A note from the amanuensis: Walhydra's main blog, Walhydra's Porch, has given her both a new way to communicate with her long-time Pagan friends from the old Crone Thread listserv and a way to gather a new readership—always a boon for an egotis...um...magnanimous Virgo writer.Part 1: In which Walhydra and Husband #3 have a narrow escape
In 1997, Walhydra started serializing for her Cronies an adventure which took place way back in 1981, before she and Hubby Jim (Husband #4) finally got together.
(They had been in the process of "getting together" ever since they first met as closeted high school sophomores in 1965—it was a long courtship, since Walhydra wasn't paying attention. The fates kept dragging them across each other's paths, until they finally "got together" for good on May 11, 1985.)
In any event, the 1981 adventure took place in India, where Walhydra and her then partner, Nikki (Husband #3), were trekking.
Now that Walhydra has this Back Porch handy for neat (and sometimes embarrassing) old stuff to sit on, she wants to share the Indian adventure.
For more details, please proceed....
Walhydra pretends not to like lessons.
"I already know this stuff," she whines. "Why do I have to go through it again?"
Confirmed Virgo that she is, Walhydra particularly dislikes the inefficient way that human beings continue to suffer through moods and emotions even after they have accurately labeled and analyzed them.
"Why can't we just get on with business? I got the information the emotion was transmitting! Why do I need to moan and groan for another whole day or—Goddess forbid—week once I've already figured out what it's about?"
It's usually at about this point that the Crone doles out a little kindly admonishment.
"Now, dear. Remember, you asked for the job...."
"Tut, tut. As a dear and greatly misunderstood witchy friend of mine once said, 'These things must be done de-licately'."
Walhydra blows a raspberry.
"You see, dear," the Crone continues, unruffled, "All that knowledge you have is useless...until you manifest it in living form.
"And if you've screwed up the manifestation once, or not done it completely, or not let yourself experience with full awareness every twist and turn of its sensations and emotions, well...I'll be glad to let you try it again.
"In fact, I insist."
"...waste of energy...," Walhydra mutters under her breath.
The Crone sidles in a little closer. "Can you decide which details to skim over and which to emphasize? Do you know what the finished picture is supposed to look like? Hmmm?"
Walhydra pouts. "Don't have to rub it in," she says.
When Walhydra was traveling overseas with Husband #3, the English-Italian-Buddhist-Witch from the Isle of Wight, she often felt that she was getting far more lessons than she had ever asked for.
Worse, Nikki never let her dodge any of them and—in true Aquarian fashion—never gave her any sympathy.
Or, as he once said, "You made your bed. Now lie bound and gagged in...."
Oops. Well, that's...ahem...another story.
One of the most protracted lessons Walhydra ever had began while she and Nikki were in India.
They had quit their secretarial jobs in Arabia, kitted up with tent and backpacks and, while living off their banked salaries from a year and a half of expatriate work, had walked, hitched, bussed and trained their way across England, Italy and Greece.
They abandoned their plan to take the Magic Bus from Istanbul across to Pakistan and India, because this was the year of the Iranian Hostage Crisis—remember that one?
Walhydra, traveling on her Ugly American passport, did not fancy being abducted by terrorists, so instead they flew from Athens to Bombay and traveled by train to New Delhi.
To Walhydra, India seemed like the original human experiment, still in operation, and the only one openly acknowledged as such by its participants...well, many of them.
Newly-met Americans always ask each other, "What do you do?" Yet Walhydra found that Indians were much more likely to ask, "What do you believe?"
Not that there's not also a lot of ethnic violence, religious hatred, poverty, disease, corruption—and, of course, lust, jealousy, greed, etc. The usual human menu.
But it's all right out there. Fight as they may, it's difficult to deny that all of those differences of values and beliefs exist and can be freely observed.
So, throughout the whole Indian pilgrimage, Walhydra felt like the sunlight itself made her focus on a different sort of question.
Not what path are you traveling, but how consciously are you traveling it, and what can you tell me about it?
Virgo vanity did not at all like having the light shown so brightly on the messy spectacle of an unfinished consciousness. Virgo spiritual hygiene secretly craved it.
There is much travelogue richness which could be shared with the gentle reader, as well as a good bit of spiritual-type experience and a few delightfully self-possessed—though chaste (darn!)—young male travelers worth mentioning.
What's more, their first month in India they were family guests of a Hindu artist and his Muslim best friend, a sojourn which deserves a story of its own. For now, though, Walhydra is constrained to focus on just this one persistent theme: her white slave adventure and its aftermath.
Being good pilgrims, Walhydra and Nikki had decided to stay, as much as possible, in local Indian hotels rather than the westernized, tourist-class sort—those where a conventional one rupee tip to the bellboy was the equivalent of an average Indian's entire day's wages.
Once they parted from their native hosts, they found a reasonably clean hotel on an Old Delhi side street, paid in advance for the night, and climbed to a second floor room scarcely larger than the plain twin-size bed.
As they were starting to unpack, Walhydra looked around.
Hmm. Bars on the windows.
She checked the door. No lock on the inside, but a hasp and padlock on the outside.
"I think this should suit very well for the night."
Husband #3 looked at the bars.
Husband #3 looked at the padlock.
About this time, two characters from a lesser-known Bogart movie materialized in the narrow doorway. They smiled appraisingly.
"Hell-ooo!" one of them said in his best Peter Lorre voice. "How are you-uu?"
Walhydra and Nikki made casual, oh-so-confident small talk.
"Oh. We're fine. My friend is from England...," Walhydra said, invoking Rule Britannia, "...and I'm an American."
The white slavers—Walhydra has a vivid imagination—seemed duly impressed.
Then Walhydra remembered that blonde-haired men—Nikki was blonde—were very popular in the East...to the sort of men for whom they were popular. Walhydra was not blonde, but she figured some owner would forgive that oversight.
"Um. Nikki," she whispered, smiling and nodding at the visitors. "Am I just being paranoid, or...."
Nikki nodded and smiled. "It doesn't feel good to me either, Sunshine," he allowed.
They cheerfully...and with greatly overdone subtlety...persuaded their admirers that they needed to "do something." They closed...but did not latch...the door.
"My thoughts, exactly."
They repacked and strapped on their backpacks.
They nodded, smilingly, to the desk clerk downstairs.
"We'll be back in a little while," they said, smiling, noddingly.
They staggered all the way to the rail station. They slept the night on the platform.
This was the first part of the "fugitive" portion of their pilgrimage.
Walhydra did not know it yet, but she had just been selected as the next subject for the human experiment.
[Continued in WWSA, Part 2]