In this next part of what’s sort of become known as the Soul Keeper series, I wanted to introduce some of the beauty and mysticism of my homeland, Wales (Cymru to the Welsh among us). So, the story includes names of places unreadable and unpronounceable to anyone other than the Welsh or those who speak it. Make up your own pronunciation; it’s just a story. 🙂 You can, however, check Google Maps and Images to see more of some of the places mentioned; they’re real.
In this story, Dafydd (David in English) the Soul Keeper, undertakes journeys. One is physical and the other, well, you’ll see. This is a transitioning story, in that it sets the scene for a more important setting in the story after this.
Here’s where it began. The Soul Keeper.
Then there was this. Because I Said I Would.
Followed by this. The Disobedient Soul Keeper.
And now there’s this.
Olwyn was an interesting woman. Very few people are genuinely tuned in to the Presence, and a substantially smaller number again are aware of the Soul Keepers. Old parables and modern myths tend to describe us in glowing and other-worldly terms, just as happens with the saints and identities of religions and superstitions. These parables and myths are not to be taken as unchallengeable truths; they are merely demonstrations of truths, but the human desire for paragons and immortals has elevated them and us into the realms of the mostly non-human.
Olwyn was most definitely human; a crusty old woman with no time for fools, which to her meant no time for anyone. I met her in the Dreamscape, one of the ethereal areas where Soul Keepers go to regenerate their energies. Since this whole Soul Keeper thing had begun it had turned my life upside-down. Lin had, and continues to be, a blessing in my life, but even her knowledge was limited. When the nosebleeds began and wouldn’t stop, it was Olwyn who came to me in the sleep state and directed me to the Dreamscape. The nosebleeds stopped after that, but I didn’t really know how or why.
A few months passed, and she became a regular mentor in my spiritual life and also in my temporal one. Her eventual emails confused me for a time. They’d disappear as soon as I read them. They weren’t single-view emails; I know how to do that. They disappeared from my screen as I read the last word, and I doubt they exist on a server anywhere. I extracted a worthwhile lesson from that. While I didn’t feel any vanity or superiority from being a Soul Keeper, there was a good reminder that while I’ve been chosen to do this work, there are others out there so powerful and so in tune with the Presence that they make my efforts look small. Not inconsequential; just small.
The Presence had only spoken to me directly that one time, when I’d been disobedient to the House Rules and brought my friend Dylan back to life. My own soul disintegrating as a result of it, the Presence put me back together, saving my life here and in the hereafter, because It said It would. There is so much left for me to learn and I hope I’m given the ability to learn it, not for my sake or for curiosity’s sake, but so I can learn how to get out of the way and help those who need it.
At her bidding, which I have to say was persistent and at times breathtakingly blunt, I began my travels from Australia to Wales, but the route was certainly circuitous. Olwyn really knew how to trigger me, and I tolerated it a few times before telling her to get stuffed. “You may be a master, but you are not my master,” I said. “Watch your fucking step.” She seemed to delight in being told off; I think very few people stood up to her, and she liked it when they did.
My perception may be wrong, but I don’t believe in selfless service. The Presence designed us with personality and free will so I won’t abandon mine, otherwise what will I be except an obedient, mindless drone? I will try my best to do no harm, and I will try my best to have no harm done to me. I think that’s fair and reasonable. I can’t say my explanation made Olwyn any less of an old bat, but at least she kept her fangs to herself after that.
So, in the event I did not simply drop everything because Olywn said to. I took a few months to organise and arrange my work and life, because abandoning my obligations seemed to me to be inconsistent with my spiritual work. Abandon the living to assist the dead? No, I won’t do it.
Before I began my travels in earnest a few strange things happened. Yes, I had to redefine my notion of ‘strange’ given my nighttime occupation and the company I kept in it. I’d broken my nose several times when I was in my early twenties, and since that time my left nostril had been permanently blocked by misshapen cartilage. One afternoon while I was reading a book, the most searing pain shot through my left eye, followed by a loud ‘crack’. It felt like my nose had been broken again. It took my eyes a minute or so to stop watering, and then I had to blow my nose. A small piece of bloody cartilage, half the size of a pea, came out and I could breathe clearly again. It’s an odd and jarring feeling. I was over-breathing for days before I got used to it, because for decades I’d had to over-breathe just to get the right amount of air into my lungs.
A few days later I developed a really bad toothache in a place I didn’t have a tooth. I’d lost an eye tooth years ago and had a permanent replacement; I just thought my jaw might be changing shape with age. The dentist seemed unsurprised when he told me I was growing a new tooth, which was crowding the replacement. He suspected it was a second tooth that had just taken a long time to replace itself. I knew better. I stopped wearing reading glasses soon after.
“How’s the regenesis coming along?” Olwyn asked. I decided to be wickedly gross. “If I get any younger I’ll be climbing back into my mother’s vagina,” I said, hoping to shock her. She just ignored that, so her judgment wasn’t all bad. That night I didn’t go soul keeping, but I felt the Presence. It said: “I will restore to you the lost years.” There was more, but it was too personal to share. I woke with a sense of certainty.
My carefully planned itinerary came unstuck right from the beginning. I’ve never been pulled out of line, but this time it happened at every airport. My baggage and laptop were dusted. I missed two connecting flights. On the longest haul, I missed out on two meals in a row; they’d simply ‘somehow’ miscalculated the numbers and both times they ran out. I had choices to make. Get angry and act like other impotently irate passengers, or breathe. I breathed.
I must have made some friends because of my good-natured attitude, because when I finally landed at Gatwick Airport I was met by a manager and gifted a free night’s accommodation with meals in a very good motel. My luggage, however, had gone astray in Singapore and no one knew where it was. Then at the motel I received more effusive and embarrassed apologies when they told me they were fully booked, and no one knew how the oversight had happened. They arranged a room at another motel and, you guessed it, the courtesy car they were to drive me there in broke down half way.
