Tenacious Magic ~ Chapter 8
S and Paul in Brooklyn, S continues the work with H, an introduction is made
“The psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight.”
A seed of hope that was buried deep in my heart has sprouted: Katherine is here with us. She came to me in a dream Wednesday night. I woke up at 2:09am and wrote:
There she was! I felt her again. So present, but a little distant and indistinct—like there is some work to do to become close again (not emotionally, but literally…astrally). I didn’t recognize her in the dream…only after waking. How sweet! She sent a message. The message was…We are making wine of these old cherries, putting it away for winter, storing up so we will be nourished always. It’s a beautiful operation we have going. Here is the scene:
I’m in a big house with houseguests. Not my house. It’s hers? There is an operation in the works. They are/she is making wine in the basement. She is efficient, brisk, and confident and quite a large presence. In the dream she is robust, even stocky, beautiful in a natural way…my grandmother would have called her “a handsome woman.” Striking, I’d say. I realize the contrast with how I am holding her in my mind: thin, frail, fragile as she was in her final months. In her youth she was fuller, more vital, and it really suits her. In the dream, she seems in the prime of life and health. I wonder how this woman (in her prime) would have related to Gurdjieff.
She stands in a kitchen at the top of the stairs to the basement. She is proud of her work and wants to show me. I notice lots of people are hanging out, waiting, watching…enjoying the process. It’s communal. (Is that John Middleton Murry there?) She shows me bins where old fruit, like raisins or dried cherries, wrinkled and shriveled, are soaking. Tubes are leading down the stairs and I see an elaborate set-up down there. I’m not quite sure why I’m being shown this. She seems to be waiting patiently for me to get it. Then, she has to go and she suggests (directs) that I go downstairs to see the whole thing and wait for a cup of the finished wine.
I go downstairs. She points out the first light switch to me and then I have to intuit how to illuminate the whole basement with a complex set of switches. I worry it will be hard and I don’t know how, but I feel around and it comes. I intuit the correct switches and soon every corner is full of light. In fact, it’s all set up very neatly. It feels comfortable and user-friendly even if it’s a bit homemade, homespun. I seem to be taking ownership, coming into some recognition that I have something to do with this process.
I notice all the various apparatuses and it’s a much bigger operation than I imagined at first. It’s really pumping and gurgling to make quite a bit of wine. I study the beakers, flasks and tubes; the mechanics of heating and cooling—it’s all automated…working on its own volition now. Doesn’t need manning.
As I remember the dream now, it really is more like a laboratory, like an alchemist’s lab! Yes. These dried old fruits (memories) are being reconstituted and turned into wine. I can feel the essence being restored to what had been relegated to trash (the past). I begin to see how clever it all is. I feel excited by it and proud. There is a sense of making something precious and sacred/a spirit (like Jesus turning water into wine) out of old useless things. They’re no good for eating anymore, but look what we can do!
Then, I am outside the house watching the process from the street and I see that there are lots of people happily waiting for the next batch. Waiting for a glass of this wine made from old memories.
KM, thank you for inspiring this alchemy.
Before we get into this week’s chapter, there’s something else I want to say about what this process is revealing to me about H and his teachings.
As I read through old journals I am finding beautiful detail about this important period of my life and the work with H. I never took notes in the sessions, but as soon as I left and got on the subway, I wrote. He had such a distinct way of speaking—a strong accent that forced me to listen closely and a way of filling his words with meaning—that I remembered a great deal almost verbatim. In this story, I am mixing and matching events from different sessions to compress three years of study. Of course, I try to stay true to the essence of his teachings.
Re-reading, I am struck by his profound wisdom and his commitment to the teachings. I had never met anyone like him then, nor since. He was a remarkable person and a great teacher of the mysteries.
I can also see now something I couldn’t see then, which is a shortcoming in the work. This has to do with exactly what has become my expertise: EMBODIMENT, especially the embodiment and integration of the emotional body/subtle body, and the restoration of trauma/healing.
Again and again I can see, especially in this early work, how he was trying to “break me” of the bad habit of being overly emotional. He was right, in a way. I was overly emotional and my emotions ruled my entire existence—they were killing me. I was in their grip. I can now see that this was the effect of being a highly-sensitive, empathic person raised without training or trauma healing. I didn’t know about trauma at that time. I hadn’t integrated my parts. I didn’t yet know about feminine wisdom and the healing of the Great Mother. All of this would come later.
H helped me control my emotions by suppressing them and using my mind to override them. This was helpful in that it taught me how to work with them (that they COULD BE worked with) and it actually did give us the space to move into some deep esoteric states (as you will see). BUT, it was bad…really bad…for me as a woman, an empath, and a healer of the emotional body. I became dry (his preferred mode) and disconnected to my intuition and emotional wisdom.
When the work with H ended, I spent years repairing the damage this caused me. It was totally unnatural for me to suppress my emotions. I know that many of my readers will know me as someone who prizes embodiment and emotional intelligence and healing above all! I am a champion of these modalities and the healing, integration and healthy relating they support. I’ve already had one reader (Charlie, it was you, thank you) point out that the Schuyler he knows now would never put her emotions aside or suppress them in the ways H insists upon here in this chapter and as we go on. All I can say is that I couldn’t see then what I can see now…and I may have had to go through this to learn the process for repairing the emotional connection.
Ultimately, I think this blind spot is key to what happens in our story and how it all unraveled. I want you to know that I did not see it then and that was important. I had to go there, I had to get dry before I could re-integrate my emotional gifts. I see it now. So bear with young S.
A note about this story going behind the paywall. If you are new to my Substack, you can find the introduction to this series here and Chapter 1 here. This week is the first week the post is behind a pay wall, which was the original intention. If you have been following this story and for whatever reason cannot afford to pay the monthly subscription fee, please let me know. I’d hate to keep anyone out. At the same time, if you’ve been enjoying the story and you CAN afford the monthly subscription fee, it makes a huge difference for me. This is my livelihood and primary source of income. Your support makes this work possible. I have been conflicted about making this move and I’m open to suggestions. Thank you for continuing to be in collaboration with me on this project.
Now, back to New York in 2009-2010 where we will revive the essence of the raisins back into grapes for wine.
Brooklyn, June 2009
It’s late June when they find an apartment: a perfect, quiet, two-bedroom on the top floor of a pre-war building on Eastern Parkway. The ceilings are high and the views are spectacular: the east side of Manhattan including five bridges and a direct sightline to the Empire State Building. It’s small with only one bathroom and the kitchen is outdated, but S knows this is the one as soon as she walks in. She can see them here. She can see their family here.
She stands in the second bedroom which the current owners have decorated for their children. Two small twin beds, the ceiling painted with a mural of the cosmos. Paul finds her there with tears in her eyes.
“Why are you crying?” he asks as he puts an arm around her shoulders.
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