Honoring the Numinous in Everyday Living
Based on an unusual and compelling dream, I recently performed a ritual wherein I declared into the ether that I want my intuitive skills to fully integrate and be expressed within my very rationally-anchored life as a businesswoman. Toward that aim, a small action I took was to begin memorizing poems that have heart for me. Two months ago I began doing this on my twice-daily walks with my dog. Immediately, I noticed two things: 1) poems that wanted to be memorized seemed to pick me. That is, I…Read more…
I was lying in a hospital bed awaiting my cancer diagnosis. I was told it could be anything from "Get your affairs in order." to "We can handle this." I remember the room going totally black in the mid-afternoon. I could see literally nothing. I even remember thinking that this was the utter darkness of existential angst about which the philosophers write. But it was not this, for I felt no fear at all and wondered what the feeling was. I immediately was answered with an image. The darkness was the darkness caused when you close your eyes while leaning into the hugging arms of one you love. I knew that no matter what the diagnosis, I was going to be fine.
Perhaps one day you'll be comfortable sharing some of the details of the experience you mention--I suspect that it would edify all of us.
The interesting part for me is that it has motivated me as part of my eventual career path to make myself available to others who have a similar experience and to help them hold the experience and contain it and make sense of it.
Thank you for starting this group, and I hope you stay with it. People may be hesitant at first, but I think its greatly needed and very powerful.
I was 19 years old, it was 4 o’clock on a Friday afternoon, and the radio DJ said it was 106 degrees when my roommate Margaret and I began the hour drive up the mountain. Summer classes at Fresno State were over for the week, and we wanted to plant our feet in the icy-cold Kings River. We were in Margaret’s green Datsun 2-door, with no air conditioning; but all the windows were open, and our hair swirled in the hot wind. We felt more and more relaxed as we ascended the mountain highway, the temperature dropping slowly with every mile. When we arrived at the turn-off for the river the sun was still high, but it was a balmy 85 degrees. No one was in the gravel parking area, and the only sounds were of the fast-moving river. We sat at the water’s edge and talked about our classes, upcoming finals, and boys.
Without warning, a beat-up Chevy truck careened down the access road and skidded to a halt next to the Datsun. Seven or eight field hands piled noisily out of the truck and sprawled all around Margaret and me on the riverbank. They were sweaty from hard work and drunk from too much beer. The men brought with them a large, thick snake, about 4 feet long and as big around as a drinking glass. They laughed as they tormented the snake by tossing him overhead to one another, or pretending to let him go only to step on him and grab him back up as he struggled to escape. I tried to maintain a pleasant but cool demeanor with the men, as if we were all just here to enjoy the river. But inwardly I knew that Margaret and I were in serious trouble. The men’s actions were becoming more exaggerated and suggestive, and their raucous laughter had taken on a menacing tone. As they continued jabbing the snake in our faces, I noticed that Margaret had withdrawn in an odd way, hugging her knees and gently rocking back and forth, eyes staring vacantly ahead.
What happened next was completely unplanned by me: I slowly straightened my back and very deliberately took the snake from the leader’s hands; I draped it carefully around my shoulders, holding it firmly behind the head with one hand and at the tail with the other. A hush fell over the gathering, and I found myself looking calmly from face to face, the snake adorning me like a robe, meeting each man’s eyes for a few seconds. As if breaking a spell, the leader grabbed the snake from me and in one swift movement wrung its neck and threw it, dead, on the ground. “Come on, let’s go!” he barked. As quickly as they had come upon us, the men piled into the truck and fishtailed up the access road to the pavement and out of sight.
I literally dragged Margaret to the car, put her into the passenger’s seat, started the car, locked the doors, and headed down the mountain, popping the clutch all the way, as I had never driven a standard transmission.
I think this was a supernatural experience. I still remember it with crystal clarity. It was as if snake came to me (and through me) with quiet authority in 1972. I didn’t go looking for trouble, and I did not fold before confrontation. Using my split tongue, I discerned the truth of the situation and, perhaps, even the body temperatures of all those present. Though a relatively normal youth only minutes before the men arrived, my most primitive wisdom became immediately and acutely engaged and all my senses came silently alive. I would bet that I also slowed my breathing that day to conserve my energy for all potential outcomes.