Chapter 1: Messages in the Field

I stood at the edge of a field of wheat in the English countryside. Up on the hillside, a white chalk horse looked down silently over us. Out in the field, the wheat was whirled down into a huge design in the shape of a five-pointed star nestled inside two large crescents. We were going in.

Last Christmas on our drive to Mount Shasta, my mom read to me from a book by the psychic channel and author Patricia Cori. It was full of strange and interesting ideas about man’s early history on Earth. After getting back to Minnesota I looked up Patrica’s backstory. While visiting England in 1996 she had been haunted by a vivid dream about a complex fractal design, and was later shocked to discover that this exact design was present right then in a gigantic crop circle in a field next to Stonehenge. Visiting the circle and stepping inside led to a wild transcendental experience, after which she began channeling her books.

Reading about this gave me the chills. It was like I could feel the energy of this event myself. Damn. How do I get into a crop circle?

Do you have to know somebody? How do you even know where they are?

Three days later a package showed up in the mail, sent from my brother in the UK. Inside there was a book of photographs of all the crop circles that had appeared in England in the previous year. Huh. I hadn’t discussed this with him at all. The book just showed up out of the blue. Weird.

Looking at the photos, my whole body buzzed. Man, I need to find a way to get into one of these things.

A few weeks later I was telling my mom about the book showing up and how I needed to get to England. She said “Well, you know Rick (my stepdad) is going to England with Patricia Cori in July, right?”


Patricia was taking a group to England on a crop circle tour. The deadline to sign up was that very day. In a blur of emails and international wire transfers, I was in.

We walked through a narrow gap in the wheat toward the circle.

The cool sun shone down as a black helicopter cut through the sky above us. Huh.

The field had an eerie feel to it, but nothing too serious. Then, suddenly, I stopped. My whole body was boiling hot and I couldn’t breathe. I looked up and Patricia had stopped in front of me. She turned around with her eyes huge and said “Can you feel THAT?”

Yep. I turned around and Rick had stopped behind me. “I can’t breathe,” he said.

After a few moments we walked forward and suddenly the feeling was gone. It was like we had walked through a band of invisible energy. We weren’t anywhere near the crop circle yet, just walking through the field of wheat on the way there.

Further ahead we hit another band just like the last. My chest felt constricted, like the breath was being squeezed out of me. Again I was suddenly hot, even though it was only a 70 degree day. The energy was unlike anything I’d ever felt before, nothing like any natural energy I’d ever experienced. Rick later said it felt like radiation.

We stepped forward and in a few steps everything was back to normal. There were very obvious bands we were walking through, you could feel it the instant you stepped into one and the cessation as soon as you passed out the other side, like stepping out of a spotlight. We passed through five bands on our way to the circle. Each one felt like we were being stepped up in frequency as we prepared to enter the circle.

Patricia had been inside over 300 crop circles and had never felt anything like this. I’d never even heard of anything like this, it’s not like I was feeling something I’d set myself up to experience.

Inside the circle, the wheat was matted down in a clockwise swirl radiating out from the center. I took my shoes off. The curves of the crescents and the lines of the star were absolutely perfect. I felt myself drawn to a spot next to one of the arms of the star. I laid down on the flattened wheat and closed my eyes.

In the darkness before my eyes I saw the image of two snakes intertwined. Points of light were racing down their tangled bodies, over and over. It took me a moment to realize I was seeing a representation of my DNA. There is the esoteric belief that what scientists see as “junk” in our DNA is actually additional strands that will re-connect as we evolve into higher states of being. The points of light swirled down over and over.

My point of focus shifted and I found myself hovering up above the crop circle, looking down at the design. The points of the star lit up in sequence. Huh. I was back in my body on the ground. Okay, I think I’m supposed to check out those points.

Photo by Steve Alexander

I got up and walked to the first point and stood in that spot. The energy in this specific spot was different from the rest. I soaked it up for a minute. I walked to the next point, and the next. Each one had a distinctly different energy. Huh.

Most of our group was sacked out in the center of the crop circle. I joined them and laid down near the center of the wheat spiral. As soon as I laid down, I felt the ground began to heave up and down, like I was lying on a boat that was rocking up and down on the waves. It felt like I was riding a gigantic wave of energy.

After taking this in for a few minutes I got up and followed a prompting to walk clockwise around first the inner and then the outer perimeter of the circle. Rick was walking around counter-clockwise.

Patricia called us all together in the center of the circle.

“We’ve been in here for two hours, so I think we should go and let this other group come in and experience the circle.”

Two hours? That’s impossible. No one could believe we’d been in there for anything more than twenty minutes.

On the walk back out through the wheat I could feel the bands again, but much more subtly this time.

We watched as the group after us tromped into the circle, took a few photos, and tromped back out a few minutes later. It seemed amazing to all of us that they clearly had not tuned into any of what we had experienced there.

Returning to the hotel, we had the rest of the day free. I’d found the pace of the tour a bit annoyingly slow up until this point, as I like to see and experience as much as I can when I travel, starting early in the morning and running late into the night. But after the crop circle it seemed absolutely mandatory to spend the rest of the day integrating. I was phased into a different reality and wasn’t sure I’d be able to handle doing anything else.

A few weeks later, Rick returned to the crop circle with my brother Aster. Most of the crop had been harvested by then, but it didn’t matter. Aster still felt those same bands of energy leading into the circle and the intense energy within, where the crop in the flat field was still matted down in a swirl.

Chapter 2: Into the Henge

When I was in England in 2016, one of the highlights for me was my visit to Stonehenge. Even though as a tourist you’re limited to the path around Stonehenge, which doesn’t pass all that close to the stones themselves, I was still floored by the energy of the place. The whole area was buzzing and I was buzzing along with it. It didn’t even matter that there were a million oblivious tourists there, snapping selfies. This was a special place. There were esoteric tales of it being an energy portal. I didn’t know what it was but I loved how it felt and I wanted to get inside.

I’d read that the only way to actually enter Stonehenge and get close to the stones was to visit during the solstice, one day a year when they open Stonehenge to the public. I was vaguely planning a return trip to England some summer so I could take part in this. Then I found out that roughly 20,000 people show up whenever they do this. Yikes. The likelihood of having a personal spiritual experience within the throng seemed unlikely.

When I found out Rick was going to England with Patricia Cori, aside from the opportunity to go into a crop circle, the other “holy shit” for me was that Patricia had arranged private access to Stonehenge, where we’d actually get to enter the circle early in the morning before the site opened up to the public. Wow wow wow.

When the day came, there we were in the early morning light, just our group and a couple of security guards there to make sure we didn’t plank on any of the stones.

Patricia performed a brief ceremony to open the energy of the circle and invite us inside. Ravens looped across the grey sky above us. Leading up to the trip I’d been a bit unsure about what the value of going with this group would be. I like to travel by myself and have been having spiritual experiences in exotic places just fine without any help, so was this going to be worth all the extra expense?

As I walked up to the stone circle, time dramatically slowed down and an epic feeling filled the air. Whooooooa.

Okay, yeah Patricia is doing something real. I’m going to get my money’s worth… but by that moment the very concept of money had lost all meaning and I just knew I was where I was supposed to be.

