Books in Print:
Other Published Works:
An International Uprise to Heal the Broken Souls of Fuga
Way of the Ancient Healer: Sacred Teachings from the Philippine Ancestral Traditions
by Virgil Mayor Apostol
After Hollywood screenwriter and script analyst, the late John Sherlock, took the author’s earlier manuscript copy back to his home in Ireland and pored over it, he wrote to the author commenting that he read the pages with “great interest” but thought the book should take the form of a personal odyssey. Taking Sherlock’s advice, the author interweaved his captivating healing and spiritual experiences, years of historical research and collection of photographs, along with information on the roots of healing from their cultural, shamanic, and spiritual origins. What manifested was his unique magnum opus, Way of the Ancient Healer, a book that intermeshes esoteric and metaphysical beliefs with scientific explanations of healing practices, based on an indigenous science and culture.
Way of the Ancient Healer: Sacred Teachings from the Philippine Ancestral Traditions is sponsored by the Society for the Study of Native Arts and Sciences, a nonprofit educational corporation whose goals are to develop an educational and cross-cultural perspective linking various scientific, social, and artistic fields; to nurture a holistic view of arts, sciences, humanities, and healing; and to publish and distribute literature on the relationship of mind, body, and nature.
Front Cover Endorsement:
"In Way of the Ancient Healer, Virgil Mayor Apostol brilliantly blends the art and science of the sacred teachings of Filipino traditional healing to help people find their path toward health and happiness."
—Deepak Chopra, author, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul
Back Cover Testimonials:
brilliant account of the ancient Filipino healing arts written by one
of its authentic practitioners and teachers. Essential reading for
anyone interested in indigenous health and healing.”
—Bradford P. Keeney, PhD., author of Shaking Medicine: The Healing Power of Ecstatic Movement, Bushman Shaman: Awakening the Spirit through Ecstatic Dance, Shaking: The Original Path to Ecstasy and Healing, Aesthetics of Change, and The Creative Therapist: The Art of Awakening a Clinical Session
in complimentary and alternative therapies is on the rise, and Virgil
Mayor Apostol’s Way of the Ancient Healer is a fascinating
cross-cultural exploration of the nature of health, illness, and healing
in the Philippine tradition that will be of special interest to those
reconsidering the methodologies of traditional shamans for healing and
—Hank Wesselman, PhD, anthropologist and author of Spiritwalker: Messages from the Future and Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation (with Sandra Ingerman)
“This brilliant and powerful work is a must for everyone in the healing arts as well as those who would increase the depth and breadth of their humanity. It is not only the first major study of the extraordinary practices of the visionary healers of the Philippines, but offers the reader inner knowledge of human possibilities once thought to be mythic, now shown to be real.”
—Jean Houston, PhD, founder of Mystery School, Ashland, Oregon and author of A Mythic Life: Learning to Live Our Greater Story
Links to Book Reviews:
Jaime T. Licauco (Inner Mind Developmet Institute) in Philippine Daily InquirerVanishing Flame:
It is an enriching and incisive study that provides historical and cultural context to paint a panoramic overview of traditional healing practices in the Philippines.
The power of the book resides in the way the author makes palpable to a wide audience the intricacies of often arcane, esoteric, shamanistic, and spiritual foundations that flowed into the actual healing traditions while documenting how these traditions developed and became a vital source of diverse healing rituals.
Virgil Mayor Apostol makes a strong bid for further investigation and understanding of what he feels is a vital healing tradition that thrives within the Philippines. He feels these traditions can have an active place in the world that is more open to looking into other holistic traditions as well as finding new bridges between tradition and modernity.
Way of the Ancient Healer succeeds in introducing the healing methodology of the ancient and traditional Filipino healing and health traditions, and I recommend this book as an integral component to its understanding."
—Vincent Giordano (Vanishing Flame, January 2011)
Filipino Tattoos: Ancient to Modern
by Lane Wilcken
Centuries ago, tattooing was so integral to the culture of the Philippines, that the islands were originally called by the Spanish “Las Islas de los Pintados,” The Islands of Painted People because of the abundance of tattooing seen by early Spanish explorers. But after centuries of colonization, traditional tattooing in the Philippines now stands on the precipice of cultural extinction.
