FESTIVALS OF DARKNESS

At this time of year, as the days get darker and the nights get longer, it’s easy to be cat and candlemore aware of the mysterious side of life. Fear of the unknown is an important part of Halloween, Samhain and even Guy Fawkes Night. The ancient purpose of these rituals has always been to keep us safe from the dangers of the coming darkness.     

The word Halloween comes from the Christian festival of All Hallows Eve. However, this seasonal ritual began centuries before Christianity. Originally called Samhain (pronounced Sow’en), it marked the turning point between the end of summer and the start of winter.

Even with a good harvest stored away, people feared the deadly powers of winter on the way. So this was a time to make offerings of thanks to the sun god Baal – both for the bounty of the past summer, and for continued protection through the winter.

cauldron candlesPeople said this turning point of the year caused the veil between the worlds to become thin, bringing a time of danger, excitement and wonder. Charms and spells would be especially powerful at Samhain. Evil spirits could also come through, seeking humans to possess or destroy. Druid priests performed special rituals at this time to appease the spirits of the dead.

For additional protection, on the eve of Samhain the private home fires were put out. This made the houses look empty, so that malignant forces would pass them by. Instead, the people built a huge communal fire outside. They then feasted and danced around it, wearing fearsome masks and animal disguises of skins, horns and antlers to drive away the horrors of the dark.

The custom of trick or treat also has prehistoric roots. It began with people putting fall witchy lanefood in front of their houses to placate the demons then roaming the land looking for sustenance –preferably in human form. People later began to act out that drama themselves. They masqueraded as demons, going from house to house demanding offerings, with threats of retribution if unsatisfied – a bit like an early protection racket. The masked children who knock on doors at Halloween are performing the same ritual, still fresh from the wild side of the human psyche.

Much like our modern electoral system, in ancient times the tribe chose a leader to reign for just one year. During this year, their temporary king had every luxury available. Then they sacrificed him and chose a replacement.  

samhain-ritualThe sacrifice of the old year’s king was a central purpose of the Samhain fire. It was called the bone fire because when it was over, the shaman read the dead king’s bones in the ashes for good or bad omens. With one letter dropped, it’s now our merry bonfire. The annual burning of a man’s effigy on Guy Fawkes Night is a direct echo of this arcane ritual.     

Our early winter festivals are like a gnarled old tree. While their roots still go down to these ancient terrors, the festivals these days are more about fun than fear. It feels good to thrill to the mysteries of life when we feel perfectly safe. Or are we? Maybe the veils between the worlds really are thinner at this time of year. Wishing everyone a joyfully spooky Halloween, Samhain, and bonfire night!

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GHOSTS OF THE ROAD

(A shorter version of this article was first published in my ‘Tales from the Other Side’ column in Glastonbury’s Oracle Magazine, October 2017)

Surrounding and permeating the world we can see is a greater reality that is looking_for_magical_wonders_by_jerry8448usually invisible to us. However, most people get a sense of the realms beyond the veil at least once in their lives.

Ghost sightings are especially common. There are so many reports, and of so many different kinds, that this article is about one type only – haunted roadways near where I live in Glastonbury, in the South West of England.

Ghosts of the road are usually about emotionally charged events that happened at those places. The drama seems to leave an imprint on the atmosphere, so the peak moment keeps replaying on an endless time-loop. This can go on for hundreds of years before eventually fading away.  

coach horsesA good example of this type is the phantom coach and horses of Bath’s Royal Crescent. It continually re-enacts the drama of the playwright Richard Sheridan eloping with Elizabeth Linley. He’d already fought two duels over her honour, so their flight was electric with excitement and danger.

GHOSTS AND ROAD ACCIDENTS

Tales of ghost hitchhikers abound all over the world. On the Frome to Nunney road, motorists sometimes see a hitchhiker in a flannel shirt standing in the middle of the road. He then appears briefly in the back of the car before vanishing. Perhaps a car killed him on that spot. Suddenly catapulted out of his body, he may not have realised what happened at first. His spirit entered the car as if he’d been given a lift – and has continued replaying that experience ever since.

highwayman ghostPhantom highwaymen haunt many British roads. Hundreds of years ago, Pocock the highwayman died of wounds after a fight near what is now the A39, between Street and Bridgwater. People see him on his horse, which is always rather oddly galloping on the spot. The shock of this sight has apparently caused several road accidents there.

