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I chose a chapter from my book, The End of Time, to share with you during this holiday season. All my old friends from the Taos Pueblo Tribe have passed. This story is in honor of them and their great wisdom and strength. My story is no greater than any of yours — we have all had these kinds of adventures, in many different forms. My friends taught me an important lesson. They believed that the harder and more challenging the journey, the more it showed that the path you were on was right. If we are here to help change the world, there may be a lot of resistance. May we all have the courage to follow our path. I hope you enjoy this story and remember: each one of us has the ability to help this planet become a more loving place. Agape, Ken Page - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Blue Lake The haunting sound of the words “Blue Lake” chanted over and over that I had heard one night in my backyard at Clear Lake continued to echo in my mind long afterwards. A few months after I heard the chanting, in 1985, I felt compelled to write to the Taos Pueblo to ask permission to take my crystal to Blue Lake. I also felt compelled to enclose another crystal from my collection with the letter, as a kind of a token and as a way for them to experience my vibration. About six weeks later, I got a letter back from the Pueblo. The imposing letterhead read: War Council. The War Council, the letter said, had met to consider my request but for reasons that they were unable to share, they could not permit me to go to Blue Lake at this time. The crystal that I had sent them would be waiting at the pueblo offices anytime that I wanted to come and pick it up. I was disappointed. It seemed immensely important to me to bring the crystal to Blue Lake; I had felt sure that the wise old men of the pueblo would see the truth of this as well. I was weary of presiding over my bankrupt businesses and wanted to accomplish something that would give my life meaning again. When I looked for a silver lining in the cloud that had descended around me, I thought of my Uncle Donny. When I was four years old, my mother moved back to my grandparents’ house in Oakland to regroup after her divorce. My grandfather was Donny's father. Donny was nine years old at the time, and I was a nuisance to him, but I followed him around like a puppy anyway. The essential nature of our relationship remained unchanged for many years. I would trail him around just as doggedly whenever our families co-mingled for the various holidays that held meaning for us. Finally, the war in Vietnam sundered us, as it sundered so many other families in the 1960’s. Donny was called up early, in 1961, and I didn’t know what happened to him afterwards other than that he stopped coming home to Oakland for Christmas. Our lives diverged from that point forward: unlike Donny, who was drafted, I enlisted in the National Guard and eighteen months later I was working my way up through the ranks of General Cable, on my way to becoming a millionaire. Donny’s unexpected life after the war, was the fulfillment of a pattern that began when he was born nearly seventeen years after his closest sibling. You never knew what Donny was going to do, was all my grandfather would say. Donny sent them postcards from places like Afghanistan and Tibet, and only my mother, a lifelong Rosicrucian, seemed to have any idea what he was up to. For my part, when I thought of him I remembered his legendary chariots: the new black 1958 Chevy my grandfather bought him when he was 16 and the MG Midget he bought the year after. Washing Donny’s MG when I was thirteen was one of my earliest religious experiences. Now, our paths were coming together again. I had an exciting new job running a hologram company, and my vision of creating a hologram of Jesus required me to travel to Santa Fe to oversee the creation of the detailed miniature sculpture that I planned to photograph with laser beams. I knew that Don was living in Taos, New Mexico, and I resolved to look him up. I knew next to nothing about crystals and something had told me that Don was the man that I needed to talk to. I pulled up outside of Don’s place in my rented Lincoln Towne Car, nattily attired in one of the many dark three piece suits that I wore like uniforms in those days. He lived in a small one bedroom house, at the end of a long gravel road, next to a weathered converted school bus that he used as a guest house and office. Several cords of wood were stacked up under the eaves advertising the coming winter. The door swung open. A man stood in front of me who had shoulder-length hair and a beard like a hippie. The warm air drifting past him smelled of wood smoke and incense. Was this my uncle? I stuck out my hand. “Hi Don,” I said. “It’s Ken.” Don studied me solemnly as he returned my handshake. “I knew that someone from my family was coming,” he replied, “I just didn’t know who.” He looked at me some more and then I followed him inside. “I need to tell you a story,” he said. I sat down and got ready to listen. I liked stories. Don told me about the year he spent living off of the land in British Columbia in 1971. The story ended when he was poisoned and died. He held me in his steady gaze waiting to make sure that what he had told me had taken root. “Don is dead,” he explained seriously. “I am Akbar now.” I understood. Akbar was the being that had come in to inhabit his body after Don left. It was like a sublease. I understood subleases. My uncle didn’t take his eyes off of me. “Akbar,” I said experimentally, trying out the feel of it on my tongue. No problem. Instead