Excerpt for Beyond Belief by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

BEYOND BELIEF

Transcending the New Age



A memoir

by

Patty French

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

Anais Nin


Published in 2018 by

www.smashwords.com



Copyright © The author as named on the book cover.


First Edition


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A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library.


To Ave and Andy with gratitude for their encouragement, support and unconditional love.



AUTHORS NOTE

After reading numerous books on memoir writing, I felt confused about where to begin. ‘How to Write Memoir’ books and courses are similar to self-help books in that they tend to arise from the unique natural flow of a successful memoir writer. The best way to write is therefore what works for them. For example, a dear friend who has supported my writing for a long time urged me to consider the memoir style of Wayne Dyer. My friend’s insights are always useful, so I read Wayne Dyer’s spiritual memoir ‘I Can See Clearly Now’, some time ago while he was still alive and re-read a couple of chapters more recently.

It is a compelling book. Wayne had a gift for weaving universally relevant themes into his personal story. Each chapter in his book makes the connection explicit in a skilful way. He was also a hugely successful, charismatic spiritual mentor, prolific author and thought leader, a self-made American multi-millionaire with a team of editors and advisers to help him craft his work and a big family supporting him. Wayne knew from an early age he had a big message. He was bold and courageous and larger than life. He overcame numerous obstacles including leukaemia before the heart attack that eventually took his life.

My story is in many ways the polar opposite, although we have both operated within the vague construct called the New Age with its interlocking belief systems. I have my own unique story to share with the world. There's been no significant international following, teams of staff or sizeable loving family to cushion the ups and downs of my life.

What I now see is that my main strength is the clarity I have gained about living consciously from the soul, in our complicated times. Although my life journey has been far from straightforward, because I have minimal ties and obligations to others, I’ve been free to experience whatever situations have come my way. While I experienced loneliness in my earlier years, as I have grown older, my life is full to overflowing with the love of like-minded friends and companions.

My family connections are very few compared to most people I know as I am a childless only child. I left my hometown at an early age and returned only to support my parents in their final days. The very few relatives I am in touch with are not part of this story, and I apologise to them in advance for not feeling able to share more of my real self with them.

For as long as I can remember the prime motivating force in my life in one way or another, has been the fire in my soul to grow and understand the purpose of life here on Earth and mine in particular.

I'm very grateful to my friend for pushing Wayne onto me as it enabled me to become clearer about why and how to write my own memoir. It strengthened my mojo and determination to tell the story my way.

Some of what I share in this memoir deals with aspects of reality not taken seriously and are dismissed even ridiculed in the broader community but are very real to many people including to me. An example of this is my open communication with extraterrestrial beings. I talk more about this in Part 5, Conversations with my Star Family. For most of my life, I have been an outsider, creative, spiritual, unconventional and a risk taker. My perspective is often energetic. I sense the energy first then gain the understanding later, sometimes much later, of what is going on at many levels with a being or a situation.

Alongside meeting life’s challenges head-on, there has been an inner drive to continue to learn and grow. Ageing has only intensified this as there are unique obstacles for older people especially older women many of whom are single and lonely. I refuse to surrender to the toxic memes about old age or to be regarded as irrelevant. I feel it is time our society acknowledged the wisdom of age and experience as do many tribal communities.

What my life has taught me so far is that following my heart and learning my soul lessons has led me each time to a better place. My risk-taking has meant I often made mistakes but always achieved personal growth as a result.

For example, in my 60s, when I saw my life wasn’t working, I left Western Australia and moved thousands of kilometres east to Northern New South Wales. I came alone and on a shoestring budget, knowing almost nobody but convinced inside I needed to live somewhere that nourished my soul. This gamble worked for me and offered proof it is never too late to recreate a better life!

One reason I wanted to write this book as a memoir is to illustrate my conviction that each person’s experience is unique, extraordinary and above all limited only by what we think we can we can achieve with our gifts and talents. We all have so many abilities but may not see them.

Every social institution these days speaks of the opposite as we get more and more confined by external control, conformity and rules. I’ve watched this process over time with dismay as fewer and fewer alternative or innovative points of view get invited into the public discourse. To me, it seems we are more and more divided and separated in every way possible.

At the same time, there is a palpable groundswell within local communities in most countries led by those who don’t accept the way the world is heading and want something different in their lives. Many entrepreneurs and inventors are finding ways to create a much better society in many places and groups large and small all over the planet. This movement of people and their ideas is much more significant than you would ever know from the distorted reporting in the mainstream media. This is my world.

Someone once asked Carl Jung if he believed in God. He said, “I don't believe, I know.” I don’t use the word ‘God’ as I feel it is tarnished and distorted by millennia of misuse in all religions, but ‘I know’ there is a divine pulsing Creator force moving my life forward through the agency of my soul and by the expansion of my mind and understanding.

