Here we go.
I inhaled deeply, consciously visualizing my feet rising off of the ground, and in a breathtaking moment of ecstatic victory, my awareness began to rise and I Hovered, dreamily suspended in my room. The mechanics of the universe were mine to command here.
Was this astral projection? Had I finally done it?
My feet gently touched down again on the carpet. Yes! Gleefully, I resolved to try again, this time willing myself higher, visualizing the night sky above my house, and in an instant I was there, looking down triumphantly at my sleeping neighborhood.
I was no stranger to lucid dreams, and this wasn’t my first time levitating or even hovering as I was now, but I had never consciously exited my body as I had tonight. “Curiosity killed the cat,” my mother would say. I had always been infinitely curious, and relishing the thirst for discovery, I pushed myself higher, soaring up through the clouds, in dumbfounded awe of the mosaic of stars above and around me, reflected twinkingly in the lights of the Earth beneath me.
Effortlessly, I dipped and dived, catching wind currents when I wanted to, willing myself Through them whenever I chose, laughing devilishly at the exquisite FREEDOM!
Eventually I found myself cruising along the surface of water, feeling the warmth of the sun now, on the back of my head. I flipped and crashed down into the depths of the ocean, before exploding from the surface again, propelled solely by conscious thought, and reflected again that this must be my first successful astral projection.
It had happened before, in that moment (the in-between, I had taken to calling it, where the veil is thin) between sleep and waking reality, that I had felt that shift. A barely perceivable tug on my consciousness, teasing a momentary detachment (an untethering,it had felt like) from my body, but I slipped hurriedly back, every time, eyes snapping open, heart pounding, heavy breaths, fearful that if I let go, perhaps I wouldn’t be able to come back.
Fear. The ultimate oppressor. I had learned long ago to rise above that fear in my dreams, but this was an endeavor that I was cautious of. I remembered reading that evil spirits see a vacant body as an opportunity to enter the physical world or something to that effect. I was skeptical of how that worked, but knew too little of the spiritual world to make any definitive judgement, and it seemed reasonable to at least be cautious if there was a possibility of being processed by evil demons while my spirit was out wandering.
Evil was a concept I thought about often. It didn’t seem to belong in a world where Love is the answer. Either I was missing something or my math was off. Evil, I suppose, was the absence of Love.
I had experienced evil before.
Most recently, in a dream. I was at work, and all seemed to be well. Everyone was in a pleasant mood, laughing and talking amongst ourselves. The desk I sat behind (I was never going to get used to sitting at work) was a big semi circle, close enough to the door, but you still had to walk all the way around the perimeter to get there.
Quite vividly, amidst the sounds of weights being dropped behind me, and the friendly scuffle to my left on the jiu jitsu mat, I felt a presence from the door.
(TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS) the voice of my father. I never knew how to put into words what he meant by that, but it always made sense in a strange way.
I was a stubborn kid “You always have to learn everything the hard way” they would tell me. Experience is the best teacher, I would obstinately reply.
I also think often of my instincts. This was a feeling I had become acquainted with; that slow prickling electricity, humming from within my body, always warning of impending danger.
I had felt it many years ago, standing in the front yard of my then girlfriend’s house, her father up in the tree cutting branches, and that feeling, from origins unknown. A voiceless jolt, urging me to MOVE. MOVE, it said, MOVE MOVE MOVE. why? I stubbornly wanted to know, I’m well out of the way.
“Headache!” he had yelled then, as the last tree limb eventually gave way under his blade. Curiosity kills the cat.
It didn’t kill me, but when the branch fell and hit the ground, compressing on itself before launching in my direction, the fraction of time I had had to respond to that internal voice was gone, and when the branch struck me, I crumpled under its velocity and weight, bleeding profusely from the gash it left in my head.
They gave me something like 18 stitches for that one (“Always follow your instincts”, my dad would say, “every time I don’t, I find out why I should have listened”). Curiosity will kill the cat indeed.
But this time, it wasn’t my own safety at stake. The alarming presence that had prickled my back with that familiar hum of electric awareness, was a woman, standing at the door to the gym. An old crone looking thing, moving as if she might want to come in if someone would let her, which of course we would, we welcomed everyone through the door. That voiceless command, again, sounded the alarm that there was nothing but malicious intentions oozing putridly from this stone faced old woman, and that if she is allowed to enter here, someone is going to get seriously hurt, MOVE. NOW. it said.
No fear! I had also learned from my dreams, and this was a situation that required action, because the presence that had alarmed my instincts had the unmistakable odor of evil.
I sprung to my feet and locked eyes with the woman (DO NOT LET HER OUT OF YOUR SIGHT), scrambling around the desk to confront her before she forced her way in to (the gym? or was this just a construct in my mind?) Either way,
“YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE!” I had bellowed, with a surge of energy welling up inside of my being, fire spitting vehemently from my eyes to the would be intruder. Whatever force that was, the same force I had used to battle all of my dream demons. “YOU ARE NOT WELCOME!”
I couldn’t help feeling a needle of pity for the old crone. But I understood that that was the difference, Evil does not abide by the same laws as Love. Fear is the weapon of evil. The stone faced woman was strong, but as our eyes locked, we both understood that I was stronger.
But that was then, and this was now, and here I laughed, feeling the sunshine, water droplets whooshing off of my body as I soared higher away from the ocean, straight towards the brilliant sun, daring myself to stare keenly into the depths of it, curious what I might find. I never got the opportunity to stare so blatantly at the sun in real life, and in the center of the sun was, (what was it? Some sort of geometric design, and static?) nothing that I could distinguish anyways.
That makes sense, my mind told me, dreams are a reflection of our experiences and, We’ve never seen the center of the sun, I finished, amused at my subconscious’ rendering of that unknown information. What kind of simulation was this anyways?
I began to fly home then, zipping around the circumference of the Earth, and descending towards my still dark house, and then I was inside crashing hard onto the ground sending a sharp jolt up my legs which were so Heavy! My bed was in front of me, and I stumbled blindly towards it, propelled now by some unseen Urgency, and I realized I had returned then, because now here I was in my body, in my bed, but something was terribly wrong because I was shaking with (fear?) no, Terror.
Big, Black, and Abysmal a sheer pit of frigid Terror.
I struggled to control my breathing (Stay calm. Fear is the only power they have over you) and my body squirmed helplessly against a strange sensation of paralysis.
But this was a force I had not experienced before. This must be what they were warning about when they said to be cautious with this stuff!
I could feel it. A chilling presence, of undeniably pure Evil, just to the left side of my bed, my eyes unwilling to even dare a peak because unlike the haggard women from my dream months ago, I didn’t think I was the stronger one.
Panic shattered through what remained of my composure and-
A voice came from the first floor beneath me.
A patter of footsteps up the flight of stairs (stairs? this house didn’t have any stairs).
A knock on the door.
A woman’s voice.
My mother’s voice.
It had been some time since I'd heard her voice, but before I could ponder that further, the door had burst open and a gush of warm light poured into my room. “I heard something!” she sounded genuinely concerned, “is everything alright?”
In an instant, the dark presence had evaporated. It was apparently no match for the might of a mother’s Love.
My eyes snapped open.
A gentle twitter of birds began to rouse my senses, announcing the morning light as it rolled through the window. A single story house. I haven’t lived with my mother for years.