Faery Talk

I didn’t want to talk about the faery.

In fact, I keep thinking to shut this whole thing down, this blog, to stop writing it. It’s a crisis I go through each week, since I’ve now exhausted the raw material of my journals and just don’t have that many stories left. Now I resent the straightjacket of a weekly schedule of postings that I’ve put myself to, and inevitably, I will have to stop, or at least retool the thing to serve a different purpose, and one that I don’t hate. Not that I exactly hate this now, but the problem is that I can’t make stuff up. Or, okay, I can make stuff up. I call it fiction; but that’s not what the purpose of this format is, and that’s not what I’m doing here. This is a sort of serialized memoir in which certain significant moments of my life are highlighted by an otherworldly quality of event or thought, and though it is in part a literary exercise and thought experiment, the point of writing about this stuff is not to convince anybody of anything – not about my character, nor my veracity, nor the objective reality of things I’ve experienced – but neither is it to distort nor embellish, nor to try to impress anyone, but to describe in the most effective way I can what has really happened, or sometimes what I think has happened, or what I think about what I think has happened, or maybe the way I feel about what I think about the things I think have, you know, happened, etc… and, but… the reasons I have for this are entirely selfish, and that is what holds me to it; not some sense of duty (though I feel there is a purpose) but what I get directly from the process of doing it.

And so I was ready to give it up, except that I do have at least a couple of stories left. One is ongoing, the other in my recent past. I’ll start with the ongoing one, even though I don’t know what to make of it.

I really didn’t want to talk about the faery, because I’m not exactly convinced that it’s there – it’s really more of a thought experiment, as in, what if it were there, and how to proceed, as in, with maybe trying to carry on a conversation with it, with her, to see what happens? What would I say? More importantly, what would she say? I’m still not so sure I want to talk about it, and I wouldn’t yet – not yet – except for something that makes me think it might be appropriate: I’d decided the other morning, sitting down to a cup of coffee, to go looking back through Mike Clelland’s Hidden Experience blog, since there is a lot of it that I’ve not read. Not having any purpose or plan to it, I clicked on the tag for psychic Anya Briggs, having some acquaintance with her, and found the story from March 10 of this year, “Can You Find the Fairy?” It blew my mind – for reasons that I hope to make clear. After reading the article and deciding it was time to articulate some of this experiment, I left the coffee shop where I’d been working, and stopped along the way home at the local grocery store to pick up a few things. An impulse buy put the amount for my purchase at $12.34 – which readers of H.E. will recognize as a synchronistic signifier of particular import to Clelland, indicating a need to take especial notice. I felt – as I did, oddly enough, when first contacting Anya – as if I’d strayed out of my own story and into his narrative instead. But then I do have boundary issues. It seemed, in any event, time to take notice.

Now it was Anya who got me all onto this faery thing in the first place, when in a recent session with her over Skype, we’d had a perfectly clear signal all throughout the hour-plus conversation until, toward the end, little pixilated swooshes started appearing suddenly, moving in quick diagonals across the screen from my end. Anya got excited, picking up that it was an elemental spirit that lived around my home, impatiently trying to make contact, and that she, Anya, had been seeing a lot of these beings recently. Since this very selective interference seemed to happen with an uncanny sense of purpose, and I’d also been seeing similar things out of the corners of my eyes for some time previously, I was prepared to take Anya’s advice, by way of saying hello, to set out some sort of offering for the spirit, a small cup of water, into which I floated the head of a flower…

The article on Hidden Experience concerns Mike’s friend’s hastily shot photograph, in which a perfectly clear and pixie-like woman’s disembodied head floats almost concealed behind the branch of a tree in dense foliage.

I’d been asking the spirit to show me what she looks like. I guess asking a shape-shifter what it looks like is just walking straight into it; but since this seems a retroactive sort of joke, unhinged from any sequence of normal chronology… it just makes the joke that much more funny. Anya did tell me that they have a very different relationship to time than human people.

It was only the night before this, in my regular meditation, that I’d invited the spirit in for a talk – “talk” being in this case very loosely defined – and had (though not for the first time at all) a very vivid sense of presence, something like a thick, cold wind approach me from behind, an electric crawling sensation inside of my skull, at the back of my skull, and this very much like the sense of a presence I’d had over a decade ago, when I’d experimented for a time with channeling and connected to something identifying itself as IMHOTEP (and yeah, it spoke in caps) – and though this presence now was similar, it was also different. I get the feeling now as I write about it: it has a cool, blue character to it, and is uniquely feminine, which is a hard thing to describe adequately, because it has nothing to do with sex, but is very much more abstract than that. The IMHOTEP character was ruddy red, big and cloudlike, and masculine, and though it’s been a long while since I’ve tried to contact that, the impression remains vivid.

