I was the light in the void (or of the light, or under the light? this relationship is important but still not understood). There was no time, or if there was then one second was an eternity, and no space. There was no thought or feeling, only awareness. I slipped somehow, and a shadow came into being.

As I tried to return to the original state I came into conflict with the shadow. As we manoeuvred for position, trying to outflank each other, we fractured and multiplied and intertwined. The vision was of a rose unfolding, as we became space and time and matter and energy in a scene of vastly increasing fractal complexity. Each of our mindless yet aware parts repeated on a smaller scale that which had happened at first. I (we) fell further and further from the light, deeper into the matter that we had become. Mandelbrot set complexity. Stars and galaxies formed and I could feel how the complexity was going full circle as we became incarnate in life and awareness became consciousness and mind.

These billions of years were all experienced somehow. On one hand I was sitting in the room with Alan in 'real time'. On the other my mind was fragmenting and I was starting to live every life of everything in the current universe. Horribly tiring. If God wants anything I would guess that it's a quiet life. The more consciousness and mind in a creature the more strain living that life was. The only respite, to some extent, was during the ice ages, when things quietened down a bit.

One retreat I used later in the trip was to such an ice age where I was alone on a vast empty ice plain for some eight hundred years, although in real time only a few seconds passed. Stoicism and endurance, because there is no choice.

Human life is qualitatively different because of self-consciousness that is also coupled occasionally with a remembering of who and what we really are. That and free will. However, we are made from equal quantities of light and dark. The light desires to return to the original non-state because of the (imperfection, pain, unnecessary suffering etc) present universal condition. The dark fears non-being, and despite the unpleasant circumstances, anything is better. I think boredom affects both parties.

The response is for one to seek simplicity and a quietness that mirrors the origin, and the other to revel in the material world seeking deeper illusions and forgetfulness, coupled with extremist and self destructive tendencies in order to make life interesting. At certain points we (God and Satan to use a Christian mythology, although it all seemed in retrospect rather Hindu, and in even later retrospect, Norse) became incarnate in our bodies in that room in real time simultaneously, and we fought. Alan generally played Satan to my God, although the roles reversed on several occasions, with the implied 'now see it from my point of view'.

There are two things of immediate interest. First, why fight? Because Satan does not wish to be absorbed, wants to dominate the material world yet cannot without a balance to prevent self-destruction? God fighting becomes Satan, hence the role reversal. The method of fighting was quite strange. It consisted of closing of the future options of the enemy leaving them no place in which to live. A bit like closing off all alternative exits from a maze, leaving only the edge of a cliff as the way out. It squeezes the spirit or soul from the body, which then dies from natural causes.

As I pushed Alan to this point I watched him wither and weaken in front of me and start to die, and several times he had to lie down. I stopped fighting and pulled him back, after all, there's no point in leaving dead bodies all over the place when the real enemy remains unharmed. On the point of my 'victory' our roles reversed and I became Satan. Of course, Alan would return and do the same to me as he tried to squeeze me from the world. However, he still needed me in the world, but on his terms. In real time I obviously survived physically, but I experienced death at this point because I could not surrender. He became very annoyed as I fell into the light and was reborn into myriad life.

Why not surrender? There is no simple answer, I just felt that it would have been very literally selling my soul to the devil and I could not do it; there was no possibility of surrender, only endless suffering. Ditto Alan. We were evenly matched.

As an aside, before and during the fight, as I became (incarnate), I was intent on reaching the dawn that held a metaphysical significance. Alan tried quite intently to persuade me not to force the coming of the dawn, and to go back to sleep. The process of 'forcing the dawn' involved removing indescribable barriers and opening a door. I can still feel the process, but cannot describe it. Often during the deepest part there is the feeling that material reality is unreal and all one has to do is tear the veil aside to enter the true world. The arrival of the dawn was equated with an enormously powerful white light. As I fell into the light I also fell into a fractal complex web of life and was reborn in all its forms. I lived every possible variation of every possible life and experienced the birth and death and everything in between in subjectively accurate time e.g. 70 years per person etc. At first dying was terrifying, and rebirth and new lives interesting but I gradually found that I could not escape the cycle of rebirth and death. This was the most horrifying feature. I could find no escape and was living millennia of subjective time for each second of real time.

