Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Here Be Dragons, 3: Signs and Wonders

1. The Critter

People who read my facebook posts will know that I have something living in the wall between my living room and garage. The first indication was when, sitting at my desk by that wall, I heard something fall, slide and land with a thump, then lots of frantic scrabbling to try and climb out, but obviously failing. I thought it must be my resident possum. It quietened down for a long time, with only faint noises occasionally. I was anxious that it was trapped, possibly injured, and would die. But I couldn't get anyone to come and help. Wildlife carers are volunteers and the organisation doesn't insure them for climbing about in roof cavities to try and rescue creatures trapped in walls. One did come, but the Critter, as I eventually named it, was silent at the time.

'You'll soon know if it's a possum,' she said. 'They're nocturnal. It will make a noise at night.' She thought it was more likely a rat. It turned out not to be nocturnal, but active (now and then) both day and night. That was a relief! Possum safe.

The fire brigade referred met to the police; the police said they only rescue domestic pets. Various people suggested making a hole in the plaster on this side of the wall (the other side is brick). My landlord, the Housing Department, refused permission and assured me the creature would not smell after it died. (That was a concern, but mostly I was hoping to save a life.)

Over several days there were long silences interspersed with sound and movement. I could hear it crawling around on the beams in the wall. It evidently had claws; I could hear them. I discounted the possibility that it was a snake. I never heard gnawing or squeaking, so decided thankfully it couldn't be a rat.

My handyman has sold his ute. His ladder doesn't fit in his car. Eventually he was able to borrow a concertina ladder. He brought a thick rope to attach so the critter could climb up to safety. He went up into the manhole, and shone a powerful torch into thee wall cavity. He had a good look and he saw — nothing. Nothing at all. Not even any droppings or signs of claw marks, and certainly not a creature of any kind, let alone one as big as this one would have to be to make so much noise. So clearly whatever it is had found a way to get in and out, which could account for the long silences. Whew! It wasn't going to starve to death in there after all.

We walked around the outside of the house together to try and spot openings. (He is a tall man.) We couldn't see anything except the small spaces under the curves in the ends of the tiles at the roof edges. We decided it must be what I had already concluded: a large lizard. There are both water dragons and monitors around here. I have seen them in both my yard and my neighbours'.

The Critter, as I have named it, is still there, at least sometimes. Visiting friends have now heard it too, and think it doesn't sound like a rat or a possum. It doesn't seem to be doing any damage, and so we coexist. I still don't know for sure what it is, but lizard seems the only thing really likely.

'What is the lesson?' someone asked. I consulted the Medicine Cards and pulled Dragonfly. That made me laugh: it's the signal that Andrew and I arranged before he died, so I'd know when he was around. So it a was a message from Andrew? Sure that the Critter is a lizard, I pulled that card, which has a message to trust one's dreams. I had recently dreamed of Andrew visiting, and thought it was a true dream. (I have been told he is now my angel.) But I was occasionally tempted to doubt. OK, so it seemed the Critter was the Universe's way of telling me to trust the dream: that Andrew really did visit me that way.

Later I bethought myself that Dragonfly might be the nearest the Medicine Cards could get to Dragon, and that a lizard (if indeed it is a lizard) resembles a dragon. Perhaps the Universe also tells me to trust the truth of my dragon connection.

2. A new slant

A dear friend from Melbourne stayed with me a couple of days, in the course of which she did a reading for me. Among other things, she advised that Merlin would be coming to communicate with me again. (He used to, but it's been a while.) On the question of that dragon connection, she said, 'Think of the blood codes, not the form. Pendragon....'

I'll have to see how that plays out.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Spring Equinox — Not Going as Planned

I was to attend an Equinox celebration today, hosted by the local Goddess Circle at the Castle, Uki. I dressed up in my purple Goddess gown and my wonderful Spring cloak that my friend Dinah made — and the car wouldn't start. 

'Flat battery,' I thought, though could not find anything I'd left switched on which might account for it. I knew that by the time I waited for the NRMA man to arrive and do his thing, and by the time I took the car for a long drive afterwards to recharge, I'd be far too late for the start of the celebrations. It would not be appropriate to burst in late. I changed out of my finery, not wishing to startle the NRMA man.

Not a flat battery as it turned out, but starter motor. It might be a one-off, he said, but told me anyway how to get it started if it happens again, in which case I should also take it to my mechanic. He still recommended I take it for a half hour drive 'to get everything charged up'. It was already too late to go to the Castle.

I had a lovely drive through trees out to pretty Crystal Creek, then back to town via the winding Numinbah Road, with fewer trees and more paddocks but still very scenic. 

I phoned my friend Mara when I got back home. 'Would you like to have lunch at Rainforest Cafe?' But she was expecting visitors. Clearly the Universe wants me to observe the Equinox in a quiet and solitary manner.

I am dozing now, over my screen, even though I meditated before starting to write. Maybe I just need a rest. Perhaps at this time I need it more than a whole day of dancing and chanting.

When I was waiting for the NRMA man, I had time to water my garden, which is best done early on these very warm days. I was going to have to leave it, to get to the Castle in time.  Tut, tut! Shame on me — dancing for the Goddess does not outweigh caring for one's plants. 

I have recently had two different conversations with other witches, in which they said they felt they were better witches, more in touch with the intuitive side of it, before they did a lot of reading and study. I think there's something in that. The academic side of things is interesting, but is not the core. Simple acts like watering the garden, sweeping a spider outside (gently) instead of killing it, lighting a candle for someone who is ill, going outside to gaze at the full moon -- these are the essence of witchcraft, aren't they? ... this simple yet powerful, earth-based practice.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Here Be Dragons: 2

I've known the Shaman since I first came to live in the Mount Warning Caldera. She was my first friend here. Like many of my friends, she’s a lot younger than me but we never think of that. She is mature in wisdom.

For a few years before I came here, various psychics told me, 'You shouldn't be in Melbourne, you should be up north. That's where your own kind are.' One even referred to 'a strange-shaped mountain' at 180 degrees turn from the ocean — a pretty good identification of Mt Warning.

The Shaman is surely one of those of my own kind whom I was meant to be among. Anyway, we 'recognised' each other at first sight although we'd never met in this lifetime. That was in 1994 and we've been confidential friends ever since, even though we don't get together very often.

Eventually I remembered a prediction from my magician friend Ridge years before, about meeting a woman who would be important in my life. He described her. The Shaman fitted the description. He said she would wear a Celtic cross around her neck. She did when I first met her. And yes, she has been an important and trusted friend for nearly 20 years.

We have always just known without question that we can tell each other anything and have it be understood, including things about our magical lives. There are few who can accept the sort of things which, to us, are natural and commonplace — and of those, fewer still who truly comprehend.

