Voices from the Void


My accident was a fascinating experience – in retrospect! I was driving happily down the main highway to the village crossroads in my little silver car about ten years ago, when a large, heavy old car – solid as – shot out of the side road, without stopping at the Stop sign.


The daffy woman driving it was oblivious to me, and was going to hit me right in the driver’s seat. I had less than a second to brake, turn the wheel to the left to try to lessen the impact and hurl a prayer into the void as I faced what I thought was certain death. “Help me”, I silently implored. The braking meant that she hit more of the right side of the bonnet than me, and the deafening sound of the impact nearly shocked me into the next world.


In what felt like slow motion my car ricocheted away from hers, with my hands still on the wheel, and I just wanted to hit the brake and stop. But if I did, I was going to hit a line of parked cars. As the impact shot my car towards a parked blue car, I heard a voice say: “keep going, keep steering”. I did as I was told, using every ounce of my shattered will power to do it, and as I longed to stop, a red car loomed in front, and the voice said: “keep going, keep steering”. I thought, at the end of my endurance, surely I can stop now, but another car loomed. “Keep going”, the firm imperative voice instructed. I did as I was told, and finally, still steering, still going, came to rest safely 180 degrees from the impact, on a  side road where there was nothing. And by now people were running out of their shops having heard the big bang.


I was reminded of that Voice last night, when I was re-reading Joe Simpson’s incredible account of nearly dying, and surviving, on a Peruvian mountain. He had broken his leg and his ankle, and then slipped into a crevasse, so deep and dark he had no idea where it ended. His climbing partner thought he was dead and cut the rope between them in order to survive himself, and Simpson fell even deeper into the terrifying black space.


Somehow, using climbers’ skills I don’t even understand, using his ice axes, he eased himself endlessly up the icy sides of the crevasse and out onto the cruel mountainside. Then, without food or drink for over three days, he dragged, hopped, and hauled himself over rocks and glaciers, ice and snow; he got himself back to base camp about eight miles away over terrain, and through cold that I cannot even imagine. And he would never have made it without the Voice.


” It was as though there were two minds within me arguing the toss. The Voice was clean and sharp and commanding. It was always right, and I listened to it when it spoke and acted on its decisions. The other mind rambled…. as I set about obeying the orders of the Voice….”


When he wanted to rest or sleep, the Voice would wake him : “go on, keep going… faster. You’ve wasted too much time. Go on before you lose the tracks”… Later, as he fumbled blindly, wanting just to sink into the snow and sleep, the Voice urged him on: “don’t sleep, don’t sleep, not here. Keep going. Find a slope and dig a snow hole… don’t sleep”.


The Voice got him back to base camp the night before the other climbers were leaving first thing in the morning. The rest of the story is in his book ‘Touching the Void.’


His story reminded me of Charles Lindbergh’s experience when he flying The Spirit of St Louis over  the Atlantic on his historic 34 hour flight across to France. Lindbergh, not noticeably a spiritual man, but one who was very impressed by the Nazis, had a unique experience, in which, unable to keep awake, his conscious mind fell asleep, while a mind entity standing “apart” held firm.  This state gave way to a new extraordinary mind, which at first he feared to trust, and which took over.


‘He became conscious of other presences, advising him on his flight, encouraging him, conveying messages unattainable in normal life… He felt himself in a transitional state between earthly life and a vaster region beyond, as if caught in the magnetic field between two planets and propelled by forces he cannot control, “representing powers incomparably stronger than I’ve ever known”.’


Battered by winds and storms, and guided and supported, he arrived safely in France. This was like the experience of some of Ernest Shackleton’s men. As they struggled through the Antarctic snows at the extremity of their strength they became conscious of another member of the party, ‘who could not be counted,’ but who was always with them.


Whatever we call them… angels, spirits, voices, these visitations are always helpful and benevolent. In each of these cases – and there are many more – these unseen energies are rescuing us from situations in which we are powerless. Regardless of belief in a god or not, these inexplicable and indefinable happenings make me feel that the world is a supportive and benevolent place, with Resources to help us all, whatever our beliefs, if we are open and available for help.


Sometimes we ask, sometimes the help comes unbidden, as when an accident happened in Wellington at a Christmas party a few years ago. A balcony collapsed on a two story house, hurling all the party-goers to the ground. A heavily pregnant woman said she felt perfectly safe because a great white angel was holding her, and put her safely on the ground. She was unhurt.


