The Fireplace

The Quest to Know: Lesson One

A Fireplace opens its doors to you one day. The Fireplace in question is known as “solid, dependable” in your community, but this Fireplace is also known for working with some “controversial” spiritual ideas and practices.

Anyway, through your own seeking, which is the way of all humans, you obtained entrance to the Fireplace.

You find, with a little concern, that your attention to reality – what, when, possible or not – is in back of your mind. Instead the myth you just walked into takes center stage.

A Shining Woman stands in front of you. From the regality of her carriage and the colors, furs and feathers she wears so gracefully, you are facing a Medicine Woman.

It seems she takes forever to speak, but if you had reality at center, you’d see it happened the moment you saw her.

Woman says, “We know you’ve been seeking, perhaps with enough fervor to do something about it. So, in the spirit of ‘Be careful what you pray for’, welcome.”

You want to answer, show your good manners, but nothing comes out. The Woman, however, has no such impediment.

“Lesson One, Niña: leave all judgment at the door, the family, the church, the boss, and particularly your own judgments of who and what you are.”

You manage to get half of “What?” out.

“You’ll need to do that if you’re going to master Lesson One.” Woman says and walks away, and the second teacher appears.

A Wild Man in loincloth, feathers and earrings, moving in long definite strides steps up and slams a palm into your forehead. No pain, but all gravity disappears, and you experience weightlessness, like the astronauts.

The surprise is how well you’re handing all this. The lack of gravity doesn’t seem to be affecting you at all.

Now there comes a tap at your forehead and you have the Wild Man up close, face to face. “What did you just have?” he asks.

“An experience,” you say, also surprised at the clarity in your mind, a clarity immediately challenged when you suddenly drop to the ground with a dirt raising thud.

“Lesson One,” says Wild Man, ‘Your experience is your teacher and your judge, should you need one. Experience, simply, is the only thing you take with you.”

“Sir, you mean be my own spiritual authority?” you say, happy you were able to say anything, but then, poof, you’re in the school cafeteria, with a Personal Plan index card sitting on your food tray. It shows five lessons with a checkmark on the first one: Experience.

You notice your tray has only empty containers, but you don’t remember eating anything, which is a perfect segue for the next teacher who just walked right out of Hogwarts into this cafeteria, which is suddenly full of students with empty trays. Your index card says, “Lesson Two: Called or Stalled?”

Conservative suit, dark gray tweed, matching vest, hanky in coat lapel folded perfectly, wearing classic round glasses with thin wire frames highlighting, again, the immense of amount of Hogwarts-ness. All of that seems to disguise the fact that Señor Hogwarts’ face is an explosive red: afraid what’ll happen if he takes his glasses off.  

In a loud pompous tone – Scottish accent, maybe – the teacher says, “Students, names ending A through M report to the exam room to tell your Guides what your experience taught you…Again, I say, ‘to tell your Guides what your experience taught you.”

After a short pause, with students speechless, he continues, “Students with last names N through Z report to Lesson Two: Called or Stalled? in the first auditorium named affectionately around here, The Confessional.

Nobody moves. Señor Hogwarts pushes his glasses up his red nose and says, “Experience takes the lead in this path you say you seek and is the only reliable judge of how you fare in this Quest. Forget that and you won’t make it to Lesson Three.”

“Now,” he says with an arrogant little sneeze, “’Calling or Stalling’ separates the wheat from the chaff in you. After that, you’ll either be walking forward or healing the path so you can move forward. Good luck to all of you: you will need it.”

While we are curious about your next class and whether you’re walking or healing the walk, we’ve run out of time. We can tell you that when you get through Calling or Stalling – and who knows how many teachers you’ll meet there – Lesson Three has a long title: Totems, Angels, Buddhas, Saints and The Ones That Go Bump in The Dark, too.

If you seek a path outside the mainstream, living the myth is part of The Quest.  See you at the next class. Meanwhile,

MAKE ART

Published by Mike Callas

Named curandero, healer, by the people we serve, we're close to 40 years living around our humble altar. Our experience has created a legacy we are inclined to share, as well as inspired many a story and the making of myth. In true toltec fashion, we make art.

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