Posted on May 4th, 2013 No comments
The Circle of Life: Confessions of a Mystic Traveler
A fictional novel,
by Andras Miklos Nagy
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are a
product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance
to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.
“You have noticed that everything an Indian does
is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything in it is round….. The Sky is round, and I have heard
that the earth is round like a ball, and so are
all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours….
Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, always coming back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle, from
childhood to childhood, and so it is in
everything where power moves.” Black Elk, medicine man and great warrior.
When I was embarking on writing this book I was also researching about Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way, and how his book embodied the concept of involuntary memories. The involuntary memories that he spoke of were triggered by different experiences like sights, sounds, and smells. These are described throughout parts of his book, In Search of Lost Time. The fact that he remembered eating tea soaked cake as a child was triggered by eating the same as an adult. This memory triggered other memories of his childhood. Proust considered these involuntary memories as certain clues that reminded him of similar incidents as a child.
I had a similar experience which recalled my past life. The timing of such recall coincided with my reaching a certain level on my spiritual journey, and now I believe it was part of my initiation into the mysteries of the universe. I decided to keep mum about my experience; instead I was compelled to write this book of fiction, because what happened to me is deeply personal. Also, for quite some time I thought that I was going mad and my imagination had got the better of me. I admit that there is a VERY lose autobiographical strain in this book but this story is obviously not my life! If there is any similarity it is purely coincidental. I altered places, names and events to develop a pure fictional story. This book’s theme is of a life’s journey with death and rebirth, healing and redemption, with the reoccurrences of the ancient battle between good and evil.
Andras Miklos Nagy 2012, September.
The old man took the elevator to the second floor where the poorly lit corridors held a number of doors with numbers and engraved signs of a notary public, an attorney, several insurance agents and even a private detective. At the end of the hallway the last office’s number was dangling. He stopped and put on his glasses. There was no sign of any kind. He had looked down at a business card he held in his hands. This had to be it. He knocked on the door and waited. Finally, there was some noise behind the door and a voice crackled.
“Come on in, the door is open.”
He has entered and took his hat off. The office was in a state of disarray with papers and books piled up everywhere. The desk had very little room to spare. There was an old laptop computer and a fan sitting on top. Behind the desk a middle aged, bald man smiled and leaned over the desk extending his hand. He managed to knock over the fan.
“Oh, excuse my mess, my secretary is at home sick. You just cannot get good help nowadays. Now, how can I help you dear Sir?” he asked.
The visitor has looked around and sat down in a huge leather chair in front of the desk. He placed his attaché case on his lap.
“My dear Sir, we have talked on the phone and I am here because I’m in need of an excellent ghost writer. Your name was brought up in some circles – highly recommended.”
“Oh, I remember now this is about your memoirs, isn’t it? Oh, no problem at all, I am available, if my compensation is adequate.” he said coyly.
The visitor opened his attaché case and took out a large folder and handed it over to the writer.
“It is all in here. Take it and read it. Next week we shall meet again, God willing and discuss the details. Money is no object. I am willing to pay you well.” he added.
“Now I must be off. Urgent matters, you’d understand, Sir.”
The writer was now alone and he opened up the folder. There were hand written and typed notes, letters and several notebooks inside.
He had put on his reading glasses, opened up one of the notebooks and begun to read.
Chapter 1 Growing up
“Where the Gypsies go look out for the witches” old folk saying.
It was a warm spring day and we were gazing through the wide open window of our flat.
“Yes, duis, trin, sistar, parchen, jol, estér, ostor, nébel, esden”, my grandmother counted from one to ten in the Gypsy language.
I had just learned to count in Romanian, but this sounded like a lot of gibberish to me. I was maybe five or six years of age. My grandmother had very fond memories growing up with the Gypsies on the estate where her father had worked. She was always talking about the Gypsies. My great grandfather was the manager of the estate and the Gypsy’s were day laborers in the fields, working hard. Their kids had played with my grandmother who was also a child at the time. They grew up together.
Our family was quite dysfunctional. I was born after WWII ended, as a late and only child. I was a miracle child; my mom was forty-two when I was born. She had some sort of illness that prevented her carrying her pregnancy to full term. My unborn brothers and sisters were all aborted, thus leaving me an only child, alone in this world. It was all of a sudden illegal to have abortion in Romania, so I was a miracle baby, given the name Mihai.
I had some strange and vivid early childhood quirks, observed and often mimicked by other kids. I was a toddler and the desire to mimic other kids was a total enigma to me, until it was finally erased from my memory. It felt as if I was not comfortable being me. This went on for a couple of years and then suddenly stopped. Indeed, as an old soul in a new body there must be some time to acclimatize, and old facets of the personality must be put on the shelf so to speak for the new to be brought out. Those years were the cusps of the personalities overlapping and changing.
For many years I was left in my grandmother’s care. She was a curious old lady, with impeccable manners. She was never seen angry or upset or ever worried. She had an amazing power of will. She had a very hard life, lost some of her children, lived through some very ugly times – even the great depression, but apparently those harsh events had left very little mark on her. I loved her and she adored me. She told me that in her youth her nickname was Hexe Blonde (Blond Witch in German). I was too small to make anything of it and she never said any more. Only now as I write these pages, have I become cognizant of these very subtle signs that were given and planted into my subconscious seven decades ago. My grandma lived with us and her task was to look after me in my formative years.
My father had an amazing memory and attention to detail, I mused. He made me memorize a page from one of his favorite poetry books, I can’t even recall the title now, but it made no sense to me, and just the smallest slip-up in my recital resulted in a severe beating. And though it made no sense to me, it helped me to find little tricks to improve my memorization skills. This was on top of my normal school work assignments.
All my childhood, I was drawn to nature and the Arts. I loved all animals especially cats. Often just having a piece of paper and some quiet time meant happiness – the pencil in my hand just automatically began moving and created figures of people, women, animals and cars. Others liked my drawing enough to encourage me to do more. My mother, who was a typical housewife with occasional clerical work, knew somebody who was a fine art painter of some reputation and we visited him to seek his opinion.
I was a precocious child; I was often scared in the dark and suffered nightmares. I slept with my mother for comfort, when I was little. My father mocked me and yelled at my mother for it. I was morning person then and still am now. The dawn and morning sun makes me happy. There was always something spiritual about the rising sun. Each day things were always ‘all right’ when the sun, giver of all life, came up.
My mother was a hypochondriac and quite a neurotic person who smothered me with her attention and worrying. She was overprotective of me to such an extent that I was not allowed to get a bicycle because of occurrence of accidences on the busy city streets. All my friends were riding bicycles without any problems. Then there were the issues of my mother’s health issues real and imagined; Ever since I remember she took a very strict non-fat diet because of her digestive system was bothering her. She had a gallbladder stone, which was removed but the symptoms still remained. She always cooked herself and I separate dishes.
I had an amazing sense of the mood of my parents, especially my father’s mood which was often brooding, and in ill temper. I could tell from a distance that my father was in ill mood and I often used this skill to go outside and hide, before he would get home.
Inexplicably, I had weird feelings on occasions in the dark. It was often said that I had an overactive imagination. My parents bickered and fought constantly. My father was an angry grey headed man and bitter, presumably from the stress of his job. Deep down he disliked the way life had turned out in the Ceausescu system, which resulted in vast suffering and starvation under its dictatorship. He was an idealistic communist. Times became less and less idealistic and more brutal for everybody as time passed. The “Comrade” who started out as a well-liked populist figure, at home as well as abroad, had major mental issues. He had a memory like an elephant but his disposition had changed from benevolence to tyranny and terror.
My grandmother never preached or lectured me, and could comfort me without words. She spoke very little but she had a big heart. She was never ill, a constant enigma to my mother…..She never got angry, upset or worried. She was unflappable, had lived through two world wars and God knows what else. I regret that I was so small when she was around and never had the chance to ask her questions. We had spent the summer in our family vacation house on the Black Sea, in the mountains of Transylvania, where we had some relatives. My grandma usually accompanied us to look after me, as my father often had to leave on urgent business. I was running around the garden barefoot because she often hid my shoes. Once I asked her, “Grandma why do you hide my shoes?”, she just said it was good for me to be barefoot, with the morning dew still wet on the grass. “Look, the gypsy children have no shoes either – go and play.”
When I was little she was already in her mid-seventies but she did not look her age – she was always active, we used to walk two miles to the Carol Park.
Grandma lived to be ninety-nine. She passed on when I was eighteen; the doctors had no idea what killed her, presuming it was simply her age. She was bed-ridden and weak, living in a dingy little room in our flat, for about a year, never complaining, not even a word. My mother looked after her, apparently forgiving her that she was so ready to give her up to strangers. Of course I would visit her room but I was filled with the hormones of an eighteen year old, along with such grief and sadness that I didn’t visit with her as often as I should have. I saw her for the last time just a few weeks before she finally died. I was angry at her for clinging on. Why? I suppose I was chiefly angry because she was about to leave me and I could do nothing about it. We were very close. I was never big on saying goodbye, and at one point angrily asked her, with tears in my eyes, “Why can’t you just die?” She never answered, as if she had not heard me, I think she was someplace else. She was not afraid to die, I am sure of that. Now, I often wonder if she was hanging on to pass on her wisdom of life to me. I remained unwise for two decades after her death. By that time I had left home. There were constant and bitter fights with my family and I desperately wanted to have my own life. They disliked my girlfriend and attempted to ban her from visiting our home. That meant no sex, and I had none of it. I was working at that time and even paid rent to my parents.
I can’t remember if I had cried over my grandmother’s passing but I know emotionally it stirred me up. She almost made it to be a centenarian. I have never forgotten her last weeks. She was lying in bed all alone, with no one to talk to. My mother was visibly upset; she had hardly slept during the whole ordeal. Ideally, death should come quick but that of course not our choice. Grandma was an enigma for people who knew her. Even my mother often said that she was just a very mysterious person.
After my grandma’s passing things became a little better for all of us. Eventually, I had moved back home and things were good for a while. We were not a religious family. My father was an atheist but from a Protestant family and my mother’s side were all Orthodox Catholic. By the old custom I inherited my fathers’ name and religion. I was baptized but never received my confirmation. I often wondered what that made me. Officially, I was a Pagan, I suppose. Nobody really cared though as back in those days we were in a Communist country, filled with deeply religious people. Officially, religion was a taboo, a vice like opium, so naturally most of the common people wanted it. It was reverse psychology. My grandmother said that the only important thing in the Bible was the Pater Noster, the one that the Christ had put into words for his own disciples. She also repeatedly chided me, “Child, never want anything in this life, only wish. Your wants may come true and bite you in the behind. Your life was set before you were even conceived.” Back then I had no idea what she meant … now I do. Certainly, she had no attachments. She had five children and when times were very harsh during and after the war there was not enough food on the table. She had two of her daughters, my mother included, sent off to stay in Holland with a loving and charitable family. At one point the Dutch family wanted to adopt the girls and my grandmother said yes, if the girls agreed to it. My mother and her sister were three or four years old, perhaps. Of course they said no. My mother later confessed this to me and how very upset she was for years that her own mother would let her go. Life always comes down to choices, often very difficult ones. If she had been adopted and lived in Holland for the rest of her life I would have never been born. It never happened, yet the intent was there. My grandma had let them choose but she was not attached to anything of this world. People like this are extremely rare. The reality is that nothing can hurt them. They are invincible. No expectations results in no disappointments.
I do not know if she was a real witch or just a mystic seer? She also told me that she had some Greek ancestry. Unfortunately, many things remained hidden as I was just a child when she lived with us. But I do know this – she was one of a kind. Adopting this thinking is hard for the average person, but think about how liberating this actually is. There would be no stress for you to put you into the early grave, if you just “let go and let God”, so to speak – issues will usually get resolved. The more you cling to things the further they move away from you. This lesson escaped my mother; she was very clingy and attached to me and her family. This was perhaps some reverse psychology, unresolved issues within the family and her childhood. She, while aging, became more and more neurotic. Her marriage had also suffered. My father was very hard to live with. He was a hopeless womanizer and frequented the horse races. He also beat me when I was little, quite severely at times. I was pretty bad in school, as I had behavioral issues. Corporal punishment was practiced back then and I suppose my father got the same treatment as a child. My mother never once stopped him from beating on me.
Books and Music
I was a voracious reader. We did not own a television set and even when we got one the programming was very limited. I had read everything fiction, but two books were notable. My father, who was a Russophile, had a huge library on art, philosophy and the antiquities – mostly forbidden, decadent works of art. He forced me to learn Russian, but I always preferred stories of the American West and Indian Wars in America. While turning the pages, my vivid imagination carried me into the forests surrounding the French Anglo wars and life before the United States was formed. I had dreams of icons and strange places with onion domed buildings. Now it is clear to me that I have some past life connection to that part of the indigenous people of North America.
I can say this, many years later when I am putting down these words, it is certain in my mind that we have been lots of different people – good and bad, men and women, straight and gay, ugly and good looking, murderers and spectators to murder alike. So I ask you, how can we sit in judgment over anybody, whether a Jew or Christian, lesbian or thief, communist or capitalist? At one point or another we have been one of them or at least like them.
The Jewel Game
One Christmas, when I was still a school boy, I received a beautiful copy of Rudyard Kipling’s book, Kim, from my dad. He instructed me to read it as soon as possible, because he wanted to discuss certain aspects of the book. I was captivated; I could almost smell the vendors of the street and the crowds in British India where the “Great Game” between the Russians and the English had played out. I was mesmerized with India and the story of Kim, the street urchin, who survived by his own wits. I was taken by the old man from Tibet looking for his river too. I had paid no special attention to the political stuff and spying. I thought that my father may have had an ulterior motive purchasing me this book. One day he sat me down and turned to these pages, handing me the book – “read it” he said:
“…look on them as long as thou wilt, stranger. Count and, if need be, touch. One look is enough for me. When thou hast counted and handled and art sure that thou canst remember them all, I cover them with this paper, and thou must tell over the tally to Lurgan Sahib. I will write mine.”
They contest the game many times, sometimes with jewels, sometimes with odd objects, and sometimes with photographs of people. It is considered a vital part of training in observation; Lurgan says:
“[Do] it many times over till it is done perfectly – for it is worth doing….”
My father placed his hand over the pages wanting me to finish reading, then looked at me and asked, “What do you think this is about?” pointing to the paragraph. I said, “I think this is about memory training, isn’t it?” I replied, hesitantly. My father shook his head and said,
“Not quite, this is about knowing how to look and observe. How you pay attention to things around you. You must force yourself to void all distractions and focus on the most minute details. They may seem insignificant but don’t deceive yourself. Make no mistake, this is the best lesson I can give you. We shall practice this game, except we shall not use jewels but rather the game of chess. We shall play blindfolded. You call out your moves to your mother, a third party, and she shall make the moves for you. You must visualize the board in your mind’s eye. You do not need your eyes to see it but your mind. That is always better, because your eyes can play tricks but your mind often catches the mistakes of the eye.”
I had played chess but never tried it blindfolded. That seemed absurd to me. I thought the game was stupid and my father just wanted to show off. He had the advantage of his elephant like memory. We played this game once a week, sometimes more, for many years. I hated it at first but later I had become good at it. However, it was very seldom that I beat my father at it.
My first girlfriend was a girl from the neighborhood; her name was Raquel, a French name for a Romanian girl. She was very attractive, dirty blond hair with exotic features. Her father was working as an engineer, usually abroad; which was very desirable and attractive in those days. Travel was not allowed to the West, and even to the East it was expensive and curtailed. Here was a father who had lived in Paris, Cuba and God knows where else, and his family were able to visit him and at times even join him. Raquel was well travelled and spoke fluent Spanish and English. Our families were friends and our father’s knew each other, unfortunately seldom living in the same country for long. She liked me but I am not sure if she ever loved me the same way that I loved her. As typical in unequal love affairs, I was totally and madly in love with her. Sadly, after graduating from high school her father got posted to Ecuador for a very long term project and she had to finish her senior high school term there, after which she had a chance to be admitted into medical school. Getting into medical school in Bucharest was very hard but as a transfer student she was certain to gain admission upon her return. This was good for her but devastating to me. After all, youth is selfish.
Throughout my childhood I was drawn to nature and the Russian Composer Scriabin’s music. I was a poor student with mediocre grades, especially in chemistry and math. I excelled in art, literature and history. Our high school curriculum was strong, applying US standards, to prepare us for the basic rudiments of life. Because of my father’s status and connections, I was accepted into the University of Bucharest. By the edict of my father I had to go to medical school but I really wanted to study music. After reading Jung’s “The Workings of the Human Mind”, I chose to study psychiatry. It attracted me and was void of blood, wounds and organs. I had no chance to graduate however because of the events that later unfolded in my life.
I was obsessed and repulsed by sex in my puberty. I hated my body. I was not muscular or well built. In fact, one time a doctor told us that I was also predisposed to weight gain for my later years. I was also suffering from excessive perspiration caused by humidity and sometimes stress. I viewed sex as something crossing a threshold from innocence to maturity. Still, I was not bad to look at as a young male. I had nice, almost effeminate features, with expressive big eyes. I was introverted and shy in my youth. As a toddler, and even before, I had vivid dreams of having exceptional abilities such as flight, even soaring the skies in my reoccurring dream. I was also sensitive to others. I had a keen ability to empathize with people. I could look and tell moods and feelings, and sometimes even thoughts of others. Girls liked me because I was sensitive, not a typical macho boy.
In school after fifth grade we had to learn one other Western language. Depending on our school, we could pick from German, French or English. I picked English, as it was a world language. Fluency in German or French would have been far more practical and useful in Romania, due to the proximity of these nations. What drew me to English of all things? Of course, growing up I loved music particularly Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, they were all English. Now I know, but back in those days we were just kids yearning to wear Levis jeans, generally loving all things western.
After Raquel had left Romania I was devastated but not for long. In the dormitories we had lots of fun times and parties. Girls, western music and drinking were always part of the college scene, perhaps not as much as in America today, but experimenting and excesses are part of maturing and growth. Limitations must be taught by knowing what to avoid and most kids do not believe their elders; peer pressure is hard to overcome. Those were magical times indeed. This was in the early part of the sixties and the world had been hit by the invisible locomotive of the American hippie movement that started in the sixties. This phenomenon did not stop at the US border; it reached Western Europe and even permeated into the east through the not-so-porous iron curtain. As time passed I realized that I had no friends, only superficial relations with either sex. I did not grow roots for some reason, I was a loner, aloof – observer of people and all things around me but all alone.
“…In the magic garden, some were singing, some were dancing
While the midnight moon shone brightly overhead
The stars so gaily glistened and the sphinx in silence listened
To the magician tell of lives that he has led…”
I was in my bed in the dorm room after finishing my studies and having a smoke when I have heard a knocking on the door, I called out, “Come in”, when a little fellow entered and asked me, “Psst, psst, do you want to hear something great?” Kids must share their music, it is part of pop culture, I thought. He continued with excitement in his voice “I have just recorded this number from Uriah Heap. It is called the Magician’s Birthday. Listen…”, he said as he turned on his tape player. And on it went; a very long number with a heavy guitar and drum session singing about the magician in the dark forest. Very English, King Arthurian images were conjured up in those guitar solos and vocals. Thank you little fellow, I never found out who you were but it was great music indeed, now considered a classic.
The music and tone of vocals showed a great drama – a showdown of kind, between the dark and the light. Was it a premonition then? I barely understood the lyrics, but today, as I am writing this I KNOW. You see, I no longer believe in coincidences. Everything is fixed and all things must run their course as Jesus put in the Trial before Pilate scene.
“…I challenge you, I challenge you all
For all you own and all you know
And by all the powers of darkness
I will steal what is mine
Surrender now or face my spite
I catch you, it may be Friday night
But did you know this day also number thirteen…”
Picking up on these threads is nearly impossible at the time when they occur. I realize now that the strange longing to a magical garden, under full moon, indeed had significance, as later events in my life would prove.
The Reluctant Spy
My father was a code breaker and linguist in the Army. After the war was over he had been drawn into the web for the newly formed DIE. It happened like this: One day while on leave he had a chance encounter with an unassuming looking little fellow, with piercing eyes and a strange soft voice.
“Comrade, may I have word with you over a coffee?” he whispered.
So they went inside and sat down at a dark corner table. The man had an attaché case from which he pulled out a folder. Before opening it he sat it down on the table and looked into the eyes of my father.
“What I am about to ask you cannot be repeated to anyone, ever. Do you promise that whatever happens, however you decide to proceed, this conversation will forever remain a secret? Do you promise, no, do you swear an oath to this?” he asked softly.
My father said yes. The little man opened the folder and he stated, “Comrade, we know you are a good communist, with dedication to the cause and gifted with exceptional memory and speak all these languages. We could use a person like you in the service of the NKVD. We are forming a new Romanian service modeled after the Soviet NKVD, it will be called DIE. But, before you answer I must tell you that your life will forever be changed by your decision. If you say no to me now nothing bad will happen to you, you are free to go. But, understand this, if you agree, the privileges and status of your position will bring danger. You can never leave us. If you try and have a change of heart, you might as well kill yourself and your family because if you do not, we most certainly will. By saying yes, you will sell your soul to us. Do you understand? I will give you twenty-four hours to decide, here is a number to call if you say YES, if you say no, there is no need to pick up the phone.” My father told me later that the person was no other than the “prince of darkness”, the nickname of Gheorghe Pintilie, the Head of Romanian NKVD.
Deep down he was a romantic and loved philosophy and poetry. His favorite Romanian poet was Mihai Eminescu, a person I was named after. Before he became a spy, the Securitas and communist literary experts, including my father, had gone through a list of undesirable authors and Eminescu was on the top of their list. In his youth, my father had read most of his publications, now he had to render an expert opinion as to ban it or not. He knew that the decision was already made but secretly he read and reread Eminescu all throughout his life. This must have been killing him inside, but he never showed it. He also had another obsession; this was the mysterious death of Rasputin, the Russian Mystic Monk. Before the communist takeover, my father was a doctorate student in Bucharest Humanities Studies Faculty. Paradoxically, aside from reading Eminescu, he also read Communist classics, like Marx, Engels and Lenin’s voraciously. Possessing a near photographic memory, he could learn a language in a few weeks. Prior to this post in DIE, he was working on translating sensitive documents and breaking ciphers for both sides – the allies and later for the communists.
My father had got into trouble because he was part German and not of peasant or worker stock. Because of his usefulness and anti Nazi activities they had tolerated him with a good position and status, however when the Russians briefly occupied Romania all Saxons and Schwab’s in Transylvania were expelled. Maybe they somehow found out about his love for Eminescu or it was something else we shall never find out – all of the sudden my father had fallen out of favor by the Comrade. That usually meant only one thing. This was in the mid seventies.
Our family’s phone was bugged and my father was occasionally followed. They were trying to build a case against him. Every week it was getting worse but we still had our exit visas and passports. My father knew from experience that this would not last forever. Fortunately he was a relatively minor figure, but getting on Ceausescu’s’ bad side was very dangerous and usually permanent. After lots of sleepless nights and bitter fighting between my parents, my father hastily gathered a suitcase full of official looking documents and told us to pack.
Defection to the West
My father got leave and came home from Italy. Leaving the country as a family was impossible. When my father travelled abroad we were watched and could not get an exit visa. Yugoslavia, however was a Socialist country, and Marshal Tito had a good relationship with Ceausescu so we could go there as a family. We drove the family car along the Adriatic Sea, stopping here and there as we were getting closer to the Italian border, getting more and more nervous. My father drove and even though my mother had a driver’s license but she disliked driving. I was in the back and I knew something serious was taking place. Eventually, we arrived in a little town called Nova Gorizia, in Slovenia. After WWII the town was split between Italy and Yugoslavia. There were areas where the border was somebody’s back yard, and all you had to do was jump a fence. There were guard houses all along the perimeter but no guard was visible. My father parked the car and left the key in the ignition. We gathered our belongings which consisted of just what we could carry and still be able to jump a fence. It was raining. We hid in the shadows and visibility was bad. My father decided that I was to go first. “You are the youngest; you have your life ahead of you. Take this briefcase, in case I cannot make it.”, he whispered, “Now, focus, do not hesitate, go!” I ran as fast as I could until I reached the fence, fortunately, I was in a better shape then and am now. I jumped, landing in a flowerbed of someone’s backyard. With my eyes closed and my heart pumping hard, I waited thinking “What if there are guard dogs?”, and then seconds later, I heard the shots.
I remember waking up at the infirmary of the Italian Carabinieri station; I was still clutching the attaché case my father gave me. They asked me in Italian who I was and what had happened. Italian and Romanian are similar, one can understand most with little training. They explained that they heard the two shots and came searching the area and found me in shock. Episodes such as these happened there regularly. Smugglers and would-be defectors, dissidents came through that part of Italy at regular intervals. Shootings were rare but they had occurred when the people trying to cross refused to stop. “Ciò che è accaduto alla mia famiglia?” I cried out. They told me that they had seen the Yugoslavian border guards and ambulance on the other side, that’s all they could say. Later, the Red Cross told me that my father and mother, both of whom had been shot, had succumb to their wounds in the MilitaryHospital near Rijeka.
Going to America
My father’s briefcase had contained many goodies for the CIA and was summarily whisked to the US. I was given political asylum, a secret identity for a few years and an allowance of money with a house and a car. They tried to get something useful out of me but I knew nothing of any value. They even put me on a lie detector just in case I was hiding something. Of course I passed. I was staying in the Beltway somewhere near WashingtonDC during this time. Eventually they allowed me out to see some sights – the Smithsonian, Georgetown and even the Botanic Gardens, which I loved. It was interesting at first; this was a place with no soul. Automatons, little robots everywhere, with no personality, only a cunning instinct to survive, backstab and get ahead by stepping on others. I expressed a desire to move to New York City but one very friendly young man told me that big cities are out of the question, at least for a few years. After a while I was free to go anywhere, accompanied by a guard, which implied that I was still in some danger. Between the FBI and the CIA I eventually got confused and never knew which one I was talking with. They were essentially cut out of the same cloth, but there were minor differences – the FBI being a little stiffer and the CIA more slick and dangerous. They were unsure if I was on the hit list or not, or at least they would not say. Where was I going to live in this huge country? This was still undecided by the bureaucrats. My strange new life in a new land was about to begin.
Chapter 2 New York
My first few years in America were quite self-indulgent and overcompensating for my repressed, somewhat tortured youth. The USA is a perfect place for self-indulgence, all I needed was money. Initially I felt numb about my parent’s death. I somehow blocked it out, but eventually emotions came to surface – guilt, loneliness and a feeling of despair. I had reoccurring nightmares of my parents being kept alive and nursed to health just to be tortured by the Securitat. In other dreams we all made it and escaped intact, as a family, just to fall apart in our strange new country. I began drinking just to be able to sleep. My government handlers set me up in Omaha, Nebraska, but I eventually told them that even if I got killed, I would not spend a day more in Nebraska and took off. They did not stop me. I traveled around for a while before arriving in New York City. I also enrolled in NYU and took some computer courses, but my main motivation was to meet girls. I met a student there – a hippie chick who was into nature, moonlight skinny dipping, candles and smoking pot. She had an apartment near the Cloisters in WashingtonHeights, a place that we eventually ended up sharing. It was a very rough neighborhood, with a lot of Dominican immigrants and cheap restaurants. In New York I had met others of Romanian heritage, recent immigrants and children of those who had left after the war. My experience with my own countrymen in America was not very good – one time a young couple sold me a car that was a heap of rusted junk. I was naive and uninformed, I knew nothing about cars and they took advantage of that. And then there was this young man, who grew up in America but his parents were from the old country. He was about my age, perhaps even younger. He befriended me and we drove around the five boroughs of New York and New Jersey in his car, making stops along the way. During one of our stops he confided in me that he was delivering pot to his clients. He showed me his trunk and there was a huge bale of pot in it. I was stunned.
“What the Hell, are you dealing pot?” I asked him. “Don’t worry, I am taking full responsibility”, he tried to calm me, “I just needed someone to come along, to watch my back.” I was tall and sported a full beard, but hardly qualified to be his body guard. I never considered myself intimidating but I guess he was not that picky. I was being used to sell drugs, a capital offense, even if it was only marijuana.
I quickly ended our friendship which was hard because he took me around and introduced me to people and occasionally gave me some pot. We parted and I was alone again. Still, I loved New York City; there was always something to do, someplace to go and I managed to find work easily back then. I reinvented myself and wrote a great, but mostly fictitious, resume that said I was a computer programmer in Romania for years. All of the sudden, I had job offers coming in from all directions. I bought some books on various programming languages and read them once – that was it. Now, I was a professional person even though I had never worked a day in my entire life. I dropped out of NYU and joined the workforce.
I had difficulty staying employed. I hated company politics and the backstabbing which came with it, the typical boot licking corporate culture. Initially, as an immigrant, they tried to pay me as little as possible. Moving to different firms would usually secure higher pay. I witnessed how these companies laid off their older workers, right before retirement, and replaced them with people like me or someone else young. I finally decided that since they had no honor or loyalty to people, that I as a person, would show them the same gratitude. No loyalty and no mercy. Whenever I found a useful piece of corporate information, source code or something of a value, I copied it, pinched it or just memorized it. I did not feel any guilt as I was not harming a person, just an impersonal, often ruthless, entity. Other, similar, shark like entities were willing to either pay outright or hire me for a lot more as I was privy to trade secrets that often were useless, but had a perceived value. It was pure greed, by all parties involved. This line of work, of course, took me out of New York. I had to go where opportunity presented itself, zigzagging across the United States, several times from coast-to-coast.
Some of my acquaintances introduced me to the game of poker. At first I played at people’s houses, for nickels and dimes, but as I got better, I wanted more. I went to Atlantic City and on my first trip I cleaned up. I made nearly two thousand dollars playing Texas Holdem. I found that I had a great instinct for reading people’s faces and sometimes even their minds. I could tell if they had made a draw on the turn or afterwards. I folded second best hands; I did not care about the money – it was the challenge of being right and seeing how often my hunches were correct. Eventually I stopped the computer work altogether and turned my ambition to poker and other games. I also discovered that focusing on a certain card in my mind, picturing it perfectly, as if it was real, that the very same card would sometimes come up. Initially I had some difficulties picturing something with my eyes open, but I practiced this day and night. Then one day while visualizing the card that I needed to make a perfect hand, I whispered its name, “Eight of spades”. The dealer turned over the next card and it was the eight of spades! I could not believe it. I was pretty sure that it was a coincidence but still very happy. Then it started happening more and more frequently. It did not always work but when I was well rested and in a good, positive mood, with a clear head, it worked more often than not. I did not play too much, as I did not want to draw attention to myself, only playing and winning enough to cover my basic needs.
All the travelling and unstructured lifestyle that I had been living did not help, but rather exacerbated the general malaise I had felt – deep down inside, at the core of my being, there was this need for companionship and an utterly lonely feeling.
