I was at a cross roads in my life. I realize that now, but then, I had an itch, feelings of angst, a general attitude of
I wanted something more. I hungered for something greater than myself. I wanted
to be free of the bondage of ego. I was looking for purpose. I had hints of this
transcendental possibility in psychedelic experience, but it was hollow. It did
not lead to any real personal transformation. I was fed up with my job. I was a mental health worker in a psyche unit for
emotionally impaired adolescents. I was sick of the grind and, at the time, the only way I knew how to cope with life was drugs, alcohol and sex. I got the idea into my head that I needed a quest. I did not have a specific place or goal in mind so I decided to take a 75 mile walk along the Eastern coast of
Michigan. I had some questions.
Now I know that what I am about to tell you is going to sound crazy. I know that you are going to think that I am some kind of religious zealot. I was actually far from it in those days. Next your going to assume I was on drugs, but I promise you I was as straight as an arrow the whole 75 mile walk. Let me cut to the chase. On this quest I am now convinced I received a vision in the same sense as the prophets of the old testament. Now let me make this as clear as I can, every detail of what I am about to tell you actually physically happened. This was not a dream and I do not believe that it was a hallucination. All the events occurred as I will describe in real time and I believe if there had been another person with me, they would have observed the same things that I observed.
On the quest, I reached a state park that went along Lake Huron for a few miles and I decided to walk along the beach for as far as I could. I came upon a sandy bluff over looking the water facing Eastward. I sat on the bluff to rest. It was a perfectly clear day. The sun was high in the sky. I sat my pack in the sand and leaned casually against it. The temperature was in the upper eighties and I was sweating from the effort of walking along in the sand.
I felt a cold sensation and, at the same time, I observed a white cloud on my North side which was moving along the beach toward me. It was not exactly in the sky but rather gliding along the beach above my head. The white cloud stopped and it caused the temperature to drop very noticeably where I was sitting. I felt that the cloud was not something you would expect to see on an otherwise cloudless day. It seemed very strange.
A flashing of luminescence drew my attention to the water directly in front of me about 50 yards away. The water, directly in front of where I was sitting, was boiling like a pot on a stove. Slowly, the boiling began to transform into emerging silver coins that glittered brightly in the sun. The coins looked metallic and you could make out the circular shapes in the water as they appeared in the tumult. Suddenly the coins began to take flight, shooting out of the water into the air and then back into the water again. The coins behaved like this for a few minutes and then it became apparent that the coins were fish because more and more of the coins fell on to the beach and flapped furiously. Soon the beach was littered with flapping fish, hundreds of them. Silver fish reflecting in the sun.
That is when I sensed a shadow coming from the South. The shadow turned out to be a very large flock of giant crows, but
as the shadow moved toward me there was no cawing. The crows then began to land on the beach,
jabbing at the the silver fish with their beaks. In minutes, the silver fish were gone. The crows flew away, cawing as they went. I realized that the white cloud was gone.
The water was smooth as glass. There was not a cloud or crow any where to
be seen. Not a single fish remained in the sand. The morning sun reflected with perfect clarity and I sat
silently in peace.
I immediately knew that these events were something out of the ordinary. I told family members and friends and they all agreed that this was some sort of supernatural event. I had no idea what any of this meant at the time, but over the almost 30 years that have passed I have begun to formulate a theory about these events which I will share with you.
A quest is a journey undertaken for higher purpose. It began with an uneasy feeling of emptiness as do many spiritual journeys. The bluff faced Eastward, the direction of the rising sun. The sun brings clarity and light in the face of that which is hidden. East is often associated with the quest for enlightenment. The bluff faced the lake. Water is the source of life. A seemingly empty expanse teaming with possibility. I sit alone on the beach facing East. It is very quiet and peaceful. I am posing a question. A white cloud is often associated with a message from God. The bible has many references to clouds associated with God speaking directly to a listener. My question is about to be answered. The water, the source, is the blank page upon which the answer will be written. The chill from the cloud is the cool breath of God's voice. The boiling is the ferment, the water turned to life. The coins are the first part of the answer. Coins are objects of value, worldly treasure. They glitter temptingly as if to say, "cling to me, take me". The coins are attractive. I am at a cross roads in my life. I have all ready begun a pathological direction. My drug, alcohol and sex addiction is taking me down a path that will eventually result in extremes in suffering for myself and those I love. I could at this stage pull back from the precipice.
The temptation of the coins morphs into the dying of the fish. What looks so desirable at first turns to bitter fruit. The fish flap desperately on the beach in a premonition of my own desperate, futile self-destruction to come. I am being given an image of where I am headed. I can at this point make an alternate choice. I am being warned.
The dark shadow from the South is death. The crows
that cast the shadow are referred to in both the bible and in Indian culture.
The crow is the trickster, a practical joker. Death is a real possibility. I
have fallen for the deception of the coins. Drugs can not keep their promise.
There is no easy way to approach transcendence. The crows are not only hinting
at the death of the physical body, but of the spirit in the broadest sense of
the word. I can make a different choice, but I have to understand what I have
asked and what is the answer. I don't. The next ten years I descend into hell
and I take everybody with me. I was offered a path. The path was in front of me.
I was facing East, looking out over the pure smooth expanse of water. The answer
was illuminated by the morning sun. There was no clouds, fish, shadows or crows.
It was a perfect, clear moment. I had to realize this perfect clear moment in
silence. I was not ready to follow the path that was laid out before me. The
path that is explained by my tattoo.