Another good story from last week begins last Wednesday. I went to a meeting with some spiritual seekers and it was held at this woman's amazing historic home. It was a modest castle with arched doorways and lead glass windows. I listened to stories of tragedy, stories of ghosts, angels, and prayers. I didn't have many requests to voice at the time, but I did have a question.
I was twenty or twenty one years old and it was the start of a new school year. Over the summer I had made dozens of new friends and had been spending a lot of time at one social butterfly's house in particular. She lived with two roommates in the upper portion of a duplex. Below them was the party junction of four or five boys. One of the boys was an artist with big, wild hair. If I could sum up a certain weakness for men, that's the sentence I'd use. An artist with big, wild hair. I nursed this crush, secreted from him, for quite a few weeks.
I don't remember at what point I stayed up all night feeling tortured over this crush. Was it before or after the inauspicious night, in which I smoked pot after drinking too much and got so spinny I had to sit down for a long time? He came along eventually that night and rescued me to his room where I had one of my first casual sex encounters. So one night, either before or after that night, I couldn't sleep. I was tossing and turning. I pretty much never experience insomnia so by the time three or four in the morning rolled around I was getting desperate for release into the quiet of sleep. I decided to smoke some pot, not that it was a theme for my college years or anything, thinking that would help me get sleepy.
I was sitting on my floor, naked. The cool blue of the pre-dawn lit through my gauzy curtain. I wrote for awhile, read, literally just crawled around, waiting to get tired. Then I found myself sitting in front of my full length mirror, staring. I became very quiet and stared into the mirror. It seemed all of a sudden that it was not me looking back from the mirror. In the mirror was an ancient man, with deep facial lines, long, straight, dark hair parted down the middle, a plain cotton tunic looking back at me. Did he have a head band? At the time I thought he looked like a Native American from a history book, but now it seems I don't know what culture he belonged to and the depth of his weathered skin is what made me assume "Native" at the time. There he was. Not me.
I yelped and fell over backwards. I couldn't crawl behind anything to hide, but if that had been available to me I would have. "What the fuck what the fuck what the fuck," I whisper-panted. Then I thought, I want to see that again. So I sat back down in front of the mirror and tried to re-do whatever I'd just been doing. My adrenaline was too pumped and I never saw his face in the mirror again.
For a time I thought I'd seen a glimpse of myself in a past life. Lately that doesn't seem like the right explanation, so I asked the mediator of the meeting, "What was that?" She told me it was one of my spirit guides and he didn't mean to frighten me.
Since that meeting I've been thinking about that and another experiences told there. The owner of the amazing antique home talked for a time about the ghosts and spirits and fairies that she lives with. She and my friend, the mediator, talked about clearing a vortex from the dining room because too many spirits were coming and going. I asked the woman if it didn't scare the crap out of her to see a ghost walking through her house. She was enthusiastic, "No, I invite them! I love having them here." That was a totally unfamiliar concept to me and it sparked my curiosity. The mediator said then that the home owner had to stop doing so much inviting though, because the spirits were trying to take her over. I kind of stopped asking questions at that point.
The idea, though, of not fearing visceral spirits is, as I said, pretty freaking new to me. Due in part to an extremely active and fantastical imagination, in part to being of a generally flighty sense of reality, and in part to being a bit of an adrenaline junkie, I just always kind of indulged in getting totally freaked out by ghosts. Now, thinking about that spirit in the mirror and how calm, how deep, his face was I'm trying to moderate the jumping gut reaction and not translate it as fear. Something about that seems like an invitation of sorts, to the seeming inexplicable. I'm hesitant, to be sure. Every creak in this room is making my gut jump just writing about it.