Jet lag was setting in, my luggage was lost, and I’d been in these clothes for more than one dance, but Lin’s words to me gave me real comfort: “Always have a mind that is willing to let go.” I did, and I saw everything that had happened as a series of minor mishaps rather than the end of civilisation as I knew it. I smiled, showered, ate, slept, and after a late checkout I began my road trip to Wales.
“Let the New Agers have the ‘energy centres’ and ‘spiritual vortexes’ they claim to know. Even their misguided understandings help us by shielding us from eyes that would look dimly on what we’re about,” said Olwyn, the first of the Soul Keepers I had met in person.
“There is a place of no-place, where time functions differently and energy is absorbed in ways incomprehensible to humans. The Presence has a plan; it’s visible to everyone to experience, and yet humans, more than other sentient life forms, prefer struggle and chaos. They’re unnecessary but helpful, and all part of the Tendency Toward Complexity. If the Presence wanted simplicity it would have stopped with hydrogen.” Olwyn, as I’d learned, was exceptional at deep insight and random weirdness. Sifting which was which was a task left to the listener.
She lived in Caerlyon, not so far from my birthplace in Caerphilly, and it had been loosely planned that I’d stay at her home for a few days but when I arrived it was so messy, disorganised, and dusty that I begged off and stayed in a small motel instead. I suspect she worked very hard at being eccentric and playing the dotty but endearing old maid, but I was under no illusions about her; she had a steel-trap mind and there was nothing she missed.
Ynys Mon, (the Isle of Anglesey) has for millennia been the spiritual and at times temporal home of the Druids, and it was to here that I was drawn. Travelling by a circuitous route, I settled at Cribinau, a small tidal island off the south-west coast of the Ynys Mon.
Not far west of Aberffraw village, the island is reached on foot at low tide, and is notable for the 13th-century church of St Cwyfan, called in Welsh: eglwys bach y mor (“the little church in the sea”) or simply Cwyfan.
There are three versions of the history of Cwyfan: that of the Oppressors, the English who attempted to bring their model of Christianity to Wales; that of the bobloedd, the local folk, who confounded the Oppressors with their deliberately misleading myths and legends and their stubborn refusal to be ruled, and; the Druid, who remained hidden in plain sight and were the Keepers of Souls and Guidance.
In the late 12th century the Druid forged Cribinau with elemental magic, and soon after Cwyfan was built. It was only the Druid, however, who were aware of the large underground and undersea tunnels and chambers spreading out like tentacles from under the church.
I had made my way to Cwyfan, enjoying being home, and probably even more so because I hadn’t told my family or friends I was coming. I had freedom without any expectation. In Ynys Mon I went undetected, which is really saying something in such a small place. Passing through Abberffraw was the same; everyone seemed to be looking the other way. If I had read the tide charts correctly, I’d have had several hours of waiting before I could even consider wading out to the island. There were small boats dotted about and I could possibly hire one, if I could find the owner. As my luggage still hadn’t been found, I packed lightly the few necessities I’d bought.
From here, I had even less of a plan than I had before, which is to say I had none. I’d need to keep warm; the wind here was chill and the night promised to be very cold. I needed food of some sort, too. My sense was that I would be staying overnight in the church, even though I didn’t know if that would be possible. At the closest point to the island I stopped, surprised to find the tide completely out. I knew I couldn’t be that wrong; I know how to read a chart. I thought of Olwyn and I wondered.
The room was almost empty except for me, and yet there were two entities present, because the air itself and everything within was imbued with the Presence. I found my previously lost luggage, neatly tucked into a corner next to a small dresser. Soft clicking and whirring from behind a curtain revealed itself to be a small fridge in a kitchenette. It looked as though I’d be staying for more than a single night, judging by the amount of food and drink.
I sat on the small, firm bed opposite the kitchenette, accepting everything but still wondering where all this was leading and what it was building up to. A rustling sound when I put my elbow on the pillow led me to a small sheaf of notes, hand written, that had recipes on the first half dozen pages. That was thoughtful, although I know how to cook. And then at the end of them a note clarified the meaning of the recipes.
I recognised Lin’s handwriting and the smiley faces and doodles she’d decorated the pages with. The recipes were very specific and to be followed in the exact order they appeared, and at the times specified. Oh dear, it looked as if I was going to be on a detox diet. Several following pages went into what I was to do with my time over the next ten days. Ten days!
And so it was that I began the purification process, which was at first really unpleasant. Having maintained good health I thought this would be a walk in the park, until the massive headaches and stomach cramps began. The first two days were tolerable, the next four days were horrendous, and the last four days were … enlightening. I don’t know where that word came from; it’s not how I would have described it, but there was no doubt I was lighter in body and in mind.
On the eleventh day I was ‘activated’. My constant headache vanished, and I felt clear. Having not left this room in all that time it should have been pretty ripe in there, and yet it wasn’t. A pervasive yet light scent of jonquils had filled the air the whole time, but there weren’t any flowers in sight.
Something was building, that much was obvious to me, so I closed my eyes and there was Lin. “Well, come on, then!” she said, smiling and holding her hand out, wriggling her fingers as if I was a small child. I guess I was. “Hiya, Beautiful!” I said, so happy to see her. “Where are we going?” She smiled at me, grabbing my hand and saying: “City of Light!” I wanted to annoy her a little by asking: “Are we there yet?” but as soon as my hand touched hers the stars shone brightly and then I went out … ummm … like a light.
Akasha. I knew in that half a heartbeat before I left my body that I would be waking up in Akasha, the City of Light.