On the Brockley Road, a coach and four horses sometimes charges at oncoming traffic, creating predictable havoc and inevitable collisions. At midnight on moonless nights, a ghostly horseman also appears on this road.

Another crash-causing apparition sometimes manifests in the middle of a little road in the ancient village of North Petherton. It’s a coffin with a spectral man sitting on it. This not only startles motorists, for some strange reason it also gives cars mechanical problems. 

NOISY GHOSTS

ghost trainGhosts are not always silent. In 1857, two steam engines collided on the old Kentsford railway line. Several people died and many were badly injured. People still hear that crash and sometimes see a ghostly train go by.

On the road between Bridgwater and Western Zoyland, several people have heard the doleful hymns the Duke of Monmouth’s rebel band of men sang as they went home after the king’s army defeated them at the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685.

This type of haunting is like a recorded hologram from the past. It doesn’t interact with us.  However, there are many different kinds of ghosts, and some are more aware than others are.

EARTH BOUND SPIRITS

The ghost of Molly the tea lady still haunts Yeovil Train Station. Although she died on the platform in the 1960s, she continues to potter around, turning things on and off, and moving cutlery around. If anyone asks her to stop that, she does.

Molly sounds like an earth-bound spirit. This type of ghost is more conscious than the holograms. In limited ways, they can interact with us and our world. They haunt places because they don’t realise that they have passed on. This is why they behave as if they are still in their physical life.

When earth-bound spirits realise they have passed on, they are then able to see the guides or loved ones who have been trying to get their attention all that time. Usually with great emotion, they are then able to accept that help and move on to the spirit world.

A STRANGE LIGHT

On the A39 between Street and the M5 is a deeply wooded area where a strange white light sometimes follows cars. As soon as anyone turns round to look at it, it vanishes. Maybe it’s something that lives in the woods, which is curious about people, but shy of making contact.

Countless numbers of strange mysteries are out there – many that we’ve heard about, and probably scores more that we haven’t. As Hamlet said, “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy”.

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Have you ever had a ghostly experience? If you’d like to share it in confidentiality, you can contact me through my website: www.pastlifesglastonbury.co.uk

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SPOOKY STORIES

spooky-driveway1When I was a child, we lived in a haunted house. It even looked haunted, with a long driveway lined by tall trees, which kept it in perpetual shadow.

I did my piano practice in the unoccupied cottage. Everything in there was covered with white dustsheets. All the time I was practicing, it felt like someone was watching me from behind. As long as I kept on playing, I felt safe. When it was time to go, I’d suddenly slam the piano shut, grab my music sheets and rush out as fast as I could.

One night I felt a thump right next to me on my pillow. It felt like a small creature then trotted down the bed and jumped off the end. With a sigh, I figured a cat had come in the window and I’d have to put it out.

I got up, put on the light, and started looking for the cat. It was nowhere to be found. Finally, I looked behind the curtains – and saw that the windows had been closed all the time. No physical animal could have got in…

 HAUNTED GARDENS

eyesGardens as well as houses can be haunted. At another house when I was about five, the wild area behind the vegetable garden always felt eerie. In the garden of a friend’s house, some downright sinister events once took place.  

“My daughter had a friend to stay, and they wanted to sleep in the caravan in the garden,” she said. “During the night, they heard a thump on top of the caravan. Then there was scratching at the door. It got louder and then started tapping. When they went outside to look, nothing was there.

 At that time, I found a bird drowned in the pond, which felt like a bad omen. And there was a tree that used to shake as if somebody was climbing in it, when no one was there. So we decided to start having lots of jolly barbecues in the garden, to change the atmosphere. That seemed to drive away whatever it was.”

 THE GIRL WHO SAW GHOSTS

Another friend told me how her daughter, Vicki, was able to see ghosts. On a visit to Kings College Hospital in London she said, “We were walking down the corridor and Vicki said she could see ghosts everywhere. They were lying on stretchers, sitting on chairs, walking along – the place was full of them. She was so frightened she was clutching onto me. I tried to get her to wait for me with the lady in charge of the flower shop, but she refused to let me go.

3D render depicting an overgrown neglected cemetaryin misty twilight.

At another time, we were on a drive with my partner. We stopped at a church in the middle of nowhere. Vicki went with him to look at the churchyard – but came rushing out straight away and jumped back into the car, very frightened. She said she could see strange things over the graves.

