Being an older, inner city suburb, Eraldus had many laneways crisscrossing behind the houses. Maria, often, walked them because they were much quieter than the streets. They were paved with uneven cobblestones and marked with weeds, puddles, graffiti, and solitude. Eraldus was, originally, a Greek area and there were still many olive trees and vegetable gardens growing over and through the back fences. In marked contrast to the stunning beauty of the Waldmeer beaches, the laneways were a vacuum. There was little to look at and so one started looking inwards. The energy in the laneways was different to the surrounding suburb. For one thing, Amira’s voice was particularly clear. However, other voices of lesser realms, also, seemed to make their presence known up and down the empty pathways.
It was a cloudy, cool afternoon with only occasional rays of sunlight. The laneways were quiet as usual, yet, Maria kept feeling that they were poised on the verge of action. Several times, she turned a corner and thought she saw the fleeting movements of a group of dogs in the distance. That was strange, in itself, because there were no stray dogs in Eraldus. Maria stopped walking. Something was there. She couldn’t see anything but she decided to head for the nearest street and get out of the lanes. A woman came from the shadows and stood in the lane ahead of Maria. Perhaps, it is one of the elderly Greek women, thought Maria.
As Maria passed, the woman said, “Why are you running away from me? I am your Great Aunt Evanora.”
Evanora, thought Maria. Yes, she had a great aunt called Evanora. It was one the sisters of the great aunt who died when Maria was sixteen. It was her father’s side of the family. Maria only occasionally saw some of the sisters and had the impression that they were a strange mix ranging from very good to very bad. Which was Evanora? Evanora looked at Maria with eyes that were both vacant and full of vengeance. She pulled a gun from her coat and took serious aim. Just as Maria felt she would be unable to save herself, a great wind pushed her over and she heard a thunder of growls. She barely dared to look at the horrible attack on Evanora by the wolves. It was Galahad and part of his pack, about six male wolves, from the North Country. Although extremely relieved to be rescued, it was a deeply distressing site. She sat motionless, unable to speak.
“Do not worry, Maria,” said Galahad. “We have not killed Evanora. We have only destroyed her temporary form so that she realises we are here and watching over you.” Sure enough, in a few moments, the bloodied remains of Evanora started to disintegrate and then completely disappeared.
“Would the bullet have killed me? Was it real?” asked Maria.
“Your belief in its reality gave it some power and so we did not want to take that risk,” said Galahad. “One day, you will realise that both the bullet and Evanora have no power to hurt you whatsoever.”
“Will she come back?” asked Maria.
“Not for now,” said Galahad. “We are the guardians of your spiritual bloodline.”
“Do you mean my family?” asked Maria.
“No,” said Galahad. “Some members of your spiritual bloodline have been in your family. Sometimes, there has been no one in it for generations. Other times, there have been several people in it at once. Whenever the light is strongest, there is, also, a darkness which comes.”
“What about my great aunts?” asked Maria.
“As you know, there were four sisters in that family grouping,” said Galahad. “One was the aunt who died. Another was the aunt who was upset with you at that time. Then there was Evanora. You cannot remember seeing her when she was alive. She was sent into your bloodline to prevent the spiritual light of the last born sister, Rose. Evanora watched her youngest sister relentlessly because she hated the light and she hated Rose.”
“What happened to the light sister?” asked Maria.
“She lived elsewhere,” said Galahad, “and only recently transitioned to the Homeland.” Galahad moved swiftly with his pack to the end of the lane and disappeared.
A few weeks after the laneway experience, Maria was sitting at the table with Gabriel, Charlie, and Mary. Strangely, they were all there at the one time for dinner which almost never happened. Maria was opening a letter she had received. It was the one and only letter she ever received in that house. She read it out loud.
We would like to advise you that your great aunt, Rose Este, has bequeathed to you her property at 6 Mir St, Eraldus. You will have sole ownership of the house once the legal documents have been signed.
Everyone was as shocked as Maria. They worked out that it was only a few streets away and so they walked there excitedly. The house was dark and covered with overgrown bushes. The vines had grown up the front of the house, made their home in the soil that had accumulated in the gutters, and were happily spreading out over the roof. No one could have lived there for some time. The front gate had a tree trunk strewn across it making it impossible to open. They climbed over the gate, pushed through the bushes, and made their way to the front door. It was one of the original little council owned houses in the area. Maria loved it instantly.
It was only a matter of a few months and Maria had possession of the house, had done elementary repairs, and was moving in. Every day when she worked there, previous to moving in, Amira talked to her. In fact, Maria was not entirely sure that this was not Amira’s house more than hers. Amira told Maria that although she had two bedrooms, she was not to let anyone else live there and she was to use the spare bedroom as her healing room. She wasn’t sure how to explain to her housemates that she couldn’t share her house with any of them. She wasn’t even sure why Amira wanted her to live there on her own. In the end, she said little except that she was only a few streets away. Gabriel’s friend, Paul, took Maria’s room.
Maria was no longer a girl. She was a young woman with her own house, her own business, and her own purpose. Yet, the child in us remains. It lives in our weaknesses. It lives in our trust. It lives in our desire to hold another’s hand. It lives in our devotion to something more than ourselves.
For the next few months, Maria went into an unintended but not unwelcome retreat. There was a huge amount of practical work to patiently attend to in the house. That kept her semi-focused on the material world. She still had the children to mind. The care of two little girls, also, helped to keep her grounded. She saw her clients but much of that time was spent in a healing consciousness. Apart from the children and her clients, she spoke to almost no one for the coming months. No one in this domain, anyway. She felt the house, itself, needed healing. Her Great Aunt Rose would come and go, in spirit form, as if to check the progress of the house. Perhaps, it was to check the progress of Maria.
Her healing room looked beautiful with little effort. It had a massage table for people to lie on so that they could relax while Maria put her hands on them and prayed. They, often, fell asleep. The room had a soft light that seemed to say, Relax, relax, everything is fine. The scented candles flickered and filled the room with loveliness. Although Maria had not had a chance to resurrect the garden, she found rose bushes under the rubbish. A little vase of roses sat on her table most days reminding all that the world has such beauty. During this period, Maria became strangely unaware of her body. Yet, it functioned better than ever before. Normally, people have minor complaints from their body much of the time, if not major ones. Yet, her body seemed to have none. In fact, she often forgot about it completely and it seemed to forget about her.
The main focus of her thought was forgiveness. It wasn’t the forgiveness of trying to be nice to nasty people. That becomes passive-aggression or, at best, repression. It wasn’t the forgiveness that says “Even though you have done this, I will overlook it because I am better than you.” No, it was the forgiveness that totally alters our perception. It sees the spiritual truth and loses sight of the alternatives. Our ego refuses to do this because its main food is remembering the wrongdoings against us even if they are entirely fabricated. To choose to see a different reality leaves the ego no room. It is the healing space. It is the beautiful space. It is the space of love and happiness. Maria would not be left too long in her retreat or her retreat may become a permanent one. The hand of life would soon be knocking on her door and asking her to return.