Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Black magic

Somehow when I was growing up, my friendship with my dad seemed stronger and truer than that with my mum, which was often tenuous, strained and tense. I couldn't tell you why. Maybe it was because she just seemed so uptight about life compared to him, often about really petty things. She was utterly and unhealthily obsessed with what people thought, how things looked, keeping up appearances. Which I never understood because in her heart I knew she was really a gypsy, a free spirit. From an early age I think I could sense that she just wasn't happy in her own skin somehow. She was very particular about certain things that I couldn't understand and neither, it seemed, did my Dad. He was an ally I knew I could depend on, when she took ages and ages to get ready for things we raised our eyebrows conspiratorially together and would kind of take the mickey a little behind her back. It all seemed quite harmless, and normal and reasonable - after all she really was quite unreasonable, emotionally aloof, and petty - to my girlish way of thinking.

My friendship with my dad was solid. He just seemed like a fun- loving, charismatic guy, who knew how to relax a bit and enjoy life. When I became a young woman and started having periods and so on he still just seemed like my goofball happy-go-lucky dad. Harmless and innocent. He'd never acted inappropriately with me before and I trusted him completely.

The summer of my 14 th year was spent on my grandparents smallholding overseas. It had been a very hard year on my Dad. His best friend died in a drink driving accident. His beloved older aunt who he was very close to also died. And perhaps most importantly, his brother-in-law and very good pal died of cancer which broke the whole families heart. His cousin, the daughter of the aunt who had died, came along with us that holiday.

It was a busy household during the summers at my grandparents. There would be feasting and drinking, several families staying there together at once, and parties that went late into the night. Many an evening the adults would drink too much vodka and be up half or all the night, singing downstairs, mucking about, going off for walks in the forest ( my grandfather was a forester ) and generally having a good time.

This particular summer my dad and aunt seemed to casually talk to me a lot about magic. It was normal for the whole family to gather round of an evening and play games of cards, with the adults drinking shots throughout the evening. My dad would play his cards and predict what was coming up with a spooky accuracy. He seemed to have a touch of Derren Brown kind of magic. Occasionally my mum would add credence to this, telling of how they went to a seance once and things went haywire, as well as some other paranormal little bits and bobs. My young mind was equally drawn to this magic as it was terrified.

Over that summer, my chats with my dad about these things seemed to get more frequent. He confided in me that in our family bloodline, some members had a 'gift' for magical things. He told me the aunt who had died had had this gift of clairvoyance, that he had it, that I too had it, although my sister didn't. He said that when I was 24 it would become fully activated, and continued to elaborate on his powers. He said reality was two- fold, that this reality we can see with our eyes is an illusion, that this everyday reality was in his words 'bullshit'. He claimed to be able to slip into the other reality at will, go and speak to dead people, and appear to everyone here as if he were still present. That he could astral project and see into the future.

Now I was pretty dumbstruck by this so called dual reality - until now my world had only been this one. this solid, flesh and bone earth and all the people herein. I was scared - but also wanted to know, to understand what he meant by all this.

One evening there was a bit of a party going on as some extra relations had shown up after dinner. I was really finding my mum very hard work, she seemed to be upping her control freakery on me somehow. I was really wound up by it generally. The adults were talking inside the house and I sat down on the porch outside in the dark with the porch light on. My dad came out and started chatting about something or other. I can't remember what he said exactly or how it happened but he started to tell me how lovely I had become, that I was a growing up, that I had breasts now. He asked to feel them which I thought was a bit excessive and he was marvelling at them as if I were some kind of goddess. No forcing or anything, just acting like Wow! You're amazing! And for some reason I didn't stop him.

The evening spun my head and I really don't know why I thought it would be a good idea to go for a walk with my dad, into the dark night, into the forest, knowing he had already cupped my breasts. Curiosity? Pride? Fear? The issue of the magic stuff and my supposed gift of shamanic nature had been playing heavily on my mind. I guess I wanted to know what it was all about. Plus I didn't totally fear my dad - even at this stage, I guess I still felt somehow that he was actually pretty safe, pretty harmless.

So off we walked, into the dark night. on our own. He full of Vodka.

His senses seemed to be on high alert. As he walked he would make a big thing of the noises going on in the forest, and he would freeze on the spot and kind of say shhhhh. And sneak around a bit, talking about evil spirits on the prowl, that he had to fight off. I forgot to say that a weird little circle of red dots had appeared on his head just a few days before, which he claimed always happened when he was entering a warrior phase - mentally battling against demons. So we walked. We reached a point in the woods where my dad said we should sit and rest for a while. Which we did. And a little conversation started up. He was back to talking about me again. He wanted to kiss my mound. Very weird, but alone in a forest, I let him do it, after protesting a bit and he saying don't worry he's not dangerous he is just wanting to appreciate my blooming new body. He seemed respectful and reverent of it, as opposed to some crazed sex mad rapist who was brutal in some way. Then he confided in me that he and my mum had an unhappy sex life, that he 'needed someone younger'. He asked me if I masturbated, that kind of thing. He made no more physical advances on me, nor did he force me to do anything to him, but he quite calmly said that I should save my virginity for him. that when I was 21 it should be with him, that this was a the only was to ensure I would remain pure. That he would know how to be gentle with me.

Well my head and heart we're in a total state of shock. We made our way back towards the farm, throughout the forest. More moments of stopping to fight evil energy fields that were roaming the forest. And when we got back to the front yard of my grandparents, he saved the grand finale moment - saying he was going off into the other world for a moment and to wait till he came back, and he seemed to dissappear into thin air, vanished, poof!

