[First posted April 26, 2007]
[This posting has given rise to some new comments now in March of 2011, and so is being reposted in hopes of stimulating more rousing good stuff!]
My apologies, to anyone who noticed, regarding my long absence from these pages. Rest assured, I’m still in the world, although still not of it. Life on this physical dimension increasingly demands more and more, while seemingly giving less in return. Perhaps this is as it’s meant to be, in life-long transition from this plane to the next. Life in a place such as New York City requires existence in an altogether different dimension as well. It is not the United States; it is not the American Prairie; it is a thriving hive of humans and aliens; some of us have cars, and some have spaceships. Many have iPods and other things stuck in their heads.
Tim has been far, far away – far off somewhere — time-traveling, studying, forging new alliances, translating the heretofore untranslatable. Like many relationships ours takes vacations. It’s been 17 years since Tim left the planet, and there is little on Earth, if anything, that’s still of interest to him – it’s in the past. The call of the Great Cosmos Beyond is too alluring for him to ignore. Love keeps us in contact in tiny rills, while our vastly different biopsychophysical situations keep us rivers apart. The heavens continue to spin, and centripetal forces spiral our personal time-lines in very different directions, while our shared psychological history becomes ingreasingly less intelligible to one another. We must live almost solely heart to heart now.
Consciously aware of ourselves as immortal beings, we tend not to worry much about time any more.
My mediumship concerns have been taking a backseat to life in the hive. But now it seems to be perking up a bit again, since a medium I’ve known for sometime, but never met until recently, contacted me. Sidney Schwartz, a medium and minister of Gifts of The Spirit Church
, and recently back from studies at the Arthur Findlay College
of mediumship development in England, was excited to tell me that finally he was able to schedule several séances in our area with the physical medium, Hoyt Robinette
. Sidney is a delightful, sincere and earnest medium always seeking to enrich his skills.
Hoyt, also a minister, conducts trumpet séances. These séances take place in total darkness. While the medium goes into “death trance” (completely unconscious), Spirit utilizes his ectoplasm to create a kind of artificial larynx for disembodied folks to utilize for speaking. (Since they no longer have a material body on our plane, this is needed for them to speak.) Communication in their realms is primarily mind-to-mind, and not physically vocalized, so they often are challenged to make themselves heard and understood; the artificial organ also produces odd-sounding vocalizations. To correct for this, Spirit uses a “trumpet” – a cone-shaped aluminum device, to position in front of the larynx and amplify the spirit voice. The trumpet typically has strips of phosphorescent paper taped to it so it can be seen rising through the air in the darkness, supported and manipulated by ectoplasmic “rods” created by the spirit techs for this purpose. This is a rare form of physical mediumship, seldom seen these days, although much more common many decades ago.
Reverend Robinette also conducts séances that produce “precipitated art” – see The Bangs Sisters
for the ultimate example in this also very rare example of physical mediumship (as reported by my colleague, the spiritualist historian N. Riley Heagerty.) Simply explained, Spirit causes images – paintings – to materialize onto some surface – canvas, paper, silk or even walls. No brushes, pencils or other such tools are directly used; rather the actual molecules of pigments are dematerialized from their source, such as a pastel crayon, and then rematerialized onto the surface. Because the pigments are deposited in this way, they are said to be “precipitated.” These works are quite phenomenal, and no brushstrokes or pressure marks from drawing implements are evident. The surface is said to resemble the coloured “dust” on a butterfly’s wings. Sometimes, pigments are taken from unknown sources. The finished work takes little time to produce. The Bangs Sisters were able to facilitate the precipitation of large canvases in broad daylight, in front of audiences of hundreds of people. Rev. Hoyt lives quite close to one of the larger collections of their paintings, and Rev. Schwartz has seen them several times, describing them as “indescribable.”