We have sometimes done energy work together, for healing and  magic, though mostly we work separately. She told me once that, trying to explain to someone the difference between her magickal persona and mine, she said, 

‘I carry a sword; Rosemary has a wand.’ 

Yes, I’d say she’s more the spiritual warrior. While I sometimes work with Archangel Michael, and even channel his energy for healing, the Shaman can actually embody that energy. 

Last time she visited me, we discussed this ability to embody angelic energy — how she is essentially of that energy herself. She used to be fairly anonymous about this, though a few people, such as me, always recognised it in her. Lately, newly single and coming into her power, she finds that it's becoming more visible to more people. An interesting development! 

I decided to come clean with her about me. There hadn't really been occasion to, before. 

'I haven't told anyone else this,' I said. 'I'm not an angel — I'm a dragon.' She surprised me by giving a delighted grin and saying, 'I know you are.' After I managed to close my dropping jaw, I said, 'Good. I'm glad you do. But how?'

She said, 'I knew of your interest in dragons. Then, I was leafing through your coffee table book on dragonology and I found myself thinking, "This is Rosemary's realm." '

How wonderful that someone perceived it! And even before being told.

I didn't always have this idea about myself. It's not the sort of thing that naturally occurs to one. Jigsaw pieces slotted into place gradually, over a number of years.

Here are the bits of my jigsaw:

1. Personal Interest

The Shaman was right. I do have an interest in dragons. In fact, it's been so as long as I can remember, and is not only an interest but an attraction. When, as a child, I first heard the tale of St George, I was on the dragon's side! It was instinctive. However, I didn't attach any great significance to this. Surely lots of kids, and older people too, like dragons? It was only much later that I found it meaningful, with hindsight and in combination with all the following:

2. The Family Who Played With Dragons

In the course of our research into psychic children, Andrew and I interviewed a family in which the mother and both the young children associated with dragons and even rode them — in the astral realm, of course. I realised I was familiar with the sensations they described, but felt, 'No, I haven't experienced this on a dragon, but as a dragon.' I am predominantly clairsentient, which means I feel my psychic information in my body. As they spoke, I could 'feel' having a big body with strong shoulders, and being able to manipulate it as I moved through the air. I was horizontal (except when I swooped, dived or soared) and I could see over vast terrain and pick out fine detail (as birds of prey are reputed to do). I felt both light and powerful. This was happening in part of my consciousness, while at the same time I attended to what the family was saying.

3. The Dog 

At the time I learned Reiki, I had a wonderful dog called Flint. He was an Irish Retriever, a dog so big that people said, 'That's not a dog, it's a horse!' He was a stray, and I'd had recurring visions of him before he turned up and found me. 

When I learned Reiki II, for healing 'in absence', it included a technique for communicating telepathically with the Higher Self of the client. We had to practise in class, and one client I 'called in' was my dog, Flint. Later I would tell people, 'He's mostly Higher Self, with just a thin, doggy veneer' — but at that stage I was startled when his telepathic voice (deep and rumbling like his doggy one) told me that we had been together many times, and specifically mentioned 'ranging the skies together'. I didn't know quite what he meant by that, but certainly got the impression of flying — flying over vast terrain, somewhat as I imagine eagles would do, and having that kind of view of the landscape beneath.

4. The 'Psychic Pets'

See previous post.

5. The Clairvoyant

'She's an amazing clairvoyant,' said a friend. 'She can tell you all about where your soul originally came from.' This was a friend who was very tuned-in herself, and not gullible or easily impressed. Nor was I — but, as I was already a professional psychic myself, I understood what was possible.

The clairvoyant's name was Jackie. When she read for me, I was impressed too. She used no props — no Tarot cards, no palmistry, no nothing. She didn't touch me, or even look at me much of the time. Her eyes were open but she tended to look down. She just talked, appearing to listen for a minute and then recite what she'd heard, then listen for the next bit. She told me things I didn't already know, but which fitted with and made sense of things I did already know (and which she, a stranger to me, did not — at least, not in ordinary ways). As she spoke, I felt a calm assurance that she spoke true.

She told me that my story was a bit complicated because I kind of had two beginnings, one where I really originated and one many millennia later, on the planet Lyra, where I was in a sense recreated. My original beginning, she said, was in a dimension and on a planet very near where some angelic beings lived. I was not one of these angels, but I had a lot of interaction with them. (That made sense. I have a lot of interaction with angels in this lifetime, too.) 

This was all many years before I had the idea I had been a dragon. The cairvoyant didn't say, nor appear to think that I came from a race of dragons, but thinking back over the reading recently, I seemed to recall that she described my original race as being winged, although not angels.

6. My Cat, Levi.

I've told previously the story of Levi being a reincarnation of my dog, Flint — yes, the one who spoke to me telepathically about us having ranged the skies together long ago. As Levi, he likes to snuggle up next to me in the evenings when I'm watching telly. He shows no interest in what's onscreen — except for one time when there was a fantasy program about dragons, with very convincing special effects. He became intently interested, made excited noises, and didn't take his eyes off the screen until the dragons had gone. 

The penny dropped. So THAT'S what Flint was talking about (back when he was Flint). We must have been dragons together, on that planet they come from, many eons in the past and many dimensions far away.

7. (I've already told you this one.) The penny dropped for the Shaman, too.


I had just put all these pieces together to arrive at the conviction that I had originated as a dragon, when that conviction was severely shaken. My friend Letitia, the Earth Angel, was most insistent that — as she told me when we first met — my soul origin is human. I was reluctant to abandon my lovely theory, particularly when I had amassed so much apparent evidence for it, but I have learned to trust her connection to Source. I was thrown into confusion.

Then she went on to tell me that I have had two 'reptilian' lifetimes.  'That's your dragon thing,' she said. Well, that made sense to me. The 'evidence' could apply equally well in those circumstances. And dragons are rather like great winged lizards, aren't they? Or even winged crocodiles! Of course she meant extra-terrestrial reptilian beings rather than members of our animal kingdom — but she tells me that those beings evolved from here. Either way, then, it would seem that I must be a child of Mother Earth.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Earth Angel

It was a sunny afternoon at The Channon market. Andrew and I had a regular stall at a couple of Sunday markets and were frequent casuals at others, including The Channon. It was a long drive, but a lovely big all-day market, worth making the trek now and then. This must have been 2004, or maybe 2005. He was between customers for his head massage and Reiki treatments; I was in the middle of a psychic reading.

For no obvious reason, I looked up and locked eyes a moment with a young woman strolling past. Then I resumed my reading and thought no more about it until we started packing up at the end of the day, when the same young woman approached me.