After that weird night I withdrew into myself, to process the very series things that had happened and been said. I absolutely was in no doubt that my dad was involved in some kind of sorcery, and pondered on the repercussions. Whenever I was alone I wondered if he could pop into the other world and just watch me whenever he felt like it. I grew very nervous thinking about this. I became especially paranoid about mirrors thinking they were like a portal perhaps. I began to feel unsettled that perhaps my dead relatives were watching me all the time, that I had no privacy, that my 'psychic' field was permanently open to whoever might fancy looking down on me. After that summer I became more and more worried about what had happened, about the prophesies that lay in store, of my dad's expectation that I should lose my virginity to him.

I felt violated mentally, I didn't feel I could share it with anyone, that it sounded ridiculous, utterly mad. That I brought it on myself, that I was stupid and vain and had courted this terrible state of affairs and that I couldn't expect any other outcome. I began to really fear my dad, even though he was not physically touchy with me outside the context of that summer holiday. But he kept hinting about the magic, kind of nudge nudge wink winking about ' our secret powers'. I felt absolutely out of my depth, lonely with the knowledge of this weird freakish experience, panicky that he was right. That it was all true. That actually he was a perfectly sane and right and as he said, it was the rest of the world who were mad fools, who were blind.

My head and my heart hurt. I couldn't bear it any more. My friends were having a normal fun teenage hood and I was feeling totally fucked up and scared. When I met a charismatic Christian at a party and he sold me the idea of salvation from all sin, from evil, of protection from a heavenly father, I grasped the sanctuary of that safe place and held on for dear life. I became a born again Christian that night, along with two friends, and felt like I finally had a barrier, something that would be strong enough to protect me from my father and his weird occult stuff. I felt like I could relax again because I now had a relationship with Jesus who would protect me, whose light and glory would glow so brightly there was no room left for anything dark or scary any more.

And that was my life for a couple of years. I was the most devout Christian you could be. I was absolutely devoted. And somehow after a while things shifted for me. I felt stronger and wiser. I started to think about some of the christain ideas that bugged me. Why would buddhists and other good, gentle folk be sent to hell for not believing in Jesus. What about tribespeople just minding their own business, living sweetly in the remote jungle - how could their lives be pointless just because they weren't Christians? What kind of god would send good people to hell? My belief in this religion started to unravel further as I saw how Christians seemed to abuse their so called protection and forgiveness agreement with god, and live mean, stingy or even cruel lives. I couldn't be part of that movement any longer. So I broke free.

Without the sanity of an organised religion to guide me, My sixth form years were a time of feeling a lost soul. I knew I was not like others, that no other person in my entire school could ever understand or be able to relate or empathise with the weird thing that had happened between me and my dad. I went off the rails a bit. Tried sleeping around to erase the sexual memory association with my dad and replace it with something else. I genuinely thought I was in love many times, with a lot of very short term boyfriends. I didn't think I was being promiscuous, simply unlucky in love....

I met my husband at university after a term of taking intense cocktails of all sorts of drugs, including LSD, speed and ecstasy, several times a week. I was a druggy mess. I hated myself. I really hated my family. I had tried to tell my mum what had happened a couple of years earlier and after a big dramatic showdown I was made to apologise, to feel like I had been a Lolita, that I was to blame and my dad was just an innocent man really, misunderstood... He denied everything and then sort of conceded then denied any guilt on his part and it was neatly swept under the family carpet and they all got on with forgetting about it and moving on. Which I don't believe for one minute - but thats the official party line.

My husband was the first man who showed me unconditional true love, forgiveness and acceptance. To thank him I was a bitch in our first couple of years together. I couldn't handle his love at all, I still hated myself. - I hated my past, I wanted to erase it, I thought he would tire of my working class fucked up self and go for a sassier, middle class, younger prettier version so why bother? I was convinced he'd only leave me anyway, or cheat on me or some other terrible thing, so I didn't look after him with the care he deserved. I had a couple of flings, and we went through a few split ups. Every time he would say to me "I love you with all my heart, I want to be with you forever, I just want it to work and to make you happy'.

And so I stopped jeapordizing everything and started to believe him when he said that I was worth loving. That I was a good person. That what had happened with my dad was not my fault. That I was an equal to him. It took a long, long time, and endless encouragement. He needed to pick me up a lot when I'd get thinking about it all again.

It has been the best, most healing decision I ever made - to stop fighting against him, and accept that I can live a normal life. Having children has also been tremendously healing - they live so much in the present - and that is a lesson for me - to try and live in the here and now, not to keep going back to that dark forest. To build up lots of happy memories and experiences, to be warmer and closer with my children than my own mother had been with me.

I may never know if my dad was mentally ill, that he just needed counselling and it was taboo for a northern working class fella to go get help. But separating the sexual element from all the supernatural stuff is difficult for me.

To this day I cannot decide whether his disappearing was some trick of the light. Whether he really did have some magic powers. Whether he even regrets what happened or is secretly unapologetic. That scares me more than anything. What if, in spite of his inappropriate sexual behaviour, he was actually right about the spiritual warfare stuff?

Where the fuck does that leave me?


  1. Dark times dear woman. So much love to you.

  2. It leaves you with hope for the future through your children who will learn to treat their children better from you.

  3. Thank you for your kind comments x Sharing this has made me feel lighter and more hopeful and positive somehow. It's out in the open instead of just inside my head, and that feels really good. The worst thing about an experience like this is that you can't slip it casually into conversation even with pretty close friends. There's never an 'appropriate' time to discuss stuff like this. Thank you for giving me this space to speak out my truth.

  4. I'm in awe... of the amazing, albeit completely confusing and life-altering experiences you have had - and how you have *chosen* to come through them.

    In reading how you are doing this it feels like you are willing to meet the dark forest when it arises - and choose your way out.

    I experience you as powerful. Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. Thank you, your kind comment has reminded me that I am indeed strong. Love and thanks to you kind sweet woman x

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