The only way I have found to learn about higher consciousness is through personal experience, sometimes making the wrong choices, learning, creating, expressing and leaving a trail of crumbs of wisdom gained on the way.

Why do I want to add to the deluge of words and life stories flooding the world? Partly this is to demonstrate by example that it is never too late to expand, create from the fire in the belly, grow and evolve. You can only flex the wings of your soul and fly by taking risks, letting go and leaping out of your comfort zone. Feel the sun on your face, the wind in your hair, the adrenaline in the blood coursing through your veins. Be authentic and raw, jump into the flow of life, make mistakes. For some, it is the path of madness, for me divine.

Everyone has a story to tell; nobody is ordinary. My sincere wish is that my attempts here to write my story encourage you to relook at your life and see what you have achieved, including what nobody else knows about, and to be proud of yourself.

One of the joys of writing a memoir is that it offers a licence to follow themes rather than the historical survey of life events in an autobiography. I think autobiography works best for famous people and have assumed much of my childhood, early life, education and the boring jobs I've held to pay for my 'real life' to be of zero interest to readers. Many people and events, even adventures have been left out if they don't relate to the theme. I have at least one more memoir in me.

The stories I tell here appear separate from each other but are all part of a whole, clearly visible with the gift of hindsight, and I weave them together in the later chapters.

Meanwhile, my underlying theme is how spiritual purpose always made its presence felt in my life in non-traditional ways. I later realised my adventures were similar to many others who are now seen as pioneers of a neatly packaged but complicated era now called the New Age. I’ve never been happy with defining my life by that concept and explore the reasons why throughout the book.

Follow your soul’s threads as the weave unfolds

Above all live, love, laugh and magic will flow!

INTRODUCTION

I’m aware of having many lifetimes and believe that all my lives past and present play out at the same time a bit like the films in a multiplex cinema. Sometimes I tune into one or another depending on what else is happening at the time. While many people disparage the whole idea of past lives, it is an integral belief of many cultures. To me, they are my lived experiences. Here are a few examples:

I used to sit and draw at the kitchen table in Christchurch, New Zealand seated on an old music stool. A memory lies within the images. Low stone walls were surrounding treeless fields, bleak and windswept. Broken stone cottages with wisps of smoke. Drawn by a child only four years of age who had never heard of Ireland. Many years later in Galway came the tears of recognition. As we navigated our car along a narrow lane, we passed a man in a horse and cart wearing a fair-isle knitted woollen vest with holes. He shone a radiant but toothless grin just as we came over a hill into my view precisely as in the drawing.

By the time I was nine or ten years old, Mum was regularly bringing me library books in the basket of her bicycle. At my insistence, they were glossy reference books on the Egyptians, Incas and Aztecs. These caused shivers of recognition as I gaze entranced at the grandeur and the golden images.

Much later I had conscious memories of being an initiate in Egypt. I felt the terror of swimming to safety, holding my breath, under the Temple crocodile ponds. Then my choking death from suffocation during the final initiation in the sarcophagus long before such stories were well known.

During this lifetime I have issues with my lungs and breathing. As a small child, I contracted tuberculosis from Mum’s sister Shona, and this profoundly affected my life, not only my lungs. As a young woman, doctors found the TB had re-emerged in my fallopian tubes, so I was never able to have children.

Then there was my terror at having my hair cut. Images in my mind of crude cold shears hacking off my long hair. This feeling connected with the times I had flickers of memory firstly of being a nun in a frigid convent completely silent. Pacing around a stone flagged cloister chilled hands inside a rough robe but at peace. Like many of my generation, I remember being persecuted in a variety of ways by the church including being burned as a witch.

My first encounters with invisible beings were like those many children describe as meeting imaginary friends, but are not necessarily acknowledged or remembered in later life. It began with me playing by a stream edged with lush green grass, in a valley a short walk away from Grandma’s place on the corner of someone’s farm. I reached it by swishing though great tufts of golden tussock grass. I love the tussock which is long and luxurious and is swept by the wind in all directions so that it glistens and glows like great wigs of blond hair. It grows in clumps amongst pasture grass so a child can quickly pass through. There was and still is always a warm feeling bubbling up in my heart when I see the tussock. It took many years for an explanation to come to me, but one day, as I explain later in Part 8, it all made sense.

I used to run fast down the hill to the small stream winding through a remnant of the beautiful forests that once covered most of New Zealand. Just a few ancient trees remained, twisted by the wind with nothing to replace them once they were gone. The sheep had long since nibbled any tender shoots struggling to establish themselves in the thickly matted grass.

Among the little pools were a few rocks where I would sit chatting feeling at peace with my invisible friends.

They flowed gently around me touching me with exquisite softness, and I always longed to return. Even then I knew not to tell anybody about those experiences, so they remain pure and unsullied by judgement and concern from adults.

Anecdotal evidence suggests most children forget their ‘imaginary friends’, but in my case, it was only the beginning. I have always tried to understand what was going on with my unusual experiences, often with unexpected results.