One day when we were visiting friends, she said there was a little old lady sitting in a chair. For us, the chair was empty of course. We got her to describe what the old lady looked like, and what she was wearing. When they went through the family album, they found a photo of a great grandmother who was dressed exactly as Vicki had described.

One of the men did an experiment – he slowly tipped the chair forward and asked Vicki what she saw then. She said the old lady looked left and right, and then disappeared. That happened every time he tipped the chair forward.”

 ASTRAL PROJECTION

astral1Ghosts are not always the spirits of dead people. They can also be astral projections from the living. A few years ago, a male friend and I were drifting apart because we had little in common. In the small hours one night, I went into the kitchen for some water. There was enough moonlight, so I didn’t bother to put the light on.

I nearly dropped my glass when I saw this man’s face hovering in the air outside the window. I must have been half-asleep at the time, which was why I could see an astral form. When the fright fully woke me up, the image disappeared.

Although most people don’t see the astral plane when in full waking consciousness, there are many other ways to sense astral projections and psychic connections. For example, when we see someone clearly in our mind’s eye, it’s often a sign they’re thinking about us. It’s also worth bearing in mind that negative feelings we think are our own may in fact be coming from someone else.   

pd_arl_010_astral_travelFor many children, especially when still very young, the astral world can be as real as the physical. Sarah told me of an experience she had when she was about five years old. 

“One night, I got up from bed and went into the kitchen where the adults were. But nobody took any notice of me. I couldn’t stand it! So I decided to go and annoy my sister, thinking that’ll get me some attention. She hated being poked. So I went to poke her – and my hand went right through her! That really frightened me. I went back to bed as fast as I could!”

 THE EXORCIST

Strange experiences can also occur in broad daylight, with normal looking people. This account was first published in my book Magic Past Lives. An acupuncturist who is now passed on told me about this strange incident that he saw on a train.

A man in a business suit was sitting diagonally opposite an equally conventionally dressed woman. There was an unheard exchange between them. The man then started reading his newspaper, holding it up like a barrier.

31-les-allies-dans-la-magieThe woman became angry, and started flicking aggressively at his paper. When that didn’t work, she rolled up her newspaper and began to slap it loudly on the palm of her hand. The man continued to ignore her. It then looked like she was trying to beam bad vibes at him with strange and vehement hand gestures. He steadfastly continued reading his paper.

At the next stop, she got off the train. The others in the carriage gave a round of applause to him for withstanding what was clearly a psychic attack. My friend suggested to him that it might be a good idea to see an exorcist now. To which the man calmly replied, “I am an exorcist”.

HEAVENLY PROTECTION

The following account from one of my readers is also about a daytime experience with paranormal undertones – but this time with a very different vibration.

“A few years ago on a dark winter afternoon I was working at a community center. Three of us were standing around the reception desk. We were the only people there at that late hour. We were talking about how strange it was that that particular date was a traumatic anniversary for all of us.

In different years, but on exactly that date, one of us had been diagnosed with cancer, and the other two had bad car accidents. Now the day had come round again and we were all three together, talking about it. We couldn’t help wondering if another awful thing was destined to happen to us on that day. 

All of a sudden, a nun in full habit – the only time I’ve seen a nun in full habit in that town – came rushing in, asking directions to a nearby highway. We told her how to get there and she rushed out.

mary-medalThen a few seconds later, she came rushing in again. She pulled out a large plastic bag full of Virgin Mary medals, gave one to each of us and said, ‘These will protect you’.

We’d stopped talking as soon as she came into the building, so she couldn’t have heard our conversation. No further bad things happened to any of us on that day.

There’s no way of knowing if that was because of the talisman the nun gave us – but I still have it, and I carry it with me all the time. The three of us still talk about the day a nun came in and gave us protection against the bad luck of that date.”

 GHOSTLY FOOTSTEPS

Protection from the spirit world can take many strange forms. A friend of mine, Peter, once had a small factory. It had an attic that was hardly used – a few things were stored up there, but it was mostly an open wooden floor. 

“We learned that whenever we heard ghostly footsteps walking up there, it was a warning from the other side,” said Peter. “When it sounded like a woman walking briskly along in high-heel shoes, it was about something wrong on the financial side of the business. Maybe someone was trying to pay us with a bouncy cheque – that sort of thing.