The trumpet séance was disappointing. Perhaps I'm totally mistaken, but it seemed me, with my rich background of many years in music and vocal studies, that the voices coming from the trumpet in pitch blackness all belonged to the medium – male and female. There was no mistaking the easily-identifiable vocal cadences and phrasing patterns, (including his deep Southern accent) -- which are next-to-impossible to erase without years of professional study, as any actor will tell you. Also, in every one of the many accounts I’ve read, the trumpet is always manipulated by Spirit with amazing speed and deftness, bringing it up to the top of the ceiling, and sailing it about the room without once bumping into anything, in order to show the impossibility of the medium having anything to do with its movements. The trumpet in this séance never went any higher than the shoulders of the seated medium, who was supposedly dead to the world. Sometimes it would point towards the particular sitter being addressed. There were two trumpets for this séance, but the other trumpet never moved. This was also strange. Spirit people tend to like to show off, but they didn’t take advantage of the opportunity this time.
The messages that came out of the trumpet also seemed trite and predictable. Of the 13 sitters, nobody, as far as I could tell, received any information from a deceased loved one. All of the “spirits” were Indian chieftains and child-like spirit guides. This is not surprising, since the majority of the sitters were all seasoned new-age spiritualist/metaphysical seekers, and had sat at Hoyt’s séances before. Everyone knew everyone’s guides, so it was quite clique-y. My spirit messenger was the exception to the lot – an “Ascended Master” – St. Germain: no small potatoes! He informed me that he had been working with me for many years, and would continue to do so, and “great things” were in store for me, including a trip to France and then to England. “Not on my budget,” I informed him back, “So unless one of us wins the lottery, it will be a true miracle indeed.” This caused a lot of laughter (and I thought I detected nervous laughter from Saint Germain.) When asked if I had a question for him (every “spirit" asked this) I answered briefly: “Nope.” Nervous silence this time. I did add that I would be glad to work with him, and was his humble servant, etc., etc. just to give it a nice and discomforting twist of a questioning nature. Everyone else was oo-ing and ah-ing because of the supposed high status of St. Germain (or "Ol’ Germy," as I now like to call him.
One of the sitters, a serious developing medium in training, questioned her “guide’s” assertions, and asked, in the traditional matter of confirmation, for her guide to give her two signs so that she could validate what he said. Her guide got all uppity and defensive: “Well, if you don’t want to work with me, there are plenty of others who would be more than happy to.” The sitter stood up to him a bit, and asserted that as a developing medium, it was the correct procedure and so wouldn’t apologize. But then she backed down a bit and said, “but of course I will work with you, don’t get me wrong.” This exchange was also very odd to me – as someone in spirit, especially a learned guide – and historical documentation backs me up here – would never get defensive or abusive, but rather would say something like, “You’re absolutely right, I understand this need and so will do my best to find a way to give you little or no doubt that I am who I say I am, because truth and trust are essential.” Validation is of the utmost importance in these matters, and many people have been very mislead by people in spirit who are not who or what they say they are.
As a special treat, we were given apports, which are objects materialized by Spirit as gifts. We each received a tiny little polished gemstone, and one person was told that the little gold cross was for him. They came rattling out of the trumpet and onto the floor in the dark, making an impressive racket as they shot through the tin cone and bounced off a small table in the center of the room. I leave it to the reader to think about whether these objects were true apports. While I'm not outright suggesting fraud, I am suggesting the clarifying power of doubt and healthy skepticism.
The next night was the séance for precipitated cards. This was in a small, brightly lit room rented from a small church in the city, and we sat in rows facing a lectern. We had to fill out small slips of paper – known as “billets” in spiritualist parlance – with our name on it, a few names of deceased loved ones or guides, and a question. The billets were folded on half once only and kept on the lectern in plain sight. Then Hoyt took a brand new pack of 3x5 blank white cards, which he gave to a member to unwrap and examine to confirm they were blank. These cards went into a “snake basket” – a tightly woven fibre-basket with a lid, which kept any light from entering – and layered with all kinds of coloured pencils, crayons, markers and oil pastels, and then the basket set off to the side in full view. The very bright fluorescent lights overhead were kept on at all times while the medium taped his eyes over with 3 strips of some kind of white sticky tape – based on all his experience, I would think he should have used surgical tape, but I believe he chose it to distract us. When he took it off at the end, he made a big show of how difficult it was to painfully peel off. Surgical tape would not do this.
