False Prophet

I used to ride the New Age train
finding answers in the stars
unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe
a warrior for peace.

I was a see-er, an analyser
purporting to spew wisdom
a vehicle for a higher power
a spiritual guide.

It was like riding the bull
in a rodeo show –
fast and entertaining
but not sustaining.

And when I fell –
as surely we all do –
only the dust in my mouth
attested to my momentary ride.

The crowds have moved on
nothing to see here anymore
just post theatrical let down –
the show is over.

I was the mirror in the funhouse
distorting images of reality
believing I offered insight
unaware of the duplicity.

Magical thinking is
the merry-go-round of life
spinning fantasies
of wonder and revelation.

In the end, it is uncertainty,
not creed or indoctrination,
that rules destinies –
change is the only given.


Abuse of Power

Although I never met the man, I can imagine him as somehow mesmerizing, with a captivating smile, a soothing throaty voice, or sparkling dark eyes.  From all descriptions he is an average middle-aged man, slightly balding, and plump around the middle.  Without a doubt, he knows how to charm.

I first heard about him at a conference for healers.  A reputable woman was promoting his work as ground-breaking, and rooted both in science and spirituality.  His workshops carried a hefty price tag, but were reportedly worth the sacrifice.

I didn’t go.

“He’s very mysterious,”  people reported back to me.  “And very powerful.”

As always, I listened without commenting.  New Age workshops were popping up everywhere, each one proclaiming to offer the answer.  I liked to bide my time.

“He only works with women.”

My ears perked up.

“And only if you are chosen.”

Why is that?  I wondered.

One by one, I watched the women flock to him.  “He gets us,”  one woman explained.  “It’s like he can look inside and he knows exactly what each person needs.”

“He’s seeing my wife at three in the morning,” a distraught husband told me over the phone.  “What kind of therapist meets with clients at three in the morning?”  I was wondering the same thing.  “I feel like I’m losing her.”

I agreed to talk to his wife.

“He’s helping me cleanse myself of the past and all the bad relationships I’ve had.”  True enough, she’d had her share.  But why the middle of the night?  “It’s the time of the day when there are the least physical distractions and the psychic energy is stronger.”

Looked like red flags to me.

Then I met Kay.  Kay was young, and beautiful, and highly intelligent, but something wasn’t right.  She had enrolled in a therapeutic touch class, and while she seemed to be enjoying the course, I noticed she seemed agitated.  I pulled her aside to ask if she was okay.

“Yes.  The course is great and all.  It’s just……..”

“Kay, if you have concerns, talk to me.  It’s not my intention to make you feel uncomfortable.”

“Oh, no.  It’s not you.  Not at all.  It’s just that I’m not sure I should be taking this course.”

“Does it conflict with your beliefs and values?”

“No, no.  It makes so much sense.  It’s my mentor.  He doesn’t like us to study with anyone else.”

Why on earth not?  I must have looked dumbfounded.

“Eventually, obviously……but for now, he doesn’t want us jeopardizing the work we are doing.”

A realization was dawning on me.  I offered her the name that had come to mind.

“Yes, I work with him!  Do you know him?”

“I know of him.”

“He’s amazing, so powerful, and he’s helped me so much.  I just don’t know why I feel so guilty about taking a course like this.  It feels so right, so why am I scared?

“Explain to me why you shouldn’t.”

“It’s part of the process.  In the beginning, he requests that we set aside all doubt, and questions, and trust solely in him.  He’s helping us gain faith.”

And he control, I thought to myself.

The next time I encountered Kay, she was visibly shaken.   “Can we talk?”

Ushering her into a back room, I pulled up two chairs.

“I’m not sure whether he followed me or not?”

“Would he do that?”

“He knows everything.  I can’t get away.  I tried, but he found me.  He says there is nowhere I can escape him.  I am so afraid.  I don’t know what to do.”

“Kay, back up a bit and tell me how you met him.”

“A friend of mine was part of his inner circle.  He told her to bring me to him.  He said he could help.  I was having difficulties.  I thought it was worth a try.”

“Did he mention you by name?”

“No, but he knew she had a twenty-three year-old, blonde friend at the university who was going through a hard time.  My friend knew it had to be me right away.”

“No offense, Kay, but this is a university town, and the chance of anyone having a friend that fits your description is pretty good.”

I could see that my words had hit their mark.  “Oh my God.  You’re so right!  What a fool I was.”

“No.  You just wanted to believe there was an answer for you.  It felt right at the time.”

“What about all the other things?  Could they be made up to?  But, no, not possibly.  You have no idea.”  The look of terror reappeared.  “Oh my God, he’ll kill me for talking to you!”

“You are okay, Kay.  We’re safe.  What else did he tell you?”

“He can command nature to do his bidding.  He has spies everywhere.  One woman went canoeing, off by herself, in a remote area, and he sent a hawk to greet her. She saw it!”

“Also possibly a coincidence.”

Searching my face for some reassurance, Kay continued.  “He told me once that he sent a bear to follow me.  I saw it’s shadow.”  Before I could say anything she added,  “Do you think that was just power of suggestion?”

“I think that’s a real possibility.”

Kay leaned back in the chair and let out a long groan.  “Oh my God, I slept with him.”

“You what?”

“I slept with him, and he’s gross, well you know, old.”

“How did that happen?”

“He made me meet him in the middle of the night.  He had all these candles and incense burning.  The lights were dim, and there was meditation music playing in the background.  I felt like I was in an altered state.  I didn’t want to at first, but he convinced me that this would be good for my soul; that it would cleanse me of all my past sins.  How could I be so stupid!”

I’d heard enough.  This man was going too far.  With Kay’s permission I called a friend who worked with the Victim’s Unit through the local Police department.  Kay’s story was not new to her.

Kay moved away two weeks later.  Unfortunately,  she was not the only woman I would encounter who had fallen under this man’s spell.  All of them attractive, intelligent women, whose only sin was the desire for enlightenment.