In an effort to preserve this beautiful aspect of the Philippines' history, the author presents Filipino Tattoos: Ancient to Modern, which condenses more than 15 years of research to profoundly examine the nearly extinct remnants of this art in its proper socio-cultural and spiritual context. This includes examining historical accounts, mythology, tools, the social importance of both sexes’ tattoos, identification of individual motifs of Filipino tattooing and cross referencing them to related motifs from the Pacific for a broader understanding of tattooing in both the Philippines and Oceania. In addition, the author discusses the modern adaptation of tattooing from the Philippines. The first of its kind, this book is enjoyed by both cultural scholars and tattoo enthusiasts. The book features over 200 images.
Lane Wilcken has been researching the indigenous past of the Philippines and the Pacific Islands for nearly two decades, His ancestral ties to this work continue to motivate his research.
Published by Schiffer Books
TO ORDER FILIPINO TATTOOS:
Ungngo: The Breath of Life
By Lane Wilcken
When I attended the first International Babaylan Conference in Sonoma California in April 2010 I did not know what to expect. I had come due to the encouragement of my friend Virgil Mayor Apostol who told me of the good experiences he had with the core group of the Center for Babaylan Studies. Virgil was to be a keynote speaker. He encouraged me to submit a proposal to speak in one of the workshops about the spiritual symbolism of traditional Filipino tattooing since I was releasing a book on the subject in the Fall of 2010. So I submitted the proposal and was given a time block to present my topic.
When I arrived with Virgil at Sonoma State University I was pleasantly surprised at the positive energy and spirituality that was embraced by the both the attendees and presenters. One of the things that delighted me was how I was greeted by many of the core organizers of the conference with an ungngo. This traditional greeting used anciently throughout much of the Philippines and the Pacific Islands was performed by placing one's nose to the side of another's face and inhaling. An alternative way of performing the greeting was to press noses and inhale together. “Ungngo” is an Ilokano term and other ethnic groups in the Philippines called it by other names. I learned that at previous events, Virgil had taught the core group of organizers for the conference to perform the ungngo. In the past Virgil and I had discussed the ungngo and its declining practice in the Philippines. Consequently it was so gratifying to see it practiced at the conference. As the conference progressed the practice of the ungngo began catching on with other participants as well. In an effort to help others understand the deep meaning behind the ungngo I want to share what I have learned about our traditional form of greeting.
My earliest recollection of the ungngo was from my inang baket (grandmother) Catalina Coloma Rivera who was a traditional mangngilut or midwife and healer. When I was a young boy living in California, my grandparents would occasionally visit us from the Philippines. The moment my grandmother walked through the door, she would immediately grab my head and press her nose to my cheek and “smell” me on both cheeks. This behavior confused me as a small boy, having grown up in America. I often wondered, “Do Americans just smell really good or something?” But as I grew older I just accepted it as her way of showing her affection. Years later my grandmother's greeting became so much more meaningful to me.
About fifteen years later when I was living in Hawai'i, I was visiting some friends in Keaukaha on the big island of Hawai’i. On one occasion I had a Hawaiian woman teach me about the true meaning of the Hawaiian word “aloha.” She told me that before the Europeans came to Hawaii, the Hawaiian people would greet each other by touching the sides of their noses to the cheek of the other person, inhale and say “Aloha.” She explained that most people believe that Aloha means “hello” or “love” but few know its true meaning. Aloha’s meaning is derived from “alo” which means “to go with, to share or to follow” and “ha,” which is “the breath of life” or figuratively the “essence of the soul.” She told me that this word and greeting was an intimate expression among friends, a sharing of spirits. In effect it meant that a portion of my spirit will follow after you.
