Much flowed from this dialogue, although looking back, I cannot emphasise too strongly just how naïve and gullible I was. At first all seemed benevolent and positive, but gradually as the winter wore on, some of the voices and presences became ‘darker’ and dominating, in contrast to those that were positive and supporting. Physical presence became much stronger, and I was being hurried forward towards Christmas in a state of growing confusion. The miserable weather and the increasing chore of looking after a horse that was stabled at night began to wear me down and began to form the backdrop to the increasingly dominant and needling presences. Everything culminated in the events that I describe below, although mere words cannot begin to describe the tumult of emotion and reaction that approached terror.
“It was a dark, wet and miserable evening just two days before Christmas, and I was attempting to muck-out the stable that adjoined my house. But just as if I had lived through an episode from one of the tales of the Brothers Grimm, my mind and body had been intruded into, and my actions had been harried and impeded by malign ‘entities’, ‘spirits’, ‘imps’ – call them what you will. Have no doubt, they were real and not the product of a fevered imagination, nor, yet, the result of drink or drugs, for I use neither. Nevertheless, and in spite of all of that, I finally got my mare, Bokhara, installed in her stable and dried and fed - in the midst of what varied thoughts I cannot remember. Although I have no doubt that I was being forced to concentrate upon aspects of my moral life, and my fitness for a life of improving spirituality. Let me again emphasise, there was nothing in my moral life, past or present, with which I could reproach myself to any significant extent; but somehow, everything was trawled, examined, and even the most minor peccadillo could, in my then state of mind, be made to seem to be an enormous ‘sin’. Gradually, the whole thrust of the ‘catechism' and analysis wound around the ‘Christmas story’, and subtly, and by allusion, around all past relationships with my late parents. Any misunderstandings, any ‘wish lists’, were extracted within the ‘Holy Family’ context, as if my parents were near at hand and conscious of all that was transpiring. Yet again, the wheel turned and there was being stoked a feeling that I should go to the local church on Christmas Eve, but only to stand outside, not being fit to proceed to join the ‘good’ people inside. It all sounds so ludicrous as I write it down, and I do so solely to show how ones sense of proportion could be made to be so distorted as to accept such dominance as reality.
What next I remember, is going into the storeroom side of the stable to get some hay to fill the manger. Before I could start to cut the strings of the bale, I found myself forced down onto it on my knees, and made to stare downwards. But it was not to look at the assorted feed bags and twine that I would have expected to see. No, I looked into a void, but not a void. Picture the most drear, cold landscape of your imagination. I was in a narrow steep-sided valley, and it was grey, and cold. A white, snow covered landscape has some charm, but not this that I saw. The wind blown, snow blown terrain and scree were so grey and lifeless; not a plant grew; not a creature moved; not a bird flew - and it was soundless. There upon my back was a great weight of ice, as if the whole of a glacier lay there, bearing me down. I was so utterly cold and alone, and I knew inside me that this could go on and on and on for ever. But in spite of that, I could muster the shadow of a wry smile, for I knew that this could in fact be a state that knowingly I had chosen, for, in essence, I was being shown what Hell could be. What I was seeing and feeling would be the equivalent of having once known and experienced the warmth of Divine love, and then of having rejected it deliberately - given it a derisive gesture - in full knowledge of what I was doing; and the remembrance of what I had lost by my rejection would be with me for eternity with no chance of recall.
I have no knowledge of how long my ‘vision’ lasted, though lasted it did, sufficiently to have stayed with me unabated for over twenty-eight years. Nevertheless, gradually the warmth returned and I was eased to my feet as my benumbed knees regained their function. And so, standing comfortably again, I turned and looked out over the half stable door. The clouds had cleared, and the sky was full of stars. So full of stars. And the reality of Christmas, and the limitless and unique love that it had brought into the world, swept over me.”
The following day produced so much extra drama that I will not even try to summarise it. I have done my best to describe it in the book, which I wrote partly to avoid ever again having to relate the ‘story’ – for the emotions that were aroused were so diverse and intensely strong that even just thinking of them now can be disturbing to me.
There followed a roller-coaster of events through about ten days, after which I emerged again and took control of a life that would never ever be the same. At times, I curse myself profoundly for having been the instrument of my own distress, but at heart, I realise that I have been privileged to have been given such deep insights into a spiritual world – a world of such immense diversity as it spreads its spectrum between the divine and the profoundly evil.
My book is my attempt to share this experience to the extent that it impinges into the lives of the distressed and mentally ill. Some feedback tells me that I am having modest success, and hopefully I shall reach more individuals if, on reading this, you will attempt to read the book, and please tell others about the website.