Sunday, November 27, 2016


Swallowtail Fairy

Justin's Story:



   While Mommy and Daddy were having a discussion in the kitchen, Claire turned into a fairy and chased her kitty into the back yard. There she heard music that seemed to drift to her from some far-away land. Suddenly a swallowtail appeared in front of her and fluttered out of her reach. It was so bright that Claire tried to grab it right out of the sky, but it flitted away. As Claire was chasing the swallowtail, she tripped over the kitty and plunged headlong to the ground. 
   After a moment, Claire slowly sat up and shook her head. The swallowtail was gone. She stumbled over to the fence and pushed as hard as she could. A board swung loose, and Claire squeezed through. She glimpsed the swallowtail in the meadow and dashed after it.
   Peter, Claire's brother, laughed when Claire fell down and hit her head, but he blinked, hardly believing his eyes, as Claire forced her way through the fence. When he realized that she had indeed escaped, he rushed toward the fence and barely squeezed through. Claire, far off in the distance, was galloping after the butterfly through the meadow.
   Peter, knowing that he could easily catch up, jogged after her but tripped on a tree root, hitting his head on a fallen branch. Groaning, but laughing at himself a little, he rubbed his head and stood up. Claire was still chasing the butterfly, but now she was entering the forest. When Peter caught up to Claire, she was staring at a tiny man who was standing on a fallen tree, holding the stem of a tiger lily. Music seemed to emanate from the flowers and trees and the nearby stream.
Mr. Mellifluous

   “Who, who, are you?” Peter stuttered.
   “I am Mr. Mellifluous,” the small man shouted. "And you, you must be an owl.”         
   “No, I'm Peter, and this is my sister Claire,” Peter responded, shaking his head.             
   “Are you shaking your head because you are not really Peter and this is not really your sister, or because you are not sure that I am Mr. Mellifluous?”
   “I don't know,” Peter frowned.
   “Obviously, you don't know much,” Mr. Mellifluous scolded, “and that's probably why you are trespassing on my land.”
   “Nobody told us this was your property,” Peter objected.
   “Nobody obviously doesn't know anything either,” Mr. Mellifluous replied. “Nevertheless, you are here, and now you must go on a musical journey.”
   “A musical journey. Why, I've never heard of such a thing. I'm sorry, but we have to go home now,” Peter insisted.
   “As I was saying....You must go far and wide, on many paths, and through many rooms, to hear the music of the Earth, before you can return to your home. You will hear and see many things that you won't believe, and some that you won't want to believe, but you must keep going. Everywhere you go in this garden of light, you will hear music, which at times might help you remember your home. You must each go your own way now....”
   Peter turned to Claire in disbelief, and when he turned back, Mr. Mellifluous was gone. Then he turned back to Claire, and she too had vanished. Peter turned around and around, feeling suddenly lost. Then he saw a path through the trees.

The Fairy with Blue Wings
   The swallowtail fairies danced through the air and Claire chased after them. Suddenly Mr. Mellifluous appeared again.
   “You must beware!” he exclaimed. “Fairies are very bad. If you follow them, you will be lost!”
   Claire did not listen to the grumpy little man. She galloped after the fairies through the meadow. A tall fairy with blue wings suddenly appeared in front of her. He took out a wand and waved it over Claire's head, and she lifted off of the ground!

Tiger Fairy
   Claire turned into a tiger fairy and roared. The other fairies screeched and lashed at her with their claws. The fearful little man was not at all happy about the ruckus. He put his hand over his mouth and shook his head. Claire and the other fairies rushed away with the wind.
The Dark Man
   After screeching and roaring through the air for many minutes, Claire spied movement far below, and she spiraled down to the ground as the other fairies flew along with the wind. She found people milling around aimlessly. Each one seemed blanketed by darkness.
   Claire flew up to a man and asked him, "Why does everyone here seem so sad?"
   "We are far from our home."
   "I'm so sorry," Claire said. "Can I help you?"
   "We don't remember our home," he muttered.
   "Maybe if we search together, we can find it! Follow me! I know it won't take long!"
   "I don't have wings like you do," he groaned       Suddenly Claire felt very sad. She patted the man on the arm.
   "I will search for your home," she shouted as she was rising high into the air.

The Sphinx among the Stars
   Claire was no longer a tiger fairy and suddenly couldn't remember how to get home. She flew around frantically, hoping to find the other fairies, and she noticed a man, all by himself, sitting on the ground. He had the hind legs of a lion, the tail of a bull and the wings of a bird. He was sitting with his eyes closed.
   “Can you help me find my way home?” Claire inquired.
   “No,” he replied. “I don't think so.”
   “Is something the matter?” Claire inquired.
   “No,” he replied. “I was just thinking of a star.”
   “Oh, how wonderful! Can I think of a star with you?” Claire asked.
   “Of course, but in a little while I'm going to fly high into the sky. I was hoping to bring a star back with me.”
   “I'll go with you,” Claire nodded.
   “You can if you like,” he replied. "But I can't help you if you fall!" He leaped into the air and flew high and even higher. Claire could hardly even keep up. Finally he hovered near a star and reached for it, unable to touch it. Claire watched for a moment, then became dizzy. She sailed back toward earth.
   “Goodbye!” she shouted.