of my ultracool Uncle Don I now had the wise and mysterious Uncle Akbar. Everybody should be so lucky. Uncle Don was Uncle Akbar for only a few years. Today he’s widely known as Drunvalo Melchizedek. Until I met Drunvalo I had thought that a walk-in was someone who showed up for a haircut without an appointment. A walk-in, I learned, was the name popularized by the writer Ruth Montgomery for a soul who enters a fully grown body without being inconvenienced by the birth process. In essence we are all walk-ins; ours is a fairly young universe and we all came here from somewhere else. I have since come to believe that a walk-in is almost always a higher aspect of the original birth soul, after I went through the process myself. People, I would find out, changed all the time. Once we got past the formalities, I found out that Drunvalo really did have a lot to tell me about crystals. The first thing that he told me was that they weren’t just rocks: They were living beings, growing and changing all of the time. He showed me how to glean information from a crystal, by holding it to my forehead while mentally asking it a question. He also explained how crystals could hold immense amounts of energy, either positive or negative, and could thus be used either to hurt or heal people. They had even, he said, found out how to trap all of the energy of a nuclear explosion in a tiny crystal that you could hold in your hand. Now as in antiquity, crystals were still the ultimate weapon. The next day he introduced me to Katrina Raphael, who wrote the book Crystal Enlightenment, and two companion volumes. We spent the day hiking and she told me even more about crystals. By the end of the trip I couldn’t think of any more questions to ask about them. On the evening before I left, Drunvalo made me a gift of a crystal he had been holding for a year and a half, and a book, Joy’s Way by Brugh Joy. He touched the crystal. “I didn’t know where it was supposed to go,” he said, “but now I see that it belongs to you, Ken.” I had to come back up to northern New Mexico a few weeks later and this time Drunvalo came with me when I went to the offices of the Taos Pueblo to retrieve the crystal that I had sent with my letter. A big barrel-chested man with smiling dark eyes called out to us as we stepped out the building. Drunvalo introduced me to Jimmy, an old friend of his who lived on the pueblo. He and Drunvalo knew each other very well, although there were long spaces in their friendship occasioned by Jimmy’s bouts with alcohol. At the moment, Jimmy was on the wagon and bone dry. He nodded seriously when I told him about my failed attempt to get permission from the pueblo to go to Blue Lake. “I was there, man,” he said. “They said no because they’re worried about witchcraft going on up there. That place is too powerful. Can’t take chances.” In fact, as I later found out, they were careful enough to post armed guards over the trail most of the year. When I found out more about Blue Lake I was glad that they did. Not only was it a very powerful place, but it was linked energetically to other sacred sites all over the world. The Taos Tribe was right to protect it. I took out the crystal that the war council had returned to me unopened and handed it to Jimmy. It was beautiful, clear, and double-terminated. I knew right away that I had to give it to him, and so I did. Jimmy held it up to the light and admired it. A smile stole over his craggy features like the sun coming up over a mountain. “I’ll take you there,” he suddenly announced. My heart jumped like a fish after a fly. Drunvalo slapped me on the back and hooted. We were going to Blue Lake after all. A few weeks later, Jimmy called me in California. I rented a Towne Car again in Albuquerque and drove up to Taos. Jimmy lived in an old double-wide trailer that the wind ripped through like cheesecloth. We sat up and talked as the wind whistled all around us and the propane furnace roared ineffectually at it like an old bully. Jimmy told me about Perona, an old man of seventy-six, the Kiva Indian, who was in charge of the spiritual education of the young children on the pueblo. Perona was so knowledgeable that he could spend an entire month just teaching the children about the sun and the moon. Although Perona was Jimmy’s uncle, they were as close as father and son, and so it was natural for Jimmy to tell the older man about our planned trip to Blue Lake. Perona was instantly very concerned about what we were doing. The night after he talked to Jimmy, he placed two crossed eagle feathers across his chest and asked for a medicine dream to show him the truth of what we were attempting. The dream brought good news for all of us. Perona told Jimmy that what we were doing would change the world, and he insisted on coming. By that point, we were all very excited. Neither of us thought for a moment that the journey we were attempting might possibly be dangerous. The only sign I had that anything was amiss was the unseasonably cold weather and the fact that Jimmy told me they were having trouble catching the horses. The next morning we drove up to Jimmy’s “ranch” in his old pickup truck. His ranch was really just a lean-to and a corral on the land where he kept his animals. Perona was already waiting there for us with only two saddled horses. There were three of us. I looked over at Jimmy in shock. He shrugged. It was a famous shrug that many native people affected. The shrug contained the entire history of his people. It was a shrug that acknowledged the theft of everything they owned, the murders of their grandparents, the pain of seeing the daily rape of the earth by