'I have a message for you,' she said. I knew at once she didn't mean from a human being. 

'Never let anyone tell you that you can't charge money for what you do,' she said. 'You have chosen this work; you didn't have to do it. You're entitled to your fee.' 

This was timely! Not long before, in another market, a different young woman had taken it upon herself to tell me loudly and publicly that I should not be turning something spiritual into a business. She informed me that the great seer Edgar Cayce had never charged for his work. Of course it was only after the event that I thought I could have enquired how he fed himself and paid his bills. Perhaps his family supported him; perhaps he was independently wealthy; perhaps he had a day job. None of those scenarios applied to me. But we seldom think of the perfect rejoinder during a surprise attack. I think I told her she was entitled to her opinion and left it at that. But it rankled. It was wonderful to get a message from 'Upstairs', approving of me.

'You're a human being,' said my messenger. 'Not like me. I'm an angel who's incarnated here; I have to be of service. I love it too, but I don't have a choice. You chose it. Honour yourself for that choice.' She told me, too, that she could see my connection to Source when I was reading: a very direct, clear, pure connection. (Other seers, before and since, have said the same.) Therefore, she reiterated, I should never be ashamed of what I do, never have any doubts. (I do sometimes have doubts — that's human — but thanks to her message I dismiss them and carry on.) I felt there was much more we had to say to each other, so I gave her my card and asked for her phone number.

As she left, she said over her shoulder to Andrew, 'You're an angel.'  He, packing up the stall, had been taking no notice of our conversation, so he assumed it was a figure of speech. When I explained afterwards that she had been talking about his soul origins, he was very interested. As soon as we got home, he phoned her for more detail. That was the beginning of our wonderful friendship with Letitia Lee, who adopted us as surrogate parents. 

She told us she was sometimes given messages from the angels for particular people — such as the one she gave me — and when this happened she had to deliver the message. Instead of being freaked out, people usually received them with gratitude. When Letitia herself wanted a reading, she took to phoning me because, having seen my connection to Source, she knew she would get a clear, true message. It got so that we would just ask each other for advice as necessary, no money changing hands or anything. (She, being in service, never charged for delivering her messages anyway.) It was rare that either of us needed such help, but it was good to have each other to turn to when we did, as completely trustworthy channels.

Andrew was tickled to learn he was an angel. To me it explained many things about him. Although he didn't think of himself in that way, he was quite psychic and often felt impelled to give people advice on their health or their lives — excellent advice, usually received gratefully. His particular focus was young people. (He had a youthful quality himself, always.) One of his great achievements was to bring Discovery, an accelerated learning program for teenagers, to Australia. Soon after he died, he visited his daughter and had a long talk in which he told her that he is working with young people now. She understood him to mean that he was helping dying children pass over. 

When we still lived near his daughter, she was once part of a spiritual development group that we were in too, where her energy showed up to many participants, including me, as being angelic. (Although she might scoff, I note that she's always been drawn to the healing professions and is now a nurse.) It seems there are quite a few angels around! 

Letitia's messages were detailed and accurate, and included things she could not possibly have known by herself. But eventually she stopped wanting to do that work. It was getting a bit full on, and she wanted her mind to herself. At that point, it seems, she was permitted the choice. Now she works energetically as a planetary healer instead, and I have no doubt she's good at that too. She can still tell me the soul origins of people close to me if I ask.

Such information cannot, of course, be checked. It won't be on their birth certificates: 'origin angelic', 'origin extraterrestrial', etc. But as she describes these individuals, many of whom she has never met, what she says fits perfectly. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Here Be Dragons: 1

In 1993 I was living with (third husband) Andrew in a small flat in Melbourne, and bemoaning to my friend Janet the fact that we weren't allowed pets. 'Why don't you have psychic pets?' she asked. (She and I were quite used to being able to manifest things on non-physical levels.) I decided to have dragons. I didn't do any summoning rituals or anything. I just reached out into the Universe with my mind — working, as always, in the energy of Love — and asked for a couple of dragons. And they came.

I received impressions that one was red and male, slightly larger than the deep blue female. I also got quite clearly their respective names. I 'saw' them hovering slightly above the roof of the unit we lived in at the time. My vivid imagination? I decided to suspend disbelief and at least behave as if I thought them real. You can get used to anything! After a while I became almost blasé about their presence. These poems ensued:

DEAR Janet,
How are the unicorns?

I haven’t patted or said hullo to
the dragons for such a long time.
I forget them, like plants unwatered.
I hope they feed themselves
and don’t depend on spasmodic rains
or the crumbs we leave for birds.

I wonder what they do up there all day.
Are they bored? If it was me.
I’d copulate constantly — but dragons,
I think, have a different kind of season.

I see they have moved
to a low, convenient cloud. The roof
was awkwardly shaped, uncomfortable.
They swathe their massive tails
in coils around each other.
They look bored but cosy;
lazy and cosy, curling up for warmth.

The blue one is Agyar, known as Betsy.
The red is male. His name is Aragon.
They are faithful dragons to me
and dutiful. I must treat them better.
Janet, how are your unicorns?

© Rosemary Nissen-Wade 1993


The unicorns
look silly in the laundry beside the washing machine
Nathan is combing Jennifer’s tail with his teeth
I woke up at 3 o’clock last night
because someone was nuzzling my cheek
They love music
Nathan’s a Beatles freak
Jennifer prefers Debussy
They don’t look bored
I don’t think unicorns do that
and they’ve got the cat to talk to
I asked them what they think about
they said ‘LOVE’   and the space beyond the black stump
There’s a black stump where they come from too
They look cramped in the laundry
Perhaps I’ll take my psychic paint-brush and
create for them a daisy-covered meadow
and in the lounge-room a pond
It’s wonderful living with unicorns

© Janet Gregory 1993

Both poems first published in Feet First: poems by the Aardvarkers
 Also in Rosemary Nissen-Wade's Secret Leopard: new and selected poems
 1974-2005 (Paris, Alyscamps Press, 2005)

Then came the day when Janet phoned to ask if I could send one of the dragons over to her place for a while. She was feeling in need of some protection. I sent Betsy. Janet lived on the other side of the city, so I gave Betsy street directions plus a telepathic impression of my friend's energy, and duly noted her absence from above the roof. A couple of weeks later I walked outside one morning and detected a difference in the energy. 'I do believe Betsy's back,' I said to Andrew. Later that day Janet phoned. 'Did she get back OK?' She explained that she'd sent Betsy back on a passing truck so that she wouldn't have to fly the whole way, and thought it would have taken her about that long to reach home. That little exercise made it harder to suspect that the dragons were 'just my imagination'.