After a while, in each life I tried to forget who I was and live under the illusion that this was all transitory, that there was an end to life. In others I asked people who remembered that they were me (strange terminology here) what was the point etc. I asked some old Japanese swordsman why he practised perfecting himself when things were as we knew them to be. The only answer I got was that if this was all, then why not this way? I was talking to myself after all.

At this point I began picking out individual lives and trying to live them as works of art. The polishing of the soul. So I had them undergo various unpleasant times to hone their spirit, rather like sharpening a blade with a stone. As I did this my alter ego, Satan (also me in a peculiar way), took a greater pleasure in playing the game of life and generally going overboard on horror, death etc. Trying to put some spice into life. For every work of art we produced we wasted thousands of lives. Boredom was the thing to try and avoid.

I remember being a soldier at some point executing a woman civilian with a pistol and remember the sense of desperation and futility of both as I pulled the trigger and I died. In other times and places (as Satan I might add, or perhaps both) we went into a kind of frenzy of war, famine etc in order to forget. Rather like someone getting drunk to forget their troubles. But you cannot stay drunk forever, and that too lost its novelty.

And on it went, endless life and death with no exit. In real time I just lay on the floor letting it run riot, although there was a retreat into the ice age for some quiet in a cold starlit sky. I looked around the galaxy. Fermi's Paradox. If there is anyone out there why aren't they here already. There is nobody I could sense, although I did feel that in places there was an expanding shell of machinery and electromagnetic artefacts, but with nobody home. They had all gone somewhere and there was only an echo of a message: 'would the last to leave please switch off the lights'! I tried to catch the point at which it happened, but missed. In the end the universe collapsed and we returned to our origin.

I waited an eternity, and slipped, or was expelled from the timeless state. I tried to remain in the stillness but could not maintain my position. It all began again. Maybe 30 minutes in real time had passed since the last slip. No escape. As it turned out, Alan's fear was of going insane or dying. At some points he thought he might not survive. My worry was the opposite, which suited our characters quite well. We were sitting on the stairs, which have a half spiral as they go upwards. On the post at the point where the stairs turned was an old, rather tattered, stuffed soft toy. A snake. Alan stood above me, looking down, in his ascendant phase, taunting me. I sat on the stairs trying to make sense of what was happening. Thinker pose. We were on the back of a giant snake circling a tree thousands of feet tall overlooking a forest which stretched into the distance as far as the eye could follow. Even then I realised that it represented Yggdrasil, the tree of life. The forest we overlooked was a representation of all life in all times and places.

I tried to see who Merlin was (apart from Alan's cat that is). The only information I could divine from the forest was that he was a relatively minor pagan figure at the opening of the Christian era in Britain. He seemed to be associated in a strange (pagan?) way with Nature, and was in some way incarnate in the cat at that point, but in a very dilute fashion. His power in this age was definitely on the way out, but he was hanging on. I think I called to him through the cat, but the response was a non-verbal understanding.

Relationships with animals are strange. There seems to be a much deeper level of understanding. Alan's cats are normally rather timid but this time I could just walk up to them and look them in the eye from about two inches away. We both knew what it was about. On the way out we tried to come to some mutually beneficial arrangement, since we were obviously deadlocked. Our incarnations were very much weaker, although I thought we still might be able to use them to work some magic in the world and for us. Of course, when dealing with the devil one has to be careful what the wording of the deal is to be.

The conclusion I have come to is that we saw, and experienced, the tree of life. That is where the fractal images also came from. A tree is a fractal construct, mathematically. The tree itself is the network of paths generated by choice. The path of interacting lives through time and space. No wonder the pattern looked so vast as I fell into it on dying. Why no escape? Originally I thought the light was some kind of end-of-the-world explosion. It is, however, the light people see in NDEs. In the Tibetan Book of the dead this is God, and on dying the soul can rejoin God or, more often, is frightened and flees into the comforting darkness of rebirth. Each time I died I fell back into the pattern and so could not escape. So maybe each time I was rejected (in real life) and am alive physically. Or alternatively I just did not realise there was an alternative. I chose for the experience. The next step is clear. Create a cosmology I can live with, and a path through to it whilst maintaining the truth of the vision, and extend it.