Lady, the English Teacher
Lady was my guide to art and culture in America. She liked me because I was from Eastern Europe, as was her family once upon a time. She was an Ashkenazi Jew and had lots of spunk. She was very literate and well rounded. Lady was older than me, but at that point I did not care. I needed a serious woman with some depth and refinement. Lady lived in a big house just outside of Binghamton, in a place called Smithville Flats, where she raised her four kids by herself. Not long after we met I had stayed with her after the long drive from New York City, returning to my town a few days later. I finally felt like I had a home, even though it was only for a few days. After years of wandering in the cold, I felt the warmth of a family. It amazed me how and why she drove her husband away whom she had four children with. The dynamics of her separation were mystifying.
Once a week, I drove up to Binghamton to her class. It was quite a drive, as I was still living in Manhattan, with my hippie-chick girlfriend. By this time I was speaking English near fluently. Nobody had any problem understanding me. I just wanted some deeper human interaction. Her class was fun; there were all sorts of misfits in it, some from South America, some from Europe and others from Asia. Albeit marginal and rather superficial, I had various acquaintances. Many girls that I dated were one night stands, from the casinos or parties that we had, where we would listen to music and smoke pot. My roommate the Hippie Chick was constantly nagging me. She wanted me to support her and wanted a relationship more than I was willing to offer.
Lady kept a kosher home, which meant that she had separate dishes for everything, even separate utensils. She was not particularly religious but she liked traditions. Her brother, who was living in town, was some sort of a mystic scholar of the Kabbalah.
Her dish cabinet, a huge antique piece, segregated everything it stored, keeping all items used for dairy separate from those used for meat products. Obviously, pork products and certain shellfish were banished from the home. Her kosher lifestyle, however, never stopped us from going out for Chinese, but always brought about a debate of what could be brought home when we had leftovers. Often we ordered Moo-shu pork or scallops, clearly non-kosher dishes.
I brought up my plight with Lady. “I am seriously thinking of moving out of the city. I could stay here and help you with the mortgage.”, I said coyly. “My neighborhood is too rough, the Dominicans are mugging people on the street daily, even in broad daylight”, I added for the dramatic effect. “Did you get mugged?” Lady asked, looking somewhat concerned. “Well, not me personally, but I do not feel all that safe anymore and the shopping there is impossible. The nearby grocery store clerks speak no English; they are slow thinking, imbeciles.” I emphasized. “You know, I always carry a lot of cash around”, I added. This was true because it was my habit from playing poker, despising credit cards and the IRS to hold onto my cash. I never put my poker winnings into the bank; instead I kept them in a shoebox.
Finally, after some consideration, I said good-bye to New York City. It was not that hard parting, because Lady had lots of relatives there. By the time I moved, my car had been broken into at least five times in WashingtonHeights. I did not dare to park on the streets anymore. Instead I would keep my car on the other side of the GeorgeWashingtonBridge, in New Jersey.
She was putting away the kid’s laundry, folding it neatly and putting it into the drawers. “Let’s go out to eat, it is my treat” I said, “We can bring something back for the kids too.” Lady loved eating out; it liberated her from cooking for the kids and doing the dishes. I wanted to soften her up about my plans of ditching the hippie and moving in with her. I knew she needed the extra money. I would pay her rent, which would be a huge help, since her ex-husband was always late with the child support, if he sent any at all. Her poor kids hardly ever saw their real father. He had moved to New Hampshire and later to Los Angeles. He never even bothered to pick up the phone to call them. He had some new kids of his own, I gathered.
We sat down for dinner at the Red Lobster and ordered some drinks and appetizers. “What about the floozy you are living with now?” she asked me directly, while studying my reaction. I was not prepared for this direct approach and I wanted to control the chain of words but I realized that I had dropped the ball. My girlfriend never once asked me to move out or break up with her, and Lady did not seem to care or mind, which was fine with me, but now I had to tread in dangerous territories, filled with concepts such as commitment, a relationship and living with four kids. I really liked her kids, they were independent and self-reliant, and they had each other and a decent life. Only one thing was missing, that was their father. The three girls were taking this differently from the boy, who desperately needed a father figure – and I was not a very good one. “Do I really want to get myself mixed up in this?” I asked myself, slipping off into deep thought, when her hand grabbed my shoulder. “Hello. Earth to Mihai. Did you not hear what I have asked?” Lady questioned me, stirring me out of my daydream. I quickly blurted out, “She and I are only together because it is impossible to find a place in Manhattan, but you already know that!”
“I have spoken with her already and she is fine with it.” I lied. The truth was that I meant to speak with the hippie chick but I could never bring myself around to actually doing so. “Lady, you need a man around the house, and I can help you. Who will fix the garbage disposal if I am not around?” I asked her. She smiled, “How did I ever get along before you came into my life?” she asked mocking me. “Fine, if you want to move in it is all right but you cannot smoke pot in my house and must pay me for your share of the house. Do you promise you won’t smoke pot? My kids do not need that.” “I promise.” I said.
It was fall again. The humid, muggy summer was finally over and the leaves were changing. This was my favorite time in New York. We were driving along the Palisades Interstate towards West Point. This was a very romantic drive; we were visiting the city and had decided to take a little detour on the way back home. Lady’s kids were at home - two of the girls were old enough to look after the house and the little ones too. They did so begrudgingly, so offering them money always helped. I was thinking how life great was. I was on top of the world. I did not have to deal with the monotonous and soul killing nine-to-five and now I had a family. What could be better than this? I was truly happy for the first time in all of the years passed, since leaving Europe. I told Lady about my family, of course, I omitted a few details that no one needed to know. One time I had shown her a picture of my father, and she commented, “Your father appears to be a very serious man, almost morose. He looks as if he could have been a guard in Auschwitz.” she said half-jokingly after closely examining the photograph. I was very quick to have assured her that he was not – thinking to myself, how the Nazis and the Communists were soul-mates in killing the human dream. This was precisely why they hated each other so much; they were in a competition of evil.
Those Mystical Cats
Lady had two cats. One was a short haired black cat, called Spooky, and the other was a long haired older cat, name Winky, as she was constantly ‘winking’ with one bad eye. Having cats around me made me very happy; the children also liked to play with them. I had always wanted cats back in Romania but I could not have one because, among other neuroses, my mother was a germ phobic. One time, Spooky, who for some reason was never fixed, had a litter of six little kittens in the attic of the house. There was a huge closet filled with junk and girls clothes up there. Spooky thought this was the best place for having her babies and she moved right in. So at one point we had a bunch of kittens in the house. What a joy and a mess this caused. We had to give away all of her kittens, as Lady did not want to have more than two. Her brother Simon got one. A few months after he adopted the cat we visited him the first time. He was an older looking studious fellow with a beard, thick glasses and gray hair. He asked me about a lot of things but his main interest was my memory and gambling. Lady must have told him a lot about me because he seemed to know an awful lot.
“Do you believe in luck?” asked Simon. He already knew about my successes in the card rooms and casinos, and the only thing that came to mind was a platitude, common in my poker circle of ‘friends’. “Lady Luck is a fickle bitch and her name is Karma.” I finally said, not knowing what to make of this line if inquiry. “So do you believe in karma, then?” he pried. I had very cursory understanding of what karma meant. “I do not believe in luck only in skill, the power of the mind.” I blurted out, ignoring his question. This was something I had recently seen in an old bookstore. The book’s title was Mind Power, the Secret of Mental Magic. I did not read it, just opened it and put it down when I was looking for books on poker and chess strategies. “What do you know about the power of the mind? I guess you know a little as you’re a natural, aren’t you?” he asked me smiling. “Now let’s play some chess, I’ve heard you are good.” he smiled opening up his wooden chess set. We played and made small talk, I was a good chess player but he was my match.
Occasionally I drove the kids to HebrewSchool, even attending some of the services. I was not particularly interested in Judaism but I wanted to know what Lady’s brother knew. He seemed so well balanced and happy. Where did Simon get his peace of mind? I was curious.
“You know that my brother was in jail?” she asked me. I did not know, of course. He was a young man, but he had prematurely grayed, his hair and beard almost white. She told me how he was accused of taking bribes. He was a probations officer and only accepted some small gifts; all of the probation officers were guilty of this, and he did not want to alienate the people and their communities he was closely working with, so he accepted certain gifts. Apparently while in jail he had read some spiritual books on magic and Kabbalah and those books changed him forever. After his release he took his small inheritance and began travelling the world – he traveled to Israel, Turkey, Egypt and India. He wandered around for a year. When he returned to the US he discovered finding work was hard for him but inexplicably he always somehow managed. He started writing and painting pictures that were in some demand. “What books did he read?” I asked. “They were some books by Franz Bardon.” she said. “I do not know anything about his obsession with mysticism, but it seems it had done him good.” she added.
Next time I met Simon, I had asked him outright, “Who is Franz Bardon, is he Jewish?” I asked, slightly embarrassed. “Do you think I should read his books?” I asked without waiting his response. Studying me, his eyes met mine and he finally he said, “Bardon is very difficult, do not bother with it. It is not only reading but a series of exercises as well. You have to be very disciplined and never advance with his writing until you completely master the steps you begin with. Otherwise you can do serious damage to yourself.”
This was not what I wanted to hear. “Are you saying this because I am not Jewish?” I questioned him. “No, not at all. The Kabbalah I study and practice is not only for Jewish people but it’s everybody’s birthright, except you must know yourself first! You must engage in a series of self-examinations and tally up your good and negative attributes, and then you must strive to improve your character. Without doing that you will never reach your goal and never successfully master Bardon. You can read his books but be careful with the exercises. Also, never go beyond the first volume before you completely finish and master it. I would lend you my copies if this was any other subject like sports or chess, but with the Kabbalah, you do not lend books! If you aspire to learn, the first step of commitment is to purchase the volume one ONLY! The title is Initiation into the Hermetics.” he said.
I decided to brush up my German and purchased the original book. Ignoring Simon’s advice I bought all the three volumes from a New York City antiquarian’s shop. I also began reading volume three, Der Schlüssel zur wahren Kabbalah but it made absolutely no sense to me. I guessed Simon was right, I was not yet ready to understand these mysteries. My German vocabulary was good but the ideas and concepts were beyond me, though I was very serious about learning more. I found the first exercises easy as I was thirsty for knowledge. Deep down I felt that the demons I was struggling with were only to be conquered with the help of spirituality and esoteric knowledge.
I went home with mixed emotions. The first volume was not about the Kabbalah at all, it was a series of mental exercises which seemed easy enough for me because of my strong imagination and visualization skills. This also opened my eyes as to why I was so successful with my poker play. On the other hand I did not know what to make of certain concepts such as fluids and elements. The books were written in crisp Teutonic German and there were two translations.
Bardon’s first book, Der Weg zum Wahren Adepten had an interesting paragraph on the magic of ritualistic bathing. This ritual was in many of the world’s religions and it had a profound affect on me. It stated that bathing and eating should always be conscious acts, and when bathing we should imagine all of our negativity and illnesses being washed away. Similarly, while eating food, we should never do so in haste and while chewing we should visualize the nutrients and elements passing through our bodies, as they build and store energy in positive ways. I instantly adopted this concept and started using it every day.
I met a small group of other Bardonian aspirants in Greenwich Village, and they told me that there is a certain level, below the aspirant, that would not get the essence of his teachings, based on their karmic account, so to speak. They explained that karma is an accumulation of my deeds, good and bad. I guess in my case there were just too many negative karmic deeds and they were holding me back. I had never heard of karma, so I pretended to understand them and hastily went home to Smithville Flats.
I went directly to Simon where I had beer privileges. This meant I could come by anytime, as long as I brought a six pack of Clausthaler, a non-alcoholic beer, with me. Simon never touched alcohol but he liked the taste of beer. I knocked on his door, holding the beer in my hand. “Hello Simon, I hope I am not disturbing you.” I said. “Come on in” he said, seeing the Clausthaler. We sat down in the kitchen.
“Do you want to play some chess?” Simon asked while getting two tall glasses. I was in no mood to play; I had too many things on my mind. I just shook my head to indicate no.
“Simon, what is karma?” I asked. He was looking for some munchies but he stopped and sat down. “Karma is not a punishment; this is the first thing you must get into your head.
It is nature’s balance of action-reaction. You rob a bank, you will go to jail – this is instant karma, or you live your life in a selfish, trifle way, karma will come back to you and you will get what you meted out. This could be now or in your next life.” he said, pausing. “With the law of karma there is also the law of reincarnation, the transmigration of souls. Have you ever seriously considered what will happen to you after you die?” he asked.
As I was twenty-four, death had never seriously entered my mind, except the death of my parents and the reason I was spared. Often, I wished I was dead, because loneliness was worse than death. I initially thought when we die there is nothingness, like in a sleep state when we are without a dream. Eternal Heaven seemed pointless and without philosophical congruence and without achieving the ultimate human refinement. I thought the average, animalistic type of man would feel very out of place in Heaven. As for Hell, what kind of a loving God would devise such a place? Hell was already here on earth for some people.
“Do you believe in God, Simon?” I asked. “You just left the easy question for the last?” he said jokingly.” According to the Kabbalah, God is an eternal light, not a person such as the Abrahamic God.” said Simon. He then explained the basics of the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life, the Zohar and the peculiarity of Hebrew alphabet. He told me how he had studied both the Jewish Kabbalah and the Western Kabbalah in tandem.
“I guess the Jewish Kabbalists have a better grasp on how they express creation – Briah as the eternal act and formation, Yetzirah, as the temporal reenactment of Briah. Kabbalah views God as infinity, not a person or a spirit. It transcends all the speculation and guesswork part of humanity. We shall never understand God, because we are finite, our mind is finite.” he said passionately. I was speechless; this was too much information all at once. “Do you see why driving my sister’s kids to Hebrew school is so important? You are a nice person when you do this for them. Do not be too hard on yourself.” he added. Finally, indicating that he wished to speak no more about serious subjects, he said, “You have to form your own ideas about these things, do not take my word! As a Kabbalah scholar and mystic, I happen to believe in karma and reincarnation but many people do not.”
We spoke no more of karma and we drank some beer and played chess anyway. Later we ordered a pizza, ate and I went home. That night I was restless as this was a lot of information to digest. Simon certainly had a good philosophy about him. It made him happy. He lived alone but he never seemed to mind it. Maybe he was content with himself, I thought, because he lacked the flaws I had. I did not like being alone because I did not have a good opinion about myself. I was a scoundrel, a thief, a gambler, a womanizer and a man without a job or any good prospects of one. I did not see him again. Lady said that he went back to Israel to live in a Kibbutz where he could do his art away from the material distractions of America.
After Simon left I was miserable. There was so much I wanted to ask him and the void he left was huge. I asked Lady why he could not come back and why it was so important to go to Israel. “Everybody has to follow his bliss in life, not following IT, is a clear invitation for misery and disappointment in your life.” She said prophetically. “Simon’s path is in Israel. Go after him if you miss him so much”, she said coldly. I guess my infatuation with her brother was not very flattering to her personally. After this our relationship began to gradually cool. We were coming apart as a couple, she had her interests and I had mine. My newly found interest seemed to override all that she was about and we had nothing in common. She had a job that she liked and her four kids. I was there providing some sort of a male figure around and to have sex with. My eyes were opening up with new possibilities. I had a vision of a world beyond this visible one, like a mirage in the dessert – something that is there but not quite there at the same time. I was fascinated with my new-found spirituality. I quickly read and reread Bardon’s biographical novel, Frabato the Magician. I must have read that book a dozen times, until the cheap binding began to completely come apart.
I was back in the card rooms but apparently had lost my ability to conjure up cards when needed. After realizing that what I was doing, visualizing the cards, was in fact some sort of magic, my power of conjuring up cards at will slowly began to dissipate. It must have been a natural talent but realizing that somehow, inexplicably also made my skill vanish. I was getting scared; I used to have a steady stream of income from playing cards. Now my bankroll was getting smaller by the day. I could play when the table was weak – I still made money but this was much harder, grinding and boring work. Playing for low limits with tourists and degenerate gamblers, who would call any bet, regardless of the predictable outcome, easily parting with their money was discomforting. I was in a crisis – both spiritually and fiscally. Why did I lose my mojo? Would I ever get it back? In the fictional biography, Frabato, Bardon performed amazing things on the stage, illusions that the audience thought were stage acts, by slight of hand, but Bardon was doing the real thing, bending the fabric of reality!
I wanted to do all those things too. I wanted my mojo back, multiplied. “If this means I must change inside then I will!” I said out loud while driving. But changing myself also meant changing my environment. I was restless, wanted to see new horizons, breathe different air, and see different people. Smithville Flats all of the sudden began to suffocate me. “Should I move back to the city?” I wondered.
I had decided to get a job in IT but there was nothing around New York at that time, or at least I had no luck finding prospects. I contacted a few agencies in the city that specialized in computer work for temporary assignments. They said they have jobs on the west coast and I would be a good match for several; they would hire me on the spot if I relocated. I said yes without even thinking what that would mean. I was given two-weeks to move to San Francisco and report there. I had not accumulated much, so I didn’t have too many belongings. I did not want to leave New York, but Simon had gone. I knew I would miss the kids and even miss Lady but our paths were very different now. I had come to a fork in the road and had to make a choice and live by it like a man. “Lady, I have something to tell you. I have received a job offer in San Francisco. I have decided to take it, so it seems we must say good-bye and part ways.” I said quietly, not knowing what to expect. “When do you have to be there?” she asked, stone faced. “In two weeks time, I have some time yet.” I said.
“Pack up your things and go right away. I do not want you around anymore.” She said calmly.
We did not talk after this. The next day I spent packing and organizing the few belongings that I did have. Lady went to work. I packed my car, gave away things that would not fit and drove into the sunset. She did not come home early on purpose. We both hated good-byes but one door closing meant a new door opening for me.
I stopped on a road outside of WashingtonDC and got a room at a Motel 6. I took a long, cold shower, imagining that it was washing away my sins – I did not dream that night.
Chapter 3 Poker
Driving across the United States for the first time was interesting. I was constantly expecting something different, so I kept pushing forward, not stopping too often. Of course, when I reached Washington, DC I had to stop, just to see some of the sights and be able to say I had been there. Driving around the beltway was maddening; there was heavy traffic even after rush hour. I thought of calling my contacts in the FBI but eventually changed my mind – it would be better they forgot me forever. I spent the whole day touring around the capital and Richmond, and decided to spend the night in Virginia Beach. I had always enjoyed being close to the water, so this was a treat for me.
Rising early the next morning I said goodbye to Virginia Beach and began to drive westward. Thanks to Lady’s prodding I had lots of time. I figured three days of driving across the mainland would be sufficient time to reach Las Vegas and then Los Angeles, where I would head north, towards the San FranciscoBay. It was late fall, so I decided to take the southern route, avoiding the Colorado Rockies, driving across Arizona and New Mexico instead.
One night I stayed near Memphis, at a casino where I lost considerably playing poker. Lying in my bed, after a short but restful sleep, I stared at the ceiling. Trying not to agonize too much over the monetary loss, I tried to focus, instead, on my new job in California, though, admittedly, I did have great concern over losing my mental magic.
Why and, more precisely, why now, were these questions of my ability again surfacing in my mind? It was puzzling to experience something supernatural, which was a paradox, since having these abilities seemed natural to me and not something beyond this world, yet, LOSING them felt like a cruel act of fate. I never asked for this ability, it just came as a result of my father’s visualization training while playing blind chess. Deep down in my conscience the thought of using these abilities for gambling gave me a negative feeling. No matter how many times I tried to shoo these thoughts away, the idea was burrowed deep in my mind, like a worm burrowing around and growing. Finally, I had an epiphany and KNEW that using my abilities to self serve for such trifle acts like making petty cash wasn’t right. I also realized that it had been taken away from me because of the law of karma, something Simon had foretold me; I just did not see it at the time. This unexpected and sudden realization brought me peace. Realizing that I was still very tired, I drifted back to sleep.
I dreamt like I did when I was a child. I could somehow fly, and I was flying across the United States like an eagle. Soaring high above the clear skies, looking down with supernatural vision, I could see everything down below – people, farms, animals and highways. I was flying westward toward my real destination, across the mountains of Appalachia, the hill country in central Texas, the plains and deserts of Arizona and New Mexico. All of a sudden I noticed my car driving on the highway toward Sedona, New Mexico. I wanted to take a closer look, so I swooped down from the heights and circled around it. I noticed that there were passengers in the car with me, a young woman who appeared to either be my wife or a girlfriend, and in the back, a child seat, where a beautiful little girl sat, looking out the window, all buckled up. She was about four or five years old. The young woman was preparing some snacks for her. My heart was filled with joy; the idea of having a family filled all of my being with peace and tranquility. I wanted to abandon my dream flight and get in the car with my family so I could hug them and tell them how much I love them.
With that feeling I woke up, rested and very happy. From my toes to the top of my head I was consumed with a fuzzy, intoxicating warmth. I knew what I must do now, find a woman and settle down. I would somehow establish a family and have someone to be responsible for, whom, in turn, would care about me. In a hurry, I quickly got dressed. I wanted this long trip to be over so I could get an apartment, start dating and make a new life for myself.
From that morning on I was driving twelve or thirteen hours a day, only stopping when I got very uncomfortable and needed to stretch my legs or use the restroom. I ate my meals while driving, not wanting to waste time consuming sit-down meals. I had visited California before but never stayed long enough to get a good feel for it. I had heard of California’s reputation, from the technology angle of Silicon Valley and the arts and entertainment of Los Angeles. All of my favorite movies, that I watched while growing up, were created in Hollywood. I knew that it was a populous state with lots of single people, blond women, beautiful scenery and great weather.
I finally arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada. Exhausted from driving and the monotonous sceneries, I had to stop and rest for a few days. I wanted to rest a little and gamble for a bit. There were satellite tournaments being conducted for the upcoming World Series of Poker at the Binion’s Horseshoe Casino. There were actually tournaments conducted all over the Las Vegas strip, where the contestant could win the ten-thousand dollar entry fee for the No Limit Texas Holdem tournament. I had made up my mind to leave my gambling days behind me and save my money, but this was too tempting and my resolve was weak. So, I entered a tournament. Waiting in the lounge for the contest to start, my eyes settled on an attractive blond woman. Our eyes met and we exchanged smiles.
“Hi, my name is Irene. Are you in the tournament, too?” she asked quizzically. I was not an egotistical player but her tone put me off. After a short pause, I collected myself and blurted out, “Yes, I am a professional poker player from New York, my name is Mihai. I am not a tournament player; I play mainly for cash, but in this case, I am trying my luck to win the entry fee for the final table.” “Oh, you are a professional player.” she said with admiration. “Mihai, that is an interesting name. You do not have a New York accent. Where are you from, originally?” she asked. “I was born in Transylvania.” I lied with a smile, continuing, “Do you know where that is?” And, without pause I warned her, “But you do not need to worry about me, it is still daylight out there.” I added grinning to show my pearly white teeth.
“So you are Romanian?” Irene asked, ignoring my vampire joke. “Yes, technically I am. I live in the U.S. and need one more year to get my U.S. citizenship. I am moving to California.” I added.
The tournament was about to start and we got our seating assignments; we were seated at different tables, which I took as a good omen, as she unsettled me with her chemically attractive way. There was something about her that would make me play cards stupidily, I noted to myself. She handed me her card. “I must go to my table now, if you are ever in San Francisco, call me.” she said parting. I looked at her card; it had her name and a phone number on it, nothing else. I got busted out of the tournament quite early. Irene was still playing at the other table when I got up and quickly left the room. I did not want her to see me busted out. I stayed in Vegas one more night. Before heading off to Los Angeles, I went to see a show and ate at the Paris Buffet.
After about four hours of driving, I finally arrived at OrangeCounty. I wanted to find a quiet place to rest before I headed out the next morning. I got a quiet room facing the ocean, at the Hotel Beachcomber, in San Clemente. I opened the windows. The clear ocean breeze circulated my room. It was Heavenly; in the air there was a light salty smell of crustaceans, among a backdrop of the waves gently crashing into the cliffs, surrounded by the sandy beach.
An incredible feeling came over me. I was nearly broke, far away from my friends and the familiarity of New York but none of that seemed to matter. The ocean calmed my nerves, and I instinctively knew that everything was going to be alright. I had nothing to worry about. To take my mind away from gambling, my finances and Irene, I unpacked my books and started reading my German copy of Franz Bardon’s, Initiation into Hermetics. The book lacked the theoretical and philosophical fluff that other magic books are usually filled with. Instead, it contained practical exercises for the body, soul and spirit. I promised myself that from this day on I would practice the exercises in my book as prescribed, and adhere to the guidance and advice it contained. One chapter in the book calls for making a list, in full detail, with the utmost honesty and openness, of negative and positive personality traits; nothing should be left out or omitted. After the list is complete, Bardon instructs his readers to make the utmost effort to concentrate and correct their negative traits, with the most negative trait being lack of self examination and self knowledge. Without strong character and altruistic motivation the course simply cannot be completed. This failsafe mechanism of sorting out the undesirable has been built into the Hermetic Philosophy and pursuit by divine providence.
I still had almost a week before I had to report for my new job, but decided to be there earlier to play it safe. I was tired of being on the road and living out of my car and suitcases. I stopped briefly at VeniceBeach and Santa Monica. VeniceBeach was very interesting with colorful characters and artists. Apparently it had a long history of counter culture, as a hotbed of creativity, with some very notable musicians and artists living there.
I chose to take the scenic route north, which meant staying on highway 1 or 101 as long as possible. The scenic drive, with the ocean and rocky coastal line, liberated my soul. I was elated, listening to music in the car and singing along with the tunes, only stopping briefly in Carmel, Santa Cruz along the way. Finally, as I was approaching San Francisco, I saw fog drifting inland from the ocean. The temperature had dropped considerably, and I needed to turn on the heat inside the car.
Driving on the historical El Camino Real, heading north, I noticed a sign for an apartment for rent. I knew I was very close to San Francisco, so I stopped; luckily the owner was there making final inspections to the property. Apparently, the carpet cleaners had just left. The place seemed to be ready for someone to move in. “Do you require a one year lease?” I asked the owner. “Are you interested in renting this place? Is it for you or someone you know?” he asked, dodging my question. “No, it is for me and I am alone. I am starting a new job on Monday.” I said. “What kind of work do you do?” asked the owner. “Oh, I work on computers.” I answered, vaguely. “There is a month-to-month lease. You can move in any time, so long as you provide a first and last month deposit. The rent is seven hundred dollars” he announced, studying my reaction.” “That would be over two thousand dollars out of pocket. I could just get a hotel room and maybe look around for something cheaper.” I said hesitating. “For you, I could forego the last month deposit, just pay be the fourteen hundred and the place is yours. I can even furnish it for you for free. You must not break anything or you will pay for it. Do you understand?” he held out his hand, wanting to conclude our agreement with a handshake.
I was thinking that this move would leave me almost without money, but on the other hand, I knew I would need a place and it would be even more expensive to stay in a hotel. “Perhaps I could ask for an advance.” I thought to myself, as I firmly shook his hand. “What is the name of this place, by the way?” I asked the owner as he was heading out.
“Oh, you do not know? You are now resident of Burlingame.”
I still had enough cash to get the phone and electric bills taken care of and buy large quantities of inexpensive food supplies, like noodles and tuna, and even some cheap domestic nonalcoholic beer – enough to make it through. The weekend was very slow as I had no money for anything. I took the BART to San Francisco and played chess for five dollars a match in a five minute blitz of chess. I made twenty-five dollars in less than forty minutes and was walking around downtown feeling a little better but still essentially broke. I decided against asking for an advance, figuring that I would just play chess and try to pick up a little cash here and there to last the first two weeks, until I got my first paycheck. I was aimlessly walking around when I noticed the large number of attractive, well dressed women, alone or paired up without any male companionship.
Bored, I started a conversation with the bellboy at the SaintFrancisHotel. “You must love working here, sir. All these fine looking ladies to look at; your job is to open their Mercedes doors and help them with their luggage. This is a fine job, isn’t it?” I asked casually. “Well, sir. I have been doing this job for fifty years now. And, in my youth, back in the day, I did have a lot of laughs and giggles with the ladies. Yes sir, I sure did. But now I am arthritic and too old for that kind of effort, if you know what I mean.” he said with a twinkle in his eyes. Initially I didn’t know what he meant, but later it dawned on me, he must have been some sort of a gigolo, a male prostitute. A young buck, back in his day, had his way with the bored, rich ladies of this town. What a demeaning and sordid way to make money, I thought. You must pretend to like someone when in fact you might be repulsed, just to make some money. “They pay for sex, not for conversation, I am sure”, I thought.
Monday came and I reported to work. Everybody was nice to me. My job was to help fix software problems, in an antiquated and archaic network of computers that were verifying and posting the transaction processing of credit cards, for Visa International. Finally, I was employed and a productive part of society. Upon receiving my first paycheck I celebrated by calling the number Irene had given me. The line rang and rang before someone finally, picked it up.”Hello, who is calling?” asked the familiar female voice. “Hello, this is Mihai, we met in Las Vegas.” I said, continuing, “Did you win the tournament?” I asked, jokingly. There was a pause; I could tell that she was searching in her memory. “Oh, yes. I remember you. You are the guy from Transylvania.” she said proudly. “I came in third. I am so sorry but there are so many things that happened to me that week that I did not recognize your voice.” she added.
“Oh, don’t worry. I am just calling you because I wanted to see if you would like to get together for a drink.” I said.
“That would be very nice, but this weekend is bad for me. I usually have to work the week-ends but I will ask to have the next week-end off? Give me your cell phone number and I will call you later next week.” she said. I gave her my number and wished her a nice weekend, hanging up. I was pretty sure that I would never hear from her again.
That weekend I took a day trip to the redwoods. There were magnificent old trees and foliage on the ground that reminded me of the times when the dinosaurs roamed around. I was briskly walking along the winding paths in the park. The air was crisp and clear. I started breathing in and out with a conscious effort, as it felt as if the air there possessed some medicinal quality. I started imagining that I was back in the time when these trees were seedlings and there were no other people around me, only the indigenous tribes that occupied the land. I do not remember falling asleep but I must have lain down on a spot where the moss was soft, against a fallen tree trunk supporting my back. In my dream there were the voices or thoughts of other giant sequoias that had died due to old age but somehow they were still present. I didn’t feel alone because the trees were there, keeping me company. I could somehow communicate with the trees telepathically. The old, dead trees, as well as the current trees were alive, in a way of which defies words. I am not sure how I knew that, or knew what it was, that distinguished between the voices of the trees that I could hear inside my head, although I suddenly realized that the trees that had died had returned as seedlings and newly grown trees. The soul or spirit of these trees migrated from death to birth, not individually but as one group. The giant sequoia told me that their death was not a final chapter, and after each death, a sliver from the hive of the giant sequoia inhabited the newly formed seedlings. This was a cycle that would never end.
