The “dream” was not exactly a dream. More like a past life experi- ence. But not that either. It certainly was someone else’s life… But how? And why? And who was that ride? Why did he… How come he was young in the beginning and old at the end? More and more is secreted in the folds of this story… (In the womb of Peace all things gestate… until in the fullness of time—birth! Realization, Salvation, Satisfaction… Shanti… Shanti… Shanti…)
Anyway, Simon traveled through the desolate country between El Paso and Albuquerque in a daze. Actually he meant to go directly west from El Paso but got on the wrong interstate and went north instead. He really didn’t care. In Albuquerque he was dropped off at the west end of town on the interstate:
I was picked up by a woman. She was going to the Zuni Indian pueblo and reservation where she was a counselor at the high school. I went with her and stayed there for a week. I met some of the Indians at the pueblo and visited many of the shrines of the reservation. Especially, I was fortunate to meet an Indian named Stephen who has become a famous artist and who is bard of his people’s heritage. He is also well-educated in the way of the Occident. He seemed a really nice guy, a cursuillista and member of AA.
The strange thing is that Fr. Adam already knows Stephen! This goes beyond coincidence so far as to be striking. And not only that. In this place so far off the main road west, a detour from my trip back to school, I found not only friends, this friend of Fr. Adam’s, an artist who was both Catholic and traditional Indian, but I found here healers for another friend in Northern California, John. Here among these people were men chosen by the ‘gods’ to heal especially the problem from which John suffered. They are called “bone pressers.”
Stephen becomes pivotal in the progress of our story. But, more on all this later.
…After staying in Zuni for a while, I spent one more weekend in Albuquerque with the counselor’s family. We were struck by unseason- able storms, including tornado warnings. I gave several demonstrations of Kung Fu for various groups of my host’s friends. I’d studied Kung Fu obsessively when I was a kid. I was feasted that weekend at a salmon roast Saturday and a pig roast Sunday. People were impressed and issued these invitations because, I believe, during these Kung Fu demonstrations, somehow, I was able to explain for the first time, clearly, how martial arts and the spiritual life are connected: Passivity verses violent aggression; defending oneself verses depending on the Spirit, the Way of the Dao; Sunyatta, renunciation, the art of it. St. Francis. (“Hsing I, you are in control; Tai Chi, the other one is in con- trol; Ba qua, both get lost.”) Aberrations on the path. Universal mission of Christ, or personal path of perfection. The Internal martial arts schools, individuals searching through the Body Mind Spirit complex. The martial arts school studio becomes a spiritual laboratory where one works out the impossible union of self and spirit. How? Are we fooling ourselves? Most do. All do sometimes. But still there is something of the truth in this… By totally transforming/developing one’s identity. But much remains to be seen as to what that means.
In New Mexico, I sensed that I was on a pilgrimage somehow. And that this pilgrimage seemed to have passed its peak somehow and I looked forward to going home. My friends left me on the last on-ramp going west in Gallup. I had a ride soon to the Arizona border and Navaho reservation in a pickup truck full of Indians, all of whom were varying degrees of drunk, but very nice to me, even concerned about my welfare. Left there, in 40 hours I went about 40 miles. But it was beautiful country in which to be stranded. (While there, as I lay to sleep, along the road, some invisable, hostile force hit me. A non-physical wind hit the side of my face is the best I can describe it. I started getting sick.) I inched my way to Flagstaff having been caught in rain and hail and hampered by some cold and flu like symptoms. I had lost 20 pounds in less than four weeks and traveled around 5000 miles. I needed to get back to school.
Beyond the mountains of Flagstaff back down on the desert, I was given a ride by a wild, odd, couple in an old converted bus. The man was in his late 70’s with a mane of white hair and a nut brown body. The woman in her 60’s was into the “light mysteries” having just escaped from 20 years of schizophrenia. They had both just been two weeks at a “Medicine Wheel” ceremony near Sedona for the Great Harmonic Convergence. They were also into Shirley McClaine’s quasi-religious phenomena of UFO’s, channeling, etc. However flaky all that might sound, anyone who fights the schizophrenic split for 20 years and wins might have gained some wisdom, even spiritual insight that transcends a more commonly valued, practical wisdom. She had something. Anyway, our trip that afternoon through western Arizona was cele- brated with magnificent desert storms, and a double rainbow of pierc- ing clarity that we passed under and through!!
