Ancestral messages delivered via involuntary altered states

This is what the sky looked like in Scotland much of the time we were there. It was windy, rainy and cold—not a good combination for an oncoming head/chest cold.

Almost immediately upon arriving in Scotland to begin the hunt for my ancestors, I caught a cold. Between adverse conditions and taking whatever cold/flu meds I could find in a country where I didn’t recognize the brands (no Nyquil or Sudafed*), my head was in an altered state for this journey.

My first reaction was panic, and then rage. I had been saving and planning for this trip for years and now it was about to be ruined. I had a schedule to keep, ancestral sites to visit and research to be done. Ain’t nobody got time for that. On top of that, the weather felt frosty, in spite of it being June, and I just couldn’t get warm.

I live in Arizona and, at home, summer means temps over 110 degrees. It was unseasonably cold in Scotland—the highs during most of our visit were only in the 50s, with thick clouds overhead, lots of rain and frigid winds. We were camping on the coast in a little town called Saltcoats, so the wind was gusting off the Firth of Clyde, adding a biting chill to the air.

I packed for the kind of summer I remembered from growing up in Indiana, where the average summer temp would be around 70, expecting that to be our experience in Scotland. But even the heavy sweatshirt I bought in London to wear under my jean jacket, once I realized I had underpacked, wasn’t enough to keep me warm.

This tiny bunk is where I slept and shivered with fever during our trip. I had a stock of nasal spray, tissues, ibuprofen and plenty of liquids tucked away in a corner near my head, along with a copy of Michael Caine’s book, Blowing the Bloody Doors Off, which I picked up at Tesco, in London.

As my teeth chattered from the fever, lying in my bunk in our camper, I was terrified. What if this gets worse? What if this goes from being an annoying cold to a full blown sickness, the kind that one needs to see a doctor or die? It can happen. I’ve been that sick in the past and I know what it feels like. This felt like it could turn into that.

Where was the nearest hospital? Where could I find a doctor if I needed one? What if that happened while I was a stranger in a strange land, stuck in a camper that had come to feel like a prison?

After all, we couldn’t drive it anywhere. Not only had Jeff accidentally put unleaded gas in the diesel tank (long story, but suffice to say in the UK, the unleaded pump is green, like diesel is in the States, and the nozzle fit in the tank, also unlike in the States where they’re different sizes) and we couldn’t drive it until we had it drained and refilled. And even if that weren’t a situation, he was still learning to drive on the “wrong” side of the very narrow roads and needed me as a co-pilot, and I was thoroughly unable to do that. We were immobile.

This is the view of Saltcoats from the bridge over the ScotRail train track, between the campground and the beach. Our camper is on the right and to get to any of the stores, which are mostly on the left side of the photo, is about a one mile walk. Surprisingly, being so close to the track wasn’t an issue. The trains were whisper silent.

The town itself was about a mile away from the campground so if we needed anything, we had to walk. I was in no condition to do so. Jeff would have to walk by himself and be gone for a long time, leaving me alone. So yeah, I was scared. Feverish and scared.

While I lay there shivering and half out of it, I received my first message, this one from my great-grandmother Helen: this is what it felt like for them, to get sick. Any illness was potentially deadly. And it was cold in their houses, up there in Scotland, in the days before electricity. This inability to stay warm was part of being sick for them.

Helen had 10 children, and only four lived. She knew the gut-wrenching terror that a fever could cause. She watched her babies die and then died, herself, at the young age of 38. Early death was a reality for them.

In modern times, if we’re privileged enough, we can pop a pill or go to the health food store for bone broth and echinacea tea (which I couldn’t find locally, either). Maybe we visit the local Urgent Care center, or even the Emergency Room, but at least we have these luxuries (those of us who can afford them, that is).

I also heard, loud and clear, that there was a reason I was sick. I had intended, planned and requested my ancestors’ help for a specific type of trip. I wasn’t just in Scotland to sight-see, I was there to walk in their footsteps, to pick up as many psychic impressions as I could and that couldn’t be done without being in a slightly altered state. I wasn’t so out of it that I was tripping, just enough to tilt my reality and allow for information to enter that would have otherwise been blocked by my rational mind.

See that brick building way in the distance? That was the bathroom/shower building. That’s how far I had to walk, in my weakened condition, to use the facilities because we were not using the camper toilet/shower. If I wasn’t sick, I might have grumbled occasionally about the long walk, but I was sick, so it became an issue. I realized, though, that this was part of it. My ancestors didn’t have indoor plumbing. They would have to walk to the community privy. Yes, even when they were sick.

Add to the illness the appearance of dark, cold and stormy weather, which was weirdly frightening. Also, we were so far north, and so close to the summer solstice, that the days were 17 hours long. That’s a lot of daylight for someone not used to it. Even though it was mostly cloudy, it was light when I went to sleep and when I woke up. I was definitely outside of my comfort zone and very open to feeling the echoes of the ghosts of the past, throughout the rest of the trip.

Fortunately, a few days after we got to Scotland, my brother Mike flew in from the States to meet us and hang out for a week (staying at a local B&B, with a rental car), and he’s a seasoned enough traveler to have brought Sudafed and Nyquil with him. He gave good advice on traveling while sick, and kept me well supplied and able to push through while feeling like crap.

Thank God, I didn’t end up getting desperately ill, but I did stay sick the rest of the time. I ended up going to my doctor a week after getting home, as I had developed a sinus infection. But I’m on the mend now and finally able to sit down and write a blog. I’ll be sharing more, in upcoming days, about the continuing series of synchronicities and messages I received from my ancestors.

(* I did eventually find Sudafed at a Boots pharmacy, once we were in Glasgow, but I couldn’t find it in Saltcoats.)

Also, here’s you another dug (dog, in Scottish)— this one was always tied up to a camper between ours and the bathroom:

That was one ferocious beast, barking its head off every time I’d walk past.

Lisa Bonnice is an award-winning, best-selling author. Her current passion-project is a series of metaphysical comedy novels. The first is entitled The Poppet Master (previously published as Be Careful What You Witch For!, now revamped and with a new ending). The Poppet Master is a modern-day fairy tale about Lola Garnett, a bored housewife and office drone who wakes up with unexpected psychic abilities, and no instruction manual, and Twink, the reluctant, sarcastic faery assigned to assist and educate her. The Poppet Master will be available in summer 2019. Its sequel is in the works.

Lisa is also writing The Maxwell Curse, a fictionalized version of a story she found in her own ancestral lineage about a witch trial, a generational curse, and massive mine explosion, all of which left ripples of destruction in their wake, devastating one family’s tree.

One response to “Ancestral messages delivered via involuntary altered states

  1. Pingback: Ancestral Synchronicity in Saltcoats, Scotland | Here's you a blog ...

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