I was born into a Republican, Calvinist, working-class family in Ferguson, Missouri, and was a teenager during the 1950s. Nothing remotely “spooky” or occult about my life. I was fortunate to discover the Unitarian Universalist Association during my freshman year in college and was a happy Unitarian until the late 1970s, when I completed my formal schooling and moved to Southern California. Nothing spooky or occult about the UUA, either.
After I moved to California, I met people interested in occult and metaphysical topics. I wanted to know more, so I started reading. I read the mainstream metaphysical literature, the books on the European Occult Revival and the various psychic sciences, books on ceremonial magic, New Thought, alchemy, the Qabala, theosophy, metapsychiatry, and the Universal White Brotherhood. I read Madame Blavatsky, Charles W. Leadbeater, Annie Besant, Dion Fortune, Horace Quimby, Stewart Edward White, Charles Francis Stocking, Manly P. Hall…well, the list goes on and on. (Those books are still on my shelves.) Although I learned enough to be a walking footnote to this day, I didn’t learn anything helpful about the spirit guides that a popular teacher in Anaheim told me were running my life. My boy friend was regularly doing automatic writing, so under his tutelage, I tried automatic writing, too. All I got was a stiff hand. I visited The Psychics To The Stars. I went to a spoon-bending seminar. (I bent one spoon). I attended a remote viewing workshop. All I got was a lot of debits in my check register. I didn’t meet any of my spirit guides.
One day I went to a local metaphysical teacher. “Well,” she told me, “have you tried the pendulum?” Although I didn’t realize it, that was the beginning of the end of my enchantment. But it took me more than a year to get through the learning process. What this teacher told me to do was get a piece of typing paper and print the letters of the alphabet on it in an arc, like a Ouija Board, plus the numbers from 1 to 10. She showed me how to hold a pendulum above the paper. Soon it began to swing from letter to letter, spelling out words. “Just write down the words,” she said. “This always works.” “Good for you,” my boy friend said, “but just to make sure you don’t get under the influences of any evil entities, say the Lord’s Prayer before you begin. And give yourself an hour or so every night.”
Reader, do you know the meaning of “compulsive”? Have you ever seen obsessiveness in action? I should mention here that my son, Charles, was twelve years old at the time. He has always been very bright, very skeptical, very resourceful. I suppose I could safely say that my adventures with the Invisibles helped him become more resourceful and self-sufficient. Within a week or two, my nightly hour with the pendulum doubled. We moved the TV into Charles’s bedroom. My doubled hour doubled again. I sat on the couch, not watching TV, not listening to music, not talking on the phone, not reading paperback mysteries, not petting the cat, not meditating. I sat there with a mini-Ouija Board and a pendulum and talked to spirits. As I told Charles, I was watching the “wizards drive the pendulum.”
I don’t remember the names of all the Invisibles who came through my pendulum, but Wow, I thought. Now I know why I’m on earth. I know what My Purpose In Life is. Four hours every night after work with pendulum, spelling out a sentence and writing it down, spelling out another sentence and writing it down, watching the wizards steer the pendulum round and round and round.
An Invisible who said she was Isis also came and talked to me. She said she’d been my mother in a past life. (Really??) Another Invisible said that my boyfriend had been David and I’d been Bathsheba. Another one said I’d been Cleopatra (the topic of my Ph.D. dissertation) and he’d been Caesar and another boy friend had been Marc Antony. Another one said my boy friend and I had been the King and Queen of Atlantis. Guess what? I wasn’t even skeptical. Yet.
By this time, my boy friend, who had been doing automatic writing for four or five years, had a whole stack of notebooks filled with different kinds of messages in different handwritings, none of them his own. My stack of pendulum papers was about ream-high. We were waiting to assume our rightful places in the sacred hierarchy of the world.
One Friday night, as soon as supper was over and my son was in his bedroom listening to Billy Joel records, I picked up my pendulum, assumed the position, and waited for wisdom. The pendulum began to swing.
We want you as our earth slave.
Come back tomorrow for the rest of this truly-true story.
Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. (www.barbaraardinger.com), is a published author and freelance editor. Her newest book is Secret Lives, a novel about grandmothers who do magic. Her earlier nonfiction books include the daybook Pagan Every Day, Finding New Goddesses (a pun-filled parody of goddess encyclopedias), and Goddess Meditations. When she can get away from the computer, she goes to the theater as often as possible—she loves musical theater and movies in which people sing and dance. She is also an active CERT (Community Emergency Rescue Team) volunteer and a member (and occasional secretary pro-tem) of a neighborhood organization that focuses on code enforcement and safety for citizens. She has been an AIDS emotional support volunteer and a literacy volunteer. She is an active member of the neopagan community and is well known for the rituals she creates and leads.