[Wednesdays, I am posting pieces of Chasing Smallwood, an early book now out of print. This is a book about four interconnected themes:
- how to communicate with the dead;
- the life of a 19th-century American;
- the massive task facing us today, and
- the physical world’s place in the scheme of things.]
.2. The guys upstairs
For some reason I was moved to interrupt the work I was doing on a book about healing, and instead go looking on the Internet to try to pin down Smallwood’s Civil War service in the Army. And one day I googled the lyrics for “Marching Through Georgia.” Why? I had no idea, I just did it. I found a site that displayed the lyrics and also played the tune. I found myself sitting at the computer singing the words, with tears in my eyes, not knowing why.
Hurrah! Hurrah! We bring the Jubilee
Hurrah! Hurrah! The flag that makes you free
So we sang the chorus, from Atlanta to the sea,
While we were marching through Georgia.
That song stayed in my head pretty continuously for days.
Meanwhile I kept trying to pin down Joseph’s service. There was a Joseph Smallwood in the 50th US colored, the 13th Maryland, the 44th Massachusetts (militia), and the 10th New Jersey infantry; and the third New Jersey and first Alabama cavalry; and the seventh Indiana light artillery. Was one of these my Joseph Smallwood? And if he was real and not a figment of my imagination, why wouldn’t I already know?
On the 18th, it occurred to me to ask to be put into direct touch with Joseph Smallwood, and sure enough, there he was. And then morning after morning, day after day, I sat at my kitchen counter with my pen and journal, and Joseph “talked” to me. Sessions usually seemed to last about an hour, an hour and a half at most. Many times I would have to stop after about an hour, as my energy would ebb. I found that I could do this no more than twice, or — exceptionally — three times in a day.
Was this channeling? Well, it certainly was not trance channeling. I knew where I was and what I was doing. Was it automatic writing? Not in the sense of the pen seeming to have a will of its own. Was it merely my imagination? If imagination were only what people think it is, I could clearly say no. The unconscious has no imagination. It doesn’t make things up. Yet when we create it often seems to us that something within us wells up, and we know very well that our part in the matter is to faithfully transcribe, and not much more. But, then, was it true? Or was it, perhaps, part true and part imagination? Was it all imagination? And if it was imagination, was it fantasy, or was it imagination acting as a tool of perception?
I would ask you to remember, as we go along, that I found the entire process clouded by doubt. There is a common perception, among people who do not do their own exploring, that anyone delving into these realms is credulous, self deceiving, or fraudulent. Well, no doubt some are. That’s true in any line of inquiry. However, I plead not guilty to the charge. My conversations with Joseph came as a flowering of a long series of actions over many years, designed to improve my access to guidance:
- First came acquaintance with my higher self, which occurred in early 1987 at the first of Shirley MacLaine’s Higher Self Seminars. I had attended with some skepticism, and was surprised and gratified to see that she did fulfill her promises.
- Shortly thereafter, as a result of that seminar, I did a hypnotic regression session, which brought forth from me a series of stories of past lives.
- In the summer of 1989 I began experimenting with automatic writing, and got results which I gradually (very slowly and with relapses) learned to trust.
- Finally, in 1992, I met the psychic who introduced me to several of my past lives, including Joseph Smallwood, and then in December I did the Gateway Voyage that began to unfreeze my latent psychic abilities.
All this is described in my book Muddy Tracks: Exploring an Unsuspected Reality, which details my early steps along this path. I sketch it here merely to indicate that talking to Joseph didn’t happen out of the blue, and didn’t happen overnight. The sessions that began in December, 2005 were the fruit of long preparation, conscious and unconscious.
In one way, though, they represented a sudden departure from what had become my habit. Until then, I usually addressed myself to The Guys Upstairs, or The Gentlemen Upstairs, (TGU for short), a more or less undifferentiated group of disembodied intelligences who seemed to have my best interest at heart. But often I was in direct contact with David Poynter, a British journalist who lived from the 1870s to the 1930s, one of the oldest influences in my life, and one of the most trusted.
On Sunday, December 18, 2005, I suddenly thought to write this in my journal: “Instead of addressing the guys in general, perhaps I’ll try it this way: David, please put me into direct touch with Joseph Smallwood.” I don’t know why so many years had to go by before I thought of contacting Smallwood in this simple, straightforward way. When I finally did, that was all it took.
Okay, on to Joseph’s story. In the material that follows, anything in brackets [like this] is addressed directly to the reader. Anything in italics is addressed to the guys, or to Joseph, or to whomever is on the other end of the line, so to speak. Material from him (or them) is in ordinary type, as is anything I was writing to myself at the time.