I made it a regular part of my day, setting out the cup of water, getting a new flower for it when the old one wilted, tossing out the little bugs and specks of dirt that accumulated in the cup from birds coming to drink from it. For more than a month, the small ceramic cup remained as an ongoing offering. When I had to recently prepare the house for fumigation (beetles in the wood were eating it to the ground) with a silent apology, I took the cup in from its post on the back deck, beside the tree where the faery seems to keep herself. When later I went outside again, at the exact moment I stepped out the door, a sparrow smashed itself against the window and died right at my feet. It was as if the faery were saying, “Hey! We were having a conversation here… ” after I’d rudely hung up the phone. I watched the small bird’s wings pump slowly in and out as it gradually resigned itself to not living anymore, black eyes staring dazedly nowhere. I’ve since put the cup back out.

And I noticed, when looking again at the receipt from the grocery store, that my impulse buy had been rung up mistakenly by the friendly cashier. An out-dated pastry item, marked down on the box, she’d keyed in at full price. It was an accident that put my total into the realm of significance.

Ireland, 2001; the Soft Music of Angels

In 2001, for our honeymoon, my new wife and I flew first into London. There we rented a car and drove West, to the small town of Box, Wiltshire, where I’d lived for most of a year some short time before, and then went on to the ancient city of Bath, where I’d also stayed for a time. We continued through Wales, caught a ferry across the water, and spent the remaining week or so driving through the Irish countryside, more or less without aim, stopping when we felt like we’d found someplace we wanted to stay. It was in some small town along a bay, I forget the name of it now, where we held up for a night, and where I heard, in the sound of the tolling of the churchbell that next day, the angel chorus.

We’d walked the streets of the village that morning before we left. So many of the particulars of that place are now lost to me – what the room was like where we slept, or if we made love, or if our breakfast, or the meal of the night before, was any good – but I do remember clearly how with every great peal of the massive bell of the stone church nearby behind us as we walked the cobbled streets, soon to leave, how in its reverberant, hanging notes, I could just barely detect, and if I listened carefully, very closely, thought that I could tell, voice from voice, note from note, each singly, an impossibly sweet harmony sustained between them of human voices, or of nearly human voices, of perfect pitch, of perfect and unearthly chorus, quiet, as though revealed by, yet somehow also held within the solid sound of heavy-struck and old, odd metal. And I knew also that I’d heard this sort of thing before, once, or something like it before, once when I was younger, not exact in its qualities but like it – a sound likewise concealed within a sound, a song not exactly there: I’d listened once when I was young to an unlikely music I’d found by accident one night inside of a wall beside my head where I slept, and in the wall was I think the noise of a pipe, or some such noise, and somehow my mind had parsed the sound, had taken it apart – a white sound, an even and full-spectrum sound – and piece by piece arrayed it into the music, so-called, like an organ of sorts that played, endlessly, slow cycles of notes in sparse and obsessive repetition, the same thing I’m certain Philip Glass had once heard but never written nor played it himself. I’d listened then to the music for an hour, or maybe longer than an hour, until I realized that I’d not heard it at all.

Enter Mysterious Dot; Sedona, Arizona, 1999 (Pt. 2)

Sitting in meditation on a rock at the end of the trail through Boynton Canyon, near the cliff ruins – which for all I knew these flat rocks could have been stacked up only the week previous into the little fortress walls; shoulder-height and roofless, there was something more than a little disappointing to these ancient Indian relics, which struck me more as a fort built by enterprising children to play at being Indians inside of – I used the visualization exercise I’d only just learned from the psychic channel in order to connect with some other entity (the one I would in time identify as IMHOTEP) and felt energized, though more by a high level of anxiety than any sense of coherent spiritual contact. I wasn’t really expecting much from the exercise. This was, after all, only the first time I’d ever done it. Nevertheless, when finished, I walked the winding trail through the canyon back to its source with a sense of deep significance, searching for a presence of something – though with half my mind I doubted that there was anything more to this feeling than a desperate need to believe I’d accomplished something, that this whole episode had been more than simply being taken for a sucker. With another part of my mind, I felt as if I needed to watch for signs, because they would likely be there.