Toad in the Flowers
   After she returned to earth, Claire searched for the fairies and discovered a toad squatting in the flowers. Whenever it croaked, a golden cross floated out of its mouth.
   “Can you help me?” Claire implored. “I seem to be lost!”
   “You are where you are,” it croaked, and another golden cross floated out of its mouth.
   “But what am I to do?”
   “You are a being, not a doing!” the toad croaked. “I can't help you if you don't know that!”
   “But I need to be home!” Claire exclaimed.
   “Home? Of course you're home. Where else would you be?”
   “You are no help at all,” Claire wailed.
   “You can kiss me if that will help,” the toad croaked.
   Claire frowned and stepped back. She flitted away, glimpsing a flock of butterflies far off in the distance.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Magical Paths

   A week later Cashing received a call.
   "My cancer has unexpectedly gone into remission," the landlord said, "which could just possibly be more than mere coincidence, Mr. Cashing. Meet me at my office at ten."
   "Only if you don’t beat the crap out of me this time," Cashing replied as the line went dead.
   Cashing decided to be fashionably late. When he was ushered into the office at fifteen minutes after ten, the landlord motioned for him to sit down.
   "What do you want from me?" the landlord asked.
   "Personally, I’d like you to treat all things with reverence," Cashing replied. "But for now I’d just like you to stop developing in the foothills, and I’d like you to decrease the rent at the 20th Century Apartments by thirty percent."
   "You’re lucky that we’re friends, Mr. Cashing," the landlord smiled.
   "I’m glad you’re in a better mood," Cashing replied.
   "I want to meet your friend," the landlord stated.
   "I’ll see if I can arrange that, sir," Cashing sneered. "But you see, my friend and his family have been evicted from their apartment. I can’t guarantee that he’ll want to meet with you."
   "Tell him that is no longer a problem. In fact, he and his family can stay there rent free until the crack of doom if he is indeed responsible for the good news, but I will need to meet with him before I decide."
   "There are a couple of other matters that he would like you to address," Cashing said, taking a big chance. "He would like you to make sure that a few people are taken care of, one an old lady who ended up in the hospital, and the other an artist who was arrested for robbery," Cashing was really starting to sweat now.
   "Yes, yes, I’ll take care of it--if he is the miracle worker you say he is. Just leave my secretary with the details. Now, when can I meet the young gentleman?"
   "Tomorrow at noon. But he wants to meet with you on the ridge overlooking Sycamore Creek," Cashing said. "I’ll show you how to get there and where to park. You do have a driver’s license, don’t you?"
   "Oh, I'm pretty sure I know how to get there. I own it, after all!"
   Peter prepared for the healing by touching the four gems in the middle pillar, concentrating especially on the yellow diamond in the center. When he touched the top diamond, his personality was completely erased. He was simply a point of awareness in a vast ocean of consciousness, the observer, the observed, and the act of observation. But he was also filled with light and a sense of peace and total blessing. Peter mentally brought that light down to the middle gem, a yellow diamond, and he summoned a feeling of compassion, which resonated also from the gem until he was filled with compassion and light. He brought that light down to third gem on the middle pillar, a quartz, and suddenly in what seemed like the light of the moon, Peter felt more psychic than he ever imagined he could be, as though he could know everything about anyone he came in contact with. Finally he brought the light down to the bottom gemstone. He was ready.
   When Peter and Cashing arrived at the meeting place, the landlord was already waiting, parked in front of the unchained gate. As far as Cashing could tell, no one else was with him.
   "Mr. Cashing, what a pleasant surprise!" the landlord exclaimed.
   "Peter is only fifteen, sir. Someone had to drive, and I promised his parents that I would make sure he was safe at all times."
   "I see. Nice to meet you, Peter. I’m looking forward to learning more about you."
   Peter nodded his head and shook the landlord’s hand. Then Peter opened the gate and motioned for them to walk through.
   They walked along quietly for half a mile. Then Cashing said, "Why on earth do you have to develop this area? There are so many other places in town where you can build."
   "Mr. Cashing, why are so you worried about what I do? There are just too many people in this world right now and that is leading to other problems like mass extinctions and global warming and famine and war. We’ve got so many weapons of mass destruction that we can destroy the whole planet hundreds of times over. Really, I’m just small potatoes in the universal scheme of things. Why do you even bother with me?"