I liked the idea of having dragons around, and requested two more, one to keep Andrew company and protect him, the other to do the same for me, so that Betsy and Aragon could focus on guarding our home. They duly arrived too. Andrew's turned out to be white and mine black, both male. I noticed they would keep pace with our cars, and were one each side when we travelled in the same vehicle. I forget why, at some point, I decided I needed a chaos dragon with me too. That one is female, deep midnight blue and particularly powerful. 

Some years later, five friends were under psychic attack. I asked if they would like some dragons to protect them, and when they agreed, I put out the call. I was shown the dragons' colours and told their names and genders and which person each one would look after. One man in the group was fairly sceptical — until one night, as he was doing the dishes, he felt his dragon blow gently on his cheek at the same time as appearing to him in mental image.

I say 'his' dragon, and I referred earlier to psychic pets — but in fact they are not pets, much less servants or possessions. I felt this strongly from the first. Nor am I their servant in any way. What we are is friends and equals. They come at my request in a spirit of graciousness, and I appreciate this. 

The names bear a certain family resemblance, with many of the same letters included: A, G, R, sometimes Z.... (And no, I am not going to make any more names public. I sense that, while the first two had no objections, the rest wish to keep that information private.)

By now, most of the time I am not much aware of these companions. It is as if they withdraw into the background unless needed, though I know they are in fact always present. Betsy and Aragon have accompanied us to all our homes — quite a few, as we have moved around a bit.

Recently a friend asked if Andrew's white dragon was still here now that Andrew has died. I was shocked to realise I had not thought to check. I wondered if perhaps he had accompanied Andrew to the spirit world, or had just quietly gone home. Neither. When I did check, I found he was still here, waiting politely for me to tell him he was free to go. I told him he had always been free to do so, and asked if he would like to go home now. He would. I said goodbye with grateful thanks, and he left.

How do I converse with them? Telepathically, sometimes using a pendulum to make certain of 'yes' or 'no' answers to specific questions.

I own books on dragon magick by various authors, all of which seem to agree that elaborate, precise rituals are necessary. I have never done that. I just give my friends a call and they turn up. Of course they are not in physical form. I guess they are in the astral. But that blowing on my friend's cheek was certainly something he felt physically! I know that fairies (nature spirits) can flit between dimensions — another topic for another time — so it seems to me that dragons have some of that ability too. Perhaps they have it 100%; perhaps that is the source of old stories about dragons on earth, and they don't choose to manifest fully into our physical dimension now. But there I'm only guessing.

It took a few years before I started wondering why they would come to me so readily and be so obliging.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Leaving it up to the Universe

... can be the way to go.

Three and a half years ago Andrew and I moved from one town to another and realised we'd need to find a new doctor. There are a number of medical centres in this town. We chose the best one for us by pendulum. Then, when we tried to use the same method to find the best of the doctors listed at that practice, we got that they were all equally good. So we decided to let the Universe choose. Next time we needed to consult a doctor, we just fronted up and took who we were given, trusting that it'd be the right one.

We got Dr S, a young man who'd only just started at the practice — so of course was not on the list we'd been investigating. He was great. So much so that a couple of years later he had become very hard to get to see! However he was always our main doctor, and he looked after us very well. In my experience he was the only doctor Andrew ever completely trusted. Andrew had a deep suspicion of the medical profession, and sooner or later would say, 'I dont think he knows what he's doing' — about every doctor except this one. I'm glad he remained our doctor to the end of Andrew's life.

It was a blow when he recently announced he was leaving the practice and going into hospital emergency work in order to spend more time with his young family. General Practitioners work very long hours! I couldn't blame him, but who would I go to now? There was the doctor we used to use as second favourite; very kind, very efficient, but rather conservative. There was the new young woman I saw once when she was the only one available. Nice, but nothing special. I couldn't get excited about any of the prospects.

Dr S had been in another profession before deciding to become a doctor. I dont know if it was those years out in the world that made him more human and less arrogant, but he was down-to earth, open-minded, approachable, and clearly regarded his patients as being on an equal footing with him.  He really listened. You felt you were having a discussion with him about your symptoms and your care, not merely submitting to grand pronouncements being made. The first time we met him, I said, 'We're a bit New Agey' and he didn't turn a hair. It transpired that he wasn't sure about chiropractic, for one thing, but was open-minded enough to revise his opinions in the light of facts I gave him about our treatments. ('Who can I start training now?' I nearly said jokingly with my goodbye.)

Today I needed to visit a doctor, and again decided to leave it up to the Universe as to who I'd get. Now I feel a bit like I did years ago, when a landlord wanted his house back and we were devastated because we'd loved the place — but almost immediately found a new home so spectacular that we forgot all about the one we were leaving.

Today I was given an appointment with an open-faced young Irish charmer who'd just joined the practice, a perfect delight to meet. He shook my hand, listened attentively, was both direct and considerate, and made me feel that we were having a discussion as equals. Oh yes, a very promising replacement for Dr S. We didn't get into any talk of complementary therapies etc., but he's Celtic, which is a hopeful sign, and he's young enough to train, lol.

Afterwards he shook my hand again and told me he'd be very happy to look after me in future, if I wished. I beamed back at him and assured him I'd be very happy to have him look after me.

Note: Leaving things up to the Universe only works if you really do trust the Universe to look after you. Once you decide to hand something over, you just don't worry about it any more, and don't try to tweak it or influence it. It's a case of, 'Don't push the river, it flows by itself', or, 'Let go and let God.'  It's worked for me so often by now that I have no problem feeling confident and just trusting — which doesn't stop the joy when yet again things work out for the best.  What I have learnt is that the Universe comes up with better solutions that I could.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Initiating a New Reiki Master

I wish I could have taken a photo of her face as she sat, eyes closed, basking in the energy, immediately after her initiation. It was so beautiful: soft and flower-like. I've never seen her look so beautiful before. I don't know that anyone ever will again, not quite in that way. I am the only person privileged to see that look on her face.

'How beautiful!' she murmured as she opened her eyes. It wasn't herself she was speaking of; it was her experience of the initiation. 

It is indeed the greatest privilege to do this work.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I Must Have Been Quiet Enough to Hear Him

Had a bit of a weepy time today — though sort of in a good way, realising how much he taught me.
At the computer tonight, pausing to ponder something, my mind quiet and open, I heard, as from a long way off, him calling my name, 'Rosemary', as if to get my attention. When I listened, he called again: 'I love you.'

It was always his way of reassuring me, his ultimate, when-the-chips-are-down message, and he always meant it.

I took a moment to digest it, then I said out loud, 'I love you too.'

