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> Dan in Plureality 3

“You were correct, Dr. Hannah. The subject was psychologically unstable years before he started toying with the occult.” 

Dr. Hannah stares at Daniel intently, invisible to him behind the mirror. “The whole thing reads like a description of shamanic initiation. The initiate gets sick and they enter the Underworld where spirits torment them. With the aid of helpful spirits the initiate heals themselves and returns to the world having learned magical lore. That's a very simplified version, but it maps.” 

Dr. James arches an eyebrow. “Are you suggesting that the subject was just acting out a story?” 

“In a sense. Maybe. Except that according to our files, Daniel didn't learn about shamanism and the initiation myth until reading about it when he was 24 years old.


I feel a little silly. Arrogant. Nervous. I'm trying to relax, like Ms. Amita said. I can't help wondering what They are thinking. 

I remember that night when I came home from work – I had a great job working for a role-playing game company – and my girlfriend at the time had prepared a pathworking ritual for me in our apartment. Within her circle, surrounded by talismans, guided into and through trance by her words, I journeyed to the Celtic Land of the Dead and amongst the misty and shadowed tombs I summoned my greatest fear... and it was doubt. Doubt that any of these things that had happened to me for all these years were real. A vision doubting the reality of visions.


“Why don't you tell us what it's like when you are fixing?”


I'm at my childhood backyard picnic table with Detectives Kay Howard and Frank Pembleton from 'Homicide: Life on the Street'. They're showing me a sheet of paper with hieroglyph-style drawings on it, figures on the shore of an ocean, the word 'GODDESS'. As we talk I realize that I'm in a dream and I ask Frank, needing to know if he's only a figment, if he can see me. Really see me. 

He nods and taps his forehead. 

Weeks later I'm dreaming of a cottage, quaint and pastoral. The interior is lit with candles and I'm swimming in shadows with a woman, making love with her, our forms intermingling, we're moving like quanta into and around each other. I'm in the kitchen alone and I call out and an older woman, matronly and smiling, appears. I see a word: 'KAY'. 

When I wake up I reach over to the cardboard box beside my bed, unthinking, and grab the book on Celtic magic. Flipping, unthinking, to the dictionary of gods and goddesses, a section I haven't read yet. 
Kele-de, spelled phonetically, KAY-lay-DAY, an ancient goddess of sex and mystery. I've never heard of her. 

Years later, I'm sitting in the garage on my great-uncle's farm – I've just moved here to help take care of him – smoking with my father's cousin, who I've only recently met. He's recounting his practice of Tibetan chanting, looking at the statues of the gods lining the temple walls. I take a chance, enough humour in my voice to cloak my desire, and say:
“Wait until the day that they look back.” 

And he says, deeply and gleefully, “They have.”