The quiet of this Christmas period is really quite encouraging: the streets have been all but silent in this area – so far – and the nights particularly hushed. I appreciate this and moreover have a glimmering of hope that the materialism of this season is finally on its last legs – not in the minds of marketers and product-pushers, but the ordinary person seems to be slowly waking out of the desire to spend themselves into a coma at the end of the year. Could this really be happening?
Being possessed of a hermit-like nature, I don't, as a rule, socialise much at any time of year. And that goes double for Christmas. Having a good book to immerse my mind into beats crowds – or even small family gatherings – of people all congregated in a determinism to have a good time at any cost.
This Solstice I engaged once more with Ghost Hunters, a tale by Deborah Blum on some of the more prominent psychic researchers of the nineteenth century. It's a good read, but I found myself, just a few minutes ago, taking issue with one of the luminaries of this field, Edmund Gurney. Bless his soul. In his two-volume opus Phantasms of the Living, which he co-authored with the tragic Fred Myers, he muses on crisis apparitions, attempting to explain why we quite frequently receive visions of loved ones at the moment of their death-and,more importantly to him, why these apparitions appear to be clothed, of all things! His tentative postulate was that the person receiving the crisis apparition would translate that sudden burst of energy transmitted by a dying connection into something we expected to see: the vision would be wearing a favourite coat, or be dressed as one usually remembered them. The idea being that the apparition receiver translates the incoming signal to their own expectations.
It was at this point that I put down the book, muttering “Hang on a minute..” as I remembered my own moment of reception of such an apparition: my father, dying more than 10 years ago. The vision I had seen looked nothing at all like I would have expected. He looked about 25 years old, for a start. I don't think that my own expectations were at play here. Which lead me to wonder: is it the transmitter whose biases clothe a crisis apparition rather than the receiver? Or, more tantalisingly, is it something more of a blend of the two - transmitter and receiver - which forms the details of the vision sent with such energy at such a peak moment?
Maybe I can think of it like this: if we are all, as I have no reason to doubt, aspects of the One Thing, could the disturbance of a death at some point in the Field not open a channel which is normally not perceived to be viable, and the rush of contact between two parts of the whole create the apparition in agreement with both parties?
Something for me to think about, anyway. That, and the fact that I'm more critical of my reading matter these days. You know, reading used to be a full-mind immersion for me. I'd inhabit the author's world to a degree that contradiction with the proponent's viewpoint was very difficult. And then I started to grow up, and realised I had my own faculties after all, and started to disagree with some things even my most favoured writers committed to paper. What grand heresy!
And so, from the sleepy suburb of Bloubosrand, wherein I lead an almost solipsist life at times – heaving concepts of Great Evil out of the front gate in my dreams, clearing the long grass from around the roses and, my all-time favourite, picking up dog pooh – I salute you all, fellow concentrations in the Field of Life, as we deal variously with our hemispheric Solstices, and the diminishing naked greed of Christmas, and our own struggles to feel we are something other than Alone in this Cosmos.