He then spent the next hour “discerning” the information on the billets, holding each one in his hands, each billet fully open
, stroking and creasing them in his fingers, holding them at arm’s length below his nose - and demonstrating that he was picking up the information on them while blindfolded.
Sometimes, I could tell he would actually go into genuine direct trance because he would suddenly have a hard time standing and speaking, while some Spirit would come through in a rush of words and phrases, often hard to catch.
Finally he finished discerning for everyone (about 15 people) and brought the basket over to the lectern, opened it and immediately began passing out cards - each person’s name was on the back of the previously blank card. He did not hesitate or fumble around with this, and did not do anything that suggested he was substituting already made-up cards for the blank ones.
FINALLY, SOMETHING REAL!
My card was first to come out, and is simply, beautifully, awesome.
Keep in mind that this is a 3x5 inch card. That's pretty small. This turned out to be one of the most spectacular of precipitated cards in the group, although my companion’s was quite beautiful as well. I hope to get a scan of it at some time. All cards where photographed by Sidney for the archives. There have been literally many hundreds of these cards to emerge from the basket over the years. It is impossible to portray in words the realism of the pictures – they look almost like Polaroid photos, but with great depth and texture.
On the back, written in different colors, and in similar but still different looking hands, were names: St. Germain, Dr. Yorio, Chief Wise Owl, and Golden Feather. I glanced at them briefly, because I wanted to just gaze at my amazing card. Because of something the medium had said, everyone assumed this was a picture of one the guide named Dr. Yorio. [Later, I did an internet search and immediately came up with the NY Times 1989 obituary for Dr. Carlos Alfredo Yorio, a linguistics professor in NYC. Although the obit listed his death due to organ failure, it was clear he died from AIDS (few, if any obits used the term then) but it did note that he was survived by a long-time male partner, something only the NYTimes did in those days.] So this seemed a very plausible candidate for a guide for me – rather more than coincidental, given that Tim had died of AIDS in 1990. Even more telling – Dr. Yorio had lived with his partner just a few blocks north of me. Unfortunately, because there the Internet had barely accessible by the public in 1989 -- if at all -- there was next to nothing about Dr. Yorio, and of course, no photos.
I finally turned the card back over to look at the names again, and this time there was a new one,
which hadn’t been there before, but was now there, in bright neon yellow, and very difficult to read, in tiny letters. Finally my friend was able to make it out: Boris Pasternak. Who the hell is that? I asked. A few people knew who he was, mainly as the Russian author of Dr. Zhivago. I also later learned that he was a well-known part-time composer and honoured Nobel Prize-winner poet of Russian-Jewish origin. I was barely able to take in that the name had appeared by itself while in my hands, and had no idea why Boris’s name was there!
Some quick research yielded much information about this famous person, as well as photographs. And it was immediately apparent that my card was unmistakably a startling photo-realistic rendition of Boris Pasternak, not Dr. Yorio. The little blobby thing of light next to the portrait still remains a mystery to me – it looks almost as if it were the result of some kind of process in art known as “resist” where the surface rejects pigments due to waxes or oils on the surface. I have a feeling it’s significant in some way, and might even be one of the other spirit guides who is developed to the point where they are beyond pictorial representation, other than some kind of light.
As an artist, and professionally trained in many methods and materials, especially painting and drawing, I have an especially keen eye and understanding of the process of producing a detailed, 2-D rendition. I examined my card with a magnifying glass for hours, and was frankly startled by the detail in such a small space – the pupil of the eye was so detailed that it quite freaked me out, I couldn’t imagine how it was done, especially because it appeared to be done with oil pastels, very difficult and messy things to use. Or rather, I should say, with the pigments
of oil pastels. If anyone tried to produce such a brilliantly, heavily-rendered portrait on such a small piece of thin paper with pastels, the paper would surely be creased, wrinkled, work-worn and marked with indentations pressing through. Not so with this card. It is as if pigment was literally, somehow, dusted – precipitated
is really the right word – in layers and layers, carefully building up a micron-thin image. Under the magnifying glass, it looked like sediment, as if the card has rested underwater and microscopic, coloured mud particles had settled, layer by layer, until a face appeared. There were no brush marks, no crayon marks, no pencil or pen marks. The surface was mysteriously smooth and slightly shiny. The backs of the cards were basically untouched but for the names and a few light coloured scratches as if they had rubbed lightly against the pastels while in the basket.