When I awoke it was cold and almost completely dark. At first I had no idea what happened, I was still half asleep. I closed my eyes and visualized the parking lot where I had left my car. I stood to my feet and started walking. I have no idea how but I found the parking lot where I had parked my car; no one seemed to be around. When I reached the park exit I stumbled across two park rangers talking; they had radioed in my license plate number and were waiting for the sheriff to give instructions as what to do next. I explained them that I got a little side tracked and lost track of time, but I was safe and sound. They looked at me befuddled, but they opened the gate and I was free to go.
On the way home I thought of the giant sequoia and my strange dream. The idea of death not being the final end was appealing to me, but I was not sure how much credence I was willing to put into this newfound school of thought. Eventually my thoughts wondered away from the strangeness of my dream state experience back to the physical world of money, work and day-to-day existence in the rat race I found myself in, in Northern California.
I liked my job; it was good to have a daily routine – Getting up in the morning, drinking my coffee and getting ready for my commute. In the car, I either listened to books on CD or music and the job was straightforward and easy. I had no benefits or insurance but I thought very little about getting sick. I did not go anywhere near the casinos and tried to save my money. I bought a bicycle and was touring around Burlingame and the nearby little towns every time I had a chance. The physical regimen and daily routine restored my inner balance and harmony to the point that even being alone mattered very little to me. On and off I would think of Irene, wondering if she was going to call me or not. I had already made up my mind that I would not call her again. That would, I thought, show desperation and I was certainly not desperate. Some evenings, when I needed human contact, I would drive downtown and park at the city maintained parking lot; I would play chess for money or watch the rich ladies shopping and lounging around the hotels and department stores.
“With all these women in San Francisco, why would I even go out with Irene?” I asked myself one day. At work they had told me that the male population in San Francisco was predominantly gay and while some women were interested in both men and women, the balance of single women far outweighed the available straight, single men. At work there were guys who were very neat and clean, impeccably dressed and groomed. I suspected them to be homosexual, but I had no experience in these matters and could have easily been mistaken. One day at work, a well dressed man was standing next to the elevator. He smiled at me and said, “Nice moustache. Do you wax it?” “Thanks, no I don’t.” I answered, not knowing what to make of this line of inquiry. I quickly looked away and scurried towards the stairs, as if I was in a great hurry. Obviously, this was some kind of gay ‘secret handshake’ – something similar to when we were trying to score pot in the park; we would go around and ask “Have you seen Bud?” as a secret password for pot.
On a Friday evening I rented a movie and picked up Chinese takeout. While I was eating and getting ready to watch the movie, the telephone rang. I was totally shaken by the sound of my own phone; I was not accustomed to the telephone ringing. I let it ring twice and picked up the receiver, “Hello?” “This is Irene. Am I calling at a bad time?” a familiar voice asked. “No, I am just watching a movie.” I replied. “What is the movie?” she wanted to know. “It is Amadeus, with Murray Abraham, about Mozart. Have you seen it?” I asked. “No, not yet; I wanted to see it but never got around to it. Can I come over? We could watch it together.” she asked, like she was asking if I had a quarter to spare. “Yes, of course. Come over anytime.” I said. I gave her the directions and then began looking around my apartment – my place was a total mess. I had dirty dishes in the sink, clothes were lying around; I was unshaven and needed a shower. I hurriedly tried to tidy up my place; I took a shower, shaved and got dressed. As soon as I finished the doorbell rang.
“Come on in.” I gestured to Irene who was dressed very casually in a pair of jeans and a tank top, with sandals. “Would you like something to drink?” I asked, when I noticed she was holding a bottle of white wine. I had nothing in the house only nonalcoholic beer and plain soda water. I got a corkscrew and began to open the wine Irene had brought. “I’ll drink some wine. Hope you like the Muscat, it is a little sweet for some people but it is my favorite.” she told me.
We started playing the movie Amadeus, when I noticed that she was drifting away. It was a serious movie, a drama. I thought this is not a movie for a date, for which occasion the movie should either be a comedy or romantic comedy. I wanted to watch Amadeus, but now I was distracted. Having someone over who does not appreciate the seriousness of the film was making me uncomfortable. “Look, we do not need to watch this. We can see what else is on.” I said charitably. She smiled and did not object. I could see that she was not in the mood for a drama. I was flicking around the cable channels – as a new subscriber I had three month of free trials on some of the movie channels, which meant that we would not be constantly disturbed by commercials.
One movie channel was showing, the movie Body Heat. “Would you like to watch Body Heat, instead?” I asked and put the remote down. We began to watch the movie. It was filled with intrigue, great angle shots, psychological twists and raw sexual energy. Half way into the movie she scooted closer to me on the sofa and placed her hand on my knee. I was wearing shorts so her hand was in direct contact with my skin. Her hand slowly started moving up my thigh. An invisible wave came over me, and I found the movie distracting. So with one hand I reached for the remote to turn the TV off, while reaching for the bottom of her tank top with the other. I began to take her tank top off; anticipating this move, Irene slipped out of the tank top and then out of her jeans. She wore no bra. She pounced on my lap like a cat.
The next morning I woke up late. By the time I rose, Irene was already up, showered and dressed. “I was looking for the coffee but I could not find it. I found some tea and made it. Would you like a cup?” she asked. “Yes, please.” I replied. While she was in the kitchen I took a quick shower and got dressed. I returned to the kitchen and sat down. “Do you have plans for this weekend?” I asked, sipping on my tea. “Unfortunately I must go soon, I have to work today. I am a poker dealer.” She went on to explain that she has been dealing poker in a local card room, and how people occasionally booked her for tournaments because she was good. “When can I see you?” I asked. “I am usually off on Fridays. Tonight I will finish at two in the morning. You and I can meet after my shift is over.” she explained.
As it turned out Irene owned a big old house in San Francisco, which she had to share. The upstairs was hers but there were two gay men living downstairs. She also owned a small apartment building in Pacifica. I did not want to go near a casino or a card room but I wanted to see her again, so I agreed to come by her workplace. “I have to go home and take a nap before my shift starts this afternoon,” she explained, as she wrote down her work address, “It is very easy to get to.” She kissed me goodbye and left.
I decided that I would go to Irene’s workplace but I would not gamble. I spent the rest of the day in a daze of mixed emotions. I did not understand what this woman, obviously with certain means, wanted with someone like me. She was nice to me and sexy but there was something about her that alarmed me, as if she had a hidden agenda behind her actions.
I drove to her work and parked. As soon as I walked inside I had the urge to buy some chips and sit down. I had a look around and found her, just finishing up. “Let’s go to my place – You can follow me.” she said hurriedly. “Why couldn’t we just meet at her house?” I was wondering. We arrived and went inside. Her house was comfortable and very nicely furnished with antiques and art placed sparsely around. She had a large bookcase that caught my attention. I had noticed that she had a number of books on witchcraft. I did not say anything but the idea of Irene being a witch was unsettling, but exhilarating at the same time.
We sat around the house and talked. She told me that she had been married before and her divorce settlement enabled her to afford the real estate investments, and that she was not very happy with the state of affairs in the U.S. and wanted to sell everything and leave.
“Where would you go?” I asked.
“Australia or New Zealand sound nice. We have less and less freedom in this country. It is becoming a policed state.” I thought about Ceausescu and a real policed state but bit my tongue.
“We need a lot of police in the U.S. because of the high crime rate; there are a lot of riffraff out there, you know.” I added. She did not respond but I knew she was in disagreement with my assessment.
It was a full moon that evening and her house was filled with candles burning. She had an empty glass of water at her bedside. She noticed that I was looking at the glass.
“This glass of water is to capture energies during the night at fool moon. Upon waking in the morning, I shall drink that glass.” she explained.
The whole scene was a little strange, yet in a way, I did not consider it too weird. I was in California, after all. In Rome do as Romans do, I thought.
We stayed together and next morning I left her house. Irene was getting ready for work and doing some errands. I wanted a little quiet time for myself. I went home and read Bardon’s Initiations into Hermetics, then practiced the exercises.
The following week I was busy at work. I went home tired every day, wanting to do nothing but relax and watch some TV before going to sleep. Towards the end of the week I thought I would give Irene a call to see how she was doing. I just wanted to talk a little, not plan anything. The phone rang for a long time, finally a man answered, “Hello?” I was surprised but I thought one of the men downstairs somehow has answered her phone. “I’d like to speak to Irene, please.” I told the voice on the other end of the line. “Irene cannot come to the phone, she does not want to talk to you.” the man said. “Look, I do not know who you are but I’d rather hear this from her. Do you mind?” I said agitated.
“Well, I live here. I just got back from New Jersey. She is not available. Goodbye.” the man said.
I hung up the phone. Later that day, I got in my car and headed to Irene’s workplace. I got there and approached her immediately. “Irene, what is going on here?” I pleaded nervously.
“Mihai, please understand that I was meaning to tell you about Robert. He and I were in an on-and-off-again relationship. He is a big trader at the Pacific Stock Exchange and I was going to break off our relationship. The day that you came to the casino, some men, who are friends with Robert, told him about you and he got very jealous. He has pulled out all the stops and last week asked me to marry him. Ever since you come onto the scene he has been losing a lot of money!” “This guy is living with you?” I exploded, ignoring Robert’s financial woes. “Didn’t you think telling me this would have been the right thing to do?” I added. “You are right. Please wait, I will settle this matter with him – Just give me some time.” she pleaded. We parted, and I drove home in a daze.
For several days following I could not work or concentrate on anything. Fortunately, I was not in the middle of anything important. I would sit in my cubicle and just stare at the monitor. To break up the routine I took two hour lunches and went to Starbucks on my breaks. Finally, I went into my manager’s office. “I need a few days off, boss” I told my manager. He looked at me and said, “Fine, take as many days as you like. See you next week?”
I have received a letter from the Immigration Office informing me that I would be able to send in my paperwork for naturalization, which meant US citizenship. It took me the whole day to fill out all the papers but I managed it somehow.
Every time I drove by Irene’s house, about twenty minutes away, I saw Robert’s Mercedes parked in her garage, as he used the public transportation to go downtown. I felt like a stalker. “This is crazy. What am I doing?” I thought. So, I stopped and turned to my books again. A few months passed by. I was back at work and back into my daily routine, which helped to soothe my mind. Then, one evening I got a call. “Hi, this is Irene. Can we talk?” she asked. “Sure. How are you? It has been a long time.” I said. “I know. Look, can I come over?” she asked. “Fine, I will be here.” I told her before hanging up. I called my favorite Chinese restaurant for a delivery and began to tidy up my apartment. The food came; Irene arrived shortly thereafter.
She sat down on my sofa. “Robert and I are no longer together.” She said. “I am glad to hear this.” I said unconvincingly. “It took you almost three months.” I added. We ate the food and had a few drinks, she only wanted nonalcoholic beer, which was strange, as she disliked beer and was always a wine drinker. Later she walked into my kitchen and saw a banana, suddenly asking, “Can I have this banana?” “Sure, by all means” I said very confused. We had just finished a big meal of Chinese food and now she wanted a banana? “I am pregnant.” she blurted out, seeing my puzzled look. “The baby is Robert’s, I am sure.” Now he does not want anything to do with me. I do not know what to do!” she almost cried while munching on the banana. I was stunned. What could I possibly say that was appropriate in that situation? How could I possibly console her? I hugged her and patted her back. “I am sure everything is going to work out for you. Don’t worry.” I said, trying to be comforting, but I was getting restless with her being there.
Later, I was pouring her another nonalcoholic beer, when all of a sudden I needed a stronger drink, so I made a tall gin and tonic, hoping that drinking it would lower my inhibition but I was still tongue tied. I knew if I said something honest it would hurt her. So we were drinking and talking less and less. I was yawning and stretching my arms, glancing at my watch, it was nine thirty. The uncomfortable silence was getting noticeable so I turned the TV on and started looking at the guide – at least the sound of the TV would create a normal ambiance. Finally she finished her beer, got up, and gave me some excuse for leaving. “You don’t need to go, you can stay here.” I said, sounding very unconvincing. “No, I better go now. Call me.” she said. “I will talk to you soon.” I lied. This was the last time I saw Irene.
Chapter 4 California
Living alone in San Francisco Bay Area was not all that bad. There are countless opportunities to meet people and mingle. The whole Bay Area is filled with single, professional people who are highly educated, ambitious and in theory can fulfill your desires, whether they be fantasy or real. On the flip side, some of these people are narcissistic, self centered and runaways from the same problems I was running away from. During the series of economic boom times in California millions of people left their cold, drab environments and headed West, towards the sunshine, where a lot of young single people lived enjoying the Art and Entertainment and experimental lifestyles.
Many of these people, like myself had some issues at home, or had no home. They came to California to find themselves and live the dream they had once envisioned and in some cases to escape the nightmarish realities of their life at home.
I felt right at home in Burlingame, which was a small bedroom community near the San FranciscoAirport, not too far from Hillsborough with multimillion dollar homes and beautifully landscaped gardens.
I bought a set of rollerblades and spent my free time rollerblading near the Bay, across Highway 101. There was a promenade where people walked, ran or used their rollerblades.
Any time of the day the incoming planes were visible, often more than two of them descending on the San Francisco airport over the Bay, while windsurfers, below the planes were zigzagging, trying to catch the wind which constantly blowed, making the surface of the water ruffled and choppy for the surfboard. I never tired of that view.
The dating scene was varied and non-stop. Near the promenade there were several hotels, catering to international and business travelers. One of these hotels had popular weekly happy hours with free food and dancing. There were lots of women, many just wanted diversions from their days in the office, looking for drinking, dancing, food and meaningless encounters. I kept telling myself that one day I will meet Miss Right but right now I should just enjoy being free.
The next day, it was Saturday afternoon and I found myself relaxing on my balcony. I had decided to stay home and read. I was reading a book on Chinese Astrology and what signs would be appropriate to the Monkey, which happens to be my sign, when I fell asleep.
In my dream, I was casually strolling in the town square of an unknown and unfamiliar place, enjoying the weather and window shopping when I noticed how nice my hair looked in the reflection of the store’s window. My hair was chestnut brown, shoulder length and rolling down in clean, fluffy waves. Then, I looked at my face and noticed that my features were completely unfamiliar. There was not even the remotest resemblance in the features that stared back from the reflection of the store widow. Who was that guy? He was not me!
The next day, I went to the local library to research my dream. I was puzzled and did not know what to make of it. I had never experienced anything like this before. I was reading newspaper articles, books of various genres and depth between fantasy and science.
I have concluded that my dream was possibly some flashback from a past life and I soon managed to get over it.
I have often reflected on the various women I have known in America, east coast women, women I had met in Las Vegas, Irene and the Californian women especially. They were all different and intoxicating with their complexities and intricacies. They all had either a father complex or liked younger men. Many came from a dysfunctional family, similar to my own family. Most were fiercely independent and feminists, despite that some came from the Midwest or the south where traditional life prevailed and the father’s role as a breadwinner was still looked upon as a norm. Most of these women had been divorced or had experienced bad marriages in their own families and consequently, their own marriage was considered a dangerous path. So living together and sharing a living space while enjoying intimacy was also becoming the norm. Some of them had taken the plunge with early marriage just to divorce a few years later.
This was all very strange but refreshing to a European mind. There was a tremendous freedom and opportunity to live in a self-designed fashion, divorcing societies standards and expectations. Adding the various cultural background to this mix, I have had a smorgasbord of experiences, that I would have never had in Europe.
I must admit that I liked Asian women who are often many years older than me yet still looked very young. There were unusually sensual, offering experiences that left imprints in my mind that only decades of aging can mitigate.
The Chinese women who were first generations of immigrants themselves offered a glimpse of vast cultural differences between the East and the West. Often these were insurmountable to bridge and have a long term, meaningful relationship with the blessing of the girl’s family.
The Chinese fathers would not allow their daughters to get serious with an outsider like me.
The next Friday, after work a couple of co-workers and I were having our usual happy hours when Jeff a fellow programmer, turned to me and said:
“Mihai, look at that reddish/blond across the bar, she is staring at you!”
I looked up from my drink and I saw a young woman, nicely dressed and indeed she was looking at my direction. She was sharing a table with another woman. Upon meeting our eyes, she smiled and raised her wine glass. I smiled back and after taking a sip of my beer I put the glass down and I walked over to her.
“Hi my name is Mihai. Would you like to dance?” I inquired.
She nodded and we made our way to the dance floor. The DJ was playing something quite rhythmic and we started dancing.
“Where are you from? You have a European accent.” she noticed.
“I am from Romania, but I live in San Francisco.” I exaggerated.
The music was getting loud and she did not say anything, just smiled.
“How about you? Do you live around here?” I asked.
“No. I am from Seattle. We are here on business. My name is Melissa.” she replied and held out her hand. I took it. Her hand was nice, soft and warm.
“Nice meeting you.” I said.
The music has stopped. And we headed back to our respective tables.
“Can I join you?” I asked her as we were about to part ways.
“Sure. Why don’t you come over to our table.”
I managed to find an extra chair and I sat dawn. I looked around and both my co-workers were already deep in conversation with other women at the bar.
I ordered another round of drinks – I figured that I should treat her friend to a drink, attempting to build good-will and cheer all around.
“So what brings you to San Francisco? What business are you in?” I asked her casually.
“We work for a PR firm and our client is the Westin Hotel, the Saint Francis in downtown.” she replied.
“PR?” I repeated.
“Public Relations. Oh, that is corporate communications, we work with companies and we write their press releases and public statements.”
“What kind of work do you do?” asked Melissa.
“I am a software engineer” I said trying to embellish a little.
It sounded better than programmer, so I have stated using that terminology even though my official job title was programmer/analyst.
Her friend finished her drink, and started to get up from her seat.
“I better head up to my room, we have to fly home tomorrow. We need to get up early” she added.
Melissa did not try to talk her of her plans. I was worried that she was going to do the same.
She looked at her watch. It was ten o’clock.
“Why do you return to Seattle on a week-end? I could show you around.” I added and smiled.
“My boss has a husband and a baby waiting for her.” she said.
Her friend waved goodbye to me, said something to Melissa and then she left.
“Oh, she is your boss?” I asked concerned.
“Well, she is my supervisor and mentor at the agency.”
“What about you, do you have anybody waiting for you at home?” I asked.
Melissa thought for a moment. Finally, she shook her head and said.
“Nobody serious. My parents of course, but they could wait a day or two.”
“Why don’t you stay an extra day, you could leave on Sunday – in time for you to go to work?”
She thought for a while.
“I am afraid it is too late to change my ticket, plus they do not give us much per diem. I would have to pay for the hotel. I am afraid it is good-bye, at least for now. Here is my card, on the back is my home number. Give me a call.” she said in a firm but friendly tone.
The music stated playing a slow dance and my romance meter got spiked.
“Hey, let’s dance to this. I love this song.”
We started to dance. I pulled her close and noticed she had a marvelous scent. I am sure it was something French and expensive. It was intoxicating.
Long after the song was over I was still mesmerized and held her close. She did not mind. She looked up to me and we kissed a long and passionate good-bye kiss.
I tried to see if I could go up to her room but I was not pushy. I figured if I acted too desperate I might scare her away.
“I am not that kind of a girl.” she said seriously.
“Your kind is much harder to find, especially around here.” I thought.
We kissed again and parted ways.
I had a few days of vacation time accumulated, plus, things were slow at work and I could also take a few days, unpaid. I was thinking of Melissa and Seattle.
We had the usual water-fountain conversation at work with my friends about who scored that night.
“So, did you score with the redhead?” my friend was asking, indicating his own success was beyond any doubt.
“No. But I am getting tired of the endless one-night-stands and meaningless encounters.”
“You are crazy.” he said, looking as if I had said something disturbing, and walked away.
I knew a fellow worker in the office who was originally from Seattle and invited her to lunch.
“You are from Seattle? How did you like it there? ” I asked her casually, while we were waiting for our food.
“It is much easier to find jobs in California, especially computer jobs. A lot of people want to live in Seattle because of the outdoor activities and the European style city life. It is very competitive up there.” she added.
“I am thinking of visiting Seattle and maybe going to Vancouver, Canada, too.” I confessed.
She was very excited for me; “Oh you should go by all means. July is the best time of the year to go. You will love it!”
I told my boss about my vacation plan and he agreed.
“Take as much time as you need, then come back rested – we have lots of work in the pipeline.” he added.
I went home and I started to pack. I decided to drive up to Seattle. I have always been averse to flying and I was looking forward seeing the Oregon coast and check out Portland, Oregon. I had heard so much about the coastal line north of the San FranciscoBay.
The phone line was ringing and nobody was answering. I was getting nervous because I had not even talked with Melissa about my trip. I tried her office and her home number to no avail.
What if she could not even remember me? What if she is in a relationship more serious than she let me believe? Was I rushing into things with this trip? I shrugged off these notions with my sense of adventure and wanting to see the Pacific Northwest. I sensed that people are different up there and perhaps more to my liking. More European, more down to earth and less flakey than California. I had sensed that Mellissa was real, not an artificial facade or a persona trying to be seen, but a real person – honest and forthcoming., material for a serious relationship.
Finally, I managed to reached Melissa at home;
“Hello, this is Mihai from San Francisco. I hope I am not calling you at a bad time.” I said.
“Oh, no. I am glad you have called. How are you doing?” inquired Melissa.
“I am taking a little vacation and I am heading your up your way.” I confessed.” It will take two or three days because I am driving and I will be stopping in Portland and taking time. I want to see the coastline.” I added.
“Oh you will have a great time. I am sure you will like Seattle and Portland. When you get here, just call me and I will show you around.” she said. “I must run now because I am cooking something and it is burning, sorry.” And she hung up.
Early next morning I have headed out, driving north on Interstate 5. The road was busy with trucks carrying their cargo and vacationers heading to their destination.
By the time I have reached Ashland, Oregon I was ready to stop. My legs were numb and I needed a stretch so I was walked on Main Street in Ashland, looking for a restaurant when I saw an antique store, The Forgotten Things. I was bored and a little homesick so I walked right in.
“Hello.” I said.
There was a little man in the store and he was preparing to eat an apple. There was a humongous, grey tabby cat sleeping beside him on his desk. He put the apple on the table and asked:
“How can I help you my young brother?”
“I am just browsing.” I replied.
The little has man had long, polished nails. He had an uncanny resemblance of Yoda, from the movie Star Wars. He possessed very youthful eyes, large and expressive, looking inside me as if he could read my thoughts.
He sank his nails into the apple’s midsection and with a little twist he dissected it. He smiled at me and offered me the half.
“Some healthy food, brother?” he asked me.
“No, thank you.” I resisted, not knowing where his hands had been before.
I was walking around the store looking at the beautiful items he had on display there. There were lots of old paintings, furniture, silverware, Indian jewelry and rugs.
The man started eating his half his apple.
“Is there anything special you are looking for?.” he asked.
I noticed that the store had items mainly from Europe and Asia. All original and all very old. The walls were filled with paintings and drawings.
I noticed a very curious, colored drawing on the wall. Framed in a beautiful, original rosewood frame. It seemed like a self-portrait of a face of a man and there were some signs drawn all over the background. I was standing in front of the picture, mesmerized. Minutes must have passed but I did not notice. The features of the face and the eyes especially were haunting and bizarre. It was disturbing and artistic at the same time.
“Do you know why you like that portrait?” He asked me as if he was a teacher of mine back in my childhood in Romania.
I looked at the drawing again.
“No” I asked.
“Because you made that drawing in London, in the year of 1923.” the little man looked at me for a second and smiled.
“How could I have made this, when I was not even alive then?”. I began to think that the little man must be crazy.
“I wish I could draw like this…” I added.
“But you did like drawing as a child, am I right?” asked the little guy.
I was still looking at the picture on the wall. When he said that I have turned around and looked at him again. He looked relaxed and not crazy at all, yet his words made no sense to me. Who was this guy? How does he know that I liked drawing, I thought – it must be a lucky guess. After all, most children like drawing.
“Why did you say I made this picture when it is obviously cannot be?” I asked him.
“I did not say you made it in your lifetime. You see, I happen to teach the concept of the transmigrations of souls and the law of karma.” he added.
“How do you know that I made this in my past life? You do not even know me.” I blurted it out. He did not answer. I was getting a little annoyed.
“Who are you? You are a strange man. My name is Mihai, by the way.” I said, extending my hand.
“My name is Raphael, and if you must know, I am clairaudient, among other things. I can also see certain things others cannot. I do not need to have known you personally – it is enough just to meet you in person. If we had talked on the phone, I perhaps could not be this sure. I might have been sensing it but when you walked in – I knew who you were.” he explained.
“Are you a psychic?” I asked.
I was tempted to test the little man, but something stopped me. An inner voice told me not to be rude or even doubtful. Still, I did not know what to make of him.
I have read about reincarnation and karma but never gave any thought to this. I was preoccupied with smoking pot, gambling, women, plus the esotericism of Franz Bardon -which indeed had underpinned that reincarnation and karma might be real.
“No. It is something different. I am a Yogi and a teacher of the mysteries that are hidden to many people. We have a little group here meeting in Ashland periodically. A band of misfits, really.” he smiled.
“What is the name of the artist who made this painting then?” I was becoming a little curious of who I was in my past life. I was looking at the portrait and it only read AOS in the corner.
“His was an Englishman, his name was Austin Osmond Spare. AOS You see?”
“What is the chance of me walking into your store and seeing this picture of myself?” I said.
Raphael looked at me and smiled.
“You are not here by accident, but you already know that. You were supposed to receive this as a special gift, a revelation actually. It is a reminder to you. Very few people are lucky like you. To know your past life would reveal your current purpose. Why you are here? Why were you born in Romania then come to America? Why can you do magic with your mind? Of course luck is just a made up word. Nothing happens as a coincidence. You see, Mr. Austin Spare was a famous occultist and a mystic himself.”
I paused for a second suddenly feeling the need for some fresh air.. This was a little too much.
“I must go now, thanks for your hospitality.” I said.
“Good-bye” he said while still eating his apple.
I was walking around Ashland, going over in my mind what had just happened. Hours must have passed by. What happened was very unusual but in a strange way it was also comforting. I have realized that something grand just happened to me.
Finally, my mind had settled and I found a restaurant to dine in. After my meal I did not feel like driving anymore and I have decided to check into a hotel in Ashland for the night.
Whilst I was reading a magazine and I fell into a deep sleep, in which I was dreaming about the little man in the antique store.
In my dream we were in a place that I could not recognize and somehow my mother was there too. There were others in the dream as well.
In the morning, I woke up rested and happy. I wanted to visit the Forgotten Things, to say goodbye to Raphael and ask him about Franz Bardon. I did not have much time but the store was closed. I could not afford to wait as I was on a schedule to reach Seattle.
I got dressed in a hurry, with a coffee mug in my hand. Soon enough I was driving on Interstate 5, towards GrandPass, past that I found Hwy 42 and now headed towards the OregonCoast.
Nothing that I had experienced on Long Island, Maine or other AtlanticStates had ever prepared me to the raw beauty of the OregonCoast. The coastline was mostly rocky with little enclaves of beaches with very cold Ocean temperature so even surfers had to wear wetsuits to keep warm.
After exploring the coast I headed back to the Interstate to reach Portland. The city had a European ambiance with very convenient public transportation and bustling restaurants.
I really enjoyed Portland but my thoughts were back in Ashland with Raphael. I could not get him out of my head. “Who was this guy?” I wondered.
I have decided to push forward and get to Seattle a little early. I wanted to see Melissa and her town and I was tired being on the road.
Upon arriving in Seattle I found a Hotel and I checked in. I was quite tired so I have decided to head down to the pool and relax a little. Melissa was still at work and I did not want to bother her in her office.
Later that evening, I turned off the TV, and dialed Melissa’s phone.
“Hello.” she said picking up the phone.
“Hi, this is Mihai. I am here.” I said.
“Great! Why don’t you come over and we can go out. I know this great place.” she said excited.
I took down her address and I got in my car. It turned out that her apartment was only ten minutes from my Hotel, up on Capitol Hill.
By the time I arrived she was outside waiting for me. I parked the car, got out, we hugged and then we kissed.
“I am so happy that you are here!” Mellissa said smiling
“It is good to see you. Mellissa.” I assured her, hugging again.
“I took some time off from work so we can spend sometime together.” Mellissa said.
“I will show you around Seattle.” she added.
She took me to a Japanese restaurant. We had to squat by these short tables, on the floor, the food was very delicious but the servings were very small.
“How did you find out about this place?” I inquired.
“Oh, our agency is doing their Public Relations and I am assigned to their account.” she confessed.
“I ate here before and I liked it very much.” she added.
“So you do not have to work tomorrow?” I asked Mellissa.
“I have to go in for a half day, just to wrap things up then I am off. Why don’t you pick me up around lunch time?” she suggested.
We went back to her place. After fixing us a drink she has disappeared for a few minutes and then reappeared in her silk pajamas. After sitting on the couch for a minute we started kissing and eventually I picked her up and headed for her bedroom.
Next morning we walked around Seattle, visiting Pike place Market, the Space Needle and finally we went to Starbucks coffee.
“So how do you like it here?” inquired Mellissa.
“I love it here, especially because you are here.” I replied.
“Then, why don’t you move here? There is an opening at the Westin Hotels, they are looking for a programmer. You should apply.” she suggested.
The next day after Mellissa made a few phone calls I have received a message at my hotel that there was an interview set up for me the following day.
I did not bring a suit and tie so we went out shopping. Mellissa recommended Nordstrom.
She helped me picking out a dark suit, a dress shirt, couple of ties and a pair of dress shoes.
The interview was fairly standard – a general question/answer session with my prospecting supervisor, followed by a series of technical questions asked by my potential future team members.
Concluding the interview, I have thanked them for their time and expressed my interest in working with them in the future.
The next day we went hiking to MountRainerNational Park. It was a gorgeous day in the mid seventies with very little clouds. As we were walking on the side of the mountain, down below on the huge clearing there was a huge bear, walking calmly with a swagger that only bears have.
I had this urge to know about Austin Spare and I went to a library in Seattle with Mellissa and while there I asked the reference desk about Austin Osmond Spare. They gave me a list of books that were either illustrated by Spare or written about him. I had no time to read but I put the list in my pocket.
“Why are you researching this, I thought you were on vacation?” Mellissa asked me.
“Do you believe in reincarnation” I asked.
I did not want to tell her what happened in Ashland but eventually she would find out, I figured if we were going to stay together.
“I never really thought about reincarnation. Isn’t this a part of the Hindu religion?” she asked.
I told her what happened in Ashland. I could not stress to her the ambiance and the impact the little guy who looked like Yoda, had on me.
“Do you believe that you were Austin Spare?” she asked.
I thought about it for a while; I believed anything that Raphael would tell me. He knew things about me that nobody should unless some magic had been taking place.
“This man knew intimate details of my youth.” I exclaimed. “You must be thinking I am crazy. I thought I was dreaming it” I added exasperated.
“No you are not crazy. You have met with a person who has left impression on you. I too would like to meet this man one day. If you’d introduce me to him.” she added.
I felt good talking about this to someone else. Mellissa turned out to be quite open minded and a great listener.