   "Maybe because you are so good at adding to the world's misery. Look, you must know by now that Native Americans used to live here. Genocide took place here not very long ago, and now apparently ecocide is soon going to follow. We have got to stop the destruction of the remaining ecosystems, or we might not survive as a species either," Cashing replied.
   "Look, somebody else will develop this land if I don't. That’s the beauty of our system of private property. Don't you know that by now? You might keep one owner from doing what he wants with his land, but chances are, you won’t stop the next. What’s the use, Cashing? You didn’t really bring me out here for a debate, did you?" the landlord asked.
   "No, we didn’t," Peter said.
   They continued walking quietly until they reached the ridge. They followed Peter down the trail to the pounding stone next to the creek. Then they crossed the creek and crawled up the side of the hill to the semicircle of stone.
   "We are here so that we can change our karma," Peter said.
   Both the landlord and Cashing gave Peter a funny look. "What do you mean?" the landlord asked.
   “There is a simple magic that enables people to heal each other with the mind. At first I thought that all I needed to do was drain the negative energy away from a person and then fill that person with light, but then I realized that I had to take the black energy into myself. That is the sacrifice that I must make before I can heal you. That is the sacrifice that the great healers have made before they have healed the masses.
   “Most are not born with the knowledge. Many, like my friend here,” Peter said, pointing at Cashing, “have been attacked over and over for their goodness until they know the magic of forgiveness. They learn to become the black cross of sacrifice before they give the terrible energy to a higher power for transmutation and redemption. And, believe me, a healer feels the pain of betrayal on top of everything else because the same people he is helping often would just as soon harm him out of ignorance and fear.
   “But you see, our fate is all entangled because we are all connected, not just you and me but the streams and rocks and trees and clouds. They are part of what we are. That is the real magic: We are so connected at the level of the mind that if I change our karma through forgiveness, the karma of the world changes.
   “Just like you, though, I am afraid. I’m afraid of the pain, afraid that I’ll fail, afraid that I won’t be able to forgive because I won’t see your spiritual essence. I have failed so often to see that in the people around me. I must see through to the essential harmony and magnificence within you and me and Justin and everyone else on this planet. Please forgive me if I cannot do that.”
   The landlord looked surprised. “I forgive you,” he stated flatly.
   "Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Try not to think of anything. Just clear your mind. In a few minutes you’re going to feel me touch your head. Just relax and keep your eyes closed. I'm going to cleanse you spiritually, mentally, emotionally. I’m going to heal you completely."
   The landlord closed his eyes and started breathing deeply. Suddenly Peter touched his head. The landlord shuddered but did not open his eyes. To Cashing, the landlord appeared to be in deep concentration.
   "Tell me what you see," Peter commanded.
   "I don't see anything."
   "Clear your mind completely. Go back to your first memory. Then remember when you were here before. Remember when you were here before. Clear your mind," Peter said soothingly.
   Just when Justin wanted to give up, the landlord started groaning. Justin didn't know what the landlord was seeing, but Justin sensed that the landlord had slipped into an altered state, a state that the landlord would normally consider an illusion. Justin tried to tune his mind to the landlord's reality, but Justin couldn't perceive anything. Suddenly, the landlord opened his eyes and murmured, "I was on this ridge, and I heard gunfire. A lot of people were running around, and soldiers were shooting at them. Oh, my God, they were shooting women and children. I think I was with the soldiers, but not one of them. I think I saw you. You were about to shoot someone with an arrow. Oh, God, I think I shot you in the back."
   "Do you know who you were?"
   "I was a rancher. I joined the soldiers because I was tired of the Indians stealing my cattle. I didn’t know it was going to be that bad. I swear I didn’t!" 
   "I want you to know that I was there and that now in this moment I take your pain, and I forgive you. Together we are cleansed with light. Know yourself totally cleansed. I forgive you."
   The landlord turned around and clung to Peter. "Oh, my God. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry! I didn’t know."
   "It’s all right," Peter murmured. "Everything is all right. We are cleansed."
   "I feel like a new person. I don't know what you did, but I do feel like a new person," the landlord wept.

