Memories of Aris

I wrote this article, which I originally posted on my blog (, to remember Aris. It's not just grieving; it's recalling all the experiences we had together and the lessons she taught me. I intend this to be an engaging biographical story as much as anything else, and to honour her memory.

To save getting nitpicky I'll opt just to copy and paste without editing to adapt it to this audience. Yes, the blog I talk about in the first paragraph is this one. I hope you enjoy.

About a month ago now I found out in the most shocking way that my friend, Aris, had died. I was reading the blog of a community she had stayed with. It had an article about her - “Goodbye Aris.” I was looking at it with half an eye while talking with a friend and it wasn't until just about the last paragraph that it hit me why they were saying goodbye to Aris. Until then I had assumed that it was because she had left the community, not the world. At this point it was explained that Aris had been on a sailing expedition when they had encountered a storm off Morocco and the boat had capsized.

I still feel like crying now. It's hard to express just how impossible it is that of all people I've known, of all times for it to happen, it happened to be Aris, and it happened to be then. The world needed her so much – not only me. Aris was not just any girl. She was so free inside, so true to herself, and so loving. She catalysed something in everyone that connected with her. She was an angel, changing the world she explored just by existing.

In this article I'd like to tell her story as it intersects with mine, not just grieving but also telling the truth as clearly and completely as I can for its own sake. I won't say she was a perfect person, but who wants perfect?

What is it about death?

I believe in reincarnation, and by believe I mean I have seen evidence which I personally consider indisputable, so I know she's okay now. And yet when I read she was gone it felt like a piece of my body, something intimately a part of me, had been torn away from me. I don't feel sorry for her and I'm not worried about her, but it still hurts.

I was in the Barcelona University squat at the time I heard the news. (The University is being occupied by students in protest against the Bologna Process, a new legislation designed to drag education even further into corporate pockets, but that's another story). Me and Aris had met there a few weeks before, and she had stayed there. Just about when I heard the news there was a community assembly, so I attended, crying openly, to break the news, not wanting to have to say it a hundred times. I've been very introverted most of my life, so I admit my social intelligence is a bit out of whack, but it surprised me how people reacted. Many people had a look of helplessness or awkwardness about the idea of death, epitomised by vague statements like, “well, I suppose people die don't they...”. Others were actually hostile to me for having brought it up in assembly. It seems most people just can't take paying attention to the idea of death as something that actually happens outside of TV. One actually explained it in so many words: “not everyone has the same ideas about death as you, Andrew.”

Does death make you feel uncomfortable to think about? Do your research, then. The knowledge is there, but with everything you need to use your own discernment – there is no authority around who is good enough to relieve you of that responsibility. But that can be a freeing understanding if you really integrate it: if someone tells you that scientifically there can be no such thing as an afterlife then you don't have to listen.

There is scientific evidence of the afterlife. It's just that most scientists don't want to hear it. Do your research and get the weight off your shoulders.

The Aris Chapters

I think Aris was at the university about when I arrived two months ago. I didn't really talk to her for some time, though I got to know her friends – Elsie and Katey, two amazing, very high-consciousness people. Katey is an adorable English girl, totally carefree and non-judgemental – she dances all the time, and is of about the size and shape that makes you want to hug her constantly. Elsie came from the same town, a half-zulu girl who I took around the town when she arrived and who impressed me with her love and intelligence. She told me about her paranormal experiences: a tribal shaman had told her that she was followed by spirits and has healing hands. They were all part of “the travelling school of life”, an organisation that goes from community to community teaching and learning skills for free.

I saw Aris first just here and there without really getting to know her. She didn't mix much with the general crowd, rather like me (good grounds for getting to know her, except we don't mix much... right? I was going through a particularly shut-off phase). She slept outside the big tent-village the squatters had set up in the main hall, reading a lot of the time and knitting with unusual plastic needles that are as thick as your finger – my ex-girlfriend Ruth inherited that habit from her.

Time came for her to leave. I said goodbye to her and the people she was leaving with, adding, “I like you” with a grin, because I loved the impression I had got of her, the feeling of her aura even. I saw a lot of myself in her.

