Instant Recap: During her long trip on the Greyhound Mindy was bedeviled by demons, but then ascended to Olympus where she assumed her Goddessform of Athena-Minerva and talked with her parents Zeus-Jupiter and Hera-Juno. They revealed that the Father of the Gods had prevented the conception of a Man-God greater than himself, but that this hero had at last come to Earth and that Mindy would meet him at Soul Haven.
5. A Double-Barreled Banishing
Sam stayed over at Soul Haven that night, and the next morning volunteered for duty plowing and planting a field with Vance and Carol. “We’re the ‘hands-on’ team,” said Vance: “hands on the horseplow and fingers in the grain, not to mention the dirt and mud. There’s also a tractor team ~ maybe you should try that for your first lesson. Lots easier and cleaner.”
But Sam was steadfast in his choice, and a couple of hours later he was making his first solo run with the plow after some trials and tutelage with Vance. Carol, meanwhile, was strewing seed from her apron onto the plowed tracts while merrily singing folk ballads from various European nations. The field bordered a road which was about a hundred yards away, and out of the corner of her eye she noticed a vehicle stop suddenly. When it started backing up she gave it her full attention, and saw that it was a taxi. It parked directly across from where they were working, and there emerged a passenger whom with her keen eyesight Carol could see was a girl.
“Hey guys!” called Carol, “come and take a look at this.” They hearkened immediately. Vance gave a steadying pat and a soothing word to the hefty chestnut mare, then he and Sam came and stood by Carol just as the cab drove off and the girl clambered over the waist-high wooden fence, slung on a backpack, picked up a suitcase, and started walking toward them.
“A trespasser?” said Sam.
“We’ve had a few,” said Vance, “but they don’t usually come by cab.”
“Come on, let’s go and meet her,” said Carol. “She can’t roll that suitcase over the stubble. She needs our help.”
They had advanced only a short way when the girl noticed them coming; there was an exchange of waves, and soon they were face to face. “Is this Soul Haven?” said Mindy ~ “Are you the Kin of Aries?”
“Wow,” said Vance, “it looks like we’re secretly famous!”
“Yeah, we don’t get many pilgrims,” said Carol. Then noticing that Mindy’s eyes were welling up, she held out her arms and the two fell into a passionate sisterly embrace, or perhaps mother-and-daughterly. As Mindy wept on her shoulder whispering, “Thank God! Thank the Gods!” Carol heeded a deep instinct and said, “Welcome home!”
Shortly Mindy composed herself and stepped back. “I’m Carol,” said Carol, “and this is Vance and Sam.”
After a deep breath came the reply: “I’m Mindy Carlson. I heard about you on the Internet, and I… I….”
“Whoa, you’ve sure got a swarm of critters buzzin’ around you,” said Vance.
“What?!?” said Mindy, astonished ~ “you mean you can see them too?” The beatific mood of the previous night had vanished when she awakened on the bus this morning, and through all the intervening events she had been plagued by swirling Furies, Harpies, and bats out of Hell.
“I as well,” said Carol. “I think I can guess what you heard about us and why you’ve come.”
There was a moment of silence as they all grasped the magnitude of the event and were filled with awe, perhaps Sam most of all. Then Vance said, “Would you like us to blow away those beasties?”
“Could you?” said Mindy, her wonderment rising to a new plateau.
“Only temporarily, at least this first time,” said Carol. “You haven’t even told us about yourself yet, and what’s been going on, but…” she glanced at Vance ~ “we can tell that you’re going to need some deep Seelenheil.”
“Zaylen what?” said Mindy.
“Soul healing,” explained Sam, then blushed at his effrontery since he had learned of it himself just yesterday.
“Yow, that’s it!” said Mindy, “that’s exactly what I need. So sure, if you think you can banish these, um, critters, go right ahead. Even if it was only for a few minutes, it would still be a miracle.”
“One miracle comin’ up!” said Vance, “and our magic bullets don’t have the recoil like those dum-dum pills.”
“In fact it’s real magic,” added Carol. Then to Vance she said, “What about Sam?”
“Oops, that’s right,” said Vance ~ “he could get some recoil when Mindy’s critters start flyin’ the coop in all directions. Let’s stroll back to the field.” And so they did, with Sam carrying Mindy’s suitcase. “The tree there will help ground him,” said Vance to Carol. “Do you think in front or behind?”
“Let’s try the front,” said Carol, “so he can see what’s going on ~ at least the physical layer of it.” She led a speechless Sam to the tree and instructed him to lean his back against it, then plant his feet solidly at the base of the trunk. “Have you ever done any visualization?” she asked.
“A little,” he said; “I was trying to figure out the psychological mechanism of it.”
“Ah, that’s cool. So now when we start, I’d like you to focus your whole attention on visualizing a big shield in front of your body. The shape can be a circle, an oval, a rectangle ~ whatever’s easiest to conjure up and sustain in your imagination. It’s important to be mindful and keep it up and not get distracted by whatever you see happening, especially if it’s surprising.”
“I’ll do my best,” said Sam, and took up his centurion’s stance. As Carol walked back to the others, he flashed on an absurd scene of suggesting to his professors that the analyst might need to protect himself from attack by his patient’s hallucinations.
There was a small expanse of soft green grass at the edge of the field, about twenty yards from the tree where Sam was planted. Here Vance and Carol looked around, then up and down, while making some fluid motions with their hands and arms. “Okay,” said Vance to Mindy, “here’s a good spot for you to stand.”