Many years later I had a conversation with Carla Fox* after a Quantum Sphere healing journey as Carla evaluated what she had observed.

Carla: “Your early childhood. So we’ve got you down here as a floater, living in your private world. You did have some ET visitations when you were a child. And early childhood is from birth to the age of around 7.

So ET visitations, but you probably thought they were imaginary friends. I’m not saying you were an abductee.”

Me: No. I remember them too. At a place called Diamond Harbour where some of my family lived.

C: And yet you kept that to yourself.

Me: Oh Yes.

* Carla is a soul sister based in Colorado USA, who does groundbreaking quantum healing work including soul retrieval.

www.quantumstargate.com

PART 1

AOTEAROA-

NEW ZEALAND

CHAPTER 1

NEW ZEALAND 1973 PART I LAKE ROTOMA

Even though for most of my adult life, I’ve lived away from New Zealand or Aotearoa* as I often prefer to call the land of my birth, my connections to her are profound, particularly to the primal, wild places. During my childhood, I had little or no exposure to the Maori people, but that changed in 1973. Here is the beginning of a story that has created many questions and provided very few answers until recently.

It was early morning, damp and eerily still. Lake Rotoma lay shimmering, dark and very deep. The volcanic hills were clothed in dark vegetation dripping from recent rains. In the nearby valley, the hilltops floated like islands in the mist.To add to the surreal atmosphere the hot springs below escaped through underwater fissures creating pockets of sulphurous fog a reminder of the fiery volcanic cauldron beneath the whole Rotorua area.

The only sounds here are the native birds. Magpies, tui and bellbirds with their haunting songs. The mammals living wild in this area are all feral. Escapees or deliberate attempts by generations of Europeans to manipulate the environment or provide food or sport for hunters. Now there are pigs, deer, possums, goats and cats destroying the fragile ecosystem, each differently.

At that time in 1973, there was a bounty on possums in New Zealand. Cute, furry and beloved in their native Australia, they were destructive vermin and worth $2.50 per skin.

My friend Ray had been up all night with his traps. Possums are nocturnal and so prolific he was working all night every night at that time of year.

I stayed away from the shed where he killed and skinned the possums nailing the skins on purpose-built racks to dry. They were our only available protein and tasted a little like rabbit meat when gently braised with herbs and red wine. A natural vegetarian I was still able to put survival first when necessary.

Why don’t you take the canoe and go out on the lake,” said Ray. “Go over the other side. It’s dense bush though so be careful not to get lost,”

Thanks,” I said, “My head needs clearing.”

I pushed the canoe out as the fog thickened, caressing me with its damp fingers. The water was perfectly still, just the spreading ripples from the paddle. I shivered, my spine tingled as I moved out of sight of the land.

After about half an hour I landed on a small beach on the other side of the lake. It came into view as the fog parted and a small area of sand appeared. I sat on a fallen log and tried to create order after the tragic events of the past few weeks. I was lost in memories but in a heightened state of awareness.

I had been in this state off and on for weeks now ever since the accident on my birthday when my lover Brad died under mysterious circumstances. I felt as though I was in a different zone in time and space from everyone around me except perhaps for his identical twin Joe. I had not seen him for a while and assumed he remained with his family.

I was in a permanent dream state. At the funeral in Auckland, surrounded by his wealthy, well dressed Remuera relatives I wore a full-length gold crushed velvet skirt and black velvet jacket with long loose very dark hair. Their thoughts bored into me. “She’s a hippie. Who does she think she is?”

Holding my untidy bunch of red roses, I cared nothing for what they thought. I stood beside Brad’s sister Diana hand in hand. After the graveside service, I untied the bunch of roses and threw them slowly onto the coffin one at a time, tears pouring down my face.

Later I was introduced to Ray.

If you want some space come down to Lake Rotoma any time. It’s very quiet there.”

What do you do there?” I asked politely.

I’m a jeweller, a silversmith. And a possum hunter.”

That’s a strange mixture.” I was vaguely curious. When he told me about the bounty, I understood. Ray was tall and lanky with sandy hair a sprinkle of freckles and a kind face. It might be okay there for a while.So there I was sitting by a lake wondering what to do with my life.

The fog had lifted a little, and a weak sun shone through. Instinctively I stood up and began to walk towards the bush. There was a disgusting smell, and as I drew closer, I came across a partly decomposed cow crawling with flies.

I recoiled and ran back to the little beach and the safety of the log. How horrible. The image brought me back to earth, breaking into my dream in an explosion of death and decay. I sat still as the fog closed over and once more blotted out the sun. My thoughts began to drift again, as I gazed at the surface of the lake, mesmerised by the stillness.

All my senses became heightened as my awareness passed out of me into infinite space. Enveloped by powerful knowingness my body became weightless and disappeared. I felt my mind and understanding to be a speck of light yet with a connection to everything. I was outside time and space.