Some people find it hard to believe these things. But it doesn’t really matter. When they happen, they happen because they’re needed. But a faith that there is help available does seem to make things fall into place quickly and more often. I sometimes think that there is more preventive thinking in that other Reality than we realise, so that we don’t have to be rescued from the big dramas. So deciding to drive another way today, may mean we’ve been prodded to avoid an accident. Locking a door we never normally lock, may be a message from our helpers because we need protection on that day. When we listen, there are so often messages to hear, and when we look, so many subtle signposts.


Food for Threadbare Gourmets


Not much in the house until I go shopping, so I’ll cheer us up with a cheese soufflé – quick, cheap and easy. The most difficult thing about it, is tying some greaseproof paper round the outside of the soufflé dish so that the soufflé stands up above the brim of the dish, and looks spectacular.


Next step is to separate three eggs. After greasing the dish, I make a thick white sauce, with two ounces of flour, two ounces of butter, and half a pint of milk, salt and pepper. When it’s bubbled a few times, so you know it’s cooked, stir in four or five ounces of grated cheese with a pinch of cayenne. I often add Parmesan to strong cheddar.


Stir in the egg yolks. Putting this aside, whip the egg whites until stiff in a large bowl. Then gently stir in the cheese mixture in three lots. I use a slotted spoon to make this process as gentle as possible. All you have to do now is pour it into the soufflé dish and cook in a moderate oven. Serve at once. I often make a little tomato sauce to go with this, and maybe some thinly sliced green beans. Salad if you’re feeling healthy. This is enough for three, and masses for two- but easy to eat too much…


Food for Thought


Notice in the grandest and stuffiest club in London, the Athenaum: Will the clergyman who stole my umbrella kindly return it. This club consists half of gentlemen and half of clergymen, and it is clear that no gentleman would steal an umbrella.





Filed under books, cookery/recipes, great days, life and death, philosophy, spiritual, The Sound of Water, Thoughts on writing and life, Uncategorized

53 responses to “Voices from the Void

  1. They do happen and I can also attest. Call it what you may but I am thinking ‘angels’ too.


  2. Dearest Valerie, as you know, I pay very close attention to my small still voice. Over the years, my experience has been that disregarding its guidance is never a good idea. Over the years, as I have surrendered my struggle to be in control, I understand that I AM my small still voice and following its guidance IS being in control. As you point out, one does not have to have any particular tenets or beliefs to have the experience of the Voice. The important thing is to recognize it and go with it! It’s so lovely of you to share! xoxoM


  3. A presence higher and than you was definitely in control of the steering wheel that day. I do believe that. Voices from the void and being listened to, I’m sure, has saved many a lost soul such as those you mentioned or those who simply need the presence of mind to remain calm. Nicely written, Valarie. Angels have helped me out.


  4. I do believe in angels from above and I believe that our loved ones can also be there for us.

    In an extreme time of stress I actually felt my father’s loving hand upon my shoulder…it warms me still, even 12 years later. I KNOW they are with us.
    They can see us, it is just us that is so very limited.

    *♥´¨) ¸.-´¸.-♥´¨) ¸.-♥¨) (¸.-´ (¸.-` ♥♥´¨


  5. Anonymous

    Valerie, you gave me goosebumps!


  6. Loved this post. I’ve heard that voice … and a few others, but that’s another story. 🙂


  7. Valerie,

    Thanks for sharing that story with us. Glad you remained calm enough to listen that day.



    • Hello Sunni – so glad to hear from you… I’ve been following your blog, but am completely locked out from commenting… every time I get this message ‘your URl is using illegal characters’… and I no matter how often I try, and though I know it’s correct I can’t get past it…do you have an e-mail????


  8. There are angels in our midst, my dear Valerie! Indeed they are! So glad you listened 🙂 Have you read my story Angel Eyes? Here is the link:


  9. Thanks for sharing your experience. I heard the Voice once many years ago when in a jumbo jet and an engine got on fire soon after take off. It calmed me instantly and I was able to calm others.
    And the cheese shuffle sounds delicious – will try it. XX


  10. Accidents real and metaphorical. Only those who decide to survive – survive. Thank you Valerie, from deep within my soul. The first blog I am reading this morning and feel moved to tears. And thank you for the recipe ❤


  11. I am with you all the way on yours and others experiences Volga. I know we are not alone even when we think we are. I am so impressed with your post and I hope those that read this embrace your words. Ralph xox


  12. Great post. Vic saw angels before she died.


  13. I had a doctor once tell me I was a walking miracle, I smiled. He said, “No, really you are not supposed to be here.” I smiled again. Of course I am supposed to be here, here I am. I tell my stories, that is why I am here. I didn’t know for a very long time that was why, but I always feel pushed to tell, even the hard ones.

    This was a wonderfully told reminder Valerie, as always. Your food for thought, though that made me giggle.