Catalina Ford gives her mother Mildred Coloma (Rivera) Wilcken an ungngo. Photo by Lane Wilcken
When this woman taught me all of this, I had a flashback to my childhood memories of my inang-bakut smelling my cheeks! I asked my mom about it. She explained to me that this action was called in Ilokano, “ungngo” (pronounced: “Ong-ngoh” with stress on the “ng” sound) and was only practiced by the older people now. I asked her if there was any meaning attached to it. My mother stated, “I don’t know if there is. That’s was just our way. The younger people now kiss on the cheeks like the Europeans instead.” Presently the word ungngo has come to mean “kiss.” But it was through this experience in Hawai'i that I gained a greater appreciation for my old grandmother's practice of the ungngo. Now I remember my grandmother's greeting with a love and an intimacy that I never understood before. She was sharing her soul with mine. My inang baket has passed away but I have since continued this tradition with my own children. When my daughter Brenna was born I greeted that beautiful baby girl by sharing the breath of life with her. Each of my children has been lovingly greeted the same way at birth and we continue to practice it in our home.
Today you will probably not see anyone in Hawaii practicing the traditional way of greeting in “Aloha” but you will see a lot of people kissing each other on the cheek. The same is true in the Philippines, people will kiss each other on the cheek but the traditional greeting is usually only practiced by the elders. The kiss on the cheek is an adopted European expression which approximated the traditional greeting. The Hawaiian word for “kiss” is “honi” (hoh-nee) which is described in Hawaiian dictionaries as “the former greeting, to touch noses on the side in greeting, to smell or sniff” as well as the modern use of the word as “kiss.” It appears that at some point the meaning behind the ungngo was lost but the practice remained. The Hawaiians, at the time I was told of this, did not actively practice it in public but still remembered the meaning behind this tradition. The act itself was called “honi” but the meaning behind it was “aloha.” Currently there is a revival among Hawaiians to “honi” the traditional way especially among practitioners of the ancient style of hula (hula kahiko).
La reconciliation eut lieu. An engraving after Jacques Argo (ca. 1819) showing a Hawaiian man greeting another man with a honi. From Souvenirs d.un Aveugle: Voyage Autour du Monde.1868
According to my friend Virgil Apostol, author of Way of the Ancient Healer, there is also a scientific aspect to the practice of the ungngo. Although largely ignored and masked with perfumes and colognes, humans do have specific and individual scents and also produce pheromones (airborne hormones). Virgil states that “these scents enable animals, including humans to chemically communicate.” Virgil gives an example of how a young toddler cries when missing his mother but is comforted when given a piece of his mother’s clothing saturated with her scent. Many midwives have told me that it is important for a newborn to be given immediately to the mother after birth so that the baby will bond with the mother by knowing her smell. This is because a newborn’s sense of sight is not well developed at birth. It is a form of imprinting. From many mothers I have heard how they love the way a newborn baby smells. Many people have also noticed how smells will also trigger memories. In this light the ungngo is a very intimate form of bonding between family members from parents to the children. To ungngo or honi a person outside of your kinship group is like bringing them into that intimate circle of family.
A friend of mine, Anna Hernandez, is of Tagalog heritage. She was raised in Manila and moved to the United States when she was ten years old. One day I was discussing with her the ungngo my grandmother used to practice and she said her late father did something similar. She said, “My Dad when he would hug us kids would smell the tops of our foreheads.” She said that she didn't think much of it until I related the story of my experience with my Grandmother. Many of my Filipino friends remember what they call “sniffy kisses.”
|Maori Salutation from New Zealand. ca. 1920, from Lane Wilcken's collection.|
In New Zealand the Maori people still practice a similar traditional greeting where two people will press their noses together. It is performed by first pressing one's nose on one side of the nose of another and then on the other side or simply by pressing noses together and inhaling. Sometimes the Maoris make a “Mmmm” sound along with the pressing of noses. This greeting is called by the Maori the “hongi.” (hoh-ngee) The word “honi” in Hawaiian is very similar to the Maori word “hongi” which in turn is similar to the Ilokano word “ungngo” if you drop the “h” in “hongi” which is not used in Ilokano. (oh-ngee = ong-ngo) Among some districts in New Zealand, certain tribes of the Maori do not aspirate the “h” sound and so the word “hongi” would actually be pronounced, “oh-ngee.” According to Sua Suluape’ Petelo, a master tattoo artist and chief in Samoa, the same practice in Samoa is called the “sogi” (pronounced: soh-ngee).