I saw that death and life were the same, there is no difference; they are two sides of the same state. I had just experienced decay and nothingness with the absence of spirit. I needed to find the balance, move my power into the light, regeneration and life.

There had been too much death in my life recently; I felt I was in a vortex that would crush me out of existence. A voice spoke to my consciousness telling me to leave and re-connect to my life’s journey somewhere else on the planet. Three people close to me had died in the past three months. All were young and promising; two were apparent suicides. I know with all of my being that I will be next if I stay.

As if more proof was required, as I came back into my body I fingered the prominent scar on my temple from the unexplained car roll-over at 10 am on a beautiful cloudless day on a straight road a few days after Brad’s death.

Suddenly a small bird appeared in front of me and began a dance, its tail fully extended. It was a fantail. I know it was Brad. Fantails have been around everywhere since his death. Someone told me that the Maori believe that recently dead souls come to the bereaved as fantails.

It felt clear to me that the message of the dance was to confirm the experience and my awareness of what I needed to do. The little bird hopped in front of me, glancing back and forth at me as its tail was tossing and flicking at me. I followed it down toward the canoe and watched as it gave a final flick and merged into the fog.

Some hours later I sat with Ray in the A-Frame house he had built. We were eating possum stew in companionable silence.

After some time, Ray spoke. “There’s something I’ve wanted to ask you.”

I felt a tremor of uneasiness at his tone. “What is it, Ray?”

When you’re feeling better - you know over it…”

What do you mean ‘over it’?”

Well, Brad’s death and all that. I was wondering if you and I - might get together. I really like you.”

I said nothing, not wanting to hurt him more than necessary.

I’ve made you something,” he said going over to his workbench.

It was a solid silver bracelet twisted into three-quarters of a circle, with a gap just big enough for me to put it on.

Please - just try it on. It’s for you.”

Reluctantly I held out my wrist. The bracelet was heavy and felt like a ‘manacle.

Ray - I can’t… I don’t… oh God, I don’t ever want to think about anyone else, and I have to go away – soon.”

It’s okay I can wait.” Ray tried to hide his disappointment. I could not even try to explain what was happening to me. I had to go.

Ray I’m so grateful to you, you know that but don’t wait I can’t promise anything. Please look for

someone else.”

* Aotearoa is loosely translated as ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’. I use New Zealand, NZ or Aotearoa interchangeably in the book, depending on the context.

CHAPTER 2

NEW ZEALAND 1973 PART II THE NGUNGURU

I rang Moose. He was a huge blond man with the sunburned skin of a surfer, a mate, who had taken it upon himself to look after me.

Come and get me, please. I need to get out of here.”

Glad to,” he replied. “I think he fancies you.”

I don’t know.” It’s none of your business I thought but did not say it.

We drove north towards Auckland without saying much. I knew Moose was dying to know what had happened and why I had to get away. I was grateful to Ray and didn’t want to feed Moose’s insatiable appetite for gossip. I had a lot on my mind and soon drifted off in the warm car.

Where do you want to go first?”

I jerked awake. We were in Parnell Road already, nearly at my shared house in Birdwood Crescent.

Not home yet, please. Let’s go to the Windsor for a quick drink.” I needed a place to decompress and switch to city mode. Somewhere I could remember how to make small talk and be ‘normal’ again.

Moose was always ready for a drink, a smoke or a meal. He was a big man with appetites to match.

The Windsor was an old pub in a newly gentrifying area. Shabby and smoky, it was the right place to be anonymous for a while. A buzz of conversation greeted us as we entered the public bar.

Billiards?” asked Moose. He knew I love billiards.

A drink then a game?“ I replied.

Groups or couples occupied most of the tables. Over by the window was a table with a single occupant. I nodded at him.

Okay to sit down?”

Sure thing mate,” he replied. He was Maori and wearing a navy shearer’s singlet and shorts. “I was wondering when you would come.”

He spoke very quietly and looked me in the eyes. The shivers started as I felt the dream space again. Buzzing in my ears, I felt light-headed, and my eyes went slightly out of focus.

Moose came up behind me with a glass of beer which he offered me.

Hey, I’ve just seen Joe over there, mind if I have a game with him first?”

That’s fine,” I said, “ Take as long as you like.”

So what do you mean you were waiting for me?” I returned his gaze. He had dark, gentle eyes and a soft manner.

Yes, I know who you are. You were up at Ngunguru a while back.”

How did you know that? I’ve never seen you before.”

His voice was strong and steady. “My grandmother told me you would be here. My name is Hene.”

Do I know her?” An image flashed into my mind.

I will never forget the beautiful young Maori girls riding bareback on the sand. Silhouetted against a vivid pink sky. Long hair flowing behind them, the same colour as their horse’s manes. But I did not remember any older women, any grandmothers.