Friday, July 12, 2013

Reiki Master Training: Finding the Right Teacher

Bill and I both loved learning Reiki I and booked in at once to do Reiki II on Beth's return to Australia six months later, in December 1988. This was a smaller group; only about a dozen of our original Reiki I class had chosen to continue so soon.  Some probably never would. Most people who learn Reiki are not thinking of setting up as practitioners; they're simply seeking to help themselves and their families, pets and friends. The basic hands-on technique is adequate in most circumstances. 

We weren't thinking of becoming professional practitioners either, but we were captivated by the idea of distant healing, and we had fallen in love with the Reiki energy. We weren't the only ones. One of the assistants at our Level II class was one of our classmates from Level I. 

'I couldn't wait,' she told us with a big grin. 'I went to Beth in America and did it there.' She looked as if she was about to start dancing with delight. 'You'll love it. It's magic — real, fair dinkum magic.' 

We thought so too by the time we finished the two-day class and learned all the amazing things we could do with the energy. As well as being able to bring about verifiable healings for people at a distance, we could gain deeper insights into what ailed them, enabling them to change any thinking or behaviour that contributed to their illness. 

I was so enraptured that I decided to become a Reiki Master myself, to share this wonderful gift with as many people as possible. Beth presented each of us with a certificate and a long-stemmed red rose. I told her my decision. 

'Oh good,' she said. 'I'll see you at all my seminars, working your little butt off.'

'If that's what it takes,' I said.

'That's what it takes,' she said with a grin.

She was the picture of warm encouragement, yet in that moment I knew she had no intention of ever training me as a Reiki Master. I didn't realise then that I was psychic, so I tried to dismiss this knowing, but I was certain of it despite having no rational reason. A short time later, Beth announced her retirement. We would not be seeing each other at all her seminars; there wouldn't be any more. Well, at least her undeclared refusal to train me wasn't personal.

She had trained three Australian Reiki Masters by then, one of whom was Denise Crundall in Melbourne. I asked Denise if I could assist on her seminars with a view to Master training when I'd served my apprenticeship. To qualify for Master training, you had to have been doing Reiki for five years and be seen as a person of the highest integrity. After two years of further training, you had to demonstrate that you not only knew your stuff but could teach it. Denise welcomed me, and I did assist on a couple of her seminars. I respected her greatly and learned valuable things from her, but I knew she would not train me to Mastery either — not that she lacked the intention like Beth; simply that it wouldn't happen that way.

At this point I heard on the grapevine that Ann Adcock had become a Reiki Master. To everyone's surprise, it wasn't with Beth but someone in Adelaide whom at that time we had not heard of — though we later came to know her and greatly respect her —Trisha Ellis.

Ann had been Beth's chief assistant in the State of Victoria, and the organiser of all her seminars there. Bill and I had got quite pally with her, but this was news to us.

Soon afterwards Ann phoned and said, 'Guess what?'

'Ha ha, I know,' I said. We arranged for her to visit us at Three Bridges and tell us all about it.

She told us that she and Trisha Ellis had been best friends for decades, since Trish had been Matron of Sandringham Hospital in Melbourne. After moving to Adelaide, Trish became the coordinator for Beth's South Australian Reiki seminars. She and Ann had a standing joke that whoever attained Mastery first would give it to the other. Both expected to train with Beth.

Trish was also a crystal healer. She was doing a lecture tour of the United States in that capacity when she met a woman who was a Reiki Master, who immediately assumed that Trish was too. When she learned otherwise, she said, 

'I'd be very happy to initiate you'. 

But Trish needed to continue her tour, and declined. On her travels she met up with a young Reiki Master she knew, Rev. Glen Dunning, who took one look at her and said, 

'Trish, when are you going to take Mastery?'

Obviously the Master energy was already shining out of her, which is the way it happens when one is ready for initiation. And so she received Mastery from Glen. He already knew that she had been working with Reiki for eight years, was well able to teach, and her integrity was beyond doubt. 

When she got home, she phoned Ann. Trish, in turn, knew that Ann had also worked with Reiki eight years and was well qualified for Mastery, so, according to their old, half-joking agreement, she offered it to her. Ann went to Trisha's home in the Adelaide hills for the final training and initiation. 

Naturally I thought Ann might be the Master to train me. Meanwhile Ann looked at our Three Bridges property with its beautiful gardens and huge lounge room built for big parties, and thought of running seminars there. A few days later she phoned. 

'Rosemary, I keep seeing your energy. It's as if I can't turn around without falling over you. What is it you want to say to me?' I'd been in a fever with it, so I took a deep breath and told her I was hoping she'd accept me into Master training. She said,

'When I received Mastery, I thought, "There'll be people who will want it from me," and I decided there were three I'd be very happy to train — Sue, Tony and you.' She added that she felt I wasn't quite ready, and would talk to me more in about nine months. That was the same timing I'd been getting!

As it happened, her friend Sue never did train. Tony van Lambaart was the first Master to train with Ann; I was the second. She held a number of classes at Three Bridges, with some students coming from Melbourne and staying overnight, as we had room to accommodate them. I assisted on Ann's seminars there and in Melbourne, even before I entered formal training. That began late in 1991. Ann waived the five year requirement as she knew of other healing and teaching I'd been engaged in, and let me start only four years after I learned Reiki I.

I immediately went straight into ego, becoming self-conscious and inept. For a while I must have been her clumsiest student ever. If people were sitting in meditation prior to fine tuning, my chair would squeak. If there was so much as a tissue on the floor, I'd trip over it. But gradually I got a grip and realised it wasn't about me but being of service to the students.

The training also involved private sessions with Ann, helping me clear anything that might hinder my progress, and giving me exercises to develop my non-physical abilities. To reach a point where I could transmit Reiki for life to students during the fine turnings, my energy had to be raised considerably. 

Eventually she initiated me — a profound and beautiful experience taking place over three days. But that did not complete my training; it enabled me to begin fine-tuning people under her close supervision.

I've already recounted how Master training cost me my marriage to Bill — which, obviously, was already very shaky for that to have happened. Also, some little time later, a cousin invested some money for me and managed to lose it, so I was left destitute and went on the dole.

It was a surprise to me, in March 1992, when, after a special gathering of Reiki people, Ann presented me with my Master certificate in completion of my training. She gave a speech in which she praised the way I remained focused on service through Reiki even in the face of such catastrophic events in my personal life. 

Later she told me that, all through that two-day gathering, people were nudging each other and whispering, 

'Look at Rosemary. She's radiant!' 

I was unaware of that, fully immersed in looking after people and facilitating the purpose of the gathering, but apparently I was the only one oblivious. 