We had an hour in the circle, and I spent this approaching each of the stones, as closely as I could without getting yelled at, and tuning into each one. One of the first stones I tuned into, I felt what I can only describe as an energetic hug, a feeling of being pulled in closer to the stone. Interesting.

I approached one of the tall stones on the perimeter of the circle and stood up close next to it. Immediately I felt a figure eight of energy running from my heart into the stone. Huh. Gazing into the textured surface in front of me, suddenly the entire stone face began to waver back and forth. It swayed a few feet further away from me, and then waved back to within inches of my face. This swaying repeated, back and forth. Whoa. What is this?

Photo by Sherry Dmytrewycz

I stared into the surface of the stone and it began to ripple like water. As I watched the surface ripple, the awareness of my body became fuzzy and I felt myself shift into the stone like I was wading into a pool of water. I felt all of my molecules swirling around amongst all the molecules of rock, intermixed completely and inseparably. My body was this entire 20 foot tall slab of Preseli bluestone.

After a few minutes of this, I shifted back and I was just my little body again. I walked softly over to the next tall stone on the perimeter and stood before it, looking over the bumps and crags in the rock. I noticed the lichens growing on the stone’s surface, and as I looked at them closely, they morphed into fractal designs that twitched and shifted. I looked at the entire face of the stone, covered in tiny pits, and in that moment the pits all formed into stars and shifted into a scene of three dimensional depth. I was looking out into the universe. Everything around me faded out of vision and I was floating out in space, peering into the cosmos.

A minute later I was back with my feet on the ground. Wow. I spent the rest of the hour tuning into each of the other stones. Once our hour was up we left the stone ring and headed up the path back to the parking lot. I looked back. Wait! There was one more stone, outside the circle, leaning in toward the formation. The day before in Avebury, our guide had told us that stone rings often have a single stone outside the perimeter, slanted inward, that’s there to focus energy into the formation. There was Stonehenge’s.

To a chorus of “Where the hell is he going?” I sprinted back up the trail to the leaning stone outside of Stonehenge. Before the security guards could meander over to ask me what the F I was doing, I tuned into the heel stone, expecting to feel that it was reflecting energy back into the Stonehenge formation. Instead, I felt distinctly that it was angling the energy from Stonehenge up into the sky, at the angle of the stone’s tilt. Huh. I wonder what star it’s pointing at?

Later that same morning we had our trip to the crop circle. When we got back to the hotel, it was only the early afternoon, but I’d experienced more mind-bending energies in a few hours than I’d normally encounter in years. I crashed like an 18 year old after a week at Burning Man. I’m not even sure I’d call it sleep, but I was somewhere else. There was clearly some deep integration going on.

I woke up two and a half hours later still in another dimension. WAWAWAWAWA. I should get something to eat. Yeah. WAWAWAWAWAWA. I picked up my cell phone and it felt like it was pouring out radiation that stung my hands. Huh. I put it down. It was a solid 30 minutes before I could connect to the third dimension enough to even get shoes on and get out the door.

Chapter 3: The Stones on That Guy

The next day we were in Boscastle, checking out the little crystal shop across the road from our bizarre castle hotel. I’d gone in with a few members of our group just to check it out, with no intention of buying anything.

The shop was tiny, barely the size of a bedroom, but was packed wall to wall with crystals and stones. The vibe in there was something special.

On the way in I picked up a small, marble-sized piece of opalite from a bowl on the table. What the hell is opalite? It was partially transparent, with a milky off-while sheen. I felt my energy raise. Huh! This stuff is interesting. I carried it around with me as I walked around the shop, considering dropping five pounds to keep it.

In a locked case on the far side of the room, there were some ornate jewelry pieces. I was immediately drawn to one of the pendants, which featured gold and silver wings around a large, translucent, heart-shaped stone. Wow, that’s really pretty, but that’s way flashier than anything I’d wear. I walked away. I came back. Huh. Maybe. I felt like I wanted to get some kind of stone to help heal my heart after seeing the past-life wound there in Ireland. And getting something so ornate and heart-themed seemed not only symbolically appropriate, but almost like a meaningful gesture toward honoring my heart. I asked the shop owner to take it out of the case.

“That’s opalite. It brings light to dark places.”

Huh. Opalite again. I held it in my hand.

Yeah, this is really nice- I put it to my chest over my heart, right where it would hang on a necklace, and in that instant my entire body melted through the floor. Holy! It felt like the stone had physically melted through my chest, fused straight into my heart and become an inseparable part of my body. I’d never felt anything like this before. Putting the pendant down seemed almost physically impossible. I guess I’m buying this.

I’d owned a few crystals and stones in the past, and occasionally could feel energy from them. Usually I had to be in the right state of mind to tune in. I had a piece of Celestine at home that felt like it uplifted my energy a bit when I meditated with it, and I didn’t doubt that the Herkimer diamond I was wearing in Nagasaki helped me have the experience I had there. Our guides in North Korea had grilled me daily over the various stones I was wearing on necklaces during that trip, which were aimed at helping transmute the suffering of the Korean people. Heavily indoctrinated in atheism, the North Korean guides came away with the confident conclusion that I was fucking crazy.

I’d focused most of my interest on orgonite, a man-made formation of resin, metal and crystals in a combination that’s designed to raise the vibration of the energy around it. I’d found a guy in North Carolina who made especially powerful orgonite and had him make several pieces for me, including the necklace I wear on most days. For the most part, really strong orgonite was the only “stone” I could reliably feel the effects of.

But never anything like this.

This was like going from sucking on half an Advil to shooting PCP straight into your eyeball. I’d never felt any stone or crystal at even one hundredth of this intensity. What’s going on? Is this just some magic necklace I was lucky to find?

Or was it Stonehenge? Hmmmmm. I flashed back to my body dissolving into that stone. Huh. I think I’ve opened up a new sensitivity that was dormant before, clearing some pathway to a connection with the mineral kingdom. Maybe this is just what it’ll be like for me now. I bought the pendant.

The shopkeeper, who was warm and funny and great at explaining to people the intended effects of the various stones, was talking to someone else in our group about moldavite. It was clearly his drug of choice. A unique element formed when a meteor landed in Czechoslovakia, the intense heat of the collision fused material from the meteor with the stone at the impact site, creating moldavite, a stone that looks black until you hold it up to a bright light, at which point it transforms into a translucent green.

Okay, now I’m curious.

I asked him to take a moldavite pendant out of the display case and he put it in my hand. I tuned into it and instantly felt my energy go up, up, up expanding to the ceiling of the shop like I was ten feet tall. I had to abruptly cut off the connection because I felt like I was losing my grip on the physical and was going to leave my body, and I didn’t want my body to fall over and break a bunch of expensive shit in the store. Wow!

“It feels to me like I just had a nice glass of champagne,” the shop owner said. “Though after wearing it for a few weeks I need to ground with something else so I can come back down to Earth.”

Okay, yeah, I’ll take this too.

That night at dinner I was wearing the heart pendant and felt like I had just smoked a half pound of pot and then ate the rest. Everything was drifting by me in slow motion and I was packed in cotton for safe keeping in a box up on the shelf. Rick kept looking over at me and laughing.

“You are out of it!”

What what what what?