In other parts of the Philippines, such as the Visayas, people anciently pressed noses and inhaled like the Maori, rather than sniff the cheeks. A similar practice existed in the Micronesian Islands of Kiribati where the inhabitants pressed noses in greeting. The name for this practice was “arou pairi” which is a cognate or form of the word “aloha.” (arou-pa-iri = alo-ha) On the island of Yap this tradition of sniffing the face is also practiced. It is called “faraa owchey” or “faraa lugem” (fah-rah, ow-chee / luu-gum) according to Helen Gootinag a Yapese woman from the village of Wanyan in the municipality of Gagil in Yap proper. Faara literally means, “to sniff.” The second word “owchey” means the “face” or “lugem” meaning “your forehead.” Informally the faraa owchey is called “cheeko” adapted from the word “cheek” in English. Among the people of Tonga in Polynesia, greetings and good-byes are marked by pressing cheek to cheek and inhaling called, “uma.” The longer you inhaled, the deeper the friendship. Another interesting note is that the word uma is also used for the word “kiss” in Tongan. This is the same the word for “kiss” among the Kapampangan people of the Philippines which is also called, “uma” but they too practiced the same ancient greeting. The Isneg people of Luzon similarly called the ancient greeting “gaomma.”
Many of the words used for “kiss” in modern times may have originally been the words to describe this ancient practice. Words for “kiss” like “halok” or “halik” in Cebuano and Tagalog or “haluk” in Hiligaynon could be ancient Philippine cognates of the word “alo” (to go) in “aloha.” (hALOk = ALOha) The Cebuano word “adto” (go) is a cognate of the Hawaiian “alo.” The word halik may have also been derived from “hali ka” as a contraction. Halik may have been an invitation to come[together]. This interpretation would be similar conceptually togo with another person as in aloha.
Jay Alejandro shares a tender moment with his daughters. Photo by Lane Wilcken
There are many beautiful traditions from our past that have been abandoned by recent generations because they seem strange when seen through the eyes of western civilization. Some of these traditions have become so faded with time that only fragments of these traditions remain. I was so pleased by the practice of the ungngo among the participants of the Babaylan Conference. I had anticipated sharing my soul through my lecture, but to actively practice the ungngo, I felt embraced and accepted into the hearts and souls of many new friends, brothers and sisters.
Our traditional greeting is such a precious tradition which should be cherished and lovingly practiced. It is a cultural marker of the peoples of the Pacific Islands and the Philippines showing our shared heritage. In the spiritually symbolic sharing of the breath of life, the sharing is not limited to the two individuals greeting but also conveys an exchange of spirit with all the other people who had touched or contributed to the individual's life and spirit. This would include the long chains of ancestors whose breath lives on in their descendants and ultimately the breath of life from the Creator.
I feel that the ungngo is a deeply powerful metaphor for the first International Babaylan Conference, a sharing of souls from throughout the world and across the expanse of time. Until we meet again in the body, let the spirit we shared with one another continue with us to inspire us in every breath we take.
by Virgil Mayor Apostol
(Edited version originally posted on Deepak Chopra’s now defunct website How to Know God, March, 2000; and in Life Mentoring: Thoughts of the Greatest Thinkers, also now defunct. The following is the unedited version)
I was always curious about the Indian sweat lodge and asked a native-American family to take me to one. When I arrived at their home, Juanita told me that her son, Julian, would take me. Before we left, Julian instructed me in the proper etiquette as well as the taboos in regards to entering, speaking, and leaving. For a moment, I thought I was back in high school cramming for an exam. I was also feeling a little uptight wondering what would be the outcome if I broke one of these rules. Would they look at me with a scour on their faces? Or perhaps even kick me out? I left my trust in Julian. Before we left, Juanita had one special request. Her request was for me to ask for a sign from “Grandfather” as to the whereabouts of her husband, Armando, who had been missing for some time. I assured her that I would grant her request.
The trip to the reservation was longer than I expected. The afternoon was turning to dusk and we finally took an exit onto a winding road. By the time we got there, I noticed that there were neither people nor sweat lodge. We soon realized that everyone was off to a powwow that we heard at a distance. Before heading back to the car, Julian took me to a nearby hill, and placed a small amount of tobacco into my hand. He instructed me to face the Four Corners of the globe and throw tobacco to the winds while saying a prayer. There were two directions that seemed more significant. While throwing tobacco to the north, there was some rustling in the brush beneath my feet. While facing east, the wind carried the tobacco even further. After that was done, we hopped into the car and were off to the powwow.
