Monday, January 16, 2017

Long and Winding Road Trip

November 17, 2002 (Florida)
The south is a vista of tall oaks, Spanish moss and shadows that blow along the ground like curious inhabitants from another world – a far cry from the desert to which I have grown accustomed. Voodoo shops in New Orleans seem familiar somehow, and one of the handmade dolls created to snare tourists into a frenzy of souvenir buying winks up at me from a basket of otherwise lifeless brothers & sisters. Of course I purchased the little fellow, stuffed him in a bag of other items collected along the way, and will undoubtedly place him on a shelf somewhere to be forgotten, just one more haunted relic, a macabre curiosity to be commented upon long after I have faced the eagle. Folly manifested.

The odd thing about New Orleans was that as I walked down Canal Street with Wendy at my side, on our way to one of those touristy tours to all the famous haunted sites in the French Quarter, I found myself suddenly overwhelmed by the presence of an ally. And as I stood looking in a storefront replete with thousands of strands of Mardi Gras beads, tiny figurines in the shapes of jazz musicians and alligators, an androgynous voice whispered in my mind, “So… you’ve finally come home.” Interesting, since I had never been to New Orleans before that day.

But immediately upon hearing that voice, I knew the city as intimately as if I’d lived there all my life. Shops that had seemed alien and perhaps even foreboding moments before suddenly became familiar, and as we walked through the city that night, I somehow knew I was walking in my own footsteps, retracing a route I’d taken dozens of times before… in a life I never lived, in a parallel reality or alternate dimension. Or through the eyes of a ubiquitous Whole Self. Whatever the explanation, if it is even possible for such an explanation to exist in ordinary awareness, it was truly a remarkable experience, walking through this city as if it were my home, knowing intimately the texture of every stone and brick in St. Louis Cathedral, “remembering” a time not so long ago when I had walked these same streets in a different mortal guise, looking out through the eyes of some other self entirely, yet clearly the same self at an energetic level, at the level of awareness, consciousness.

I have no belief in past lives as the concept is commonly understood. Instead, what I have come to see is that at that level of ubiquitous consciousness, where there is the interconnectedness of all energy, some element of Now connected strongly and deeply to some element of Then, and a door opened between the two worlds. It would be possible, of course, to say this is simply the way things are everywhere… and yet I’ve never had an ally welcome me home to Albuquerque or El Paso or Atlanta. Why New Orleans? Who’s to say?

Courtyard of our haunted hotel in the French Quarter.
That night, back in our hotel room on Canal Street, I dreamt of a ghost in the mirror, a young man who was trying to tell me something, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying. So he just smiled warmly and gave an elegant bow, blowing me a kiss through the looking glass.

In Florida, the rains come as soon as we cross the state line, like someone throwing a switch. Windshield wipers rattle an irregular yet monotonous rhythm as we drive through the night, sandwiched between 18-wheelers pushed along by grinning phantom drivers and a produce truck bearing the badly worn hand-painted lettering: “Bubba’s Auto Repair. Cars Fixed Cheap.”

My mother, well into her 80s, insists there is a devil. Not “a” devil, but The Devil. She tells me this as she fills out her tithe envelope to take to church in the morning – a tithe she cannot afford, given to an inanimate entity, a building, a mere mortal man who claims to be a messenger from heaven. Perhaps there is a devil after all. Perhaps, as Orlando has often said, the devil’s greatest trick was convincing the world he is God.

The property as it appeared in 1961... now little more
than a shadowy, vine-covered bit of isolation,
existing only in memory, at the edge of
The Twilight Zone.
This afternoon, I drove with Wendy to the property where I grew up. Once a tiny town not even on any reputable map, now a six lane highway runs through the center of this thriving suburb. At first, I cannot even locate the property we once owned, for everything has become modernized, giant-sized, phantomized. Finally, after two passes, I realize that where our 10-unit motel once stood is now literally a small pond, complete with cattails and bullfrogs and aggressively creeping vines. Nature has taken the place back entirely. A tall chain link fence surrounds the property, and where the lake was once visible, trees have grown so thick and tall that only shadows know the location of land’s end. For all intents and purposes, what should have been a prime piece of real estate has been abandoned by time, reclaimed by the wild.

A little shiver passed through me, and for a moment I was 17 again. Knowing I would be leaving the following morning for Miami, probably never to live on that ground where I had grown up ever again, I sat at dusk with the spirit of the lake, listening to the water lapping at the side of a rowboat that was half-filled with stagnant water, a relic sinking back into the earth. My back was pressed against the rough bark of my favorite tree, and somewhere in the distance, somebody was playing an old guitar. Nothing ever seemed to change in that place, and so I closed my eyes and promised the spirit of the lake that no harm would ever come to her. No rich socialite would build a mock-plantation on her shore. No McDonald’s would spring up next to her. No one would ever despoil her beauty, I told her.

And at that time, in my 17-year-old teen-angst of moving away from home for the first time, I meant it.

So today when we pulled into what was once our driveway, I could only gaze in wonder at what had become of that promise, that secret, silent intent. Only a peaceful pond exists where buildings once stood, the very property itself permanently and irrevocably flooded. I smiled quietly to myself, then as the full implications of what I was witnessing hit me, I broke into laughter which was answered by an echo from deep in the sheltering shadows of the trees. The spirit of the lake seemed to share my amusement, and for a single moment, that door between Then and Now opened wide and there was no difference between that young girl and the laughing woman and the infinite.

Allies and phantoms and devils, oh my! What a long, strange trip it’s been.


To download my free e-book, click here: The Things That Do Matter

 If you'd like to know more about Quantum Shamanism™
and my work in general, please visit my websites at:

Quantum Shaman
Eye Scry Publications
Quantum Shaman's™ Blog
Della Van Hise on Amazon
Follow Me On Facebook

Join our discussions on Facebook

Or buy my books on Amazon or
Many thanks and infinite blessings...




zenmeister said...

The whole site is wonderful! I love and appreciate the hard work, intelligence and humor you put into it. You are appreciated. Tom ( AKA: thomasgrantmeister )

Della Van Hise / Quantum Shaman said...

Thanks, Tom. I really value your input and appreciate your kind words. :) Take good care and be well.