I was born in Greenford, West London on August 16th 1959. Up until my life changed irrevocably in 1992, I remember having the sense of waiting for something to happen to give my life meaning. From a worldly perspective, until this happened I had lived quite an eventful life of extremes. Having experienced most of the glamour and sophistication that London had to offer, there followed a long period of hard manual labour.
My education was a disaster. After a brief period in junior school as head boy and captain of sports, I found myself in an all boys grammar school where I struggled to fit in. This experience, together with the onset of puberty, was psychologically polarising. Needless to say I left without any formal qualifications. After a brief period in college to rectify the matter, I was expelled for riding a motor bike through the corridors of the science department! I think I was dragged to the principal’s office on another occasion for being a little tipsy at lunchtime and addressing the history lecturer as a “little gnome”. As a last resort to obtain some worldly qualification I enrolled for a 3 year course at Richmond Art College. I lasted about a year and this marked the end of my formal education. During this time I discovered I had a talent for replicating the drawings of old Renaissance artists and for a while earned a living selling sketches of ancient statues to tourists in the Victoria and Albert museum.
I was 19 and ready to experience life in the wild West End of London. Attracted to the lifestyle of the rich and famous, I became pals with some of London’s glitterati and lived in Chelsea in Cheyne Walk. My next door neighbour at the time was Paul Getty 3rd. For around three years I slept mostly during the days and went to night clubs in the evening. Once when a friend stayed overnight I accompanied him to a café for breakfast in the Kings Road and had a panic attack due to the morning rush hour. I hadn’t been out in the day for so long that I’d forgotten that people actually went to work in the morning! I had a string of girlfriends at the time but nothing too steady as I was firmly attached to the independent lifestyle. I wasn’t exactly a cad but some of my actions were shameful.
Around the age of 21 there came the opportunity to work at the St James Club, then the most fashionable residential club in London. This was a place where some of the most famous people on earth stayed when they were in town. The chairman of the club was the wonderful actor Sir John Mills, married to his equally wonderful wife Lady Mary. I would often drive them to parties and premieres and sometimes get invited in to meet everyone. Once, at a very swanky party in Belgravia, I turned up to drive them back to the club and the butler thought I was Sir John Mills’ son! He ushered me in and poured me a glass of champagne. About ten minutes later Sir John poked his head around the library door and said, “Won’t be long, son. Glad to see they’re looking after you”. On another occasion he introduced me to his friend Sir Laurence Olivier at a dinner party at the great man’s home in Chelsea. Afterwards he said, “I thought you’d enjoy meeting Larry”.
After three years and many extraordinary encounters with the celebrities of the world, it was time to move on. I was poised to start work in the film industry courtesy of Sir John Mills, who had put in a word for me at Pinewood Studios. With what appeared to be a golden opportunity to get a foothold in this most cloistered of industries, for some reason I didn’t take up the offer. The next phase of my life was to be as far removed from the glamour and five star lifestyle as could be imagined.
In the movie “Ben Hur” there’s a part where the principle character (Ben Hur), after living his life of a prince, is sentenced to be a galley slave with no chance of ever being set free. Well it wasn’t as severe as that for me but my change of fortunes was radical to say the least. I began working initially as a labourer in the construction industry. I look back now on this period as a wonderful demonstration of divine justice and integrity. It was transformative in beating out of me much of the unconscious living that characterised the early life. The sweat and toil of hard labour did me the world of good, as did the bonding and camaraderie with my co-workers. I soldiered on and after some years was becoming increasingly aware of a shift that was happening within. For a period of about a year I would return home after work, draw the curtains and be still. There was an inner compulsion to enter the body. I suppose it was a form of meditation but at the time I had no interest in the spiritual life or any idea of what I was actually doing. I recall I was becoming more conscious of space and found just looking at the sky and clouds incredibly stilling. It was as though a veil was slowly being lifted.
Early in the evening in the summer of 1992, while sitting being still as usual on the sofa at home, I registered an inrush of energy unlike anything I had experienced before. In an instant I knew that my life had changed and would never be the same again. I remember saying out loud immediately, “It’s true. There really is God”. The room was golden and so was I. Looking into a large mirror in the centre of the lounge, I perceived the reflection of an image that was me but it was different. I asked it several questions, as I recall in a rather shaky and heightened state of awareness. The responses were delivered in a direct and rather stand-offish fashion. I felt insignificant in the presence of such beauty and too overwhelmed to grasp the significance of what was happening. Immediately after, I went out to the garden and the early evening light was incredible. I heard the voice of a neighbour a few doors down and was able to follow the sound through all the gradations of that woman’s existence, back to the origins of her birth and beyond. I was in union with life as an inseparable whole.
When people detoxify their system it’s usually a gradual process. For me it was immediate. From that moment on I stopped smoking, eating meat and drinking alcohol. There was no choice in the matter; I just had the knowledge that this was so. I lost weight rapidly and as the impurities oozed out from the sweat and delirium externally, so within the psychic forces began to come forward. At night I had visions and psychic apparitions which were mirroring the drastic change of my lifestyle. At work I laboured like a man possessed. No matter what was thrown at me, it seemed I had limitless strength and endurance. I developed what could be described as a mild form of Tourette’s Syndrome and would make spontaneous announcements or launch into some kind of rant! There were concerns for my mental health.
Salvation came in the form of a woman who was to become my partner and share our mythic adventure in life and love. Her name was Marilyn. She was preparing to enter a new phase of life and in the throes of leaving her husband and family. The catalyst for the next phase of life for both of our lives was Barry Long, the Australian spiritual master. Marilyn left her former life and for the next ten years we travelled extensively around the world to be in the presence of Barry and live his remarkable teaching, which we both recognised as being the most important thing in our lives. I go into the influence of the master in detail in the section on Barry Long.
I discovered around 1995 that I had a flair for reading the Tarot. In 1999 we published a book ‘The Myth of the Tarot’. Since that time I have looked into the lives of many thousands of people from all walks of life. It’s remarkable to me the way things have happened. One aspect of Barry’s teaching is the love and acknowledgement of the mystery behind existence. This is the light of self-knowledge that has been directing my life through all the challenges of existence that somehow were always resolved and came good.
Lance Kelly 2014