Along the way, the old lady read the ‘cards’ for me. She recognized in the cards the holocaust (the first card) of my past, and my spiritual call- ing (the second card) and said that this was my last incarnation. Thank God for that. The old man driving like Charon paddling the infernal river, carried us safely west to Barstow where we parted. I tried unsuccessfully to get a ride until 2 a.m. By then, I was very sick. I lay down and felt that in the worldly way of thinking, I had failed at everything. My youth was that of a criminal. I had chosen to study modern art and ancient religions. 20th century Art is a failure in its efforts to transform human consciousness. The 20th century is the worst of all centuries. (One hundred millions war dead for instance, ravaged environments…) Religion has failed in the same way with a much longer trial period. Perhaps it is because art and religion both derive from the same human source that has not overcome its self- destructive tendency! Science has simply given us the weapon to blow our corporate brain out. Education prepared me to take my place in the very systems that are destroying the earth. It did not transform me, as I sought. As religion has not transformed the world! Thus, both educa- tion and religion has failed. Career, vocation, religion, all of it is too well accommodated to all I most deeply oppose and here I lay hidden behind some dirty bushes in fear of detection along a smelly ditch and a loud freeway. It was dark and I was alone.
Yet, strangely, in all that depression I felt a certain freedom and a lovely, odd sweetness on another level. Are we tools of larger powers? Are they ours? Or, is it a relationship of mutual contribution? We com- municate and God responds, co-creators. Lovers! Or, random fodder for the evening News.
In any case, I can’t seem to get away from the notion that this all has some significance beyond myself. Fr. Adam feels the same way. Stephen seems to be the one who has the in-depth, practical understanding of what this all is about. Though intuitively I feel, I know, that ‘it’ is on schedule. There have been the expected surprises of unusual storms, fires, earthquakes, even an exploding lake, that seem to move in concert with the development of the ritual or vice versa. But world politics and economies? Who can say? To effect something specific, such as hunger relief or peace between warring peoples is not exactly the intent of this working since the larger intent if accomplished will effect such specifics eventually, hopefully, but as the result of deeper, more fundamental readjustments. Working on specific problems just creates the next set of problems. The fundamental problem is the unconverted human heart now given modern technological power: nuclear and mechanical; bull- dozers and commercial enthusiasm sufficient for universal suicide. The intention of this ritual is to change the very direction of Being, (if Being can be thought to have direction) and thus avoid universal suicide. I refer to at least that aspect of Being that is history, evolution, and human consciousness. Who can say exactly what will effect that inten- tion; politics, money, magic, God? Since Fr. Adam raised the dragon in Yemen (that’s when the lake exploded in Africa) there have been peace initiatives between Washington and Moscow. But who can really say. Peace is not enough. How we view ourselves and the world must evolve as well or we will at best turn this world and all its secrets into an apoc- alyptic factory for consumption and production. Who can say? All I can do is record what seem to be the significant events of the spell in this grimoresque telling and get on with it.
After a week or so at the home of a friend in Southern California, I travel north to my injured friend, John. I reported my find of healers for him. We walked in the redwoods, felt strong allegiance of ideas and intentions, worked the energies. We got drunk three nights running. Real drunk. Then I had this dream. I am on a hill that overlooks the pas- tures of my family ranch in Texas. There is a big fire below. In the dream it is a car on fire. My mother’s car is nearby. I see her try to drive it away, to move it. It explodes, she is surrounded by a white fire/light. She gets out unhurt. Another car is near-by, that of a female friend, it also explodes. My mother comes up the hill. Instead of being hurt or dis- tressed she is enlivened, even exhilarated. She looks well. Interpretation? The feminine energies are up and well. Was this the subconscious inten- tion of the pilgrimage? It has to do with the balance of duality’s, I think. Redirection of sexual roles to spiritual ends. This also balances mascu- line domination needs; those egotistic displays mandated by our culture and genes. Such combination is deadly to personal relationships. It is deadly for the world when multiplied by all those who now are con- verted to the new technocratic religion. It is the dominant world cul- ture, this technocracy.
As I wake from that last dream, a clear sense of ‘the dragon’, the psy- che of nature (?) appeared, expectant, benevolent, satisfied, approving. Somehow this represented the pilgrimage. Then, I came to day-time consciousness. I returned home. Soon after, there was a night in which I could not sleep. I had felt, the day before, that I should do a ritual that night to conclude the pilgrimage. So I did. It went on all night. One part of this ritual, the heart of it, was to take out the contents of my “medi- cine bag” and “re-arrange” them, then put them away in the different places where I keep such things at home. The night’s ritual ended around seven in the morning. A few minutes later, an earthquake struck Southern California, 6.1 in magnitude.
I have finally contacted Cat. We’ve agreed to meet near Reno, Nevada! I’ve decided to skip a semester at Cal. Cat’s John has to go to Florida to deal with some family problems Cat would not divulge until we meet. But in particular, there is something in the deserts east of Reno that we need to explore.
There are many possible explanations for Simon’s condition, imagi- nation and experience. The most rationally compassionate might be that he was so motivated by his religious studies and his passion for Cat and others, that his unconscious kicks in and begins to structure these extraordinary experiences. These might be catalyzed by Cat and Simon’s chemistry or some kind of psychic intercourse with the land or at least, certain special places in the land. But who is Fr. Adam and what is his part in this. He is really Cat’s friend, and she says he is an unusual priest, with unusual… powers. He knows Simon and has always felt a special connection with him…
But that is to be more fully divulged in the next episode of our adventure.