The Turning Point of History
This described has taken place; truth recounted; sooth instate:
"Thursday eve I linked with time: bound, sequential, routed, signed. When I caught the loop, impart did I and with this end: The start".
It was my second year at university at the start of the summer term, a night in May or June. I had a nice Thursday evening out with friends, most of which was spent in a student faculty building listening to a band called The Egg. I was with a clever person called James (what is in a name?) and we experienced the music in the best possible way, which was psychedelically transcendental. This involved one of us empathetically playing the guitar (him) while the other was drumming (me).
My boyfriend and our male friends had, at a comparable point in the evening, embarked upon what I later found out to be THE most debauched party imaginable then, courtesy of a fairly well known homosexual history tutor from a neighbouring college. “Bloody hell and buggery” was the first definition to arise when I was given the low-down (see below), and it was related that the host regularly dosed his guests with LSD in order to ensure that his annual party was a weird and lively, corrupt sort of affair; worthy of recollection.
My own very enjoyable evening of musical appreciation was drawn to a close before midnight, whereupon I returned to my room at college. I’d not been back long before I was surprised by a late visit from another of the very bright and interesting fellows, this one called Benedict, who had been looking for the men but by a curious twist of fate found me instead.
As it happened, the meeting was serendipitous and Benedict’s company was something of a blessing. He was very entertaining and witty conversation flowed freely. Matters were helped along considerably by a marvelous joint that he had rolled shortly after settling in my room. In keeping with the spirit of peace we listened to almost the entire collection of Bob Marley’s greatest hits.
Benedict was really rather charming and well-mannered, even though he was at the often difficult age of late adolescence. He was also exceedingly clever and I enjoyed his visit a lot; we related well and everything seemed to make perfect sense.
It seemed to me that a very distinct situation was impending. I had an inkling of what this situation might have been because by this time I was already two weeks or so into the most bizarre sequence of events imaginable. In fact, they were not even imaginable, but more of that later.
Suffice it to say that Benedict left my room shortly after the joint had been smoked and Bob Marley had retired. He had been with me for about an hour, during which time he had succeeded in making me supremely high. His was quite possibly the best joint I’ve ever smoked, even though I currently have a Dutch boyfriend who rolls for the Netherlands.
The immediate possibility of coming down from the Benedictine high was out of the question and I did not in fact bother to even contemplate such a thing. Instead, I submitted myself to the force of the higher power had engulfed me for the past few weeks. (More of this later). In other words, I proceeded logically and without any waste of ‘time’. (‘time’ is bound in order to be seen as captive rather than captivating). The pure state of mind was unrestricted by needless and debilitating emotion.
In my state of heightened reason it seemed entirely appropriate that I should start to spin; to spin outwards with my supernatural energy.
Normally I can’t bear going round in circles at high speed and will avoid doing so at all costs. It makes me sick and I hate it. At this time, however, I might almost have been dancing the lead role in Sleeping Beauty, so perfectly did I pirouette.
Shortly after Benedict’s departure, therefore, I stood in the centre of the room and started to turn around, faster and faster in a clockwise direction, building up enough momentum to perform a complete revolution so that the whole floor would go round. The spirals spread outwards until I was going so quickly that the centrifugal force caused the world to spin around myself. I span around for (I think) about 2 minutes and, when I felt aligned with a certain mysterious point, stopped dead without falling or feeling dizzy.
Now, Not only was this physically an incredibly impressive feat for a very stoned person, it was also a real mission for me which was mirrored on other (possibly less dramatic) occasions afterwards: I turned the world. I knew this then without question but would rather not explain how I did such a thing. I could answer the question but my brain would probably hurt for a week afterwards if I were to do so, and in any case, the turning of the world is a factual occurrence and no amount of explanation will ever change the fact that it happened, then, as it does now. These days I tend not to perform such energetic exercises (momentum having built up satisfactorily) although I do go around in circles on a regular basis.
With the roll steady I faced the window, through which the moon and/or Venus could be seen shining on clear nights. I remember seeing them both. Standing between them I stood stock still. Apart from my right arm, that is, which was busy from the elbow out, apparently winding something up that was seriously heavy. (Perhaps the actual universal time piece I suddenly thought, just today in fact). It occurred to me in passing that I was evidently very strong. The movement had been clockwise.
I thought then (wrongly perhaps but I still thought it), that the world turned in 3 ways simultaneously, so in an (erroneous?) attempt to get the third way right I turned in the opposite direction and started to make a slow elliptical movement with my hips, in a position facing the guitar case, belonging to my boyfriend, that was propped up against the wall. For some reason this provoked an undeniable sense of danger which I at first tried in vain to place but, after a few seconds, I was disturbed to realize that I had been unconsciously yet meditatively staring into the small silver clasps at the bottom of the case. These threw off a distinct enough reflection of myself to warrant a hasty turnaround.