“I don't like you,” she said, equally candidly. “You're too smart.”

She left. Then she returned a few hours later. When asked about this, she said “I just felt I had to come back.” It's interesting, because Raúl, the other guy who I'm going to introduce in this story, was going to leave about then too, but his flight was cancelled. Draw what conclusions you will about that. I think it was divine guidance.

The next day, Elsie and I both wanted to get a shower (the one thing that the university squat couldn't provide) so we decided to go together to the house of some friends of my parents who I had been staying with before coming to the squat. These guys are decent people, but have more to do with my parents than they have to do with me, so we never connected really deeply. In some ways they reminded me of my parents too much. Other people needed a shower of course, so in the end we were five – Me, Elsie, Katey, Raúl, and Aris. Five members – the Fellowship of the Gubby.

Raúl's the only guy I haven't introduced yet so let me do that quickly. My first impression of him – I can't wait to see his face when he reads this – was that he was a pretty girl who I might like to get to know a bit better. I'm short-sighted, okay, and my head tends to turn whenever I see something female, so that's my excuse. But seriously: the guy is really beautiful, and I mean that in contrast to the word handsome which is more often used for men. He's masculine in attitude, but beautiful in appearance. And his smile is absolutely breathtaking when he turns it on full. I really don't mean that in a gay way, by the way, seeing as you always have to make that disclaimer. Raúl's from Mexico and studies architecture, and is really passionate about architecture besides – he spent most of his time in Barcelona going around looking at the buildings. So much for Raúl, for the moment.

So we got on the train. About this time I had suddenly gotten into a terrible mood for no apparent reason. Aris bugged me about it, smiling brightly. “Why are you angry?”

“I don't know!”

“What's wrong?”


“Are you schizophrenic?” With a triumphant look like she had discovered a secret. Her classic combination of sly perception and lack of censure.

I came out of the mood slowly and we talked on the long train ride. The five of us had a lot in common. We were all travellers, and we vibed well on topics of spirituality, non-conformity, and conscious living. Katey was into herbalism and was interesting to listen to on that topic. Elsie I had already gotten to know well, and Raúl doesn't talk a huge amount, but he was cool too. Aris was fascinating to me – one of the best psychics I had ever met.

Arriving in the town where the friends of my parents live I met by total coincidence another friend of mine, in fact, the sister of one of the aforementioned friends. She is a very different person to her sibling; a person of such a high vibration that we instantly hit it off when we had met. “How are you doing?” she asked me.

“Not all that well.”

“What's wrong?” she asked me.

“Nothing more than a lack of hugs.”

So we hugged a lot, and her abundant inner light made me feel quite a lot better.

And that's all I saw of her that day. Just another one of these little coincidences.

Walking to the house, I told the guys about the people we were going to meet, that they were generally alright but advancing my diagnosis that they had “Hug Deficiency Disorder (HDD)” which causes them to be a bit stiff in the spine. I also mentioned my parents, who I explained were much more severe sufferers, being research scientists.

“So you're a snobbish person, but you're trying to get better!” observed Aris cheerfully, and accurately, about me. She was always making uncomfortably accurate statements. Thankyou, Aris.

It was quite a long walk. We got talking about my parents, who, as I explained, were terrible. Aris was really interested in that, and probed me mercilessly about them. She wanted to know if they really were as bad as all that. (I was uncomfortable going into details, and find it difficult to describe the intensity of their inner darkness at the best of times. It's an energy thing, not a “they did this and that” thing). By way of contrast, she explained that her father had offered her a castle in exchange for being a virgin until marriage, marrying such and such a person, and all sorts of other conditions. At one time in her childhood, she recalled, she had jumped out of a moving car to get away from her mother. She had run away from home and prostituted herself, living all across Europe doing what she could to survive.


At the house of the friends of my parents was my father.

I slammed the door and left. At the exit of the block of flats, I shouted at the top of my voice, completely involuntarily, “¡¡¡CABRÓN!!!”

