Sayid and the Gate Keeper

This past weekend, I visited ‘Rookwood‘. This is the largest Necropolis in the southern hemisphere and it is a short 24 minutes drive away.

The first time I visited Rookwood, time shifted. Before I knew it, I’d been there three hours and I’d never even left the car. This an entire suburb devoted to the disincarnate.


This time I met a friend there. ‘Sayid’ has shown a strong interest in all things disincarnate so I suggested we visit the site together. He was very enthusiastic.

My personal intention for this visit was to connect with the Gate Keeper. A little research and I had a possible name and date. Unfortunately, Rookwood records for this first 1867 burial did not exist and the actual grave site for John Whalan was unknown.

I met Sayid at the gates at 9am. How would he respond to this space? Or would it spook him and raise fear and anxiety in him? Would it become a waste of time? I hoped it would be a powerful moment to consolidate his development as a spirit worker. At this moment, I wasn’t sure how it would affect him.

For the whole time there, I felt like I was treading a fine line between offering him the details he needed while allowing the space for him to interact freely with the disincarnate. In my experience, most people seek some level of ‘permission’ to move forward, when they more often need to find the confidence in their own sense of autonomy in these places.

We drove to the first stop – one of the oldest spots in the cemetery. Within a very short time, perhaps 10-15 minutes, he was gone – out of sight.

Lost amongst the graves.

Every now and then I glimpsed his blue t-shirt receding more and more into the distance. He was well and truly focused on a personal track.

I started to relax.

After around 40 minutes, he returned. I asked him what he was feeling from the environment. What was he picking up? What level of ‘noise’ what he experiencing?

We talked about respect, being in the disincarnate space, communicating intention and respectfully asking permission. He asked intelligent questions that hinted at more than he was verbally telling me.

Again I relaxed a little more, realising he had the confidence to move forward without seeking any permission or approval from me.

We travelled for the rest of the time throughout Rookwood in our separate cars. After the first stop, I encouraged him to ‘take the lead’ and stop wherever he felt drawn. He pulled his car over briefly at several points, sometimes getting out briefly to walk amongst the graves and then moving onto another location and other times hesitating and pulling back into the small service road.

Around 11.30 we stopped at one of the small ‘cafe’ style shelters. I reminded myself to bring up the possible drain this experience might have on his physical energy and raise after-care strategies with him. I hesitated to define or offer answers around much of his questions. The spirits and the disincarnate were clearly at play in his experience, and I would not take any part in defining these answers ahead of them.

By noon, he had well and truly disappeared once again into the graves, and this time I waited for over an hour before he came back.

When Sayid returned, he wanted to find either the section for those buried from the Baha’i faith or Syrian background. Given his Iranian background, this made sense and I suggested we locate the office to find where these graves were. From there we met ‘Emma’ in the office who was incredibly helpful and we left with several maps and highlighted areas to visit.

Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney

What took place next gave me a lot of hope. Climbing back into our vehicles, he eagerly took off. Suddenly he pulled over and left his car. He came back to my vehicle to tell me

‘this is it, this is the place’

then he took off again.

After around 30 minutes he came back. He was talking about the flowers on a particular grave and wondered aloud if he could take these to grow at his home. I said

“did you ask the spirit of the grave”?

We both hesitated.

“You probably can. Why don’t you ask her, eh?

You’ve obviously got some connection there.”

He nodded and turned to go back to the grave.

I had come to the cemetery with small containers of milk, honey, rice, tobacco and spring water. For the first time, I showed him these and said he could take whatever he felt were appropriate to offer to the spirit he was interacting with. He quickly selected everything except the rice.

Over the next 20 minutes I observed him from a distance at the graveside.

I’ll never know exactly what he was doing and saying. From observation his focus was entirely on the one grave where he seemed to be engaging quite intensely at the foot of the grave. Next he carefully distributed the water the length and breadth of the grave. The rest of the offerings were placed precisely.

These were actions we had not discussed. I know he has no time to research this subject and he does not naturally seek out information online.

When he was finished, he returned the containers to me and talked about a deeply satisfying connection he had with an Iranian disincarnate woman. He seemed deeply quietly happy after this experience and left the Necropolis shortly after. It was 3pm.

Six hours.

Determined to complete my own agenda, I circled back around Rookwood’s one-way service roads. Finding an un-tarred and unkempt pathway to a much older section, I parked.

Under a tree from a crumbling grave within sight of an entrance, I called to the Gate Keeper. I made offerings.

I was also grateful for the engagement and care by the disincarnate shown to Sayid. And thankful for the privilege to nourish another human’s experience of them.

While I had no conventional sense of connection or the contact, I have no doubt we were under the watchful eye of the Gatekeeper from the moment we entered the Necropolis.

22 January 2018