Reliving this experience, however, I recall the conjecture of a trusted companion, which was that the orbital moon was once a part of the Earth, so perhaps this had a bearing on the overall dynamic of my action?
In any case, at this point I struck the first of two strong convictions that I happened upon that night; namely, that I must at all costs avoid the sight of my own reflection whilst in that particular (alternative) state of consciousness. The precise scientific explanation for this was (and still is) slightly obscure to me although I assumed it was because the sight of the spirit in ones own eyes would result in blindness or material captivity; I don’t actually know if this is true or not but it seems the most likely explanation to me. After a few more disturbed gyrations, my actions somehow arrested by having thought too hard, I fell light-heartedly onto the bed and closed my eyes, feeling wonderfully satisfied with my spinning achievement.
Immediately, I experienced a huge rushing feeling as if I were being bodily lifted upwards at tremendous speed. The light was just as instantly transformed and, even with my eyes still tightly closed - because I dared not open them - I was aware that it had become much brighter in the room, blindingly so, as if someone had adjusted a vast dimmer switch on the greatest light. This produced the remarkable sensation that I had been elevated and the light, which apparently began at my feet, swept rapidly over my entire body in an electrifying wave.
My heart was beating fast and I felt truly ecstatic - I did not have to work on the belief that I had been transported somewhere at speed, for each tangible quality of sensation informed me subtly of a change in dimension. There seemed to have been both a quantitative and qualitative change that could only really have been brought about through an extreme alteration of altitude. Brilliantly intense, the occurrence stimulated my senses in unprecedented style, so my whole mind was filled with awe, and my body with a sensation of pure bliss, as if all material was actually being experienced as a factor of light energy.
The first clear notion that came into my head I vocalized with words lighter than air: “I’m in heaven!” was uttered on an outgoing breath as a consequence of inspiration. It could fairly have been said that I was extraordinarily high. The only obvious mystery I was able to discern was that I had felt myself to arise drastically but the light had noticeably begun at my feet rather than my head or whole body at once (I saw this development even from behind my eyelids). I have only just considered whether I may have been immersed in a depth of light and it must surely be true that on a round planet which rotates for a living, ‘up’ and ‘down’ are paradoxically named directions.
There are people other than I who have no doubt reached a comparable state without using mind opening substances, but the events I relate, whether or not they are seen as having actually taken place (which they did), may be written off as the loopy product of a typical cannabis experience. I cannot escape this that is an unavoidably limiting factor to the possible interpretations of my account but, I should point out, that although I have been known to smoke from time to time, and to be affected strongly by deep inhalation, the level I reached on that particular occasion was completely out of the ordinary. I do not recall having EVER been just as high/low/straight since - one wonders, if I did, whether I would be able to get back down/up/across ever again. Perhaps I should add, for the sake of experimentalists, that if pot were guaranteed to produce such truly heavenly feelings, the United Kingdom would now be a more evangelical nation.
As it was, the way it happened, I felt spell-bound - engulfed by the light - and sure in the realisation that although I might (theoretically, at least) break the spell voluntarily through an act of will, to do so would be entirely without just cause and could only result in self-deprivation.
To go against the flow did not, at that time, present itself as a viable option. I had no impulse to go against the spirit of the moment. To be utterly devoid of rebellious instinct was an entirely novel feeling for me then (much as it would be now). My relentless quest for enlightenment and communion with the divine, thus fulfilled in what seemed to be a spectacularly unique and almost unexpected fashion, had subtly annihilated the perversity of my nature. Such was my sense of freedom from bodily sensation, with all that usual heaviness dissipated, that my body felt full of the light of God. So, when my right arm began to move seemingly of its own accord, I saw it objectively in my mind as if it belonged to one outside of me. I was simply aware, whether it was my own arm or that of another, that an index finger lightly traced a path along my torso from the naval to the breastbone, and truly I believed that I was touched by the hand of God, even though it must corporeally have been my own.
I was woken instantaneously from my reverie upon hearing sounds in the corridor outside my room. The girl who lived in the big room next door was arriving home much later than was usual, for her, and from the voices I could hear that she had a female friend with her.
The spell released me and in a split second I had leapt from the bed and (still abstractly unthinking) grabbed a bible from the shelf near my door. Something in me could not deny the (rather unsophisticated but nonetheless irresistible) urge to share the good news that there was in fact a real heaven in waiting, and I ‘knew’ about it ‘for sure’: Because I had just been.
At that moment this had seemed like the only possible course of action and I did not discern an alternative. Such courage had I in my conviction.
