Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hypnotic Land

Last spring my plan was to move to the desert near Big Bend National park, go off grid, build a small adobe shack, and create a demonstration project that would show we can live beautiful lives, sustainably, in even the harshest conditions. At the beginning of May I put my things in storage, moved the cats to my friend John’s farm and then spent five weeks there while I began planning a kickstarter campaign to fund my adventure.  I’d gotten down to where I thought I could pull off the whole shebang with a mere $5000 (although $10-15k would have been ideal). I started laying out a blog about the project, bought a mini-camcorder so I could film my pitch for kickstarter, and really set to work ironing out all of the details.

My son Collin and I then took the train to my parents’ place in PA in early June.  Collin stayed a week, and I planned to stay about eight weeks while I launched my campaign, then head back to Colorado in August and hopefully be on a piece of land in West Texas by the end of September. However, when I got back home I started getting this intuitive message “hold off, don’t launch the campaign, wait and see what presents itself here”. 

What presented itself (first) happened to be cancer, in both of my parents.  And so I was suddenly needed, especially with regard to my mom’s issues/surgeries and ensuing accident. And so I ended up staying five months instead of two and going down a completely different path than the one I initially intended.  I am now NOT in West Texas, but back in Colorado where I’m planning to remain.

Being back in my childhood home and amidst the terrain of my childhood again was fascinating.  I embraced the experience whole-heartedly, becoming like a child again (and it wasn’t a choice, actually--it just happened).  It seemed to be coded into my muscle-memories. I took the stairs two at a time, like I did throughout childhood. Serious concentration was required the few times I tried to walk up the stairs in a more adult-like manner.  I found myself spontaneously doing calisthenic-type exercises, as I did throughout my teen years—pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and yoga-type stretches.  It was as if that activity was coded into the environment.  To be there was to act in a particular way.  I climbed trees again, instantly becoming lithe and catlike like my childhood self—not the often stiff and clumsy 40-something I’ve become. I broke into spontaneous runs, danced with the wind, got down on all fours, caught fireflies, and roamed and roamed throughout the hills and valleys.

One thing I was eager to explore was the hypnotic quality of the land there (as I’ve written about previously). Why did my childhood home make me so sleepy, bring so many vivid dreams, turn me all contemplative, intuitive, and mystical?

One of the first days I was home my sister, my nephew, and my nephew’s  wife came for dinner. My sister had just gone to Gettysburg with her husband and had stayed in a so-called “haunted” bed-and-breakfast. As part of the package they were given all sorts of ghost-detection tools, one of which was a pair of dowsing rods (apparently water isn’t the only thing that can be found by dowsing).

We got to talking about dowsing in general and my sister went and grabbed two metal coat hangers and turned them into dowsing rods.  Then we all traipsed outside and began dowsing.  First we went to our old spring (still there, but no longer in use) and we all dowsed above it.  Most of us got a strong hit (mine was crazy strong).  After that we tried the old well (also no longer in use) and most of us got even stronger results, probably because the metal casing strengthened the “signal”.  Then we walked down the road and dowsed by the creek.  (Obviously my family isn’t too concerned about what the neighbors think.) As you dowsed and got a “hit”, in addition to the rods going crazy, you could feel a strong buzzing sensation in your hands.  My mom dowsed above my head and I could feel the hair on my scalp standing up.  Pretty wild.

As soon as I got back home I began having my old sleep issues—sleeping too much, dreaming too much, even one other bizarre effect: I would wake in the middle of the night unable to ascertain the position of my body in the bed.  It would feel like, for example, I would be lying on my left side with my head pointing to the west but I’d open my eyes and find myself  lying on my right side with my head pointing to the east (or some other odd direction).  If I was lying on my right side how could I not feel the pressure of the mattress on my right shoulder, right thigh, etc.?  How could I not feel the effect of gravity or detect up and down? When I focused on these questions while I was having the experience I was able to figure out that I wasn’t feeling the pressure of my body against the mattress at all—instead it was a disorienting “floaty” sensation.

A few days later I happened to open up my compass while I was in the bedroom.  The dial went crazy when I moved it over the mattress and I realized the metal coils were probably to blame. So maybe my sleep disturbances had to do with an electro-magnetic field created by the steel coils. I decided I would try sleeping on a foam mattress on the floor to see if I noticed any changes in my sleep experiences.  Meanwhile, I also decided to grab the dowsing rods and dowse the room.  Of course, the mattress made the rods go crazy, as did the cast iron radiator (and all things metal), as well as the corners of the room and the closet.

Moving to the foam mattress however didn’t seem to change anything. Later however I began to notice a subtle difference when we had periods of dryness after periods of heavy rains.  The drier it was, the less pronounced were my sleep disturbances. I suspect it wasn’t the rain itself but rather the rising and falling groundwater levels that impacted my sleep. 

Out of curiosity I started querying online and came across the topic of geopathic stress.  Fascinating stuff—previously too New-Agey to have captured my attention--but now it seemed very relevant. Basically, various geological features create altered electro-magnetic fields.  Some of these altered fields appear to be detrimental to human health.  It’s believed such things as underground streams, fault lines, deposits of coal, iron, and oil, the presence of mine tunnels, et cetera, can adversely affect human health.  Underground streams are supposed to be especially bad.

