We want you as our earth slave.
I put the pendulum away. I went into Charles’s bedroom and watched TV with him.
But I was addicted. First thing Saturday morning—back to the pendulum. We want you as our earth slave. I prayed over my paper Ouija Board. I cupped the crystal pendulum in my hands and prayed again. I visualized white light on the paper, around the pendulum, around my hands, around my pen and notebook, around my whole body, filling my living room. White light everywhere. I called upon angels and spirit guides to protect me.
We want you as our earth slave.
Our Father Who art in Heaven—
I had figured out by this time that I could influence what the pendulum said. I could make it spell out what I wanted it to say. Not this time.
Don’t bother praying. It won’t work. We want you as our earth slave.
…hallowed be Thy Name….
It was noon. I tore up the paper and burned the pieces in an abalone shell on sacred sand. Then I buried the ashes in my back yard. I took the expensive crystal pendulum outside. I also took a ball-peen hammer and used it to smash that crystal. I burned the black thread, and buried it all. But I was addicted. Sunday morning, I found another crystal point and tied it to another piece of black thread.
What’s going on here? I asked. Then I held the new pendulum over my new paper Ouija Board and waited. Who are you?
My name is Walter Troll.
I nearly dropped the pendulum. Who are you? Why are you scaring me?
That’s not really my name. But you may know me as Walter Troll. It’s my job to scare you.
Well, you’re doing a really good job of it.
Glad to hear that. Have you looked at your life lately?
No. All I’d been looking at was that pendulum. I’ve been learning things from my spirit guides, I replied to this new Invisible. And Isis, she’s a famous goddess, you know, and she talks to me all the time. They say I have a mission on earth.
Do you expect me to believe that?
I believe it!
Do you really believe what a pendulum is telling you?
Yes! Of course I do. Why wouldn’t I?
It was, Walter Troll told me, time for a reality check. What is the quality of your life?
The quality of my life was lousy.
Good girl. Now pay attention. The way to live your life is to get out there and live it. That’s trite, yes, but it’s quite true. You’re so smart? Examine your life. What are you actually learning that is of any use to you, your son, or anyone in the world? What are you learning that is true and useful?
Reality check, indeed. I put the pendulum down and picked up a pencil and wrote in my journal. I went for a walk. I took Charles out for lunch and we had a genuine conversation about the wizards driving the pendulum. And more important issues. I phoned a friend, who said she’d been wondering if I was still alive. Monday morning, I went to work and edited a proposal to build a cement plant in northern Idaho. Then I edited a report on a construction project in Florida. After work, I came home and watched a little TV with Charles, then took him out for supper. We came home, watched some more TV, and after he went to bed, I picked up a paperback mystery. I had to start at the beginning because I’d completely forgotten the plot.
Atta girl, Walter Troll told me Tuesday night. If you spend all your time waiting for instructions from spirit guides, what else do you have time for? You want a task on earth? How is your son growing up? When’s the last time you spent time with your friends?
How could I reply to him?I thought for several minutes. Walter, I said, are you my friend? Really? Who are you?
Yes, my dear, I am your friend. Who do you think I am?
I wish I knew! Why are you here? Why did you tell me you want me to be your earth slave?
Do you still believe you’re the queen of the earth?
Well… No. That just doesn’t make sense.
Do you need this pendulum?
Okay. Yeah. I’m looking at it with clearer eyes now. But why did you scare me? Who are you?
Walter Troll never answered my questions. Like the Little Prince, he was much better at asking questions than answering them. But you know what? He made me face myself. To this day, I don’t know who he was. And all the other Invisibles who talked to me through that pendulum—were they real or did my needy self make them all up? I’d read quite a lot and, when I reread their dictation, I saw that none of those invisible beings that drove the pendulum had said anything I hadn’t already read.
Who was Walter Troll? I have never heard from him again. He spent a week in my head, a week driving my pendulum. What he taught me was to be skeptical of “messages from beyond.” He taught me to look closely at power and magic and claims of power and magic. He taught me that the invisible world may exist only between our ears and beneath the canopy of our skull. The invisible world may also be all around us. It can be hard to tell the difference. And he taught me not to be afraid of knowledge, whether it comes from worlds visible or invisible. He taught me to face gods, goddesses…and invisible trolls. Walter Troll had arrived just in time to tug me back toward feminism, to point me at the Woman’s Movement, and to prepare me to meet the Goddess.
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.