I would not necessarily have chosen to do this under more considered circumstances, but being out of my mind had enabled me to be filled with pure understanding. In this way – and this is really what it boiled down to -I avoided certain madness simply by sharing my new knowledge with the first person who came along. After all, there are people who gaze at the moon, others who know how to get high and some who shoot for the stars. There are also those who do all three and, once in a while, someone gets to heaven almost entirely by chance.
So this is how it happened that - at approximately 1.30 am on a Friday morning at the end of Spring - I decided to inform my lovely, intelligent, thoroughly devout Jewish neighbour of some fundamental New Testament facts.
I burst out of my room and greeted the two girls, who were in a good mood (then) and hospitable enough to invite me in. It was dark and they may have felt awkward but I was beside myself with the energy that had taken hold of my unusually responsive self. Every breath I took seemed to take in a personal hurricane and they sat, rooted to their seats by some emotion, which I declined to register and still do not know. The women listened in silence during what was likely to have been their introduction to the Acts of the Apostles.
Worryingly, perhaps, I was verging on being authoritative in this, my first rendering of the scripture which, apart from being a surprise to everyone, ended on an irrefutable note with the statement that “Jesus is Christ”. After this statement I closed the book decisively and beamed at my companions. I had opened the book at random and had not intended to make any point at all. It seems, however, that I had made a point. My educated friend was almost prompted to argue but she held her tongue for some reason. In this way she avoided outright denial, seeing as she could not rationally discount the possibility that I might have known the truth. It was strange, though, because in all the time I had known her, never had I seen her remain silent when she disagreed with some point relating to religions. Indeed, theology was the subject she was most passionate about and in the past I had even joined one of her weekly prayer meetings.
So you see, she certainly wasn’t unused to discussions of a spiritual nature in the way that many other young women might have been. I do wish she would have questioned me, but perhaps it was all too peculiar to even think about. Perhaps she wished to avoid a row, or maybe she was disturbed and confused by what she’d heard. Whatever the case may have been, it could safely be said that I took her entirely by surprise.
At the time I had sensed a sliver of doubt in her naturally opposed countenance and thought of what I could do to convey the message more eloquently. I am quite blunt in conversation and often end up losing debates because I’ve upset people. Rather than risk losing her completely, I decided to let something more subtle and evocative do the talking. Music.
I was seized with the sudden realisation about how best to sum up the heavenly experience and rushed back to my own room for a ghetto blaster. I wanted to help them understand and I hoped that music might serve as a vehicle for the spirit’s voice more successfully than my own was able.
No time at all later, for I moved very quickly, the music resounded as fully as could have been hoped, the electric atmosphere having provided a wonderful medium in which it could move.
As the music played I saw how she listened, her head on one side and her eyes on that far away paradise where the sun was at that moment rising in accordance with beloved rhythm.
When the song had played out I knew I should make a move and asked the time without thinking. A peculiar sequence of events then occurred. As the first girl raised her hand to look at a watch I, sat opposite, spontaneously mirrored her movement and lifted my own arm as if to cover my face, in a gesture almost of horror as if I’d been struck. I felt as though my reaction was as if to something quite harsh and it became clear to me that, in this instance at least, knowledge of conventional time was in certain ways to be strongly discouraged (the second condition). I cannot explain this:
The instant she uttered the word ‘two’ (for it was exactly 2.00am) a large company of owls swooped about the windows of her room and hooted in unison - “TWOOOOOOO!!!" . This loud and incredible call was extremely close and very startling - even quite shocking - especially given the rather hushed and peculiar circumstances. The girls both nervously murmured the word ‘two’ and declared, surprisingly, never to have heard the voice of an owl before. They were clearly discomfited and actually quite worried.
For me, it was also a surprise, but an exceptionally pleasant one: I was utterly thrilled to have the collective of night birds informing me of the time precisely when I needed to know it. In the birds’ voices I recognised another unmistakable sign of immanent divinity and their cry produced in me an ecstatic wave of inspiration - a vast inhalation of breath through a smile. I threw my head back with my eyes closed, gasping, as I was carried away by their potentially fell swoop in a long direct response to the unearthly call.
This was a spontaneous reaction to an external event and it even occurred to me then (despite my state of mind) that I must have seemed totally deranged. As if I had been injected with some kind of mad power drug, which I really had NOT.
I attempted to explain nothing as that would have been impossible, though not pointless, for my innocent companions were really alarmed by this point. I was not sensitive to their confusion as I felt extremely clear headed myself and did not have a gift for consolation at that time. Instead, I kept to the logically efficient style of the appointed mission.
Pausing just to grab my music, therefore, I flitted from the room, much as I presume the owls had flown into the night, well pleased at having stunned my neighbour completely. On my way out I noticed a full-length mirror behind her door but, before I had a chance to carelessly peep at myself, an unseen force grabbed me from beyond and dragged me outside. This is a fact.
