"Sassenach?" "Yes?" "Ye know the fortress I told ye of, the one inside me?"
He smiled without opening his eyes and reached out a hand for me.
"Well, I've a lean-to built, at least. And a roof to keep out the rain."
Diana Gabaldon ~ Outlander
We have finally gotten here, to my favorite part of this first book of The Outlander Series. It's been personal to me ever since the first time that I ever read the the healing scenes from the Abbey of St. Anne de Beaupre.
I love the way that Claire comes into her power in this part of the book. Love truly does make you do things that you'd never dream of doing otherwise. I know because I've been there and it isn't always a peaceful journey. One of the questions that I get asked most often as the leader of an Outlander fan page is always..."In the scene in the Abbey, how did Claire heal Jamie?"
I do love pondering the answer to that question and I do think that I have one or at the very least one of the possibilities.
Again, before I start, I want to post a warning as such, albeit a loving one. Episode 16 will be graphic and it will contain material that is likely to trigger anyone who has experienced abuse and torture. I've said this before...If you're one of those people, don't be brave...don't watch it. It's okay. I know that my own experience of seeing this take place onscreen has been completely different than reading the book. I know that seeing these things come to life can drive up memories buried deep in the psyche. It can catch you by surprise. Again...I say this because of things that I have experienced. Recorded human history is a long, brutal and sometimes very tragic affair. Sometimes, we're just not very nice to each other.
One of the reasons that I love this part of Outlander so very much is because I know in my bones what Claire is doing. For centuries, the church has called what she performed an exorcism, but I don't think that captures the essence of the magic spell she weaves. To me, she is performing a ancient and powerful ritual known as Soul Retrieval. Mind you..this is just my opinion but it is an opinion based upon many years of experience.
Simply put, soul retrieval as a healing technique is used when often so much abuse has occurred that at the moment of trauma the very essence of what we call the soul fragments. Soul fragmentation happens quite often during instances of rape and other violence. Often it happens when a child who is very young experiences abuse, both sexual and verbal. A child or adult who's been raged at and ravaged over and over again can become frightened enough to complete disassociate from their body.
That's literally what happens...a fragmented soul leaves the body during the crisis and many pieces of it cannot find their way back. The Shamans job is to raise the spirit energy using music, drumming, scent and dance so that he or she can travel with the wounded warrior to find the missing soul pieces and then sing them home. It's the Shamans job to travel into the darkness alongside the wounded one and illuminate his or her pathway home.
Exorcism is a truly misunderstood technique that has way less to do with freeing the soul from demons and devils as it does about illuminating the pathways for trapped energies to move into their own free and positive light. Nature abhors a vacuum and what happens more often than not as the soul shatters during moments of intense fear, something will come in to take its place...mostly simple energies that can allow a body to continue to function, but every now and then a denser energy, or what the Church would call "demonic" can take up residence as well and if not dealt with can cause some very real and present danger.
Bear with me..I'm traversing this pathway for a reason.
I first learned the techniques of Soul Retrieval, Past Life regression, Rebirthing and Exorcism decades ago, when a beloved friend began to suffer from a strange depression so debilitating that I began to fear for his very existence. Nothing was making sense. At the time he was in therapy and his therapist told him that nothing more could be traditionally done, but that she knew someone who could help him. I went to meet the "Healer" she suggested full of skepticism, sure that he was going to be dragged into a cult.
The rest is history. Much to my surprise (Don't forget that at that time I was a very successful businesswoman running one of the most prominent gift stores in the city of Cleveland) I wound up at the Pathwork Center in Phoenicia, New York and at that very moment my life changed forever. Talk about living a dual life. Most of this was done in secret as it's definitely not a "ladies who lunch" conversation.
It was in Phoenicia, New York, cocooned within the Catskill Mountains that I learned how to work with the brutally shattered soul and it was there that I found my life's work.