Pestle next to Mortar

   Peter slipped into the apartment unnoticed as his mom and dad were chatting at the kitchen table with their backs to the door.
   “I’m tellin’ you, Evelyn, I could do some real good with that thing. Cashing is just not smart enough to know how to use it.”
   “And just what would you do with it exactly?” Peter’s mother asked.
   Suddenly they noticed Peter near the door. “Oh, hey, Peter, how long you been there?”
   “I just got home. What’re you talkin’ about?”
   “I’m gonna be honest with you, son,” his father stated. “We went over to Cashing’s place when you two was gone and checked it out. We seen that thing on his altar.”
   “What? How could you?” Peter groaned.
   “Now, we only did it to protect you,” his mother asserted.
   “How could you? How could you!” Peter yelled.
   “Are you two worshipping that thing? He’s not some kind of pagan, is he? We don’t want you hanging out with some kind of Satan worshipper! Peter, you have got to tell us the truth! We will not, I repeat, we will not let you play with the devil’s tools.”
   “Mom! Please! You have no idea what you’re talking about!”
   “Tell me then, Peter! What is it?”
   “It’s something God made to help us understand all paths to Him!”
   “It’s nothing I’ve ever seen in church before,” his mother stated.
   “It’s the Tree of Life, Mom. You’ve heard of that, right?” Peter responded.
   “Yes, of course I have. But no church that I know worships the Tree of Life. How did he get his hands on it? What church does he belong to?” she demanded.
   “That’s not the point, is it? The Tree of Life shows all paths to God,” Peter responded. “Surely God is bigger than every church and every religion put together."
   “Peter, how can you say that? You know our church is the one way, don’t you, Peter? We have let that man poison your mind. I do not want you talking to that man ever again.”
   “But Mom!”
   “Listen to your mother, Peter. She’s got a good point. We don’t really know what that thing is or how it might warp your mind. Cashing has no right to force his religion down your throat....”
   “But he’s not!” Peter interjected.
   “But you’re too young to know what he’s really doing, Peter. We know what’s best for you, not him! I am your father, and I’m telling you I know what’s best for you. If you want to be Cashing’s friend, you’ve got to sneak that thing out of his apartment and bring it over here so I can have a better look at it. I need to know what it is and what exactly it can do!”
   “But Bill, we never decided that!” Peter’s mother groaned.
   “Now, Evelyn, I am the man of the house, and I make the decisions, and I mean what I say. Peter, if you want to remain Cashing’s friend, you’ve got to bring that thing over here so we can have a better look at it. I ain’t sayin’ that it’s all bad. I just feel that it’s my duty as your father to know what’s going on, so bring it over here as soon as you can or you ain’t talking to that man again. And that’s final.”
   “Bill?” Peter’s mother asked, a little perplexed.
   “You just want it for yourself,” Peter cried.
   “Now, how could you say such a thing? You need to learn to obey me, boy. I am your father!”
   “Now, Peter, I think what your father means is that we just want to show it to our minister so that we know it’s not a bad thing. We just want to make sure that you are all right. I think your father is just asking you to borrow it for a little while. Can you do that for us?”
   “No, I won’t. I won’t do it!” Peter shouted. Peter stormed to his bedroom and threw open the door. His brother, in his mother’s wig and underwear, was sprawled out on the bed.
   “Didn’t anyone ever teach you how to knock!” his brother yelled.
   Peter slammed the bedroom door shut and grimaced at his parents. Then he grabbed his back pack and dashed out into the courtyard. Peter rushed over to Justin’s apartment.
   "You really did a number on the landlord," Cashing said after he invited Peter in. "He’s decreased the rent. He’s helped out just about everyone around here in one way or another. He’s even donating his Sycamore Creek property to a conservancy, from what I understand. You know, I've developed a theory about you. If reincarnation is a real occurance, then it's possible that you are a highly developed soul who is able to do things that you learned in other incarnations, even though you are still so young. But by God, we took a huge chance! You never did explain how you knew he would remember."
   "My spirit guide told me," Peter stated flatly.
   Cashing laughed, "What else has your spirit guide told you?"
   Peter suddenly grew serious and explained what had happened. “And to top everything off, when I opened my bedroom door, I found my brother wearing my mother’s wig and dressed in women’s underwear.”
   Justin pondered for a moment. “Sounds to me like each person in your family touched one of the jewels. I’m only guessing, but I think your brother touched the emerald, which is the sephira of Venus. Touching a sphere on the Tree can make a person suddenly experience suppressed desires, and the lack of balance caused by the influx of energy can manifest in ways that people consider socially unacceptable. I think it was Martin Luther who said if you’re going to sin, sin boldly. But that unbalanced energy can lead to far worse things. Pride, bigotry, cruelty, dishonesty, uncontrollable lust--these are vices that can hurt people very, very badly. I hope your parents weren’t affected in worse ways than your brother. I’m really beginning to think that maybe I need to get the hell out of Dodge, ASAP!”
