The Time Exchange
Chapter 4

I wasn't completely alone. I had the ghost I'd been toying with, and then something completely unexpected happened.

I met a dead girl.

To be honest, I didn't know she was dead when I first met her. It was actually many years later that it slowly dawned on me the true nature of her existence. When I first saw her she was the figure in a painting I had been thinking about. It wasn't a painting I had seen anywhere physically, it was an imaginary painting. But I had been a student of painting several years prior to this incident, and I frequently thought about things of this nature. The image I envisioned was nineteenth century, it was Neo-Classical, and so she was both English and Victorian. Her being distinctly nineteenth century should have been enough to alert me to the true nature of her identity, but in the context in which we met there wasn't much to go on. It was only after several months of consorting with her that I began to think of her as a person I could talk to.

When she finally began to participate in my thinking there wasn't much that was modern about her. She wore a long black linen tunic and a white buttoned up shirt underneath a matching black linen jacket. Several years later I managed to persuade her to dress a little more casually.

"Don't try to change me," she would complain defensively.

After some initial resistance she compromised by wearing a black woollen V neck pullover which I thought was sexy, but the long black skirt remained. She had very pale skin, long silky black hair and she was also very attractive.

To begin with she was nameless which was fine in the initial stages of our relationship. But as the months went by and I began to depend on her company more and more not having a name to call her by became a problem for me. It must have been an issue too subtle for me to express to her clearly because it wasn't until I began making up names for her that she offered to give me one.

"Call me Hymen," she said at last.

"Thank you," I replied. Ah, yes. Hymen was the ancient Greek god of marriage which was curious under the circumstances. I wasn't going to ask her if she was thinking of us as married because I knew it would offend her. I decided to simply accept her name at face value and refrain from misinterpreting her intentions. Notwithstanding the intimacy we shared I was actually very fond of her.

That was more than thirty years ago. I still see her in my thoughts, she's been there on and off throughout this time, and in spite of the length of this duration she doesn't seem to have aged a day. I expect she'll be there when I'm old and withered, and as I prepare to join her in death when eventually death comes to take me away.

Hymen wasn't the only dead person I was corresponding with at this time. There were also a couple of historical figures who were important to me, and who shall remain nameless. It is not necessary to expose their identities at this point in my story and I'd do well to preserve the confidentiality of my relationship with them whenever possible. Suffice it to say at this point that they were the senior stakeholders in my development of the host model theory.

But what's most interesting about my correspondence with these individuals is that they provided me with a proof, of sorts, that developing a rapport with the dead was possible. While I may have been able to doubt that some of those with whom I was meeting were dead I could at least feel certain of the historical fact that these figures were no longer with us. And with both my parents now dead as I write these pages I feel even more confident about meeting the dead. Meeting my parents in my prayers seems as natural to me now as was meeting them not so long ago when they were counted among the living. You may be struggling to believe me but look at it from my point of view. There's no-one else here. I'm completely alone. It may be an unimaginable oddity to you but for me I feel least alone when I'm most alone.

I hope you don't mind if I introduce another dead person. This particular person has long had a special significance to me, and she turned out to be influential in the subsequent unfolding of events in my life.

Old Nyth is one person whose entire existence is associated with death. She could be the very ghost of death itself but her domain is even more general than this. She's also the midwife of life bearing infants into the world which is where I first met her. I remember as a child how she was always at the fringes of my perception. I could find her in the dusty shadows on a sultry childhood day where she showed me how such memories could endure forever. Even now in the late afternoon when I see the shadows of trees swaying rhythmically in the breeze I see her relishing them because for her they cast a luminous pall across Eternity.

She is also closely associated with the ghost of medicine giving comfort to the dying, but in spite of how tenderly you feel for those who experience such suffering this is not her most important role. It is her great honour to occupy the doorstep of time which is of greater significance to me personally, and of significance to the unfolding of my story.

Now, you may be thinking that I'm just making this stuff up as I go along, that there is no doorstep of time or ghostly presence who has the honour to occupy it. Let me just say that I first became acquainted with this phenomenon more than thirty years ago, and in that time I've been able to consider it quite rationally.

Old Nyth explained her existence to me in terms of the radiant energy which sustains her. She told me that the radiance she experienced was like floating on a slowly expanding bubble of energy which slowly proceeded to fill the void. I got the impression fairly early in the piece that she was at one with the solar being and that her radiance was virtually identical to it. Of course, you'd have to make concessions to the nature of this being, but my experience with the host model of Earth led me to the conclusion that the solar being is a conscious one, just as the planet is, and both are beings whose relationship with us are distinctly ancestral.

But what set old Nyth apart from the many other ghosts I had been consorting with at this time was the phenomenal scale of time she had access to. It was as if the solar ancestor wanted to share this knowledge with us, but a true appreciation of such knowledge required the interested party to undertake an experience of dying. It is one thing to look across a vast field of time during one's earthly life, but quite another to depart from this life and share the dreams of a vast cosmic ancestor.