No you do not know her, but she knows you. It was your boyfriend, one of the Pakeha twins, who was killed up there in March wasn’t it?”

Yes, on March 17th, St Patrick’s day, my birthday. But I don’t understand what this is about.”

My grandmother is one of the wise old women. What you would call a Matakite. She is worried about things up there.”

What things?” my heart was thumping.

Several deaths - all in mysterious circumstances.”

What about the police?”

His face tightened. “What would bloody Pakeha cops know about the real world, the Maori world eh? You know we would not normally say these things to Pakeha especially to sheilas!” There was a hint of a smile in his eyes.

Then why now, why me?”

Grandmother says you have special mana - do you know what that means?”

Yes, I think so - it's power. Like spiritual power isn’t it?”

Well, that’s the Pakeha way of saying it. There aren’t any words in English. But it is to do with power, and you can use it for good or evil.”

He was no ordinary Maori bloke having a jug or two on the way home. He was speaking of serious matters. We were in a bubble; the background noise faded to a faint hum.

What about you,” I asked. “Where do you fit in?”

You might say I’m a sort of apprentice; she’s passing knowledge on to me. I can’t say more than that.”

My heart was racing so fast it was becoming hard to breathe. “Can we talk more about these deaths?”

Okay, but first tell me how your fella - what was his name?”

Brad.”

Brad. How he died - exactly what was going on?”

Well, it was my birthday, as I said. Brad went with his friend Matt to get some wine. Just to the pub but he didn’t come back. They went off the cliff in the opposite direction, and he died instantly.”

What was he doing there?”

This was the sixty-four million dollar question. Everybody asked it. Police, family, friends; even the

publican, who was last to see them. Brad left the pub with the wine and a few snacks and ended up in the opposite direction down a cliff face.

Nobody has a clue,” I said.

Did anyone tell you how many other people have died on that corner, in that exact spot in the past three years?”

No. There were others?” My stomach was churning as waves of fear rose up.

Five.”

Have they tried to find a common factor?”

Not that we are aware of. A reporter bloke wrote in the local paper that it seems weird that they were all on days somehow connected to the Christian church. Like Christmas Day, Good Friday, St David’s Day and now St Patrick’s Day. Everyone said what a coincidence, and then they closed all the files as single vehicle accidents, cause unknown. Some said Acts of God.”

Is that a very dangerous corner, compared to the rest of the road I mean?” I asked.

Not really, there are worse ones further on.”

What do you or what does your Grandmother think it is?”

The Ngunguru.”

Is that what the place name comes from? ”

Moose placed another beer in front of me and looked curious. I waved him away.

Yes.” Hene took a sip from his glass and paused. “It’s a few things. Some you can see and some you can’t. The common meaning you will find we tell the Pakeha is that it means a rumbling noise. But for the old people, it’s more than that when you get into the world of the spirits. It’s also a nickname of an insect somewhat like a weta but also like a scorpion.”

I shivered. For some crazy forgotten reason, I had a weta in a jar for years. Large and armoured, spiky with sharp claws. But scorpion was interesting. Brad was a Scorpio, first of several in my life but that’s another story. He was fascinated by scorpions. We used to lie in bed in the soft light of early morning listening to the sea and laugh about the scorpion and the fish living in a beach shack without a care in the world. He even wrote a poem about it.

Brad was a Scorpio; he had a real passion for scorpions even though he had never seen one.”

Hene’s eyes darkened again.

He would have called in the Ngunguru, you know, attracted it.”

What do you mean?”

It’s also a spirit, a dark spirit. It loves the energy of young people. It was kept down for a long time by the power of the old people. But now there’s so few of them left, and they are getting so old ….”

Hene, did you know I had an accident too?” I interrupted as I touched the scars on my head. There were bumps left by the stitches.

No, what happened?” He leaned forward, interested.

It was 10 o’clock in the morning, three days after Brad’s accident. I drove to town along the sand spit road beside the lagoon. No traffic, a perfect day. The car veered off the road, hit a telephone pole and rolled over. “

I will never forget the sheer panic of that moment. It was not even my car. It was Moose’s pride and joy, a pink customised Morris Minor, with rose coloured crushed velvet seats. My first thought was what will he think? Even before I checked my passenger, a Maori girl called Faye.

How badly were you hurt?

Concussion cuts to the head. The police were sure I must have been drunk. They breath tested me. I was sober of course. They checked the steering, all was in order. Nobody could work out what happened.”

I heard my own words as if from a great distance and felt the tears roll down my face as the truth hit me. “I could have died too. I was next!”

Yes, definitely,” he said.

Grandmother wants you to come up with me. Take part in a special ceremony. You can never go up there alone. You would be safe with me.”

I don’t know; I need time to think.” I did not want to hear any more. It was too much to take in.

I’ll be here next week at the same time.” Hene patted my shoulder and was gone.

The following week I had decided to run away and already bought my one-way ticket to London. It was all too much for me.