men who cared nothing for it. It was a shrug that put one missing horse in its proper perspective. Perona greeted me warmly, and made a few jokes about the weather. I could tell right away from looking at him why he knew so much about the sun and the moon: The three of them had obviously spent a lot of time together. His gray hair was pulled back in a braid, and had deep laugh lines around his mouth from a lifetime of smiling. It was plain that losing a horse meant even less to him than it did to Jimmy; they were both as tough as tempered steel and would have walked barefoot if they had to. Both of them were wearing just jeans, cowboy boots, and light plaid wool jackets, even though it had been raining since before dawn. I was completely charmed by their refusal to be ruffled by the most adverse of circumstances. It was shining evidence of their faith in the Creator. Being charmed didn’t stop me from handing out the two rain ponchos that I’d stuffed in my pack at the last minute. Jimmy’s girlfriend pulled the truck away in a cloud of blue smoke. I watched the heated cab and the taillights recede down the snow-covered road and wondered what I’d got myself into. A few moments later we were off, with me hanging grimly onto the saddle behind Perona like somebody in a western who had lost his horse in a poker game. Things didn’t look too bad, at first. The rain gave way to huge wet flakes of snow that floated down slowly like cinders from a great fire somewhere beyond the clouds. The trail, which led to a picnic ground by the side of a river, was wide and well trodden, and a little ways down it a great snowy owl flew across the river in front of us, its majestic wings beating with hypnotic slowness. We exchanged knowing glances. We all knew that owls were powerful medicine animals. What I didn’t know was that the Lakota, believe that the owl, which they call Hinhan, represents death, calling the name of those whose time it was to die. The owl spirit, Hinhan Nagi, guards the spirit road that leads to the milky way. Those travelers that weren’t ready for the journey it hurled back down to earth to become wandering ghosts. Before the day was out, this story would acquire a kind of uncanny resonance for me. Once we passed the snow-blanketed abandoned picnic site, the trail all but disappeared. I looked between Jimmy and Perona for clues but they continued to impassively urge the horses forward. We were following a river up to Blue Lake rather than taking the usual trail because of the weather. Plainly, no one else had taken the river route in quite some time. The trail was blocked over and over by blown-down pines that had obviously been there since the previous winter. We had to cross and recross the river over and over to get around them, and each time we did it got harder and harder to pick up the trail again in the snow. My down jacket was turning into an expensive feather sponge and Perona’s jeans were dark down to his knees from the melting snow. The banks of the narrow defile we were in rose up gray and foreboding on either side of us like the walls of a prison as the horses clattered from one side of the shallow river to the other. Finally, the trail seemed to completely disappear and we paused in the riverbed to confer like thwarted bloodhounds. The breath of the horses steamed faintly. I thought about the water that coursed around their ankles and how it was propelled upward by their energy and how it would fall again as rain and eventually find its way back to its mother the sea. My reverie abruptly ended as I felt the back legs of the horse buck hard underneath me. I peered upwards. The trail, it seemed, went straight up the embankment. I couldn’t see Jimmy anywhere. I stared apprehensively around Perona’s poncho, my knuckles white around the edge of the saddle. A ragged line of gray circles in the snow broadcast Jimmy’s progress, longer streaks telegraphing where his horse had slipped on the slick wet rock beneath the snow. He had already gained the ridge over the river and was lost in a bend among the trees but our horse was balking. Jimmy’s horse had slipped and it had carried a balanced load of only half our weight. Perona grunted and urged the horse forward with his legs. It trembled beneath us, drawing every muscle as taut as a bowstring in an effort to stop us all from sliding backwards as we jerked and lunged our way up the side of the embankment. I glanced nervously back at the dark outline of the river where it scissored through the snow thirty feet below. Perona spoke reassuringly to the horse, encouraging him forward again. Then all hell broke loose. The horse lunged desperately as it started to slide backwards. Perona hollered at it. The horse kicked backwards and then my head slammed into Perona’s back as the horse’s hooves flailed desperately at some unseen beast in the air in front of us. The next thing I knew the ground was a white blur rushing up at me and then I was rolling down the side of the defile. I fetched up hard against a stump. Still in one piece and anesthetized by adrenaline, I jumped quickly up to see if Perona was okay. He wasn’t. I saw Perona twenty feet above me, bent low over the horse’s neck as it trembled and shook beneath him. The slope beneath them was as steep and as slick as a wet slate roof. Perona clung to the horse’s neck and whispered in its ear as it snorted and blew steam out of its nostrils. It jerked forward spasmodically like it was electrocuted and then started to slide backward in earnest, scrabbling helplessly against the black wet rocks beneath the snow until it slid backwards into the carcass of a big blown-down pine that we