Preface: Clearing the air
Kej stands for perpetual travels out in the wild, unknown parts and less-trodden paths of the land. The spirit of the four-legged animals is embodied on this plane to pace the earth within neighboring woods and well beyond them. When a stag (another word for Kej) is not going anywhere he is probably too busy protecting his community and offspring diligently.
However, being a stag, you can never know when he’ll disappear, maybe not ever to return. Then you realize that his young bucks have grown up already, and the pack guard is being releaved by new recruits. It was good timing after all. The aging stag is now off on a new pilgrimage, reliving his days of youth and hormones.
In Hinduism, this is known as being a Varna Prasta – a forest dweller.
His spirit dwells still around his old breeding and child-rearing grounds. Sons and daughters tune into the frequency left behind by their ancestors, and learn the way of their kind by resonance.
1-Kej: The lone pilgrim
Born on this day: Bob Schieffer, Matthew Modine, Franz Beckenbauer, Antonis Samaras (Greek president), Moses Montefiore, Ernst Alexanderson
The sun came up clear and warm this morning. The skies were clean and pristine, no clouds and no aerosol debris. Every morning can seem just like the one before it, but this one didn’t. I was different.
Comfort runs deep enough to elude me. It begins with my body vehicle – where I sit and how long I sit there; the paths I take from and to. It continues with the people I talk to and meet. Then comfort gets too comfy dwelling on ideas that are “same, same, but different”. It goes on and on and it’s all-pervasive.
It’s time to try something that really scares me.
Kej is essentially this overall impression. He is the lone pilgrim.
“There’s more to life than this.”
2-Q’anil: Doubled rabbit
Born on this day: Elvis Presely, Cal Ripken Jr., Kenny Wheeler, Gary Webb
The restless 1-Kej, ever-looking for some new adventure, constantly evolving spiritually – finds his/her match on 2-Q’anil. In other words: be careful of what you wish for!
Q’anil is an ancient word for multitasking. Lamat-types can have many different interest going around on their mind at any given time. For example, I was born 8-Q’anil and I can safely say it’s been that way ever since I can remember my conscious self. All Q’anil-types also have Iq on their right-hand cross, so the craving to learn more about many different things (shining star in all directions) can be explained this way, too.
Today I meet Lamat on a 2-day. In numbers, 2 is the one and only natural number that multiplies its predecessor (1). When you go from 2 to 3 it’s already a lesser “leap”.
Two is also related to a question, or “duality” in the parlance of our times. So the lone pilgrim 1-Kej who was edging to try something new and terrifying yesterday wakes up to a showstopper question – “why bother? What’s out there that isn’t right here/now?” So many destinations – and Q’anil is bountiful.
However, Q’anil’s comfort zone is low self-esteem, a.k.a. the argumentative “black hole mode” Q’anil.
You heard me, rabbits.
3-Toj: Active liquid
Born on this day: Mick Jagger, George Washington (1st US president), Bertrand Russell, Kyra Sedgwick, Rob Lowe, Shirley MacLaine, 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
The third day’s sunrise was a deja-vu revision of that first, transparent one I witnessed the day before yesterday. It couldn’t be identical, though, because sunrises never are. I was different again.
I remembered the first seed of rebellion vs. Comfort I sowed then. Last night’s dilemma (2-Q’anil) has to be transcended by action. My spiritual horizons never used to came up to me while I sat and watched them in awe, and this time it’s going to be just the same. I need to meet the horizon at least half way.
So I made some calls and got organized. My 15 minutes of fame in the shower made me think in 5th gear. Water on my skin does that to me every single time. I pick up a thread, pull it until I become self-conscious about it, then pick up a better thread. When I finished I came up with my daily wisecrack:
The sunrise is just a symbol. It means Wake Up!
Waking up can mean so many things, but many of them can be summed up by some kind of “responsibility”. Is it the grownup type? Job, bills, kids? Na, not this time. On the lone pilgrim’s journey this means loving my own destination to the point of not letting go of it. This approach can no longer be called “responsibility”, but it’s so much better than it. Toj has to be passionate about her paths of devotion, otherwise she’ll turn to wherever her passion guides her.