Just when I was thinking the powwow was exciting, Julian turned to me and said, with a not-too-enthusiastic tone of voice, that they were just doing it for the money. I took a closer look around and saw that there were several booths of merchandise and food being sold. After watching a few dances, he asked to leave.
Back on the winding road, I was feeling disappointed that I was not given an opportunity to participate in a sweat lodge. Suddenly, a brown owl flew right across our front window. My eyes were thrown wide-open thinking we were going to hit it. “Oooh... Oooh… That’s a sign!” was Julian’s response. “I have to tell my mom!” I recalled the owl flying northeast, the two directions that seemed significant while throwing tobacco. I also felt the eagerness in Julian to reach home.
When we arrived, Juanita and a blind friend were waiting. Julian immediately mentioned the flying of the brown owl to his mother who later came to me and asked if I was willing to participate in a ceremony. I was given another opportunity to participate in one of their ethnic affairs that I certainly did not turn down. With all the lights switched off, the only light that managed to peek into the living room was that of a lightpost outside. Juanita rolled out a special carpet and laid out her paraphernalia that consisted of eagle feathers, stones, a ring woven from pine needles, and other items. All a while, Julian was burning sage all over the house, inside and out. Then it was our turn. We stood there while Julian smudged us from head to toe. The aroma of burning sage filled the air.
Juanita had me sit on the side facing east. She sat facing west. Her son sat facing north while the blind woman sat facing south. When we were situated, Juanita began to chant in her native tongue. All a while, I sat there cross-legged concentrating on my breath. After a while, she instructed us to call out three times, “Where are you Armando?” After a couple of minutes, the unexpected was to occur.
“What is this light that I see between Virgil and I?” asked the blind woman. When I opened my eyes to feed my curiosity, an eerie feeling, like no other that I have ever experienced, penetrated my flesh through a small spot in my back. It was most profound and felt like a “wind with substance.” (From a birds-eye view, if my nose were pointing north, this “wind” entered my back traveling northeast, the same direction significant with the flying owl and during the throwing of tobacco.) Whatever it was lodged itself deep in my belly and started to vibrate. I asked what this was. Juanita, who was just as perplexed as I was, advised me to just let it happen. If I wanted to do something or to speak, in whatever language, then come what may.
By this time, the vibration began to move up my spine causing it to whip from my tailbone to the top of my crown. The vibrations then moved down my arms and legs and into my hands and feet. My hands vibrated so strongly that it felt as if I was holding some kind of vibrating machinery. I had the ability to control and not allow it to happen but the temptation of having this unique experience was too hard to pass up. What I was feeling was undeniably real. I submitted to it and began to cry.
Tears were rolling nonstop down my face. I had speech, not in their Native American tongue but in Iluko, one of the languages of the Philippine Islands. I cried out for Apo Namarsua (Lord Creator) to help this family. I crawled over the paraphernalia and placed my hands over Juanita’s head. The intensity of the vibrations in my hands changed from a pure feeling to a dense one. Again I asked Apo Namarsua to be with her. Speaking in English, a message came forth that Armando was sorry that he left but had to do so. Moving back, I placed my right hand over Julian’s head and my left hand over the blind woman’s head. The density of vibration was different for each.
Over Julian’s head, my hand vibrated violently. The message was that his father had to leave but he loved him very much. The vibration over the blind woman was a mild and peaceful one. The message was that Armando was glad that she was there to give comfort to the family. I sat at my original position while tears were still constantly flowing. I continued to speak in Iluko.
I honestly do not know how much longer I was speaking, what I did, nor what I was saying because I must have gone into full trance. What I remember was Juanita asking me a specific question - “Is he coming back?” A strong jolt rocked my body. Once again she asked, “Is he coming back?” Again, a strong jolt rocked me. That same moment, the face of Armando appeared right in front of me. I couldn’t believe my eyes! Armando had the look of terror and anger! As swift as it came, Armando’s face disappeared and the vibrations left. My crying and shedding of tears suddenly stopped. I told them, “It is gone... It is gone...”
