L. M. Reker
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents
are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously
and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual
events, locations, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is
World Castle Publishing, LLC
Copyright © Arkwatch Holdings, LLC 2017
Author: L. M. Reker
Hardback ISBN: 9781629896489
Paperback ISBN: 9781629896496
eBook ISBN: 9781629896502
First Edition World Castle Publishing, LLC, March 20, 2017
Smashwords Licensing Notes
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced
in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the
case of brief quotations embodied in articles and reviews.
Cover: Arkwatch Holdings, LLC & Karen Fuller
Editor: Erik Johnston
A Neolithic European community near the Alps
Uta sat on a ridge overlooking her village and plucked several plump
raspberries from her satchel, savoring the rich sweetness of each, as
her eyes surveyed the reality of her beautiful, spring-engulfed
world. The grass she sat on, the cool breeze that stroked her skin,
the warm, caressing sunlight that amplified the depth of her amber
hair, and the anticipation—the unbearable expectation of tomorrow’s
ceremony, enveloped her with indescribable joy. She and the people
would honor the Great Mother, the goddess of all this exquisite life.
The annual ceremony to the earth, the sustaining mother of them all,
The Womb of the Earth was a sacred place where she and the others of
their community visited annually to honor the Great Mother. Only the
most foolhardy would dare enter its sacred space for a casual
adventure. The trek into the foothills of their great mountain, the
snow-capped home of the spirits, would take the better part of a day,
an adventure she welcomed, because it would allow her to traverse the
wildflower fields studded with an array of golds, blues, scarlets,
and some colors that were simply indescribable. She and her women
companions would garland themselves with flowers and don their
best-prepared furs and hides. Their men would carry the wise and aged
village dowager on her flower-draped chair in front of their tribal
chief, with the entire procession to be led by the village shaman,
the oldest and most insightful man of their tribe.
Uta stood and looked at her world one more time from her secret
lookout. Then she carefully descended down her forested ridge to the
village below. She passed through some of her favorite places, the
soaring fir trees, the wild raspberry bushes, and then by the open
grassy meadow and the village lake, where she saw a flock of swans
take flight to the sun and then cross over her enclave.
In her mind’s eye she mused, There are so many living gifts from
the Great Mother. Great numbers of them are unnamed. Words…words
are so soft, so thin. They are like blades of grass in the wind.
She laughed and thought, What a silly thing to say.
Then reflectively she thought, Why do I feel such love for all this?
The Mother’s ways are so hidden.
The collective spirit they called “tribe” was warm and immediate
to her, as she passed by and waved to village fishermen who adroitly
speared massive pike and freshwater catfish from the shoreline of
Uta caught a glance from a young man, Egon, who had just thrown his
“Uta, the Wanderer, welcome back,” he shouted.
She responded with a smile, hid her exhilaration at his recognition,
and waved back.
She thought, Why do I feel so warm from his glance—another mystery
of the Great Mother?
Women on a nearby lake inlet collected water chestnuts, hazelnuts,
and yellow water lilies. Passing a stream feeding this blue
crystalline wonder, village children played the games their parents
and countless generations before them were taught; find the hidden
child and capture the ball, this one made from tanned skins and a
grass-stuffed auroch bladder. They cheered with delight, as one young
boy reached a stone monolith before the others could grab him.
Three little girls, caught site of her, ran to her, and begged her to
help them arrange flowers in their hair. “Uta, Uta, do the flowers
on us the way you do.”
She complied, talking with the exuberant little girls, “In a few
seasons you’ll be doing this yourselves,” as she weaved the
multi-hued stems into their braids.
“Uta, why can’t we enter the great womb like the others?”
“You know all too well you’re not women yet. Your time will come.
The goddess will bless you and you will share in the mysteries.”
She finished garlanding each one, embraced them, and moved toward the
She picked up her pace. As the familiar lodgings came into view, a
semi-circular enclave of lodge houses made of heavy wood poles, and
carefully thatched roofs. They were elevated to protect the tribe
from unexpected predators. In the center of the semicircle were
several cooking pits, designed to allow the entire community their
shared communal feasts.
Just before she arrived, Taga, her close friend, ran in her
direction, accompanied by her beautiful silver Sheppard, Roamer, a
dog who had been her constant companion since childhood.
She was excited and spoke in gasps, “Uta, the Traveler was right,
the little life grains have been touched by the Great Mother. Come,
come, you must see.”
She grabbed Uta’s hand and they dashed to a patch of land on the
edge of the enclave. Oats, wheat, and chickpeas had sprouted with
their little green heads just above the cover of the dark soil.
Taga, her words gushing said, “The Traveler was right. The little
grains have the life force in them. Oh I wish I could hug him and
give him thanks. Look, their green sprouts are exactly in the designs
I dug in the soil.”
Uta, astonished, knelt with her to inspect the new growth, something
she and Taga had seen in the wild, but never attempted to create by
Uta grabbed her hand firmly and spoke, “Taga, we must tell the
Dowa, she is closest to the truth of the Great Mother.”
“You’re right, she’ll understand. Oh how I wish the Traveler
had stayed a little longer to explain this wonder.”
The three entered the enclave and approached the lodge of the Dowa,
the aged priestess of the Great Mother. Taga respectfully spoke her
name, “Dowa, may we speak. It’s important.”
The priestess responded, “Enter please. We always enjoy your
company. What is this important matter? Does it concern tomorrow’s
procession to the Womb of the Earth?”
Taga paused to think, at that moment making a connection of the
seedlings to the power of the ceremony. “We don’t know Mother.
I’ll explain. Six great moons ago when the Traveler visited us, he
gave me”—she opened her pouch and displayed a handful of
seeds—“these and said they would create life. I only half
believed him, but I did as he suggested. I cleared out a nice patch
of land and played with several line designs, the kind we put on our
pottery. Except these were dug in the dirt. I stuck in a seed about a
finger’s length from each other, watered them as he instructed, and
now today they grow. This is beyond my mind.”