There were few others on the trail; in fact I don’t now remember anybody else, though I did at one point see, at less than halfway back, up ahead quite some distance, a white and moving dot of what I took to be the fabric of a sweatshirt. Though I hadn’t actually seen this, I had the vivid impression of a middle-aged woman coming in my direction. This was visible only for some brief moments through the foliage between us, yet it (or she) seemed clearly enough to be moving toward me, human-sized and following the trail ahead, in the dappled sunlight and shadows of deciduous trees, and I don’t know where exactly I’d gotten this impression that it was a middle-aged woman, because I never saw any detail of this figure beyond the whiteness of the shirt, but that was the picture I was distinctly left with. When I eventually reached the point in the trail where the two of us should have met up with one another, there was nobody. Maybe I’d just misjudged our trajectories, I thought, but even further on, there was no sign at all of her. When I got to the place where I’d last seen her white dot through the leaves, I stopped and looked carefully around. Nobody. But what I found instead was only the barest hint of something like a trail, not exactly a well-worn path, but a path all the same, undoubtedly, something that at least animals had traveled. It led up a rock embankment to my right, so I followed it, scrambling up. I wanted to see where this woman could have disappeared to. But I never did find her, if there even was one – although a short distance further in, well out of sight of the main trail, there was a plateau of red rock, and across the shelf were dozens and dozens of deliberately constructed little piles of rocks in small pyramidal constellations. These were things I’d sometimes run across in the area, along the trails: little constructions left by hikers, I supposed, other pilgrims to these mystic lands, to signify a spot where they’d stopped and maybe (I guessed) found some kind of insight, or at least a pleasant moment of meditation. Or maybe they just liked where they were, because it was nice. On this shelf, these arrangements were clustered in every direction, closely together, as if an orgy of meditation had taken place there; a whole battalion of seekers wide-eyed as myself, come to this particular spot, hotly visualizing God knows what; or just sitting and, you know, just sitting. But there were no people, not now. I felt certain that I had been led here deliberately by the appearance of the mysterious white dot, which I realized only in that moment had never really appeared as anything other than just that.

In a related aside, I later ran across a very similar massed arrangement of small stones. It was late in October of 2001, and I was on my honeymoon, driving through Southwestern Ireland. My new wife and I stopped somewhere in the countryside to see a long barrow tomb or collection of standing stones, I forget exactly where. A tour bus had stopped also in the parking lot, and there was no shortage of people about, hefting cameras, on this bleakly overcast afternoon. Many had gone to snap photos of the small monument or returned already to the coach, but nobody seemed interested in the rock field immediately next to the lot where hundreds of these small arrangements had been made. No one seemed to so much as noticed it. There was something wondrous to seeing so many little deliberate piles of rock, so carefully and absurdly set. There was nothing haphazard about it: hundreds of these stacks balanced directly beside each other, with no space to move between them. The effort to do this would have been enormous, and carefully considered as well, and though I don’t mean to imply that there was anything paranormal to it, it struck me as at least a little curious that no one else seemed to notice this or care.

I remained in or near Sedona for another week, having taken a room in a bed and breakfast in nearby Jerome. Soon my friends would arrive – they would be flying in later. But for now, I was by myself, engaged in having visions, writing madly about everything I thought or saw or thought I saw in a manic and all-but-unreadable, looping scribble, filling page after page of notebook paper with the wild and blank intensity of fever. I’ve since lost the notebooks. I don’t know what I wrote, and don’t think it matters. I spent the remaining days in a desperate, wired state, looking for something I couldn’t imagine, needing something I would never quite find.


Imhotep and the Mysterious White Dot; Sedona, Arizona, 1999 (Pt. 1)

