Further Into the Occult


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For about a year, we continued our weekly get-togethers with the members of this marital support group (and with Tanya and Sherman on about a bimonthly basis). I also continued to see Sarah from time to time, and in one of those sessions, I told her Diane and I were about to spend three days alone with Tanya and Sherman, taking their “Eternal Marital Relationship Training.” On hearing this, Sarah furrowed her brow and expressed some concern over what she foresaw for me at that event. “Take plenty of vitamin C,” she encouraged, “and try to get a lot of rest; it’s not going to be easy work.”

During that same session, Sarah took me through a hypnotic, “past-life regression.” I saw myself as a rabbi, married to Diane. Our relationship, as in the present, was a cold one. Diane had done something – I couldn’t get the specifics, but it was in the nature of a religious or moral transgression. And I had convened a rabbinic court to address the matter, having made a firm if painful decision that my wife must be treated no differently than anyone else in the administration of religious law.

Diane never forgave what she considered my excessive show of religious principle. For the rest of that lifetime together, she was obedient but distant. Just as I had insisted on the letter of the law, so she now performed her wifely duties to the letter, but entirely without spirit.

At this point, Sarah asked me to envision our last interaction in that lifetime. I saw myself kneeling at Diane’s deathbed. I was terribly repentant for the choice I had made. “If only I could go back and do it differently,” I lamented, “I’d make her more important than any religious principle.”

“Your prayer was heard,” Sarah interjected. “The current life is your opportunity to make that different choice.”

My experience of this session is hard to categorize. I can’t say I felt either deeply hypnotized or vividly aware of the imagery in a pictorial sense. It was more like free association than watching a movie. Yet I was having an intense emotional response as I described these scenes to Sarah. I felt the rabbi’s profound grief at the bedside of his dying wife.

Sarah didn’t alert me to any connection between all this and the “hard work” we were about to do with Tanya and Sherman. Nor did I tell them anything about the above session with her. But almost from the start of our weekend together, Sherman began prodding Diane, asking if there wasn’t something she wanted to get off her chest. And she soon confirmed his intuition … that she had been having an affair.

I was of course devastated by this revelation. We spent the next several days filling in every bitter detail. And every other secret my wife had kept from me (or I from her). As Sarah had predicted, this was an intensely stressful emotional experience.

But through the tumultuous days and weeks that followed, I took consolation in the session with Sarah that had preceded Diane’s disclosure. The Rabbi’s regret – and Sarah’s advice to take a different approach this time around, held out a silver lining: the possibility that real growth might result from the catastrophe, depending on how I handled it.

Diane was remorseful and begged my forgiveness. As bad as things were, there was at least a framework in place, under Tanya and Sherman’s auspices, for our eventual reconciliation. Indeed, if they were right about the eternal soulmate concept, perhaps – just perhaps, the wreckage of our marriage could be hauled away and the foundation laid for a different kind of relationship. One in which I might find both the spiritual and the interpersonal substance I had long been craving.