   “But what about me?" Peter asked. “My parents are demanding that I steal from you. I’m not going to do that. I need to get out of here too.”
   “Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. Think about what you’re saying. I can’t take you with me. I’d be arrested for kidnapping and God knows what else. I’d be thrown in jail for the rest of my life.”
   “But what am I supposed to do?” Peter groaned.
   Just then, the landlord stepped through the door. “I have to thank you again for what you have done for me, both of you,” he beamed. “I have a proposition for you that I’m sure you will both consider extremely beneficial.
   Peter and Justin gave each other a confused look.
   “Sources have informed me that you are in possession of a valuable artifact. I don’t know how you obtained it, and I don’t care, but I am willing to pay you more than what it’s worth if you show me how to use it.... That, I’m sure you know, is quite a bit of money.”
   “Sources? You mean my brother?”
   “I am not at liberty to say,” the landlord replied. "I would just like you to know that I have read a great deal about the Tree of Life, and I understand its significance, far more than most people. I assure you that I would take very good care of it, that is if you would like to sell it to me. Let me start with an offer. Let's say five million dollars."
   “But it’s really not for sale,” Justin hesitated. Peter gave him a strange look.
   “Oh, come now, everything has a price. Look at it this way. I have the means to use the Tree of Life effectively, far more effectively than you can in your current circumstances. I can do more good in one day than you can in a lifetime, more good than you can even imagine, and you can be right there to assist me. I can make you both princes, so to speak, princes of peace. All you have to do is accept my gratitude.”
   “But it’s more complicated than that. There are many dangers associated with the Tree that you can’t even begin to imagine.”
   “Oh, come now, Cashing. I’m a big boy. I deal with far greater problems before you even get up in the morning.”
   “But when it comes to the Tree of Life, the people with the most power have the most risk--and the most responsibility. Someone like you can end up doing terrible damage even though you are trying to do good. Very few people are capable of being stewards of the Tree.”
   “That’s why I’m asking you to help me. You can be the steward of the Tree, and I can be your pupil,” the landlord replied.
   Justin knew that he needed to be extremely tactful. “Look, I know you have the best of intentions, and I applaud you. You and I both know that you are a king when it comes to worldly matters, and I am but a lowly worm, but this is something completely different. We’re talking about spiritual matters here, and very few people in this society even have a clue about what that means. I stand in complete awe and utter humility before the Tree. I don’t pretend to presume how to handle all of its powers, and I’ve been learning how to handle them for decades. I’ve become unbalanced in just about every way imaginable, and I’m telling you that you are risking destruction. You could end up like me, or worse, far worse, especially if you have any worldly desires at all.”
   “You’re right about one thing, Cashing,” the landlord replied. “I am something of a king, in this Valley, at least, and I know how to get what I want, sometimes in ways that you might not approve of.”
   Justin winced, “Is that a threat?”
   The landlord chuckled, “No, no, please don’t misinterpret my words. I truly prefer to work with you, not against you. I’ve seen what kind of power you and the boy have. I wouldn’t presume to know how to handle the forces, but I want you to realize that I am truly serious. Truly, I don’t wish to pressure you, and I’ve already taken up too much of your time. Please, please, at least consider my offer, and believe me when I say that I only have the best of intentions. I mean it,” the landlord smiled reassuringly.
   “Absolutely, I have no doubt. Please let us think about it for just a little while, and we'll get right back to you,” Justin replied.
   “I expected nothing less. Please, take your time. I look forward to hearing from you,” the landlord stated cordially.
   “You’ll be hearing from us soon,” Justin smiled.
   After the landlord drove away, Justin said, “We have got to get the hell out of this place, and I mean now!”
   “But what about kidnapping and going to jail and all of that?” Peter asked.
   Justin grimaced. “This could get a lot worse, if we stay, that is. The landlord could kidnap you and force me to give him the Tree. Go home, put some food and clothing in your backpack and get on your bike and ride out toward the end of Ashlan Ave. I’ll pick you up on the way. I know a place in the mountains where we can stay until this all blows over. You need to write a short note to your parents and tell them that you’re leaving but that you will be back in a few days. We’ve got to disappear for a little while! We’ve got to let everybody cool off and get some perspective. The landlord didn’t even need to touch the gems to feel the unbalancing influences of those forces. I'm not as psychic as you, but I can sense that we're in some deep shit, some really serious danger. Hurry, please, and don't let them see you leaving!”

