Mr thompsononthehill was not impressed with my last post. He said it read more like a diary entry and that there were things I could have written about, but hadn’t. He was right. I wrote about something safe and the words stayed flat on the page.
I began writing about ‘the dark side’ a frivolous term I used to use for supernatural phenomena which disturbed me. As a charismatic evangelical Christian I had a firm, if not rigid set of beliefs and while I purported to walk in freedom ( It was for freedom that Christ has set us free) I lived in a lot of fear. Now fear comes in through many doors and not just through religious dogma, and I was anxious throughout my formative years. But until I was forty – ish I could never have countenanced a close friendship with someone who enjoyed anything like yoga, Tai Chi, or homeopathy – even herbalism and osteopathy were a bit dodgy. Ouija and seances were ‘straight from the pit’ and forbidden in the bible, but anything remotely New Age was OUT. Leaving aside the rights and wrongs of supernatural manifestations, psychologically speaking why was I so afraid of people reaching out and asking questions about why we are here and the power that sustains us? By keeping my world straitjacketed in theology it felt safer. It was under my control. But it was small.
The breakthrough began about ten years ago when I heard Guy Chevreau – the calm and friendly face of Toronto City Airport Church, itself then a hotbed of spiritual phenomena – speak at a conference. He began speaking of books by Frank Peretti on demonic kingdoms which were all the rage in the early 90s. These books were terrifying. Powers of good and evil fought for domination over towns and cities. Heavenly angels ultimately won but not without a hard fight and human casualties. Many of the human protagonists were deceived by New Age practices and even children were drawn in by attachment to toys with special powers. Scary stuff. No doubt these books were intended to inspire faith and courage in their readers and to motivate them to prayer for the nation, but the memories I have of them are very dark and writhing with menace. Intercession became important to me: and I steered clear of American cartoon merchandise. It was all lumped together as evil. There was some gradation, obviously aromatherapy was less harmful than Ouija but I would have made a negative and fearfilled judgement about it all.
But Guy, bless him, in his understated Canadian way said, “You know, the earth is the Lord’s and everything – and everyone – in it.” And there was the beginning of my freedom.
While there are practices I would still not take part in, (seances and Ouija being way up there), I now feel no need to have an opinion on for example hypnosis or healing. Our world is complex and throbbing with life, as humans we are fearfully and wonderfully made and who am I to judge how God might reveal himself? Recently I heard on Radio 4 Start the Week that that which we call ‘space’ is not empty, indeed that too is buzzing with energy.
Since those days my circle of friends has widened and includes all sorts of women who enjoy a spiritual life quite different from the one I grew up in. By not being so quick to judge and allowing myseIf to be curious I have learned a lot and experienced more widely the goodness of God.
Which brings me to the events on Saturday. I had invited two friends to lunch, both called Clare. Not convenient when you’re telling an anecdote. One is very into crystals and Tai Chi, the other more conventional: I taught with her for many years. She suffers terrific migraines and has been having acupuncture. I had welcomed them, taken their coats and was stirring the soup. My back was turned but I could hear their conversation, which went along the lines of:
Sit down and I’ll see what I can feel.
Ok, are you going to touch me?
No. I don’t touch you.
I turned round and and there she was, Crystal Clare doing Reiki healing in my kitchen.
We (the non healers) became very quiet, respectful. She, doing the healing, holding her hands over the other Clare’s head said, “You can talk you know.” Very matter of fact and pop went the pseudo-religious atmosphere and we began talking dogs and carpet. The healing sanctuary became my kitchen again. With soup and cake on the side.
I don’t know what happened, releasing blockages of energy and suchlike but Migraine Clare felt better. They then did some pendulum swinging with a necklace of mine. It doesn’t have to be a chain, it can be a needle on a string, I am told. Crystal Clare knows which way it swings for her for a yes, side to side, and which way for a no, back and forth. She began asking about food allergies. Wheat? Dairy?
I was intrigued.
Who are you asking? I asked.
She gave me a look. I helped her out.
The Universe? The higher power? Oh my word. (Inside voice).
Who was she asking? It looked like she was getting replies from someone/thing/where, namely Migraine Clare should limit her wheat intake.
I don’t know and I am ok not knowing. It didn’t feel evil or even uncomfortable, I was happy they were expressing their friendship and support for each other. You might call it sisterly love. (By their fruits you shall know them?) God is bigger than I can possibly imagine and can show himself in any way he chooses. S/He is certainly not bound by any theology I may adhere to. By not reacting from fear or suspicion, not needing to be in control, by being curious and trusting the spirit/Spirit inside me, I know more, feel more, enjoy more of the goodness of God in the land of the living. That calls for an Hallelujah, doesn’t it?