I tried to put some salt on my food but couldn’t figure out how to get the salt grinder to work. My friend Janine helped me out.

“You twist it.”

What what what what?

After dinner we went up to our room. It wasn’t even dark yet but I couldn’t conceive of doing anything at all. I sat up on the bed and looked at the door of our room. My God, that is a weird door.

The door was some bizarre trapezoidal shape that appeared to have been cut to fit into the available space on that crooked wall. I stared at the door for probably an hour as I felt the energy of the pendant digging deep into my heart. I phased out and then it was morning and I was still sitting in bed with all my clothes on. Did I sleep? What?

Rick wanted to see the crystal shop so we walked over there. He didn’t intend to buy anything and I wished him luck with that.

While Rick was in the process of dropping several hundred dollars on two pendants and an elaborate silver chain, I glanced into one of the locked display cases I hadn’t noticed the day before. Inside was a beautiful crystal that was glowing a fiery red. Wow. What’s that?

I asked the shop keeper. He laughed.

“You like the high-vibration stuff! That’s an angel aura quartz.”

He took it out and put it in my hand. I shot back up to the ceiling again. I could feel all the beautiful colors of the quartz all around me in the air. Wow, I guess those colors are in my aura? Every angle you looked at it, the crystal shifted into a different color. I could feel half the room around me like it was all me. Okay, yeah, I’m getting this one too.

I handed the quartz to Rick. He immediately felt electricity shoot up his arm, up his neck and up the side of his face. He handed it to our friends Manuela and Roshan from the tour. They had a similar response. Now everyone wanted this crystal. I bought it while they picked up some of the other pieces of angel aura quartz in the display case. None had anywhere near the same level of energy as the one I’d bought. Interesting.

I wore the heart pendant for a few days until it felt like the work on my heart had settled down, then started rotating the angel aura quartz and the moldavite. Both raised my energy to such a degree that it felt like cheating. Normally it would take a lot of meditation to feel like this. I mentioned this to my brother and he said well, you still had to work to get to that level of sensitivity. I suppose so. I’ve been rotating them ever sense, and it has been a life-changing shift. I’m aware in retrospect that in the past my vibration would raise and fall throughout the day, lowering when I encountered frustration, negative people or just when I was tired. Now it was like I was wearing a life vest where I couldn’t sink like that, I would always just bob back up to a high level. I’m still getting used to living in this way.

Later in the trip, Rick showed me the two orbs of serpentine that he travels with. He does a lot of energy work and when he’s feeling out of balance he’ll hold one in each hand, which creates a flow that brings back balance. I held one in each hand at hip level as I lay in bed. I felt a distinct counter-clockwise rotation of energy from my hips down to my feet, a wheel turning. After several minutes of this, the energy began to flow in a straight line from my feet straight up to my hips, like a river. Huh! It seemed that the wheel motion had been removing a blockage that had been preventing the straight flow of the energy.

Man, this is going to be an entirely new world to explore.

Chapter 4: Fell on Black Days

After basing our operation in Devizes for days to explore the wonders of Wiltshire, we’d traveled out to Boscastle, a small village on the northern coast of Cornwall. I’d had no idea of this going in, but Boscastle is world-famous for being a historical mecca of witchcraft.

Our hotel was either an old castle that had been converted into a hotel, or an old hotel that had been built to look like a castle. Either way, it was funky as shit.

As we checked in, I was mesmerized by the flowers in the planters in front of the hotel, which were glowing with furiously intense colors. Can anyone else see that? Good God. I’ve never seen colors like that before. I think I’m tuning into something.

Patricia warned us that two of the rooms in the hotel were notoriously haunted, but don’t worry, we weren’t going to be booked into either of those rooms. Rick and I followed a ridiculous narrow staircase up to our attic room, ducking under a five foot ceiling in the stairwell. The room had every kind of angle except a right angle, and the door, as mentioned previously, was from a different dimension. But it was all kind of charming.

When our friends Bailey and Kat (picture a cooler, spiritual Sam Elliott who dresses like a Hell’s Angel, and his bemused wife) checked into their room, according to Bailey there were two ghosts sitting in the two chairs in their room. Kat didn’t see them and tossed her bag on one of the chairs, pissing off one of the ghosts, who had been a maid in the hotel years before.

“Nightmares! Nightmares sold here!”

Our first night in the hotel I was in my heart pendant dimensional warp, so I don’t remember any of that night at all. In the morning Rick told me that in the middle of the night, the ghost of a train conductor had come into our room, stamped my ticket, and then harassed Rick about him not having his ticket in order. I had no memory of any of this, though (1) I was in the Pleiades and (2) Apparently my ticket was in order so I didn’t need to be bothered. I don’t know what Rick’s problem was.

Later it came out that our room, #23, actually was one of the two famously haunted rooms. Rick did some energy work with fire and we didn’t have any problems after that. At least not with the room.

The next morning we had a free day in Boscastle, so Rick and I decided to check out the Museum of Witchcraft in town, which I’d walked by on my way to the beach the night before. This seemed to be the thing that people actually come to Boscastle for. I wasn’t sure I believed in witchcraft, but I was curious what was inside.

We were some of the first people in after they opened the door. The building was fairly modern inside, and the first few exhibits went over the persecution of witches over the years. They had a fairly broad definition, as they claimed Joan of Arc as a persecuted witch. Displays showed the shackles, chains, and Hannibal Lecter-like face masks that revealed witches were forced to wear before they were burnt or drowned or sent to Bitch School because of a paperwork SNAFU (now I can’t believe I didn’t fit a Spinal Tap joke into my first post about England).

Reprinted newspapers told accounts of so and so bewitching so and so and effing up his crops or whatever. As I stood and read these, I began to feel a heaviness around me. Huh. I wonder how my newfound sensitivity and energy awareness is going to interact with this place. I wasn’t too worried about it.

As we walked deeper into the museum, displays showed various herbal remedies witches would use, and a scale with a chair built into it so you could see if a witch weighed more than a bible. The heaviness around me grew even heavier, and noticeably darker. Hmmm. Should I get out of here? Nah, no need to get carried away. I pictured a protective tube of light all around me.

Deeper into the museum, there were photos and paintings of famous witchcraft locations and various representations of the devil, goats with a man’s face, etc. Paintings of pentagrams. My memory of the rest of the museum is very fuzzy because this is where things got really, really strange. The dense, heavy energy grew far more intense and I became intensely nauseous. Oh man, I can’t barf in here. The room got very bright, to where I could barely see. Then everything got blurry and foggy, simultaneously bright and faint at the same time. Oh shit. I need to get out of here.

I fumbled my way through the maze-like museum, leaving Rick behind me without a word. I made a bee-line for the front door, or at least the kind of line a bee would make if it was very, very drunk. Trying desperately not to knock anything expensive over on my way out, I navigated my way half-blinded to the exit and stumbled out the front door. We’d been inside for less than ten minutes but I felt like I was going to die.

I stumbled across the street and sat down on a large rock by the bay. Sometimes when I feel energy, I feel it my face. Like if I’m looking at a piece of sacred geometry or am holding a powerful object, I’ll feel a soft buzz in my face. Stumbling across the walkway and sitting down on the rock, my face was twisting in knots. I’d never felt anything like this. My entire awareness of my face was swirling and distorting in painful knots. Oh God.