Saturday, March 1, 2014


   Peter’s father was gazing from the window when Justin and Peter left. “I don’t know what those two are really up to, but I don’t think they’re just gatherin’ signatures,” he stated.
   “I’m tellin’ you, I think the old man’s gay or something,” Chuck sneered.
   “Oh, dear, why would you say such a thing!” Peter’s mother exclaimed.
   “Why else would an old man hang out with someone like Peter?” Chuck replied.
   Peter’s father continued, “He’s got a good point. If there’s ‘funny bidness’ going on, we need to stop it now. I have this funny feeling we’ve waited too long already.”
   “What do you suggest?” the mother asked.
   Chuck answered, “We could break in to the old guy’s apartment and see if he has anything perverted in there.”
   “What are you saying? I didn’t raise my son to be a common criminal!”
Take this path.
Take a different path.
   “Now hold on, Evelyn. Sometimes you have to bend the rules a little to protect the family. We could go over there and pick the lock. Then we could search the place while they’re gone. We ain’t gonna take nothing.”
   “These locks around here are easy to pick!” Chuck exclaimed.
   “How would you know?” his mother inquired.
   “My friend showed me. We was just messin’ ‘round,” Chuck responded.
   “What on earth!” his mother cried.
   “Now, now, Evelyn, the boy’s got to learn the how to survive on the street, ya’ know. You can’t be weak in this world. Playin’ around a little never hurt no one, right, son?”
   “I can’t believe that you’re condoning this behavior!”
   “You know that no one in this family would steal nothing unless we absolutely had to. The boy’s just suggesting that we take a look around. I think he’s got a good point.”
   She looked them both over carefully. “Oh, all right, but if you take anything, I’ll turn you in myself.”
   “All right, all right, that’s the spirit,” both of the men were nodding and smiling. “Let’s do it!”
Take this path. 
Take a different path.
   While Chuck was picking the lock, his parents positioned themselves strategically to warn him if anyone was coming or looking out the window; the curtains in the apartment complex were invariably closed. After a minute or so of cursing under his breath and fiddling with the lock, Chuck quietly opened the door. The other two quickly slipped in after him.
   Justin’s apartment was dingy. “Turn on the light,” Chuck hissed.
   “Just don’t forget to turn it back off when we leave, and if you pick something up, put it back exactly where you found it,” his mother whispered.
   Chuck and his father looked at each other. “Don’t worry. We ain’t gonna do nothing stupid.”
   After a few minutes of searching the front room and kitchen, they all looked at each other as if the same idea had occurred to each of them at the same time. “We should be searching the bedroom,” Chuck stated. All three of them quietly filed into the bedroom, and each one stopped when they saw the altar.
   “What on earth is that?” the mother inquired.
   “I don’t know, but don’t them jewels look real?” Chuck mused.
Take this path. 
Take a different path.
  “Now step back, both of you, and let me look at it.” The father leaned down to examine the Tree of Life and almost involuntarily his hand shot out toward the sapphire. As he fondled it, he felt a warmth flowing into his hand. Suddenly in his mind’s eye he envisioned a king seated on a throne. He stepped back and shook his head. “There’s something maybe a little weird about this thing!”
   “Let me look at it,” Chuck demanded, leaning forward to grab the emerald. 
Take this path. 
Take a different path.
   “Step back, both of you,” the father snarled. “I make the rules around here. Stay back until we figure out what this thing is!”
   Chuck, however, was rubbing the emerald with his fingers. Suddenly in his mind’s eye he envisioned a beautiful, naked woman in a forest. He closed his eyes and a figure, part man and part horse, flashed across the screen of his mind. He reached for the emerald again, but his father slapped his hand away.
   “I said step back!”
Take this path. 
Take a different path.
   The mother quickly stepped forward. “Now, what’s the crime in touching it?” she asked as she reached for the yellow diamond in the center of the Tree. She held the jewel for several seconds and felt a great warmth flowing up her arm. She envisioned a mummy with a green face on a throne. He was surrounded by clear, pink light, and a brilliant sun was rising behind his head.
Take this path. 
Take a different path.
   “Now, Evelyn, how am I ever goin' to get the boy to obey me if you don’t listen to what I say? I said step back before we’re all contaminated!”
   She reluctantly let go of the yellow diamond and stepped away from the altar. They all stood staring at the Tree, as though mesmerized, for a minute or so. “So this is their big secret,” she whispered.
   Suddenly the father felt an almost overwhelming desire to take the Tree back to the apartment. “I don’t know what it is, but I just get this feeling that we could live like kings if we had this thing,” the father muttered to himself as though oblivious to what his wife had just said.
Take this path. 
Take a different path.
   “I know I could have some fun with it,” Chuck murmured.
   “No wonder Peter never talks about it,” the mother said. “You two resemble a couple of criminals. We’ve seen enough. Now go see if the coast is clear so that we can get the ‘flake’ out of here!”
They all looked longingly at it for a moment and then quietly stepped out of Justin’s apartment after turning off the lights. “I could really live like a king,” Peter’s father muttered to himself as they headed back to their apartment. “I bet Cashing is just too stupid to know what to do with it!”
   “Don’t you dare mention it! If you do I’ll tell Peter and his friend what you just did!”
   The two men grunted but didn’t mention it again.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Pounding Stone at Confluence:
Bottom of Reservoir in Drought Year

   That night Peter mentally envisioned the landlord and scanned his body. Peter found a streak of black in the landlord’s brain and a lot of images of doctors and nurses in his aura.
   "I’m pretty sure the landlord has a brain tumor," Peter told Cashing the following morning.
   "I have a feeling one reason you know that is because you touched the gem of Yesod, the sphere of the Moon, and you already have psychic tendencies," Cashing said.
   "When you meet with him, tell him that you know he has cancer and that I will try to help him."
   "Do you think he’ll believe me?" Cashing asked. "I mean, I believe you, but he'll think I'm out of my freakin' mind, and he'll either beat the crap out of me or laugh me out of his office."
   "Just do me a favor and tell him that you know. Also, make sure you take those signatures and letters with you. Let him know we’re not finished yet," Peter emphasized.
   "You got it, man," Cashing said. "I’m ready for this guy, I think."
Newt and Pestle in Mortar
   Having some time to kill before the meeting, Justin drove out to the foothills. He stood at the edge of the forest and gazed down at the denuded slopes of a reservoir that was now, in the drought, a wasteland, the river flowing as it had before the dam was built, revealing bridge abutments and an old road etched along the banks. If one stepped beyond the tangle of roots projecting into the reservoir and scrambled down the slope on loose rock and sand, as Justin had recently done, one could hike along the river on an old trail submerged for fifty years to ancient village sites of Native Americans, past a chimney with one name carved in several places into the brick.
   Standing at the end of the dirt road, Justin unexpectedly felt tears welling in his eyes, and he couldn’t quite figure out why. His family had come out to the river many times, before they began vanishing one by one, and the dirt road, washed out in places, reminded him of those times thirty years before, when he had taken his family for granted. But it was more than the loss of his family members; he had felt a sudden connection to the earth soul, to a peace that transcended time and place, a peace which had permeated the physical world before any life as we know it, and which would remain long after the human race was gone. He had only felt that connection a few times since his childhood, and it always reminded Justin of his father, who seemed especially in tune with the peace of the earth soul.
Creek Near Native American Village Site