I had a huge amount of anger and fear under the surface. This is what Aris saw when she said “I don't like you.” Most people who have got to know me think I'm a wonderful person, but particularly up to that point I was really cycling between the intense fear energy I had picked up from my parents and the love energy which is my true self – schizophrenic indeed. That fear energy needed to be resolved.

We got walking at a quick pace. I had resolved to get away as fast as possible. Aris interrogated me, wanting to know what was so bad about my parents. I found it very hard to express – there was so much pain and shame associated with the memories. I finally settled for the standard uninspired storyteller's device: start from the birth of the main character.

“You see, before I was born, apparently... this is what a really amazing psychic called Erin Pavlina told me... I chose to be born with parents who were full of dark energy to learn compassion or to understand what it's like to suffer so much or something like that...”

My father was behind me. I screamed and yelled at him to stay back. He came at me and started to use the whole shaming routine that I'm so powerless against. “You're sick, you need to come back to the hospital to have regular treatments.”

Elsie and the guys were great. They took me aside when I couldn't stand it any longer and carried on the debate on my behalf. It was amazing to have people who could back me up on my point of view which I had felt so alone in holding.

“Those doctors nearly killed me!”

“They are qualified professionals, studied for years, and know more than you could possibly! *shaming* *belittling*”

“They are brainwashed by pharmaceutical interests! Every year they studied made them less qualified to help people! My disease can be cured by diet changes and medicinal herbs!”

“You think you're right and the whole world is wrong! *sneer*”

“AND YOU CALL YOURSELF A SCIENTIST! YOU WOULD HAVE KILLED YOUR OWN SON!!!” At this point my anger was so intense that I could have genuinely murdered him. I went away with Elsie and told my father that I'd meet up with him to talk later. I wouldn't give him the luxury of a when, but he'd just have to lump it.

The amazing thing, as I explained to Elsie, is that that intense murderous energy was in my father too – this is where I had got it from. And yet when I yell at him he just stands there putting up a façade of dignity. That fear energy that wants to come out and murder was held down by an equal fear energy that wants to be superior by appearing cool and unaffected by irrational emotions.

“You say you have healing hands,” I said to Elsie, placing her hands across my stomach where the darkness was lodged.

“What do I do?”

“Just visualise white light.”

Elsie prayed aloud, “Lord, give me the strength to heal this man.” I felt a strong, cold, white feeling spreading from her hands, and a high pitched scream came out of me though I held myself close to her.

Elsie and I spent a couple of hours together, walking and talking through my emotions. She was so amazing. As a pretext for walking around, we set out to find me freshly squeezed orange juice, which I've found is the best medicine for any emotional condition due to its great life energy. None of the bars we visited had juicers. As I said to her, “When they make the movie they'll skip this bit. Lack of airtime.”

Finally I felt like I was ready, so I phoned my father and said we could meet. They told me where they were (poor Aris, Raúl and Katey had spent all this time talking with him in a café) so I went there and met up with them.


Talking with my father was a physical effort. I sat there, dizzy from the pain of being near the dark energy that had been torturing me since I was a baby, and forced words to come out of my mouth, with prompting from my friends. Katey and Aris held my hand. Raúl gave me the thumbs-up whenever I looked at him.

Katey: “Why don't you tell him about your project?”

“I'm... going to write a website... about... well, maybe you'd call it personal development...”

“And what's that exactly?”

“Well... you know... uh...” I clutch my forehead. Aris squeezes my hand. “It's like... I believe that humanity is not limited to living as it is forever, but we have stages of development which we pass through, and that someone who focuses on his own growth and discovering the truth for himself can become much, much more intelligent and powerful than the culture that surrounds him...”

“And can you describe your level?” asked my father.

“Uh... no. It's like... you always understand the people below you but you never understand the people above you, right? If you understood them, you'd be there.”

My father mentioned he had read “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance” which surprised me, because I had thought he never got into these sorts of things. I recommended he read Eckhart Tolle. (These sentences are brief for the amount of ego conflict and tension that was going on, but you can't transmit all of that, which is energy, in words).