CHAPTER 3

TRANSITION

When I hastily left New Zealand at the age of 24 to live in the UK, I knew a significant shift was occurring in my life. It was not just the mandatory overseas trip that young people still undertake. The difference for us was that we could quickly get a renewable resident visa for five years, so we felt we had plenty of time. I felt a certainty, expressed to friends as I departed, that I would not return anytime soon. When I came back, I would not be the same. I did return, to live for a few months seven years later, and regularly visited while my parents were alive but as a very different person.

My hunger for spiritual experience was intense. At that stage of my life, I felt finding a teacher, mentor or a belief system was the only way to achieve my goals.

I felt alienated, empty and under a dark cloud. Recent events had left me confused and uncertain about my direction, other than to get out of New Zealand at all costs. I was convinced that if I stayed, I would die. Several friends had died recently. At one of the funerals, people were commenting that I was the common link between the deaths. This thought spooked me; it was all too much to cope with for a young person.

You feel like a lost soul, you need to discover your purpose,” remarked Allan a fellow English Masters student who had embraced Sufism.

Yes I know, but not here,” I replied emphatically. He started to say something about running away from life not being the solution, but I looked him the eye, “I must leave here, or I will die.” It was not the first or last time I felt my life under threat in New Zealand. There have been other such instances throughout in my life, and I describe some more of these later.

Two years earlier while at university, a wholly different incident, but with hindsight, a connected experience, occurred. I was offered a quiet bach, one of the New Zealand names for a beach shack, as a place to study for my final examinations. The bach was on a long beach on the far West Coast of the North Island near Dargaville. One day, on the beach, I walked straight into the energetic remnants of a Maori tribal war. This incident was one of the timeline shifts I have felt more often in later life, but, as a 22-year-old it was a terrifying experience with loud shouting, war cries, flailing greenstone adzes and clubs. Eventually, the scene faded and vanished, and I returned to the bach by a different route.

During this period I felt consciously that moving to the UK would help me to create a new life, and a complete renewal of myself, as happened several times over the years.

PART 2

INSIDE A NEW AGE CULT

1976-2001

CHAPTER 4

HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN TO ME?

I’ve thought a lot about this next period in my life as it profoundly altered me and it was only quite recently I began describing it as belonging to a cult. While it was happening to me, that’s the last name I would have given it even in my darker moments. For we all knew, in those days, that cults were about murder in the LA canyons by Manson and his women or drinking poisoned Kool-Aid in Guyana with Jones and his followers. And later the madness of the cult at Waco, Texas. These words need no explanation for a whole generation.

For twenty-five years I was a paid-up member of what was in many ways a cult even if unintentionally. The Emin Foundation* was very British, a little strange but not sinister to us at all. In fact, it attracted many smart, well educated, sincere, well dressed, employed people. Steep membership fees or subscriptions as we called them, meant there were few unemployed people or hippies. By the time it proved itself to be seriously weird, financially devastating and, at least for me, dangerous to my mental health, it had taken over my life, and I was hooked. I stress the words 'for me' as other people I know had very different, mostly positive experiences. Eventually, I worked out an explanation for what happened to me, but it took years.

I call it a cult as it displayed the three critical features according to the Christianity Today definition. This is not one of my usual sources, but the meaning is accurate if somewhat shallow in this case. How ironic that Christianity itself at the time of its founding was deemed to be a dangerous cult by the Romans. Indeed many today feel the same, but that’s another story.

Their defining features of a cult are that it is exclusive, secretive and authoritarian.

To me, this list is superficial as it underestimates the truth of the brainwashing and creation of co-dependency that often occurs. In the extreme examples previously mentioned, this manifests in behaviour so crazy, we can smugly observe and say “How could they be sucked in like that?”

Well, my answer is it happens with ease; it’s all about how people get swept up by belief systems. They don’t always have to be religious or spiritual but are inevitably about power in some form. What about fanatical devotion to an extreme leader with a religious or political point of view? Or some of the Masonic Orders and other secret societies? The examples are everywhere, and at the core is an absolute belief that a group has information or benefits available only to certain people, who believe themselves to be chosen. The big truths are shrouded in secrecy, and the structures are always hierarchical and authoritarian.

It seems to me that humans who are desperate to believe in something outside of themselves are easy targets. Many become hooked into a group through their deepest fears or longing for meaning, to belong, to feel validated and not alone.

In the most exclusive cults, people are separated from their close relatives either purposely or because their family rejects them. Within the group, they then create new family type groupings. Leaving can result in shunning in some form or another with the loss of friends and dismantling of identity.

The Emin Foundation was not an extreme cult and did not have any deliberate policies like those described above, but after I left, life was very tough. I was alone in a new country and felt in disarray, abandoned and wounded at all levels; financial, social, mental, emotional, physical and above all spiritual.

I made decisions during the period after I left that seemed logical at the time but irrational in retrospect. Eventually, it all turned out for the best as this was how I learned the big lessons of my life.