   But it was more than that. Justin knew these village sites as if he were gazing from the end of the old road into his own subconscious mind, or the collective subconscious, and he felt desolated even as he felt a deep connection with the earth soul, as if he, along with the tribe, had suffered the experience of genocide. And now, as he gazed at the denuded slopes and the river flowing peacefully as it once had before the dam was built, he recognized the partner of genocide, the ecocide that made a wasteland of lush woodland forest.
   It was so quiet. Justin was startled by a newt rustling leaves next to the road. Suddenly he understood another aspect of the magical symbol of Tiphareth, the central sphere on the mystical Tree of life. Tiphareth, meaning Beauty, contained a black crucifix in front of a bright yellow sun, the cross symbolizing, to Justin, the crucifixion of the soul within the physical body, the transmutation of force into form and vice versa. But now Justin understood the symbol in terms of the vision of sorrow. Everything was transient, so sorrow was inevitable, but when Justin remembered the man on the cross, he understood that the greatest blessing can occur during the worst suffering and desolation, that the greatest transformation of pain into courage and love sometimes manifested in the worst circumstances.
Ancient Trail to Native
American Village Site
   Justin hiked back to his car and headed to his meeting with the landlord. At the appointed time, Cashing was quickly ushered into the landlord’s office.
   "Do you know why you’re here?" the landlord asked.
   "Because you want to make a deal?" Cashing replied.
   "Because I want you to take a long look at me before I crush you," the landlord said.
   "I don’t understand how a man who has cancer can talk like that to other people," Cashing stated.
   The landlord looked surprised. "How did you know that?" he asked. "Nobody else knows. I’ve made sure of that."
   "I have a wise friend who knows many things," Cashing replied.
   "Don't give me that bullshit," the landlord said. "Tell me or I’ll see that you don't step foot out of this office." The landlord pressed a button and two very large men stepped through the door.
   "Okay, okay. You’re not going to believe this. Just bear with me here a second," Cashing muttered.
   "You have two minutes," the landlord replied.
   "Okay, okay. I have a friend. And this friend has visions. Not only does he have visions, but I'm pretty sure he can heal people too."
   One of the bodyguards hit Cashing on the side of the head.
   "Okay, wait a minute. Just listen. The doctors thought I had cancer too, lung cancer. I don’t know how he did it, but my friend saw the cancer in a vision, and somehow the cancer went away. I think he healed me. I know it sounds totally crazy, but he wants you to know that he'll try to help you."
   The bodyguard raised his fist again, but paused.
   "You’re saying that this friend of yours somehow envisioned my brain tumor even though he has never met me?" the landlord laughed.
Pounding Stone with Pestles
   "Yeah, that’s what I’m saying," Cashing replied. "He knows who you are. Just knowing your name and what you look like is enough for him. And he said that he’d be willing to help you too. Did I mention that?"
   The landlord motioned and the bodyguard stepped back. "You really expect me to believe this nonsense?" the landlord asked. "Do you know who I am? I don't play games, Mr. Cashing."
   "Look, I know the score. I can only guess how he does it, but I'm here, aren't I? Knowing him has made me realize the power of focused thought. I mean imagine for just one moment that the mind has the power to transcend certain physical limitations. You can see how the human mind has been able to change the environment in truly amazing ways throughout history. But imagine that through concentrated thought we are also able to affect each other on a basic level, a subconscious level. We can heal each other or make 
Pestles on Pounding Stone
each other sick. We can raise each other to the level of angels or reduce each other to the level of beasts through the power of the mind because at some primal level we are all connected. Each of us is an energy field within a vast, cosmic energy field, and everything is connected. We just need to harness that energy by focusing every aspect of our being, our spirit, mind and body, on whatever we intend to do. 
     "I firmly believe now that to be truly healed physically we have to heal ourselves and each other on the emotional, mental, and spiritual levels, and I am almost completely certain that my friend can establish a profound connection with almost anyone, even you. He can touch people on a deep, subconscious level. I think everyone is capable of doing that, but somehow he has developed the ability to a very high degree. This is beyond everything that our society wants us to believe, I know. I don't think I would have believed it myself if I hadn't experienced it. He challenges my beliefs every day in one way or another just by being himself. I guess that's why I'm here. Frankly, I don’t know why he would want to help you. All I know is that you might have a chance if you just give him a chance. From what I understand everything else has failed for you up to this point. Am I right? What have you got to lose?" Cashing was starting to sweat.
   The landlord looked Cashing over. "Very interesting, Mr. Cashing. You realize I’ll break your kneecaps if this doesn’t work," he stated flatly.
   "Yeah, I realize that now," Cashing replied, gazing at the box of signatures that he had placed on the landlord’s desk.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Goddess on the Bluff Overlooking
the New Golf Course by the River