During my stay in Seattle I spent very little time in my hotel. But occasionally there was a need to be alone and reflect on what was happening. Raphael was always in my head. I was cautious that Mellissa would misinterpret this as reluctance from my part to be close to her but I have realized that she too needed some time alone. Her apartment was not very large and privacy and solitude was not possible there.
“Are you sure you do not want to see a movie together?” she asked me when I expressed the need to be alone.
“No. Don’t you have errands to take care of? I just need to be alone and meditate.” I replied.
“I did not know that you do that. My bad.” she kissed me goodbye.
So, I spent some time alone reflecting on what would happen if I got this job in Seattle. I had mixed emotions. I liked California’s weather and variety. I also liked the beaches we had in Southern California. I saw people surfing outside of Seattle and they all had wetsuits. It was the summer time but the water was still freezing cold.
My short vacation was almost over. I was dreading the idea of going home and being alone.
I had got used to Mellissa. I felt we made a good pair and she seemed to thing the same.
We parted the next morning.
“I hope you get the job and move here.” yelled out Mellissa, as I was driving away.
I had my fingers crossed.
Chapter 5 Austin Spare
My meeting with Robert
I skipped all the sightseeing on the way home. Instead of taking my time and driving on the coastal roads, I took the Interstate and headed straight towards the Oregon border, towards Ashland. I did not want to go home but I had my job and my solitary life waiting in San Francisco.
Listening to the car radio I had learned that the communist regime in Romania had fallen. Since glasnost all the satellite nations of Eastern Europe had their own peaceful revolt. In my native land this peacefulness was not achieved. In the end the inevitable came.
“Maybe I can go home to visit.” I thought.
Events in Romania were not in my focus however. There were more pressing issues closer to my new home. I wanted to see Raphael again. My head was filled with questions, buzzing around.
I wasn’t even sure if I wanted the new job in Seattle. Sure, it was a very nice place. A change away from the California lifestyle seemed alluring but I did not want to suffer through of the hassle of moving, I wanted to learn who Austin Spare was. Why was he me now? Why did I need to learn about this now?
After several rest stops and incidentals I finally reached Ashland. It was midday and I was heading straight to the Forgotten Things, but to my horror there was a closed sign hanging on the door. I peeked inside and there was a person in the store moving around some boxes and sorting out the mail. It was not Raphael. I rang the bell and the person looked up. I motioned to him that I wished to speak with him so he came and opened the door.
“What can I help you with?” he asked.
He was a tall, handsome man, not young anymore but seemed full of life. His eyes were green and sparkled with humor and compassion. He spoke with a slight accent even I could ascertain. He was dressed impeccably, pants, dress shirt with red stripes and a bowtie. He also wore a smart looking, waistcoat and a bowtie.
“I am looking for Raphael, the older gentleman who was here a few days ago. I would like to speak with him. Do you know where I can find him?” I asked.
“You must be speaking of Raphael, my partner – he is not here at the moment, he is on the road, I was asked to pick up his mail.” the man said.
This was disappointing. I paused. My disappointment must have shown on my face because the man added;
“Maybe, I can help you?” he asked.
I could not tell him about AOS and what had transpired between Raphael and I, it was still too bizarre for me.
“Do you know Raphael well?” I asked him probingly.
“I am his disciple. He is a teacher of the mysteries. Why do you seek him? Can I relay a message, perhaps?”
“He and I briefly met and he told me who I was in my past life” I blurted out.
“My name is Mihai, what is yours?”
“I am Robert. Besides being the Guru’s disciple I also assist him in buying his antiques in Europe and Asia. We share the passion for old things. He is old, you know, and the Master has slowed down considerably.” he added.
“How long have you been with him? I asked Robert.
“I have lost count of the years. I have known Raphael for a very long time. We have met in Paris.”
As we were talking, I subconsciously managed to inch my way inside the store towards the drawing of Austin Spare that started it all. I glanced at the picture again and Robert noticed it.
“That portrait must mean something to you, you seem to be drawn to it.” he noticed.
“Your Master told me that I created that portrait, in my previous life.” I finally confessed. “This is why I came into your store. I am on my way back to San Francisco. I should be going, actually.” I added.
“Let me buy you a cup of coffee, next door. They make superb coffee that measures up to a European palate. Come on.” he said.
We went next door and sat down by the window. People were walking around on the main street, browsing and darting in and out of the various boutiques, novelty shops and New Age jewelers.
Robert took a sip of his coffee and looked at me, reassuringly.
“I know what you must be going through. I had the same experience. Let it settle and sink in. You are among the lucky few who was a person in his prior life who left a legacy and traceable to the contemporary culture of today. I don’t know anything about Austin Spare but if his portrait is on our wall then you can find out about his as much as you can. Then look and compare his life to your own. You will most likely find common traits.”
I did not mention to Robert that I have already been to the library in Seattle to do some preliminary research. I was thinking why Raphael was not there. Robert was nice but hardly a replacement of Raphael.
“What is your Master doing on the road?” I probed.
“He is in Los Angeles teaching about the Old Religion and visiting some sick people on the way. We have a close network of students and disciples all over the world and he is invited to see them periodically. The Master is a great healer.” he whispered.
“What do you mean by Old Religion?” I asked, still skeptical.
“The Old Religion is the pre-Christian concept of God, Earth and the circle of life – believing in the Laws of cause and effect and the transmigration of souls until perfection. We are not religious per se but our belief system is closest to Hinduism or Tibetan Buddhism.” he explained. After a little pause, as if he was contemplating if he should continue he added;
“We believe that that the remnants of Atlantis survived the great deluge mentioned in the Bible and the people who were allowed to stay alive were in the highlands of the Himalayan ranges, North India and Tibet. Their knowledge survived to some extent in India and Tibet.”
I was listening and did not know what to think. It all sounded far fetched and bizarre. Atlantis? It is considered an old myth nothing more. Yet, I have heard Old Religion mentioned in the context of witchcraft.
“What do you mean by ‘allowed’ to stay alive”? I asked Robert.
“Someone had to continue. Earth could not be made barren, completely void of human life. That is not in the cards, and never was.” said Robert.
“So you mean God wanted to keep some people alive while punishing the rest?” I asked.
“No, not exactly. They are the ones who invisibly manage mankind’s affairs but God is not an active player according to our belief system. We believe in an ineffable, transcendental God of the East. But we should not get into this in depth, unless you wish to stay for the night.” He smiled.
“You are most welcome, of course.” he added.
I wanted to go home. I finished my coffee and said good-bye to Robert. Before parting we exchanged telephone numbers and I headed towards my car.
On the way home I felt a kind of a high that drugs are incapable of inducing. I was experiencing a clarity of thought that I had never experienced before. All through my childhood and later, during my coming of age, I was seeking for clues as to why I was born, what was the purpose of it all. Religion never gave me the answer. I was in the dark until today. I sensed that Raphael had all the answers.
Finally, I arrived at my apartment. I was not tired at all. I did not unpack. I took a shower and went to bed but I could not sleep. Next morning I was supposed to go back to work.
I took some antihistamine and finally I got groggy and drifted into the world of dreams.
Austin Osmond Spare
During the next few weeks I managed to read everything that Austin Spare wrote, then I went a step further – I read books written about Spare, notably his biography.
It turned out that Spare was both unknown and famous. He was largely forgotten from his height of fame, in his youth but he had a small but loyal, almost cult-like followers in both the artistic and occult community.
During this research a few notable similarities arose – Spare was an animal lover just like me. In his olden years he surrounded himself with cats and proudly wore the lapel pin of the RSPCA. He apparently died from the complications resulting of a burst appendix, strangely, I too had reoccurring obsession since childhood of inflammation or other maladies of such vestigial structure of my own. Spare had died in the Spring of 1956, while I was born later that year.
In his youth Austin Spare allegedly had befriended a peculiar older woman by the name of Paterson who seduced him first and then initiated him into witchcraft. This, too made me pause, as I now, many years later, remember my own grandmother as someone having certain tendencies towards witchcraft.
Spare’s magical system was original and trailblazing but it did not resonate with me at all. This puzzled me a little at first but then I realized that this is precisely why we do come back if reincarnation was to be a fact of natural progression. We make mistakes but we also misread and misunderstand the ineffable. Hermetic Initiation seemed a lot more sensible and logical but at the same time it was a great deal more difficult to achieve and I was not making progress at all.
I beg learning the art of making Sigils. My childhood love of doodling was helpful. Making Sigils take time. You must consider the proper and concise wording of your desire. It should be short enough to be able to create a sigil yet specific to attain your desire. Ambiguity has no place in sigil making. I tried making a few sigils and they worked.
The problem surfaced when I was finished with the sigil, I was supposed to get into an altered state where after visualizing the sigil I was to forget my creation – either by hiding it, burning it, any which way – erasing it from my mind.
Spare used to get into his altered state by the death posture, whereby he hyperventilated on tiptoes, until utter exhaustion and then fell back on a bed, in a complete relaxed mode. I was not attracted to this at first. Researching some alternate methods of Chaos magicians I found that some practitioners customarily used drugs or a sexual orgasmic high to attain Gnosis. Each to his own – magic is like a custom made suit. What fits me might not fit you.
As weeks passed by I became quite certain that Raphael indeed saw through me and his keen eyes noticed that in my past life I was that eccentric Englishman, who lived among strange spirits and preferred drawing people’s portraits in pubs, turning away from fame and fortune of Mayfair.
The Long Distance Affair
I received word from Mellissa that the company in Seattle decided to promote someone within for the position I was seeking. To be closer to Mellissa henceforth was hindered. She decided to visit me for a long week-end. I did not mind the news, moving to Seattle, no matter how alluring it seemed at first was not in my focus this time. My apartments were filled with drawings of Sigils, I was burning incense, candles of various colors were all over the place and I was building a contraption, that was later called a Radiator. It consisted of crystals placed strategically, forming a three dimensional structure resembling the kabalistic three of life. I was experimenting with this idea for a long time, in order to replenish my lost powers and achieve ketheric brilliance in my living space. The idea came from reading Bardon and his studious followers who continued and expanded on his work. Since I had difficulty achieving success with the Bardon’s exercises, I looked outside-the-box and found some of his followers who helped in understanding the concepts of the whole yet did not move me much further in the initiation process.
Right before Mellissa’s plane landed, I put aside my preoccupation with the occult and cleaned up the place a little. I bought some Champagne and hors d’oeuvres for the occasion.
After I have picked Mellissa up we headed straight home, she put her suitcase down and looked at me.
“It is very nice of you to prepare. Look you even got my favorite Champagne. That’s sweet. You don’t mind if I take a quick shower?” She asked me smiling.
“No. Go right ahead.” I said, wondering if I had the bathroom in an acceptable order.
“Let me get a clean towel for you.” I said, darting into the bathroom before her.
She unpacked her bags while I cleaned up a little in the bathroom. While she took a shower I turned the TV on, as a nervous habit.
“She must think I am a slob.” I muttered to myself morosely.
She came out of the bathroom wearing nothing but a black silk pajama top, wearing her hair up in a bun. She came closer to me and gave me a kiss. It was a long passionate kiss.
“I have missed you.” she whispered.
I have picked her up in my arms and headed to the bedroom.
“We can open the Champagne later.” I said.
I woke up the next morning, at my usual time as Mellissa still slept. I got up to make coffee but I had no coffee in my apartment. I quickly got dressed, wrote her a note and headed out for some breakfast. I bought some brioches and two coffees at the French bakery and headed home. When I arrived she was in the shower again.
I sat down in the kitchen and I was reading the newspaper. It was an old habit from my days in New York City. The internet was already available and TV news was more current but I enjoyed reading the New York Times, mainly because of the editorials. Morning coffee and the New York Times have became a luxurious ritual to be savored on special occasions.
“Good morning!” said a cheerful voice. I looked up from reading and I saw Mellissa coming into the kitchen and sat beside me.
“Good morning to you too, would you like some coffee and brioches?” I asked.
“Oh, I love these. Where did you get them?” she asked biting into a brioche.
“We have a French bakery in Burlingame and they make it. They make all sorts of other goodies too.” I answered.
We were sitting there, enjoying our coffee and the morning sun, shining into my kitchen through the eucalyptus tree in front of the building.
“I guess you are not moving to Seattle, the hotel decided to promote and train someone within. Aren’t you upset?” she asked probing.
“I am upset but what can I do?” I replied.
“I do not like long distance relationships. I am not sure how long I can keep this up.” She blurted out.
“There are other ways we could be together.” I said.
“What do you mean? I have my job and family in Seattle. I cannot move to California, I do not like the people here. Except you of course.” she said reassuringly.
“What about moving to Ashland, Oregon, together? It is beautiful there. Mt Shasta is nearby and it has a small town feel. I’ll support you somehow. Let’s close our eyes and take a plunge.” I said.
Mellissa looked at me with curiosity.
“Would you really do that? For us to be together?” she asked.
“Yes. I have faith that it will all work out. I am destined to be in Ashland, but I also want to be with you.” I added.
The next day or so we talked and made plans for our move to Ashland. We decided that we would rent a place first and see where it would take us. We were happy and decided to get two cats and plant a garden of flowers and vegetables.
I did not say so but I was also very pleased of getting closer to Raphael and his disciples. I felt mentioning it would ruin the mood and perhaps it is safer to bring it up later hence avoid ruining a perfect few days together.
Later as we lay in bed, Mellissa turned to me and said;
“You seem different somehow. Being with you now is not the same when we were up in Seattle. What have you been doing?” she chided me.
“I have noticed your peculiar selection of reading material – Tantric Sex and the Book of Pleasure…if you are trying to sweep me off my feet, it is working.” she confessed.
I was reading various books to seek out different methods of achieving Gnosis and prolonged and heightened sexual tension was among them. I did not feel like sharing my personal explorations in this area especially when deviant sex crossed over to the realm of magic. We talked about each other’s fantasies at length but I purposefully left out the magic part.
Finally, after all the talk of sex she started caressing my chest and rubbed herself against me.
“Let me show you my fantasy now.” she whispered in my ear as she got on the top of me.
Next morning was our last day together and I had to drive Mellissa to the airport. I waited with her until she got her boarding pass and it was time to board the plane. I could no longer be with her, so we kissed and waved goodbye.
“I will give my two weeks notice as soon as I get to work.” she told me.
“I will do the same, I can hardly wait for us to move.” I said and waved.
I watched her plane taking off with mixed emotions. The events were set in motion and I was moving again, and this time closer to my Master. (I now already considered Raphael as my Master)
Hearing of a Ghost
I went home and there was a message on my answering machine.
“Mihai. It is me, your mother. Thank God, I found you, I am alive. Give me a call, they have just let me out. Ceausescu and his wife are dead, both shot. I am in Bucharest in our old apartment. Call me as soon as you hear this! Love you.” then she hung up.
I listened to the message over and over again. It was as if the phone had connected me to heavens or hell, perhaps? It was another worldly feeling. I was sitting on the bed trying to connect my thoughts. Finally, I picked up the phone and dialed. The phone was ringing, finally someone picked up.
“Hello.” a woman’s voice answered…
“Hello, mother? This is Mihai. I can’t believe it – you are alive! Why didn’t you call me earlier?” I cried.
“I could not, they would not let me. I was in prison. Finally, during the revolution they liberated me and now I have finally found you. I have called the Red Cross and the US State Department in searching for you. Fortunately, some of your father’s old friends were useful and they gave me your number. I must see you! Can you come home?” she pleaded.
“I will. Mother. I will come home as soon as I can.” I cried.
“Mihai. How are you? You are alone in a strange land, drifting about like a rolling stone. I cannot stop worrying about you, my son.”
I quickly assured my mother that I was alright. In fact better than alright – I was seeing someone and my life finally was on a path that was leading me to something good. I could not explain this to her in detail nor could I formulate the words as the feeling came from my gut and heart.
I could not travel because I had to wait for my citizenship certificate even though I had passed the test and interview. I did not possess a passport and I was planning to finalize all these matters in Oregon where the immigration backlog was far shorter than in California.
I wanted to discuss this with someone and I had nobody else beside Mellissa. I could not discuss my personal life with Raphael and he was far away. I was thinking of calling Robert but we did not know each other well enough. I dialed Mellissa and I heard her cheerful voice on the phone.
“Hi, Mellissa. This is Mihai. I hope I am not calling you in a bad time but I had to speak to someone. It turns out that my mother is alive in Romania. She did not die, as I thought previously.” I blurted out.
There was a brief yet uncomfortable silence on the phone. Obviously Mellissa was searching for words and thoughts about this sudden revelation.
“Oh my God.” she finally said.
“This is tremendous news.” she added
“What are you going to do? Do you want to go back to see her?” she asked.
“No, I cannot. I do not have a passport yet. I am thinking of bringing her here for a short visit.” I added without even thinking of the impact of my words.
I loved my mother but I remembered how meddlesome and neurotic she could be. Spending a decade in a communist jail certainly had not improved her condition, I feared. Yet, she was my mother and I could not just abandon her. I remembered how she took care of my grandmother until her final breath. Now it is my turn to take care of her.
“Yes, of course bring your mother here. I would like to meet her.” Mellissa said.
“You are so sweet. There is so much I must discuss with my mother. She could be a difficult person but she is my mother, I feel obligated.” I confessed.
“Darling, you should do what your heart tells you to do. I will support you, whatever happens.” she said.
This was, indeed very comforting and pleasant to hear. Mellissa was a good person, I thought. I was relieved and went to bed, emotionally exhausted and worn out.
Moving to Ashland was easy for me as I owned very little earthly possessions. I rented the smallest U-Haul truck and pulled my car behind.
Mellissa had a lot more to move but she hired movers to do the job.
We rented a big house outside of Ashland, with some land and a pond.
The house was big enough for us to get lost in. It had five-bedrooms, a den and two fireplaces. I was initially worried about the cost but Mellissa wanted that house and she assured me that she would take care of the expenses.
This was a little disconcerting to me as I had no job or income of any sort. It turned out that Mellissa had a trust in her name from which she received income, rain or shine, every month. She did not need a job at all.
After settling in I went to see Raphael. He was in his store and he was all dressed up as if he was waiting for me. He wore a lightly woven suit with a vest and a tie. The only odd piece was his Birkenstock sandals – he wore no shoes only a pair of matching colored socks.
As I entered the store he looked and waved to me to come closer.
“Why are you here?” he asked me with no hostility only as slight challenge in his voice.
“I am here because I think you are my Master.” I blurted out. I did not know why or how I said it. Certainly there was no planning or precognizant thought behind this statement – it just came out.
“I am nobody’s Master, I am only a Teacher. If that is what you really want, I could be that for you. Are you sure about this?” He asked me with a twinkle in his eye.
“Yes. I am certain.” I said, again not knowing why or how I got this certainty. The words felt natural as if we knew each other despite the fact that this was our second encounter.
“You are on probation. You are allowed to come to our meetings anytime you want. If things work out you can be my disciple. I will tell you the details this Thursday. Come a little before 6pm – before the others arrive. Here is my address.” He handed me a worn, old calling card. “Now go. I have things to do.” he said, and waved me off.
I staggered out of the store, heading towards my car. I looked at the card and it had an address with the words; Celestial Vibrations – Interior decorations.
I went home and told Mellissa about the encounter. She seemed mildly interested and said;
“Good for you, honey. If this makes you happy, then I am happy for you.”
I did not feel like going into details. Words had lost their meeting in this particular instance. Mellissa was preoccupied with the house. She was buying furniture and accessories. I thought of Raphael’s card. Maybe I should ask him to decorate, hence offer him some money.
“Sweetheart, Raphael is a professional decorator. I will invite him over maybe he can offer some suggestions.” I said cautiously.
“Sure. I would love to meet him.” She said halfway paying attention.
Thursday came and I drove over to the address printed on Raphael’s card. I got there way too early and I sat in my car listening to the radio.
Eventually, I got bored and got out of my car and walked towards the house. It was an old Victorian house, very peculiar with a large flower and vegetable garden in the back. I went to the side door were I saw some stirring of life. The side door was open and I knocked twice. A young woman came and she smiled.
My First Meeting
“Hi. You must be Mihai. I am Jenny. Come in but please take off your shoes.” she added. She game me some slippers to put on.
The house had old Persian carpets from wall to wall, almost completely covering the parquet floor. I walked into the large living area where in a huge leather chair Raphael sat, his small frame almost sunk into the leather upholstery of the chair. At the other side of the room was an altar like contraption, with a huge standing Buddha and candles and incense holders. Jenny took me to a chair and motioned me to sit.
“I am glad you could make it. I am going to tell you a few things about our group, before the other’s get here and we begin our weekly meeting.” said Raphael.
“Are you comfortable in that chair” he added, pointing to the chair I was sitting on.
“I am fine. Thank you.” I said in a raspy voice. My mouth had dried up from the gravity of the situation.
“Our little group consists of disciples and probationary members like you who wish to become disciples. When you become my disciple, you forge a bond between us that will go on even after we both die. I cannot break this bond, only you can. This is a serious business.” he looked into my eyes.
“I want you to understand what you are getting into. There is no going back, you understand.” he smiled.
I was speechless. What could I have said? I nodded feebly and Raphael continued.
“When you become my disciple, your Karmic burden is ideally almost at the zero. This is the only way. This means that your positive Karma has eaten up all of the negative Karma you have accumulated. Whatever is left over – I absorb it. Not everybody in this group is going to make it, your future lies entirely what you are going to do in the next months or years. Since our paths have crossed I cannot send you away. You belong with us, but not everybody in our group is going to become a disciple.” he said cautiously.
“I do not care about becoming a disciple, I just want to be part of your circle.” I lied.
The statement contained a small fragment of truth because just being with Raphael was a life altering experience. Of course, at this point I wanted to be a disciple more than anything in this world. Instinctively, I wanted to show my disinterest and humbleness but I could not fool Raphael. But he did not say anything.
Other’s started arriving and he made a point of introducing me to everybody. After everybody settled down Raphael begun;
“You are all my family.” he started simply and then continued.
“Maybe some of you already know this from previous meeting but this is worth repeating. Most of you are here from broken, dysfunctional families, and there is a reason for it. A content heart is not a seeking heart. Those who will be blessed with revelations are seldom from a comfort of a stable family or a stable job. Stability causes laziness and lack of striving. And this is precisely why you are here today. Your restless lives and dissatisfaction with your mundane existence has brought you to me.You are my spiritual family and there is a distinction. There is your karmic family with the blood ties and relations and this spiritual family that is lasting more than just one lifetime. This is forever.”
He paused expecting questions and objections but none came. Jenny raised her arm.
“Teacher, does this mean that we have crossed paths in other lifetimes?” she asked.
“Yes, in some form we need a reawakening in each lifetime. What we have learned is ours forever but every time we descent into matter, we are vulnerable and some of what we know is hidden deep in our subconscious. Often it needs a push, a book, a movie or a person, to shake off the veil and enable our true vision…” Raphael was choosing his words carefully when Jenny interrupted. She must have picked up on something about how Raphael phrased his incarnation, “descending into matter”, I thought.
“Does this mean Teacher, that you did not have to incarnate?”.
“Yes.” Raphael said. “I was given a choice”, he added. “but this is all I am going to tell you now.”
“Teacher, does this mean that initiations must be repeated as well?” asked Robert.
“Robert has just had his first Initiation and he is not too excited on repeating it.” said Raphael, looking straight at me.
I was stunned from the attention given. I turned red and asked in a raspy voice.
“Why what happened on his Initiation?”
There was an uncomfortable silence in a room. Finally Raphael said;
“We do not discuss Initiations, they just happen and they are a secret between you and your Guru. Never spoken about as they are like a custom made suit, tailored to each and every one of you. But to answer Robert’s question; the initiations must be repeated in each lifetime unless of course you finish your final seventh Initiation. They are a symbolic milestone of your spiritual advancement. After your forth initiation you too can become a Guru and gather disciples. This is according to our traditions. Other schools have their own.” he said.
“What school are you referring at, Teacher?” I asked gathering courage to speak.
“We behold the true trinity of Guru, Guide and Master. My Master is Jesus of Nazareth. I am the Guru and through my own Guru who is no longer with us we serve the Brotherhood of Light. We do this with the help of our Guide, given to you at birth and foremost with the benevolent direction and help of the Brotherhood.” he said simply, then added;
“You are free to choose your own Master of course but as your Guru I have my own and until you are on your own, we might as well share Jesus, by default”.
I did not quite understand how we could serve two Masters but I did not say anything, thinking that in time all questions in my mind will somehow be answered. I was about to ask Raphael what happens after the seventh Initiation but I was interrupted by the Teachers call for the guided meditation. I was happy to choose Jesus as my Master but I thought others might have a different idea.
At the start of the guided meditation Raphael spoke words about his own Guru and dedicated the whole group’s efforts to the Brotherhood. The words he spoke must have had magical qualities because for the first time since my childhood I had the experience of flight during my meditation. The only thing which brought me back was the Tibetan hand bells chiming three times – rung by Raphael to conclude the session.
After the session we drank some herbal tea and shared some cookies and chatted with each other.
When we parted, I was still in a daze. I decided to clear my head and walk for half an hour or so. It turned out that I walked for two hours, apparently in a large circle around downtown Ashland. It felt as if I was walking on clouds.
Chapter 6 You are Never Alone
Robert’s Secret, The Healing Attempt, Raphael Speaks, You are Never Alone
I was filling out all the paperwork which was required to request a US Visa for my mother. I had to write her an invitation and she had to show that she had ties and property in Romania, so her propensity to staying in the US would be less. She, of course had the right to ask for immigration under the law of reuniting families but that would have taken too much time.
After a few weeks I received word that she had her interview in Bucharest with the American Consulate and it all went well. I purchased her a round trip ticket and now it was only a matter of time.
Mellissa and I were very content together. We gave each other a lot of space but we lived together as if we were married. The idea of marriage has never occurred to me as I did not want to ruin a good thing. I remembered my parent’s marriage – the constant fighting and bickering. As a child I wanted a normal family and whenever I was visiting other kids I was filled with envy and yearning. Why was their life so normal and why was mine not?
It was a rainy, gloomy day and I was beginning to grow a little concerned that my mother would stir up trouble between Mellissa and I. She was often pushy and meddlesome, wanting to control my life, at least this is how I remembered her. Why would she have changed? I quickly pushed these negative thoughts away and was looking for more positive and wholesome ideas. None came so I decided to go to the Forgotten Things and hang out there.
The store was open but Raphael was off someplace sojourning. This happened frequently and nobody, despite his advanced age knew where he was or what he was doing. He waved them off with a smile.
“I do not need a babysitter, yet.” he always said.
I found Robert in the store and I invited myself in. He did not seem to mind the company and handed me a stack of old LP records to check and see if they were in good condition or not.
I wanted to talk about Raphael but I could not ask outright. I would clearly appear to be gossipy and nosey. Yet I wanted to know everything about Raphael – his childhood. Was he ever married? Had he ever started a family? And first and foremost – who was his Guru? The source of his power and knowledge was ever present in my mind, because clearly, I can see it now – I coveted these attributes.
As the pretext of my visit I said the pre-rehearsed words that I practiced in my mind.
“Robert, please tell Raphael that we would like him to decorate our house. I have discussed this with Mellissa, and we definitely want him.”
Robert said he would replay the message. We sat and fiddled with the LPs for a while. My mind was on the extraordinary group of people Raphael surrounded himself with. Robert must have sensed my conflict and he said to me.
“What I am about to tell you, you must not repeat it to anyone! Especially anyone in our group. Raphael and I used to be partners, in more than just as a business arrangement, you know. We were lovers in our youth. He is older than I but when we met we fell in love, you see, we are both attracted only to other men.
Nobody in the teaching knows this because we do not talk about our personal lives, especially about sex. Some people I guess might suspect it whilst some are completely oblivious to this. The higher their initiation the more of the chance that they may know. ”
“How many in the group are initiates?” I stuttered, in amazement.
“In the whole group, we have twelve initiates, Burt is the highest – a third level. He is trying to get his fourth initiation for the last ten years. He wants to go out on his own and teach.”
I was stunned. It must have shown because Robert started laughing.
“I must have shocked you, but you see I did not tell you this for its shock value. Raphael, I suppose wanted you to know this before you get involved with us any deeper. He has been hinting that I could reveal this to you at an appropriate time.” the he added, “This time is just as good as any, I guess.”
“You are his lover and disciple at the same time? Isn’t there any conflict of interest?” I blurted out.
“Raphael is Socrates, after many more incarnations removed.” he explained. Then after a little pause he continued.
“Socrates was bisexual and there was no stigma attached to this in those days, as it has now. He had a couple of wives but he enjoyed young boys, all the same.” He said smiling.
“Raphael has never been married and never showed interest in women sexually. He is the consummate teacher and healer – a family would have been an obstacle for a man like him. There was never any conflict of interest. I had to wait for my initiation just like everybody else. I had just got my second initiation, recently. Raphael’s Guru made sure that I had to prove myself even more than others.” Robert further explained.
I was speechless – homosexuality never bothered me but I thought a teacher such as Raphael ought to be above all these things. In a strange way I idealized Raphael and expected him to be like Jesus in the New Testament – pure and untarnished. And now this came out. I wanted to be alone, I said goodbye to Robert and left the store.
I wandered around the town, absentmindedly glancing at shops and walking about.
I eventually went home and went straight to bed, I was exhausted and fell into a deep sleep. When I woke up it was past seven o’clock in the morning. Mellissa was already up.
“You slept like a log, honey.” she said cheerfully.
“I was very tired, I am sorry.” I said apologetically.
“What are you sorry about?” She laughed.
“I did not have a chance to say goodnight.” I said sheepishly.
I felt great. The negative thoughts about Raphael and his sexual orientation had now gone. After all, I liked both of them. Raphael was unique but time was not on his side, he needed a sidekick like Robert who drove him around as Raphael, a New Yorker, has never bothered getting a drivers license. They were a perfect fit. It was none of my business what transpired between them years ago.
My mother was arriving in a few weeks and this was the source of my newly found anxiety. She had no close family left in Romania except her sisters and friends. Should I invite her to stay here with us? That idea seemed absurd as well. Unnatural, especially for people in the United States., extended families were not the norm like in the Old Country.
Robert called me and said that Raphael needed someone to drive him to Carmel by the Sea. It was a day trip and a healing mission. He wanted to know if I was available. I happily said yes – undisturbed time with Raphael came as a premium. Usually the disciples and students were vying for his attention. This was a great opportunity.
“I am happy to take him.” I told Robert.
“Thanks, I would take him but I cannot this time.” he said apologetically.
Early next morning I drove to the house to pick up Raphael. I got out and opened the backseat door for him. He got inside and settled in.
“Good morning.” I greeted him.
“A pleasant morning to you too, Brother. Do you know where we are heading?” inquired Raphael.
I knew the destination and I nodded at him whilst starting the car.
We drove in silence until we reached the Interstate Highway, then Raphael said something unusual.
“I hear your mother maybe coming to visit you here from the Old Country (Raphael fancied Europe for its refinement and he had lived there for years). I hope you realize that your future conduct with your mother will likely determine if I can accept you as a disciple or not.” he said plainly.