She paused and they waited in respectful silence, as she finally
withdrew from her pouch a flat wood tablet with a series of notches
on it. “You said six great moons ago,” she said as she carefully
scrutinized the placement of notches to each other. “Did the
Traveler say they would be born at this time?”
Taga reflected and then spoke, “I’m not sure Dowa, I believe so.”
Dowa sat quietly, invoking experiences and connections in her mind to
formulate a thoughtful response. “Let’s decide what to do with
this after we visit the Womb of the Earth. I feel confident this
wonderful gift has a use. Our quest for nourishment encircles all of
the Great Mother’s creations, but these magic grains bring a
special power with them.”
Then with a smile to each and joining their hands together she said,
“The Great Mother will give us direction, of this I have no doubt.”
At first light, the entire village was stirring, each person knowing
his or her role. Cantu, the shaman, regaled in his bear robes, animal
fetishes, and crowned with deer antlers scurried about getting
everyone ready. The men carried torches, firewood in backpacks, and
offerings for the Great Mother. Several carried drums. The women
packed food for the evening, red ochre, and their goddess figurines.
The procession left the village with the first light, as children
waved good-bye with their elder caretakers.
In the slow assent through the foothills to the home of the spirits,
they paused in a stand of evergreens to watch an elk herd spook and
head to the highlands; a wolf pack cautiously eyed the group, as they
paused for everyone to collect wild almonds, berries, medicinal
roots, and wild flowers. A massive formation of geese traversed their
path, braying their distinctive call as several men facetiously
imitated their sound, while the women giggled at them.
The orifice of the Womb of the Earth was barely visible and just
sufficiently large to allow adults to enter. Its modest entry hid an
extraordinary array of passages and magnificent chambers, that belied
its modest portal. The gravity of the ceremony about to be performed
and the collective power it held over the group transfixed everyone’s
They all averted their gaze from the entrance by preparing themselves
for the rapidly approaching evening. Their individual work, each in
preparation for this rite was accomplished silently. They consumed a
modest evening meal, as the last light of day gently faded.
The men then lit the torches, which were passed to every other man
and woman, as the shaman lead the Dowa to the entrance to allow her
to be the first to enter the lips of the Womb. He followed her, as
the careful procession silently entered the cave. Uta had a position
in the middle of the procession, carefully holding her torch through
the narrow entryway. She had performed this ritual five times before,
but her fascination with the place had not diminished.
The first room was modest and revealed some stalagmites with just a
few fetishes hanging from them. Uta knew well about the labyrinthine
depths of the cave, whose actual dimensions and full complexity of
passageways were known only by the Great Mother. Several people
placed offerings and a few inserted carefully swathed bird eggs in
The next orifice was larger than the original entrance and allowed
quick passage by the entire group into the inner sanctum chamber of
the cave, the great hall. The collective torches revealed the
convoluted ceiling of an immense world, one where the limits could
only be dimly perceived at the other end of the chamber, where
ceiling and floor finally converged to a rough point, as a vast cone.
This was the place of the altar of the Great Mother.
The group methodically moved in that direction, as the light of the
torchbearers moving among stalagmites and stalactites created macabre
tricks of shadow and image.
The group paused near an adjacent passageway that was the stuff of
legend in their community. In complete silence, they listened to the
distant rush of water, the pulsing blood of the Great Mother. This
was also called the Path of the Lost Shamans, dedicated to the brave
souls who entered its way and never returned.
The group paused one more time by several large niches at the base of
some dominating stalagmites. The Dowa and Cantu stopped and lowered
their heads reverentially and placed their hands over their hearts,
as they paid homage to the burial grounds of the many village
priestesses and shamans who had preceded them.
They finally arrived at the stone altar divided by a centerpiece that
was a life size ancient goddess figure seated in her chair. The
assembled villagers formed a partial semi-circle facing their Great
Mother altar and placed their torches into holders behind them. Cantu
and the Dowa stepped forward and broke the silence.
The Dowa spoke first, “We honor the Great Mother by renewing her
spirit.” Then she gestured to Taga and spoke, “Renew her
Taga stepped forward and, with a container of red ochre, she silently
smeared it over the extraordinarily exaggerated contours of her
gigantic egg-shaped breasts, massive thighs, and pregnant abdomen.
Her facial features were only rudimentarily etched below her braided
hair and upturned stare.
Cantu spoke as Taga finished her duties, “We know not the creators
of our Great Mother’s image. They lived beyond the reckonings of
the comings and goings of the moon. They were different than us, but
they understood her power and mystery. We honor them and our kin who
have passed into spirit, because we all share the earth together.”
As Cantu removed a handful of the ceremonial herbs from his shaman’s
bag, the Dowa said, “Bring the cups and the broth of life.” These
were brought to the altar, as several communal wooden bowls were
placed on the stones adjacent to the goddess statue. Two large
bladders were placed next to them as Cantu removed a handful of
mushrooms from his pouch and carefully divided them into bite-sized
segments with his sharp obsidian knife, a gift from the Traveler.
Each participant moved forward, took a mushroom fragment, and
returned to their original places to await the passage of a cup.
The Dowa, Taga, and several others carefully poured the broth into
the bowls and passed them to all. They chewed and swallowed the
mushroom washing them down with the herbal concoction.
Uta consumed them with great anticipation, a mixture of excitement
and fear. She knew the sacred herbs and mushrooms produced feelings
and insights that would influence her for weeks to come—perhaps all
of her life. The thing they called “second sight” would allow her
a communion with the tribe, while revealing parts of her nature that
were both gratifying and frightening.
She thought, what is fear compared to the power of the Great Mother?
The drummers began a slow rhythmic beat, and then, as if one single
entity, the group began to sway and dance with a spontaneously
choreographed harmony. The tempo of the drums increased as the group
began to move with complete abandonment, together and then with the
individual expression of each person.
This continued until a strange imperative took hold of each one. For
some it was a journey into their own selfhood and they elected to
curl up quietly in their furs to allow this connection. For others it
was the familial joy of bonding and talking in heightened fellowship.