“But I want to know, what can I do to help you?” asked my father.

At this point I cried and said, “I want you to be happy.” And it's hard to say how intense that pain is. For someone who knows what heaven feels like, the biggest torment, the most incredible sadness is someone who has never felt it in his life. At least I would feel it again. My father didn't even know what he was missing!

Of course he didn't understand. I tried to explain what I just wrote above. I told him to start meditating and read Eckhart Tolle, and not get too reactionary where he mentions hockey concepts like reincarnation. But unless you've felt heaven, you don't have the urgency of desire to get back there. It's impossible to show people, they have to find it themselves; and they won't look because they don't know what they're looking for. So, though it pains me, I don't have much hope for my father.


“I want to know, do you love me?” he asked. “I can't read minds, you know, and you don't exactly make it obvious!” (I had been running away from him, refusing contact, for some months...)

“Of course I love you,” I said, honestly, and hugged him, despite the clamping pain in my stomach.

Aris told me that I was her hero.

We went to get our showers, and had dinner with the friends of my parents. My mother was there too, and I spent some time with her for the first time in a long while. Then we went back, and talked on the train.

Aris was ecstatic about me. And I saw a lot of myself in her too. She was born to even darker parents than mine, and had suffered so much. At one point she had been paralysed from the waist down out of emotional stress. She was schizophrenic, had emotional highs and lows, and paranoid episodes.

“Are you taking anything for it?” I asked.

“No... I'm curing it by living.”

“Good. I was going to say, don't listen to standard doctors or psychiatrists if they want to give you a mind altering drug – they are insane.”

“Yeah. I just use the word 'schizophrenic' because that's how I describe it, but I don't go to a doctor.”

How can I describe what it is to live feeling like you are the only one who goes through these things, thinking that everyone would misunderstand you and hate you if you expressed yourself! And to meet someone else like this, who can understand you so deeply!

Raúl, it turns out, had come to Europe because he was running away from his parents as well. His experiences vibed with mine greatly. We had all come together for a reason, it seems. We spent the train ride talking, and then me and Raúl and Aris went to a café to talk some more. Me and Aris even started to have in-jokes; I would call her “fucking psychic” whenever she read something from my mind. It is absolutely impossible to hide anything from her. Fucking psychic.

The next days

Me and Aris spent quite a lot of time together the next days. Her clarity and perception were incredible, and she taught me so much. Not by any sort of “official” lessons. Just by talking with her incidentally, about whatever, I absorbed amazing things. I can hardly imagine where I'd be if I could spend a time with a lady like her all the time (though maybe I'll see... I have met other guides since then). At one time, for instance, she told me about some information that she had perceived psychically. It just blew me away how she could do it.

“I don't like this place. There was a guy, really nasty. Last night he seduced a girl.”

“How do you know this? You saw it?”

“I read it [like this is the most normal thing in the world]. He left something in her.”

“Dark energy?”

*Shrug for maybe, yes* “...Or a child.”

Then we were talking about the afterlife with a group of the guys from the university. Me and Aris, of course, both believed in reincarnation, and were describing what we knew.

“People always reincarnate into people. And you don't change sex. When you're a man in one life you're a man in all lives,” said Aris.

“Really?” I said at this last point. “I don't think so.”

One guy then laughed at this statement, thinking I was the sort of person to believe something without proof.

I told them how I had talked with a psychic who had told me that in my last life I had got killed for telling the truth too aggressively. Aris said with one of her amazing smiles, “Yes – I think you are the sort of person who would get killed for telling the truth!” Somehow, it makes me proud that she would say so :)

Later, she gave me her diaries for safekeeping, which I still have, and some interesting books, as she was carrying too much stuff around. She gave me one special book, “L'Univers d'Edgar Cayce – les révélations du plus grand médium Américain” (The Universe of Edgar Cayce – the revelations of the greatest American medium).

Her dedication reads: “I took it from la Vielle Balette – lost imaginary village north of Montpellier, where punks were burning books...

