Episode 2

        A strong-looking man with a full head of black, wavy hair, psychotherapist Peter Blythe completely changed my life. But I have never met him.
       No, he did not give me counseling over the phone. In fact, he is unaware of his incredible effect on my life, for he has never been acquainted with me. I know how he looks only from a picture on the back cover of his small book Stress Disease.
       I will never forget the title. It sounded innocent enough as I pulled the little volume from a library shelf. Have you ever read something that totally altered your life? Stress Disease stimulated a series of changes that resulted in my switching careers, living on a different continent, and becoming fully immersed in a satanic cult. The power of a book can be phenomenal.
       Initially, Peter Blythe's book seemed to offer me hope that I could understand my feelings of fear and alienation. Perhaps I could find a solution for my recurrent claustrophobia, which, although mild at this time, was still bothersome.
       In looking for healing, meaning, and harmony in my life, the first part of Stress Disease appeared to offer interesting insights regarding my problems. The book then progressed into an eclectic discussion of the cause and cure of disease in general. It introduced the New Age "holistic" concept, the idea that body, mind, and spirit are inseparable, and that each needs to be in harmony in order to produce total health.
       The idea of "holistic health" sounded appealing. The concept of a necessary balance between body, mind, and spirit made sense. I thought, Maybe I can pick up some good advice and pass it on to my friends.
       The last few chapters presented information on "alternative therapy" techniques for common diseases. Being familiar only with surgery and medication, I was fascinated to read of therapies such as acupuncture, homeopathy, psychic surgery, chakra balancing, rebirthing, primal therapy, reiki, crystals, and bioenergetics. Descriptions of these treatments talked a lot about "energies," "balance," and "wholeness.
       It was the first time I had ever heard of the term "New Age." I had no idea what it meant. I wasn't interested in getting involved in the occult; I was simply searching for better health and for contentment.
       Stress Disease mentioned a London-based organization called Health for the New Age. Wanting to learn more about these alternative healing practices, I joined it and arranged to have a meeting with its founder.

       The New Shamanism.
       Colonel Marcus McCausland was sitting in a chair directly in front of me. He epitomized the typical retired British army officer. Dressed in a tweed sports jacket, he was tall, with a medium build. His gait was as erect as a marine sentry's.
       "I am impressed with your knowledge and ideas," he told me, referring to our conversation. He, his wife, and I were sitting in their home, discussing the latest psychology theories in circulation. The purpose of my visit was to obtain their opinions regarding the new psychology ideas being introduced into Britain from America. Marcus was the director of Health for the New Age, the organization that I had recently joined. His speech was kind and considerate, yet retained the firmness of his military background.
       "Well, I have still a lot more to learn," I assured my hosts, modestly responding to their praise.
       Their organization acted as an international networking agency for collecting and sharing data on New Age oriented "alternative" therapies. One of Marcus's special interests was research and treatment for cancer.
       "Marcus, I am sure Will has known all his ideas before coming into his present life," commented Mrs. McCausland as she lifted up her arms to stretch. This statement made by an attractive, highly educated woman, caught me by surprise."
       Are you suggesting I have lived before?" I asked doubtfully.
       "Oh, yes. I am sure of that," replied Marcus as if expressing a military fact. "We have all lived many lives. I am certain a lot of your insights concerning psychology have been brought with you from your previous life."
       "Will," interrupted Mrs. McCausland, "you are now simply relearning what you have already known."
       I was speechless. Although I had previously considered the idea of reincarnation, I had never met anyone who had spoken about past lives with such frankness. Because Marcus's wife was a respected professional psychologist, I felt quite open to seriously accepting her revealing statement. You know how it is; one tends to trust qualified people.
       I left the McCauslands' home with a sense of excitement and interest regarding my past lives and a renewed optimism about my potential for success in this life.