Other participants had very amazing pictures as well – there were quite a few Native American images, mostly all very small, perfect miniatures, sometimes several faces on one card. All presented with incredible precision and ultra-photorealism, with exaggerated, brilliant fauve-ist colours. My friend had a rendition of Chief White Eagle, the largest of all the Indian paintings, and hauntingly beautiful.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.
My beautiful painting, now framed and resting against a lamp on the dresser at home, haunts me. No pun intended, (I think.) Why the hell would Boris Pasternak cause his spirit photo to materialize on a little card for me, I asked myself yesterday morning while brushing my teeth. I don’t even know anyone named Boris, and never have. So I challenged – “Ok, Boris – if you’re for real, and this is for real, and for some reason you’re insinuating that we’re connected, or going to be connected – I need a sign – doesn’t matter what, just something that will get my attention and I can attribute to you. Over and out.”
I then completely forgot about this request to the air, mainly because I next went into the bedroom to discover that Fiona & McHenry (aka Satan’s Little Helpers
) had cornered a big, fat bumblebee on the windowsill. I quickly got them away and was able to catch the bee and release it unharmed outside. I checked the little imps to make sure they weren’t stung, and as far as I could tell, they were fine. Whew! An hour later, though, McHenry came and showed me the right side of his face, swollen out like a golf ball (see his photo above - awwwww, poor boo-boo!) Completely panicking, I threw on some clothes and sandals and the got us in a cab to the vet. It was fortunate it was a bumble bee, since their sting is less toxic than that of a honeybee, and also, unlike a honeybee, don’t imbed and lose their stinger in the stingee. Still, McH.'s face and neck were quite swollen, but his heart was fine and no deadly allergic reaction was indicated. He received a shot of benadryl for his efforts, and I a few more stress lines for mine.
Back at the ranch, I rested in bed with McH. at my side, keeping him under observation for the next couple hours. I rarely keep the phone ringer on at home, nor the volume of the answering machine, but had turned both on in case the vet called later. I’m also never home at that time, but at work. When the phone rang, I assumed it would be the vet or a friend concerned about McHenry. Instead I heard some man leaving a message on the machine, someone I didn’t know, but I picked up anyway. He said hello and continued to talk about himself, his mother, and other things that made no sense. The connection was also strange, and I could hear my voice echo back whenever I tried to speak. Finally I was able to get a word in edgewise: “Who is this?”
— This is Boris
(It did not occur to me to connect this with the card. This is the usual amnesia-like stuff that goes on when something spirit-numinous is occurring.)
— Why are you calling me, Boris?
— Because my mother told me to
The short version of a very long and stupid, insensible conversation is that this young man was harassed by his mother to call me because I was a therapist who specialized in gender and sexuality issues. However, he did not have any of these issues, and was a happily out and partnered gay man. He didn’t want or need therapy (but clearly his mother did.) It seems he was calling just so he could tell his mother that he called, to get her off his back. He added:
— That is how we Russian Jews are
— Well, yes, ok. Whatever. I have a sick cat who needs me. Good luck. Goodbye.
I was never able to ascertain how Boris’s mother got my number, as it was my home, not office number. He had no idea either and really couldn’t tell me exactly why he was calling, and seemed rather puzzled about it himself.
Later, while on my way to work, it suddenly struck me that this was Boris Pasternak’s witty way of meeting my condition. Somehow he had orchestrated to influence a total stranger to influence her son, Boris, a Russian Jew (like Pasternak) to call me and say “This is Boris.” I’m not a statistician, but I imagine the odds are quite steep here. Especially given the fact that I’m never home at that time or even have the ringer turned on.
My world would appear to be changing radically again, and I’ve really no idea what’s going on.
I have asked Boris to provide me with at least one more, or possibly two, signs.