“Of course, you would have to be in our teaching for two years before you can ask me but I am making optimistic assumptions about you that you will stay with us.” he added smiling.
“What do you mean, my conduct?” I asked him, shocked.
“My mother and I always had problems, I have moved out of my parents house and we always fought.” I told him, pleading.
Raphael looked at me and smiled.
“My dear friend. Each and everyone of us are tested every day. Some tests are important, like your impending one – some are not quite as much. But now you are at a crossroad and your attitude and behavior will determine if you are going to be my disciple or not. Your possible actions will have the power of eliminating some of your negative karma to the point where I will be able to take on the rest. But whether this would happen or not is entirely up to you.”
At that moment I understood that my driving Raphael was no coincidence and I was there for this reason – to serve as a reminder of the weight and importance of my upcoming reunification with my mother.
“What could be easier than that?” I thought. I must be compassionate and patient with my mother – I must become a good son.
I leaned back and suddenly felt confident that my discipleship with Raphael was firmly within my reach.
“Do not fret this, no matter how this will turn out, just be yourself. If you must make a mistake – make a big one, from which you can sufficiently learn. You can still come to any meeting and ask me any questions but you cannot be initiated and we you won’t have a contract.” said Raphael as if he could read my thoughts.
This was confusing to me. What contract? This made no sense. Why would I settle for defeat, before I even have a chance to try? Or was the outcome of my quest predetermined?
Raphael, again was reading my mind.
“An initiation and discipleship is an increasingly rare phenomena and it would link us even closer karmically. My own guru would not sign off on it, unless the aspirant is hundred percent ready. The discipleship is a special bond between the teacher and his disciple with very strict rules. Remind me to talk about this more when we get back. As for you being so fatalistic – nothing, ever is carved into stone rather it is written in sand. Remember, you have free will, always! Do not ever forget that! ” he added.
It was at this time when we reached Mount Shasta. Raphael was looking out of the window – it was a beautiful, clear day. The mountain was visible in her entire might and splendor.
“Mount Shasta is one of the few energy centers around the world where the invisible world overlays a matrix to the visible. A place like this is very beneficial to cleanse and rejuvenate ourselves. This is why we spend as much time on the mountain as possible.” explained Raphael.
I was thinking of the Carpathian mountain’s of my home. There were many folk tales of special places and hidden forests in the lore of the peasant folk who passed on these stories from generation to generation.
I did not say anymore. For quite a while Raphael was quiet. Earlier, as the sun was coming through his side of the car he had put on a tinted pair of classes that made it impossible to see if he was dosing off or meditating.
I found the house and stopped the car. The relatives of the patient were already outside, waiting for us. As Raphael got out he said to me;
“Do not say anything, just stand in the background and observe.”
I nodded in agreement.
“Thank God, you are here, Master” the mother of the patient greeted, Raphael.
Raphael said nothing. He went inside the house, straight to the room where the patient was in bed.
We followed him but he motioned us to stay back and leave him plenty of room.
After a brief glance at the patient, he turned around and whispered to his mother;
“I am sorry Sister, there nothing I can do. The illness of your son is of Karmic origin. I cannot help him.”
The face of the mother had turned white. She began to sob and her daughter or younger sister held her and lead her out of the room. After a while someone else came in. He was an older man, a patriarch of the house. He hugged and kissed Raphael and said,
“Thank you for coming all this way, Brother. Will you stay with us a little, just to rest and have a bite to eat?” he asked gently.
Raphael politely refused to stay. The old man did not insist. They parted ways and we were alone again. We quietly left the room and the house without saying a word to anyone. We go back into my car and drove away.
I said nothing for a while. The idea of coming all this way for nothing was very confusing. I was expecting a miracle, a Biblical healing experience to tell my kids and grandchildren when I was to be old.
How come Raphael did not know that the whole trip was for nothing?
It was heartbreaking to see the family left without hope just to see someone die.
Then again, if we all reincarnate do we ever really die?
Still, there was so much sorrow in that house that the air felt heavy and still. I was glad Raphael did not accept their invitation.
Raphael was off somewhere again, just sitting in the car seat motionless, eyes closed, so I drove down to the OceanBeach, which was close by.
There were some tourists around but this was in the middle of the week and Carmel by the Sea was as beautiful as ever. I wanted to at least walk around in the center but I did not want to leave Raphael there without saying a word, so I got out of the car and sat down by the parking area where the public restrooms were.
There were little kids with their mother, playing with their kites in the air, running around. My spirit was lifting and I began to forget about death and dying. I purposefully focused my thoughts to pleasant thoughts such as kids, Mellissa and the Ocean.
The Ocean was different here than back home. We had the Black Sea which seamed like a little pond compared to the Pacific Ocean.
We often vacationed at the Sea and the distinct salty smell of the air was very comforting.
“It is beautiful isn’t it?” said a voice. I turned around, apparently Raphael was back from his meditation and he appeared happy and fresh as if he had slept for hours. In reality, perhaps twenty minutes has passed since we came out from the house.
“Yes. I love the Ocean. It makes me happy just to sit here. I am sorry I did not want to disturb you. I wanted to clear my head. It was so sad in there.” I added.
“Yes, I know. Let me buy you lunch. It is my treat.” he said smiling.
We walked up to the car and locked it.
“I know a little place not far from here. Do you like Italian food?” Raphael asked.
“It does not matter what we eat, I am hungry. You do not mind walking a little? Parking may not be so easy, even on week days.” I said.
Raphael waved away by comment about parking and briskly started walking. We passed a series of expensive boutiques and real estate offices on the way. I was thinking how much Mellissa would love to be here so I made a mental note to come back to Carmel again. We did not stop or window shop. Raphael had no interest in the stores or the exorbitant priced houses or what the knick-knacks cost.
After about a ten-minute walk we came to the restaurant. Raphael seemed to have been in Carmel before because the owner knew him personally.
“Oh, it is you Sir! Are you staying in Carmel for a few days?” the inquisitive owner greeted us.
“No, Brother. We just stopped for lunch and we must be off soon.” said Raphael
The proprietor gave us a table in the back patio hidden away from the other tables, under the shade of a huge date Palm.
“This is your favorite table Sir, I remember. Let me personally wait on you.” he said hurriedly.
We sat down. The place was charming. It was simple but refined, the tables were not too close and it was very clean.
“This is a nice place. They seem to know you here.” I commented with a grin.
“I am a creature of habit and I do not gamble with food. They cook very well here, I can assure you that. I hope it is to your taste as well.” He said
After a brief moment of silence. Raphael continued.
“I know you have some questions about today so while we eat I am at your disposal to answer your queries. But let us order first, I will have the chicken.”
The owner came back and brought some olive oil, vinegar and bread.
“Will you have your usual Sir? Are you ready to order or do you need a minute more?” He asked.
Raphael looked at me quizzing.
“I would like the pasta with the special source.” I said finally.
I wanted to break the ice and I never figured out how to address Raphael.
“Can you please tell me first how I should address you? Teacher is the closest I feel comfortable. I know others call you Master and Guru…” I stammered when Raphael interrupted.
“Just call me Raphael” he smiled.
“What you call me has no reflection on what I am, but I do not expect the group to have uniform formalities such as addressing me the same way. Teacher is fine. I rather you do not call me Master. But if you do I am fine with that too. In time you will learn a great deal more about our group. The dynamics of the personalities and the roles we each play.
I must point out that a true guru never tells you what to do or not to do only suggests, if you do not follow, it is your business. When you are ready to be a disciple you understand that you are only told to do things for you own benefit. I must also point out that I never accept any money from the disciples, the students or the initiates. Never.
There are some “gurus” who live off their followers and control and manipulate them in ways that are unsavory and unwholesome. Those are dark groups in dark teachings. We want nothing to do with those people.”
The food arrived and we started eating. My mind was racing but I was very hungry at the same time.
I was wondering where did this guy come from? Who taught him all of this? Who was his guru?
“Teacher, can you tell me about your guru?” I asked.
“My guru was a Master painter and explorer, I rather not tell you his name because we do not speak of those who are already on the other side. He was well known person in his time – I do not wish to embroider us in a personality cultus.” Raphael said.
“Then how can he instruct you, teacher, if he is dead?” I asked.
“We communicate when I meditate, or sometimes when there is an emergency, telepathically.” He said with a little smile.
“He is not in “heaven”, he died as his body and never reincarnated. He is on the other side, being very active.” added Raphael.
I was not sure how one could be active and “dead” at the same time but I had some notions that I would eventually find out. I sensed that asking too many specifics would render me a “doubting Thomas” and that role I did not wish to play.
“Teacher, why did I have to come back?” I blurted out.
“You only have a choice when you have perfected your mind, body and soul. Our ways says that after you have passed seven initiations you are free to come and go as you please. They are other paths where this does not apply but for us it does. In your specific case, the lesson from Austin you must discover it yourself. The only hints I can offer is that Spare was a brilliant and altruistic mystic but he got lost in his ways and now you must find out why. ” explained Raphael and then he added. “Did you read about him?”
“Yes, I did. How did he lose his way? He was an artist and he rejected Alistair Crowley’s tutelage (and I thought “friendship” advances but quickly stopped myself as I did not want to bring up Crowley’s sexual orientation).
I do not think Crowley was on the right path. Was he?” I asked.
“Who are we to judge?” said Raphael smiling.
“There are those who can see the Universe’s fabric and ascertain a specific person’s account but even they cannot change them. We should not be judgmental of anyone. Crowley had his positive and negative attributes, and that should be sufficient to say. We should each mind our own business and keep our own account in the positive.”
When a person is capable of doing magic then he can quickly lose his perspective and think too much of himself. How you use your talent is the key. We use it for the benefit of all, the dark ones use it for selfish purposes. Often our magic cannot work because of Karma.
You were here today with me witnessing this. Even I could not heal that boy because when your number is up based on Karma then you must go and come back. Really, there is no death, per se. We are more than our physical appearance. So, I do not mourn the boy but of course you cannot tell this to the family and relatives. They will miss him for a while. That’s only natural.” he added cautiously.
“So was this whole trip a lesson for me?” I asked him.
“No. Not entirely. I had to see that boy before I could ascertain if I can help or not. You see, I can see your aura but I have to be near you physically. Anyone can do this after the fourth initiation. But that is the hardest to get.” he added.
I wanted to ask how many initiations did Raphael have under his belt but I was afraid to do so.
By this time we had finished our meal and we were sipping our coffee.
Ralph’s meal was only half eaten but he seemed to have enjoyed his favorite chicken masala – the restaurant gave huge portions.
The owner was hovering around and Raphael asked for a box.
“Waste not – want not.” he said and paid the bill with cash.
We left the restaurant and casually strolled back to the car. The Monterey Pines throughout the whole town were gently swaying from the Ocean breeze.
“Did you know that these trees rejuvenate the whole town’s psyche?” Raphael asked me casually as we got closer to my car.
“This is a unique place, the only little village that has its own forester.” he added.
“Trees must be kept happy too.” I blurted it out. I did not know where it came from because I was more of an animal lover. My comment made Raphael pause and look at me long and deep.
“You are learning, my friend. We will perhaps make something out of you.” He smiled.
We had a long drive back. I figured that we would get home late in the evening. I really wanted to drive home by the ocean as long as I could but that would have delayed us too much. Still, it pained me to leave the scenic route but grudgingly I left the coastal highway and headed towards Salinas.
Raphael seemed to be off somewhere in aether again. I did not wish to disturb him, so for hours on I was driving, the radio was off and I was not sure if I should gently turn it on or just keep on driving. I was getting a little tired and the idea occurred to me that perhaps I could pull over at the rest stop and take a short nap.
I kept on going and I noticed that my eyelids were heavy and I was a little drowsy, then I was asleep for a few seconds when a voice woke me up. It was inside my head and I immediately pulled over at the next exit and parked under a large shrub and dosed off immediately.
I woke fifteen minutes later, refreshed and alert. I got back on the highway. Raphael was still either in meditation or asleep, I was not sure. I turned the radio on to occupy myself and kept on driving. This was a strange, yet heartwarming experience. I felt deep inside that I was not alone, even when there was no one around. The voice was a confirmation that made me realize someone was watching out for me and I was safe and loved.
All of the sudden Raphael adjusted his position in the car and announced;
“Could you stop for a minute just to stretch? I know your sweetheart is waiting for you at home. It won’t take long.”
My butt was getting numb too and I was experiencing a “nervous legs” syndrome from the long drive, so I happily complied. There was a rest area a few miles ahead so we pulled in there. We were only a couple of hours from Ashland.
It was pitch dark but the rest stop was full of truckers and assorted civilian passengers like us. We got out of the car and walked around a bit. It was a cold night with clear sky and waning moon. I looked up at the sky and saw the brightest moon. First, I thought it was an airplane because it was so bright compared to the others. Raphael did not mind me he was walking around and visiting the rest-room.
“Witches call this the Crone Goddess.” I heard a voice. I turned around and I saw Raphael looking up to the Moon.
“They believe this is a good time to break old, bad habits that hinder us.” He added.
I was wondering if Raphael actually believed this or just making conversation. I knew that witchcraft, magic and sorcery all had assorted practices and beliefs based in some truth. Without saying a word, we got back in the car. I was getting tired, physically and mentally. Finally, as we pulled onto the Highway, I blurted it out.
“Teacher, I do not know what to do with my life. I have lots of free time but I cannot decide if I should pursue my childhood aspiration of drawing and painting or perhaps I should seek a different venue. I am not talented at all.”
Raphael thought for a while and finally said.
“Your childhood aspiration of drawing was a residue of the Austin Spare self. It is important to pursue something creative but in your case, I think writing is more appropriate. This time around, I think it is better to move onto something new. Besides, you have something to share with the word, don’t you? Your reincarnation experience is quite unique and noteworthy, don’t you think so? ” He suggested carefully. Then, after a few seconds of thinking he continued;
“In our group there are a few writers – notably, brother Burt has some books on writing and publishing. We shall talk with him at the next meeting. Maybe he would lend you some books on the subject and perhaps give some directions.”
I never wrote anything. English was not my native tongue but I got inspiration from Mellissa who was a professional writer, albeit limiting herself to the Corporate world.
I recalled that Burt was the highest initiate (third level) among Raphael’s disciples and he considered himself the most knowledgeable. He always made us aware of his seniority. Burt was quite old and had written several books but they sold very sparsely. He had a grown up son who had no interest in the occult but the rumor had it that he was also Raphael’s probationary pupil in his youth.
Finally we arrived. I was exhausted. It was an eventful day. I dropped off Raphael and went straight home. I took a shower. Mellissa was already in bed. I snuggled up to her.
“How was your day, honey?” she asked me half awake.
“I will tell you about it tomorrow.” I whispered and I fell into a deep sleep.
Chapter 7 the Houseguest
Mother’s Arrival, What’s wrong with the New Age Movement, Our Invisible Selves.
The days following my trip to Carmel by The Sea I could not return to my normal routine of meditation and studying magic. Instead I found myself reading about Austin Spare – his well written biography was an immensely interesting read and I spent hours reading and imagining the life he had led.
I decided to keep a journal of my days and experiences with Raphael and his group thinking that perhaps one day, I would put it all in a book.
I was corresponding with my mother and occasionally we talked on the phone, of which she was suspicious that was being listened into and recorded by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. I tried to explain to her that now she was a hero and that Ceausescu and his wife were dead.
“Mihai dearest, I’ve received the airline ticket you have purchased and I have already packed my suitcase. What do you need? What can I bring you? Do customs allow foodstuff or homemade wine? Are you eating well? ” she pleaded nervously.
“Mother, don’t bring anything! Just bring yourself, in good health! Have a safe trip! I must run now, so hugs and kisses. ” I reply before hanging up the phone.
Talking with my mother depressed me a bit as she was so anxious. She had been this way all her life. I felt a deep rage against my father who was the cause of all this. I felt uncomfortable. According to Raphael, anger and resentment are two unhealthy emotions; and here I was – almost out of control.
I also remembered my grandmother who had been willing to give my mother and her sister up for adoption. How must have that felt to a child.
My mother was due in a couple of days. Mellissa had offered to come to the airport with me but I talked her out of it.
“Its best that I meet her first. She will be arriving in Portland, I will drive her home and talk. I have not seen her for a long time.” I added nervously.
The plane had already landed in Portland and the passengers were disembarking the plane and going through the immigration and customs checkpoints.
I was fiddling with a book I brought along but I was too anxious to read it, checking my wristwatch every five minutes. Finally, I saw a lone woman in a distance, pulling a suitcase. I stood up and moved in closer to have a better look.
The woman seemed frail but well dressed. She wore eyeglasses and obviously dyed her hair to a reddish brown color. Her features resembled those of my mother but I was not sure. Deep down in my gut, I felt it was her but not recognizing her gave me further anxiety and embarrassment. I approached her and exclaimed in Romanian.
“Mother, is that you? This is Mihai, your son.” I had tears in my eyes and my voice was trembling.
The woman looked at me and smiled.
“My dearest Son. Finally, I get to see you. After all these years!” she started crying.
She dropped her luggage and hugged me. I embraced her frail figure and we stood there. I do not know how long we stood there. All the past resentments and anger were gone. The feeling of reunification brought back my positive childhood memories and my past existence of carefree happiness returned momentarily.
Finally, reality returned and I was back in the present time. I was now concerned of my mother’s well being.
“Mother, are you hungry? How was your trip? Are you tired? You can sleep in the car but let me buy you a sandwich or some pastries, would you like that?” I was stammering nervously.
“I am well. I’ve slept a little on the plane. I also chatted with this nice woman who is visiting her sister in Portland. We’ve exchanged telephone numbers. I am planning to look her up. It is a small world, because she too lives in Bucharest. The stewardesses fed us well and I am not hungry. What I would like is to take a shower as soon as possible and change from these clothes.” mother said.
I picked up her luggage and we headed for the parking section.
We talked all the way back to Ashland of relatives, my classmates and acquaintances. My mother told me about life in post communist Romania and she wanted to know about my life in America. She was curious about everything.
I told her about Mellissa, omitting certain details of my gambling past and current unemployment.
“So what are your plans? Are you going to marry this girlfriend of yours?” my mother asked pointedly.
These were issues which I really wanted to avoid talking about with my mother. I did not like being under the gun about marriage decisions, especially if the probing was coming from someone like mother, who is not an involved party.
“I don’t know. We have no plans. Why should we? Marriage is not a walk in the park, or have you forgotten your marriage to Father?” I said annoyed.
“I just want the best for you Mihai. You are all alone in this country. Regrettably, you have no siblings or any other relatives. You’ll need the safety net of the family.” she said calmly.
I did not respond. She was of course right. I had been feeling a little lonesome around the holidays’ and rather envious of my friends who had large extended families. My new spiritual family was my new escape from reality but I chose not to bring this up to mother.
Instead, I have changed the subject and talked about movies. Mother loved going to the cinema. I put a CD in the car’s player of her favorite music. Her face lit up as I started playing her favorite tunes.
We drove in silence for a while. It seemed that my mother had tired herself out and took a little nap.
I became a little more relaxed. It seemed that we broke the ice and resumed where we left off almost eight years ago. The idea that I thought of her being was still fresh in my mind. Some people age gracefully with several interests and hobbies to carry them thought their declining years. Unfortunately, my mother was not like that. She had very little interests outside of herself and me. She had told me that motherhood was her happiest time especially when I was between two and six years of age. These years took her mind away from her unhappy and loveless marriage and her own sister’s alienation.
I was reminiscing of the time when her sisters announced that they wished to severe their relationship because our lifestyle was drastically different from theirs. When I was a child I had no idea what that meant. I heard about this later from my mother, who remained bitter about this for the rest of her life. Now, I thought, at least I’d have a chance to ask her about it. Before this shift in their relationship I had very fond memories of my aunts bringing me sweets and gifts. They liked me a lot and I could not understand why all of the sudden they had abandoned us.
“Mother, why did my aunts sever their relationship with us?” I asked when she woke up.
She was quiet for a while and appeared to be thinking. For a moment I thought she had dosed off again, when she finally spoke;
“The split was mostly caused your father and his temper. He had an almost pathological dislike towards my mother’s side of the family, which was interesting since he had no family relationship of his own since he had that fight with his brother. Your paternal grandmother died when you were very young. Do you remember her?”
Yes, I remembered my “other” grandmother. She was a frail, sickly old lady with a very sad, tormented life. She has died of cancer and I barely knew her.
I felt sorry for my Mother, then after a while I started feeling sorry for me. Why was I born into this dysfunctional, neurotic and abusive family? What could have been my sin in my past lives to warrant such a predicament?
Here I was thousands of miles away, trying make a fresh start and all the muck, all the “old skeletons in the closet” were now coming back to haunt me.
I did not say anything. I felt tired. I looked at the dashboard clock which indicated we were supposed to be close to Ashland.
The music CD kept playing the same ten songs over and over again but mother seemed to enjoy it.
Finally, we arrived at the house and I opened the trunk and took her luggage into her room. Mellissa had already cleaned and prepared a guest room for mother. She came into the house and Mellissa was in the kitchen preparing some food.
“Mother, this lovely young woman is Mellissa. Mellissa this is my mother.” I said.
Mellissa wanted to shake mother’s hand but she grabbed her hand and pulled her closer and gave her a big hug.
“It is wonderful to have met you my dear, I am overjoyed to be here.” mother said in English.
Mellissa’s Anglo Saxon upbringing did not give allowances to hugs and kisses at first sight, so with a little blushing she curtsied and said;
“It is very nice to meet you too, I have heard so much about you.”
I was stunned of the performance. I never knew she could curtsy, nor that my mother spoke a word of English.
I turned to her and asked her in Romanian.
“Mother, since when do you speak English?” I asked her shocked.
“For six years I had a cell mate who was allegedly an English spy. She taught me English but I suspect she was there as a plant, to spy on me.” she explained in her grammatically flawless but lightly accented English.
“You poor thing, how did you manage? For all those years!” exclaimed Mellissa with tears in her eyes.
“What kept me going was the knowledge that Mihai was alive and one day I might see him.” she said plainly.
“Are you hungry? I have made dinner.” asked Mellissa, fussing over mother.
“Thank you, dear. Allow me to take a quick shower and change my clothes. I will be back shortly. Could you please, show me the lavatory?” she asked Mellissa.
I sat down in the living room, in a dark corner and closed my eyes. I was somewhat relieved that the big introduction was now over. We were about to have a bite and retire for the night. I realized that I was very hungry so I got up and returned to the kitchen to help Mellissa.
“Can I help, sweetie?” I asked. I noticed that the table was set for three and the food was being kept warm.
“No. Everything is ready. Perhaps you want to open a bottle of wine? Does your mother like wine? Or perhaps something stronger?” she asked.
I never saw my mother drink alcohol but all of a sudden I realized that she might have.
“I will ask her.” I answered.
Finally mother returned changed and refreshed and we sat down at the table and started our meal. I was hungry and tired and did not much feel like talking but Mellissa was in the talkative mood.
“After you rest a bit we shall take you to San Francisco, and show you around. The wine country is not too far either.” she promised.
“What a nice house you have here.” said my mother after she showed her approval to tour the wine country and San Francisco with a little nod and smile.
“I have become especially fond of the lavatory you have - plenty of hot water with a huge bathtub, quite a luxury in Romania.” she confessed.
I remembered of the gas operated small boilers we used back home, with a capacity of one person at the time. Leisurely bathing was out of the question – you got clean and got out. In the old days we even reused bathwater after each other. This sounded disgusting now but it certainly happened.
We opened a bottle of wine and quickly finished it. The emotions of the past and present meeting directly above my brow was taking a toll on me. I felt drained and wanted to rest and sleep. Mother was tired too, so I kissed her good night and headed towards our bedroom.
I took a long, lukewarm shower. With my mind’s eye I imagined that the water was imbued with cleaning and healing magnetic properties and showering was more than skin deep and the magical water was healing me, washing away all my negativity, ill feelings and past resentments. I forced myself to think of the present only. I dried myself vigorously and climbed into bed. Mellissa was still in the kitchen doing the dishes with my mother. I forced myself not to think of what they might be talking about. I closed my eyes, thinking of the Cosmos and the abundance of secrets it holds. Then suddenly, Raphael appeared and we were sitting on the sand dunes of a beach, with no other people around. Raphael did not speak but his thoughts were in my head, this was how he instructed me to close my eyes and let go.
All of the sudden we were in the invisible realm, surrounded by rainbow hue light – weightless and I suspected bodiless beings of energy, with no forms to hold us down. This was the last memory and I fell into a deep sleep.
I woke the next day and I was laying there half awake with fragments of memories from last nights Astral escape. Melissa was still asleep, next to me.
I climbed out of bed to make some coffee. I also had to feed the cats who were loudly milling around in the kitchen.
When I returned Mellissa was half awake. I brought her coffee too and placed it on her nightstand.
“Thank you, honey.” she said groggily.
We were slowly sipping our coffee in bed. I thought to myself this is living. Life was great!
The next couple of days were harmonious, almost idyllic. Mother helped Mellissa in the kitchen and in her gardening, teaching her tricks as she was a consummate gardener, in love with flowers. We had great conversations, she had long forgotten stories of my childhood she could share with Mellissa often to amuse or embarrass me a little. I did not mind.
The next evening it was time for our Thursday meeting with the twelve disciples.
Raphael already had a new, prospective student by his side and he was directing his attention to him. He was a young, musician type, with his hair in dreadlocks, sporting a long, un kept beard. They were in the midst of a discussion.
“We are not part of the New Age movement per se, my young friend and in a moment I will tell you why.” he explained, then he added;
“The New Age movement has been prostituting itself by all sorts of soothsayers and self-anointed experts who have made sacred spirituality into their business.”
Then Raphael turned his attention to all of us.
“Perhaps some of you have heard of Simon who was apparently a great magician of Samaria with no small reputation. He was converted and became a follower of Philip. Word had reached Jerusalem of the church there, and Peter and John came to visit. The people there ‘were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus’ and Peter and John ‘laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost’.
‘And when Simon saw, that by the imposition of the hands of the apostles, the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying: Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I shall lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said to him: Keep thy money to thyself, to perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.’”
There was silence in the room. Nobody stirred. Raphael had his gaze upon us and we knew – he was very serious.
“We all have expenses and everything cost money…” protested the dreadlocked musician with a little spunk.
Raphael looked at him and said;
“If you did not have a substance abuse problem you would need a lot less money, friend. Your visions and problems now are all caused by your past cavalier attitude towards LSD and other substances. You can always get a job or hang out with others who have money. God’s consciousness is not to be sold like a sack of potatoes.”
The guy with the dreadlocks turned pale. Obviously, Raphael’s clairvoyance revealed things that were not previously mentioned and he did not know what to make of all of this.
Finally, he got up to go to the restroom but never returned to the couch, he had left the house without saying a word.
Raphael did not even notice, he was looking through his notes – Jenny was getting ready to set up the candles and the incense. Others were taking their seats – the session was about to start.
Raphael looked around and finally noticed the dreadlocked guy was gone.
“It’s a pity, this young fellow wanted to join us but he was a user of LSD. Nobody should meditate seriously while using that stuff. It is just too dangerous - just months or even years later, when you might be clean, it is still affecting your invisible body.” he explained looking at the couch beside him, where the dreadlocked guy had been seated just moments ago.
“Teacher, could you tell us about the invisible world and our invisible bodies.” someone asked in the room.
“Some of the ancients, the Hindu for example describe existence as a septenary in nature, where they account of seven planes of everything there is. This would correspond to the seven chakras our bodies contain. The Cabbalists count these layers of existence as ten, but for the sake of simplicity I will just use three layers – mental, astral, and physical. Since the demarcation from one level to another is murky the numbers we pick is not important. The three worlds or “planes” are as follows: the mental plane is the highest reality, save for the undivided akasha, and is the true and eternal ego. Where the akasha is in a sense the world of ideas, it is the mental plane that sets these ideas in motion. The astral plane is the next one down and contains the archetypes of the physical world and to some extent the vital energy behind it; the physical world is the lowest of the planes and requires little explanation. Each of these worlds forms a matrix for the world below it. Since we humans also have three bodies, severing the link between any two of these bodies will cause the dissolution of the lower forms (or death). Such things as astral projection are still possible as they only involve loosening the hold between the bodies.” Raphael took a sip from his mug and continued.
“It is important to point out that we often think that the source of all is the physical and that somehow extends out to the higher spheres. The reality is the exact opposite. Our nervous system and biology is controlled and affected by our “doppelganger” at the mental plane. To be able to do extraordinary things we must have these visible and invisible planes in perfect harmony.
In order to heal or be healed we must first be effective on the mental level and if successful the result will automatically be propagated down to the physical.
Drugs can break up this harmony and cause discord on the mental plane, even when the physical seems to be healthy and clean, years after the use of the drug.” Raphael added.
“What about the native, tribal people using psychedelic drugs for thousands of years?” someone retorted in the room.
“Shamans’ use drugs although they typically do not use LSD. For some indigenous people using peyote or other plants, on occasions, as this practice is part of their ritual and customs. Shamans usually use peyote for a substance called DMT. DMT is an endogenous entheogen, it is present in various plant life.
The sixties use of drugs was very different, far more dangerous due to their indiscriminate use and the questionable mental state of their users. It was akin to giving a child a loaded gun to play with. Whereas a gun in the hand of a trained person can save lives but it can also kill is it is used by a schoolboy.” explained Raphael.
I was thinking of my own use of drugs. Raphael was right, I did not seek enlightenment of altered states for some altruistic purpose. I wanted to feel good and have sex afterwards. The sixties were magical and creative times but inevitably they were destroyed by the self-indulgence and narcissism of the participants.
Raphael was changing gears and was getting ready for the final, definitive lecture for the night.
“Let us journey back in time, children. In fact, let us go back a few million years. Imagine the following scenario; we are observing the dawn of times, when Earth was starting to host the early forms of humans who were cave dwellers and who had not yet learned how to make fires. It was around this time when men were visited by spirits from far distant star systems, namely the Sirius, the Dog Star. These spirits incarnated as new born babies and early on showed unusual intelligence and traits. Some of these children grew up as Shamans, but many were brutally killed – just for being different. Yet, they came back via the same vehicle of reincarnation and taught men how to make fire using friction. Mastering the rudimentary control of fire allowed them to make better tools, to eat better and to cook food.
These special men were the original class of Healers, Shamans, and Spiritual Guides of the tribe. Their clear eyes and above average intelligence were setting them apart from the others but eventually they managed to transform the entire tribe into more intelligent humans. This is how aliens had helped mankind. Not how the urban legends depict it – UFO’s and spaceships did in fact also come but they came for a different reasons and at different times. This is the subject of a different evening altogether. Now let is meditate together.” finished Raphael.
We did our usual meditation, after which we ate some cookies and drank herbal tea.
By this time most people were milling around Raphael, vying for his attention and handshake. I got up, waved goodbye to everybody and went home.
Mother was already in bed, asleep. Mellissa too was in bed watching something on TV.