'It was the Master energy shining from you,' said Ann. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Magician

In 1981 I ran poetry workshops in Pentridge Prison, Melbourne, on behalf of the Poets Union, at the request of prisoner poets. We put together an anthology, with editorial decisions shared among all participants. One prisoner in the workshop was transferred to Geelong Prison. This was before emails; the only way I could get his input without delay was to go and see him. There were poetry workshops in Geelong Prison too. I contacted the guy running them and got permission from him and the Prison to attend one.

Afterwards I had time to spare before my train back to Melbourne. I went into a café near the station and there, sitting at a table, was an old neighbour I hadn't seen for nine years. Reg and his wife had lived a few doors down from Bill and me when we all had young children. Norma and I used to babysit for each other, and we used to attend each other's barbecues and parties. Then we all moved and lost touch.

Still shaking off the prison atmosphere, I hesitated, then went over and said hello. He invited me to sit down. He was there a few days for work, but it turned out he now lived quite close to Bill and me again. He and Norma had divorced and she'd remarried. 

The business he'd had went broke. His partner, in charge of the finances, had been raking off investors' money. He eventually absconded, leaving Reg to face fraud charges. No-one believed he hadn't been in on it, though he was fighting poverty by then. He defended himself because he couldn't afford a lawyer, and succeeded in getting all but one charge dropped. For that one, he did 15 months in gaol. He was determined to clear his name of that too, but meanwhile he needed to try and earn a living. It was hard to get work at his age, after a gap that was difficult to explain. He finally landed a sales rep job. Norma stuck by him while he was inside, but the stress contributed to the breakdown of their marriage soon after he got out.

He confided that his life had undergone huge changes since then. He'd been studying Hermetic magic in some books he'd come across, and began practising it in a big way. He told me that as a child he'd been clairvoyant, but later put it aside to concentrate on things like work and family — and also because people either ridiculed it or got scared of it. I was fascinated of course. (At that time my own psychic abilities were still suppressed, for similar reasons.) I told him what I was doing in Geelong, and asked if he'd picked up anything about that. He said, 'I could tell that you'd come from somewhere very sad.' 

Apart from mentioning the encounter to Bill that night as a matter of interest, I thought no more about it. Then he dropped in at our place one day when, he said, he was passing, and we made him a cuppa and had a bit of a catch up.

He was unemployed. The sales rep job hadn't worked out. For the next few years he kept landing similar jobs and losing them again. In his sixties by then, he was dyeing his hair and lying about his age. 

He took to dropping round a lot. He was lonely. If Bill was home, they talked about blokey stuff. That was before Bill's great awakening; he was still sceptical about anything extrasensory. But if it was just me, Reg spoke freely about his occult interests. We had long conversations over coffee at my kitchen table. He taught me a lot about metaphysical matters. It just seemed that we were yarning. It was only later that I realised what an education he gave me.

Then I began having strange experiences — dreams which seemed significant, unexplained sounds and smells, and a spooky sense of unseen people being present. It started happening quite suddenly, and a lot. And I had a clairvoyant visiting me! One day, unable to keep it to myself any longer, I blurted out, 'Reg, who came to see me last night?' 

He reached across the table and said, 'Give us your hand.' He closed his eyes and started telling me what he was getting, until I realised he was describing my dear Nana, who died when I was four. 'What does she want?' I asked. He shut his eyes again with a questioning look on his face, then said, 'Just saying hello.'

Over the next weeks he was able to identify other nightly visitors as people in my life who had died; my stepfather, for instance. He had no way of knowing anything about these people, but described them so accurately that I had no trouble recognising them — even demonstrating my stepfather's funny walk.  

I didn't understand why I was getting all these visitations from dead people, but Reg said that when he dropped in the first time, his guides had told him to come and see me. He thought the Powers That Be must want me to become aware of other realities for some reason, but he didn't know what the reason could be. Then one of the poets in prison, whom I'd grown very close to, committed suicide. I thought the guys I met were so nice, they couldn't have done anything serious. But he was serving a long sentence and he'd just been told it would not be reduced. He was 24.

I was only his tutor. I found out, like most people, by opening the newspaper one Saturday morning as I sat down with my coffee. Not only grief but shock. But by then I had plenty of indication that the soul does live on after death. I simply couldn't doubt it. Now all the stuff that had been happening made sense. The tragic waste of a life would have been even more devastating if I'd believed there was only this life. I felt the Universe was looking after me by giving me so much evidence otherwise, protecting me from complete despair. It was then that I acquired the concept of a benevolent Universe that would always take care of me.

As for magic, I once witnessed Reg call down fire by an effort of will. There was a document I wanted to burn, but it was on thick card and wouldn't catch alight. Reg took it from me, held it over the sink, and exerted visible effort. His face screwed up and his shoulder muscles tightened. Suddenly the thing burst into flame, he dropped it into the sink and it burned fast. I was standing right next to him; there was no trickery. 

He tried to help us through some financial difficulties. 'Get Bill to take out a Tattslotto ticket with these numbers,' he  said. But Bill, sceptical, and agreeing only to humour me, got sidetracked and didn't put the ticket on. When the winning numbers were announced, he was so cross with himself that he swore and kicked his desk, which was the nearest object. Reg was disgusted. 'Do you know what it takes for the Guys Upstairs to orchestrate something like that?' he asked me. He never repeated the attempt.

He predicted that Azaria Chamberlain's matinee jacket would be found and her parents cleared of murder, years before it happened. And he told me I would study some kind of Oriental discipline that would change my life. He couldn't quite get the name of it, but said he could see the letters e and i, and another that might be h or k. I know now: Reiki. And he saw me moving to a tropical climate: lots of palm trees. I’ve been in the sub-tropics two decades now, and every house I’ve lived in here has had palms. Reg didn't live long enough to see any of these predictions come true.

He used to put his hands on our old dog, claiming that she wasn't well and he was healing her. We didn't see any symptoms, but I now believe he prolonged her life many months. It was only after he died that she succumbed to a blood disease which the vet said she'd apparently had a long time, which usually proved fatal in a much shorter period.  

Reg died of cancer in 1984. He was ready to go. Despite the magic, his last years were sad, with the loss of family life, working life and much of his self-respect. He never fulfilled his ambition to clear his name of the charge on which he was convicted. 

When I do psychic readings, it feels natural to hold the client's hand and shut my eyes, as Reg did. And it was he who communicated with Bill after death, somehow causing Bill to become a psychic and a healer overnight, as if passing on his own gifts as a goodbye present.

I write about him elsewhere as 'Ridge', the magical name he gave himself for that aspect of his life.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Learning Reiki I

Note: Reiki I is the first level of Reiki training, the basic method of hands-on healing.