She seemed to be very knowledgeable and often offered me little snippets of her wisdom. "There's no work without effort, and there's no effort without consciousness," she would assure me whenever I was plagued with doubts about the nature of my telepathic experiences.

Energy is inherently the nature of matter, and consciousness is inherently the nature of energy. All those stars out there are conscious beings, creatures like so many others, as is the galaxy itself. So, as deviant as it may sound to you, it seems perfectly natural for me to make the galaxy my telepathic partner. The only remaining question is the one of how we negotiate our relationship with each other. What do we have in common and how can I be sure of whom I'm talking to?

Without wishing to unduly emphasise what may be a sensitive topic for you but my experience with cannabis led me to an answer to both of these questions. With the help of a little smoke I was able to realise that my body is just drenched in the same radiant energy we see arriving on our shores from so far away.

Now, you may or may not be a cannabis smoker yourself, but I feel confident saying that any cannabis smoker with more than a little experience knows that inevitably there comes a time when the floor seems to drop from beneath them, and they enter a state of freefall. It's not a particularly pleasant sensation, in fact it will scare the very life in you, but it will make you distinctly aware of the fundamentally gravitational nature of existence. But, more importantly, it will show you that energy is in a constant state of flux and has a very plastic nature.

Let me just point out straight away that the picture of a cannabis smoker falling through the floor is in fact a metaphor. It doesn't actually happen that way, at least not in my experience. It's actually more of an aural hallucination, a temporary lapse in the smoker's perception, like the sound of a car passing on a quiet street whose Doppler shift is particularly exaggerated. This is also somewhat metaphorical because it can happen in any number of ways the result of which is the distinct impression that everything is always falling.

You may be thinking that an aural hallucination of this sort remains distinctly the domain of clinical psychiatry, but aural hallucinations may not be as simple as psychiatrists like to make them out to be. There is the possibility that a telepathic correspondent is involved, and I'm sure my discussion of the nature of energy has made this clear to you.

Several years after I began to experience this odd falling sensation on most occasions when I smoked cannabis it occurred to me that the reverse case was probably also true. It wasn't an hallucination as in the case of the falling sensation. It was more of a rationalisation which occurred to me on the basis of some reflective thinking. In any case it occurred to me that, just as everything is falling, everything is probably also expanding at a uniform rate, and that the two are probably inverse aspects of the same phenomenon. We tend not to notice this expansion because everything is expanding together, so there's no reference point from which to observe things changing. But this will no longer be the case for one who chooses to associate with cosmic identities.

It wasn't long before I began to experience this odd falling sensation during my sobriety, although it had a very different nature. It wasn't as scary which was good, so it was a much more interesting experience for me. It wasn't a falling sensation so much as a sense that the momentum of everything around me had changed, but this wasn't the most interesting feature of the sensation. Of more interest to me was the sense that time was passing more quickly, although by anyone's clock this was patently not the case. It was just a funny feeling which I have long struggled to describe, much less define, in any other terms. One delightful memory of this sensation occurred while crossing the border from NSW into Victoria on the Spirit of Progress one night. It felt like the train was just slipping on the rails as if it were in freefall. On other occasions I remember this funny sensation would sometimes last for hours.

You probably never get around to thinking about it but I think you'll find that your world is made up of all the countless agreements which you share with those who have a special significance to you. You are introduced to these agreements from a very young age, and they are reinforced every time you create and share your cherished values with those who are dear to you. As a social person you probably never have to think about it, but a fundamental social agreement is broken when an individual chooses to go forth alone in life. Or perhaps it is more accurate to suggest that these social agreements are plastic by nature, and can be adapted to accommodate those with whom the solitary individual chooses to associate. When this happens to be the dead and the very stars above you, then the world becomes a place which differs from the one which you believe is immutable.

Back in the early eighties when these things were beginning to unfold in my life I scarcely understood their significance. It was only after several years of immersion in them that I began to put the pieces together in my mind, and I believe that four factors brought me to a position from which I could observe the time exchange. Firstly there was the odd falling sensation I usually experienced when I smoked the little cannabis I had in my possession and which led to my acquisition of a more general ability to perform both aural and visual hallucination.

Following the development of an ability to hallucinate my experience with the host model introduced me to a scale of time which I expect Earthly creatures rarely get an opportunity to encounter. In fact, the first thing the host model said to me, back in March of 1981, was that there was so much time out there beyond the horizon. It was this confrontation with a truly phenomenal scale of time that tempted me to develop a correspondence with the galaxy.

Thirdly old Nyth, the old maternal Queen of Time, provided me with the ability to retrieve a host of memories from very early in my childhood. It was these early childhood memories that gave me courage approaching the otherwise mystical phenomenon of death. With old Nyth by my side Death was no longer the fearsome presence which haunts the lives of so many, but an old friend with whom I could share a chuckle, and who would always be there throughout my often bizarrely warped existence.

The last factor I haven't told you about yet. It concerns the development of a suspicion that my dreaming was beginning to emerge in my waking life, but I have a little more of my story to tell you before I can make sense of this peculiar proposition.

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