   After dinner Peter dashed over to Justin’s apartment, wanting to know more about the Tree of Life. 
   "I have a blog that I publish under a nom de plume which I think you might find helpful.  You can just click on this link."
   "Why don't you just tell me about it? Please," Peter implored. 
   “Okay, here goes. Deities surround us, but Western cultures have all but lost the ability to know them, especially since the vast majority of people no longer have regular contact with nature. Because comparatively few people have had the opportunity to experience the conscious, subtle forces behind manifestation, and because science has no devices to detect them, the Gods are treated as the phantasms of primitive, superstitious minds. To a few, the archetypal figures of the Gods shed some light on the mind set of ancient cultures, but the Gods typically remain oddities for the modern, rational individual, who has never mused over their bones nor gawked at them like so many giraffes and elephants in the zoo. The spiritual significance of the Gods eludes the average person, who often only encounters them in brief retellings of myths.
   “Science has never adequately explained consciousness, let alone created a device that measures all aspects of the psyche. Science, on the other hand, has revealed that the five senses can only perceive a small fraction of the measurable frequencies of energy in the known universe. Mounting evidence also suggests that human beings have a ‘sixth sense’ that is sensitive to subtle currents of energy beyond our physical senses, resulting in phenomena that cannot be explained nor explained away: clairvoyance, telepathy, retro-cognition, precognition, and other types of extra sensory perception. These are experienced by the senses of the soul--our subtle bodies have a kind of ‘soul sense.' And there has always throughout history been faith in a spiritual dimension, a faith which develops after repeated experiences that cannot be measured but which have an immeasurable effect. All of this is not proof, of course, that deities exist; however, the most advanced cultures in the history of civilization have had their pantheons of Gods or Angels, the great Shining Ones who influence human evolution. Were those cultures simply primitive, or is modern, monotheistic humanity missing something?"
   Peter shrugged his shoulders and shook his head.

Paradise Regained

   “Based on its needs in different times and places, the human mind has created the forms of deities as a way to connect with the invisible natural forces. Spiritual traditions have operated from time immemorial as if these natural forces are intelligent and willing to ensoul the symbolic forms, channeling their energy into the human mind. To those with the powers of sympathetic imagination, the Gods aid circumstances and stimulate evolution. If one is reverent enough, sensitive enough, and fervent enough, the Gods return, the form a symbolic fabrication of appropriate correspondences, the force real. If one successfully invokes a God, one can feel that humans are like amoebas in comparison; humans notice the Gods only because we are made of the same soul stuff, only much less developed. Fashioning symbolic human and animal figures simply makes the invisible forces more accessible to the human imagination.
   “The mystic glyph of The Tree of Life factors out these forces, revealing the correspondences between the cosmos and the individual. Nobody knows the origin of the fantastic symbol system known as the Tree of Life, but legend has it that a Shining One gave it to humanity. Based on my experiences, I cannot imagine that any human being could have created it. On the surface, the basic structure appears simple. As many have pointed out, the Tree on one level is like a filing system that enables one to classify the various energies within the cosmos and the human being--the macrocosm and the microcosm. Because the human being contains the energies of the macrocosm, energetic correspondences exist at subtle levels.

Path to Tiphareth

   “The Tree of Life is a map, not the terrain itself, and ultimately, every true experience of a path on the Tree is deeply personal. In order to follow the map, however, one needs to have at least a basic summary of the most important aspects of the Tree, which can be structured several ways. The conventional (and perhaps most helpful) way presents the sephiroth, or objective states of being, as spheres in three columns. The right column, known as the Pillar of Mercy, represents types of expansive force, and the left column, known as the Pillar of Severity, represents types of restricting energy. The central column, known as the Pillar of Mildness or Middle Pillar, balances the energies of the right and left columns. In the process of involution creative energy flows from spirit to matter in a zigzag from the first sphere in a lightning flash, known as the Way of the Lightning, from the heavens to the earth, from sphere one to ten in order down the Tree, each sphere, or ‘sephira,' emanating the next, until creation reaches its culmination in Malkuth, the Kingdom."
   “So are these spheres represented by the jewels on the Tree of Life?" Peter asked.
   “Yes, and that is where the magic comes in. Each jewel contains the energy of its respective sephiroth, the energy also represented by the symbolic forms of the Gods."
    “The jewels hold great powers, then?" Peter asked.
   “Great powers at all levels of the psyche. If you handle the forces well, you can be totally reborn into higher states of awareness. But the life-force flows in spate from its various states into the mind, and the individual must remain balanced or the forces lead inevitably to destruction."
    “Does the life-force when it is unbalanced become evil?"
    “It has the potential to become destructive or 'evil,' and therefore, when you deal with the Tree, you can encounter great dangers if you are not careful. The life-force stimulates whatever sphere you’re focusing on. I mentioned this before, but I should emphasize it again. Each sphere contains a virtue--its ideal, balanced state--and a vice--its unbalanced state. A person, after the influx of energy, usually has to re-establish balance within him or her self, which takes discipline and experience. If not, the energy leads to vice, not virtue. You need to take great care always when dealing with the forces of the Tree."
   “Don't you worry," Peter replied, fondling the amethyst, which made him feel incredibly psychic. Justin looked on with concerned amusement.