       My subsequent seduction into the New Age movement was a gradual process. Over the next couple of years I had contact with more New Age followers and digested more and more literature expounding their ideas. Being seduced into the New Age through an original interest in alternative healing techniques seems to be a common occurrence. In fact, it appears to be one of the main methods of recruitment used by the New Age devotees. Many of them offer therapy and counseling to people in need - and then interest their clients in the philosophies associated with their practices. Often people with serious medical conditions are drawn to New Age healing methods - a potentially deceptive arena.
       As a searcher for answers from the field of psychology, I never expected that my quest for meaning in life would bring me into the sphere of false religions and their evil practices.

       From Psychology to Mysticism.
       While retaining a casual interest in New Age philosophy, I mainly desired to eliminate the anxieties that plagued me. If I could achieve a sense of inner peace, I felt I would be able to develop my career potential and enhance my personal relationships. As a result of the information in Peter Blythe's little book, for a couple of years I became involved in such activities as personal counseling, encounter groups, human potential seminars, and group process workshops. However, England provided only limited access to such information. From what I had read, Los Angeles seemed a much better place to experience that sort of thing, so I decided to move there at the end of the seventies.
       My involvement with the Los Angeles psychology and growth movement proved beneficial at first. But after about a year, I became disillusioned when a psychology center I attended closed down due to a lack of harmony between its founders. I began to wonder about the spiritual or mystical aspects of my life that the book Stress Disease had indicated needed to be in harmony.
       I recall feeling lost and quite depressed in the engineering office at work one day. I just didn't know what I should do with my life. As I was making some copies of machinery drawings, I distinctly heard a voice deep inside my mind. "What about your soul?" it asked.
       It was as if a clear and profound voice of conscience spoke to me. Being confronted by these words made me feel very uncomfortable, as if the lingering emptiness inside of me had been exposed wide open.
       Under the influence of secular psychology, I was continuing to live an ungodly lifestyle. Wondering what this voice meant by soul, I asked myself, Is this the voice of God prompting me to return to Christianity? Does my soul need saving from damnation?
       Having learned that regular psychologists have limited skills and abilities in understanding the spiritual dimension of human motives and experience, I was reluctant to turn to them for illumination. They always sounded good; they always looked good when lecturing, but their ideas and advice often tended to have limited effect once one had made the necessary adjustments to correct the more serious weaknesses of one's personality. After one had made beneficial behavior and lifestyle changes, further consultation with psychologists sometimes seemed to provide nothing more than human contact. Good friends should provide this support, if you have them.
       Although the inner voice used the word soul, I did not want to be involved with any kind of formal religion, such as Christianity. Instead, I was drawn deeper into the New Age.
       Precipitated in part by my interest in past lives, I was impressed to search for someone with special ability who could give me counseling regarding my destiny. I wanted to meet someone like a shaman - a person with special power, wisdom, and knowledge; a person with profound psychic abilities, able to probe into the deepest depths of my psyche. I aspired to consult with someone who could tell me exactly what I needed to do in order to fulfill my destiny potential for this lifetime. I wanted to find someone who could tell me about my soul, that part of me that the mysterious voice of conscience had brought to my attention. Perhaps, I thought, I can find this kind of wise counselor in a Los Angeles New Age organization.