Before it all fell into place, and while still alone and vulnerable, I even dabbled on the edges of a second very different cult, a few years after I left, and this enabled me to finally understand what beliefs can do. I can now put all the pieces together in a way I can share with others. I describe this second experience in Chapter 17.

I learned it is all so much more complicated than so-called expert ‘cult deprogrammers’ may want us to think. They try to bust the belief and hope the person goes back to where they were before. Not only is this psychological dynamite but also naive. Nobody is ever the same, but there are ways to become stronger and above all empowered again. Some choose to join another religion or take up New Age healing and spirituality. These involve adopting another religious belief system, but maybe not so dangerous.

I chose another path, lonely at first but I soon met people who helped me work it out. Unconsciously at first but later very deliberately I was able to track down the beliefs see where they came from, take what worked for me and walk away realising what happened was a mirror for me to get my act together and live a life of joy and satisfaction.

* ‘The Emin Foundation’ had a variety of names and incarnations while I was a member but it was commonly known to us as the Emin which I call it here or when I refer to the all women's branch The Ewins.

CHAPTER 5

IT FELT LIKE COMING HOME

I arrived in London on 4th of July 1974 and met up with my friend Bridget who had been there for a few months already. It was a scorching summer, and I remember meeting her outside a pub in Camden Passage and embarrassing her with my down under Kiwi brashness. However, I soon learned how to fit in and began my new life. For the first couple of years, I soaked it all up. Pubs, plays, concerts and trips to Europe. My first housemates were all university friends from Auckland.

By the summer of 1976, I had been in the UK for nearly two years and was now intensely focused on my conscious spiritual journey. Since I arrived, I had chased a dream of finding the right teacher, and a belief system that would allow me to grow. I had unmasked a fake teacher or two, attended many workshops, practised Rebirthing and enjoyed Sufi dancing in the Netherlands. I now lived in a large Victorian house in Caledonian Road, Islington in North London. Next door to us lived a diverse group of people including some orange-clad followers of a very famous Indian guru called Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh later known as Osho. As a spiritual explorer, I was intrigued by them in particular by what was called 'Dynamic Mediation' which aims at emotional release, undertaken to loud music. I sometimes joined in. It involved letting go and shaking, yelling, laughing or crying out - all in a group together and was great fun.

For those who have not heard of him, Bhagwan/Osho was based at that time in Pune in northern India and had an extensive following worldwide including in the UK, Australia and the US. He was later infamous because of his fleet of Rolls Royces and other scandals in the US. His story touches on mine much later on but I was never a follower so is not relevant here.

A low brick fence separated the gardens of our two houses and one day I looked out the window and noticed a more reclusive member of their household, a young Australian man called Lee sitting on the wall with some flowers in his hand counting the petals. He had seemed a bit mysterious to me in his comings and goings and did not join in with the rowdy activities of his housemates. In fact, I thought of him as a bit daggy and dull.

He was counting the petals of a buttercup flower out loud. Of course, in retrospect, this seems a little crazy but that was the moment an energy exchange happened, something got into me, and my 25-year journey began.

What are you doing,” I asked

Counting petals,”

Why?”

I’m proving the Laws of the Universe.”

It went on like this for a while and eventually I learned that he was completing a project for the group of which he was a member. Beyond that, he had nothing to say that day. Over time he shared a few more crumbs of information and caught my interest.

If you come and find out more about this it will change your life,” he said enigmatically.

Well, that’s what it was all about for me, so eventually, I went to what they called an Open Meeting in someone’s front room in Hampstead in London, not far from the Heath.

There was a sense of expectation amongst the six other new people there. I took notes that night and kept them so what follows is how it happened for me.The door opened, and in strode an imposing male figure. He was tall, dark, charismatic and handsome with piercing eyes, a moustache and a New York accent.

My name is Thiva. What I am here for is to offer you an opportunity to change your life and begin your real life - right here and now. We are looking for extraordinary people, like you who want more fulfilment in your lives and who want a purposeful life.”

There was something very compelling about him and what he had to say. His words turned out to be precisely what I was longing to hear after my months of searching. What he said touched on one of the reasons why I had left NZ so suddenly after Brad died. I knew inside that this was for me. I had found the catalyst that changed my life.

A few days later I went with Lee and Steve, his housemate, to an Emin meeting.* The venue was a church hall in Gospel Oak, also not far from Hampstead Heath. The forty or so people seemed elated and expectant, and there was a buzz in the air. The night comprised a set of short lectures and activities on esoteric subjects such as the tarot, numerology, the mysteries of Ancient Egypt and palmistry with personal development activities and singing.

It was inclusive, fun and felt good even though it was strange, almost surreal. Not the least in that most of the people wore uniforms they called tunics, openly based on those worn in Star Trek and glistening with insignia, symbols and brightly coloured sashes. To me it was different, intriguing and very compelling, I felt strangely at home and inspired.