Rick came out and found me sitting on the rock.

“Are you okay?”


“You look terrible!”

“I’m gonna go sit by the water and try to flush this energy out,” I said. I also wanted to be away from everyone in case I barfed.

I walked down to the dock and did some Qigong to try and fling this energy out of my body and down into the ground. I sat and chanted for a while until I felt semi-human again. I walked back up to town and ran into my friend Janine.

“What happened to YOU?” she asked, taking a step back so as not to get any of whatever had happened to me on her.

“I went in the witch museum. Don’t-”

“Duh! I crossed the street to avoid even walking by that place.”

I’m an idiot.

“Here, come with me.”

Janine, who works with crystals full time, led me into a crystal shop across the street.

“Stand in front of this huge amethyst. Oh, and hold this big jar of sea salt to your chest. Take a bath with salt if you can.”

I spent a half an hour in the shop, gradually feeling better and better. I went back to our hotel room, showered with salt, and took a two hour nap. When I woke up I felt much better, wiped out but no longer like I was having my ass invisibly kicked.

I looked at the clothes I had been wearing in the museum. I didn’t want to put them on again. I didn’t have enough clean clothes to just burn an outfit I’d worn for one hour, but regardless I put fresh clothes on. I spent the day hiking up the cliffs on the seaside and meditating up on the rocks.

The next morning when we were getting ready to leave, I showered and looked again at the witch museum outfit. Still didn’t want to put it back on. After deliberating for a minute I put fresh clothes on again. I admired my bright turquoise shirt as I was putting it on.

I ran up the street to get some lunch to take on the bus from the one vegan-friendly shop in town. As I got back to the hotel everyone was checking out and loading onto the bus. Right as I got there, Rick bumped into me and I spilled my just-purchased smoothie all over my shirt. Gah!

I took two steps back. Oh man, I just put this shirt on! Just then someone else bumped into me and the chili I’d bought for lunch dumped straight down the front of my shirt. Oh come on! I looked like I was competing in a Nickelodeon game show from the 80s. There was no time to change, I just had to get on the bus.

Feeling like a food-fight prone hobo, I climbed on the bus and sat down. I set what was left of my smoothie on the tray in front of my seat. It promptly tipped over and dumped what was left in the cup all over my shirt.

You’ve got to be effing kidding me.

I sat there bewildered for a minute. Why was this happening? I’ve never spilled food on myself twice in one day before, let alone three times in ten minutes.

Maybe it’s just one of those- suddenly I got a flash in my head and saw that it was the malevolent whatever I’d encountered in the witchcraft museum. I got a very clear sense that this was an “F you and your fancy new shirt, dick!” on my way out of town. Well played, evil whatever the hell you are. Next time I’m going to the LEGO museum.

Chapter 5: Merlin’s Cave

We set out early in the morning to visit Merlin’s Cave, one of the advertised spiritual highlights of the trip. Full disclosure, I was in this thing for Stonehenge and the crop circle, and we’d knocked both of those out in the same morning. Everything else was gravy to me. I didn’t know anything about King Arthur or Merlin, and didn’t even think of them as anything but fictional characters, but I was open to check out whatever we were doing.

We made our way down to the beach below the ruins of Tintagel castle up on the bluff. The legend goes that the wizard Merlin raised Arthur in this cave beneath the castle. We waited while Patricia went down to the cave’s opening to perform a short ceremony and open the portal. We were the first people there and the tide had rolled out, exposing the entrance to the cave.

After Patricia signaled for us to follow, we walked up the beach. Just like at Stonehenge, time radically slowed down and the air felt, for serious lack of a better word, epic. It felt like something important was happening. Huh. We walked into the cave and sat down in a circle.

Patricia invited Merlin in repeatedly and we all closed our eyes and chanted an OM together. On the third OM, high, wailing voices joined in that I’m not entirely sure were coming from our group. Sitting there with my eyes closed, suddenly I saw the entrance to the cave off in the distance, as if my eyes were open. The entrance pushed away into the distance, and a shrouded figure walked in through the shadows. I could barely see his body at all in the dark, but his eyes glowed white like car headlights. I opened my eyes. Huh.

We all split up to pursue our bliss in the cave in our own individual ways. Rick climbed up to a ledge in one of the cave walls, which he described as having an intense energy not unlike what we’d experienced in the crop circle. I climbed over the rocks to the back of the cave, where there were several pools of ice cold sea water. I stripped down and climbed into the water. Getting into the water was an extremely intense experience, both because it was cold but also because of an intense energy that seemed to cut straight through you. I floated on my back and looked up at the cave’s ceiling.

A small blue jellyfish floated into the pool, hovered around me and then settled in my lap. Hmm.

After about ten minutes of this, the icepick cold was starting to get to me. I tuned into my guide Kobo Daishi and asked him if I’d received everything I was meant to get from being in this cave. He said to stay in the water for one more minute. I sat up and shivered as the minute ticked away.

Toward the very end of the minute, I experienced a sudden flash where I saw a tall figure with a white beard standing in front of me. He held a sword in his hand and touched it to each of my shoulders, like I was being knighted. He touched the tip of the sword to my heart and then the flash was over.

Huh. That was weird. Was that Merlin? Is he a real person? I wasn’t sure what to make of it. As I sat there, wondering, a feeling of love filled me, like I was remembering an old friend. Huh, I love this guy. Well okay then.

I climbed out of the pool and put my clothes back on. Distant music played from the other side of the cave. What are those guys singing? On the way back out of the cave, some of the members of our group were crawling into a narrow crack in the rock that disappeared back into the blackness. I waited my turn and then squeezed in, sloshing through the shallow water to the back of the crevice. I put my head to the rock and closed my eyes.

Have I got everything I was supposed to get from being here now? In a flash, the white bearded figure was standing in front of me again. He held an elaborate necklace, which he hung around my neck. At the center of the necklace was a large gold medallion inlaid with jewels. And then he was gone. Huh.

I regrouped with my friends and asked them what they were singing in the other end of the cave. What singing? That music, who was that? There wasn’t any music Sean. Huh.

The next day we were in Glastonbury and I hiked up the Tor. Sitting on the hillside and taking in the panoramic view around me, I slipped into a meditative reverie. When I came back, Merlin was sitting beside me. It felt very casual, just hanging out with a friend, sitting together on a hill. I felt a vortex of energy swirling in my chest. I looked down and saw a glowing sacred geometry symbol rotating over my heart.

It was clear in that moment that I had picked up another guide, like Kobo Daishi in Japan and my Rapa Nui grandfather on Easter Island. I saw that Kobo Daishi was helping me heal my childhood, my grandfather was helping me get out of my head and experience all the levels of reality beyond the physical, and Merlin was going to show me how this reality operates and how to create and manifest. It was like having different subjects in school and a different teacher for each. I realized I probably still had more teachers to meet as I traveled. I wondered who I would meet in Tibet.

Chapter 6: Push It Out

Our first night in Devizes, our group was hanging out in the hotel bar having a very wide-ranging esoteric conversation. I realized eventually that the guy sitting next to me wasn’t a part of the tour group. It turned out he was a fan of Patricia’s books and was interested in the tour but couldn’t afford to join it. For the sake of his privacy I’m going to call him Phil.