had crossed on the way up. They stayed there for a moment—the horse, the rider, and the tree—all balanced together like some improbable circus act. The dead tree creaked and shifted like an unruly sleeper. The horse panicked and reared up. I saw it teeter on its great trembling back legs like a movie stallion, and then horse, rider, and tree all parted ways. Perona flew backwards through the air like he was shot from a cannon, landed hard in the rocks, snow and gravel ten feet below me, and somersaulted out of view. The horse, twisting in midair like a leaping dolphin, landed on its side with a sickening thud and rolled, flailing helplessly down the embankment to finish up thrashing and screaming in the river. I heard a low rumble and the sound of splintering wood above me, and turned just in time to see a dark greasy slick in the snow like it had just been plowed and to feel the impact as the dead pine tree slid into the backs of my legs and pitched me forward. I saw myself throw my hands out just in time to stop me from opening my head up on the gray rock that jutted cruelly up in front of me like a shark’s dorsal fin. I felt nothing. I had left my body to watch the whole thing from a safe perch far above the creek. I knew right away that I’d died here before at this very spot, on that very rock, in a past life and I had fled my body before I had to relive it a second time. I saw myself struggling. My foot was pinned behind the stump, leaving me hanging face-down over the side of the gorge with my leg at an impossible angle. Perona was on his hands and knees in the river, shaking his head while water streamed off of him. The horse had just struggled to its feet and was staggering around in shock like a foal that couldn’t find its mother. I heard a muttered curse from Jimmy who had ridden back to see what all of the crashing and screaming was about and then I was right back in my body, suspended helplessly over that killer rock, trying to stem the pain in my leg by holding onto a dry branch over my head. Jimmy ran up to me and tried to shift the tree but it was hopeless. It was as long as a telephone pole and the roots were jammed down in the riverbed. Perona was on his knees in the water, holding onto his hips and grimacing with each breath. Jimmy slid down to the river to check on him and when Perona nodded something to him he splashed over in his cowboy boots to the scraggly root end of the tree that pinned me. He surveyed it for a moment and then dropped to his knees in the icy water to get his shoulder underneath a branch. He grabbed the tree under the water and put everything he had into lifting it. I felt the tree shift, not much, but just enough to work my foot out from behind the stump. I lowered myself gingerly from the branch that I was hanging onto. My foot hurt like hell but I could put my weight on it. I waved at Jimmy, who was already leading Perona out of the river. We looked like the survivors of a war, but we were alive. We regrouped on the other side of the river. Perona moved slowly, holding his side. The horse was still shaking. Exhilarated by what I saw as my triumph over death and numbed by the excitement, I was bruised all over but still ready to lead the charge to Blue Lake. I felt the energy from the crystal in my knapsack urging me on. It wasn’t until we discovered that Perona had broken several of his ribs that I realized we’d been defeated. As the adrenaline wore off, the cold came stealing in. We rode back down the gorge for what seemed like hours until we came to a small clearing where we could build a fire. Perona collected moss from beneath the trees while Jimmy scouted around, breaking dry dead wood from the lower branches. Much to my surprise we soon had a roaring fire going and we sat steaming around it like baking potatoes, trading stories and tearing into the french bread and cheese I’d brought up from San Francisco, the only food we had. I was concerned that our accident was some kind of omen. Jimmy and Perona shook their heads at the same time. They saw resistance as a positive sign, like the spring in a sapling. What we were doing was very important, they asserted. Otherwise, why had the Creator seen fit to test our resolve in this way? Perona walked most of the ten miles back to Jimmy’s ranch, claiming that he was starting to stiffen up. When we got there at eight ‘o clock it was raining and bitterly cold. There was no sign of Jimmy’s girlfriend or his pickup truck. We turned the horses out and started out to walk the three miles back to the Pueblo. Jimmy’s girlfriend skidded up in a cloud of blue smoke a mile later. I packed up quickly back at the trailer, wary of getting snowed in at Taos, said good-bye, closed the big door of my rented Lincoln and then I was instantly back in the world that I had left behind, a world that Jimmy and Perona had never known. I drove through Taos listening to soft music on the radio, while the heater clicked and whirred, and the wipers chased the huge flakes of snow back and forth across the windshield. I had no idea what had gone wrong with my mission, or why it had nearly cost us our lives. I still don’t know today. Perhaps the owl spirit, Hinhan Nagi, had found us wanting and hurled us down the mountain for our impetuousness. Sioux men wore secret spiritual tattoos on their wrists which were said to secure Hinhan’s blessing as they journeyed to the Milky Way. All that I had was my determination. I knew that I would return to Blue Lake, until the time came when I heard that owl call my name if I had to, and I was taking that crystal with me. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - cont. in part 2