I did not feel worried about the influence of an entity because the supernatural force, or whatever you wish to call it, seemed to be entirely benevolent. It also seemed powerful, albeit in an uniquely uncontrolling way. I mean, people may criticise me for whatever reason, but I can’t help but wonder what somebody else would have done in my situation. Like Bruce Willis in the Fifth Element, I appeared to have a mission that I couldn’t get out of. In which case surely it was better to try to succeed rather than waste time worrying about it?
Besides all of this, I was actually enjoying myself and was eager to let matter take its course. I’d reached a level of decisiveness hitherto unknown to me and for the first time in my life I felt as if everything made sense and was as it should be. I wholeheartedly embraced what was happening, without any question at all.
To re-emphasise a point I made earlier about the smoking situation, I have to say that I didn’t actually feel stoned, however dubious this sounds in the light of what I’ve just said. Of course, I don’t really expect anyone to believe this but I thought I’d say it anyway.
I had no more joints after Benedict left and in fact felt exceptionally clear headed - far more clear headed and less emotional than usual. I wish I still felt that way, but in fact, I don’t. But then, it was AS IF the whole of my inner self had become a lucid shining surface with no perceivable flaws. I do understand how marijuana can alter or enhance the perceptual faculties of the user, but still believe it was not the determining factor in this case. In all probability, complete confidence in the force itself and my own ability to be moved by it, was the crucial determinant in this case.
Through the uncontested force of the will that had taken over my own, I went through the situation without real objective or subjective analysis. After leaving the girls I was convinced of the need to contemplate the divine meaning of ‘two’, the number as received from the birds. Each stage of the happening appeared to progress quite literally from the last, despite the fact that my interpretations and sense of direction may appear as arbitrary or unfounded. With hindsight, it may be said that I relied solely on my personal interpretation to get through the apparently testing situation, but in fact I felt as if I were being guided from within by a some sort of entity, perfect within itself. To me this was obviously God and objectively I also believed it to be so.
Notwithstanding this belief, another might speak differently. The way I saw it (somewhat inexplicably it must seem except by genuine feminine logic) I was being asked to choose two companions for some mysterious purpose. It seemed to me that I was faced with a choice of supreme import and I paced the room in a flurry of spontaneous consideration.
The first choice was natural and simple to make; I had a very close friend at home and it was obvious that she should be my right-hand woman. No sooner had the decision been taken than I turned in her direction and whispered her name over and again. Actually, I formed the words with my mouth and throat but made no audible sound, although I perceived that her name was said (or unsaid, as it happened) in a soft and soothing way. I concentrated and found myself with both hands in a position in front of my body, one over my forehead, the other over my solar plexus, which indicated that I was carrying something in a sort of embrace.
In truth I found that my spirit flew to collect hers whilst my body enacted the event; this was a real trip. I felt as if I was actually carrying her, and after a few moments sank to my knees and bowed my head towards the ground, still meditating upon her name. When we arrived at wherever we were meant to be the hand over my forehead came down in a firm but smooth gesture until it was over my nose and, would you believe it, I sniffed her spirit right into my left nostril. I swear this happened; I felt it go in because it seemed more substantial than air and the duration of the inhalation was firmly defined rather than being simply ethereal.
The name of the second person was not so immediately obvious as it was not that of one of my closest friends. At first my thoughts turned to my former good friend at university (who had fallen out with me some weeks before because of the outward changes that took place in my behaviour due to the newly discovered biblical situation). I was highly doubtful as I gestured questioningly in her direction. The decision to not take her was dramatically made for me, however, as without warning or preconception I silently yelled for the Jewish girl I had just preached to in the adjacent room. Even though she was physically close to me, much closer than the other had been, spiritually she could have been a pole away and I felt it took all of my inner strength to call her name.
My physical person made no audible noise but if you can imagine the enactment of a determined and almost deafening call, that is the one I made with all my soul. Such a call is seldom made. Against the odds I reached her and somehow performed an identical task of carrying to the one I had carried out moments earlier for the first girl - the only difference being that when we reached the final destination I took her in via the other nostril. The right one.
This night for me was the origin of a sisterhood but, to this day, I have no repeatable theory about why the strange events actually took place. Nor am I capable of explaining how exactly it was done, I just know that it was, and that being the first time I performed the act it appeared to be the most potent. It is worth noting, however, that I do not recall the second girl ever speaking to me again, except perhaps in stern greeting. She took a genuine dislike to me which, although I almost understand it now, puzzled me at the time. I may assume that either someone told her I was on drugs, she disliked the biblical reading, or I simply freaked her out. Whatever the case may have been I made no further attempt to pass over any sort of message but felt, as I had always, real admiration for her considerable poise, the courage she had in her convictions, and her determination to live in accordance with the appointed rites of her religion, which must have strengthened the same considerably. I think she went to live in Israel.