  14. What a life affirming story Valerie, I remember once in my early twenties being on a rubber ring behind a boat on one of the lakes near Rotorua with a group, when the boat turned quickly too close to the shore at the point I should have let go. Although these things all happen so quickly from the perspective of those viewing, it becomes almost like slow-motion when they happen to us. Instead of letting go when I should have, that voice told me not to let go and I made it back into the water (having scraped my knees on the foreshore), where I could safely let go, avoiding being hurtled into a parked vehicle on the shore. I think the experience was almost more frightening for the spectators, not having that voice to guide them, mere witnesses to what could eventuate.

    I saw Touching the Void about a year ago after one of my students who is a mountaineer recommended it to me, what an incredible endeavour and story of survival that was.


    • Great story Claire… isn’t it interesting how these experiences are always in slow motion, and utterly unforgettable… I haven’t seen the film of Touching the Void, but find the book utterly un-put-downable…


  15. Wow, Valerie, this was rather spectacular. From crockery to angels – I love it!! I know that touching the void story – my Dad used to climb a lot when he was younger and has told me that story many times.
    Your own story is very remarkable, and makes me understand how with the right amount of belief we will remain safe in this life. Thanks for sharing your experiences in such an eloquent way.


  16. Thank you Gabriela… glad you enjoyed the story,,, though I think the experiences of the others are amazing… and it’s so fascinating to see how many people have had this experience of being looked after…I don’t even think we need to believe in anything – we are all looked after… I don’t think the First Cause is interested in how we think or whether we believe in HIm/Her/It !!!! The gift is there for us all…


  17. I can’t say I’ve personally encountered this, but I do believe it happens. Saw the movie for Touching the Void too – what an incredible story! Your posts always give such hope in the ‘other’ dimension… 🙂


  18. I know the experience all too well. Thanks for the book recommendations. 🙂


  19. Beautiful, Valerie. There are a world of folk out there who never listen, who do not honor the vow of silence and so when their own voice comes, they cannot recognize it, nor the song. We must listen to the voices of God, the universe, and our own sweet inner melody……. I love the story and am so glad you listened. ~ Love, Bobbie


  20. elisaruland

    Valerie, I’ll be glad to have you offer me a lift any time! Your nimble driving skills, calmness under pressure, combined with your faith in God, leaves me feeling confident that we’d get to our destination in one piece, no matter what the road conditions!



    • That made me laugh, Elisa… I could guarantee you a safe ride here in NZ, but I’d be terrified on your great freeways!!! Thank you for the nice things you say about my driving- isn’t it interesting how being a good driver helps one’s self esteem! – mine anyway!!!!


  21. There are miracles all around us. And sometimes, we see their faces and hear their voices. A lovely and profound post.


    • Thank you so much Rebecca, I always love hearing from you.
      I spent ages last night drooling over the heavenly Renoirs on your Pin board, ot whatever its called, and couldn’t find anywhere either on your blog or on that to make a deeply appreciative comment… Have I missed it, is it perfectly obvious to all except me???


      • Hi Valerie! I’m trying to figure out more about our amazing WordPress. There are different kinds of posts, one of them being named a “quote” post. I think there are likes but no comments attached to them, but I am learning, ever learning. I am so glad that you liked my Pinterest page on Renoir. I am learning there too!!!! Many hugs!!!


  22. Whispering Fields

    Wonderful writing, Valerie. I can also attest to the voice of calm authoritative guidance. I have heard the voice of my Guide/Angel twice and my son has heard his also; very calmly, very knowingly – “turn off, the heater.” How very reassured you must feel – I know I do.


    • Thank you, lovely to read your comment… what has been so wonderful about writing this post to is find how many people are in touch with their guides/ angels. It’s an experience which never goes away, does it… I can still hear that – as you say – calm authoritative guidance. Not only re-assuring but somehow magical to know those other dimensions are operating whether we’re aware of them or not, and they’re on duty all the time!!!!


  23. Yes, I’ve read about that “voice” many times and experienced it a time or two. I believe in it, where ever it comes from.


  24. My book, “EN GARDE: MY BATTLE WITH BREAST CANCER” describes a similar situation. Because patients receiving radiation treatments are isolated from everyone except the staff in the Operating room, there is no human moral support. I invented an imaginary figure named “Percy Puddlethorpe.” He was the best support I could ever had imagined, and he came to every treatment with me.


  25. Dear Ronnie, how amazing to find you here. How did you find this old blog?
    I love your story of Percy Puddlethorpe -I bet he was channeling your angels – I hope your battle is over, and you live in peace XXX


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s