Remembering Other Planets and Times
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Truth.
The second visual flash I had, the one after the past life image of the falcon on my wrist, occurred in the late 90’s. Back then, that was an anomaly. If they happened at all, they tended to be away from home and work, usually when I was at a writers’ conference or with very open- minded friends. But while the first flash happened during self-hypnosis to lessen severe back pain and came with the force of memory while I was alone with my eyes closed, the second struck me in a crowded room, eyes wide open, and scared the bejeezus out of me.
It was in the late 90’s, and finally a great writers’ conference (NINC) was within driving distance and I could get there in a day. One of the editors I was interested in selling to, though my style of writing was on the ebb and romantic comedy was the new big thing that year, was Claire Zion, who was then at Warner. We were allowed to sign up for breakfast with various editors or agents, so I signed up as one of about 12 writers who sat with her over muffins and juice. She sat next to me, and we got to chat a little about our affections for Alexander the Great.
I never sent a manuscript to Claire. I didn’t have anything to fit what her publishing house was looking for then. But that was one of the most enjoyable meetings I’ve ever had with an editor.
Claire did something I’d never seen another publishing professional do. Instead of sitting there while people around the table grabbed the spotlight from anyone else and steered the whole brunch toward their Great American Novels, she played word games with us to get to know us better.
The first question was something like: “What is your favorite animal?” We went around the room and the women gave answers like dog, giraffe, elephant, monkey…badger. My response? “A stag.” I didn’t say deer. I said, “A stag.” The insights? The animal we named embodied qualities of our ideal lover. And that would be what? The Horned God? Funny that I picked a stag at that time.
The next question was for each of us to choose two bodies of water and give two adjectives that described them. This one was hard for me. Other people mentioned the ocean because it was so big or a river that just went on forever. My answer? “A waterfall and a lake, in- tense and deep.” The insight? Something to the effect of this is how you prefer your sexual experiences.
The question that left me visibly jolted was a description. We were to imagine that each of us was alone in a small room with no windows or exits, a diffuse light that we couldn’t see the source of, and give two adjectives for how we felt. The other women’s answers? Mostly frightened, claustrophobic, and a couple of quiets. There were few exceptions.
Not me. I got a full-fledged, eyes-open vision of something—somewhere and somewhen—I haven’t experienced in this lifetime, but I was there in an instant and felt all the emotions of being there. It was incredible.
I was suddenly in a room within a room—a temple, I think. There was a sense of otherworldliness, maybe an- other planet, definitely another time.
I was in the center of a raised round dais of stone. Two steps up, I think. Bluish-gray stone that was cool to my feet. Very present, grounded, firm, real. On top of the dais were three, maybe four pillars that supported a round dome also made of stone.
Beyond the dais was open area. No furniture or people. I was alone. More of the same stone all around me. Walls of that stone. No windows. No doors. And in the stone were markings. Like no language I have ever seen. Cuneiform is the closest.
There was a diffuse light that Claire had spoken of.
Only it wasn’t coming from the ceiling or the walls. It seemed to be coming from…within me.
The emotional surge through me was one of extreme power and tranquility. I knew the walls around me were thick stone, but it didn’t matter that there was no door or window or opening to let me out. If I chose to be on the other side of the stone, I would simply pass through the walls. My energy would simply pass right through. Nothing could stop me.
It was a beautiful moment and place, and I did not want to leave. There was contentment, peace, power, an outflowing of love and a zing of energy.
“So what are your adjectives?” I heard Claire ask the woman next to me.
I barely registered the woman’s emphatic response: “Scared and claustrophobic!”
I was still blinking when Claire turned to me. “And you?”
I took a deep breath. The extreme emotion from the sudden flash was still with me. “Serene and powerful.”
Claire seemed surprised. The women around the table, most of them, frowned at me, especially the ones who were still shivering at the scenario they’d been presented with.
“That’s interesting,” Claire said. “The room with no windows or exits is an analogy for how you feel about death.”