My entire life flashed before me in an instance. Long forgotten memories came to the forefront of my mind. Various past events and thoughts competed for my undivided attention. I found myself face to face with a frightful yet intriguing dilemma. I was traveling through a desert wilderness in Arizona to Southern California. I had planned the trip on several occasions, but was deferred for different reasons each time. I had dreamed for many years of returning to the land of my birth to explore its many facets. I reluctantly decided to go companionless on this trek across the country. I left my house in Miami, Florida at 4 am for this journey 5 days before I had reached Arizona. Along the way I had encountered some interesting people and places, but nothing could compare to what I faced in the desert.
I ran out of gas on the legendary Route 66 on the west side of the state. It was a mildly hot October mid-day. I misjudged the efficiency of the Nissan Altima’s gas tank. I passed a service station about a 100 miles back. I knew there would be another one up ahead so I did not stop at it. There wasn’t much traffic on this day. I left the car locked on the side of the road as I walked toward the next gas station. I saw on image approaching me about a mile ahead of me on the same side of the road I was walking. The image was beginning to become clear to my sight as I proceeded. It was a man of short stature dressed in blue jeans and a white t-shirt. He looked very familiar to me as we drew closer. In fact he looked exactly like a friend of mine that overdosed on heroin a few years ago. I really never emotionally processed his death. I met him on his road to recovery in the church I use to attend. I knew him to be a sincere and kind young man. He had quite an intellect and had positive aspirations for his future. It came as a major shock to learn of his death in downtown Miami. I just saw him alive 3 days prior to that.
A smile formed on the man’s face about to cross my path. I slowed my pace to carefully look into the face of this man. We simultaneously stopped in front of each other and he opened his arms to embrace me. I tentatively returned his hug in the middle of this desert wilderness. He withdrew his embrace gradually and stepped back. I noticed a tear stream down his face. I incredulously whispered the question ‘Are you Craig?’ He remained silent for a moment before answering "Yes." Before I could react he started to speak saying " there is someone you need to meet. He is now waiting for us." He started walking away from the road toward some far off hills. He gestured for me to follow him. I thought I must be hallucinating. I stood there stunned on the side of the road. I took off after him and asked him what this was all about. He said that he too was looking for answers as I was. I protested saying that I can’t just follow him into the hills not knowing why. That is when I felt a powerful surge flow through my body and being. My entire life seemed to flash before me. I recalled many events both good and bad. I remembered as a 3 year old child being lost from my family in an amusement park in Northern California. I wondered aimlessly for about half an hour. I could vividly see an Indian man standing by a concession stand as if he was immovable. I noticed him stare at me when I was quickly swooped up in the arms of my relieved parents.
Just as fast that I fell into this strange trance, I snapped back to the present. I found myself miles off the road trying to keep pace with Craig. I was now beginning to think that I should continue on this mission to the hills. The sun was falling rapidly in the sky and the air was getting cooler. I suddenly hear my name called out, but with a slight variation in pronunciation. I hear it a second time "Dionysus". As I heard it a third time, understanding began to fill my soul. The meaning of the name was coming to life in me. I realized the name came from the mythological Greek god of wine and fertility. He was one of the son’s of Zeus. He was master over vegetation, especially concerning the fruit of trees. His character was good and gentle to those who honored him, but viscous to those who would oppose him. He was known to be very wild in many ways. The name also means incredible creative energy. Even as all this revelation poured over me, I could not locate the source of the voice that called my name.
We were starting to ascend the first hill as the sun just did set over the desert horizon when I felt a sharp sting on my left hand. A rattle snake was latched on my hand and I could not shake it off. I used my right hand to try to slap it off, but it bit my free hand as well. Craig turned around to see my problem. He was unable to provide any help. I continued to fight it off when I passed out from the pain shooting thru my body. I woke up in another place and time. I found myself in the small duplex I use to live in Miami when I was 5 years old. I was getting ready to go to sleep on a school night when I heard a distant cry in the night. My mom and I looked at each other as to say ‘What was that?" I fast forwarded a few months in time when my sister was chocking outside of our duplex on a lolly pop. A neighbor was quick to help save her. I raced to another scene when I was sleep walking as a 10 years old. It was a very strange form of cognizance. I was vaguely aware of my activities, but I walked and moved freely as if I were awake. I was sitting on my parents bed hearing them talk to me as if I were in a tunnel. Some how I woke up to the sound of my name. However, it was not my parents speaking and I was no longer a 10 year old in my house.
The one speaking my name was what looked like the Native American I had seen as a little kid. I was back in the hill in an Arizona desert. It was now fully night time and the stars were bright above us. This unusual man knelt before me as I laid flat on my back. He offered his hand to help me to my feet. As I got up with his assistance, I noticed Craig’s absence. Before I could ask, the Indian said "Craig has returned back to his place." He proceeded to introduce himself as Dyami, meaning eagle. He also mentioned that he belonged to the Conchiti Tribe. I then saw a large cheetah make its way toward us. The big cat had blood splattered on it’s mouth. Dyami advised me to keep my cool and not to provoke this beast. It approached me making a low sounding growl. I cautiously extended my right hand to pet it’s head. The cheetah allowed me to do so and actually quieted down. It abruptly withdrew from us to pursue a black tailed prairie dog. The cheetah overtook it easily and devoured it. It was a grotesque sight to witness. I was saddened by the plight of the prairie dog, but could not help but to think of the gentle side of the cheetah I had just experienced.
