“I am somehow drawn to ancient landscapes”, I hear myself say to Julie, my therapist. That was back in 2008. I went to her for a few years and on that particular day, on my way to her practice, this sentence came into my head. I couldn’t figure out why it had come to me. In our sessions, we had explored different inner landscapes, usually connected to a conflict I was experiencing or an issue I was working on. That morning, before I arrived at her house, I realized that I had no idea what to talk to her about. Or so I thought.
About an hour into the session, I heard myself mentioning the ancient landscapes and that I somehow felt drawn to them. There was nothing specific in my mind. No imagery, no picture of old pyramids or anything similar. Julie asked me if I wanted to close my eyes for a minute and see what would come up. Usually, for that, I’d lie on her table and we go through this process a bit differently but we didn’t have that much time left and I really wanted to see where this ancient landscape was and what it meant, if anything.
So I closed my eyes and for a while I waited for an image to show. It didn’t. Nothing happened until at some point the words “before time was” appeared. I told Julie that the ancient landscape I was referring to might have been there before time was. This was obviously an oxymoron because how can something exist – a stone, a tree or a forest – before time existed? Without time there is no growth and nothing can start or end or be at all. Those and other thoughts passed through my mind in a split second. But I felt that there was something else there, something I had missed or hadn’t understood properly.
Then I saw, almost in a close up, a couple of old stones, overgrown with moss. As I pulled back, I realized that I stood in the middle of what must have been an old foundation. The stones were almost completely grown into the ground. Grass covered the soil. Judging by the outline and size, it must have been an old church or chapel at some point. For some reason I had the distinct feeling that the ground I stood on was very holy. Holy in the sense of clean, untouched, undisturbed – and very old. Another thing that was very interesting was the fact that there was no sound. It wasn’t just the absence of noise. It was complete stillness. Nothing moved. The spot and its immediate surroundings felt suspended. I realized, when I spoke to Julie about what I saw, that I was barely breathing. My breath was completely quiet. As if I almost didn’t need to breathe at all.
I could feel the ancientness (if that’s a word) of this place. It did feel as if it had been there before time was. And then something very unexpectedly happened. As I looked at the partial wall in front of me, where I surmised once stood the altar of the church, suddenly – and I can’t describe this any differently – the walls began to rebuild themselves. But not with their original materials made out of stone, granite, plaster and wood. No. The walls rebuilt themselves out of light. As if the stones had merely the shape of a stone but were not made of stone at all but of pure light. After a while, the church walls reached the ceiling, closing the gap until what I saw was the most beautiful building imaginable, with all the details like moldings, figurines and ornaments completely intact but made not of their usual material but out of light. The whole building had a soft glow to it. It was slightly transparent but looked very solid. And yet not solid in the usual sense. Clearly defined, very strong, but transparent.
What I saw was a perfect representation of what had been there originally. And what was broken, fallen down, deteriorated by eons of time, was still there – untouched and unchanged. As if everything that exists in time, still has its original shape from before time was. The image of the finely outlined church made of light, against the grey sky, was magnificent.
Three years later, I began to write The Three Feathers which, originally, also came out of one of the sessions. When I got to chapter 12, I knew I should incorporate what I had seen at Julie’s office a few years earlier. This became one of my favorite chapters of the book. Something significant happens there albeit very quietly with not much noise.
Here is the excerpt from The Three Feathers. Just before this section, Joshua, our hero, and Grey, the wolf, come into an ancient city from which only ruins are left. But suddenly something unexpected happens, as the whole city begins to rebuild itself out of light.
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