In 1984 I had a reading from a famous clairvoyant called Mario Schoenmaker. Mario believed in reincarnation. He described a scenario in which, in my last life, I tried to help some dying people. 

'So in this life,' he added, almost casually, 'If you wanted to, you could heal with your hands,'

That wasn't a thing I had any idea of taking up. I already had my vocation: I was a poet.

Some years later, in a personal development course, I got chatting to the woman sitting next to me.

'You seem a bit tense,' she said. 'I think I can help you. I'm a massage therapist. Let me give you my card.'

It seemed like a great idea, and I became a customer. I didn't make regular appointments, just rang her up whenever I felt especially tense, weeks or sometimes months apart. I'd never had a massage before. I found it blissful, and very relaxing. I was a busy mother of young children, and working part-time. It was about the only 'me time' I had. I usually dozed off.

One day she said, 

'I've just learned this new thing called Reiki. It's not a vigorous massage. It's more like a gentle laying on of hands. Do you mind if I try it on you?' As far as I was concerned, she could try anything on me. She was good!

I blissed out as usual and didn't really notice what technique she was using. It felt great; that's all that registered. 

Some months later she said,

'I've just learnt Reiki II, the advanced course. Is it OK if I try that on you?'

'Sure,' I said, and once again registered little of the actual treatment, only how wonderful I felt afterwards. It had such an effect that I never again felt so tense that I needed to consult her. However, because I wasn't going on a regular basis, I didn't notice that until much later. Anyway, that's how I came to believe that Reiki was a type of massage. I now know it works very well in conjunction with massage and many other therapies, so practitioners of various kinds add it to their qualifications. 

Abalone diving is a young man's game. Bill retired and we moved to the country east of Melbourne, to a tiny place called Three Bridges, near Yarra Junction and Warburton. That was where we were living when I saw Beth Gray's Reiki seminars advertised. I got a huge, irrational hit: 'That's for you!' It was easy to then rationalise it: it was just after I started wishing for something Bill and I could both learn to help him with his spiritual healing gifts. 

Bill wasn't hard to persuade. I think he must have been tired of feeling drained after doing healings, and the thought of me being able to give him a nice massage afterwards was enticing. Also he had recently managed to put my back out while attempting to relieve an ache. A friend who did massage had to make an urgent visit to put it right. The idea of getting some actual training must have started to seem good too. 

The time and money for us to do the course became available with almost miraculous ease. 'It's as if the Universe opened up for us,' I said.

Beth Gray was an American Reiki Master who visited Australia twice a year to teach in all the capital cities and some large country centres. (There were no Australian Reiki Masters then, though Beth was in the process of training some.) Our course was in Melbourne, over a weekend. There was a free introductory session on the Friday night, for people to find out about Reiki and see if they wanted to do it. We didn't see why we needed to drive all the way from Three Bridges for that. We were already enrolled in the course, and we knew what Reiki was - a form of massage, right? 

So we turned up on the Saturday morning, and found ourselves in a room of about 60 students and maybe 10 assistants. Beth was short, vibrant and glamorous, with beautifully coiffed grey hair, a stylish suit and scarf, high heels, bright lipstick, and long red nails. I found out later she was nearly 70. She looked 50. 

She asked a few of us to share why we wanted to learn Reiki, and then asked some of the assistants to tell us what Reiki had done for them. We heard of healings that sounded like miracles. Then she led us in a meditation. That was cool; Bill and I had done meditation before. We still didn't really understand what we were getting into.

Then we had to stay in our quiet, meditative state while the assistants ushered us, 10 at a time, to a small room to receive what Beth called a 'fine tuning'. Each group would be gone a little while, then they'd come back into the main room. Meanwhile the assistants rearranged their empty seats to form long rows, one chair behind another, where people were directed to sit when they returned.

As instructed, I was still in a meditative state as I lined up outside the little room for the fine tuning. When we went in, we sat on chairs side by side in front of Beth. She instructed us to keep our eyes closed until told to open them. She said we would feel her doing things to our heads and our hands, but on no account to open our eyes. The procedure, she told us, was sacred and secret.

She wore a little bracelet of bells which tinkled softly as she moved. She told us later that she got it in the Philippines where, before she knew about Reiki, she trained with the spiritual healers. She said she wore it as a reminder to stay humble, knowing that she was not really the healer but merely a channel, a pipeline for the healing energy. It was nice to hear the little bells as Beth moved along the line. There was something sweet and reassuring in the sound. I'm sure all Reiki Masters who ever had a fine tuning from Beth dreamed of one day wearing just such a bracelet when working with their own students. I for one never found my bracelet.

At one point, I felt her stop in front of me, then she took my hands in hers. I was so startled that my eyes flew open involuntarily, and I found myself staring into the face, not of Beth but her chief assistant, Denise Crundall, whom she was training as a Reiki Master. Denise and I stared at each other wordlessly a moment, then I recollected myself and shut my eyes again. 

When we went back into the main room and sat one behind the other, we were shown how to put our hands on the shoulders of the person in front of us. We must leave them in place, we were told. If it became uncomfortable because our muscles weren't used to the position, we must 'push through' the discomfort.

Then I got the shock of my life, in more ways than one. My hands suddenly felt as though little electric currents were running through them. 'Oh,' I thought, 'This is something other than massage.' Later I came to know this phenomenon as the hands 'switching on'. Reiki is activated by touch I guess if we'd attended the Friday night talk that would have been made clear. I expect it would have been explained as scientifically as possible. But ever since that startling experience, I have privately felt that Reiki is magic.

After a while I noticed that Bill's hands on my shoulders felt warm and soothing. When everyone was back in the room, sitting in their 'Reiki trains', as these lines of people with hands on shoulders were called, Beth started going up and down the lines, feeling everyone's hands and asking us all the same two questions: 'How do your hands feel?' and, 'How do the hands on your shoulders feel?' We learned that different people perceive the energy in different ways. It has something to do with one's own individual energy, and something to do with how much need of healing there is in the body under the hands.

Over the weekend we received three more fine turnings. Beth explained that the energy is passed on in 25% increments because 100% all at once would be too much to cope with. We got lots of practice working on each other on Reiki tables (which are similar to massage tables) and experiencing at first hand our aches, pains, tiredness etc. leaving us. An even greater thrill was being able to do that for others, as they reported in wonderment.

After presenting our certificates, Beth told us she would be back in six months to teach Reiki II, the technique for healing 'in absence'. With that, we'd be able to give Reiki to anyone in the world, without having to be with them in person. More magic! I could hardly wait.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Calling it Quits

When I look back, I see many reasons why Bill and I didn't stay together. Basically we grew apart. We'd been doing that for some time before we noticed. When the boys turned into young men and stopped living with us, it became apparent that parenting was the biggest thing we had in common. Without that, there wasn't much else. 