I looked at Phil and saw that he was spiritually aware, but was lost in a great deal of pain and suffering. It was plain on his face. We talked a bit and I noted down some books he recommended. Later that night I mentioned him to Rick.

“Oh, that’s who that was? That guy’s a serious alcoholic, he has all the obvious signs.”

The next day we were attending a presentation by the crop circle researcher Andy Thomas. Phil showed up and sat next to me. We chatted a bit during the presentation. Huh, I wonder why this guy is being drawn to me.

“Sean, you look like an Arcturian starseed to me.”

Oh man, if I had a dime for every time I’d heard that line!

After our Stonehenge and crop circle experiences, when I woke up from my nap I went for a walk across town. I bought a mushroom pie from a bakery and ate it while I sat outside the open church door and listened to the congregation sing “This Little Light of Mine” with a beautiful earnestness. I made my way up the street to the Wiltshire Museum, where all the artifacts dug up from Stonehenge over the years are kept. When I got back to the hotel, Rick was out and he had the only key to our room. I decided to sit in the courtyard behind the hotel until he returned.

Within a couple of minutes, Phil wandered by and sat with me. Huh. Okay, this means something.

We ended up talking for several hours. He talked about his drinking and various struggles with an unusual candor, even commenting that he couldn’t believe he was telling me these things.

I recognized in him a spiritually aware soul that was working through the experience of alcoholism, something very common in England, and that one day once he overcame this he would be able to help many people who were going through a similar struggle. I related to this, as I recognize that the terrible depression I went through when I was younger has given me the ability to recognize this energy in others and help them work through it. There are certain things you can’t really understand until you’ve experienced them.

One of my favorite practices, which I’ve written about before, is that whenever I see someone in an airport or whatever public space, I take a moment to visualize them full of light, completely blissful in their most idealized form. This always feels very powerful to me, using your power of creation in this way, as I think few people ever even picture or think of themselves this way and it’s unlikely they have anyone else in their life doing it for them either.

As I talked with Phil I visualized his clouded, pained face beaming with light.

When I was on my road trip through the American southwest with my two cousins last year, I was very concerned about one of my cousins, who was struggling with depression. I could see it all around him like a dark cloud. I badly wanted to help him, but wasn’t sure how. One night on the trip I had an especially vivid dream. In the dream, I was talking to a man, and I could see right through him. I could see all the dark energy, the substance, he was carrying within him, like a dark cloud. In the dream, the dark cloud pushed backwards out of his body and he was left in this beautiful clear light. Wow, I thought. Who did THAT? “You did that,” a voice in the dream said. Wait, I can do that? I woke up.

The dream really stuck with me, but I still didn’t believe I could actually do that. I did my best to talk to my cousin and help him in that way, and I think I did, but it was a real struggle.

In the months that passed since then, I’d had a number of experiences that shifted how I view myself, and had moved out of some of the socially programmed modesty that holds us back from believing anything truly great about ourselves. I was ready to believe I could maybe actually do this.

As I talked with Phil I visualized the hazy darkness and despair I saw around him being pushed, very slowly and gradually, out of his body and down into the ground behind him. I continued this over the hours that we talked. Phil’s face lightened and brightened minute by minute.

Rick walked through the courtyard, stopping to say hi and that he’d be up in the room.

Phil and I talked a while more, then I left to go have dinner across town. Fifteen minutes into my meal, Phil showed up and joined me, and we talked through the rest of dinner and on a walk through town afterwards. His face was completely transformed, all the heaviness and haze gone. Wow.

When I got back to the hotel room Rick and I chatted for a minute before going to sleep.

“I saw you talking with Phil. He looks so much better! He must have quit drinking.”

I knew for a fact Phil hadn’t quit, he’d been drinking that very day. Wow. Maybe I really can do this.

Chapter 7: A Whirlwind of Other Places

I’ve written about the most memorable parts of the trip for me, completely out of chronological order, because it was fun that way. So in that spirit here’s an impressionistic swirl of other places we went.

Our first stop on the tour being Longbarrow Henge, a ceremonial site similar to the ones I visited in Ireland. Thinking about what Patricia had said about nature and the animals giving you signs of entry into a portal of energy. Approaching the henge, hundreds of butterflies suddenly took off and swirled around me as I walked up the hill. Inside the barrow, the energy swirled.

On the way back, an entire herd of cows ran across our path for no apparent reason.

Taking in the standing stones at Avebury, as the author Maria Wheatley explained her research that each stone has detectable energetic bands running through it at different horizontal levels, like chakras.

Standing and looking at Silbury Hill, thought to have been man-made of layers of organic and inorganic materials, making it the world’s largest piece of orgonite.

Wandering through St Nectan’s Glenn, Patricia pointing out little houses for elementals on our way to the waterfall at St Nectan’s Well.

Photo by Rick Kircher

Standing in the museum in Devizes, which covers the entire history of England. Recalling the first past life I ever remembered in detail. I had been on an early date with my then-girlfriend Hallie, and we’d gone bowling. One of the animations the bowling alley played on the screen when you bowled a strike was a little bowling ball in a knight’s armor, chopping down the pins with an axe. That night I was startled awake by an incredibly vivid, massively disturbing dream.

In the dream I was part of a security detail of knights or at least knight-like dudes who protected the royal family when they were traveling. We were passing through the woods and had stopped for a moment to rest, when, out of nowhere, an arrow hit me in the neck and I fell off my horse. I was laying on the ground, dying, as I watched robbers descend out of the woods upon the caravan. I struggled to turn my head to see down the train of carriages to the one Hallie was in. In that life she was an extended member of the royal family, a cousin or something, and we were secretly in a relationship. I died hoping that her carriage would be spared.

I later remembered that my dad in this life was the leader of that security detail. I still cherish that memory of him, as he was much happier and more fulfilled in that life than this one. My sister Sabryna was, in that life, the prince of the royal family, only a boy at the time. I don’t know what happened to them, but I assume that it didn’t end well, given that my dad and I are back as my sister’s “protectors” again in this life.

I looked around at the artifacts in the museum and thought about how far I’ve come since the night that memory first surfaced. Life is crazy.

Sitting in bed in our beautiful little cabin outside Glastonbury, looking at the door.

“Are you staring at the door again??”

The light streamed beautifully in the window as a breeze drifted in. Off in the distance I heard water. Even further away, there were sheep on a farm. I felt like I could hear straight across the Earth. There was a bliss in just watching the sun play off the door. I started to get images from another life that was slower paced like this. Sitting in a monastery, in the quiet. Another life, somewhere in the West? My room had a door like this. It was before electricity, you’d just sit like this and contemplate.

Bonding with my stepdad Rick for the first time. Why did this take so long?

Lying in the grass on the grounds of the Glastonbury Abbey, watching the wind run its fingers through the beautiful cypress tree up above me.

Drinking from Lion's Head fountain at the Chalice Well in Glastonbury, while dozens of people sat in silent meditation around the well.

Becoming friends with everyone in our group and being excited that I’ll see Patricia, Janine, Bailey and Kat again when we go to Egypt next year.

