The Rest of the Story


I think of 'shamanic experiences' as both intentional; as when we go into ceremony or ritual and synchronistic; those things that happen to us shamanically when we are open intentionally and not. I'm often in the 'not' category and that's when it hits me... I was at the lowest point of my life. Cliche really. Wife ran off with best friend, took children. I am jobless, car is in the shop and I have no money to fix it. The people I am staying with are being evicted and they have no room to take me to Florida where they are going. It is February. In the Black Hills of South Dakota. It's my birthday. I walk to the edge of Hot Springs to see David American Horse, a shaman if there ever was one. A shaman who lived in a trailer with one chair, a tv tray and a mattress. I told him my plight and he said, 'in Lakota we have a saying for that...' 'What is it Grandfather?' You're fucked...' 'I already knew that.' 'So, Chicken Little, have you cried for a vision?' 'Of course, said my prayers, put out my tobacco...'. He interrupted me. 'No, I mean cry. Like a baby. Get on your knees and wail till you get an answer.' 'No...' 'Dont talk to me till you've been to the badlands and cried.' 'Its February. How long should I stay?' 'Till you get an answer or till you give up.' 'What shall I bring?' 'You're pipe and you'll want to steal a lighter cuz matches make the spirits laugh out there. No food. You have crying to do.' I spent the next three days and nights huddled under my friends truck, crying in the bleak windy and freezing place that people who live in the worst place on earth call the Bad Lands.' On the third night of nothing but the sound of my rasping cries, I quit. I screamed at the creator, 'I'm leaving , if you want me to do something than show your face. I don't care what it is. Whatever it is, just show it to me when I wake up and I'll go there and do whatever.' I went back to my friend's couch and slept until the doorbell rang. Three hours max. My friend rushed to the door and there was a package. A big box that he pulled in excitedly. He tore it open and tore out wads of newspaper until the box was empty. He tore through the paper looking for something, anything and finally tore the box apart in disgust. When he did that a postcard fell out. He read it and threw it my way,'Must be yours, I'm going back to bed.' I looked at the postcard and it was a picture of the ocean, a beautiful sunset off a rocky green coast. I turned it over. It said, 'Big Sur, view from Nepenthe.' The card was from a woman I had never met and said 'ha ha, wish you were here.' That was my sign. I was going to Big Sur... When I woke up later that morning I announced to my friends that I was moving to Big Sur. They laughed at me and asked if I knew where Big Sur was. ‘Not exactly’ They informed me that only millionaires and billionaires lived there and I said, ‘What about your friend?’ ‘Oh yeah, and crazy people.’ I was helping them move that afternoon, carrying dozens of boxes of books my friend owned from his dirt basement. As I carried an overloaded box up his rickety open stairs, it broke open spilling books everywhere including under the stairs. I turned around to pick up the mess and one single book had made it all the way down to the bottom of the stairs. It was opened up like a bible on display at a church only it was on the dirt floor. I ran down and was reading the book trying to look for some sort of meaning but it was indescribably meaningless. It was Carlos Castaneda’s ‘Eagles’ Gift’. My friend came running down and asked, ‘Are you ok?’ ‘Yeah. Just reading.’ I slammed the book shut in disgust and that’s when I noticed that there was a business card sticking out where the book had opened to. I read it and it was the business card of a friend I had not seen in years and had lost track of when we both moved. ‘How do you know William?’ ‘Oh that guy… He sort of saved my life when I hit bottom.’ ‘When were you in Colorado?’ Where he last lived. ‘No, I was living in Miami, coked out and crazy. He came up to me at a 'café cubano' line and started to massage my neck. I thought he was gay and threatened him. He backed off and said that he could tell I had hit bottom. I told him to fuck off and left without coffee. ‘The next day, I was sitting miles away at a bench in South Beach and the same dude sits down right next to me. He says, ‘I know you think this is weird but I had a dream about you and knew I would find you here. He gave me the book and said to call him anytime. I told him to fuck off. ‘That day, I went to work and ran into my boss lady in the parking lot. She looked at the book and asked where I got it. I told her about the crazy guy and she said, I was coming out here to fire you as my manager. If you take a week off and read that book I wont fire you.'' ‘I read the damn book. Twice. I didn’t understand it. It made me mad and I couldn’t stop reading it. I went to a used book shop and bought the other books. A week later, I went back to work and as I was about to talk to my boss, I just cried. I cried like a baby in the arms of a rich, spoiled Cuban girl and she held me just like a baby. That week, she took me to Oaxaca and introduced me to the string of medicine people which is how I met you. How do you know him?’ ‘I did a bunch of readings for him and his friends in SteamBoat Springs and then we lost track of each others.’ I told him that I had to call him and that I’d pick up the books as soon as I called him. I called the number and a woman answered and said he wasn’t there but could she take a message. ‘Could you tell her Ted Jauw called and would he please call me back.’ The woman on the other end gasped audibly. ‘Did you say, Ted Jauw?’ ‘Yes…’ ‘Umm, William canceled all his appointments today and said he was going home until you called him. I’ll try calling him right away…’ Within minutes he called back and told me that he had been dreaming of me for the last four days and that the dream was so disturbing and horrible he couldn’t sleep and kept coming back to the dream every time he did sleep. Finally, today he couldn’t stand it anymore and went home to sit on his couch and do yoga and call me on his ‘aboriginal radio’. I laughed and asked him about his dream. He said he dreamed that I was on Mars and that I was screaming but no one could hear me. I quickly told him what had happened and he said in Buddhism we also have a phrase for that, ‘Dude, You’re fucked…’ He then told me that when we last were together I had done a series of divinations for him and his friends and they had collected money to send me but then he moved and I moved and he’d been sitting on $450.00 for the last few years. He said he would scrape together more and would send it to me. He would see his friends for breakfast soon and ask them to help me too. Then he asked what my palns were. I was not going to tell him what I had decided after the last time I told my friends. I told him I didn’t know, maybe go back to school. He suggested I get a massage degree and I could make as much money as he did especially since I knew native modalities hed never heard of. I asked him where he went to school and he said Esalen. I asked him where that was and he said, ‘Big Sur. Have you heard of it?’ The next day I borrowed my friends truck to say goodbye to my children about a hundred miles away. When I got there we had an awkward day with my wife and my best friend now living together. My boys and I walked in the cold and when I got back it was time to leave. My ex wife handed me a box and said that she was working in a bookstore now and had found this book. She said they don’t sell these books because the author was pornographic but her boss told her that the guy who wrote it was thirty nine when he published his first book. Thought it might inspire me. Happy Birthday. I think she meant is as a joke or even a jab as my wanting to write a novel is something I had never finished like many dreams I had shared with her. Maybe it was a peace offering. When I opened the book though, I must have seemed crazy as I hugged her. It was a book by Henry Miller called ‘Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch.’ I drove the hundred miles back to Hot Springs sad to leave my children but at least feeling there was some kind of hope. When I got back there was a Western Union check at the Pamida waiting for me for $650.00 along with a note to standby… The following day I put $600.00 down on my car and helped my friends load their truck as the next day would be their eviction day. I talked to my friend in Colorado that night and he was excited to get my call… ‘We got together for breakfast and I told everyone your story and we collected a thousand dollars… But that’s not the best part.’ He then told me that as they were talking an older woman pulled up her chair and said, ‘excuse me but I cant help but over hearing you talking about Ted Jauw...’ My friend asked, ‘Do you know him?’ ‘No, but I’m a Jungian Psychoanalyst and his teacher was my teacher. When she died she passed her notes to me of her teachings with her last apprentice. That was him. It has to be. How many Ted Jauws are there?’ ‘I heard you were sending him to Esalen and I want to help. I studied there with Fritz Perls and Ida Rolf. Ill pay for any one week session there and here’s a check for a thousand dollars.’ She had already written it out and handed it to William. Her story brought on more discussion and more donations and the upshot was that when I woke up there would be over two thousand dollars at the Pamida in a Western Union check. William asked what workshop I would take and I had no clue but wanted something without the words ‘human’, ‘potential’ or ‘movement’ in it. ‘Gestalt’ and ‘scream’ and ‘therapy’ was also out. I had looked at their online offerings, a lot of processing and yoga, massage and naked people. William apparently was online as we spoke because he said, ‘Here’s one. Its fun mindless and different. Plus us old hippies think he a gas.’ He used the old word like he had a million times. ‘Who’s that?’ He put on his best hippy/hipster voice and said. ‘There’s this cat named Baba Olatunji that played Woodstock with Santana.’ He had no idea what that meant to me. For the past several years I had been working with women in the Yoruba tradition called Ifa. It was the parent of Santeria, Lacumi, Candomble and many other mixed religions of the Carribean Diaspora.. More important, It was at the home of a Yoruba Priestess in Scottsdale Az. That I had received the news of my divorce. I had gone there to look for work and my friend had gathered her priestesses and initiates for a feast. In the middle of dinner they all suddenly left and she asked me to wait for her in the swimming pool and, as I was used to their often erratic ways, I went into the pool and waited. In a short time she came out fully clothed in white robes, headdress and ceremonial beads. She walked into her pool fully dressed and was about to say something when her head snapped back, her eyes rolled back and a voice, not hers, came out. I had heard that voice many years ago at the end of a seven hour divination that had ended with that voice telling me that I would lose everything one day and on that day she would speak to me again. So here she was. She said she was Yemaya and pronounced it like the Brazilians do. She said that in two days that my wife would call me and say that she wanted a divorce, was with my friend and had sold everything so that they could move in together. I was in shock. I ran out of the pool and tried desparately to call home. Tried to call anyone and no one, no friend, no relative would take my call. Two days later the phone rang and my friend simply handed it to me without even asking who it was. It was all true. My friend told me that at their divination for the new year that someone would ‘lose their head on this day’. They had been charged with putting that person back together and giving him whatever was needed to restore his head, which is their word for destiny. They did healings, massages, rogacion, many prayers and many divinations. I was in too much shock to resist, care or understand a lot of what they did but what I do remember is that they did a divination to understand what my ‘orisha’ was. Like a totem animal. It was a story and a being that held the archetypal life story that I was living. It explained my predicament. I was told that I was the headless mermaid and that my friend only knew one other person who had lived that story and survived. It was her friend and mentor, fellow priest Babatunde Olatunji. After this a whole series of things happened that would be a whole book onto itself but the upshot was that it had left me broke, homeless and carless in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Now William was telling me that Babatunde Olatunji was at Esalen. I had been told that my life would be a mess until I sat at the ocean and a priest of the Yoruba Tradition would sit down beside me and tell me what to do next to save my life. The priestesses had already sent me to LA to be at the ocean but had warned that if fishes died that I would have to leave immediately. They bought me an open ended ticket. After two weeks at a friends’, I finally had made it to the beach and nothing happened. When we got home all his prized saltwater fish were dead. I left that night. William listened to my story and just said, ‘I guess you know what you have to do now…’ The next day I retrieved the car, and the money, said goodbye to my friends with a little money that I thought I could spare and slept that night in the empty house. The next morning I left. For Big Sur. It took me longer than I thought and more than I thought as well. When I arrived it was March 2nd and I pulled into a parking lot at midnight wondering exactly where Big Sur was. I pulled up to a phone booth and a guy stepped out and asked for a ride down the coast. I asked him where Big Sur was and he said, ‘You’re looking at it.’ Turns out that Big Sur isn’t really a town but a rugged stretch of ninety miles of impossible coastline bisected by a single highway. Dirt roads will lead you to hidden roads where millionaires and billionaires live but, other than that, it’s a few stores, a post office and a single gas station on a long windy road. After calling my friends to tell them I was okay, I took the barefoot, white Rastafarian named Adam down to a stream where he lived in a camp and he pointed the way to Esalen. Adam was partially deaf and spoke the clipped cadence of the deaf with a California accent. He also signed as if I could understand. He then hugged me like a Californian gave me a large pot bud from a bag of even larger skunky buds and disappeared into the forest. I parked by the side of the road and slept till the sun and cars woke me up and rolled down the hill to a little store. I only had ten bucks left and I went in and bought two packs of cigarettes. The kind lady behind the counter said, ‘That’ll be $10.52 please.’ I stared at her like she had just killed my dog. She repeated it and I excused myself to scrounge the car for fifty two cents. I found fifty four. So it was with 2 pennies that I rolled into Esalen that morning. I had a check for the week and I had no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life. That day we were shown our quarters given a tour and left to eat at the large mostly vegetarian dining room. Their baked breads were outrageous and I stowed away a loaf and some home made goat cheese not believing my good fortune. That afternoon we began the workshop and there was no Babatunde Olatunji to be found. We were assured that he is a night owl and would teach that night. I was disappointed too to find that I was not only the youngest person there but, apparently, this workshop was entirely for old rich ladies many who spoke little English and most with no rhythm. After dinner Baba appeared in full Yoruba regalia led by two women who were his singers and dancers. Baba’s both hands were bandaged. The result of losing two more fingers to diabetes that week. He was frail, old and he was also completely blind. He smiled a huge smile and was led to his drum. A drum which he never played. He only pointed to it as he taught us what we had already been taught that afternoon. That night I realized two things. The first was that he was not who I imagined and the second was that his caretakers would let no one near him. They whisked him off before the rest of us were finished. The next two days were more of the same. For a guy who was sitting naked in California, in hottubs, with naked women every day, I was fairly unhappy. I was really more scared than anything else. On the third day I went to the workshop area to find a sign that said it was closed for a special ceremony that day. I went to the dining room to find it oddly empty and fixed myself a bowl of soup and some more of their sourdough. I sat down facing the ocean and had been alone for half an hour when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked at the black rough hands and the bandaged nubs and I didn’t even have to turn around. It was Baba Olatunji. I turned around quickly and got up. There were no handlers, no entourage and no nurse. I looked at Baba and he was grinning as if he could read my mind. He grinned wider, ‘I escaped.’ He let me help him onto a seat at the end of the table that turned out to be his special seat. Baba had moved there the week after Woodstock and was revered and loved by all. He smelled my soup and smiled. ‘They have any soup with meat?’ I laughed. We were two carnivores in a vegetarian world. I then realized that Baba was dressed entirely in white. He had his beads on and a ceremonial white embroidered pillbox hat. I crossed my arms as if he could see them and said, ‘Ashe Baba Ori Ye Ye.’ The customary greeting to his Orisa. I hurriedly explained or babbled that I was told by divination that I would have a priest of his faith sit beside me in white and that man would tell me what to do next. I also explained that we had mutual friends and that I was told we had the same exact Orisa. ‘Oh yes..? Who would that be?’ He said never losing his smile. ‘Osun Ilode, the headless mermaid. My odu is Oyeku Meji… like yours…’ ‘Meji… That means twins. We are twins then and you are Iya I’l’ode too.’ He grinned wider still, ‘In Yoruba, you know what we say…?” ‘No, Baba, please tell me…’ ‘You’re fucked…’ And he let out a laugh that sent him into a coughing fit. I helped him compose himself and he looked up at me as if he could see. ‘And I’m supposed to tell you what to do next with your life.’ It was a half statement. ‘Yes, Baba. I mean yes please…’ ‘That’s a heavy trip to lay on an old blind man.’ He thought a second and said, ‘Why don’t you get me some of that beef soup and some of whatever bread your eating with honey butter and more honey. I’ll think on this and give you an answer.’ Baba ate his soup slowly. I think more to torture me than anything else. He carefully dipped small pieces of bread in honey and savored them as if they were his last meal. ‘They wont let me eat honey here. Or meat.’ I had been wondering, ‘How did you get here? How did you escape?’ He laughed and leaned towards me whispering, ‘I told them that I must meditate alone before doing ceremony. They’re probably looking for me now.’ I asked what ceremony and he told me that he was to do a naming ceremony for the director of the place, a man named David Price who had just had a son. Baba was to name the month old baby in a few minutes in a nearby room and he was sure they were looking for him by the stream where he was left. I asked him how he had made it all theway back and that grin was followed by a thumb raised, ‘I can still hitch hike.’ He laughed again until he coughed. When he was finally done, he sat back and looked seriously at me as I waited patiently for his words. ‘So I’m suppose to tell you what to do, hmm?’ ‘Yes Baba. That is what the Odu said.’ 'And no matter what I tell you, you will listen?’ 'Yes, Baba. No questions.’ ‘No question at all then…’ ‘Yes, Baba.’ He leaned slowly towards me and I towards him. ‘What you must do is this…’ long pause. He began again. ‘What you must do is this… are you listening?’ ‘Yes, Baba.’ ‘Then here it is…’ He suddenly sat back and said, ‘Relax.’ I waited. Nothing more. ‘Relax…?’ After all of this build up I kind of exploded. ‘But Baba, how can I relax? In three days they’re going to kick my ass out of here and I have no money, hardly any gas and your drummers have smoked my last cigarettes…’ Baba laughed at my outburst and he raised a nub at me… ‘Ah…’ It was a sharp staccato cutoff and the phantom finger went down like he had just ended a song. ‘No questions.’ He rose. ‘The ladies are probably all over looking for me. By now they are wading in the ocean crying my death song to Oya or maybe Yemaya.’ He held out his arm and I escorted him the short distance to the large hall where all of Esalen had gathered that morning. When we entered, the room erupted into cheers and a half dozen women came running from the front and he waved them off and asked me to seat him up front by the baby’s mother. He sat me down next to him and, looking up, I realized that the people who were greeting him were also greeting me like I was somebody famous they ought to recognize. When the ceremony began, he had me sit with the mother as the father took the baby to the front. Baba began singing as his drummers drummed softly. He sang the praise songs of every Orisa and with each song he fed the baby. With each feeding the gasps in the room grew frown silence to whispers of alarm. Baba freely walked about as if he could see and gave the baby milk, then honey, then fruit jelly, then salt, then pepper and finally cayenne and gin. When the baby had tasted gin he laughed and giggled and baba took him from the father. He rocked the baby and then in a swift sudden motion held the baby aloft over his head as he sang loudly. The drums played the familiar song as Baba did a dance that looked like he was about to fall. The baby’s father held onto the mother as the rest of us held our breath. When he was finished he held the baby high up and his familiar grin poked out from beneath the baby’s chubby legs. ‘It’s like the Lion King isn’t it?’ His joke broke the tension and he began to tell the story of the baby’s new name. ‘This baby is named, ‘Babatunde’ just like me. No he is not my boy but 'baba tunde' means, ‘the father returns’. When I was a baby they said that I was the reincarnation of my grandfather, a famous priest and so too it will be with little Babatunde. He will carry on his grandfathers great work and they will call him Alexander. He will be a child of his grandfather's Orisa, a child of Ogun who owns all of the rocks.’ It was dead silent. The baby Babatunde Alexander was the grandson of the man who founded Esalen. A man who was famously once committed to an insane asylum for thinking he was Alexander the Great. A man who had died while meditating on that very land, crushed by a huge rock. Baba smiled, ’We are not privy to the ways and reasons of the Orisa. That is why our way is called ‘awo’, or mystery. There is no shame in the life of a man whose dark night of the soul has healed so many. There is no shame in death and the way in which we choose to go.’ He held the baby high up again. ‘…and how he chooses to return.’ With that Baba began singing a four directions song and presenting the babay two each of the directions. What that entailed was a blind old fingerless man tossing the baby high in the air and catching him as he sang and danced his wobbly dance. The father, who had seen this before as he had grown up with Baba and played the bass in his famous band, held the mom tightly. Through all of this the baby squealed with delight and then Baba then fed the baby a little more gin. Baba took mouthfuls of gin and sprayed the audience, singing all the while and finally, to her great relief, handed little Babatunde Alexander to his mother. An exhausted Baba sat next to me and was instantly surrounded by his ‘entourage’, well wishers and a few people who had not been spit on. He obliged them like a little child being allowed to be naughty. Finally, he took my arm and waved his little retinue away and gripped my arm saying, ‘My friend and I must talk now. I will see you all at the feast. I will be fine…’ He had me walk him towards the ocean and he was obviously tired from his exertions. ‘Not used to being up this early. So where where were we? Oh yes… Relax. You can learn a lot from a baby…’ He let that last thought trail off as if it were self explanatory. It wasn’t. ‘How do you figure, Baba?’ Baba held up an imaginary baby as he walked. How he knew where he was going is still beyond me. ‘Babies trust the universe. They take each day as it comes and every new taste,sight and sound delights them. That is until we signal that they need to be afraid. Old men like me are like babies, no?’ He tossed his imaginary baby in the air and put his arms in mine not bothering to catch it. He laughed as he felt me involuntarily trying to catch an invisible baby. ‘Relax. Why don’t you take rest of the day off and drive into Big Sur?’ ‘But Baba, I have no gas and there is no Big Sur…’ ‘I’m sure you could sell that stinky bud in your pocket to my djembe players. Probably fill your tank.’ He laughed as he pointed to his nose and wrinkled it. It occurred to me that the bud was indeed in my pocket. Of my jean jacket... in my cabin. ‘No questions. Go. Relax…’ I dropped him at his cabin and went to get my jean jacket. After a little horse trading I was soon heading into ‘town’ to gas up. As I turned a corner I saw the beautiful view that was on the postcard and pulled over into a little parking lot just before the restaurant ‘Nepenthe’. I was about to walk across the street when I noticed a sign mostly obscured by shrubbery. It read ‘Henry Miller Library and Archives’. I walked up to the fenced in compound and saw only a garden. I walked over to the gate and as it said ‘open’, I did. It wasn’t much of a library. It was a small house with a deck overlooking a grassy round surrounded by tall redwoods and odd sculptures of every sort. On the deck were a dozen men drinking wine, coffee and playing guitars. I sat on a bench and listened as the men laughed, drank and took turns playing. Finally they stopped for a smoke break and some came over to me to greet me. They asked where I was from and one of them said, ‘Don’t ask him that, ask him where he’s going…’ ‘Not sure. I’m at Esalen til Sunday and then… who knows.’ I shrugged like it didn’t matter. It did. One of them sat down next to me and motioned around, ‘Why would you want to leave this?’ ‘I wouldn’t and I’d stay if I were a billionaire or at least a millionaire…’ They all thought this was hysterical and now all of the men had joined our group. One of them piped in, ‘So who’s a millionaire here?’ No hands. Only laughter. ‘We must be billionaires then…’ They roared. We all talked for the next half hour as they asked me what I did. I had done everything but one of them quizzed me about being an event co-ordinator and a grant writer. ‘If you can hang around til May, I could get you a job here as a development director. Doesn’t pay much but it wouldn’t be a hard job. Not for you.’ “Thanks, but I don’t think I could hang out here for two months without a job or money.’ Some of them thought that was funny. Apparently they were doing just that. They were surfers and many of them lived in their cars year round by the side of the road. I laughed at the thought and said aloud, ‘Ted Jauw, surfer… I like that.’ I was about to say something when someone pushed through the crowd. It was a small beautiful black woman with dreads and she thrust out her hand to me. ‘Ted Jauw. I heard ya were comin’’ I was taken aback. Surely I would have remembered someone like this. ‘I’m sorry, do we know each other?’ ‘I’m Sowelu. I sent the empty box to your friends. We almost knew each other in the Black Hills.’ It was true. As a gallery owner in Hill City I had heard of her but we had managed to not meet each other even though we had many mutual artist friends. She hugged me like we were old friends and in her Hightower Jamaican she peppered me with questions. She turned to one of the men and said, ‘isnt there a job at the deli?’ No one knew but someone ran inside and brought out a phone. In a minute I was talking to the owner, the one who had sold me overpriced cigarettes. There was a job available starting Monday. The catch was that I had to live in Big Sur. ‘Tell Joanne, you’ll be livin’ wit me’ I looked at her and she poked me. ‘Tell her now…’ I told her and it was settled. It turned out that Sowelu lived at the library in a renovated one stall garage that had been turned into a cabin so Henry Miller would have his own place whenever he returned to his beloved Big Sur. I had just read about this place, only it wasn’t a library then. Just the home of a friend. Now it was to be my home. The next morning I returned to Esalen with a home, a job, a full tank of gas and a carton of cigarettes to share with Baba’s Band. I brought Baba some tobacco too but more as a medicine gift. As I approached Baba’s table, the women slid down the bench to allow me to sit next to Baba and they all greeted me like I was someone famous. Baba grinned and said, ‘So…? did you relax?’ I can swear his blid eyes twinkled and he winked. I laughed. He had me recount the days miracles and teased me about where I had been all night. We also talked about Henry Miller and how he had once done divination for both Henry and Anais Nin. He told me how Henry also was an Oshun archetype. Not the peacock like most or the mermaid but the vulture. The one who lives on death and is born a living ancestor. A ghost. The women at the table listened rapt and wanting to ask something, the same thing. Finally one interrupted him and piped in and asked breathlessly, ‘Oh Baba, you didn’t say you could do fortune telling. Will you read my fortune?’ The others now chimed in as well. Baba laughed and held up his hands. “These hands no longer hold the kola nuts.’ Then he put a hand on my shoulder. But my friend here, he has read all of my priestesses and for a hundred bucks, Im sure he'd be willing to do divination with you…’ I spent the rest of that week doing readings. When it was time to leave I had over twelve hundred dollars. More importantly, I had made a friend who would become my mentor and teacher till he died a short time later. Like Grandfather American Horse he was the real deal. Like Grandfather he would say he’s just a drummer… What Grandfather and Baba could do with a drum is a whole other story. As I drove away from Esalen that morning, I rounded a sharp curve and there, hovering in front of me as i came to a screeching halt, was a giant California Condor. Hovering on an updraft it seemed to just grin and it flew north. I followed...

“I am the drum, you are the drum, we are the drum…”

-Babatunde Olatunji , Drums of Passion

"Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos..."

-Henry Miller , Tropic of Capricorn

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