The potency of the drink and mushroom changed Uta’s senses, as the
cave became crystalline even in the dim torch light of this inner
sanctum. It’s as if her compatriots were haloed in their own
spectrum of light. Quartz deposits on the wall of the chamber
glistened and twinkled magically. She swayed, absorbed in the
exquisite strangeness. She closed her eyes and saw her blood coursing
through her veins in her eyelids.
She thought, Do small streams of blood travel my body like the rivers
of the Great Mother above and below?
Her body’s heat heightened even more, as she felt a presence near
She turned and facing her with longing eyes, was the young man, Egon,
with whom she has had some brief but memorable encounters in previous
days, the same fisherman who greeted her the day before—the one who
called her the “Wanderer.” They shared a look that was
unmistakable for both, and they retreated to a more private part of
Finally, after many hours they all gave themselves up to blissful
sleep, the sleep of joyful children who had been granted the
wonderful boon of returning to the peace and tranquility of their
Mother’s Womb, this one, their created surrogate, the Great Womb of
Slowly the congregation of the Earth began to stir. Several ignited
their torches as they prepared their exit from the cave. The
gathering finally initiated their trek downward from the mountain to
their home, as they greeted the rising sun.
They were silent, each in his or her reverie of residual experience
from the previous night. Uta and her “Womb” companion, Egon,
walked near the front of the procession.
Later in the day as the sun became more luminous, as they were coming
into proximity of the village, Uta caught a faint flicker of light on
the horizon. It seemed to be approaching the right side of the peak
that shadowed their village.
She rubbed her eyes and focused intensely at this unexpected
phenomenon. Its brightness increased as it came closer to the peak. A
few in back of them began to notice this aberration. Their pace
accelerated, now with each individual in the group starting to take
“Is it snow geese?” Egon said.
“It’s becoming brighter. I don’t see birds,” Uta responded.
A woman exclaimed in back of them, “What could it be?”
They picked up the pace, as if drawn to something attractive yet
They stopped suddenly, as the anomaly became clearer. The collective
confusion was palpable and a wave of concern passed through the
group. There was nothing in their realm of experience to define or
compare this to anything anyone had ever seen.
Slowly, inexorably, a brilliant metallic-like disc of enormous size,
flawless in shape and perfectly smooth with its surface reflecting
flickering sheens of unimaginable brightness, approached the backside
of their village mountain.
Exclamations arose from the group. This was beyond excitement; it was
a breathtaking contradiction to the collective reality of their
world. Everyone was riveted to its incomprehensible dimensions, as it
passed out of view behind the peak. In frenzied excitement, they
finally reached the lake and entrance to their village.
“Only birds and clouds fly,” they exclaimed.
“What was that shining thing?”
“Where do the colors come from?”
“What could possibly be so perfect? Is there a word for it?”
Arriving at the comfort of their enclave and their communal eating
area, trying their best to frame in language something that eclipsed
language, they gestured and frantically reached for the sky.
Uta thought, no words can capture this.
They suddenly paused. A deep humming sound trumped all of their
noise, as everything seemed to vibrate.
Uta looked up toward the peak and fell to her knees and shouted,
Everybody, with faces turned upward, saw the disc they witnessed
earlier, as it emerged from the mountain, as a bird would pass
through a cloud, completely unaltered in its magnificence. It now
hovered over them, as the villagers were bathed in blue light, their
skin tingling with a strange vibration and a humming sound that
overwhelmed all others.
Within the great disc, a cadre of beings, diminutive and gray,
silently affixed the villagers to examination tables. They were now
naked and bound to the tables by an unseen force. Their terror was
Uta cried out, “Mother, help me.”
A voice intruded into their minds, one of sublime calm and certitude,
“Calm yourself. We’ll do you no harm.” In unison, their
exclamations became silent, as their gasping was now relaxed
Uta felt a presence other than the Grays flanking her table. As she
was about to speak, a bright light from the table and above her
saturated her entire frame. She was astonished as her body became
transparent. Even in her reclining position she could see arteries,
veins, her skeleton, and view her heart and lungs laboring inside her
She thought, I’ve done this before…in the cave, but this…this
is so much clearer.
Uta, who had resigned herself to her fate, addressed a figure she
believed was near her. “Who are you? Where do you come from? Do you
serve the goddess?”
The figure came from in back of her to face her. She was robed with
only her face revealed, clearly humanoid, with large ingratiating
eyes, slender lips and a gracefully small nose.
Uta bravely exclaimed, “You are like us. How could you make such a
thing as this?”
A faint smile appeared on the woman’s face. She spoke, “We share
a common line, an ancestry, if you will. It is ancient and
far-removed from this world. We come from those brilliant lights of
the night sky—we call them stars.”
“Are you gods?” Uta asked.
“No, we are humans, just like you.”
“Who are they?” Uta, staring at the Grays, said.
“They come from a different world, a different ancestry. The only
differences between us and them are our times, places, and methods of
evolution, an idea your progeny will come to know in the distant
“You use strange words. I don’t know what you mean,” Uta
“What are you doing to us? Why have you bathed us in this strange
light?” Uta asked.
The robed woman smiled, “We’ve given you a gift that is not
apparent to you now, but will benefit you in ages to come. We are
humans like yourself and we visit humans such as you on other worlds.
We are making changes in your bodies that will alter things in your
future that you cannot even imagine in your current state. You will
learn the full truth of this in a distant time. For now, live your
lives with honesty and courage in all the places you travel.
“We will not be much longer and all of you will only remember this
experience as symbols in the deepest parts of your dreams. For you
however, something grows inside that you will soon cherish and adore.
Peace and love to you and all your kin.”
That night a restless slumber enveloped the entire village as their
dreams of light and falling were interrupted by unexplained touches
by things unknown. With the morning light Uta ran to Taga’s lodge
and roused her from her slumber.
She shook Taga, “Wake up. I have an idea about your magic grains.
Come, we must visit the Dowa.”
Taga finally got up and the two staggered off to see their priestess.
She was awake and acted as if they were expected.
The Dowa looked at Uta and said, “Let’s make a plan about the
grains. I know you come here for that reason.”