Sitting at breakfast with Bailey and Kat, Bailey saying to me “I tend to think of a vegan as an angry vegetarian, but I look at you and you’re clear as clear can be, so it must work for you” as he spread literally an entire stick of butter on his piece of toast. God I love these guys.

Getting to see my sister for the first time in years. Laughing with my brother and sister and my sister-in-law Libby. Noticing my brother and I were both wearing borrowed sunglasses and that losing sunglasses must run in the family.

Photo by Libby Ferguson

Chapter 8: Doubt

You know it was a good trip when you melted into a pillar in Stonehenge and yet you’re still more excited to talk about what’s happened since the trip ended.

My first few weeks back home, I was having the experience that’s becoming almost commonplace after my really spiritual trips, where I wake up every morning still in the place I was visiting. This time I kept waking up in that funky hotel in Boscastle, and as I was walking around the room, trying to figure out how I was going to get to work from the UK, the room would suddenly morph and shift, changing shape and size until it was my bedroom in Minneapolis. This is very hard to describe adequately, in writing it sounds like I’m describing a dream, but it’s a full waking experience. My interpretation has been that I’m traveling to these places in spirit while my body is asleep, and when I wake up there’s a surreal transition where I’m in both places simultaneously. It’s funny to have such a mind-bending experience become almost routine now.

When I wrote about my trip to Easter Island I wrote about my anxiety over sharing my spiritual experiences, and my expectation that people would doubt them. But that I knew people’s negative reactions are just them projecting their own baggage onto you. The great irony of this, looking back, is that as I was writing this for an imagined audience, I was really sending a message to myself. The doubt and judgment I was afraid of was actually my own inner doubt that I was projecting onto other people. Certainly there are people who would read about my experiences and disbelieve them, but I don’t really hear from those people. Everyone I actually interact with is in truth very supportive, being that I generally don’t surround myself with assholes. But inside, I’ve spent my life wrestling with my own questions. Is what I’m experiencing real? Am I fooling myself? We externalize those thoughts and imagine the judgment coming from others so we can wrestle with these issues while keeping our identity intact.

This past year has really been my first spent interacting with a lot of spiritual people, both through the Stargate group and Patricia’s tour group. I’ve always had my mom and my brother, but aside from that I’ve really gone it alone. This new interaction has proved to be valuable in ways I couldn’t have imagined. As I’ve written about before, the experience of interacting with a lot of people who can truly see the effects of the spiritual work you’ve done and reflect it back to you has really changed how I view myself and has boosted my confidence greatly.

But the other side has been the opportunity to talk to other very spiritually focused people about my experiences, and see their reactions. To see that I was experiencing things with a vividness and intensity that they wished they were, and that they found it hilarious that I was somehow still doubting these experiences. Again and again, this reaction. Huh. Why am I doubting myself?

The big lesson from Easter Island for me was about opening up to the emotions and trusting what came through. That being overly dependent on the logical mind was a limitation, not a strength. The more I reflected on this, the more I saw how my logical mind is the only thing I really trust. Why? No doubt our society heavily encourages this view, we lionize the rational mind to the point where I imagine people reading this thinking “Well of course you trust your mind above all else, what else is there?” It’s really the basis of our culture and what we assign credit to for our survival, our progress and our prosperity.

And I’ve been a microcosm of this. I looked back to the instability of my childhood and how my intelligence was my savior then. Bouncing between relatives, unsure of where I was going to end up, I learned to read people and see what I needed to be for them to want to keep me around. I used my mind to excel at school, because that made me valued in the eyes of others. Changing schools again and again, always the new kid needing to make friends, I consciously applied my mind to developing a sense of humor. Because if you can make people laugh, they’ll want to keep you around.

As an adult, I’ve always worked very mental jobs, ultimately ending up as an analyst. My logical mind was my bread and butter and what was keeping me clothed and in a warm bed at night. Even now, it’s why I can afford to travel all over the world and write about Bolivian toilet mishaps. All my life it’s been the one thing I could count on for my survival, my gun in the Quake Deathmatch of life (Editor’s Note: Come up with a less violent or at least more recent metaphor later. Thanx.). No wonder I’m still clinging to it now, asking it for permission to have the experiences I’m having, trying to fit them all into a box my logical mind can understand and approve of.

Seeing all of this shifted things massively for me. Realizing it was my own judgment I was afraid of allowed me to let it go. Writing about Easter Island had been such an intense struggle, but now that I saw where the friction was coming from and was able to release it, writing about my equally crazypants Ireland trip was a breeze. As has been writing about England. What a relief.

I’m sure doubt will crop up here or there for a moment or two in the future, you don’t change lifelong patterns in a heartbeat. But now I can choose to let it go. I no longer want to live in that box. I no longer want to experience life from just one limited aspect of myself. I thank my mind with gratitude for everything it has given me, but it no longer needs to be my everything. It can rest a bit.

Chapter 9: There Goes the Consensus Reality

The trip through England was like going through an intense series of inner shifts, and I think it has changed me more than any previous trip. After the witch museum craziness in Boscastle, when I was hiking up the cliffs over the ocean that afternoon, I found myself in a profound reverie. The plants were glowing with an otherworldly intensity, the colors beyond description. I stood for who knows how long watching a butterfly flit around a bush and a bee crawl around on a flower. I was totally enraptured. But the most startling thing was watching the other people pass by on the trail.

I felt like they were existing in another dimension entirely. I don’t mean that as a judgment, but it just felt profoundly like they were having an entirely different order of experience and all I could do was observe them without relating, like I was watching a penguin or a rock. I was in brain-melting bliss looking at the green of this leaf while a couple walked by, the two of them loudly and bitterly bickering. People were wrapped up in a whole density of experience that I seemed to have separated from entirely.

This feeling continued from that point forward throughout the trip. Walking by people in the hotel in London. Why do they care about what they care about? What is motivating them? It seemed entirely foreign to me. Watching the people in the airport in Toronto. Huh. Sitting on the plane to Minneapolis. I’d been bumped up to First Class on the almost-empty plane and sat in my nice wide seat while the guy across the aisle from me had an extremely loud and obnoxious text notification sound on his phone that kept going off over and over again. I wasn’t mad at all, I was just fascinated that he didn’t think this was a problem. The captain came over the intercom:

“Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll have a slight delay getting into the gate as there’s another plane still docked there, we’ll just have to wait a moment while they push away.”

“Those FUCKERS!” the text notification guy fumed.

What? Ha ha. Is he actually mad? How could you actually be personally mad about this? Does he think the people on the other plane are somehow doing this on purpose? Even if they were somehow, how mad can you be about a 5 minute delay in your first class seat with your mixed cocktail in hand? Maybe he’s joking.

“Dammit! FUCK-ERS!”

Nope, he’s serious. Wow. Fascinating.

This shift has continued since I’ve been home. I used to spend a lot of time watching movies. Now I’m spending a lot of time listening to the crickets outside. I’d already gone through a big shift last year where I started to sell off my massive movie collection, something that had been unthinkable to me before, as it was my favorite thing I owned. I loved having this library of movies, this library of experiences I could have at any time. But something shifted in me after I started traveling, something woke up where I realized I was self-medicating with all of those movies, it was a way for me to not feel the disappointment I felt over not being where I wanted to be spiritually, not being who I felt I could be. Once things started to open up for me and my spiritual progress began to lurch forward, all of a sudden that cherished movie collection just began to feel like baggage and I started selling it off to help pay for my travels.

