The Previous Chapter of The Paranormal Memoirs is here. When I was a kid, I associated spirit guide and angel sightings exclusively with danger and disaster.
It wasn't like they showed themselves at Vacation Bible School because the yarn-wrapped popsicle-stick gods-eyes provided an irresistible invocation. May have felt them ganging up in the church basement -- and don't get me wrong, I love a glue-stick craft activity -- but as for hard-core apparition, pretty disappointing stuff, really. I was way oversold on the potential of suburban Protestant churches as paranormal environments.
Looking over this rough list I've made of my "spirit sightings," I have to attest that guardians were most likely to "physically" appear if the sky started falling. I can count on my hands the number of times I've literally seen my Big Lady, occasions like when:
- we surprised thieves breaking into our house
- I stepped into an enormous nest of yellow jackets
- our school bus swerved off the shoulder of the road and rolled upside down
- I woke up one morning to find my face and shoulder paralyzed
- the really one and only time I ever sat down to seriously work out the details of suicide
- an intervention and an ultimatum regarding the launching of this web site three and a half years ago
"Danger, Slade Roberson!" Had it only been the presence of my own guides that I perceived, I would have probably remained within the mindset of imagination and imaginary friends (and, later in life, mental illness)... but, by the time I was ten, I had witnessed the manifestation of my danger-prone little brother's guardian more times than I have fingers to represent:
- when he had his finger chopped off in the hinges of a door
- when he almost choked to death on a life-saver candy in a mall parking lot (this was before they began making them with the "holes filled in")
- when he slid down a dirt hillside mosaic of brown broken bottle glass
- when he climbed up on the side of the bathtub and got his arm wedged in the ceramic hand grip of the wall mounted soap dish
- when he raced his hell-bent Big Wheel down a steep driveway and out into street traffic, with the front bumper of a copper-colored 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Landau serving as some kind of moving, perpendicular "finish line"
...These are just the highlights from his first five years on the planet... Many times, I was the only one with him. I never had stitches or even fractured a bone until I was twenty years old; but I always played supporting actor to my little brother's starring role in a series of his own '70s Disaster Films. Think Superfudge meets The Poseidon Adventure, Towering Inferno, Airport '77 and '79 with a touch of classic Star Wars.
The Yellow Haired Guardian Jedi
These incidents were always attended by an entity of similar substance to my Glowing Lady -- only my brother's guardian presented as a "masculine" version, with bright, golden yellow hair. He reminds me to this day of a vintage, super-sized Luke Skywalker action figure. (You have to remember that there is something about angels that reminds me of living statues.)
I feel that the way we play as children provides a lot of clues into the archetypal patterns we work with -- and they probably exist in a purer, uneducated, unsocialized, unmolested form. It's a common assumption among spiritualists that children may retain pre-life memories and also have access to more authentic, unguarded extra sensory perception than adults. I don't have children of my own, but I hope those of you who do will engage them in conversations about their "imaginary friends," guardian angels, even the monsters they complain about. I wouldn't recommend initiating the conversations, so much as interviewing your kids for details when they introduce the subject themselves. If they bring it up to you, listen with all the "seriousness" and depth that you bring to your own spiritual exploration. (Why am I even telling you this? I'm totally preaching to the choir here, huh? Shift Your Spirits parents are no doubt raising some fairy fantastic humans.)
My brother and I were both very much into Fisher-Price Adventure People and Star Wars action figures. As long as my brother got to play with the X-wing Fighter and the Millenium Falcon -- and had a skeletal crew of at least one pilot per spaceship -- and it had to be Skywalker -- he was content to let me have the entire remaining collection of action figures for my on-going, large-cast dramas.
My action figure play was much more like improvisational space opera -- I was less interested in portraying aerial dogfights than in living out these quasi-Biblical political chess games. Think The West Wing meets Dune crossed with the life of Joan of Arc, all taking place in some kind of ancient civilization like Atlantis or Pompei as the waves are coming in a matter or hours or the ash from volcanoes is raining down.
My Fisher Price Adventure people were cast in the human roles -- but here's the part of these memories that I find most relevant to the work I do today -- the Star Wars action figures were slightly too large in scale to mix with your Adventure people. If Adventure people were people, then the Star Wars dudes would be like eight or nine feet tall; not to mention, their wardrobe indicated they were indeed from another planet...
It was my little brother's observation that they were like the Big Ones, the Ones Who Glow. It was the perfect narrative "explanation" -- when my Adventure people were stuck on the edge of a crumbling cliff or their boat was embraced by the multi-tentacled arms of a sea monster, the Big Ones would arrive to save them. I would bring in a Star Wars figure and back-light or spot-light them with a flashlight to represent their heavenly origin.
Are you sure you want to literally see these Big Ones for real? In response to my post about The Ones Who Glow, people have written me expressing a desire to "see" their spirit guides and guardians. It hit me how many (most) of these stories you hear about angelic interventions involve really unpleasant circumstances -- have you noticed this?
Get Your Guidance On I believe the point to keep in mind is, if you already have a sense that you are guarded and watched over, it's not necessary to wait for some tragic event to engage your guides. A lot of us arrive at these relationships with spirit because life circumstances have "forced" us to -- but it's not the only way to get your guidance on.
They will help you with absolutely anything if you ask -- it's just that you don't ask until you think your plane is going down or your biopsy results are going to show malignant cells... It's the old "Dear God, I know we haven't talked in a while..." occasion. Don't wait for that -- start asking right now, today, and request that you are given signs that are easy to process and understand.
The most unsettling thing about the life-saving godsend of the "real" Skywalker's walk-on's (where my brother is concerned) was the fact that he always beamed in about thirty-seconds before a suburban summer afternoon flipped into an angel-assisted, adrenalin-shot, slow-motion play date in hell-on-earth.
The only nightmares I've ever woken from feature a spot-lit nine-foot-tall Skywalker. His appearance was a cruel cue -- just enough warning to locate my brother in the panicked instant preceding his next Evel Knievel impersonation, start screaming for my parents, and calling 911.
A couple of days ago I was talking to my mother and she had just gotten off the phone with my brother. He was going kayaking, and, of course, thirty years later she is still freaked out every time he mentions something like this. Neither my mother or my brother knows -- and I'm not sure under what circumstances I might bring it up -- but I still have my brother's Luke Skywalker action figure. It hangs out on my altar.
When I hear that my brother is on the river learning to roll his new kayak without drowning -- I send in his Skywalker.
The Next Chapter in The Paranormal Memoirs is here.