Uta, surprised, said, “Taga and I can take her grains. She still
has many in her pouch and, if we plant more places, we can help feed
the village. We wish to work together. It will be a wonderful gift
from the goddess.”
Dowa smiled in assent, “I will propose this at our next village
meeting. We’ll need help to prepare the land. I know the goddess
will bless this.” The two left thrilled with the prospect of
fulfilling the Traveler’s gift.
The next day, Uta found Egon by the lake and excitedly told him of
her plan. He embraced her, as she made another request.
“Egon, I must return to the cave.”
He looked at her skeptically and replied, “Would that be the right
thing to do? Would the Dowa and Cantu approve of such an action? More
importantly, would we trespass into the Great Mother’s world?”
“We both know others have done it. I want to show you something
that I’ve thought about doing.”
He smiled and agreed.
The next morning they left the village before everyone had begun to
They arrived at the cave later in the day. Uta had a large pack with
her that held several stone knives and colored powders. Egon lit two
torches and they both entered the first chamber. They moved carefully
until they found a section of cave wall that was relatively flat. She
extracted the tools from her pouch and placed them carefully on the
ground with the bags of colored powder.
She planted her torch near the flat section of the wall, while Egon
held his to give her closer light. She felt the texture of the cave
wall running her hands over the section she intended to work. She
decided what instrument to use and she grabbed a hard flint knife she
used to etch a circular object. She worked it carefully until she was
satisfied. Then she scraped the interior part of the circle with
another tool. Removing a sulfur-like yellow powder, she colored her
orb with it. On the top 180 degrees of the orb she etched grooves
that created an outward radiance. She then employed all of the colors
at her disposal to enliven these notches.
She took a break and asked for Egon’s comments.
He thoughtfully replied, “It is a rainbow coming from the sun. Is
“Yes, can I sit on your shoulders?”
She grabbed her tools and worked from that elevated vantage point
above the orb. Egon could not see the product of her labors until he
brought her down to the cave floor. She etched a bird in flight with
a rudimentary human head on its neck and braided hair like Uta’s,
streaming backwards from the ascent.
“That is my spirit. That is who I really am,” she said.
Egon smiled, “As long as you don’t take flight from me…”
Their union that evening started their life together and also the
ascent of their people to new levels in their evolutionary journey.
Their children and their children’s children would wander to many
lands and spread many seeds and, they all would dream compelling
dreams of adventure, disco, and evanescent truths that they grasped
at and occasionally captured to their hungry hearts and minds.
An Ancient African Night
On the edge of an ancient African village near a stretch of a vast
escarpment called the “Cliffs of Bandiagara,” under a brilliant,
starry night, aged Dogon tribesmen instructed their children on the
mysteries of their life. They circled a campfire, as lions roared in
the distant and silhouettes of other animals crossed to and fro in
the night. A tribal shaman, who was accompanied by his teenage
daughter and a second elder with his young adult son and a much
younger son, formed the circle around the fire.
The shaman spoke first, addressing the younger members of the circle,
“The truth of our world is that we know we are not alone in the
great sky ocean of the night.”
He paused, reflectively, and spoke again, “Oh, how I love the
starry night. It is home. It is the embrace of our father and mother,
the place of our mentors and guides.”
His daughter, Samari, asked, “How could that be, Father?”
Nodding to the other elder, who had accompanied him, “We are here
to teach you, as we were taught by our parents, in the manner of our
village and the many other villages of our people.”
“We are in the birthplace of the soul of all humanity. It’s here
in this land the human adventure begins,” the elder said.
The shaman continued, “Many years ago, out of the great kingdom of
Egypt, we migrated to this place of austerity to keep our connection
to the truth of our spiritual nature—our deep connections to the
heart of humanity. Now, our people are scattered among many villages,
but we are one.”
“To my first question father, how does the starry night become our
home?” Samari replied.
He smiled and pointed to Sirius, the great “Dog Star” and
exclaimed, “The Nommo, The Masters of the Water, The Listeners, The
Teachers, and our Spiritual Guardians came from that world, and we
are connected to them, as they have taught us.”
The elder’s oldest son asked, “How did they come from the great
star of the Nommos. Isn’t it an impossible distance, as you’ve
“In the most distant times the Nommo, the water beings from the
great star, taught us our true inner nature, what some call the truth
of inner eye. They did this after our journey from Egypt,” the
The youngest was startled and exclaimed, “Where is our inner eye?”
As he touched the boy’s forehead with his finger, “It is right
there, except this eye looks inward.”
The shaman continued, “Our people used to dwell in the lower part
of the Great Kingdom. We all paid homage to Isis, the Great Star
Goddess, whose light comes from the Dog Star. Isis’ world was also
ours, but we left that place of opulence and leisure to reconnect to
our true nature. The Nommo, who have come to other tribes of the
world in many places, visited us in ships from the great sky, adorned
with wondrous light.”
The elder picked up the strain of the instruction, “The Nommo
revealed to us their connection to our people. Our star, our sun,
joins with theirs—the great blue father orb of Sirius and his white
orb wife. The three are a celestial family.”
“What did the Nommos look like?” the young child asked.
“They were different than us. They were infinitely kind but
strange—some say fearsome in appearance. Their home was in the
water of their world, and they would in appearance, be in concert
with the web-like creatures of our Great River.
“Their celestial craft landed countless ages ago, somewhere near
our great river. The story passed to us tells of a strange whining
noise and wind. The ship then landed on its three legs in the
shallows of the great River. The Nommos exited from their craft into
the water, and thus began the instruction of our people.
“Their two stars circle each other in a great dancing rhythm, like
two of our dancers at a festival, except it takes fifty of our years
for one of their rotations. The Nommos tell us that another
motion—they called it a spiral—imitates the life core of all
living things. All living things are created in this spiral, whose
motion is the true dance of life.”
“How could that be?” Samari asked.
“They say it’s a pattern within all living things, plants
animals, even the smallest insects. As we become more enlightened in
the workings of the world, we will understand it more fully,” her
The young man asked, “Are there still others from the stars?”