When the psychic told me she would not allow me to record our session for legal reasons, I should’ve twigged that something wasn’t right. Put it up to over-credulity, perhaps – I’d like to think I’m a little wiser now, thirteen years later (I hope to God that I am, at least a little) – or perhaps to the willing suspension of disbelief that a certain kind of story requires, and sometimes, deserves. And I’d been in her chair before, once, one year previous, when I and my friends had found her while on our vacation; my first time in Sedona, Arizona, and her little house at the end of town with the glass globes arranged all about the garden outside and the big sign, says PSYCHIC, and something about it – maybe it was the glass globes – just appealed to me: the seeker in me, the sucker in me. It was on that first visit that she’d told me she could teach me to channel, but that the time wasn’t right, I should come back in a year. Okay, I thought. I don’t remember much else of the particulars of that first visit, other than the chair she’d put me into was an assemblage of copper tubes, having a pyramid on top, and she placed coins and amulets over my arms and wrists, told me that for health reasons I should drink my own urine, or, as an alternative (which I took her up on) allow myself to be shuttled over to her colleague’s office for the most expensive emergency massage I’ve ever had. (One of my two friends I’d come with, who also had a session with this woman, got exactly the same advice re: the necessary consumption of bodily waste. I don’t know how she resolved the issue. My other friend politely declined any services whatever.)*

So when I returned a year later, it was for the express purposes of learning how to channel. The psychic did not remember me. She did not tell me to drink my own urine. She put me into the chair with the pyramid on top and once again balanced coins and amulets onto my forearms so that I couldn’t move without them falling off me, and as before, I remember little of the actual session, other than it involved how I would be able to use sound as a healing technology (which still seems to me like a good idea), and in the end I was given some practical instruction in how to channel. It was a very different sort of reading from the one previous, in that there were no histrionics, no attempt to scare or upsell me, perhaps because the massage practitioner had by then moved on.

I won’t describe the specifics of the instruction, other than it involved a manner of meditation, and it was something that I was eager to start out on. The psychic told me that I should go to one of the several famed power spots in the area, most of which I was already familiar with, and spend some time trying the exercises. I decided to go into nearby Boynton Canyon, as that would involve a decent hike in, and offer some seclusion as well.

As an aside, it was year or two later, having dinner with a friend of my now ex-wife’s, a German woman, a no-bullshit character employed in a medical supervisory post, when she told us the story of how she had hiked this same canyon several years earlier, alone, just shortly after the construction of the high-end (and reputedly cursed) resort positioned just at its mouth. She’d come upon the splayed remains, some distance up a ridge, of a coyote that had, to all appearances, been ritually sacrificed, and she felt thereafter, for the remainder of her stay in the region, as if eyes were following her everywhere she went. In a nearby mountain town some forty miles away, the people she passed as she strolled along the street all seemed to watch her knowingly, aware that she’d found their secret. This was a woman not given to flights of imagination or paranoia, not normally. But then these were not normal circumstances, at least for her.

Now, for me, later, in the springtime of 1999, sitting on a rock at the terminus of the canyon trail revealed nothing in particular except a feeling, though it was not one I could easily describe. Later, with more work with the exercise, this feeling would resolve into something more specific and pronounced. I would feel myself being flooded by a peculiar intensity to the back of the inside of my head, the sensation of a presence of something very big, to which I attached the name IMHOTEP (like that, in caps), not knowing at first who this represented historically, or what, mythologically. That I would research and learn more about in time. But at first, I only had the name and the strange intensity of feeling – though in this initial attempt, I didn’t even have that much: only a vague sensation, a hopeful tingle, and also, I found, a vast and lasting anxiety that would carry me through the whole of the next week.

*Disclaimer: I am sometimes an idiot. If I have a functioning bullshit filter at all today, it’s because I have willingly subjected myself to egregious amounts of bullshit in the past. I will probably also do so in the future. In my defense, I think it’s maybe part and parcel of being open to the weird that one also accepts, at least for a time, the stupid. Also, holding a figure such as the above-described professional psychic up for scrutinous ridicule, or ridiculous scrutiny, is about as challenging as dynamiting barrels of carp. The point here is less that this woman would appear to be patently fraudulent, at least 85% so, but that I returned to see her again. I drove 1300 miles plus, not only for that reason, but also for that reason, perhaps on the basis of that remaining 15%. Also: this does not represent a baby + bathwater = everything tossed scenario as regards the veracity of psychic- and/or mediumship as a whole, in my opinion, as I have written in the past, in admiring terms, of professional p/m Anya Briggs, who is, I believe, among others of my direct experience, a truly gifted channel and someone whose integrity proves worthy of my trust. It is a complex issue in which the quality of information received and the character of the receiver can be very different and sometimes unrelated things; i.e. the information may be worthwhile and/or it may be garbage, depending on its invisible source; and/or, the person receiving may be a clown or a sincere human, or perhaps an entirely sincere clown, pretending to be human, receiving information that is real or spurious or combinations of both, etc. Etc.