I still watched movies from time to time, but it was down to one or two a week instead of every night. And when I did watch them, it was almost always an unsatisfying experience, because that oblivion of checking out for two hours was no longer what I wanted, deep down. It was still a deeply engrained habit, and practically a cultural imperative. How else do you unwind? But it felt more and more like an empty repetition of something I used to enjoy.

Since I came back from England, the new awareness that has opened up for me makes watching movies almost impossible. For one, I can’t handle the discord. Even seeing people argue in a movie feels deeply unpleasant to me. This is entertainment? Ick. I feel the same way in everyday life, even watching people teasingly joke with each other feels uncomfortable, like it’s a warped substitute for love.

And in the same way I’ve gained the ability to see depression and negative energy visibly like a cloud around people, I can see it when I watch a movie now, too. It’s like the movie’s content has a certain vibration that hangs over it in a haze. I’m also seeing what seem like layers of cultural and social conditioning in the movies, the messages that you are less than, the constant reinforcement of very limiting ideas. It’s a bit like I’ve got the They Live sunglasses on, it’s crazy. I realize this probably makes me sound like a Quaker or a crazy person, ha, but that’s all right. It’s all worth pondering for a moment, whether you intend to go live in Amish country now or not.

This opening up has also involved an ability to see into things in a way I couldn’t before. When I read things now, I can see into the energy and intent of the author, I can see their mindset and limitations. It’s like I’m seeing into the truth of something directly, rather than having to logic it out indirectly based on the perceived reliability of the source, etc. For example, a reincarnation website I was reading recently claimed that George Clooney is the reincarnation of the actor Clark Gable. I thought, huh, interesting, I wonder if that’s true? I pulled up a picture of Clark Gable online. And as I looked at the photo, something shifted where it was like I was looking through the computer screen into another plane of depth behind it, through a haze that cleared, and as it did, I saw Gable’s face clearly shift into Clooney’s, like I was seeing through time. The truth of it was self-evident and uncontroversial. Huh. Well okay then.

I’m reading ten times more than I used to, as a lot of spiritual books that seemed interesting but theoretical to me before now feel intensely practical and relevant. Things make sense to me that didn’t before, I think because I’m opening up the other parts of myself, and everything doesn’t have to come through the conduit of the doubting logical mind and pass through its judgment in narrow terms.

The other big shift for me has been a change in how I view our media and what we’re encouraged to believe in our culture. I’d already had my faith in the picture of the world we get in America shaken by my visits to the Standing Rock protests and to North Korea. But visiting the crop circle in England kind of broke it for me for good. Having a profound experience there that was blatantly not something made by hoaxers or drunk dudes with a board made me think really hard about how crop circles are covered in the media. They’re alternately treated as a total joke, or ignored, to the point where half the people I tell about my experience didn’t realize crop circles are still happening (weekly, in fact) and the other half think I’m a complete moron for believing in such obvious nonsense.

Where does that attitude come from? We like to think our beliefs and attitudes come from our own rational consideration, but I don’t really think that’s true most of the time. I think our beliefs mostly come from our sense of identity, what we think a belief says about us. We’re the kind of person who believes in this, and we’re definitely not the kind of person who believes in that. I’m not one of those easily-fooled unscientific boobs with poor reasoning skills who thinks aliens are coming down and making patterns in wheat fields! Heaven forbid. But how much of your superior reasoning skills have you really applied to the issue? How many things have we personally given actual deep, challenging study?

If you’re like me, before all this happened, you’d seen a Mythbusters special or something on TV where they made a pattern in some field with a board and a hand-held GPS and there you go! Mystery solved. Never mind that these programs never delve into the harder to explain aspects of the phenomena, the undamaged crops bent in impossible ways, the elemental changes to the soil beneath them, the seeds inside the patterns returning dramatically higher yields than those outside, the eyewitness accounts and the massive patterns appearing within seemingly impossible documented timeframes.

It’s like these programs are just giving permission to people who don’t want to deal with the complexity of the issue, to not deal with it. Maybe that’s what our entertainment culture does, maybe it’s just a salve in all its forms.

If you’re not into any of the crop circle stuff, that’s cool, I originally wrote a lot more about this but ultimately realized it wasn’t important for me to try and convince anyone of this or that. And it’s ultimately beside the point I want to explore about identity. I think we’re under far more pressure than we realize to conform to a specific set of beliefs, based on who we imagine ourselves to be.

I was thinking about the liberal vs conservative divide the other day, America’s binary sense of identity that we’re heavily encouraged to conform to. We pick which of the two boxes to stuff ourselves into and then pat ourselves on the back for the great choice we made. A shocking thought suddenly hit me. As a liberal, do I think the conservatives are right about anything? Any single thing? Oh, sure, of course, I must… wait. I don’t think I do. Oh shit. What’s more likely, that half of the population is wrong about every single thing under sun and “my” side has all the answers… or that I’m in a box of mental conformity based on my identity as a liberal person?

As I’ve come to question the media more and more, I’ve realized with horror that… Jesus Christ I’m agreeing with Trump followers now? What the fuck happened?

It’s traumatic to have your sense of identity shaken like that, and I think that fact is used to control people.

Here I was, having experienced a crop circle dramatically for myself in person, having to reconcile a lifetime of the media telling me they were stupid bullshit that only gullible chowderheads believe in. Why had I never heard of any of the interesting physical anomalies before? I don’t expect the media to put “OH YEAH ALIENS MADE ‘EM” on the front page, but why wasn’t I being trusted to look at the evidence for and against the various theories and make up my own mind?

As I thought about the crop circle coverage more deeply and looked at the reactions people had when I brought up the topic, it was clear this was something we had been socially conditioned to laugh at. Hmm. This doesn’t feel like an accident to me. It’s clearly being laid out that to believe in an extra-terrestrial origin for them is to cast yourself into the identity of one of those paranoid, delusional weirdos who lack critical thinking ability. You sure you want to do that? In case you missed the message, your friends will laugh at you to remind you of this when you bring the subject up.

Now I find myself suspicious whenever I’m encouraged to laugh at anything or anyone. Whenever smugness is celebrated it makes me feel uneasy. That’s such an easy way to manipulate people, to congratulate them for thinking the “right” way.

The implications of this are huge. We’re very used to having a mainstream consensus view of reality to hold our hand and tuck us in at night. It’s so pervasive, it seeps into our own heads. I like to study and challenge things more than most people I know, but I have to admit most of what I think about the world is just based on the general consensus around me. Something I saw on TV, something my co-worker said, something I vaguely remember from school.

So when I find something implausible, what’s that judgment even based on? Based on the same media that told me that North Korea was going to kidnap me for being American or that the protestors at Standing Rock were all violent thugs? Shit. This is complicated. I thought about how I’ve come to realize more and more that everything I consume from the mainstream is really all of a piece. The movies, the news, the sports, the political websites, it all interlocks together to support a single view of reality, of what’s important, of what’s acceptable, of what’s real. Does that make it real?