“Oh yes, the women from beyond the Pleiades. They’ve not visited
here, but our Egyptian ancestors honored them in their temples and
thought of them as helpers of mankind. In the early days of our
world, they are said to have assisted us to advance in many ways,
especially in the guidance of our women,” the elder answered.
“What of the blue men. I’ve heard others speak of them?” the
shaman’s daughter asked.
“They have been among us,” he replied.
“Are they like the Nommos?” she asked.
“No, they are different. They are guardians. They have helped us
preserve our way of life.”
“How do they do such a thing?” the elder’s son asked.
“Our teachers and the teachers before them say they advise us in
ways invisible, and guide us with soft hints and gentle revelations.
They especially counsel us to find the truth of things inside
ourselves,” he said.
“Do you mean they lead us to see with our inner eyes?” Samari
“Does our Holy Man speak with them?” the young man asked.
“Their form of address is subtle, as an idea intruding into a
dream. Occasionally, they are visible and physical. We do not know
with whom the Holy Man communes. His cave is his world. As you know,
he dedicates his life to our people. He lives in our Sacred Cave of
Records, preserving the ancient wall drawings of our history. This is
his lifetime work, one he takes on, because he, more completely than
any other, feels the power of our way. It is his choice to live in
isolation. When he passes into spirit, another holy man will take his
place,” the Shaman replied.
The Shaman turned to his daughter, lovingly, “My daughter, Samari,
my Priestess of Isis, you will carry the truth we give you tonight to
the women of our tribe. We’ll continue to meet here until you have
mastered what you need and you begin to see with the inner clarity I
know you possess. Light will shine on your countenance. You will be
an example to everyone. This, I know.”
Samari, somewhat intimidated, said, “Father that is so much to
bear. I’m barely more than a child.”
“Age has no bearing on it,” he answered, “The spirit of the
Nommos is with you. You have their virtues. You are insightful,
centered, and calm beyond your age. In the realm of Isis, age is
Samari did not realize her consciousness and understanding at that
moment would extend itself into a future that, at her current place
in this time, would be beyond anything she could currently conceive
of, or hope to understand.
The group silently huddled around the fire, each absorbed in their
own thoughts, and surrounded by the vastness of the night, while
overhead Sirius radiated its blue brilliance.
Daniel McKnight, a Child’s Awakening
Walking in the Woods of the White Mountains of Arizona with a
Daniel, an inquisitive, brown-haired, precocious eight-year-old and
his German Sheppard, Hermes (a name his mother and father gave the
dog), explored a forest together, searching for two golden eagles
they saw dance in the sky near their house.
“Come on, Hermi,” a variation on his dog’s name he preferred,
“let’s find those eagles.” They climbed a hill in the direction
of their nest. When they reached the top, Daniel was winded and
Hermes noticed a quick burst of light, a short flicker, which caught
his attention. Then he observed a movement in the small aspen stand
from which it came. Alertly fixing his eyes and ears in that
direction, he saw a girl emerge from the stand, and he relaxed, since
his instincts and training for potential danger were focused on
encounters with large mammals, such as coyotes and bears.
Daniel, who saw her also, observed the young girl heading their way.
She made eye contact with him and he smiled in acknowledgement. She
was a pretty red haired girl a few years older than he was.
“Hi, how ya doing?” she asked.
“Wow, I’m surprised to see anyone here. Where did you come from?”
“My name is Kelly. My parents visit here a lot.”
“My name is Daniel—you mean they let you roam around without a
“Sure, I’m pretty good at finding my way and I can really move
fast if I need to.”
“That’s cool. My parents always make me take Hermi. He can find
his way back from any place.”
She again gazed directly into his eyes and then the dog, “Can I
walk with you?”
“Sure,” Daniel said, “I’d like that and so would Hermi. We’re
looking for some eagles we know are up here.”
“Let’s find them together.” They walked for a while. Then Kelly
abruptly asked them to stop. She looked intently at a cluster of
trees about a hundred yards away, directly in front of them.
“I think I see them,” she said. “Let’s move forward
Daniel said, his eyes wide, “Come on, Hermi, we’ve got to be
They covered half the distance and all paused as one of the eagles
flew from the nest directly at them. Daniel and Hermi grew nervous as
the eagle glided closer. Daniel ducked as the bird passed over them
just a few feet above.
“Wow. That was close!”
“That was the mother protecting her fledglings. We’re in her
territory and she was checking us out,” Kelly said.
“You sure know a lot.”
“I love nature and I study it whenever I have a chance.”
Daniel thoughtfully asked, “Do you know all of the animals of the
“Many of them,” she said. “Let’s go this way, I’ll show you
They went back the way they came and Kelly led them to another
thicket that gave them a view of the interior of a small ravine,
where a flock of wild turkeys grazed. “Let’s be quiet and enjoy
Daniel’s eyes widened as he and Kelly studied twenty-plus turkeys,
gobbling, clucking, yelping, and cackling, as they foraged for food
in this hidden area.
As she pointed to a male bird displaying his long, dark, fan-shaped
tail and glossy bronze wings, she whispered, “He’s courting the
They observed a fast flying bird that rejoined the flock. “They can
fly up to forty miles-per-hour for a quarter mile, if they have to,”
“I’ve seen them fly before but never that fast,” Daniel quietly
“What do they eat? They seem to be feeding on everything.”
“You’re right. Grass mostly, but also acorns and nuts, such as
hazelnuts, pinyon nuts, juniper berries, roots, and insects. They’ll
occasionally consume snakes and other small invertebrates,” Kelly
“Wow. You know everything. What’s an invertebrate?” Daniel
asked, amazed at her knowledge.
“An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone.”
“That’s got to be tough,” he said, innocently.
“Actually, they do all right,” Kelly smiled.
They continued watching for a little while longer. Then Kelly
signaled, “It’s time to go.”
“Can you walk with us a little more back to the ranch?” Daniel
“Sure, maybe we’ll see some other things,” Kelly said. The
three ambled for a bit and scared away several deer, feeding nearby.