       New Age Prophets and Their Psychic Power.
       The advertisement caught my attention in a peculiar way. It was as if something deep inside me responded with a subtle prompting to attend the psychic fair listed in a New Age magazine I was looking through. I thought to myself, "Perhaps this psychic fair is a good place to start my search for someone with power to point me to my destiny."
       The event was listed as being held at a metaphysical center called the Lighted Way. Concerned that psychics might be a bunch of frauds, I planned to check out the center first. If I had a good feeling about the place, I would inquire about the possibility of having an indepth, private, psychic counseling session. It was not my desire to have a cheap, quick reading with an amateur fortuneteller; I was on a serious mission looking for someone special.
       On the day of the fair, I drove over to the affluent Los Angeles suburb of Pacific Palisades, where the Lighted Way was located in a beautiful commercial building in the Palisades Highlands, a picturesque valley deep in the Santa Monica Mountains. Having never been to a psychic fair before, I had no idea what to expect.
       My entrance into the metaphysical center was heralded by the sound of Tibetan chimes gently clinking and clanging as I brushed past the opened door. The chimes seemed to be welcoming me into the new and enchanting world of Eastern mysticism.
       Shelves of neatly displayed books lined the walls of the first room. As I walked through the book area and entered the main room, my eyes were attracted to the floor. It was covered with a most beautiful shimmering, light green carpet. With its fluorescent glow, it seemed to draw me into the room.
       I felt a strange sense of peace in the place, a peculiar, intriguing atmosphere. Inhaling deeply, I noticed the sweet aroma of incense. It seemed to give the room a sacred feeling.
       Evenly spaced in the large room were four psychic readers, each seated at an individual table. One or two clients were consulting with the readers. I hurriedly scanned the scene, for I did not want anyone to notice that I was unfamiliar with what was occurring in the room.
       Behind the reception counter stood a middle-aged woman of medium height and slim build wearing a dress with a pretty floral pattern. She had blond designer-styled hair and wore highly decorative jewelry.
       "Hi, I would like to see the director."
       The receptionist smiled. "I am the director. My name is Muriel. How can I help you?"
       Impressed with her direct, confident air, I looked at her more closely. She did not seem to be the kind of dreamy mystic that I feared might be a money stealing phony with no real power.
       "I am interested in having an in-depth psychic counseling session with you. Can that be arranged?" I asked cautiously.
       "Yes," she replied. "Would you like  to  make  an appointment for this coming week?"
       Hesitating before replying, I started to become suspicious and wondered what kind of institution this place really was. It had a religious atmosphere that made me uneasy. I was looking for psychic power, not a religious cult. "Are you some kind of religion?"
       "No, we are not a religion," Muriel replied. "We are spiritual." I wasn't sure I understood the difference. However, somehow her assurance prompted me to set up an evening appointment for later that week.