Dedication. I can’t get around without it; I can’t get around it without falling right back on comfort and my own personal conformity. When fully awake, Toj has to be on the move, and she takes me along with her. If I’m wise I’ll let her take the lead.
The number 3 is a dynamic power source that knows no boundaries. Whatever I decide to dedicate myself to becomes total and engaging. I interact closely with that goal I’m focused on, I nurture it and it nurtures me back. Indeed, dedication can easily be both a means and an end at the same time.
Then I just went out the door.
Procrastination is a nice word for a self-inflicted guilt trip. Dwelling on it just doesn’t help anyone.
4-Tzi: Complete devotion
Born on this day: Branford Marsalis, Kevin Bacon, David Broza, Tzipi Livni
Devotion offered freely is a powerful engine. But even engines have limits, and so must be treated every once in a while with some tender loving care. I know people who do the devotion thing all day long. Other people love them, they get tons done, but mental fatigue builds up in deep and secret places. Then one late afternoon they realize they’ve got nothing more to give.
Tzi is the guardian, defending his clan from ignorance and malicious trespass till his tomb, and then again beyond it. This is the flavor which makes him/her a favorite and down-to-earth kind of pack leader. Tonight I let Tzi take care of me, and keep his vigil in case I overdo devotion and forget about having fun doing it.
When coupled with the stabling effect of the number 4 Tzi becomes a very astute kind of canine. One who guards boundaries wisely and consistently.
5-Ba’atz: Power of Art
Born on this day: Flea, Richard Wright (Pink Floyd), Cat Stevens, Tim Roth, Marisa Tomei, Lasse Hallström, Vin Scully
The road leading to the temple took several days off my terrestrial tenure span, and gave me many profound memories in return. When I tell stories about my trip people are entertained, especially the ones who don’t believe half of them. Those are usually the ones that don’t share my pet peeve of doing truly scary things.
Before reality became just another entertaining story it was real and present. Walking the road up to the mountain temple wasn’t easy, but the hardships were not as significant as the magnificent way in which they were negotiated. My old self arrived at unfamiliar surroundings, as new strands were woven into my dusty, familiar tapestry. Living the road was like putting brush and paint to a canvas, or like playing live in front of the living.
It was ALIVE, and it still is.
Art empowers me by inspiration. I’m a curious lone pilgrim, in constant awe of new things I learn every day and in every way.
6-E’: Traditional path
Born on this day: Jerry Lee Lewis, Liberace, Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Juliette Lewis, Ray Liotta, Mel Brooks, Christopher Marlowe (baptised today), Mariano Rivera
Like the veins of the great mother, roads course through the old country, tracing the same routes for many years. The steps you took yesterday for the first time have been already taken by many feet before yours. Maybe one of your forebearers walked here before, and now you walk with him.
As any stranger in a strange land you rely on community and companionship to satisfy your mundane needs. Total strangers offer hospitality and advice, provide maps and directions. They let you into their world and homes, treating you as a fellow soul feeding off the mother.
After eating your fill and resting, other needs begin to replenish and balance off. Things like having someone really listen to me, and reciprocating. Cravings like sitting still and enjoying company. Loosing track of time by simply sharing life with fellow humans. You realize the mundane and the elevated are one and the same.
Someone once said something about the meek. The E’ energy is very much about respect, which is the only type of foundation any community can have. Respect guides you when you ask a stranger for help. Respect guides the stranger who bravely reaches out back to you.
However, respect has nothing to do with authority.
7-Aj: Purpose and destiny
Born on this day: Hafez al-Assad, Hermann Göring, Phil Jackson, Michael Wood, US civil war ends
One afternoon I took a hike with my host up one of the hills. I couldn’t tell how he picks his way, cutting through overgrown thickets and revealing hidden paths. But I followed him anyway, maybe because I had no other choice, or perhaps because his staff was made of local wood, and it gave its bearer at least a measure of soft authority.
The view I got just wouldn’t allow me to dwell on any kind of thought.
When we stopped he pointed to the horizon and told me the name of a close community. I knew it was time to go.
Seven has that sense of staying where I am, right up until that point when I gather what’s mine, get up and start walking again. When I arrived it felt right to stay here forever. Now it’s clear my stay has elapsed, and no more rest is needed.