They finally reached the hill, leading down to the ranch. Daniel went
down first followed by Hermi and Kelly. When they reached an overlook
that gave a clear view of the ranch area, Daniel spotted his father
by the side of a wetlands area on the north side of the reservoir. He
turned to talk to Kelly but she was not there.
He spoke to Hermi, “Where is she?” He scanned the entire area but
no one was in sight. Disturbed, he continued with Hermi thinking, How
could she have gone so quickly? I wanted Dad to meet her. She said
she could move quick, but, jeez, I never thought…Oh well, I hope I
see her again some time…How did she do that? Gosh maybe she just
had to leave and didn’t want to say anything. He finally reached
his dad both happy and a little disappointed. His father, Fred
McKnight, was a wildlife biologist and ecologist, and his wife,
Claire, the same.
“Hi Dad, what are you up to?”
He smiled and replied, “Daniel and Hermes, back from a fresh
adventure, no doubt. To answer your question, I’m up to my eyeballs
in frogs,” as he gestured to a couple of sample boxes, where the
sound of muted croaking was heard. “Where have you been?”
“Hermi and I went to find those golden eagles, you know, the ones
we saw dancing together above the lake…but something cool happened.
We met a girl.”
Fred, somewhat surprised, said, “Met a girl?”
“Yeah, she was walking in the woods.”
Fred asked, now concerned, “By herself?”
“Yeah, the three of us found the golden eagles and we saw a bunch
of wild turkeys. It was awesome. She’s so smart.”
“Whoa, slow down and tell me about this girl.”
“Her name is Kelly and she knows a lot about animals. I was going
to have you meet her but she just kinda disappeared.”
Fred, a bit more relieved, while mulling it over, repeated, “Kinda
disappeared. Kind of magical?”
“You know, Dad, she did seem magical. That’s a good word for her.
I hope I meet up with her again. She’s really fun and Hermi likes
Fred, no longer concerned she was real, said, “Ya never know.”
Daniel, while peering at the croaking boxes, commented, “Why are
you doing that, Dad?”
“Your mom and I are studying them. We, and quite a few other
scientists, have some concerns about amphibians.”
“Are amphibians invertebrates, Dad?”
Fred was genuinely surprised by the question, and asked, “Do you
know what an invertebrate is?”
“Sure, it’s an animal without a backbone.”
Fred continued, “Where did you learn such a thing?”
“Kelly taught me,” Daniel said proudly.
“Are you sure you didn’t read about them from one of my books?”
“No, it was definitely Kelly.”
Fred no longer pursued the Kelly question and answered his first
inquiry, “Frogs are vertebrates. Therefore, they have backbones.”
“But why are you collecting them?”
Wondering how Daniel would deal with new concepts, Fred replied,
“They’re sentinels. Let me explain. A sentinel is a kind of
guard, but these frogs don’t know they’re guards. By measuring
key factors in their life and their physiology, they tell us about
the rest of the environment, things like habitat diversity,
biological variety, and local stressors. Things that cause an
ecosystem to change. Am I making sense to you?”
“Kinda, I’m not completely sure about some of the words,”
Daniel replied, thoughtfully.
“Which ones, Daniel?”
“What’s a stressor?”
“A stressor is a condition or specific thing that influences an
organism, as a frog. Often it’s something bad coming into a
habitat, like pollution or chemicals.”
“I remember what you said about physiology being how the parts of
animals work together, lungs and hearts and all that stuff. Is that
what you’re going to look at with the frogs?” Daniel said.
“Exactly, but we’ll also see if they picked up anything from what
humans have created, like air pollution. Frogs are sensitive to such
things. That’s why we call them “sentinels.” They are unwitting
guards. They live in both water and air. Because of their land and
water connection, their skin, larvae, and unshelled eggs are
constantly exposed and in contact with the substances in their
surroundings. They are usually some of the first animals to be
impacted by environmental change, so we’ve got to study them.”
“Will the frogs you’re collecting tell you things about the
ranch? Oh, is the ranch a habitat? I remember you talking about it
Fred continued, somewhat surprised by Daniel’s precocious insight,
“The ranch is part of the habitat of the high White Mountains area,
which has specific qualities that make it different from other
“Dad, are the frogs in trouble?”
Fred’s brow furrowed gravely, “We believe so. Too many are born
deformed and their numbers are decreasing in many places of the
world. So far, here, we’ve noticed only a little change. Some of
our fellow scientists have reported some disturbing data. Mom and I
talked to a colleague recently who just finished a major survey.
There are over 4,000 species of amphibians and he studied only seven
in another mountain range. Four of them had unnaturally high death
and deformation rates. Many suffered from convulsions and lesions.”
Daniel disturbed by that information, asked, “How are you going to
“We don’t know yet. It’s frustrating because things such as
this have never happened before.”
“What do you think is causing this? Daniel asked.
“We are examining several possibilities—increases in ultraviolet
radiation, air and water pollution, and contamination from other
animals. We just don’t know at this point.”
“I didn’t know how important your work was. I think I want to do
what you do, when I grow up.”
“Speaking of growing up, it looks like you’re making some pretty
big strides yourself, young man.”
Later that evening, Daniel burst into the ranch house just ahead of
his father. “Hi Mom, Dad, Kelly and I studied animals today.”
Claire said, “Kelly?”
“Yeah Mom, she’s a girl I met today.”
“Oh, that’s nice.”
“I’ve got to go to the bathroom,” as he dashed in that
“Who is Kelly?” Claire asked Fred.
Fred responded, “I think Daniel has invented an imaginary friend.
He described a nice little adventure with her today and said she
disappeared when they got close to the ranch. It was actually quite a
“I’ve heard that’s normal. I guess talking to Hermes isn’t
enough,” she said.
“He caught up to me collecting frogs. He was genuinely interested
in what I was doing. I got into a nice little rap with him about
amphibians. I’m curious to see how much of it he retains,” Fred
“What else did he say about Kelly?” Claire asked.