Dyami diverted my attention from the awful scene by telling me how he extracted the snake’s venom from me. He also told me that even though the poison was out of my system, I needed to drink an infusion of Aristolochia odoratissima leaves to insure my well being. He said that there was a plant by a river near by. We walked in silence in the chilly Arizona night for most of the way. The only thing he said was that I had some answers he needed and that he had answers I needed. He cut my would be response by saying we would converse by the water. The first thing I beheld as we descended the small slope was 3 totem poles that stood 8 feet tall and were equally distanced 10 feet apart. I approached these unique objects set in front of the river as Dyami went toward a small shrub I assumed to be the special plant. I also marveled at the pristine bright blue swiftly running waters of the river. The river’s path was slightly curved and it’s width was about 20 feet. Dyami stood next to me holding some small dark green leaves in his right hand. He instructed me to chew on them and then swallow them by drinking from the river’s water. He told me that this river remained unnamed to this day. After digesting the leaves, I sat on a large rock facing the totem poles. I then began to feel a drowsiness I could not shake off. I felt myself slip to the ground from the rock and shortly there after I passed out.
I woke up in a dark small room sitting in a chair facing a line up of 5 men on the other side of a large glass window. I heard a voice to my right asking me if I recognized any of these men. Another voice on my left said I could take my time. I realized that this glass was to prevent the men from seeing me, yet I could clearly see them. I stood up and walked up to the glass for a better look. All 5 men were dressed in old ragged cloth and their skin was dirty. I zeroed in on an old man that appeared to be in his 70’s. He had a long white beard and wore thin gray and light brown long hair. Something was eerily familiar about this man. I looked straight into his eyes and it seemed like he too was looking into my eyes. It hit me all of a sudden that I was looking straight at me! I audibly said ‘How can this be?’ Just as quick as I learned the identity of this man, the eyes of the old man widened and became a tunnel full of whirling colors and imagery. The room went blurry and time seemed to increase in speed as I found myself flying thru the tunnel. People and places I have never met or seen spun thru the tunnel randomly along with the colors and patterns. I understood that these were scenes from the perspective of my future self. I was traveling back in time revisiting key events when I noticed the scene at the unnamed river. I saw my self on the ground were I passed out. Dyami was sitting a few feet away cross legged sipping from a small brown cup. I saw my eyes blinking as it dawned on me that I was no longer in that tunnel but was attempting get up off the ground. After a couple of tries I was standing facing the totem poles with Dyami by side.
Before I could even recover from that experience, I noticed the face of that old man carved in the center of the totem pole in the middle. Dyami now spoke as to answer my thoughts and said "that is Dionysus, and you are Dionysus." I could not absorb what he was telling me. He proceeded to tell me how his tribe has known of me from generations past. He said a chief named Elu had a vision 100 years ago concerning me. Dyami explained to me that totem poles were made up of symbols and patterns representing families and events. Elu had the face of the old man made shortly after his vision. Elu which means full of grace received the knowledge thru the vision that his grandson would meet me. In this meeting there would be an exchange of vital information to our mutual benefit. Full of Grace’s grandson is indeed The Eagle. Dyami was the one called to give and receive revelation on behalf of his tribe. As he was speaking, I heard chanting and singing that seemed to be of various dialects. The sound was drawing closer. A group made up of 10 1st Nations People comprised of 5 women and 5 men all dressed in their traditional array crossed the river as they sang their song. They stopped chanting once they reached us and greeted me by name as if they knew me. We stood in a circle when one of the men instructed the others in his group to start a fire.
Now we were all sitting in a circle a few feet away from the 3 totem poles with a small camp fire in the midst of us. I then asked the question what does all this mean. Dyami spoke up and said "We do not have the whole picture. In fact we need you by The Great Spirit to enlighten us." I knew he was referring to The Creator’s Spirit. I shared with them my encounter with The One and Only Supreme Being. I also explained my insight to the saving power of His Only Begotten Son. It was His self sacrifice in the stead of all humanity that grants all the passage to Eternal Life by Trusting in Him. The group in unison bore witness with their spirit’s that this was Truth. Dyami said that certain pieces to this Truth was entrusted to others of their kind through visions for many past generations. He then told me that I needed to further lose myself to find myself. He encouraged me to persist in my search for significance regardless the opposition with The Great Spirit’s help. He also assured me that there will be many rewards awaiting me in the future. I received a good measure of comfort in the company of these tribal people. We felt mutually indebted to one another.
I remained the night with them by the beautiful unnamed river. In the morning, Dyami supplied me with a goat’s horn filled with vegetable oil. He said that this would fuel my vehicle till I reach the next service station. We bid each other farewell, and I departed from them knowing that we would meet again. I have always intuitively known that I was connected to the Indian people. This encounter was the confirmation I had subconsciously been waiting for. The insight Dyami provided shall prove to be vital for me in the days to come. The trip to California went very well for me. I enjoyed all the sights and sounds thoroughly. After I had arrived home, I found a strange object in my belongings as I was unpacking. It was an exact miniature replica of the middle totem pole I saw by the river. I never found out how it got there, but I was beginning to accept such things at face value.
Another Insert from the Self Discovery Series…