I promised to tell you in my last email—which if you haven’t read or don’t remember, here’s a link: What Happened Riding the Red Line from Harvard Square?—what was inside that booklet.
I picked it up. Its title was something like An Introduction to B.O.T.A. I opened it and discovered that it was an offer—to a few only—to enlist in a ten-year curriculum in the esoteric arts. There was no catch. This was free. My heart was beating faster. This looked like salvation.
I went home, and over the next several days, read the booklet over and over. I finally went to its website and posted a request for the entrance exam.
Receiving the exam a week later in the mail, I saw why it was an invitation to a few only. It involved writing several essays on my relationship to the supernatural, or to the subtler planes. Writing the exams was revelatory for me, and I sent the school a twenty-five page single-spaced printed essay.
The Builders of the Adytum accepted me, and for the next ten years I took courses in Tarot, Astrology, Alchemy, Mental Polarity, among other esoteric disciplines. This curriculum formed the knowledge upon which I base my thrillers.
I finished with that “school” fifteen or twenty years ago, rarely think of them, yet I know their influence persists.
Now was finding the booklet coincidence or synchronicity? There seemed no way out of my depression, given the way I had been viewing the world. Then suddenly this pamphlet appeared and a whole new perspective became available.
In the quarter century since finding the pamphlet, I have never seen it again, except for the one copy I keep in my file cabinet.
Was this evidence of factors beyond our everyday perceptions influencing the course of my life? Or was I suffering from delusion?
Whether I am looking at Jake Jordaen’s trying to distinguish between being psychically talented or hallucinating in Defiled (The Consecration of Jacob Jordaens), or Clark Ransom trying to decide whether he’s crazy or the visiting Toltec god is real, that not-knowing is the thematic core of my writing.
It’s been so ever ever since that pamphlet with its tinker-toy construction cover slid beneath my foot on Red Line years ago.