“He described spotting golden eagles and an encounter with wild
turkeys. In both instances, Kelly supposedly schooled him in some of
“I’ve noticed he’s been reading more. Do you think he’s
projecting that knowledge on to an imaginary, fabricated
“I don’t know. He said this Kelly taught him what invertebrates
“Was it detailed? Did he add any other nuances to this encounter?”
“No, it was just a definition.”
Daniel returned from the bathroom with a serious look on his face,
“Can I ask you guys a question? I have to use a four letter word.”
They both looked at him quizzically. “Sure, go ahead,” Claire
“Do bears shit in the woods?”
Claire and Fred burst into laughter. Claire bit her lip, “Yes they
do. Why would you ask such a thing? Did Kelly ask you that?”
“She wouldn’t say something like that. Uncle Jack asked Dad last
week,” Daniel answered, resentfully.
Fred, barely suppressing a smile, said, “Let me try to explain.
Uncle Jack could have just as easily said, ‘Do frogs hop by the
pond?’ All that means is that whatever Uncle Jack was talking
about—and, I honestly can’t remember what he was talking
about—that fact was completely obvious and didn’t require any
discussion. It’s just an expression. Wait—hold on—I do
remember. He was commenting on whether Aunt Sara would ask him to do
some weekend work.”
“Can you tell us a little bit more about Kelly? She sounds like an
interesting person,” Claire asked Daniel.
“Sure, she’s a little taller than me. She has pretty red hair
with some freckles across her nose. You’d call her a
‘cutie-petutie.’ She kinda talks like an adult and she’s really
nice. She listens, like you guys do.”
They both smiled with gratification.
“Can you say more about her,” asked Fred.
“Oh yeah, sometimes it seemed she was talking to my mind…. It
wasn’t really coming from her lips. You said she was magical and
that made me think of that.”
Fred and Claire smiled knowingly at each other.
Daniel stood in front of a cobweb, illuminated by the morning light,
which was artfully connected between two closely adjacent trees. He
and Kelly admired its symmetry, while Kelly explained its
“Look, Daniel, the spider’s world is filled with mathematics.
Barely able to see, he is creating nearly perfect quadrilaterals,
“You mean like squares and rectangles?”
“Yes, except there are other names for them,” she said as she
outlined a portion of the web with her finger. “This is called a
parallelogram, four lines that will never touch. Look at this one, a
trapezoid, only one set of parallel lines.”
“You mean that two will meet and the other two go on forever.
What’s forever? I’ve thought about that. Does time end? Do the
lines meet somewhere eventually?”
“No one knows for sure. Infinity is a mystery.”
“Infinity means no boundaries, endless, just like the lines, going
“Wow. Thinking about that could give you a headache.”
She smiled. “Many people have tried to understand these concepts.
Scientists, mathematicians, and other thinkers do what’s called
‘modeling,’ which is an attempt to put a framework on the
unknown. Some of them apply this to the size of the universe, and in
fact, some have concluded that it is infinite. Your mother and father
do a smaller version when they study an area’s living things.”
“Cool, that’s something I’ll study someday.” She pointed at
the spider. “Look how she is working her way outward laying the
“Why do you think the spider is female?”
“I like to think she is one of Charlotte’s children.”
Kelly, interested, said, “Who is Charlotte?”
“She is a spider in a story my mom read me. She helped other
animals and then she died. It was kinda sad, but the cool part was
the eggs she laid became her children and they lived on for her. My
mom got a little teary when she read it. I think it was one of her
favorite stories when she was growing up.”
“What do you think was the most important idea of the story?”
“I kinda agree with Mom that it’s about sticking with friends, no
matter what. I really liked the animals too. They were like people,
funny—but also afraid.”
Both returned their attention to the web. “What is the web made
of?” Daniel asked.
Kelly replied, “It’s called silk and it’s strong. Scientists
study it to imitate its features for other things they try to
“You mean they make a model of it,” Daniel connected the
“Good, that’s it. They look at it under a microscope, map its
structure, and then experiment with that structure on other things.”
“Gosh, you talk just like an adult sometimes. Where did you learn
all of this stuff?”
“My father is a kind of biologist too. We study living things
together and we travel everywhere.”
“That must be a lot of fun. My mom, dad, and I have been to the
Grand Canyon. What a hole that is. We’ve gone to other National
Parks too. My favorite was the one at Yellowstone. Those geysers are
really cool…actually they’re kinda hot.”
They moved on together, coming across a large creek with a
substantial sandbar on the other side. Kelly had an idea and she said
excitedly to Daniel, “Do you like surprises?”
“Sure, who doesn’t?”
“Why don’t you and Hermi go home for a while and then come back
here after lunch. You won’t be disappointed. Okay?”
Later, Daniel and Hermi returned and were greeted by Kelly, who led
them back to the creek to a small rise just above the sandbar. The
sandbar, reinforced by some recent Monsoon flooding, had been
transformed by dark multi-colored sediment on top of the lighter
silicone. This palette, now suitable for etching, had become
transformed into a massive diagram of the solar system, meticulously
scrawled on its surface. Off to one side, was a smaller diagram of an
Kelly stood proudly looking over this masterpiece, as refined as a
Navajo sand painting. She pointed to the third planet. “This is
where you live, your beautiful blue marble. Do you like it?”
“It’s incredible. Did you do this?”
“I got a little help from my family. I knew they were in this area
and my mother is a wonderful artist. We worked together to map this
out for you.”
She took him on a tour of the solar system and the inner workings of
an atom complete with the sub-atomic particles etched into their
orbits. Without a sound, she communicated by hand as she touched his
mind to hers. After her tour, Daniel was in genuine awe of her. She
suggested aloud, “Let’s keep this drawing our secret for now.
It’s our special surprise for you. Maybe in a couple of days, if
the rains haven’t washed it away, somebody will stumble across it.
“Okay, I like the idea. It’s my special present. Thanks a lot.”
Two weeks later, Claire McKnight traveled a road near Alpine,
Arizona, a small community near the New Mexico state line. She and
her husband, Fred, with the consent of the owners, lived at Sierra
Blanca ranch for part of the year, where they also actively worked on
their wildlife research.