I quickly took a shower and climbed in bed.
“Hi, honey, did you miss me?” I asked her jokingly.
“A matter of fact I did miss you. How was the meeting?” she asked.
“The meeting was very interesting.” I informed her, knowing that she had something else in her mind.
My foot was playing with Mellissa’s foot, finally she giggled and snuggled closer to me.
“Are you sleepy?” she asked coyly.
I did not answer. Instead, I kissed her which eventually led to us making passionate love.
I woke up the next morning hungry – I somehow had managed to skip dinner the night before. I got up to make coffee to find Mother had already tended to that and was making breakfast.
“Mihai dearest, I was looking for a good book to read but I could not find anything suitable amongst your books. Why are you reading all that nonsense, Dear?” she asked mockingly.
My library mainly contained lots of books on witchcraft, the esoteric and occult. Mother must have found those books, I thought.
“My books are not for everybody Mother, I suggest you pick your reading from Mellissa’s collection, or visit the library.” I answered cautiously.
“Since when are you interested in Devil worshipping?” she asked me sharply.
“I am not interested in Devil worshipping, Mother. You obviously know nothing of these things, so I suggest your keep out of this matter.” I answered, my voice raised.
She put down the plates and stormed out of the kitchen. I lost my appetite and needed some fresh air. I went outside to the back yard and sat there in the morning sun. In a daze, I sipped my orange juice and the possibility of my initiation was quickly disappearing in front of my eyes.
Chapter 8 The Tree of Life
In which Raphael explains the real meaning of life, how magic works and what “killed the flower-power” of the sixties.
As the days turned into weeks we all managed to keep our lives as civil as possible however the occasional fight did occur, mainly between my mother and myself, followed by the ominous silence and bad vibrations percolating around the house.
Mellissa came up with the idea that we needed to get out of the house more often, so we both enrolled in the local community college. I enrolled in a creative writing course and yoga whilst Mellissa, who has always been interested in painting – took a drawing class and a beginners class of water color painting.
Raphael’s philosophical theme and lectures were becoming successive talks on the differences of subjective versus objective reality.
“When a tree falls in Siberia and there are no people to observe it either with your auditory senses, nor visibly, did the tree really fall?” he asked us on Thursday evening. After some pause from the class, that was filling up the house by now, variable answers came.
“Yes.” someone answered.
“Regardless of anyone observing the falling of the tree, there is one less tree in Siberia. A living thing died.” she added, making a sad face.
“No.” Someone else chimed in.
“If there was no one around, then the falling of the tree had not been perceived by anyone, hence it did not occur, in a philosophical sense.” he added, to make the argument sound more plausible.
“Have you seen the movie, the Matrix?” Ralph asked, looking around the room and ignoring the responses.
“Now imagine that our so called reality is the Matrix. You experience life as it is programmed for you, by society, the media, your peers. You have the opportunity to wake up during the whole time but waking up must be a conscious effort – and first and foremost you must accept the fact you are living in a dream. ” he said, then he added.
“The Hindu calls this Maya – an illusion. Depicting our daily, mundane existence as a dream within a dream. They consider only one thing real, which is Parabrahman, the infinite and utmost God. All else are perishable hence are an illusion. A cyclical occurrence of life and death, birth and decay is not our real existence – our real existence is infinity and oneness in God. This is our birthright, our heritage.”
“Why did we separate from God in the first place?” I asked, voicing my philosophical dilemma that was ever present with me.
“..or did we not separate from God? Then why are we in this illusion?” I added.
Raphael looked at me and smiled.
“Mihai, my dear friend, you must also understand the refined difference between the word creation and emanation.
The Atziluth – the undivided infinity of being, multiplies itself by another order of infinity and causes the infinity unfold into Briah – which is of specified, non-sequential meaning. In this state, Unitary being experiences of the whole infinite variety of specific meanings, but without sequence or order. Briah is the archetypal, symbolic ocean, in which each drop reflects the whole and the whole is mirrored in each drop. It is a chaos of potentiality, in which all things are not only possible, but also probable and actual.”
Raphael paused for a slight moment and continued “This infinity of random meaning – Briah, multiplies itself by another order of infinity and causes the infinity of sequence and relationship -Yetzirah. This is the realm of symbol, of order, logic, emotion, thought — the realm where one thing leads to another. This is also the realm of time, the essence of which is sequence. This infinity of sequential meaning -Yetzirah, multiplies itself by another order of infinity and causes the infinity of spatial relationship -Assiah and our familiar physical realm. The first multiplication of The One Self — the transition from the Atziluthic Unity of being, to the Braitic infinity of non-sequential meaning – is described in the Old Testament, chapter one, Creation Story. The second transition, from the Briatic infinity to the sequential, Yetziratic infinity, is the topic of the Sepher Yetzirah. Thus the Sepher.Yetzirah. is very orderly and systematic in its presentation and closely examines the structure of ‘eternity’. In our so called ‘reality’, much of that we think as actual and final event is in reality, just a perception based possibility of one in the trillion of permutations of the whole. What finally ‘happens’ is based on individual and collective visualization, ideas, current and old thoughts and carefully balanced of positive and negative individual and group Karma.” he finished with a smile.
I did not quite understand all the Hebrew words but amazingly, as a whole I understood. This was probably on account of my reading of Franz Bardon and Lady’s brother who introduced me to the Kabala has helped, or was it Raphael’s suggestive personality?
“Can anyone change the final “sequence? Isn’t that the true magic, Teacher?” I asked eagerly remembering my waning abilities at the card table, I asked eagerly.
“Magic is real and possible, if it does not go against the flow of karma in a major way, but you are obsessed with magic, my Brother. Wanting to control it all, when in reality the only thing you can control is yourself and your own perception of life.” he paused.
“Cheap card tricks and attempts of personal gain via the Divine Providence is dark magic. This is why your abilities had ceased, Mihai. We want you on our side. The side of the Light. Don’t you want to make this World a better place? Once you make a commitment to join forces with the Invisible Ones, they will take care of you. Your life will be altered in a whole different way. Have you not noticed? Your own life has taken turns for the better, you are not in need. You do not need to be in a Casino, wasting your life and talent.”
Indeed, Mellissa’s trust fund allowed us to live without a need of a job, but our days were without any structure and I was wondering how long could live this way? I was bored a lot on account of not having a job. I was living the existence of a retired person. My brain and muscles needed exercise. I was a kept man, but somehow I considered myself an artist deserving this privilege. But sometimes I felt doubt and uncertainty and I was missing my old days, when I could support myself with what Raphael called cheap card tricks, I considered divine providence.
The room was still discussing Cosmology and why and how it all started. Was it emanation or God’s divine plan? Everybody was talking over each other’s head. Magic was ignored, as something Raphael and myself understood and others jealously wanted to steer the lecture towards subjects they had familiarity and understanding with. The initiates kept quiet but the neophytes needed attention.
“Teacher, did it all start with a Big Bang? someone asked.
“Yes, but more precisely there were a series of Big Bangs. The state of Briah, is a Universe in its more pristine, pre-matter condition. Only the potentiality of matter exist in what some call laya-centers. These laya-centers are the mustard seed from the Parables of Jesus, that which the Master was referring at.”
From this unconditioned chaos, all of a sudden something began forming – first we started with matter. The smallest particle contains this slice of divine Monad – the spirit, which are essentially still matter except its refinement or gradation is different -higher. This was the building block to everything.
“The Planets and Sun, in fact all celestial bodies were created by the seven Archangels. They did not use brick and mortar but their focused and undivided thoughts to make all this come alive.” said Raphael slowly and after pausing he added;
“You and I are no different, we had been furnished with the same powerful ability - our thinking and mind are capable of creating angelic, marvelous things and demons alike. Your creative imagination is your wand and your thoughts are your shield.”
The group started talking about the New Thought movement. It went on for a while, people were quoting books and their favorite authors.
I realized that our salvation is entirely in our hands – we just have to change our thinking and our world would change accordingly. I was elated and I cocooned myself in my thoughts. I did not pay attention to the rest of the class. I was sipping on my herbal tea while the room was still heatedly discussing the Tree of Life.
Finally, I went home. Mother was watching TV and Mellissa was making a pretty watercolor painting of a flower in a vase. I complemented her on the painting and went to bed. Before I fell asleep I thought that some day I was going to write all of this as a book.
The morning came and after breakfast I headed over to Burt’s house. As a fellow writer, (I considered myself one now), we should discuss a few things, I thought.
Burt opened his door and was pleasantly surprised to see me. He invited me in. Then we talked about his book ideas and writing.
“I am taking a creative writing class now” I said with a little boasting.
Burt ignored it and gave me a couple of books he wrote, with some others on publishing and marketing. One of his books was on playing Jazz and forming a Jazz band in Ashland. It seemed very interesting reading.
“Thanks Burt for all this great reading material. I must be off now” I said and left.
I went home where Mother greeted me in Romanian.
“Mihai, this house is in a state of mess, why can Mellissa not keep it cleaner?” she asked.
Mellissa was in the other room but I was afraid that hearing her name in Romanian might alarm her and cause friction.
“Mother, why do you speak Romanian now? Especially, when you are talking about Melissa. She can hear, you know?” I said angrily.
“I am just sick of picking up things around the house, I am not your maid.” Mother continued in Romanian.
“Then you should not pick up anything. Nobody asked you to do this!” I retorted.
“You know that it bothers me when things are in a state of disarray, Mihai.” she said a little softer. “I cannot help it.” she confessed.
I knew that my mother had certain obsessive compulsive tendencies. She did the same when I was a child. Whenever father and her had a fight she had released her stress by cleaning and waxing the parquet floor.
Fortunately, I had a writing class to go to and I quickly dismissed all negativity from my mind in order to get my creative juices flowing.
The writing class was small enough to get personal attention, yet offering a wide diversity of students with various backgrounds and interests. There were many bored housewives some of them writing erotic novels to spice up their marriage.
The next day I ran into Robert and since I had nothing to do I asked if he wanted to get a cup of coffee, to which he graciously agreed to.
“Raphael said some astonishing things last night.” I probed.
Robert seemed deep in thought and it took him a second to snap back. He looked at me through his glasses and began slowly talking with his impeccable manner:
“I want to share something with you that I know he’d never say in the class. Back in the sixties Raphael moved to California from New York City where he had lived for years, he was travelling around in California, scouting for meandering souls who were ready. He was doing interior design and sharing a large house on Venice Beach but often travelled up north, lecturing, healing and trying to save the world a little – one day at the time.” he cautiously took a sip from his hot coffee. He paused and looked at me waiting to see if I had a question.
I was dreading that Robert was again belaboring on his already confessed homoerotic intimacy so I did not say anything thus he continued:
“He was in San Francisco, back then all the hippies and anti war people were a great and receptive audience. Raphael was in his element but he hated drugs, he considered drugs as a derailing the spirituality of the otherwise magnificent anti war movement. He could hardly find any potential disciples from the dopey audience to which he wanted to make a point. He asked all the people in the room to empty their pockets and give him all the dope they had on them. People were first stunned by the request and then something happened that was incredible, they slowly begun obeying him. He can make you do anything, if he wants to, by the way. ” he added.
“Little by little they started empting their pockets and they were handing over everything – the pills, the marijuana joints and the peyote.
Raphael had all in his hand. We were unsure what he was going to do with all those illegal substances. Then to everyone’s amazement he has asked for a glass of water and proceeded to swallow it all down.”
‘Do not try this at home!’ he said, then he went on as if nothing had happened. “We all thought he would pass out any moment, but he managed to talk for an hour and then his assistant took him home. Later, Raphael told me that was imagining, with his all his being, that he had Swiss chocolate in his hand. He has a weakness for sweets, you know. ” Robert laughed.
“All his being? Do you mean his invisible bodies too.” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“You are catching on fast, Mihai.” said Robert with a boyish grin.
“Did you see this in person? Were you there?” I asked not knowing what else to say.
I was not surprised that Raphael could do this but still, it was a fantastic story and I was wondering if Robert had a first hand experience witnessing it or someone told him the story.
“I was one of the meandering souls. It so happened that I had some peyote on me. In those days and even today, I was deeply into Shamanism and Native American culture. I was going to use it that night to ‘broaden our consciousness’. I guess that’s what we called it back then.” he lamented.
“Perhaps you were an Indian in your past life.” I said half-serious.
“Many, like myself who has lived through the sixties at the prime of our lives and became the Flower generation and the protested against the Vietnam fiasco were, in fact Native tribesmen reincarnated. One time I asked Raphael to put me in suggestive hypnosis and this aging hippie spoke Lakota, apparently quite fluently.” he said smiling.
I was taken in by Robert, in quiet admiration. He aged very well. He was graying but he stayed fit and healthy.
“I never took drugs after that day. He told me, if I stay clean, after two years under his wings, I could be initiated. I did not much care about the initiation but I knew after this meeting that Raphael was the ‘real deal’ and I became his disciple.” he reminisced.
“What about your intimate relationship?” I asked, in a daze.
“Oh, that came much later.” said Robert with a smile.
Chapter 9 the Old Indian
In which our protagonist develops insomnia, meets a mysterious Native American who gives him a talisman, then he begins to loose his mind, or at least that’s how it feels.
It is said that we live our days in the firmament of reality but in our dreams we go beyond this mundane existence. Bountiful sleep is important to nourish and expand our mind. This is why I was concerned when I started developing insomnia. My training in meditation and mind exercises did not help. I tried to get exercise and some fresh air in the evening before retiring by taking a bicycle ride around the flatlands near the house. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to help.
“Honey, you need your rest. Try to see a doctor.” suggested a concerned Mellissa.
The idea seemed reasonable, except I did not like or trust doctors – instead, I went to the store and bought over-the-counter sleeping pills that made me groggy the next day.
I also noticed a peculiar characteristic to my sleeplessness. I would go to sleep and then I would wake up quite rested. I closed my eyes trying to drift back into sleeping – instead, I started seeing faces, people and places. They were people I had never seen, in places I had never been to. I would not hear any voices first but then the voices appeared – some in English, some in Romanian. I had to get up and go to my study. It was disturbing!
Later, after reaching physical and mental exhaustion I returned to a sleepy period. I could sleep a good seven or eight hours and occasionally take a nap in the afternoon. As time went by I began to notice that there was a distinctive peak and valley in my sleeping and mental faculties, when in an elevated period I was very psychic and intuitive, full of creative energies – in the lull, lazy period, on the other hand I was sleeping a lot and seemingly I appeared to have lost my faculties.
All of a sudden, I realized that my behavior was akin to someone suffering bipolar disorder. In my single period, when I was living in the Burlingame bachelor pad I’ve had a brief but very passionate relationship with a married, but separated Austrian woman, suffering from the most severe case of bipolar disorder. She refused to take her medication so we were living in heaven and hell, depending on her mood cycle. As difficult as this relationship was it was filled with fantastic exuberance and experimental sex. In the end I had to break it off because the toll it took upon me mentally. I knew that I could not fix Elga. After we broke up I decided to visit a therapist. What if my attraction was caused by the very fact that deep inside I too, was carrying this affliction?
The affliction of insomnia was scary to me. Initially this fear stemmed not from experience by hearsay. There was one other incident from my bachelor past living in San Francisco. Right after breaking up with Elga, I wanted to fill the void and only wanted to date a European. This is when I met a Hungarian widow who also lived in San Francisco. We met and shortly afterwards we were keenly exploring each other’s “skeletons in the closet“. Most people in their late thirties or forties have some baggage, caused by either past relationship.
“What happened to your husband?” I probed her.
“My husband killed himself. He was a medical doctor, but he suffered from insomnia, finally he overdosed on sleeping pills.” she confessed.
I could see the pain in her eyes, as the memory was still fresh.
I decided not to press her into what had caused her husband’s insomnia, or was it an intentional act or accident? Instead, I tried to console her but I was still carrying the flame of Elga and was not ready to see anyone else so we parted. We did however go to movies and dinner, and had a brief sexual encounter. Apparently, she had moved back to Hungary. Staying in San Francisco, alone, seemed too unbearable to her. This was a brief encounter but it left a deep impression on me. She had a very shapely figure and amiable personality and much later, I often fantasized about her and why things did not work our between us. Fools rush in, and I was a fool back then, I often said to myself.
Weeks later, I was lying in bed. It was around 3:40 am. I was thinking to myself what if the whole reincarnation story was just a farce, what if Raphael was a hypnotic yet harmless, person suffering in self-delusion, much like myself? I instantly managed to disarm the idea as paranoia coming from being tired and worried but traces of the doubt had remained.
My state of mind caused further friction with my mother who was not at all supportive of my esoteric theories and she discarded them as dabbling in self-importance and as the overactive imaginations of an underachiever. The lack of sleep made me testy.
“How long are you planning to stay with us, Mother?” I asked her in Romanian.
“Do you want me to leave, Mihai? Am I such a burden on you?” she pleaded with tears in her eyes.
“Oh no, Mother. Just that you and I often bicker and fight and do not like that. I need serenity!” I retorted.
“A man needs to work hard all day. What you need, Mihai, is strenuous physical work – work that occupies your mind and tires your muscles. Then you will be tired and sleep like a baby.” mother snapped back.
This, I did not want to hear. Without saying a word I walked out and got in my car. I was just sitting behind the steering wheel – the key in the ignition – thinking to myself once more. There was some truth in what Mother was saying but I did not want to toil in physical labor. I had read somewhere that Agatha Christie was bipolar. She was a prolific writer and a worldwide success. Many of her books were made into unforgettable movies, and translated into most languages. I read her Ten Little Indians in Romanian first.
I started my car and almost on ‘autopilot’ I drove to the Forgotten Things.
I peeked inside and Robert was there with a strange man.
I’ve knocked twice and Robert opened the locked door - the ‘open’ sign was facing the entrance nevertheless.
“Am I disturbing anything?” I asked as I entered the store.
“No. Not at all, we were just talking nonsense here. Come on in, let me introduce you to my good friend Ray, who is an Okwanuchu elder and a medicine man.”
We shook hands without saying a word. Ray’s hands were big and calloused. His hands gave the impression that he had done a fair amount of physical work during his life. His age was not apparent and he could have been past fifty or sixty but he was full of life and strong as a bull, his eyes were mischievous and alive, yet his face had two long vertical creases and wrinkled around the eyes. Ray’s hair was grayish but he possessed a full head of hair, braided in the back. He was adorned with hand made silver jewelry, accented by various semi-precious stones.
“My friend here is Mihai. He is one of Raphael’s new pupil’s, an apparent reincarnation case” Robert introduced.
“Oh, I have heard about you. Do you have any recollection of your past life?” asked Ray – his deep voice resonated familiarity with all aspects of the mysteries of life.
“No. I was only told when I saw a painting I apparently had painted before I was born into this body.” I said.
“The natural progression of things is to have a past life regression to further explore your past. This is only to expand your mind, not to verify or assure yourself of your past life.” said Ray.
I did not need reassurance about my past life and Raphael was there for me to learn about myself, at least this is what I assumed. My doubts were about my own state of mind, but this encounter started shedding lights to a whole different angle.
“How do you suggest I do this ‘regression’? Should I seek out a psychic?” I asked mockingly.
“Self-hypnosis is one way. It is a very useful skill to know and you will not get this by reading books. You must practice it daily. We sometimes use psychedelic drugs but you are not an Indian and for you there are other ways. I know your teacher well – he could put you into hypnosis against your will but that is not the right way and I doubt that he would ever do that. I am pretty certain that Raphael feels that this up to you to discover a way to get in to an altered state, because it is different for every individual! You will do this when you are ready. ” he explained, seemingly unfazed by my attitude.
“Self-hypnosis can help you to learn to relax, have unanswered questions resolved and even overcome certain phobias – you might actually like it” he added with a smile.
We talked some more and his manner about him managed to erase all my apprehension and we parted very amiably. There was something enigmatic about Ray that I only noticed after we parted ways. There was a certain glow about his presence that equaled Raphael’s.
I left the store and headed home.
At home the days turned into weeks and we managed our weird triangle of emotional co-dependency. My mother was increasingly hostile towards Mellissa but as a natural passive aggressive she showed her dislike by pretending to be the martyr, when in reality Mellissa suffered her.
I was amazed at Mellissa’s self-control and poise. I could never match her inner strength probably because my mother was no stranger to me.
One day my mother handed me a package. There was no return address only a small box that contained three CD’s and a handwritten note signed by Ray.
“I hope your will find this material useful – listen to them carefully in the order they are numbered. These audio recordings will help you in developing your soul-mirror. Yours truly, Ray”
“What is that, Mihai?” my mother asked.
“I am not sure Mother. But I am going to find it out, right now.” I replied and headed to my study.
The audio recording was one CD labeled one, containing various interviews conducted in the seventies with Dr. Helen Wambach, a psychologist who was one of the first researchers of past-life regression under hypnosis. The other CD’s, two and three contained self-hypnosis instructions – one preliminary and the last one – advanced.
After several attempts to put myself into a trance I found that while the desired Gnosis did not always come, I did fall asleep easier when I focused my attention to my breathing for a few minutes, as the instructions suggested. A typical misdirection of the stage magician, I thought.
“Breath in through your nose and hold it. Now, breathe out through you lips and hold it as long as it is comfortable.” the tape said.
“Now press your solar plexus firmly and continue breathing this way. You are sinking deeper and deeper into your own subconscious.”
I briefly saw something of a pyramid with the eye – the design that is visible on the One Dollar Bill. It was clear and in vivid colors – not money green, but deep purple.
Mother started complaining about her lower back and demanded to see a massage therapist. We drove her to the first session and whilst waiting we decided to have lunch nearby.
“How long do you suppose your Mother is staying?” asked Mellissa, right after we finished ordering our food.
“Her visa is for six months, but I am hoping that it won’t come to that.” I answered, trying to sound reassuring.
“Why, do you ask? Is she bothering you that much?” I asked her feeling mixed emotions. I was torn between emotions.
She did not answer immediately, instead, she gave me a look. It was with some embarrassment, mixed with disbelief. I guess my last question was rather naive.
She leaned towards me and whispered “Look, Honey. I know you are in a tough spot but I have decided to see my folks for a couple weeks. I will come up with a good excuse and I am sure your mother will be happy to have you exclusively for herself.”
I was a little shocked. I knew I would miss her – a couple of weeks is not a lot of time but Mellissa never expressed deep desire to see her parents before.
“When are you leaving?” I asked finally.
“Tomorrow, after I pack up a few things. I have a break at school anyway.” she said.
We drove home in silence. I needed to get away from the uncomfortable situation. I did not wish to get into a fight with Mother. I knew if I stayed home, we would somehow entangle into some bitter argument and I would say something I’d regret later.
“I need some time alone so I will ride my bicycle for a bit. See you later.” I said and kissed her.
“Of course Honey, see you around supper time.” she said.
Mellissa left, I bought some presents for her parents which parted with her the next day.
The usual Thursday meeting at Raphael’s was soon commencing and I felt elated. Before and during these meetings my life seemed to have some purpose and meaning. Afterwards, I was usually charged-up which in turn lasted me a few days – unfortunately it wore off and by the weekend I was back to the doldrums of my weird and miserable threesome. Now, for a while, it will be only by myself and my Mother and that did not seem much of an improvement in my life either.
Mother made some cookies – someone usually brought something to Raphael for the after-meeting tea session.
“What is this meeting you are going to? Is this some kind of a cult?” she quipped, looking suspicious.
“No, Mother, this is not a cult. I am sorry to disappoint you.” I replied.
To my surprise Ray was at the meeting. It turned out he was also an artist, making jewelry from beads, semi-precious stones.
Raphael was talking about the intricacies of amulet and talismans magic.
“Amulets are for protection from unwanted vibrations and talismans are for creating new vibrations for the owner.” Raphael explained.
“Doesn’t selling these magical accessories, constitute Dark magic, Teacher?” Burt interjected with an indignant tone.
“Making and charging amulets is an art form. The material you use and intentions you muster up would determine the polarity of the operation.
My good-friend Ray, uses silver, never gold. Gold has certain negative Karmic connotation from its historical perspective.
Naturally, magic, for us, is on the low order of things, but amulets are the exception and they protect and nurture. An amulet’s effect is commensurate to the faith you foster in them.” he explained patiently.
“Isn’t the Christian cross an amulet?” asked someone in the back of the room.
“Indeed, in the context of Hollywood movies and popular culture, the cross had displayed certain properties of the amulet. It demonstrated properties against Vampires and other nefarious entities.” agreed Raphael.
Suddenly Ray, who until this moment did not say a word, stood up and made a surprising announcement.
“Since this is New Moon and we have a nice crop of people here I have made some charms for each of you here. If you wish to get them please, see me after the closing meditation. I have bracelets and some rings made of Amber and solver.”
After the meeting wound down we all got something from Ray, except Burt. He said good night and left early. There was something that was bothering him. Usually, as he was the senior initiate, he was making announcements of his own about his writings. Noticeably, when other’s were in the limelight he felt somehow out of place.
I received a nice Baltic amber beaded silver bracelet. I immediately put in on – it was gratifying. I asked Ray if he would accept some money or donation but he shook his head and said with a smile “No money, please. If I want a favor from you I will find you, don’t worry.”
At home my mother, a died in the wool Eastern European, unavoidably commented on the bracelet that it was too effeminate and I should be wearing gold, as silver is for poor people. I just ignored her.
During the next few days I was avoiding my mother as much as it was humanly possible. I began feeling the void Mellissa had left in the house. I was restless and needed some human interaction. I was thinking about Ray and his magnificent gift to all of us. I decided to go to Indian land, into California just across the Stateline. I went online and managed to look up the tribes in Shasta and its neighboring Counties.
I got in my car and headed towards the town named Dunsmuir. When I got to Dunsmuir I saw signs of place called Tauhindauli Park Area. I parked and decided to take a walk around the nearby trails.
According to the information I got surfing the Internet this area was the original homeland of the Wintu and Okwanuchu tribes. The Wintu migrated from the south to the Sacramento River canyon. Once upon a time the Wintu and Okwanuchu occupied all of Siskiyou county and Southern Oregon.
I was unsure as to what I was doing there but it was incredibly peaceful and beautiful. The area is the place of the gullies that eventually become the streams that morph into the Sacramento River from the melting Mountain snow. The air was crisp, full of fragrance of the wild.
I saw a Park Ranger and I approached him. He seemed to be relaxing in his four-wheel drive vehicle, with his window rolled down.
“Hello Officer. Can I ask you a question? Where is the reservation of the Indians who had lived here in the olden days?” I asked.
“I am an amateur history buff and one-sixth Shasta Indian myself. There is no reservation because the tribes around here are not recognized by the Feds.” he explained.
“Oh, there is no reservation? Where could I find an elder of Okwanuchu Nation? He and I are good acquaintances.” I said proudly.
He got out of his truck, apparently to stretch his legs. He was as tall as I and he looked into my eyes with a strange look.
“Mister, there are no Okwanuchu people left! The tribe was absorbed or otherwise decimated by the stronger Wintu and finally the last remnants of it had died out during the Modoc wars. ” he said slowly.
I was hearing the Ranger’s voice but it was not sinking in. Ray must be one of those 1/18th Native Americans whose ancestors can show some lineage to the Okwanuchu people, I told myself. Genealogy is a very popular American pastime.
I could not tell the Park Ranger my story with Ray because I could not decide what to make of it myself. Ray seemed real, and I was not ready for something like this.
Finally, I managed to open my mouth. “When did the Okwanuchu die out? There must be some left from mix marriages or perhaps the other tribe absorbed them – who did you say there were – the Wintu?” I pleaded.
“No. You do not understand Mister. If a person is claiming today that he is related to Okwanuchu, he is either a ghost or a crazy-person! They all died out in 1918.” The Ranger said calmly.
I did not want to say anymore. I politely said goodbye to the Ranger and headed home. Just the other day, I was thinking that I might be bipolar – grandiose thinking and visions are symptoms of a bipolar person when he is in the elevated, manic phase, I read someplace.
While I was driving home it occurred me what Raphael said of the ascended masters. He called them the Brotherhood of Light. Could Ray be part of this Brotherhood? Who is he? Perhaps he is Raphael’s own Guru. My head was spinning.
With Mellissa’s absence I did not feel like going home but I needed some rest and a change of clothes.
Mother made my favorite soup and I was just in time to break bread with her.
“I hope you still like a good home made soup. I made us a pot of Csorba de Bors” she said proudly. “I bet that your girlfriend won’t cook for you homemade food. You always buy commercially prepared food, that is full of preservatives and chemical substances.” Mother argued.
I did not feel like getting into a discussion that was indented to show Mellissa’s shortcomings. I felt yet again violated of my privacy and like, just like when I was living at home and my parents would not allow certain girls to our house.
“I am not discussing Mellissa with you. Especially not behind her back. You are interjecting yourself into something that is private and none of your business.
Anyway, how long are you planning to stay here?” I said and as soon as the words left my lips, knew I have gone too far.
“Do you want me to leave?’ mother asked bitterly.
“Look, I love you and I do not want to hurt your feelings, but Mellissa has left because of you. I miss her! I am a man and I need a woman beside me – a woman who is not my mother! I know she is not perfect – she is not from Europe but she loves me and that’s what matters to me. We did not discuss this but your staying here was never meant to be permanent.” I whispered angrily.
Mother started her usual diatribe “Mihai, I am your mother and I will always be your mother, even though you are clearly not a child anymore. You are not married to Mellissa and apparently you have no plans to start a family. Her biological clock will start to kick in soon and you will then have to make a decision. You do not have a career, you do not even have a menial job. How could you start a family – bring a new life into this world? You are a kept man and when this ends and it will – it won’t end well, for you, Son!”
Mother hissed the “kept man” with such contempt and denigration that my blood started boiling. I briefly closed my eyes and thought of Raphael, then in an instant Ray’s face appeared – exuding serenity. What would they do in my place? All of a sudden this whole discussion seemed trivial and useless. It was derailing me from what was really important in my life now. It dawned on me that even the prospect of my initiation seemed unimportant.
I was calm but I was going to have the last word. “Mother, I know you are concerned as my mother but I need to be alone now. I want you to leave as soon as you can. Living like this – three is a crowd!”
I got up and left the room. In my study I was still thinking about how my mother had grown older and how she had no interests of her own. Most of her interests and focus were about me – her only son. She was a meddlesome widow and I felt sorry and remorseful. Was I doing the right thing? Am I committing some kind of a matricide – by pushing her away?
She ought to get married again and travel, I thought.
Finally, after many attempts of self-hypnosis I fell into a state that was neither sleep nor I was awake.
My eyes were closed but I could see -I was in someplace very well lit with natural sunlight except it was indoors. I sensed that I was not alone and others were watching me. Suddenly an androgynous voice, inside my head said:
“The most arduous path is usually the right one.”
I looked around and saw nobody. What was the voice trying to tell me? In my case what was the hardest decision for me? I wasn’t sure.
“What shall I do? Tell me, please! I want to make the righteous move.” I wanted to say but voice did not come out of my mouth, I was thinking it and I knew that somebody was listening to my thoughts.