I sat there stunned although not afraid. As for them, they didn’t say a word. Finally, Julian said that we should all go outside. We were instructed to stand barefoot on Mother Earth while we were smudged. Then we went back in. They still were not saying much so I said good-bye and left.
A few days had passed and I decided to give them a call. When I spoke to Juanita, I was surprised to hear what she had to say. “That was not supposed to happen!” was her response. I was curious as to why, especially since she was the one who conducted the ceremony. Did she not like what she heard? Was something else supposed to happen? She gave no direct answer. She told me that she consulted with another Native American - a priest. She also advised me that I should receive a cleansing. I spoke to Julian who basically had the same response. I called the blind woman who was more sensible to talk to me. She explained that she never had such an encounter and went on to give me her side of the story. What interests me is that all three of them told me that there was one word, perhaps a name that I was calling out. Because they may have heard it while I was speaking in my own language, I was wondering how accurately they heard it.
About two weeks later, I met with a medicine man from another tribe. He diagnosed me as having susto or spiritual fright. I presented to him a bottle of liquor and rosemary twigs that he asked me to bring. He instructed me to lie on the ground face down. With a white sheet, he covered me from head to toe then began his cleansing ceremony.
I don’t know if he was speaking in Spanish or his own language. It sounded more like mumbling but he was supposedly reciting the Rosary. At intervals, he would be tugging at one side of the sheet or spraying liquor from his mouth all over my body. The day was hot and being covered felt like I was transforming from medium to well done. Nevertheless, I remained patient. When the ceremony was complete, I was glad to be out. Although I didn’t feel any different, the intent was to cleanse me of susto.
Since then, I have crossed paths with healers that I shared this encounter to. One reverend said that the name that I was calling out was my guide – my higher consciousness. Another told me that I left myself open as an instrument for another spirit to enter and that I should protect myself because it is not necessary for me to allow it. Others believed that I was undergoing a kundalini awakening.
Whatever their conclusion – and they all make sense – my life-long experiences will only strengthen my conviction that there is another side to the physical realm that we think we live in. There is definitely a spiritual side. Ask me... I’ve been there.
Note: Names have been changed to protect identities.
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The Spirit That Threw My Analytical Mind out the Door
by Virgil Mayor Apostol
(contribution to the anthology: Hot Chocolate for the Mystical Teenage Soul by Arielle Ford, A Plume Book, 2000)
Throughout my childhood, I had encounters that seemed mysterious yet frightening: glancing into the dark and seeing an eerie translucent figure dancing about; seeing some hands on the other side of the window; running away frightened after watching a glass move on its own; petrified by the sounds of monstrous breathing while alone in the room. These encounters, among others, were indeed frightening, and they tempered my belief in the spirit world.
By the time I was a teenager, I realized that these encounters were not so mysterious after all. I reasoned that that eerie translucent figure dancing in the dark was an after-image of a small light at which I was staring; the hands on the other side of the window were a reflection of my own; the moving glass was generated by a pocket of air causing it to glide over the wet glass surface; and the sounds of monstrous breathing was most likely a practical joke played by my older brother. In time I learned to be more analytical than gullible; that is, until I had a strange encounter one evening back in 1982. It would reveal to me the existence of a force so great that even my analytical teenage mind could not comprehend it.
It was just another quiet, warm evening back in the Philippines. The only other sound I heard was of a dog barking down the road. After hanging the mosquito net, I lay there hoping that no bloodthirsty mosquitoes would find their way through an opening left unattended. Everything around me was familiar – the walls, beams, and posts, all made of dark hardwood. The dog hushed its barking and left the sounds of crickets, which were my lullaby.
Just when I thought all was peaceful and calm, the irritating sound of a mosquito buzzed by my ear. Smack! I didn’t care if I smeared the mosquito and its bloody guts all over the side of my face. Bite after bite, itch after itch, smack after smack, it was just routine. I double-checked the mosquito net and found that one corner was not properly tucked in under the mattress. After that was done, restful sleep was mine.
