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'It was like having amazing sex with someone you're embarrassed to be seen with' - Victoria Mary Clarke on trying to turn her back on her upbringing

A hippie childhood left Victoria Mary Clarke striving for fame and material success. But her heart kept drawing her back to the spirituality of her upbringing. Finally, the two collided. So what happened next?

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Victoria Mary with one of her angel scarves

Victoria Mary with one of her angel scarves

The band Dr Strangely Strange, part of the same counter-culture scene as Victoria’s parents

The band Dr Strangely Strange, part of the same counter-culture scene as Victoria’s parents

The Incredible String Band also hung out with Victoria’s mum and dad

The Incredible String Band also hung out with Victoria’s mum and dad

Redferns

Victoria Mary as a child in Wicklow

Victoria Mary as a child in Wicklow

Victoria Mary as a moody teenager

Victoria Mary as a moody teenager

Victoria Mary at age 16

Victoria Mary at age 16

Victoria Mary Clarke at a yoga retreat with friends

Victoria Mary Clarke at a yoga retreat with friends

Victoria Mary with her grandfather George Laffan

Victoria Mary with her grandfather George Laffan

Victoria Mary with her mother Orla

Victoria Mary with her mother Orla

Victoria Mary ‘miserable at a yoga retreat in the late 1980s’

Victoria Mary ‘miserable at a yoga retreat in the late 1980s’

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp

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Victoria Mary with one of her angel scarves

A few years ago I interviewed a guy called Swami Balendu who deliberately went to live in an underground cave in the Himalayas for three and a half years with no laptop, no tablet, not even a mobile phone. He stayed there in the darkness and people passed food to him every day through a hole.

He didn't see their faces and he didn't speak to them. (I assume that some waste matter was passed out of the cave as well, but he didn't mention it).

The swami left strict instructions that even if a member of his family died, he was not to be interrupted. He wanted to get closer to God, he said. To hear God's voice, uninterrupted by outward distractions.