I saved it...

It's my God!

-Edgar Cayce [She means Edgar Cayce is her God]

Welcome to the world of SPIRIT.”

In the back, she wrote the address of a miraculous healer in her native Slovenia who I will go and see. We were going to meet up and go together in the summer, in fact. Nevertheless, who knows how much she could have helped me with this information. She has given me so many priceless gifts in so short a time.

I went to get a book I had been carrying around myself, “The Diamond in your Pocket” by Gangaji, a really beautiful spiritual text which I knew she would resonate with. I decided to draw patterns in it by way of personalising my dedication, though it didn't come out very inspired. One of the symbols in the pattern was a heart, which prompted her to say, “I really hope you're not going to fall in love with me. You know that couldn't work.”

I poked her with the butt of my pen and said, “I'm not actually.”

Another moment – I'm just picking out moments here, they might not even be in chronological order – she was at one of her low points and I gave her a hug. Afterwards she looked much better and said, “Thanks for the energy!” This was one of the first things that gave me a reminder of my own power, which I had been scared to acknowledge for so long. Nowadays it's a bit more obvious to me, now I've opened up. But Aris' had this way of clarifying things. She incarnated clarity, perception. That's what she was.

Another moment, she told me that, after I let her use my computer, she had copied some of my files.

“Which ones?”

*I'm too cute for you to be really angry with me look* “...All of them?”


“They're genius! I'm going to copy your ideas and write my own articles with them, hehehe.” I didn't mind, it felt really good that she would think so about my writing: a little after, boosted in my confidence by this, I started writing this website.

Later, another moment, I felt a surge of emotion toward her, almost randomly, and wanted to kiss her. She felt that, of course, though I didn't give it away on my face. She looked at me knowingly. Fucking psychic. She stood there smiling at me. I put on a deliberately stupid face and diffused the moment with an attempt at humour, more because I was awkward about the idea of kissing a girl than because she looked uninviting to the prospect. She seemed surprised and pleased, if anything. So we left that there.

When she left, she gave me this parting advice: “You can give the people here energy, but if you're in your dark moods you'll cause great harm instead. You should go spend some time alone, and meditate – don't think!”

After that, she left, and I went for a walk, more depressed than I had been for a long time. I felt like Aris was right and I should leave the university, although I really didn't want to. In a direct sequence of events, though, this lead me to meeting Ruth, who was drawn to console me in my sadness, and a month of the most explosive romance and mutual growth you could possibly imagine. Underneath all of this I feel a thread of coherence – this event prepared the ground for that and so on; like there was a very clear plan behind this all. I'm sure there is meaning in the same way behind all the things in normal lives that appear meaningless, but they are harder to perceive because such people resist the way the universe flows, thinking that it might be anything other than perfectly loving and perfectly wise.

More or less three weeks after that, I heard the news. Elsie emailed me a bit after that and told me what had happened to her and Katey (and also another girl I'd known called Kitty). They had all been on the same boat with Aris but had made a stop in Morocco and decided to go their own way – only maybe a day before the storm. So they had been saved by a hair. Another one of these funny coincidences.

The night I heard the news, I went to the beach and lit a candle. The wind blew it out, so I made a sandcastle around it to shelter it. I watched the sea, like I always do when I'm sad or pensive, though this time the sea was a little bit more respect-commanding than before. After a while the candle blew out again and I left it as it was.

I remember being with Aris when she was reading the I Ching. She said that she always used this means of divination to see where to go next; it would tell her the sort of things that deep down she knew but was resistant to seeing. And it had told her to go south-west. It seems strange and painful that the I Ching could have lead her to this, and yet all I can see is that Aris was supposed to die. Perhaps she was too crippled by her wounds in this life and needed to rest and heal in Source. God knows she has earnt it. I know it's better there. This is too dark and ugly a world for a girl as full of light and wisdom as Aris. Maybe she'll reincarnate somewhere more fitting for her. Still I hope we meet again.

Bye Aris, inimitable guide. I love you.