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 90â€™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 writersâ€™ Â 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 Â force Â of Â memory Â while Â I was Â alone Â with Â my Â eyes closed, the Â secondÂ struck me in a crowded room, eyes wide open, and scared the bejeezus out of me.
It was in the late 90â€™s, and finally a great writersâ€™ 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 Â comedyÂ was the new big thing that year, Â 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 didnâ€™t have anything to fit what her publishing Â house was looking Â for then. But that Â was one of the most enjoyable meetings Iâ€™ve ever had with an editor.
Claire did something Â Iâ€™d never seen another publishing professional Â 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, Â she Â played Â word Â games Â with Â us Â to get Â to know us better.
The first question was something like: â€œWhat is your favorite Â animal?â€ Â We Â went Â around Â the Â room Â and Â the women Â gave Â answers Â like Â dog, Â giraffe, Â elephant, Â monkey…badger. My response? Â â€œA stag.â€ I didnâ€™t say deer. I said, â€œA stag.â€ The insights? The animal we Â named embodied qualities Â of our ideal lover. And that would be what? Â 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 Â and give two adjectives Â that described them.Â ThisÂ oneÂ was Â hard Â for Â me. Â Other Â people Â mentioned the ocean because it was so big or a river that just went on forever. My answer? â€œA waterfall and a lake, in- tense and deep.â€ 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 couldnâ€™t see the source of, and give two adjectives for how we felt. The other womenâ€™s answers? Mostly frightened, claustrophobic, Â and a couple of quiets. There were few exceptions.
NotÂ me. Â I Â got Â a Â full-fledged, Â eyes-open Â vision Â of somethingâ€”somewhere and somewhenâ€”I havenâ€™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 roomâ€”a temple, I think. There was a sense of otherworldliness, Â 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 Â were Â three, Â maybe Â four Â pillars Â that Â supported Â 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 wasnâ€™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. Â I knew the walls around me were thick stone, but it didnâ€™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, Â peace, power, an outflowing of love and a zing of energy.
â€œSo what are your adjectives?â€ Â I heard Claire ask the woman next to me.
I barely Â registered Â the Â womanâ€™s Â emphatic Â response: â€œScared and claustrophobic!â€
I was still blinking when Claire turned to me. â€œAnd you?â€
I took a deep breath. The extreme emotion from the sudden flash was still with me. â€œSerene and powerful.â€
Claire seemed surprised. The women around the table, most Â of Â them, Â frowned Â at me, especially Â the ones who were still shiveringÂ at the scenario theyâ€™d been presented with.
â€œThatâ€™s interesting,â€ Â Claire said. â€œThe room with no windows or Â exits is an analogy for how you feel about death.â€