind of money. It's on my list of things to get done :-)