'What do you want from life?' I asked him, hoping to find some mutual aim and recover our sense of partnership. 'What are your goals and visions?' He answered, but I didn't hear him. 'I'd like to travel around Australia,' he said. Well, we'd already been to Sydney, Adelaide, Townsville, Darwin, Ayers Rock, Kakadu and Broome. Besides, to me a vision was big, like saving the world; a goal meant being a famous writer at least. After we parted, he visited Perth and Brisbane and explored more of coastal Victoria.  He was telling me loud and clear what he wanted all the time; I just wasn't capable of hearing it.

And I broke some unwritten contracts, although I didn't realise that until later. He was supposed to be the writer, and later the psychic and the healer. It was I who went on to careers in all three. 

When we met, he was writing a novel. He didn't know I was a writer too. He knew I was a librarian, and that I'd majored in English Literature at University. He told me with naive enthusiasm that he was drawn to me because I must be good at English. An odd basis for attraction, I think now, but I didn't question it at the time. 

Bill was 15 when his family migrated from Holland. His older brother John had learned English at school; his little brother Robert was young enough to pick it up easily here.  Bill missed out both ways. Maths was the only lesson he could understand at his Australian school. He taught himself English by attending movie matinees and watching the same cowboy film over and over. Surprisingly, he fell in love with the language. By the time I met him, his reading was quite sophisticated. His writing, though, had problems. The first letter I ever got from him was a huge disappointment. I couldn't read it! Finally I figured out that he was spelling everything the way it would have been spelt in Dutch if it had sounded the same. Once I had that clue, I managed to decipher it, but it took a long time for only two pages. I could see that he did need help.

He loved English because of its nuances, its subtleties, its fine shades of meaning, the fact that so many different words could be used for one thing. In Dutch, he told me, language is blunt and simple — one word, one meaning. Bill's father loathed English for exactly the same reason. 'You know where you are with Dutch,' he said.

Bill's written English improved considerably, but he put the novel aside for the responsibilities of providing for his family. If he'd stayed a carpenter, perhaps he would have written in the evenings; but abalone diving is one of the most physically demanding jobs there is. He rose early and went to bed early, and there was no guarantee of a weekend off. If the weather was right, you dived. You might not get another chance for a while. His father was a builder. When it wasn't diving weather, Bill worked for him. It kept us fed but didn't leave much time for writing. Luckily, abalone diving became his even greater passion. He loved the life. His story-telling impulse was satisfied by becoming a raconteur, telling wonderful tales of his experiences under water, which he never wrote down.

I was a poet, a very different matter. It takes a lot less time to write a poem than a novel. When I'm asked how long it takes me to write a poem, I usually say, 'Anything between five minutes and 20 years'. That's more or less true, but at least the first draft can be done quickly. But I was just a private scribbler. It was only when I was 32 that I asked myself, 'OK, you've got a good husband, lovely kids, a nice house, all the things you're supposed to want. Why are you still discontented? What do you really want to do with your life?' 

A light bulb lit up in my head and I knew the answer. It had always been there. I wanted to be a poet. I'd always wanted that. I just hadn't believed it possible. 

When I was little, my parents read me poems for bedtime stories, and bought me books like Now We Are Six and A Child's Garden of Verses. I started writing poems when I was seven. My parents were proud of me, but when people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I said, 'A poet,' they explained as kindly as possible that it wasn't a thing you could 'be' in that kind of way. It would have to be a hobby.

I won some school writing prizes, and in my teens became brave enough to submit to Meanjin, the foremost literary magazine in the country (and the only one I knew about). My work was promptly rejected. I pulled my head back in and resumed scribbling so privately that few people knew. 

Now, at 32, I told myself, 'OK. Time to have a go for real.' Bill was appalled. 

'I've got friends who are artists and musicians,' he said. 'Any art form consumes you. It's a tunnel that'll swallow you up.' 

I argued vociferously. I wouldn't let it do that to me; I'd still look after the family. I wore him down until, grudgingly, he gave permission. (Obviously I had little understanding of feminism back then.)

Doing it 'for real' required much more crafting. Near enough wasn't good enough any more. But it seemed I'd learnt some things in those years of scribbling. I was published quite soon, joined the Poets Union, embraced performance poetry, and made a name. I even got to teach the poetry part of Professional Writing courses at various colleges, on the strength of that name plus my BA.

Bill didn't pick up a pen for another 12 years, until he retired and we moved to the country. I was amazed that his gift was still there, but he seemed to have lost heart. He wrote some good short stories but didn't do much with them.

By that time he'd become psychic overnight, lost it and partly regained it. [As recounted in my previous post.] Meanwhile some friends got me interested in Tarot. I started playing with it just for my own amusement.

At the same time as becoming psychic, in the same lightning-strike way, Bill developed healing gifts — part of the same package. He would get an inner knowing where to put his hands on someone and how to massage them to relieve pain and other symptoms. If he did this too often in a short time, he became drained of energy.  

'Who heals the healer?' I wondered. 

Also I was worried about the legalities. He was working on people without any qualifications. When I saw a Reiki course advertised, I persuaded him we should both do it. I'd experienced Reiki. I didn't know much about it but I thought it was a superior kind of massage. I thought he could get some qualifications to put to his natural gift, and that when he got drained I'd be able to look after him. 

But Reiki isn't like that. It's not massage but energy healing. You tap into the universal energy instead of using your own, so you never get drained. It's activated automatically by touch. 

I had no idea of being a healer myself, except to help him, which now he didn't need. But it was I who fell in love with Reiki and, in a major life change, decided to train as a Master (a teacher). As a start, I began seeing clients professionally. I also decided to advertise Tarot readings. To my surprise I got plenty of clients for both services.

Bill declared, 'I support you 100% in your ambition to become a Reiki Master!'  A few months later he thought the training took too much time and money. 'Unless you give it up,' he said, 'Our marriage is over.' I was rocked. But I was due to go to Sydney, to a conference of trainee Reiki Masters with the world Grand Master on her first visit to Australia. 

'Go,' said the Reiki Master who was training me, 'And then make up your mind.'

I walked into the conference, and into peace and acceptance. There was a large room full of people sitting on cushions on the floor. It was also full of the Reiki energy they all carried. I looked around. There were my brothers and my sisters; I was home. The decision was made. After a profound and beautiful three days, I went back and told Bill the marriage was over.

It was his turn to look shocked. I think I must have called his bluff, and then he didn't know how to back down. But I hadn't realised that he was bluffing. And by then it was too late.