My very concept of what’s possible or likely is fed to me by this mainstream. It feels like I have a diverse, well-rounded view because I read these five different websites, but how different are they really? How different are the mindsets of the writers for these sites if we’re all watching the same movies, reading the same books, swimming in the same waters? Anything that doesn’t fit into this established matrix is going to sound crazy to me, but only because I’ve formed my entire concept of reality based on that matrix. It’s a circular experience.

Something's changed in the Matrix...

I’m in a very interesting space regarding science right now. People like to think that liberals are generally atheists, but we’re not, science is our religion. Pointing this out is a great way to piss off my scientist friends. But the parallels really are striking. I’ve limited my own growth by needing everything to fit into a certain scientific box in my head, and have spent my life talking to friends who don’t believe in anything that hasn’t been proven scientifically. I find this kind of funny, like things suddenly start existing once science proves them.

“Oh Sean, I just read an article on brain scans that validates all that meditation you do. It actually does something!” Oh, so it’s okay now? Cool. The Pope must have made a decree.

I’ve long felt that we’re insanely overconfident in our belief about how far along we are scientifically, in terms of understanding life and the universe. I get the general impression that most people believe science has things, say, 95% figured out. Sure, there are still some mysteries, but we’ve got all the big stuff handled. So the safest approach is to scoff at anything unsupported by science, since the likelihood that it’s true and fits into that 5% we don’t know yet is small.

I personally believe it’s more like science has about 5% of things figured out, and the areas we don’t even have the means to explore scientifically yet are vast. But I’m also a product of the world that believes in that 95%, so I still have some of that mindset deep down in me. It’s almost like the secular version of Catholic guilt. You can have the most incredible spiritual experiences imaginable, but you’re still swimming upstream against a tide of inner judgment, “That can't happen. You’re just imagining that.”

I often think of Buddhism as a fantastic idea that some dink had to go and make into a religion. I think of science the same way. The ideals of science and the scientific method? Fantastic. How it’s actually applied in our imperfect human world? Kinda shaky.

Whenever scientific studies are publicized, it really is like a decree from the Pope. Everyone, this is what we believe now. Fall in line. To me, truly applying the scientific method to life would mean carrying an attitude that anything’s possible, but we’ve only proven this, this and this. Let’s learn more. I don’t think there’s any room for smugness in science, yet many of the science-minded people I know are far more smug than any of my religious friends. I find this attitude to be heavily supported in our popular culture, at least in the liberal big-city circles I circulate in.

The more I read about the specifics of peer review and publication, the more I’m shocked by the level of politics and ego involved. And the more it all reminds me of the church. Scientists get blackballed and forced out of their teaching positions for researching ideas that fall outside of the mainstream consensus reality. It’s not exactly Galileo being imprisoned by the Inquisition, but have we come as far as we think we have? To what degree have we just traded one control mechanism for another?

It seems to me that we’ve never truly left the model of believing we require an intermediary between us and the truth. The church managed to convince people that they needed an intermediary between them and God, because, jeez I mean you can’t just talk to God, and even if you could you’d probably fuck it up you dummy, so let us just handle this. Is the way science is presented to us in the media any different? We’ll tell you what’s true, what’s real. Don’t forget to laugh at the idiots who aren’t smart enough to get it.

Jesus, am I on the side of the Trump supporters again? Let me backtrack: Science is wonderful and important, I’m just suggesting that this “Science says this, so you’re a moron for believing anything different” is perhaps too confident an attitude based on the available evidence.

I sometimes wonder if I’m going to just start writing blog posts about spiritual developments, if the day comes when I’m not traveling frequently enough to have regular blogs to shoehorn those things into. That doesn’t seem like it’ll be a danger any time soon. So for anyone who’s just here for the funny travel stories, you still get that spoonful of sugar with your Metamucil.

What do you mean I forgot to tell funny travel stories this time? Dammit. Well, hold on for my Australia post then, that one will be guaranteed to be funny. I mean, they have kangaroos and shit there! Have you ever seen a wombat? Holy shit! There’s no way that post won’t be hilarious. Until then.

. . .

August 29, 2018
As usual, reading this was a highlight of my day! I really enjoyed reading about your thoughts on science and news and trump :) Maybe you could start writing book reviews of all these great spiritual books you are reading too, like cliff notes for us slightly less invested/enlightened students of the cosmos...


September 01, 2018
Everyone loves Merlin the Magician/Druid/Seer/Poet.
Is King Arthur a myth? Was Arthur real? I say, he means something to people, and that makes him real. And he is almost certainly at least partly mythical now, which makes him unreal. And as for that, how about Napoleon Bonaparte? he is part myth by now, and so become somewhat 'unreal', but seems to have been a real person... once.
As for that Witchcraft Shop - it might have had too many odd herbs about, with strange alkaloidal vapors... and if ill-ventilated enough, they could linger and affect people something strange for sure. And uncanny suggestions and images don't help with that sort of thing at all. My sympathies with the problem that gave you.
Hmmm... as for spilling things... error-proneness is a state of physique and mind. It probably could happen in threes. Even statistical[ly-viewed] distribution of events isn't necessarily 'natural' or 'prevalent' or whatever you'd call it.
There's so much your trip to England deals with and shows, that I must stop there, for now.
As for Phil - everyone needs a friend. Alcoholics who express it but can't rid themselves of it, non-alcoholics who are weighed upon by not being able to express it at all, et cetera.

September 12, 2018
It's obvious to me, from your England posts, that your mind is growing. Minds grow - our 'regular mindset in our culture' says we get to 21 (or 18, as applicable in jurisdiction) and we're adult, and that's it. (An author I've read said that we have *four* ages, infancy/childhood, youth, adulthood... and then after we're no longer at all interested in being parental, we enter the 'Fourth Age', as he called it... which others would call 'old folks', of course.)
Minds grow. You graduated from school? It's not the end of learning, growing mentally, or just plain Being (pardon my initial upper-case letter.)
Doubt (or call it, development, since you're not stopping at just doubt-feeling any more for sure) about A. cultural dichotomy (or what I call the British-derived theory that masses of people always divide into 2 parts, a.k.a. in politics, the Two Party System) and B. scientific-rationality-scepticism-accepted-views.... doubt about it is reasonable.
Doubt can be just a feeling, or a cultural self-reorientation, or... well, it is there, but it isn't a guide, so much as just the breezes that blow by you. Go with the breeze's direction, or not? it's a choice, but no obligation.
Growing is good, I think.


The Bahamas I turned down the street and was three quarters of the way down the block when my car suddenly farted. Uh-oh, what- The water had swelled to two or three feet deep all around the car and my car quickly decided “No Sir, I don’t like it.” With a gasp and a shudder and an anticlimactic sigh, the car was done. The engine burbled and stalled and the car drifted to a halt in the middle of the lake that was also a street. No no no no no. Yes yes yes yes yes, my car replied.

Uzbekistan The musician wandered away. Then promptly returned and farted out another Indian tune. I could visibly see Amit trying to die. The song ended and I applauded loudly. “More Indian music!” The banjo dude obliged. Eventually Amit had to give him some Uzbek money just to fuck off. The whole thing was hilarious.

France The murmurs of awe from the children around me switched gears into concerned gasps as they clutched at their parents. The dragon strained against its chains and began to look very pissed-off.