Then there was the slower and heavier footfall of a man. Whenever we heard this, it meant problems or dangers on the factory floor. We always checked our systems whenever we heard these footsteps. And they always turned out to be valid warnings.”

 COMFORTING VISITS FROM THE OTHER SIDE

proxyMany paranormal experiences come to us with the intent to help or comfort. This is especially true when the spirits of those who have recently passed over appear to loved ones to reassure them that all is well. They want their grieving families or friends to know that they are still alive, just living in another realm.

One of my readers e-mailed me with the following account:

“When I was a small child, I had a favorite uncle who passed over. I was at his funeral and felt such a loss knowing I would miss him in the future. Even though I saw him lying in the casket I knew in my heart that he was no longer there – that was just the shell of his body.

The following morning, as I was getting up for school, I saw him standing in the doorway in his favorite blue pinstriped suit. He just looked at me for a moment as though to let me know everything was going to be all right. Then he was gone.

I couldn’t tell anyone because we weren’t allowed to talk about such things back when I was a child. I know in my heart he came back to give me peace of mind. To let me know he would always be watching over me, even though no words were spoken.”

We live in a reality that is more mysterious than it seems. Countless people can recall at least one strange occurrence in their lives. Have you ever experienced anything that feels paranormal? If you’d like to share your experiences, you’re welcome to add your comments to this article, or contact me more privately through the Contact Page on my website.

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THE OCCULT SIDE OF WAR

History tells us that that the First World War began with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo. That spark set fire to a tinder-pile of tensions, which had been building up for years.clive-uptton-the-assassination-of-archduke-franz-ferdinand

Was that spark just a stray event? A bullet from a fanatic, as history tells us? Or was it deliberately planned by sinister forces behind the scenes? Some strange things took place around the Archduke’s death, which suggest this may be the case.

These events centered around the Russian psychic and healer Grigori Rasputin (1869-1916). Also known as ‘The Mad Monk’ he rose from a peasant background to a life as healer and clairvoyant for the Russian elite.

That grand door opened for him because Tsar Nicholas II’s son, Alexei, had haemophilia. The boy was in constant danger of bleeding to death from the slightest cut or bruise.

The Tsarina, Alexandra, had heard of this strange magician from the provinces. One day a small accident put Alexei in real danger of death. In desperation, the Tsarina called for Rasputin. He came right away, and saved the boy’s life.

After that, he used his powers to rescue Alexei whenever he was injured. He also gave healing to most of the Russian court – especially if they seemed to need sexual liberation. Grigori-RasputinNevertheless, because he had real powers, and had saved her son’s life, the Tsarina doted on him. This made the Mad Monk one of the most powerful men in Russia.

Although most people have heard about Rasputin’s dissipated ways, not many know how much he hated war. He thought it was an unnecessary abomination. In 1914, he would certainly have used his influence on the Tsar to stop him from taking up arms. If he had, the twentieth century might have turned out very differently.

However, by a huge coincidence – or maybe not – at exactly the same time the Archduke died at Sarajevo, an unknown woman stabbed Rasputin, intent on killing him. This was the first sign of his strange power to survive murderous attacks. Nevertheless, he did need surgery and rest to recover. As a result, the man who might have changed the course of history was neatly out of the way just when the Tsar was deciding to go to war.

After that, Rasputin predicted that he would die violently before January 1st, 1917. He said if peasants killed him, the Tsar would reign for many years to come. However, if aristocrats did the deadly deed, he told the Tsar that “none of your children or relations will remain alive for more than two years.”

Within a short time, aristocrats did indeed set about trying to kill Rasputin. He miraculously survived their first attempts to poison and then shoot him. But they finally managed to murder the strange magician at the end of 1916. In July 1918, a firing squad executed the Tsar and his family. cayceAll had come true just as Rasputin had prophesied.

Far from ending all wars, as people hoped it would, the Great War eventually led to the Second World War. In October 1935, the famous psychic Edgar Cayce spoke of the coming holocaust in Europe. He said, “Unless there is interference by what many call supernatural forces and influences – which are active in the affairs of nations and peoples – the whole world will be set on fire.”