       Counseling Session With a New Age Psychic.
       Feeling a sense of anticipation, I arrived at the Lighted Way for my appointment. Although still concerned that a psychic might not have any real power, I did not believe this woman to be an outright fraud.
       While waiting for Muriel, I noticed a frame on the wall displaying a master's degree diploma from Pepperdine University. Another frame displayed a California license for individual, family, and marriage counseling.
       Muriel greeted me and escorted me to a small table. We sat down at opposite sides, facing one another. "What do you need help with?" she asked.
       I expressed my need for direction in my life, telling her that I didn't know where I was going or what I should be doing in order to find fulfillment.
       Muriel listened to me intently. She then took out a pack of cards and placed them on the table. I recognized them to be tarot cards.
       "Muriel," I interrupted. "I really wanted this to be a reading using psychic power coming from the cosmic realms. I'm sorry, but I don't have any respect for fortune telling cards."
       "Oh, I use the cards only to open up the ethers and reveal the Akashic Records," Muriel replied.
       Not understanding what she meant, I looked at her with a questioning frown.
       "These are the records permanently kept in the heavenlies," she explained. "They describe every event that has occurred, and contain all knowledge. They are like a gigantic, cosmic computer memory. The cards simply start the process of opening me up so that I can psychically read the records and channel the masters."
       The "masters"? I wonder who they are, I thought to myself.
       "I do not actually need the cards," Muriel assured me. "We will not use them if you feel uncomfortable about them."
       "I prefer that we don't use them," I replied.
       The interview proceeded. It covered several areas of my life. Periodically Muriel closed her eyes and appeared to be concentrating intently as if listening to some kind of inner voice telling her information. Sometimes she described people and scenes to me, and I had the sense that she was picturing these in her mind as she described them in detail.
       During the reading, Muriel clearly described several interesting and intricate aspects of my parents' characters. Her accuracy of revelation was astounding. I had not told Muriel anything about my parents, yet she was able to talk about them as if she were personally acquainted with them.
       I started to notice drops of perspiration falling from my forehead. I had to keep wiping my face with a tissue. I thought to myself, This is strange, I feel cool. The room is well air-conditioned. Why am I sweating so much? Throughout the interview large drops of liquid literally rolled down my face. I had never experienced anything like it before.
       Holding my fascination, Muriel continued to describe the characters and inner motives of several of my friends. I was amazed at her depth of perception and clear understanding of events. She seemed to be able to churn out information endlessly, like a talking psychic encyclopedia.
       I then asked Muriel questions about my job. She had insight about my employment skills and about relationships with colleagues at work.
       I asked questions about several personal problems that were bothering me, such as, why had my relationship with my parents been so stormy?
       "I am seeing a past life in which you were the father of a little girl," Muriel described. "This girl is now your mother in your present life."
       I leaned forward in interest. Muriel had her eyes closed as if focusing upon the cosmic realms. "In this past life you were living as an American Indian. I can clearly see you as a medicine man. You are hugging your beautiful daughter. A lot of conflicts, karma, remained unresolved in this past life. That is why you chose your present mother."
       Mmmmm, I thought, did I really choose my mother before I was born?
       "I see the relationship improving," Muriel continued. "You will write letters to your mother and clear up a lot of misunderstandings."
       There was a moment of silence.
       "Your soul's destiny plan for this life is soon going to start working out," Muriel said.
       Wow, I thought, this ties in exactly with the strange inner voice that had recently spoken to me concerning my soul. I began to wonder if my interview with Muriel was some kind of event that had been prearranged in the cosmic realms.
       Muriel talked more about my destiny as I continued to wipe drops of perspiration from my forehead.
       The psychic reading lasted for about an hour and a half. At the end of it, Muriel handed me an attractive brochure and invited me to come to some of the evening classes she gave. I left with a sense of excitement and interest at this new vista of promise before me.
       The counseling session was recorded on cassette tapes, which I played several times. The reading had two fascinating aspects. First, I was convinced without doubt that Muriel had definite psychic powers. No ordinary person could have so accurately described the characters of my parents and other associates without having been intimately acquainted with them.
       Second, it was amazing how throughout the interview I sweated profusely in spite of feeling comfortably cool and being neither nervous nor excited. So I concluded that some kind of strong, cosmic energy was present during our interaction and had caused my forehead to drip in constant perspiration.
       I was intrigued by Muriel's psychic ability to "read" the Akashic Records in order to reveal to me details of my past lives. The concept of reincarnation and past lives had always interested me. The idea seemed to provide answers to a lot of my questions regarding the nature of life: Why should one person be born into miserable sickness and suffering, and another be born into health and a loving, supportive home environment? Is it merely luck at birth? Or is there a just reason for apparent injustices? Perhaps fortunes reverse in other lifetimes so as to achieve a just balance for every soul when averaged over many lifetimes. The idea of reincarnation sounded logical.
       This initial psychic reading set the stage for my plunge into the world of mysticism, Eastern religions, and the occult. I was intrigued that Muriel had claimed healing powers and had stated that she was in possession of a whole body of esoteric knowledge, which, if learned, would result in a transformed life and in achieving one's personal, ideal "destiny plan."
       My mind was full of questions and ideas concerning my past lives. Could Muriel really tell me more about those deeply hidden inner realms of my soul? Could the unlocking of past-life conflicts possibly help me resolve my problems in this life? Maybe a lot of my irrational fears and anxieties could be traced to unresolved past life conflicts and trauma. If I could unravel the blockages from those lives, just think of the healing and growth that could take place in me and how my functioning would be enhanced. I could benefit tremendously.
       I thought about the possibility of developing increased intuitive abilities. Just think of the possibilities if one were to consistently make correct business decisions when possessing precise intuitive power.
       The lure had been tasted. Wanting to gain more of this knowledge and to further experience Muriel's psychic ability, I decided to attend the metaphysical classes. I had been seduced by the display of psychic power.


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