Finally, I heard the same soothing voice; “Do not worry; if not this life, then the next.”
Chapter 10 Going Home
Mother is ill. She complains of her back and she has no insurance in the USA. Mellissa indicates that she wants a family. The razor’s edge, The Witch of Kings Cross. Going home.
Days have turned into weeks and suddenly Mother announced that she is going back to Romania. The reason behind this news was that her health was taking a turn for worse. Her constant back pain was apparently caused by her kidney problem. She started to notice blood in her urine and that alarmed all of us. She had no insurance but I made an appointment with a Hungarian doctor whom I knew in Sacramento. I drove her there and after some blood tests and urine tests his diagnosis was not conclusive but alarming.
I had visited Dr. Kertesz before and he was a Canadian/Hungarian who resided in the USA but was born in Romania’s ethnic Hungarian enclave. If this was not confusing enough, his whole being can be summarized as that Dr. Kertesz was a typical legal drug peddler, a shill for Big Pharmaceuticals.. Pharmaceutical reps, who were usually stunning looking women who were in and out of his office, leaving him samples of the industry’s latest wonder pills. The good thing about Dr. Kertesz was that he accepted cash and took appointments from uninsured and elderly eastern Europeans – he also spoke rusty Romanian.
“Creatinine levels in your blood indicate abnormal kidney function. I am prescribing a couple of different medicines that will remove unwanted substances from your blood. These are new and if you have any side effects, discontinue taking them immediately. Have your son call me if the side effects persist. I am afraid I cannot do more, since you are uninsured.” he told my mother in Romanian.
“When you go home, have yourself checked out with your regular physician as soon as possible” he added while scribbling on a prescription form.
We left a little worried. It was clear that mother had to go home but now I wanted her to stay. I wanted to look after her, fully aware how unrealistic and impossible my desire was.
Mellissa who has been home for weeks (she too grew tired of her parents and their incessant whining for grandchildren) tried to console me but nothing could. In my mind any attempts of normalizing my relationship with my mother had failed in the face of events beyond my control. I forced myself to think positive and to put some faith in the Romanian medical establishment which of course was rather delusional. I sensed that this situation will not end well.
I had been noticing that my predictive abilities had markedly grown and I could almost be described as someone with psychic abilities.
I was thinking of asking Raphael to look at my mother and for that I needed to ask the person who I knew could help – Robert.
“My mother is sick. We think it is her kidney. Do you think the Teacher could help?” I pleaded with Robert in the store.
“You should ask Raphael. When is she leaving? Have you made arrangements for her yet?” inquired Robert.
I was worried as I knew if Raphael cannot intervene, my mother was done for. I was afraid to try because I dreaded facing the truth.
Robert phoned me to come over to their house and bring Mother along.
“You should bring Mellissa as well – more the merrier.” he suggested.
“Mother, we are going to pay a visit to my Teacher. Why don’t you come along?” I asked her.
“I have never met your friends and I was thinking that you were ashamed of me. Why now, all of the sudden?” she asked suspiciously.
“You will be leaving soon. Maybe you will never have this chance again. They are wonderful and loving people, Mother.” I said.
We arrived a little early. We were lead into a special room away from the usual place where the meetings were held, filled with antiques and painted in an undeterminable color between blue and green. The room had a pulse of its own due to the color and some background music that came from four speakers, placed in each corner.
Mother sat down on a small divan and we on the chairs surrounding a coffee table.
After a few minutes Raphael appeared. He was dressed in a tropical white suit, but without a tie. He came in and hugged the women, starting with Mellissa, then Mother. He just patted me on the shoulder.
“I am glad you could make it. Finally, I get to see this lad’s family.” he smiled.
“Robert is making us herbal tea and some snacks.” he added.
We sat around for a little. I looked around in the room and commented on the ambiance in exuded. “I have never seen this room, Teacher.” I said stating the obvious.
Raphael ignored my comment and turned all his attention towards my mother.
“So Madame, I hear you are going back to the Old Country. We shall miss you, but I know you are long way from home.” He said in a slow suggestive way.
Mother responded with a “Yes.” and nodded her head.
Raphael was standing in front of my sitting mother and gazed at her for minutes. She seemed unaware and was very relaxed, with opened eyes as in a trance.
Then all of the sudden Raphael snapped his finger and turned around motioning that I was to follow him out of the room. As a diversionary move Robert entered the room with a cart that housed a tray full of food and a set of tea cups and a large, silver samovar.
Mellissa looked at me, and without saying a word I noticed her amazement, I motioned her to stay and have some food.
“I am coming back in a minute.” I whispered to her and left after Raphael.
He was already in the hallway when I caught up with him.
“You mother is going to lose one of her kidneys.” he said with a tone of voice as if he was discussing the weather. Then he looked at me and seeing the expression in my eyes he softened a little.
“Beyond this, I am afraid, I cannot say and do more.” he added apologetically.
“Cannot or will not?” I was thinking to myself.
“But for the God’s sake, will she die?” I asked Raphael.
“We shall all die eventually, my dear friend.” said Raphael prophetically, as he left the hallway. I thanked him and returned to my family.
Mother and Mellissa were munching on some food and drinking the herbal tea. Mother apparently had no memory of Raphael and I was not about to bring him up. I had lost my appetite and felt restless despite the room’s charms. After a little while I began to calm as I listened to the background music and weighed up the ultimate implications of what was said and done.
Robert announced that Raphael was feeling a little under the weather and that he has taking a nap now. We talked for a while and finally we left the house.
While my mother and Mellissa were getting in the car I shook hands with the always amiable Robert and said;
“Thanks for having us over Robert. It was a pleasure seeing you both. Apparently Raphael has left quite an impression on Mellissa and left none on my Mother.”
Robert smiled: “With Raphael, impressions are always a little peculiar. If he wishes, people won’t even notice him. It was my pleasure seeing your family, all the same. I sincerely hope your Mother will be better soon.” he waved us off as I drove away.
Robert’s words brought me back the legends told about our Teacher – in the seventies, while in his prime and he was waiting for the New York City subway while a couple of muggers were about to mug someone just a few yards away. The purported victim, who was a younger person, fought back. The subway police after viewing the security camera’s of the platform could easily build a case against the muggers but the could not fathom why they did not attach Raphael who was rather harmless looking, dressed impeccably and rather short build. The perpetrators eventually confessed, but they maintained that neither of them had seen Raphael, who was standing near them the whole time.
The morning sun was coming through our large kitchen window and we were sipping our morning coffee and munching on toast with marmalade. I was going to drive Mother to the San Francisco airport and wanted to leave early enough to allow enough time for rush hour traffic.
Mellissa was visibly happy and relaxed. Chattier than usual she was talking about everything than came into her mind.
“You have quite an impressive spiritual teacher.” she said, referring to Raphael’s interaction with Mother.
“What did he tell you, in private?” she inquired, as if she was trying to weigh up my mother’s prospects of recovery.
“He told me that she will have an operation, beyond that, he would not say.” I confessed. (I decided that I will not reveal my own gloomier divination.)
“I was wondering if perhaps I should go home with her. Just a few months to see her through this rough patch. She is quite needy, but you know that. I am her only son ” I confessed uneasily.
Mellissa’s face changed, her relaxed mood fast disappeared and visible tension was forming on her pretty features.
“You should do what you think is right, Honey. But I must tell you that I have missed my period. I might be pregnant.” she announced, drastically changing the subject.
Now, in turn, my face was changing. I saw it in the reflection in her eyes. I was not ready for a family. I had never thought about getting married or having a child.
I always thought my life was meant to be a solitary life, working for the Brotherhood. I thought having a family was akin to attempt to riding two horses at the same time. I never realized nor empathized with Mellissa and her needs and plans.
The harsh reality was that neither choice was to my likening. I dreaded the idea of assisting with someone’s death, especially if the person in question was very close to me. On the other hand I was in no mood of starting a family and settling down.
I had secretly dedicated my life to the Brotherhood. I did not realized that precisely at that moment all of the world’s temptations and pull would merge with magnified power to hold me back.
Many years ago I was reading a wonderful book by Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge. Now I began to realize what the essence of the book meant in the reflection of my own dilemma. We must walk the fine line, carefully putting our foot, one after the other, navigating between the mundane and the divine – facing the abyss with each and every step.
I felt hiding with Robert and Raphael in a monastic existence – announcing my death to Mellissa and my mother so their expectations would cease forever.
“I wonder if they would grant me asylum” I said accidentally voicing my thoughts out loud.
“Who needs asylum? You? From me?” Mellissa jumped on my word.
“Nothing, sweetheart.” I muttered. “I was just daydreaming. I am happy about the prospect of our baby. It is just a little unexpected.” I lied.
Mellissa was acting self-delusional now. She jumped on my lap and put her arms around my neck, whispering in my ear and nibbling on my earlobe.
“So you would not mind if I were pregnant?” she whispered in my ear coyly.
“No, not at all. This just came as a sudden announcement, we never discussed this before. I thought you were on the pill…” I said.
“Some health guru on TV said it was unhealthy to take the pills, so I just stopped.” she grinned, staring into my eyes, looking for a reaction.
“I would love to have your baby, it would be handsome like you and smart like me.” she joked.
“I do not want anything from you. You know I have money. You are off the hook if you do not want to be part of this. But of course, I hope you would…” she added while she was still on my lap, snuggling tighter.
This is utter madness, Mellissa’s hormones are in overdrive, I thought. She had never acted like this before. I looked at my watch.
“Just look at the time! We must leave, NOW!” I cried out while untangling myself from her embrace.
“Mother. We must leave! Come down” I yelled towards her quarters. She was on the phone with a friend of hers in Bucharest who arranged a car service to pick her up and take her home.
“Dear, we shall continue this, right after I’d come home. Now, hugs and kisses.” I kissed Mellissa in a hurry while carrying Mothers suitcases to the car.
At the airport we had to park at the security gate which I secretly delighted about as I hated the emotional, long teary, good byes. We stayed together until the last moment and I was thinking if I was ever going to see my mother again. I sensed that our paths would cross somehow in a different, future lifetime to sort out our complicated and dysfunctional relationship. Of course, I could not explain these things to her as she would not have any of it. Getting into an argument now was not wise I decided. So, I just played the remorseful son and wished she would get well again and find peace within.
Driving home I was crying almost the whole way. Somehow, I was observing myself as if I was two different people and the one, who was observing could see that the man crying was feeling sorry for himself. The observer was beyond the petty emotions of the one observed. The observer could see that under the weight of his mother’s mortality, his own long lost childhood was now a realized fact. His mother, who was young and vibrant once, was now within one foot of the grave and Mihai was going to be all alone in this world. No amount of esoteric knowledge could alleviate the hard wired, instinct of the human animal’s deep desire of nurture of a family.
Then, for a short while, I was thinking of Mellissa and her hard-wired instinct of motherhood. It did not seem that impossible now. After all, this seemed to be the natural progression of things – something dies and something will be born. A compromise must be struck and two masters will be served at the same time. One, the White Brotherhood – the other, my desire of equilibrium, by starting a normal family – a family I never had.
It was obvious to me now that I was not cut out to be a mystic, at least not the fully dedicated, monastic, disciple material. I suspected that Raphael knew this from the start. I decided that I would learn from him as much as I could but keep my other foot firmly on this mundane existence, because this is the only way I know to walk this path.
As I was approaching the picturesque Mt.Shasta I realized that beauty and art are the only things worth worshipping and instead of picking up the palette and canvas, like Austin Spare did, I would use the power of words and my imagination to uplift and share stories and ideals. I knew that my readers might be sparse in numbers but anyone who would read my stories, were likely doing it by divine providence. Raphael’s’ metaphor popped into my head:
“Be patient. Set up a “lemonade stand” by the roadside and wait. You are not to advertise yourself and your refreshment as it would not be palatable for all. The Brotherhood will send people your way. Some will not stop. Some will only look around. A few will drink.”
Raphael’s class always had lots of new visitors but the new crop of curious was out of the ordinary. Namely, there was one young girl from Los Angeles. She had lots of tattoos, a perfect body and she was formerly in a coven of witches. She called herself Miriam.
“Why did your leave your coven?” I inquired, one day, after class.
“It was all women and I like men too.” she said without batting an eye.
“My coven was exclusive for women only. So, I left – it has been a great experience that I will never forget.” she added.
“How did you find Raphael?” I asked her.
“I had a dream about your group. Actually, I had a dream about you, specifically . I know that you were Austin Spare in your past life. We are very similar, you and I.
I was the Witch of Kings Cross, Rosaleen Morton – the famed occultist who had lived in New Zealand” she boasted.
During the next few weeks it had become apparent that this fascinating creature was practicing sex magic and many alternative lifestyle venues that, whilst they titillated me they were completely at odds with Raphael’s teaching and spiritual practice. Eventually, and to my great dismay, Raphael privately asked her to leave our group (I suspected over the use of cannabis) but before she left for good she gave me her number and told me that she was working in a Body Ink shop somewhere near Southern Oregon University.
I admit, I fantasized about her a lot. She came into my dreams. I wanted to ask her on a date but I was unsure if she actually followed social conventions such as dating. Meanwhile, I was fully aware that I was about to jeopardize my relationship with Mellissa but somehow Miriam had put a spell on me. I felt like a moth circling the flame.
At the home front, Mellissa found out that she was not pregnant and for a short time I sighed with relief that I would not have to deal with paternal responsibility. I was actually, no matter how briefly, contemplating leaving Mellissa – it did not matter if I could hook up with Miriam or not. I knew that what “kept my juices” flowing was someone like her. There were lots of women who were like Miriam. I imagined that she was giving me certain signals that expressed interest and openness of the two of us hooking up.
But something stopped me. An alarm went on inside my head – it was a voice of caution. Raphael asked her to leave. He would not do this to anyone unless he had a very good reason.
Next week, I managed to get close to Raphael and I asked him in private:
“Teacher, where is this girl, Miriam? Why is..” I could not finish because Raphael interrupted:
“Miriam is not who you think she is, Mihai. For your sake, do not see her, do not talk with her or have anything to do with that woman. She is a succubus who took on a human form.”
I wanted to say something but before I could open my mouth Raphael raised his hand.
“We get all sorts here and I must carefully check out everybody. She was sent by the Dark Brotherhood to cause chaos and mayhem in our group. They will approach you at the weakest moment in your life, with the allure that entices your most. As with many men, your Achilles heal is apparently your penis.” he shrugged.
I did not reply. I thought that the brain was the real center of desires of the flesh, but my beloved Teacher was right of course and arguing over semantics was beneath me.
Later, I recollected some anecdotes about Austin Spare, who allegedly could draw a magical Sigil that would facilitate a sexual union between him and a succubus. This was fascinating and little disturbing at the same time since this business with a succubus seemed to be a reoccurring theme.
Time is the best healer and soon the immediate danger was behind me, but the memories persisted. I was alarmed and flattered by the attention I was receiving from the Dark side. Very often when Mellissa and I made love, the memory of Miriam has sneaked into my mind. First, I tried to banish it but later I found that it helped to fuel my passion. By this time, I had been with Mellissa for years and while the cozy familiarity was good on one hand, it did some harm to our passion and romantic life. At least this is the way I felt.
Mellissa started making a schedule for our intimate time together based on her biological clock and that was somehow a big turnoff for me. Miriam’s memory, no matter how fantastic and unreal it was, helped me a great deal.
Mellissa almost instinctively started showing interests in my past and present endeavors. As if she had sensed that I was not content at heart. She volunteered to critique and proof read my writing assignments. Her background as a PR person gave her the schooling and experience in editing and evaluating my amateurish writing style. English was not my native language and I had to work extra hard to compensate for this handicap.
When I found out that Mother was in the hospital my heart dropped and I turned pale. This is it I told myself.
After her visit, I called her at home, and she told me that the doctors had removed her right kidney.
“But what did the doctors say? Was it a tumor? Was it benign or cancerous? Mother you have to ask them!” I pleaded her.
“Mihai, I do not want to know. I have lived long enough. I just want you to be happy and grounded. ” she told me softly.
The next day I put in my passport application. Mellissa, of course had a passport but I was not sure if she was coming with me or not.
I had to go home and find out about Mother’s condition.
I was helping Mellissa in the back yard with her gardening – I had a flower in my hand that I just cut to bring inside the house, when I almost involuntarily blurted out a question;
“Sweetheart, would you marry me?”
She looked into my eyes in disbelief and started crying.
“Yes, I will.” she said in tears.
“I have heard some awful news from home; my mother was in the hospital and she has lost one of her kidney’s. I must go home to sort things out. Would you like to come with me?” I asked Mellissa.
“When would you go? She asked. “I would love to see the place where you were growing up.” she added excitedly.
“These are dire circumstances, this will not be a picnic nor a honeymoon but if you will join me we would leave as soon as I get my passport and we can get reasonably priced tickets.” I replied.
So, we set a tentative engagement date for when we got back from Europe. Mellissa called her parents and announced the news. I could not have imagined her parents’ reaction but I never expected them to mount serious opposition. Her mother liked me while her father, fulfilling his role, did not like any of his daughter’s suitors.
What was I doing? Getting married, according to the conventional wisdom, was smartly done when two people were madly in love. But what if I only lusted after women who are Femme Fatale? What if it is my lot to suffer this curse as a lonely bachelor ?
I tried to stay positive and started making arrangements. I called Mother and told her about our engagement and scheduled arrival – she was very happy. I managed to put her mind at ease.
The Lufthansa Frankfurt-Bucharest flight landed on BucharestOtopeniInternationalAirport. My home town was a sprawling city with grandiose, but debilitated buildings and roaming wild dogs. The authorities were making last ditch attempts to clean up the city because of Romanian’s bid to enter the European Union. Our rental car was waiting – I had to remember how to get around the city from my failing memory but it seemed that I instinctively remembered.
When we arrived at Mother’s house the neighbors told us that she was back in the hospital for some treatment. They had a key to the house, so we could take a shower and change. I was a very emotional moment for me to return to the place where I grew up for the first time. The house was confiscated by Ceausescu regime but returned to Mother after the revolution. All of her furniture and paintings were returned and most of them were expensive antiques.
Mellissa admired the Persian rugs and furniture made out of rose and cherry wood. My favorite oil painting of two halved water melon pieces were hanging on the wall. It brought me back countless memories of my youth.
We drove to the hospital and found her floor. There were open visiting hours on most wards that had no communicable diseases. In the lobby there was a flower shop – I stopped and picked up a dozen carnations. We asked a nurse to point us to her room.
She looked frail and weak. We sat by her bedside and looked around. The hospital was clean but there was a persisting smell that was so prevailing to older hospitals in Romania. The smell of disinfectant with a hint of death. I could tell on Mellissa’s face that she was a little shocked. She was overtired and a little emotional from the experience. I asked the nurse for a vase to put the flowers in. Meanwhile Mother woke up and her first glance was upon me. She smiled faintly.
“Mihai, my son. I longed so much to see you.” she said, then she turned to Mellissa and said in English. “Hello Dear, take good care of my only son.”
I could not bear it anymore, I got up and with tears in my eyes left the room. I left poor Mellissa there alone. Outside, I found a lavatory and washed my face with cold water and set out to find Mother’s doctor. I was in luck. The doctor was making his rounds. I got hold of him but he already knew of us.
“Oh, you are the expatriate son! Nice to have met you.” he joked.
“Doctor, how is my Mother. What’s wrong with her? I begged.
“We have removed one of your mother’s kidneys but we were a little late and now the cancer unfortunately has spread. We will do of course what we can to fix her.” he quickly added.
I knew that Romanian doctors were underpaid and it was still, just like in the old days, customary to pay the doctors a “gratuity pay”. I was prepared and I handed him two hundred US dollars. He accepted it without a word.
“Please, do anything you can for my mother. She was a political prisoner and now she needs your help.” I pleaded.
“I will. It is only natural. I am a doctor and I have my oath. Now, excuse me, I must finish my rounds.” he said.
I returned to Mother’s bed. My Mother and Melissa were pleasantly chatting and that lifted my mood a little.
“Darling, you two must go now. I am tired and I am sure the both of you are tired too. But before you leave, I must have a word with my son alone.”
Mellissa left and I told her to wait for me in the lobby.
“Mihai. This is a key for a lockbox that my jewelry is kept in. It is hidden in the attic in a secret compartment. You know where that is because you always poked around there when you were little. This is the key. Find it and take out the diamond ring your father gave me and give it to Mellissa as her engagement ring.” she said.
I knew that ring and it was beautiful, old, diamond cut solitaire, in 18 karat, white gold. It was in my father’s heirloom.
“Thank you. God, she will love this ring!” I exclaimed. I kissed Mother. “See you tomorrow morning. Shall I bring you some food, anything?” I wanted to know. She shook her head “No Mihai, I have no appetite.”
I went downstairs to find Mellissa.
“Are you hungry? Let’s have some lunch.” I asked her as we left the hospital and the smell of fresh air hit our nostrils.
Chapter 11 You are All Pilgrims
Mother Dies, Why God doesn’t heal the Amputees?, Burt, the odd one out.
We are born into a country as a divine providence; leaving that place is always a possibility but returning to it, no matter how briefly, is always refreshing to the body and the soul.
I tried to show Mellissa around Bucharest but our mood was greatly dampened by Mother’s illness. We were going through the motions and did see some sites, the obligatory show of the elementary school and high school I attended many years ago as well as seeing Mother’s friends and some family - who were now quite distant to me, who wanted to see the “prodigal son”, now returned.
Mellissa was privately displaying a little unease but otherwise behaved very graciously. I knew that Mother was pleased and at least her mind was put to ease in terms of my future. I had some doubts about my own life but I did not share them with anyone. I was putting on a show and by George, I was sticking to my part.
We visited my father’s and grandmother’s grave and after about a week of staying in Bucharest we created an excuse and left. By this time Mellissa was very depressed and distraught and I was not much better off. As some reward we stayed an extra night in Vienna and played the role of tourists there just to put the idea of hospitals and sickness out of our minds. Mother did not object at all, she was heavily medicated and resting peacefully.
When we flew home, I was reluctantly filled with mixed emotions and Mellissa relieved. I felt that I had to stay somehow but I was running short of emotional strength and money. I had no way to gauge how long my Mother was going to last. I knew somehow that the proper thing would have been to stay and see her die – somehow make it easier for her to pass by being there through the whole time. On the other hand all my instincts and esoteric training indicated that dying is a solitary business and no amount of hand holding will make the journey easier. Animals hide when they sense that their time is up. I figured that the determining factor of death is in the belief of the dying person as to what is coming. If they believe in a judgmental, personal God, coupled with Hell and Heaven, the element of fear is going to remain, no matter what anyone does externally. If they believe in reincarnation – death will not be more than changing the body as if it was a used suit. Hence the strength or weakness comes from within and my staying would not have changed anything, I rationalized.
A couple of weeks later we have received word from Romania that Mother had passed away. It was a small parcel containing a letter, her watch and other belongings. Her best friend had arranged her funeral services that included cremation and spreading her ashes near her mother’s grave. She did not want anyone to notify us, because she did not want us to attend.
“My son has a life and he cannot come back for the services, I would be dead so I could not enjoy his company, anyway” she wrote.
In her will she left her house and all her belongings to me. I could not even think of the house now – there were too many painful memories. Relief and sadness numbed me as alternate current would.
“Why does God not heal the amputees?” started Raphael at the next meeting, with a question that visibly made no sense to those in attendance.
He looked around and not expecting questions to a seemingly rhetorical question, he continued;
“This question on God’s benevolence and might has been a daunting question through history. Men’, at least men endowed with the ability of critical thinking, had asked this question. Why do all the ills and suffering of the world exist? Why does God allow the innocent to suffer? Why does God not heal the amputees?” he repeated the original question for a little theatrical emphasis.
“The priests say that; God’s way is beyond human scrutiny and it is blasphemous to even contemplate such an insolent question.” chimed in Burt from the back of the room.
“Yes, Burt, of course the priest’s class has been saying that. Their core constituency are not people blessed with critical thinking but lemmings who need someone to follow. ” retorted Raphael.
“Before the birth of the personal, anthropomorphic God, the one that acts like humans with emotions and feelings, of anger, smite and love – mankind knew of a different kind of a God. This was a true, transcendental God that did not meddle into mankind’s affairs. We had our free will and no matter how we acted – punishment was never in the cards.” he said.
“Then who came up with the idea of the ‘personal’ God?” asked Jennifer.
“I am not sure. But the idea of a personal God is more palatable for people with very little imagination. Abstract thinking requires an advanced brain. Think about it Jennifer. How best can you control the masses with efficiency and ease? With control and with fear – heaven and hell were invented to instill fear into the masses. This fear was useful when it came to collect taxes, assemble armies and demand obedience to the King and to God. The priest class started with heavy dose of self-anointment – a notion that it was only them and nobody else who could promise salvation and heaven to the people. People would not question the legitimacy of the ‘anointed’ ones, as the few who did were accused of blasphemy, excommunicated and often tortured and burned alive.” Raphael explained passionately.
“Keep in mind children, I am not against religious people! I am against hijacking Jesus’ true message and the two millennial of lies. The institution of power – such as the church hierarchy is rotten to its core. Of course many great things have been accomplished by decent people in the name of God and religion.” he added empathically.
“Teacher, what about the Devil? Are you saying that the Devil is an invention of the Church?” asked someone.
“There is Darkness and there is Light. There would be no light if there was no darkness as the two concepts complement each other. The entity of the Devil, is the church’s Boogeyman – entirely made up but loosely based on the fallen angel, Lucifer – the light bearer. Most of the ills of this world come from the ego on steroid – control, greed, hate and fear.” he declared.
“Tell us more about your idea of God.” someone asked in the room.
“The personal God is external of the human condition. It exists in parallel to us, where my idea of a transcendental God is in everything and everywhere. It resides in us as it resides in animate and inanimate things. The air we breathe is divine and permeated by God, as well as the water we drink. It transcends all dimensions and realms. It is easier to fathom God’s omnipotence if we accept a God that cannot be justly described or explained (even as I am attempting to do just that).” he said smiling.
All of a sudden the whole room came alive. Visitors were quoting their favorite teachers’ idea of God mentioning the books they have read recently. Raphael listened patiently and then he raised his arm as if signaling that there was enough speculative talk.
“You are all pilgrims. You know deep down, out of study, out of experience and out of conviction that in order to get to the Abode, there is only the Trans-Himalaya path that remains open. You know who was taught by the Masters, and whom should you imitate. The rest are just pebbles in the road.”
Hearing Raphael’s idea of infinity induced memories of my earlier Kabalistic education in New York and I blurted out; “Teacher what you are describing as God is similar to the mathematical description of Infinity. We cannot fathom infinity at least only as an abstraction….”
Raphael looked at me and smiled.
“Mihai, my dear son. If you must attempt an explanation of God – Infinity would be just fine. Infinity is as close as anyone can get, I suppose. But your efforts would be better served, however to see God in your fellow men. Namaste – the Hindu would say, meaning ‘I see God in you’.”
Eventually, as the weeks passed my grief was passing with them as well. I felt the occasional pang of gilt for not staying with Mother until the end but as usual, I managed to rationalize my guilt away.
One day, I was helping out at the Forgotten Things, with the store’s inventory migration onto a new computer system which Robert had purchased but nobody knew how to use. The vendors were very helpful and courteous until Robert made the final payment, at which time the phone support ceased to exist and we only received a voicemail and very slow responses to our email queries.
Since I worked pro bono, lunch was on Robert. He ordered Pizza and he had plenty of Clousthaler (alcohol free) beer in a small refrigerator he kept in the back room, which also served as a makeshift office.
I was wearing the bracelet Ray gave me and Robert glanced at it. Our eyes met and I could sense that he knew that I somehow had found out about the Okwanuchu and their faith in History. He looked at me quietly.
“Have you seen Ray?” I asked Robert, thinking of the mysterious old man who was not supposed to be.
“I met a Park Ranger who said there are no Okwanuchu living, he said they were all extinct.” I added nervously. “Who is Ray?”
“Sometimes the Brotherhood sends us visitors who, usually in human form spend time with us. The vibratory rate of these great souls can literally cleanse you. It is illuminating just to breathe the same air with them.” Robert said excitedly.
“Why did you not say something the last time?” I asked him.
“We are not allowed to reveal them. They would never reveal themselves but often it is obvious who they are.” admitted Robert.
“Then this bracelet must be very special.” I said while playing with the amber beads.
“Oh, you have no idea. It is a beautiful charm and a very powerful one.” he said.
“Powerful, how?” I asked him quickly.
“The amulet is a gift and a test. How you make the best use of it is for you to find out. Concentrate on it and it shall be revealed to you. As for Ray, I am afraid he is gone – once they are found out, usually they disappear for good.” Robert admitted sadly.
I wanted to ask all sorts of questions but somehow Robert managed to steer the conversation to Burt, whose behavior was somewhat puzzling recently.
Burt was the constant subject of conversation amongst Raphael’s group.
Either he offended someone or his latest exploits were discussed. Burt’s mannerism and comments during the meetings were loaded with tension and sarcasm.
“So, I guess you too have noticed Burt, lately?” I asked Robert.
He thought for a while and finally said; “Burt is having some sort of an inner crisis – a turmoil building up.” Robert said cautiously.
I did not want to press the subject. I was thinking that perhaps Robert and Raphael’s relationship caused Burt some sort of an apprehension. He was a person who acted rather harshly with newcomers and often tore into them unprovoked.
One time, Raphael had to intervene when Burt questioned a newcomer’s ability to grasp the intricacies of our quest.
“You do not belong here. Why not wait a few life cycles and then perhaps come back. You are clearly not ready, you just slow us down with your silly questions.” he once tore into a newcomer
Raphael who happened to overhear this diatribe promptly and sternly instructed Burt that he, Raphael is the sole decision maker on subjects such as who can attend the class and who cannot.
Nobody liked Burt, but we all admitted his talents – he was a flamboyant man who played in a Jazz band and was brilliant with Yoga, Theosophy and the esoteric, he was also said to be a powerful conjuror of magic. His problem was his giant ego and his aspiration to be a great writer. He gave us his manuscripts, secretly thinking that we somehow would edit them, but we were not formally asked, so nobody volunteered. I personally did not like his style of writing which was brilliant but often proselytizing and in certain places dry. I am not sure how he got his discipleship with that ego of his, something we all discounted as a handicap. Nevertheless, he was a third level initiate, subject of our envy and admiration.
Raphael loved Burt and to the amazement of the whole group he accepted him as he was – human, full of follies and faults but deep down striving to know God and make the whole world see him as he saw. Raphael saw Burt’s unyielding fanaticism as a virtue, something of an asset, but by this time Raphael was growing old. We often wondered if he had seen Burt in the same light, when he was in his prime.
At the home front, I again started having second thoughts about marriage. Melissa and I were engaged but there was no formal date set for the wedding. Finally, I mustered enough courage to approach Mellissa;
“Honey, I think we should see a couple’s counselor.” I blurted out.