She took her stance on the spot and said, “Is there something special about it?”
“There is now,” said Carol ~ “it’s the center of our magic circle.” Then she asked Vance, “Should we move Posy farther away?”
He looked at the plowhorse and said, “I reckon she’ll be fine right there. But maybe you should have a quick word with her.”
Carol trotted over and spoke to Posy, eliciting a soft whinny, then gave her a warm hug around the neck and returned. “Mindy,” she said, “I know you have a lot of strength to have held out against these demons for however long, so I guess all I can say now is to stand fast a little longer.”
“Yes, Ma’am!” said Mindy, raising her right hand crisply, almost in a military salute. Carol and Vance chuckled, then positioned themselves on opposite sides of Mindy, each about five yards away from her. They began to walk around her in a circle counterclockwise, and sang a lyrical chant:
Ramar Savit Seelenheil for Mindy and us,
Dharmalove troth, in Thule we trust.
After a few turns they stopped in their original positions and faced Mindy. Vance’s back was directly toward Sam, perhaps as an extra shield in case his own didn’t hold. The Magus and Priestess made simultaneous gestures of their right arms circling above them then sweeping down, then holding both arms outspread as they chanted:
Helios, Savitri, Apollo, and Sonne
Give us your power, for with thee we’re one!
Banish the spawn of the dark nether realm,
Lustrate our vessel, with thou at the helm.
They did a series of drawn-out intonations: raising their hands to heaven they chanted
and swinging them down to earth: Erte…
thrusting their arms straight out to their sides three times:
All harm away, away, away!
Swooping their arms and pointing their hands dramatically toward Mindy:
All nox, pox, and evil…
Sweeping their arms out to their sides again:
go to NihilOOOOMMMMMMM!
Mindy was galvanized as the horrid black flying creatures were caught up in a maelstrom. They shrieked and howled as they were catapulted hither and thither, spinning in the rim of a cyclone which blew them farther and farther away. But the sky suddenly darkened as the Sun went behind a cloud, and the hellish horde regrouped itself, shook off the banishing force, and veered back into orbit around Mindy.
“Wow!” said Vance, “those damned dingbats don’t know when to quit!”
Carol laughed in spite of her distress at the evident failure of their rite. “Poor Mindy!” she said, “but don’t worry, we’ll give it another shot.”
“Oohh!” moaned Mindy, “I’m sorry to be such a hard case! You’re putting all your energy into it ~ I can see you’re getting drained, making a big sacrifice for me. Maybe we should just stop and try again later.”
“Not a chance!” said Vance, “we’ve got these critters on the run. They’re softened up now, so one more whollop should finish ’em off and send ’em to NihilOM.”
“Where’s that?” said Mindy.
“Nowhere,” said Carol, “literally. Some people banish demons to Hell, but that’s not very merciful even if it’s their rightful home. So we send them back to the Void from which all things sprang in the beginning. They cease to exist.”
“Let’s beam down the next squad of troops,” said Vance.
“Aye, Captain!” said Carol as they took their stance again. They repeated the four-verse stanza, and this time followed through with:
OM Namah Ram Jaya, Savit Heil!
Hermes, Athena, for Thule our home…
Mindy did a double-take on hearing her own Goddess-name in the chant. She shouted, “Hey, can you run that one by again?”
Vance and Carol were surprised, but shifted gears and began the chant again. Mindy wasn’t sure of the first verse, but she joined in on the rest of it in full voice, moving her arms and body in sync with Vance and Carol:
Hermes, Athena, for Thule our home!
All harm away, away, away!
All nox, pox, and evil
go to NihilOOOOMMMMMMM!
The circle exploded ~ that was the effect perceived by the rite’s participants. There was a shuddering uprush of energy centering on Mindy, and the demons were blown upward and outward like shrapnel. So potent was the magical force that it impacted the physical earth, as stubble and old fallen leaves were swept up from the ground surrounding the spot and wafted into the air. Thus it was that an astounded Sam saw what looked like a mushroom cloud from a bomb blast, and instantly intensified his visualization of the shield. Bits of debris shot about in erratic patterns, as if they were the vestments of invisible beings, which in fact they were. This time the darkling creatures were trapped in the rapidly expanding rim of the cyclone and were bouncing like billiard balls off unseen bumpers. A distinctly batlike wad of rubble passed through the upper part of Sam’s shield, barely missing his head. Oh my God! he thought, it’s not holding ~ I’m gonna get plastered!
His mind went into overdrive and hit on an image of a shield from an emotionally-charged memory: Wagner’s Parsifal at the opera, in which the Grail Knights bore shields emblazoned with a dove like the Holy Spirit icon. In the next instant he remade his own etheric shield in this likeness, just as a piece of shrapnel the size of a bowling-ball hurtled toward him. It shattered on the shield, and he distinctly sensed a creepy something bouncing off it.
The cyclone’s rim continued to spread out from the epicenter, where everything had settled down. Then Posy reared up and whinnied frantically, but did not try to run off. And then the four people stood looking at each other in a scene of silent sunlit calm. “They’re gone!” shouted Mindy ecstatically. “You did it! My sky is clear!”
“We did it,” said Carol. “Have you done magic before?”
“Sort of ~ just what comes to me and works to fight off the critters. But I never blew away a whole bunch like this! You guys are great, I love you!”
And then all four spontaneously fell together in a hearty mutual hug.