Onwards to whatever experience my destiny has in store over the hill. It was destiny that made me stay and share life with the local community. Now the same destiny shifts polarity and becomes dynamic again. Destiny begins here and now, even if it seems like I’m going nowhere for a while.
Wanderlust, as a perpetual way of life and destiny, is the fuel of the pilgrim, whether he’s by his own fireplace or blazing a fresh, unknown path.
8-Balam: Infinite magic
Born on this day: Keren Ann, Perry Farrell, Margaret Thatcher, Buzz Aldrin, Orlando Bloom
Wild, untamed nature dwells in a realm beyond what the word “beautiful” can ever express. It is magical in the most mundane and spectacular sense of magic; the deep magic that makes the flowers bloom is too much for even the god of spring to fathom.
In the silent, bubbling wells hidden in caverns lies the essence of the Mayan archetype known as the jaguar. The purity of real Mountain Dew, its vitality and freshness – all embody the hallmark of Yucatan jungle evolution. A feline so magical it is a demigod in the bush.
The jaguar’s magic is present in any manifestation of nature. Besides the springs, the jungle itself is guarded by the energy of Balam, along with sacred shrines, overlooking the entire green and brown vista.
Born on this day: Chick Corea, Teri Hatcher, Stephen Baldwin
Then I saw it.
A white and yellow temple on the side of a high cliff. A sacred place for generations of truth seekers and pilgrims. It looked exactly like the old library in Alexandria, only completely different. An unknown treasure was waiting silently for an enthusiastic seeker to show up.
All that I saw from the other side of the ravine. Fantastic visions aside, I still had to find my way there. I still had to communicate with whoever was there and gain access and maybe a bed and some food.
I am still
gaining altitude, circling around peaks and finding thermals.
A bridge spans the chasm above me.
10-Ajmaj: Forgiveness now
Born on this day: Marshall McLuhan, Zoe Saldana, George Gershwin, Daniel Barenboim, Fred Durst, Arthur C. Clarke, Thomas Young, Robbie Gee, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton)
Read about 10-Ajmaj in a dedicated post.
The stones that were assembled to make up the temple had a cold knowledge deep inside them. Even in the summer sun I could place my hand on a random pillar and it would be cool.
11-Noj: Creative frequency
Born on this day: Christopher Hitchens, Roseanne Barr, Bob Odenkirk, Jay-Z, Timothy Leary, Michael Cera, Greg Lake, Dorothy Rothshild
On the way back home from my pilgrimage my thoughts took on a pristine quality. Something was cleaning up inside, and the journey with all the experiences I had are what made this clensing happen. I felt very strong and healthy, as if I just got out of a morning shower.
My life had one kind of routine going before I left for this trip. This kind was now doomed to be discarded. I realized I cannot go back to being the person I was. My family and neighbors that are now waiting for me to return are waiting for someone who I used to be.
That said, when they see me they’ll still be able to recognize me immediately. We’ll all be very happy for a while, as my long-awaited return is celebrated. Then I’ll slowly begin picking up the threads and ties of my regular life.
Adaptation is on my mind as I pick my way down the landscape increasingly familiar to me. The new and the old adapt to each other, making good ties stronger and bad ties fall apart.
12-Tijax: True completion
Born on this day: Georges Moustaki, Annie Lennox, Louis Armstrong, Lou Reed, Shania Twain, Daddy G (Massive Attack), Eddy Ifft, Rudyard Kipling, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Michael Flatley, Martin Scorsese, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jacques Chirac, Lincoln’s assassination
My grandson came to visit me the other day. He came to say goodbye before leaving on a long and far away journey. As he knew growing up, out of all the elders in the family I was the one who traveled the most.
So we sat down together in the living room with our drinks and I told him the stories that no one remembers anymore, about what happened on the way to the temple, how amazing it was to be there, how stupid I was going around backward countries with next to no luggage or equipment.
How lucky he was today for being on the doorstep with one foot in adventure.
That was the last time he saw me.
13-Kawok: Divine cleansing
Born on this day: Vandana Shiva, David Hyde Pierce, Janet Jackson, Axl Rose, Edgar Allan Poe, River Phoenix, Kevin Pollak, Kim Thayil (Soundgarden)
High rain clouds pass overhead indifferently.