Mellissa looked shocked. “Why? Are you having second thoughts about us?” she asked sharply.
“No, not at all. I just want us to do the right thing.” I said defensively.
“If you want us to go to a therapist, it is fine with me. You set up the appointment and I will go.” she said.
So, I started asking around – trying to locate a reputable and decent therapist. The phone book was full of them but I found one through Raphael’s group. She came highly recommended.
The following week we had an appointment – the therapist’s office was in her house, with a great view. She had several ragdoll cats that she used to relax patients and alleviate stress. I instantly liked her.
I had a chance to talk with her for ten minutes alone and I explained to her our situation and my dilemma.
“I need to know if I am doing the right thing. For the sake of both of us.” I confessed.
She asked about our story. I took my time explaining it to her. She took notes.
“Why are you leaning away from each other? I noticed this, the way you sit. You lean away, instead of leaning closer.” she noticed.
Several weeks passed and we visited her once a week. After the last session I asked to see her in private.
“What do you think? Are we a couple to be married or not?” I asked.
She thought about it for a minute and then she said;
“I do not recommend that you marry her. It is best you break up and leave her alone.”
It was in late summer that we got married – in Seattle, at Mellissa’s father’s house, in the garden gazebo, as a private ceremony. To the dismay of the visitors only champagne and cake was served.
Chapter 12 Journey to Avyon
Honeymoon to Mexico, Montezuma’s revenge strikes, while convalescing, Mihai astral travels to planet where he sees catlike people and has a great revelation.
We went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for our honeymoon. It was a gracious wedding gift from my father in law.
We flew to our resort destination from San Francisco. Since it was September, the rainy season fell upon us. The hills from the mountain jungle were filling up the steams with brown, muddy water which made the normally pristine Bahía de Banderas murky.
I did not care. I had never been to Mexico and it was marvelous. The exotic smells of the sea along with the mix from the mango orchards and avocado farms in the low hills were completely alien to me.
“Look, we have visitors!” said Mellissa excitedly, pointing at the walls of our room within the Hotel. There were Geckos sunbathing on the wall. I did not care for lizards in my room but the tropical heat made me tired, so I did not care.
“Yes, they are very cute. Just hope that they won’t crawl into our bed at night.” I said jokingly.
“No, silly. They are the mascots of Mexican resorts. I read it someplace that they are harmless.” she retorted.
We rested a bit and in the evening dined in the hotel restaurant. The hotel accommodation and the restaurant were first class. The food was superb, not at all like the Mexican cuisine in the U.S. To walk the food off we were wandering around the hotel where we found a little boutique and purchased a small bottle of tequila, with some lime.
Back in our room we were in an elevated mood. It was not because we were now married – after all we have been living together for years. It was due to the luxurious room, the ambiance of the resort, the exotic location and in a small part, the measurable milestone of our wedding was enough for both of us to be high. We decided what soon turned out to be a mistake – to further elevate our natural high on life with the local spirit of tequila. We sliced up the lime and started drinking. We turned on the English language cable TV and slowly started slipping away.
I woke up past three o’clock in the morning with stomach cramps. Half asleep, I went to the bathroom. The next day, I woke again, without even looking at the time I headed to the bathroom. Again, I had the diarrhea. I thought perhaps the strange cuisine of Mexico was not palatable to my stomach but after thinking a bit, I was now suspecting something more serious than heavy food. When I was sucking on the lime the outside of the fruit, somehow touched my lips. I suspected that it had not been washed properly. We were warned not to drink the water out of the faucets as it commonly caused a stomach virus which the locals are completely immune to but causes tourist to fall ill.
I felt ill, weak and dehydrated. We were supplied with bottles of water daily by the hotel staff, even for brushing our teeth. I drank some water but in a few minutes it just ran through me.
Mellissa was oblivious to this. She was more careful or luckier than I. She was sucking on the lime the same way as I did but she was not ill.
“I am sick as a dog. Would you get me some Imodium from the Hotel’s boutique?” I pleaded.
“Did you brush your teeth with faucet water?” she asked inquisitively.
“No. I don’t know. I cannot remember. I hardly slept all night I was in and out of the bedroom.” I retorted.
I was not in a good mood. I was sick on my honeymoon! I am in paradise but I cannot enjoy it. Then this must be like hell, I thought to myself.
“Maybe it was the lime. It think it may have made contact with my mouth and had not been washed” I theorized a bit softer.
“I am so embarrassed. I was not supposed to get sick. Not now!” I almost cried.
“Now, now. If you are sick, there is nothing we can do but wait a day and you will get better.”
An hour later she returned with a pink liquid.
“Here honey. Take this. You will get better in no time.” she said cheerfully.
“But this is not Imodium.” I said, disappointed.
“They did not have that here. This is the only thing they carried in the hotel.” she said defensively.
I had problems with diarrhea in Romania too. After living in the US my system was not used to the local bacteria or virus – whatever lived in the local water and I got a little sick when we went back. Then, I was prepared as I knew – Imodium worked best.
Now, I was weak, not hungry but dehydrated and weak, I called up room service and I ordered tea.
“Could you please send up a big pot of hot tea with ice, Por favor?” I asked showing off my very limited Spanish.
Meanwhile, Mellissa headed down to the pool to sunbathe and I finally fell asleep.
I woke up when the room service arrived. He brought a large pot of hot water and assorted bags of tea.
“Senor, ice is down the hall by the ice machine.” he said.
“Is the ice safe?” I asked.
For a second he looked at me puzzled, finally he understood. “Oh, yes senor, it is clean. Do not worry.”
I was worried. I could not fathom that they made all that machine ice with bottled water, at the best they had some sort of purification filter placed into the pipeline, I theorized. Still I had the tea which would cool off very slowly. I made a whole pot and placed two bags of decaf, Earl Grey tea.
I spent my time in bed, all day between naps, trips to the bathroom and watching TV. Mellissa was enjoying herself by the pool, reading a book and drinking. I was getting a little upset with her. The whole idea of tequila shots was her idea. I was not much of a drinker anymore. In my youth I could drink like a fish, but I recently I’ve slowed down considerably. Adding insult to injury, I did not even like the taste of tequila.
At night I woke. I was dehydrated and weak. I was afraid to drink water because I dreaded the consequences. I was thinking of my childhood, how often I was sick. My mother always took care of me. She, despite of her flaws was a nurturing person. She could not resist my father who was domineering us. I could see that now. She did not protect me from his beatings. These thoughts were darting around my mind. All of the sudden I missed her. I started crying, thinking how pathetic I was, on my honeymoon – incontinent and useless. I thought of how often Raphael escaped his body and liberated himself from its constraints. Instinctively, I was focusing on my forehead and all of a sudden, I began to feel the sensation of slight motion, as if I was on a boat, gently rocking from the waves. But there were no waves in the hotel room, so I started panicking a little but I managed to overcome and again I visualized my mother and how I wanted out of my diarrheic, useless body. Then I moved, with a motion I never felt before. A slight burning around my forehead and then – weightlessness.
I opened my eyes and turned my head and I saw myself on the bed. My vision was blurry as if I had mist in my eyes but gradually I have noticed that I had unencumbered, panoramic vision. I could see everything, on the top, under and behind me. I had a light body like a hologram and my navel had a silver chord linking to the physical body. I saw a rainbow hewed light above and I instinctively headed straight through it. It must have been some kind of a portal, because suddenly I saw earth below and the stars all around me. I still had a silver cord dangling but it did not hinder me. I felt the calmness and gentleness that I often dreamed of but could never attain. I was finally free. Next, I visualized my body and again I saw the familiar vortex of light, without hesitation, I went for it and instantly I was back in my hotel room hovering above my sleeping, sick body with Mellissa next to me. The alarm clock on the night table showed 3.05 am. Then I realized that I could not get lost. I was in control and I could go anywhere I wanted.
I visualized my mother and through the now familiar light vortex I jumped back among the stars that I was flying through, a series of light vortices until I saw a planet. It was slightly larger than earth. I began wondering what was down there. As I descended I noticed that there were two Suns, one bigger and one other smaller in the sky. Was there any life? I suddenly felt the urge to go down and investigate. I knew that I was not there by chance.
I was hovering above ground at about twenty feet. By this time I learned that all I had to do is set emotions and intentions to go in a direction and I moved in steady pace. If I wanted to stop, all I had to do was think it.
There was lush green vegetation on the surface. There was no apparent sign of life or civilization, only nature – pristine, unspoiled, kind of what Earth must have been in the time of the biblical garden of Eden. There was a waterfall and a small lake, surrounded by the jungle.
I decided to stop. I was happy to be there but I wanted to find out what this place was. Then I sensed a presence near me.
“Are you lost?” I heard the voice inside me. There was no sound
only an inner voice in my mind.
“Yes. What is this place?” I thought.
“This planet? Oh, we call it Avyon.” said the sanguine voice.
“How come I cannot see you?” I asked her.
“Oh, I am like you, I am in etheric form.” replied the voice.
Then I saw a something like a mirage. It was a figure – tall and slender, appearing from nothing. Within a few seconds I saw the creature. It was humanoid, just taller. Attractive, large green eyes and like peach fuzz her skin was covered with hair. She was naked.
“What are you?” I asked.
“I am a Lyran. Is this better, for you?” She smiled.
“Yes. Thank you.” I replied.
“We do not cover ourselves. I was in a hurry to descend into matter.” she added as if she read my mind. With my mind’s eye I was fixated on her small but shapely breasts. She appeared youthful but ageless with cat like playfulness.
“What is your name?” I asked.
“I am Amenti.” she said.
“I am Mihai. I was drawn to this place, but I do not know why.” I confessed.
“If you are here, there must be a reason. We do not have many visitors” she said.
“When I left my body I felt sick and I was thinking of my Mother. I miss her. She has died a couple of months ago.” I explained.
The Lyran paused for a moment. She seemed to be probing me.
“You have unfinished business with your mother, so you shall be reunited soon.” she said.
“How? Will she reincarnate” I asked.
“Yes. I cannot tell you specifics but your mother will return in a form that is most proper to untangle your Gordian knot.” the Amenti said cryptically.
I was speechless. Stunned, I was thinking why was I here? Strangely, the place seemed familiar to me.
“What is this place?” I asked.
“The big sun you see there is Vega, the smaller one is called Lyra. We are the race that built your pyramids, formed the basis of your Egyptian’s cat-worship and scientific knowledge, among other things. But enough talk, you must return now.” Amenti said.
“Will I ever see you again?” I asked with a glimmer of hope. She had a hypnotically calming, almost healing effect on me. I liked her.
There was silence. I felt immense joy from the thought of seeing my mother again. The guilt that permeated my memories of my mother was weighing heavily on my shoulder.
There was no reply. I wanted to thank Amenti but she was gone. I did not feel her presence anymore and her body has vanished.
I had lost track of time. I was wondering if I should go back. I felt that that at least half an hour had passed since I left my body.
Following my silver chord I begun concentrating of Earth. I remembered passing through series of light tunnels until I was instantly back in Earth’s atmosphere. Then, I headed straight to the surface, following the silver chord. In no time, I was back in my hotel room. I was hovering over the hotel bed, to my astonishment the alarm clock only showed 3.10 am. It had certainly felt longer and I had been through stars and visited a place light-years away.
I slowly returned into my body. I felt strange and heavy. After a few moments, I quickly readjusted but I could no longer sleep; naturally in the view of what happened to me, I was quite alert and energized. I got up and went outside the balcony. I sat down and looked up at the sky filled with stars. “I wonder where I’ve just came back from?” I thought.
I had before had vaguely similar experiences but never had I left the planet or our solar system.
“I cannot tell this to Mellissa” I thought. But I was yearning to share this experience with someone. I wished I was back at home, in Ashland where I could just drop this on Robert or even Raphael. They would understand and believe me. I was not sure that anyone else would..
“Here I was, newly wed but I could not tell my wife about my journey.” I lamented. She would think I am mad.
I woke on the balcony. The Sun was coming up. Mellissa was still asleep, tanned from the poolside. I went back to bed. She turned over and snuggled up to me. Half asleep, she said:
“Hi hubby.” and she kissed me. I returned her kiss and soon we were passionately making love.
My digestive tracks felt a little better and my amorous encounter with my wife made me hungry so I ordered room service – breakfast for two.
I was drinking my orange juice, deep in thought about Amenti, when I heard my wife’s attempt of engaging a conversation.
“Honey, is everything all right? You are acting a bit strange.” she said.
“Oh, it is nothing. I just had a strange dream.” I lied.
“What was your dream?” Mellissa quizzed.
I paused for a moment. I could perhaps tell my wife my strange journey as a dream, I thought. I left out the part about Amenti and her prediction but I managed to tell her about the journey and visiting the far off planet. By this time, I was wondering if it was a dream, indeed.
After describing the “dream”, I was watching Mellissa’s reaction. She was a believer of dream analysis but her philosophy was miles apart from mine.
“This is a strange dream. I have no idea what this means. Do you have some theories?” she asked.
“I am sure this is just my way of a grieving process.” I lied.
“Don’t mind me, Honey. Time heals everything.” I added.
As I was feeling better we took several daytrips around Puerto Vallarta. We visited a market where jewelry was sold – Mexican silver and blue topaz was very cheap. Mellissa wanted a matching set of ring and ear rings.
The remaining days went by real fast as we finally enjoyed our honeymoon – then, suddenly it was time to go home. I did not mind it so much but part of me wanted to stay. What happened to me was still a secret but I managed to register the implication and gravitas of my journey.
We were at the airport and waiting to get on board our plane.
“How are you feeling with your stomach, Honey? I could stay here one more week. Why don’t we? We could just change the tickets and go back to the hotel. We can pay one more week from our own pocket.” Mellissa said dreamily.
“I don’t know Sweetie. This place is a little hot and humid for me. I am better but not completely well.” I exaggerated.
“Don’t get me wrong, I loved it here but maybe we could come back some other time? I added nervously.
Melissa looked disappointed. She pouted but did not say anything.
We sat there in silence, I was hoping that she realized that I was not so keen on staying.
Finally it was time to board the plane. We sat down, buckled up and after a short wait the plane taxied and was ready to take off.
I held Mellissa’s hand and whispered in her ear:
“We shall come back here soon, woman. Don’t you worry. At home I will make it up to you. I miss our bed. Don’t you?” I joked.
“Yes.” she smiled. “I must admit the hotel beds suck in Mexico too.”
Chapter 13 Someone Old and Someone New
Back in Ashland, Mellissa is with child, more on the Cat people, Raphael surprises again. Cora is born.
After the memorable events that took place in Mexico and expanded my physical sphere as well as my psyche, mundane days were seemingly very insignificant. We slowly got used to the idea of being married but our relationship had not changed. We were still more friends than passionate lovers. The long time we had been together had both positive and negative aspects.
Many times since I tried to leave my body albeit unsuccessfully. As the weeks have turned into months, the memory of the experience faded away and finally it seemed like a dream.
Mellissa’ biological clock started ticking again and one bright morning she told me at the breakfast table;
“Honey, may I ask something from you?” she asked hesitating. I must have looked puzzled because she quickly continued without waiting for my reply.
“I would like for you to make an appointment with the fertility specialist. I should be pregnant by now, and I am not. Please?” She blurted out with an embarrassed smile.
“Mellissa, why do you think that there is something wrong at my end?” I asked half jokingly, half serious.
“Oh, no. It is not that! I have already made an appointment. We are both going to be checked.” she said gleefully.
I did not like this but grudgingly agreed and made an appointment. The following week Mellissa and I met for lunch. She looked radiant and excited.
“Guess what? I think I am pregnant!” she said, grinning.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
I too was happy. Not that I was yearning to be a father but I was happy to see Mellissa so joyous and quite relieved that now I could cancel my doctor’s appointment.
“Yes. I was a month late, which happened before, then I bought the test kit at the Pharmacy and that turned out positive. Then I saw my gynecologist and he confirmed it today. I am pregnant for sure. I did not want to say anything earlier, out of superstition.” she added.
“I cannot believe it. I am going to be a daddy.” I said. I hugged and kissed her.
We discussed that we shall not tell of her expecting to anyone until she reaches her third trimester. Mellissa was over thirty and she too was indeed superstitious. I too dreaded the idea of miscarriage and I thought that talking about this was premature.
“Just do not think of these negative thoughts. They have a way of finding you, the more you dwell on them.” I pleaded.
“I know, Honey. Just that, back home I knew a couple who went out and started purchasing baby clothes and liberally broadcasted the happy news to friends and family only to have had a miscarriage. ” she said.
“Please, try not to think of them. Do not be afraid and cultivate positive thoughts at all time. It is better for the baby.” I repeated slowly.
“Ok. I will” said Mellissa, and kissed me.
By now, under the tutelage of Raphael, I was a somewhat illuminated fatalist. If I have learned anything since I arrived in Ashland, it was the intertwining laws of karma and reincarnation. If there is to be a new life crossing our path, if we are to be parents, then it shall be so. If, on the other hand we are to experience a miscarriage then there is nothing we can do about that. Fretting over and worrying will not alter what is to come, but it can influence our own mental health and happiness. Deep down I had a premonition that everything was going to be all right and I was going to be a daddy. Secretly, I wished for a little, baby girl. I guess from my own harsh upbringing with my father it made me somewhat bias towards the opposite sex. I did not want a boy, who might misbehave. I did not want to repeat the circle and administer corporal punishment.
“What would you rather have, a boy or a girl? Or is this question a taboo?” I asked.
“Indeed, I must say that I just want a healthy baby, with all the toes and fingers, and extremities. The baby’s sex is secondary.” she said seriously.
“I know honey, but what if you know that the baby will be OK, don’t you have a preference? I sure do.” I said.
“What is your preference, a boy? Most guys want a boy to carry their family name. A girl, many consider will leave and join a man to create a new family.” Mellissa argued.
“I am not like most men.” I said with a smile. “I would prefer a baby girl.”
Mellissa seemed genuinely surprised. “I am so happy, I too want a little girl.”
For hours we talked about how cute little girls can be. Then we went to bed with a sweet thought of a new life forming there with us.
“Teacher, I need to tell you something that happened to me on my honeymoon.” I started saying to a cornered Raphael, after one Thursday meeting.
I wanted to share my experience for validation and feedback. I held back for sometime because I was afraid that he would say; “your imagination is playing tricks, my son” as it happened before with others. It was marvelous that I could tell him about something like this and he would make sense and validate that I was not just imagining it.
“Come in to my study, I must sit down.” Raphael was getting more and more fragile and extended standing cause his joints to flare up.
We sat down and I managed to tell him about Montezuma’s revenge and my astral travel to Avyon. I also told him my encounter with Amenti, describing her feline characteristic in detail.
“I have tried to go back again, but I could not. Somehow the conditions I was under were precarious. ” I finished saying.
Raphael listened patiently and he was becoming more alert.
“You cannot just go back there uninvited. You are not yet initiated. Your mind is untrained and undisciplined but you have an old soul of a mystic.” he said.
“So this really happened?” I asked him. Months had passed and I was afraid to bring it up. I was shelving this event in a secret compartment of my psyche. I was thinking of my discipleship and now it seemed even further away than before.
“Yes. What you have experienced was real. It is by cosmic providence to explain to you what is to come.” he explained.
“Thank God I have you to explain these things to me.” I said.
“I won’t be around forever.” said Raphael and he got up to leave the room. The interview was over. On the way out he hesitated and turned. He came to me and gave me a hug. This unusual display of affection was uncharacteristic of him but it made me very happy with a bittersweet tingling of Raphael’s last sentence.
“You are going to be with us in spirit forever.” I said unconvincingly. He said nothing but I noticed a slight nod.
I left the house and headed home. Mellissa cooked something she had never made before. Ever since she became pregnant her cravings were the source of occasional meals that were unique but on the flip side she often refused to go near the kitchen and sustained herself only on Jamba juice.
Now she had the craving for Butter Chicken and found the recipe on the Internet. Indian spices were available in Ashland’s new age, eclectic community. We ate butter chicken at a friend’s restaurant who was Ralph’s pupil. To my amazement Mellissa’s first attempt was very tasty.
“Honey, this is scrumptious. ” I said, knowing that my praising words would bring happiness.
“I am glad you like it. I woke this afternoon from a nap and I had this craving for Mati’s chicken. So I got up and got the spices, the yoghurt and half-and-half, we already had some chicken and voilà, there you have it.” Mellissa said proudly.
“Robert, I have a personal question to ask.” I probed him at the store.
“OK. Maybe I have an answer, maybe I don’t.” joked Robert. I liked him for his humor and emotional balance.
“Is Raphael sick?” I asked with apparent gloom on my face. Robert studied me a little and then he resigned to the fact that denying would serve nobody.
“Yes. He is carrying some kind of an illness but only he knows what that is. He had a premonition and thus a dilemma. He could just ascend or wait for nature to take its course.” Robert confessed.
I was reading about Indian yogis who would choose their time to “die” by severing the silver chord and not returning to their body. According to the lore one such yogi passed on and his body did not decompose or change for decades after.
“I certainly would choose this way out, instead of the slow and painful death”, I thought.
“But life and death is not that simple” I thought. “How could it be?” I sensed that this is a decision for Raphael of gargantuan proportions and there are ramifications way beyond my comprehension. I was becoming saddened because none of us could fathom having a meaningful spiritual life without him. He was our beacon. He was such a force that nobody thought that he would ever die. He took us to heights none of us ever imagined would be possible, while grounding us to the mundane.
“How much time does he have?” I asked trying to gauge the remaining days when I would still be happy.
“Well, certainly months, if not a year.” Robert said with confidence. “To be honest, I do not know for sure.”
“I am dreadfully sorry Robert.” I know how close you two are but rest assured we all share the love for Raphael and I personally feel devastated now. ” I said fighting back tears.
“I know you do. Raphael too keeps you in a special place in his heart.” he said parting.
I drove home and on the way I thought of my pregnant wife and a baby coming. I was lucky but it occurred to me the phenomena of polarity – as something good had happened, the reverse, something bad also had to happen.
At home we lived happily. I was cooking for Mellissa because she had bouts of morning sickness. Amazingly she craved and was repulsed by food at the same time. She avoided the kitchen and told me what she was craving for at any given moment – if I could make it quickly I cooked for her, but often I had to go to the store. Many weekspassed and Mellissa’s stomach was getting bigger. We were told that an ultrasound was available if we wanted to know the gender of the baby.
Since we were very curious from day one we quickly made an appointment for the ultrasound. The obstetrician was a young Asian doctor. She put the gel on Mellissa’s stomach and started her ultrasound exploration. After some time she did notice a three-line formation in the fetus and thus she proclaimed:
“It is a girl!” putting down the instrument. She studied our reaction. “Didn’t you expect a boy?” she asked, “you seem happy.” she added.
“Oh, no. We wanted a girl!” I explained. She looked a little puzzled and a little relieved. In her culture, it was common to expect a boy, to carry on the name and provide for the family. Girls were second class citizens.
“Are you Chinese or Vietnamese?” I asked.
“I was seven when my family came from Vietnam, but we are ethnic Chinese.” she confessed.
She told Mellissa to swim at least three times a week to facilitate easy child birth.
“In the water you cannot get hurt. Just don’t exert yourself – enjoy and relax. If you have back pain, use a snorkel goggle and crawl stroke. That is what I did.” she said.
With those wise words we parted. In the car Mellissa, could not contain herself;
“Yay, a baby girl! We are truly blessed! Aren’t we honey?”
“Yes, we are.” I replied. Then a name popped into me mind.
“We could name her Cora. What do you think?” I asked.
“Hm…I like that name, Cora…” said Mellissa after a while.
I was sitting outside in the backyard, Mellissa’s back was hurting so she decided to lie down and fell asleep.
It was a warm but breezy day. My mind was wondering and I thought of my mother. She had just missed her grandchild. “My daughter will only know her paternal grandmother from photographs.” I thought. Then it occurred to me. What if my mother is reincarnating as my daughter? While theoretically possible, I deep down sensed the absurdity of the idea.
One Sunday night Mellissa woke, after returning from the bathroom she calmly said;
“I think my water just broke.”
I was still half asleep but her words awakened me fast. We quickly got dressed and we headed to the hospital. When we arrived at the maternity ward they were ready for her. I went inside the examination room and waited for the doctor. She came and told us what we already knew.
“Your wife’s water broke and she is ready to give birth.” she announced.
The baby was big and her childbirth was lengthy and difficult. I stayed as long as I could but after several hours all of the sudden the baby’s heart rate slowed. They rushed Mellissa into the operating room ready to deliver via caesarian. I was a nervous wreck and I could not follow them. I figured that they will operate soon and I would be in the way.
I went to a quiet section of the hospital and started meditating, but my meditation quickly turned into a prayer.
“Dear God, please don’t let anything bad happen to either of them.” I pleaded nervously.
After a few minutes a nurse found me and lead me to a room filled with cribs. She went to one of them and picked up an infant.
“Here, congratulations.” she said, handing me a little girl. She had a funny little bonnet on and huge blue eyes. I held her and she felt very comfortable.
“Welcome to this world, Cora.” I said.
 The Lord’s Prayer
 Indicative of OBE or Astral Projection.
 over ten minutes of pure joy
 Departmentul de Informatii Extreme
 based on his diary in the leather briefcase that was handed to me.
 People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs
 insider nickname of Ceausescu.
 What happened to my family?
 in the FortTryonPark
 The Key to the True Quabbalah
 Initiation into Hermetics
 Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
 Altered state of consciousness
London’s shopping district, home of art galleries of the most expensive kind.
 Idea was borrowed and fictionalized from Rawn Clark’s work @ rawnmade.com
 Brioche is a highly enriched bread of French origin, whose high egg and butter content give it a rich and tender crumb.
 This was a magical operation I have learned from reading Franz Bardon’s book.
 literally, World of Emanation (Hebrew)
 literally, World of Creation (Hebrew)
 Book of Formation in Hebrew
 “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man sowed in his field. Now a mustard seed is the least of seeds, but when it is full grown, it becomes the greatest of all herbs and is like a tree so that the birds of heaven are able to come and rest in the branches thereof.”
 one of a number of small Shastan-speaking tribes
 The Modoc Wars was an armed conflict between the Native American Modoc tribe and the United States Army in southern Oregon and northern California from 1872 to 1873.
 A succubus is a female demon or supernatural entity that appears in dreams, who takes the form of a human woman in order to seduce men, usually through sexual intercourse. The male counterpart is the incubus. Religious traditions hold that repeated intercourse with a succubus may result in the deterioration of health or even death.
 The Prodigal Son, also known as Two Sons, Lost Son and The Running Father is one of the parables of Jesus.
 According to the Raphael, Shambhala is the well hidden home of the Brotherhood.
 The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us.
Bay of Flags – The bay, site of the tourist destination Puerto Vallarta
 Mahasamādhi (the great and final samādhi) is the act of consciously and intentionally leaving one’s body at the time of enlightenment.
 sign of a labia.
Posted on December 4th, 2012 No comments
Finding out about my past life was both exhilarating and disturbing experience. I was never intended of seeking to find out about my past life, thinking that I most likely was a person like million other cases, an unknown, undocumented personality, whose life is hidden behind the veils of history.
I was drawn to mysticism and magic since my late education and initiation into an obscure type of Yoga, called Agni Yoga. After my fall-out with my teacher I begun my solitary journey that eventually had lead me to Hermetic philosophy and later Chaos magic. This is when, purely as a coincidence, I have discovered Austin Osmond Spare, the Edwardian, mystic and artist.
It must also be told that while I was born and raised in Budapest,Hungary, I was an anglophile as early as I remember. My reading and education both lead me to the English culture and literature. I have attempted to immigrate to England first and only after I was refused, I looked into emigrating to Canada or the United States.
Austin Spare died in the Spring of 1956 and I was born in December 1956.
Spare died of a burst appendix and while I’ve never overly concerned myself with my health, the concept of appendicitis, inexplicably has always gave me alarms. I would guess our dying leaves an imprint, a memory that sometimes stays around and can get carried over into the next incarnation.
My life and childhood was non-typical for a Hungarian youth. I was very self-conscious and inhibited with women but I was drawn to older women for comfort and sex. This pattern is a repetition of Spare’s sex life. I never had any homosexual experience nor the inclination or curiosity but I had certain effeminate characteristics that gave out false signals and I was approached by gay men throughout my life. This is also a very Spare-like attribute.
I loved doodling and drawing of pictures of animals and persons. My mother encouraged my artistic persuasion while my father told me that I needed to learn something I could support myself with. In addition to drawing and painting I loved cats and other animals as well. I was frequent visitor in the Zoo. To this day I am obsessed with cats.
After discovering my past life I begun reading and studying the life and works of Austin Spare and wanted to go deeper. I wanted to know what was before Austin Spare. Who was he/us, before that time? This overactive curiosity eventually got the better of me. I stated imagining things and started actually believing them. Of course there is no proof or definitive verdict that I was Austin Spare. I believe in my own instincts and inner guides, coupled with certain facts about me that I know, that others might consider lesser importance, would not believe the same way as I. This paper or my book is not about convincing anybody. Certain people who are predisposed against the idea of reincarnation and karma would never believe my story, no matter how much convincing I could muster. Similarly, those who are friendly towards the idea of reincarnation would find my story completely plausible and believable.
The idea of writing a fictional story – partially based on biographical facts, largely based on imagination and the freedom of the novelist. Ideas expressed via a novel do not need to be explained, rationalized or proved. They have to be told, interestingly and with believable and well developed characters.
Figure 1 Austin Spare as a young man.
The Synopsis of the Novel
“During the cold war, Mihai finds himself an orphan and a new immigrant in America. When there is a shooting during their daring escape attempt on the border of Yugoslavia and Italy only Mihai manages to escape He finds himself in America alone and without a clear purpose, playing poker and using his magic to get buy. Mihai is discovering that he is also a natural magician. Through the power of his will and imagination he can conjure up cards. After a while Mihai’s skill to do magic is gradually fading and he must find work. After a series of attempts to find happiness in self-indulgence and gaining material wealth, he finally finds his purpose and solace after a chance encounter with Raphael, an old and mysterious man in Ashland,Oregon. When Raphael, who is also a spiritual teacher, reveals to Mihai that he is the reincarnated Austin Osmond Spare(AOS), the Edwardian painter and occultist. This revelation changes our protagonist forever. Researching the life and deeds of AOS leads him further into the occult. When Raphael dies, before he has a chance to Initiate him, Mihai’s life again becomes disoriented. Gradually he starts making contacts with the subtle world, where he receives guidance and instructions. Is he in contact with his Guru or something more sinister? Is he losing his mind or his visions are real? Will he find out his life’s karmic lesson that his past self has now to learn in order to move up on the “spiritual ladder” and find peace and joy, or will he repeat the “class” again? …
This serial book will be re-titled and republished as Reincarnation of Austin Spare: from Chaos to Order
Now this book is being published as a serial novel – by chapters on Amazon, KDP Select (free for 5-days).
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This book is about Magic, Reincarnation and Karma while coming of age.Share on Facebook