Fortunately, there was ‘interference’ from supernatural forces – operating directly through the general public. Wartime tends to increase interest in the paranormal. Worry about loved ones on the battle front is uppermost in most people’s minds. That’s made worse by the ban on anyone knowing where the soldiers might be.

Not hearing from them – or, even worse, being told they were missing in action – only added to the uncertainty. Because the ‘news’ was all war propaganda, people felt kept in the dark about things they were desperate to know. As a result, many turned to spiritualists, mediums, ouija boards and astrology for answers and reassurances.

Far from disbelieving in the paranormal, the British Government began to fear the potential of these messages from the other side. There was a chance this might reveal vital secrets to spies who’d infiltrated spiritual circles for that very purpose. So in 1943 an ancient law against prophecy was dusted off and reinstated. It was never meant as an attack on spiritual activities – it was there as a safety net to guard against the worst-case scenarios.

The allied authorities were keenly aware of the occult side of Nazism. They never publicly acknowledged this – but people knew anyway. Many were convinced that the war was a battle between good and evil.

The Nazi movement arose directly from a darkly esoteric secret society, the Thule-Gesellschaft. All the prominent Nazi leaders were practising occultists – in effect, black magicians. Even at the time, there were some clear outer signs of their mind-set. The swastika is an ancient Tibetan symbol of the life force; the Nazi salute was an occult gesture of power; and the rallies – especially the youth meetings – echoed the Black Mass in several key ways.

Clairvoyants, esotericists and mystics understood the signs, and were fully aware of the occult nature of the enemy. They were also sure the Nazis would exterminate them if they ever invaded. So they had good reason to throw all their powers into the fight. altar

Esoteric groups that normally worked in different ways now banded together for the extra strength of a united front. They used to focus on the Nazi leaders, and send them the chant “can’t cross the sea” – repeated over and over again in a hypnotic rhythm.

One group of wiccans made up batches of “go away powder” from an ancient secret recipe. They then made regular trips to the southernmost tip of Kent to throw it into the symbolically ebbing tide. Salt has special protective properties, and the salt water activated the properties of the powder. The wiccans also strengthened that effect with their intent, chants and imagery. 

A powerful coven in the New Forest raised a magical cone of power to protect Britain from invasion. This was the coven which the author Gerald Gardner belonged to. A few years after the war he revolutionized popular perceptions of wiccan ways with his book ‘Witchcraft Today’.

During this time one of the mediums received a vision of the Cross of Light poster. This was an equal armed cross of light with a rose in the center and a circle of light around it. This image became a powerful weapon of occult defense.

Groups would gather to visualize it hovering like a giant over Britain, keeping the forces of evil at bay. They also saw it holding the whole country and the allied forces within the circle of its protection. Posters of this image were printed off and put up in places like bus and tube stations, air raid shelters, soup kitchens and wherever people gathered because of the war.

Another important group involved with this work was Dion Fortune’s Society of the Inner Light in magical b of bLondon and Glastonbury. They too used mental images, mantras and rituals to maintain British invincibility and weaken the resolve of the enemy.

In the process, Dion Fortune felt that she was under personal psychic attack by a Nazi black magician. This battle left its mark on her. Her health suddenly declined, and she never recovered. Just before her death, her doctor’s wife remarked that she looked like ‘a burnt-out shell’.

As a Druid, the wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, had his own personal csilent minuteonnections with the English esoteric milieu. He was apparently aware of their war effort and quietly supportive of it.

During the darkest days of the war, he took the advice of the mystical Tudor Wellesley Pole of Glastonbury and instituted the ‘silent minute’. At 9 o’clock every night on the striking of Big Ben, the nation stopped its activities and focused its collective mind on peace. This was a powerful magical practice, of which Churchill was probably aware.

The authors of ‘The Dawn of Magic’, Pauwels and Bergier, were convinced that the Second World War was really a magical battle – a struggle between gods. They said, “The problem must be faced. We shall never be safe from Nazism, or rather from certain manifestations of the satanic spirit, until we have aroused ourselves to a full awareness of the most fantastic aspects of the Hitlerian adventure.”

Official history gives us a superficial account of the past – just the tip of the iceberg. When we understand more about the reality beneath the surface of events, it will ultimately put us into a stronger position to deal effectively with what’s really going on. 

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Find out about your past lives and the hidden history of the world in my PAST LIFE BOOKS, published by Hay House and available at these links:  Amazon UK / Amazon USA

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