Last night, I was listening to George Noory on his radio show Coast to Coast AM when I heard a familiar name.  The upcoming guest was to be Paul Levy.  “Paul Levy?!” I thought, wow. A flood of memories came back to me immediately.  I grew up in Portland, Oregon, my book Accepting the Ashes took place in Portland, and my shamanic calling experience unfolded there as well.   I was a 26 year old woman totally unfamiliar with the world some might call “spirituality”, who recently had an experience that was totally beyond my understanding.  In order to understand, I began to look for someone in my hometown who might possibly be able to identify with my situation and help me.    Below is an excerpt from my book “A Tribe of One” describing the experience of which I speak, and which started my shamanic life.

One Sunday night in September of 1996, I went to bed early.  Then, around midnight, I woke up, sort of.  Many times before this I awoke feeling drugged and that I was still in a dream. One time I found myself sitting up in bed, trying to find the clutch in my car so I could go home in my ‘dream’. On this autumn night, I apparently woke under similar conditions, except there was a difference. I knew I was bleeding from my face.  I remember saying out loud in the dark, trying to wrench myself awake, “Oh my god!”

Not being able to find the light switch, I groped around my dark bedroom until I found a comforter to wrap around me.  Then I opened my bedroom door just as my roommate was getting there to get me out of the house.  She had the bedroom in the back of the house and she apparently woke up suddenly thinking that what woke her was an earthquake.  (She is from central California and is generally used to such occurrences.)  She got up and got under the doorway (what you are supposed to do in an earthquake) and then she thought, “I’ve got to get Quynn out of the house!” so she came to my bedroom door.  Later she said that as she was approaching the door she heard me say “Oh my god!”… and thought “who is in there with her?” but just as she was going to open the door, I did.

Then she said “Oh my god!!” as I opened the bedroom door to go to the bathroom.  I must have had my eyes closed because I did not see her, nor did I see myself at this point either.  She said “Who is in there with you?” “No one” I said, quite calmly “just call 911”.  The strange thing, among other things of course, was that I was completely calm.  Even though I was disoriented, at no time did I feel violated or that I was in danger.  I knew that something had happened, and I knew my body was hurt, so I wanted the 911 people to come.

As I heard Paul speak about his spiritual awakening experience as a young man, which led him to being admitted into a mental institution for a short time, I remembered my experience with him.  I remember searching a metaphysical directory for someone who might understand my unbelievable experience. At the time I was not completely sure how to speak of such a strange thing, and I was careful about being judged in a negative way.  In order to find an ally, I read each listed person’s bio and looked at their photos. “Who could help me?” I asked myself as I looked through.  I chose Paul.  I met him 3 or 4 times as I remember, and he was supportive and shared some of his story.  I was so inexperienced, I don’t remember truly understanding him then, but I understand now.  I met him in 1997 and again in 1999 as I recall.  Now, in 2012, I am a shamanic practitioner and I too meet with people who have been called by the Spiritual World.  People now share the experiences they don’t quite understand with me.

As I listened to this man who was once my spiritual mentor, I remembered how comforting it felt to meet someone who had a profound spiritual experience and that his experience fundamentally changed him from that day forward.  This had happened for me. He had found a way to live as his new self and this was what I needed at the time.   I also realized that I have referred to him many times when I tell the story about how my family did not institutionalize me when they heard my fantastical story. This was not the case for Paul.

Last night, I was grateful to hear Paul say to the millions of people listening that there is a number of people who have been diagnosed with mental illness who, in a shamanically based culture, might be considered a healer or shamanic practitioner.    Thank you Paul. It was so good to hear your voice again, and with your help I have felt strong enough to keep walking my path.  Working with a mentor even once or a few times can have a lasting effect.  We are all connected.

I hope that by writing of this experience, someone else might  benefit.  Blessings to you on your path.

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