Now, however, she was absorbed with thoughts of her son, Daniel, and
his recent involvement with an imaginary friend. After delivering a
lecture on Southwest eco-systems to a class in Phoenix, she attended
a discussion group on childhood imaginary friends. She had done this
more out of curiosity than any sense of dire necessity to learn the
truth of it.
As she reached the road down to the ranch, she spotted Daniel across
the reservoir that was adjacent to the ranch.
She rolled down her window, beeped her horn, and shouted, “Hey
Daniel, I’m back and I’ve got a little surprise for you.”
Daniel waved and began running toward the path across the dam that
separated the reservoir from the nearby cienega, a high elevation
grassland basin, and one that stretched beyond into the valley.
Sierra Blanca was a multi-house complex on the edge of two hills that
were separated by the reservoir and the cienega.
Fred walked out of the nearby ranch house to greet her. She got out
of the car and embraced him.
“It’s good to be back. Phoenix is hotter than hell in August.”
“We missed you,” he said. “Daniel, Kelly, and I.”
“How is his girlfriend doing?”
“Just as active as ever. There’s a new adventure every day. Did
you learn anything in Phoenix about this quirk of imagination?”
“A few things. I’m not terribly concerned. We’ll talk when we
have a chance. He’s almost here.”
Daniel ran to her and embraced her, giggling. “Where’s my
“Hold your horses, big boy. Give your momma a hug first.”
He threw his arms around her neck and said, “I missed you, Mom.”
“Ready for your surprise?”
“Yeah, where is it?”
“In the back seat, come on, I’ll show you.” She opened the door
and Daniel exclaimed in joy, “You got me a hamster. He’s
Fred advanced to the car, “What are you going to name him?”
“I don’t know, Dad,” he said as he retrieved the hamster from
the cage. “I’ve got to show this to Kelly. We’ll name it
He gathered the little creature up carefully and started to take it
in the direction of the barn complex north of the house. He asked,
“Is it okay if I show it to Kelly? She really loves animals.”
Claire and Fred shared a quick glance and he said, “Sure, but be
careful. Don’t let that little guy get away.” Daniel dashed off.
Fred turned to her and asked, “What did you learn?”
“He’s a little old for this, just turning eight. That’s
atypical but not a cause for concern. Some kids take their friends to
their pre-teen years. And who knows, perhaps, some never really give
them up. The psychologist who led the workshop explained that
imaginary friends often fulfill a specific need for the child.”
Fred, concerned, said, “Do you think Daniel is lonely? He seems to
be happy. He loves this place, and I’ve noticed he’s more
sensitized to nature since this thing with Kelly began. Does he need
to be around more children up here?”
Claire responded, “I know that many feel they can talk without fear
or reproach with these friends. We try to be as open and caring as
possible with him, but we are still parent figures and maybe he’s
reluctant to talk about some things simply because of that.
“When we had Tanya and her son up here last week, he got along fine
with him and it was like Kelly disappeared. I’m more assured now
that I’ve listened to other people. The psychologist actually
believes that a majority of kids go through this phase. Some of the
stories are really funny. One little boy called his friends ‘Germ’
since Momma said all germs are invisible.”
“That’s cute. Any others?” Fred laughed.
“One woman’s little boy had a friend who was the mail box. He
kept on opening and closing it and claimed he was helping it to talk
because its jaw was stuck.”
Her tone became more serious. “One woman was praying for the devil
to leave her child. She made him carry a bible around with him.
Another woman believed her daughter’s friend was a guardian angel.
“These friends come in all shapes and sizes: popular fictional
animals, real animals, hero figures, pop culture icons, you name it.
They all serve a need by the child—to fend off a bully, get through
school, moderate loneliness, deal with fear or exercise power in
powerless situations. It’s funny, all of that seems plausible, but
I just don’t see Daniel in any of those situations.”
“I agree with you. He doesn’t have any hang ups. He’s just a
fun loving boy enjoying all of the possibilities of nature. It’s
strange, but I just flashed on an idea that a psychologist proposed
years ago, that we all at one time heard voices in our minds that
help guide us through our evolution. Maybe the phenomenon is grounded
in some primal instinct, a component of human-hive consciousness, or
a kind of collective unconscious, that has become dormant. We
actually know so little about our behavior no explanation can be
ruled out. Maybe it’s one of the motivations for writing a diary.
Write it out, rather than say it out to the imaginary friend,” Fred
After a moment’s thought, Claire said, “Listen, I think I’m
going to perform a little experiment tonight. I’m going to ask
Daniel to invite Kelly to dinner. I’m even going to set a place for
her. We’ll see what happens.”
Daniel ran into the kitchen as Claire prepared an evening meal. “Mom,
who’s the extra place setting for?”
Casually, she replied, “That one’s for Kelly. I was going to ask
you to invite her. Is that okay?”
“Cool, I’ll go find her,” he said and dashed out of the house.
All seated at the table, Daniel explained, “Kelly says thanks for
inviting her and she is going to talk through me when she gets here.
It’s that magic stuff I talked about.”
“Good, she’s our guest and if she chooses to speak through you,
that’s lovely,” Claire replied.
Daniel abruptly jumped up, “Kelly’s here.” He ran to the front
door to let her in and pulled out the dining room chair for her to
“Kelly, these are my mom and dad, the ones who invited you to
With his eyes wide and excited with his new role, he said, “Kelly
says thanks and she says she admires your work much.”
Claire, a little surprised, responded, “What a nice thing to say.
Can you ask her how long she’s staying in the mountains?”
“Oh, she can hear you, Mom, just ask her. She said she and her
family will be visiting a little while longer.”
Fred posed a question, “What does your father do?”
“He’s a scientist, just like you,” Daniel said.
“Really,” he responded. “What discipline?”
“He’s a biologist. He goes to a lot of different places.”
Claire, interjecting quickly, asked, “Where are you staying now?”
Daniel responded for Kelly, saying, “We camp at new places all the