LISTENING TO THE SILENCES

 

CHAPTER 6 PAGE 2

I cannot recall in any detail the particular day in the spring of 1979 when I first sat down with the pendulum suspended from my right hand and hovering over the centre of the alphabet chart. What I do know is that immediately names started to be spelled out, names that slowly and laboriously I wrote down with my left hand; being right handed it presented something of a difficulty. I responded in my thoughts and in no other way. I would ask when and where the alleged person had lived, and how and when they had died, together with such ancillary detail as seemed appropriate - information that would, in the main, answer specifically my mentally posed questions.

In their spiritualist activities my parents had participated in a so-called 'rescue circle'. To such a 'circle' the spirits of people who had died in trauma - accident, suicide, homicide, war - were alleged to be brought by the medium's 'guides', in order that by continued, but regulated, contact with still living people they might ultimately be reconciled to the reality of their death, and then make progress in their spiritual domain. It was in this manner that I reacted to the names and circumstances spelled out by the pendulum. Always my thoughts were of reconciliation with their circumstances and the manner of their dying, and encouragement to progress spiritually.

As I look back nearly twenty years, I marvel at my 'innocence', lack of awareness and, I cannot emphasise too much, my gullibility. No, I was not controlling the pendulum in any way, nor had I any pre-conception of what would be spelled; and yes, the pendulum was spelling logical responses to my thoughts - and not solely to my thoughts. A visitor at the time used to sit beside me, and as I held the pendulum, would ask questions or make comments in her own mind, and to which I was not party. I remember quite distinctly the occasion on which the response to her was "We are not fortune tellers".

On another occasion, my friend and I had been debating aspects of abortion and euthanasia in consequence of some high profile cases proceeding at the time. When I sat that evening, the pendulum spelled out "Read Leviticus Chapters 18 to 22". I obviously knew that Leviticus was a Book in the Old Testament, but I can say, with almost 100% certainty, that I had never read it. When I did read the prescribed chapters, I found that there were elements that could be interpreted as having relevance to the debate. However, on re-reading the text to refresh my mind as I write now, it could be that I was being warned against …those that have familiar spirits…and …wizards…who, it was ordered, should be stoned to death. I shall never know! What these accounts should show, however, is that I was not exercising any physical or mental control over the pendulum, but that it was being controlled by a 'mind' that was separate from mine.

I was fully aware of the spiritualist concept of 'guides' - attendant spirits, whom, it is believed, have access to the mind of the medium and control the admission of other spirits. Thus, I was not surprised when a trio gradually identified 'themselves'. The identities that they claimed were, in turn:

1 Ibn Ubar - mid- to late nineteenth century, well placed (chief) in Masai-type people of North East Africa. Claimed that when he was old and infirm, he had deliberately set out to kill a lion knowing that he himself would probably be killed - almost in reparation for the lions that he had killed whilst protecting his cattle.

2 Degef Gayad claimed to have been a monk on the Tibet/Nepal border; had held a lowly position as keeper of a beacon for travellers; said that he had been killed by a bear whilst tending a remote beacon.

It is difficult to explain how a presence or ambience could be experienced whilst simply holding a pendulum, but it was actually the case in that a seriousness or portentousness accompanied the third member of the trio -

3 U Gedafad who, it was said, had been a Buddhist priest in Burma in the late eighteenth century. As I remember, his life and death were never discussed.

I am writing as if these were the actual spirits of real people. It is difficult to do otherwise, for while I have a different understanding now that qualifies everything that happened to me, it is something that I cannot at this stage anticipate, but must try to write of the experiences and beliefs of the time when they happened, and in the sequence in which they happened.

The Buddhist began to encourage me to study Buddhism. When I asked why, I was told, "every priest needs a pupil". I was encouraged to join the Buddhist Society, which I did, and to get hold of a book, First Steps in Buddhism by W.V.Trapp. Written in German, it was said, and translated into English in 1927 by Lionel Fellows, the translator being inspired by U Gedafad. When I asked the Buddhist Society Library for the loan of the book, I was told that they could not obtain a copy; I was never told that the book did not exist - whether or not it had ever existed, I shall never know.

I did not persist with the Buddhist Society for more than a few months. Many of the concepts and much of the terminology I found alien to my existing beliefs. Also, as with many Eastern religions or philosophies translated to the West, much seems to revolve around a particular guru or group of 'in' people, with which again I am unhappy. Something that I was asked to do and which I did adopt and persist with, was the setting aside of a quiet time at 11 a.m. each day, during which I practised a simple form of meditation.

As the spring merged into summer, hardly an evening passed without its time with the pendulum and chart. No longer did I need to write down each word as it was spelled, for the pendulum darted, almost just hinting at letters. 'Conversation' became very rapid - so much so that a time was reached when I really knew what was going to be said in advance of the spelling, and I was being well prepared for the events of an exceedingly significant day.
My 11 am sitting place was in an upstairs room looking north east to the nearby mountain tops - Scafell, Great Gable, Yewbarrow and others. I settled into my chair, easing my neck onto the high wingback, and rolled my head gently from side to side to smooth out any tensions, and then something happened that was so dramatic and far-reaching, and yet, paradoxically, was totally devoid of drama. A 'presence' that I could not see, moved from the space in front of me, into me, and immediately my mind was charged with another 'voice' or provoker of thoughts, thoughts over which, then, I had no control, and which were not initiated by me. In my head began conversation as between two separate people, one of whom was me.

I began to 'hear voices'.


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