I was awakened by a very disturbing sensation. When I came to my senses, I looked around and saw that nothing had changed. The mosquito net still hung, every detail of the house was still present, but two bodies? Here I was lying in bed and not only looking at my physical body but also at ghostly body that floated three inches above it, chest to chest. It was like another existing layer! I was experiencing a sensation of heaviness that seemed to pull my body down, yet at the same time a lightness that seemed to be lifting my body up. Using my analytical mind, I tried to make sense of it, but then another phenomenon kicked in to make matters more complex.
A very deep sound had set in and seemed to vibrate above my head. I felt frightened. Then the vibration moved within me from head to toe. I was afraid to see what was causing that sound, expecting to see some dreadful-looking demon, but I was just as curiously determined to find out. I struggled to turn my head, yet it only moved a few inches to the side, not far enough o see above. It was as though some force was preventing me from looking.
The sensation of heaviness seemed to be more dominant than the lightness and was taking a toll. What crossed my mind was that an evil spirit was pulling me down. I could not move! I was fighting an endless battle, sinking even further and yet not moving at all. I tried to call out, but no voice was to be heard. I tried again but only made a grunt. Then finally, after a few tries, I was able to call out “G-G-G-o-d.” I was straining to call out for God and succeeded by saying it a couple more times.
Then, miraculously, the vibration and heaviness ceased. I took a deep breath and found myself exhausted. I was able to move my body again. I looked around and saw nothing peculiar. All the details of the room were still the same as before I had fallen asleep. I was just grateful that, whatever it was, had vanished. I dozed back to sleep.
My sleep didn’t seem too lengthy when, without warning, another attack came. I found myself facing the same ordeal. The sound vibration that had taken over my body during the first episode was haunting me again. I could not move or make a sound. I was fighting to stay in one piece. I called out, “G-G-G-o-d.” After a couple of times repeating that holy name, the attack ceased once again. If that wasn’t enough, a third episode was on its way.
When morning came, I awoke and pondered what I had encountered. Did I pass some initiation into the spirit world? Was there an evil force wanting to steal my soul? I didn’t know what to make of it nor did I tell anyone for the next few years. Similar episodes were to occur sporadically. I always struggled to resist these, especially since they were to invade my slumber during the dead of night when I was caught off guard. They were not very delightful experiences.
By this time, I had shared these experiences with people I thought could give me more insight. Some explained that the deep sound vibration was extending from my crown chakra. Another explained that I was in a state between sleep and wakeful consciousness. Yet others explained that my body was wanting to astro-project. Whatever the explanation, they all advised me that I should not fight it and go along with it. Their explanations and advice must have embedded in my mind because of my most recent episode.
The usual effects were present – deep sound vibration beyond and within my body, rigidity and the inability to make a sound. But this time I was prepared. It was as though I was experiencing lucid dreaming, where you are awake during your dreams and sometimes can control what happens in them. I told myself that I was not to fight the episode, but to ride it wherever it was to take me.
Suddenly, I found myself in a room filled with fog or smoke. Then I saw myself go through the roof and into the starry night sky. I was to go back and forth between the room and the sky. The atmosphere in the room was mysterious while in the starry night sky there was a sensation of lightness, comfort, joy, and tranquility. Whether this was a dream or a natural phenomenon, the sensations were very real.
It took several years for me to accept these reoccurring episodes, although I no longer treat them as an attack but as a welcome guest. Now I am more balanced between being analytical and spiritual, and my life experiences and teachings have prepared me for greater challenges to the mysteries that the universe holds. I anticipate more adventures to follow. And with them, more journeys.
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An International Uprise to Heal the Broken Souls of Fuga
Commentary by Virgil Mayor Apostol
|The 2000 natives on Fuga are dying from malnutrition and a litany of other factors resulting from oppression. Copyright ã 1998 | Karie Garnier.|
|Security: An M-16 and a bottle of sugar cane gin. Copyright ã 1998 | Karie Garnier.|
|Early ceremonial jar, hidden for centuries in one of the many caves. Copyright ã 1998 | Karie Garnier.|
|Photo taken during the International Conference on the Hawai’i Filipino Centennial, Honolulu, Hawai’i, 12-15-06. From left to right: Aurelio S. Agcaoili, Ph.D., Karie Garnier, Virgil Apostol, and Federico Magdalena, Ph.D. Photo Copyright © 2006 | Virgil Apostol.|