Within a few weeks, I had joined and was wearing my tunic, thick green polyester, plain and unadorned except for a Pisces symbol, as I was on probation.

By this time I had also learned that the members of the Emin chose a new name. I became May, the first of several I selected over many years. This name change is to indicate a separation between the new developing self and the old life and made perfect sense at the time.

CHAPTER 6

MEETING LEO

The next major event was a meeting of all the groups in London at Camden Town Hall with the founder, a man called Leo. The atmosphere was electric, and there was a feeling of excitement in the air. Local group leaders in their white tunics and silver or gold sashes were buzzing around as we all waited for Leo to arrive. We sat expectantly in an open horseshoe formation with a space in the centre.

Suddenly the catchy ‘call down music’ burst into life. This music began every meeting I ever attended and is a well known classical piece from the Karelia Suite by Sibelius. The music imprinted me so thoroughly I can still hum it and almost jump to attention when I hear it even more than forty years later. The door flew open, and an imposing man of about fifty strode in. He had short-cropped hair, a goatee beard, powerful arms and wore a long white silk tunic with the sleeves rolled up. On the front was a silver symbol of a triangle with a blue and yellow cross inside. Leo was not the man’s birth name, but it was his astrological sign, as he wore the symbol on the bottom right side of his tunic. He wore big silver bracelets. His whole being radiated power and control as he walked around and stared intently at all the new people, holding his gaze eye to eye for several seconds with each person.

The night flew by. He spoke of looking for people who had grit and integrity and a strong desire for service and who were prepared to stand out from the crowd, undertake personal development and be part of the future. A future in which he would be instrumental in bringing change to the planet.

My heart was beating and my mind bursting. I had been waiting for this all of my life and was the reason I was here in London now. I had come Home; I did not doubt it at all.

How to describe an experience that lasted in one form or another for 25 years? It consumed me and affected every aspect of my life, my mind, soul and spirit, my marriage. My finances, self-esteem and creativity, my employment opportunities, everything. As a result of this experience, I moved overseas twice.

Leo taught us that he passed knowledge on to us in the form of energy codings which altered our DNA. He called us the carriers of what he described as the essence of Model 3. He then explained this is the next stage of human evolution and involves a leap in brain capacity and an actual expansion of the skull – head development. For me, there is still no problem with this potential path, however unlikely, for the human race.

It is abundantly clear to me that we are in the midst of profound shifts in human consciousness accompanied by and integrated with unimaginable technological changes experienced by billions of people worldwide.

CHAPTER 7

A RARE EXCHANGE WITH MUM

Whatever the future held for me there is no doubt that encountering the Emin enabled a profound new level of spiritual awareness and peace.

Mum wrote to me every week. Her letters were filled with homely wisdom and accounts of her observations of nature. (She always slipped British money orders in the envelope which enabled me to survive, but that’s another story). Sadly these two letters were a one-off. I'm not sure why our hearts and souls did not meet in this way again. This letter is unedited though my youthful arrogance makes me cringe today…

Kings Cross

London

3rd June 1976



Dear Mum and Dad,

As usual, time has swept me up and away making it so difficult to catch even a moment to sit down and make sense out of all the things that are happening at this time.

I sat and read almost 18 months worth of diary yesterday and realised that parts of it would probably fascinate you and would also explain, in ways I've never been able to in an occasional letter, what exactly has been going on.

Because I'm sure, you know that I never was or will be the “average Kiwi going off to do Europe.”

My search, since I was quite young was always to try to find some meaning in things. I think I probably tried almost everything that came my way over the years. I looked at all the churches and all the “isms” around and found nothing for me. Drugs and alcohol just give me a pain!

But I always knew that there was a point to it all, that it was no accident that the planets go around the sun in a way that is identical to the atomic structure of the human body, that there is a “God” or a higher force behind it all.

Then one day, 27th January 1976 to be exact, I met a group of people just like me, being taught all the things I always wanted to know by a man whose wisdom and learning fills any room he enters. I realised, as I had always known as well, that nothing is really accidental, that I wasn't in London by

accident in this room any more than I had left NZ simply because everyone else did.

I often talk to people about how much I would like to share with you all the things I'm learning, and they usually say “You can’t they, they won't understand, but I'm sick of that negative approach. If you don't understand somewhere inside of you what I'm saying it would be pretty weird of you to have produced me!

I've struggled spiritually on my own all of these years, but it's been with the inherited strength from you and with your constant support and encouragement.

The spark that's been burning in me is the same one that keeps you both so aware and appreciative of the natural world, of the great cycles of the seasons and of the tiny details of plants (and fishes!).

So I've been wanting to say all this for a while now, it I guess the time chooses itself - so here it is. I've found what I was looking for and it's now inside me all the time.

There's really not much more I can say at the moment, this is probably enough for you just now.


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