I learned in that cozy warm barn that most of us carry soul deep wounding not just from this lifetime, but from other lifetimes. To make a long story very very short, a team of very experienced healers and I worked for several months with him using a combination of many different modalities including many sessions of past life regression work , soul retrieval, finally an exorcism where we expelled an energy that had taken up residency within him during a lifetime where he'd been brutally tortured as a young boy during the period known as the dark ages. it wasn't always a gentle healing experience..oftentimes it was a matter of fighting the inner violence with the equivalent force. We traveled the road from Cleveland to Phoenicia and after that to Lancaster PA. and Strasburg Ohio many times that year. The last work we did together was in the form of a rebirthing...a beautiful and instinctive process that can literally take you back down the birth canal and into your life, but this time with you choosing it, not being forced into it.
It took a long time, but we persisted. Layer upon layer of emotional torture and rape..murder and violence were uncovered during those months and these weren't memories from his present lifetime. He wasn't always a man in these lifetimes and sometimes he was. Several times we found ourselves dealing with the energies of a young child. I heard him recount visions and stories of other times and places with an accuracy that was mesmerizing.....and this is a man who doesn't give a fig about history, he's an Aquarian who's always lived with his head in the clouds and the stars.
I found myself watching astonished as he spoke in tongues and later in Lakota...languages that he would have no way of ever knowing. The path just kept revealing itself. If I hadn't been so involved in the process..well truthfully the only reason that I didn't think that I was going mad was because I didn't have time. Too much depended upon it. Eventually we came to the end of what was an completely terrifying yet amazingly beautiful journey. I am happy to say that today he is extraordinarily happy and very healthy. His relationships with himself and the world around him are whole and complete.
He is married to a woman he describes as the love of his life, with beautiful children and a very successful career. He will tell you that this was never going to be the case. His favorite question was "Why?" "Why am I here?"
Trust me when I say that he definitely did not want to be.
Jamie endured so much at the hands of Black Jack Randall that by the end, he did not want to be either.....
What I am trying to say actually is that the body remembers everything and when something is missing it becomes like a torturous phantom limb, which is why sometimes as in the case of our beloved James Fraser, the pain was too much to bear. The loss of his ability to love Claire was too much for him to live with. The loss of his innocence was soul shattering and as he became disassociated from his body, I believe that his mind took over and wreaked total havoc. In my experience, the mind has no way of understanding what has happened to the soul and the body that houses it, so it tries over and over again to make sense of what's missing to the point of obsession. Eventually, the mind exhausts itself and so does the body. At that point we can become not just severely depressed, but physically and quite dangerously ill , left without the ability to fight off sickness and disease.
Perhaps without even knowing it and driven only by a love so strong that she was willing to go into the darkness with him, Claire knew just what she needed to do. She used cunning, razor sharp instincts and the conjurers arts to prepare herself to go deep into the darkness with him. She journeyed within him and found the missing pieces and then with sheer brutality inspired by that deep love, she brought him back to his warriors spirit..she shared her strength with him and forced him to find the will to fight back.
Then with exquisite tenderness she re-birthed him.
"We bashed into some piece of furniture and both lay still. Jamies hands were locked onto my breasts, fingers digging bruisingly into the flesh. I felt the plop of dampness on my face, sweat or tears I couldn't tell, but opened my eyes to see. Jamie was looking down at me, face blank in the moony light, eyeswide, unfocused. His hands relaxed. One finger gently traced the outline of my breast from slope to tip, over and over . His hand moved to cup the breast, fingers spread like a starfish, soft as the grip of a nursing child. "M-mother?" he said. The hair stood up on the back of my neck. It was the high pure voice of a young boy. "Mother?"
The cold air laved us, whirling the unhealthy smoke away in a drift of snowflakes. I reached up and laid the palm of my hand along his cold cheek. "Jamie, love," I said, whispering through a bruised throat, "Come then, come lay your head man." The mask trembled them and broke, and I held the big body hard against me, the two of us shaking with the force of his sobbing."
Outlander- Diana Gabaldon
To Ron Moore, Diana Gabaldon, Caitriona Balfe, Tobias Menzies and Sam Heughan. Words cannot express...Thanks are not enough for the gift of a lifetime...having my favorite book of all time brought to life. It can't have been easy...especially the nasty bits and I thank you for them all. You've moved , touched and inspired me with your generosity. And to the rest of the cast and crew....You made me laugh and cry and experience your brilliance to the moon and back. You are not forgotten...EVER. Thank you! I can't wait to see what you bring us next season!