Online I came across a list of symptoms of geopathic stress: sleep disturbances; restlessness; difficulty in getting to sleep; excessive dreaming; excessively heavy sleep; excessively heavy sleep requirements; waking unrefreshed; cold feet and legs in bed; restless leg syndrome in bed; asthma and respiratory difficulties at night; fatigue and lethargy; mood changes; sleepwalking in children; and, in adults, waking at odd angles in the bed.  Also, if your bed happens to be located where two or more lines of geopathic stress cross, cancer is very likely.

Cats are attracted to geopathic hotspots, but birds, dogs, and livestock avoid areas of geopathic stress. (Also attracted are insects, molds and fungi, members of the nightshade family, and certain medicinal herbs, like mistletoe.)

My parents’ property and the surrounding lands have loads of underground streams.  There’s a spring on the property, and lower down a seep, and just below that in the adjacent pasture a small swamp.  There’s an old coal mine with tunnels that run just fifty feet below the house.  In addition to coal deposits the area is riddled with deposits of iron ore, and the area is also where the Marcellus shale boom is happening.  Areas that are rife with underground streams are also supposed to be lightning magnets, and my parents’ property bears that out.  The house has been struck twice in its history and trees on the property have been struck numerous times.

There’s a family story that when my oldest sister was about twelve, she had a fight with my mom and in a bout of anger said she was going to sleep out in one of the trees in the yard that night.  I forget if she started the night in the tree and then came in, or if she changed her mind before ever going out, but it turns out that later that night a storm rolled in and the tree was struck down by a bolt of lightning.

As a young child I was deathly afraid of lightning.  I was sure the house was going to get struck by lightning and burn to the ground and we would all die.  I would cry every night there was a thunderstorm, much to the aggravation of my sisters.  During the summer when I was seven there came a horrible week when it stormed every single night. And I cried every single night and woke the whole family up. My sisters, with whom I shared a room, were about to kill me. Finally there came the worst night of all.  A storm system stalled over us and it was the worst and the loudest and most terrifying thunderstorm of all times. 

My fear had been exhausting me all week and that night I finally reached my breaking point. I couldn’t go on in that crazy state of fear any longer.  I just needed to buck up and deal with it.  So that night for the first time, even though the storm went on and on and on all night, I didn’t cry at all (nor did I ever cry again after that).  The next morning we woke up to the devastation that was the Johnstown flood of ‘77 (not nearly as bad as the 1889 flood but, even so, scores of people lost their lives).  My sisters took to calling me Damien (after the anti-christ kid in the horror movie The Omen)--they found it really creepy that, of all nights, I didn’t cry the night there was so much death and destruction.

Now looking back on it, it seems my intense fears were quite reasonable.  I think I must have intuited that we were living on a lightning magnet.  Heck, I didn’t even need to intuit it—we had plenty of evidence already.

Occult happenings (ghosts, UFO sightings, etc.) are also supposed to be common in areas of geopathic stress.  The theory is that the unusual magnetic fields alter human brain waves so these strange occurrences seem to have an objective reality.  This would explain a lot of strange experiences we had when I was a kid.  As a teenager I had two experiences with entities in the room at night.  I was smart enough to realize they probably weren’t objectively real, but they were still pretty freaky.  The first one, when I was fourteen, might be called an incubus, although there was no sexual violation involved.  I awoke in the middle of the night to feel a man on top of me. Opening my eyes I could see there was no one there, yet I could wrap my arms around his back and feel his body.   I could not pull my arms through him until the sensation of his presence slowly faded.  Some might say it was a dream, but I was most definitely awake and remained awake for hours afterwards.  I wasn’t afraid at all (well, not until the next night when I went to bed).  Another time I awoke to the state of sleep paralysis and could see the shadow of a man standing at the foot of my bed.

My one sister used to sleepwalk a lot and talk in her sleep.  For awhile (I kid you not) she would either start talking in her sleep or go sleepwalking (I can’t remember which now) at exactly 3:33am. THAT used to scare the living daylights out of me.  And then there was the time another member of the family, in the wee hours of the morning, swears she saw a UFO in the field below the house.  Oh, how we gave her grief about that one!  But I think all of the weird things that happened really boil down to electro-magnetic phenomena.  It’s interesting to me that as a little kid I feared boogey men were lurking under the bed, in the dark corners of the room, and in the closet—all areas where the dowsing rods went crazy. Kids, I think, are very good at detecting electro-magnetic fields.

I think the heavy, hypnotic energy I feel at my childhood home is the land speaking, and not only speaking, but shaping consciousness. I don’t think it’s fair to call areas of geopathic stress bad.  They can have detrimental effects on humans, but they can also have positive effects.  I believe the land of my childhood is what caused the intuitive, mystical, and contemplative aspects of my personality to develop. It’s an idea I still need to explore further, but pieces of the puzzle have certainly started falling into place.

Exploring the hypnotic power of the land of my childhood was only one small piece of my total experience during the five months I was there.  It got much more interesting and I’ll be working to share that all with you in upcoming posts.

1 comment:

  1. What's that old saying by John Lennon??? "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans". This sounds like a classic example and interesting picture of that.

    I'll look forward to more of your sharing.