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Strange things happen to many of us while we are growing up.  Some are
stranger than others, and some just work out that way.
I am Charlie, Bucks' son, and the guy who put this site together.
The story that follows is "real".  I could have a lot to say about why that word is in quotes.  I will try to limit it by asking you, gentle reader, to consider that "the world" is not the same for any two of us who live here, and "reality" is purely a matter of individual perception.
This is a first-hand account of events.
I spent the better part of a lifetime trying to interpret all of this, and in the process, I became a genuine self-taught scholar of all things philosophical, theosophical, etceterasophical.  Finally, I came to read a rather small book, by Joseph Campbell, "Reflections on the Art of Living", and learned that the scenery differs for each of us, but the journey is really very much the same.
I wrote this during a very introspective period, around November of '96.
Sailors know about introspection.
If ever I knew a Saintly person, it would have to be this man who taught me that living is indeed an art, and that the way of the Artist is seldom the way of the world.
While you might come away with the idea that I think of myself as a man of Power, I hope that you know, as well, that we are all stewards of this Power.  In this awareness, we develope a sense of kinship with Mother Wind and Father Time; a sense of fairness that avails us of the equality of all beings, and equanimity in our own beingness.
This, I think, is what he wanted for us to know.
Experiences in the company of Richard Elliott
It was a very hot morning in Red Rock Canyon. My father and I were somewhat patrolling and kind of determining the geographic boundaries of a new State Park. It had recently become our home, and his first assignment as a lead ranger. The place is alot like the red rock country of Utah, with wild formations in volcanic mud, formed over the ages by wind and water. As we came around a corner in Hagen Canyon, we saw a white car, very stuck where the road gravel meets the desert sand. Two barely clad young hippy looking guys were trying to get it out. Of course, we offered help.
 Mike and Buddy were from Chicago. It was a time in life when the thing to do was to sell everything they owned, and make a pilgrimage to this place for their "Indian religious experience". O.K. We left their car in a shaded hollow amid the cliffs, and went North, to Nightmare Gulch, to have a look at the intaglio.
 This intaglio is a dance pattern, worn through the surface gravel and into the underlying tufa, shaped like a musical note, with two staffs, in the form of an "F". The wonders we shared that day were many, with visits to springs, a lengthy rabbit hunt, and the evening winding up on our patio, with talk and wine.
 The next morning, I rode my motorcycle down to their campsite. They were boiling a big tin can filled with something they had picked from the local plants. This was the big center of interest for them, and they were not inclined to talk about much of anything, so I set out to return home. Within a mile, I had a flat tire. A little advice: If you're ever wondering what to do for fun, don't try pushing a motorcycle uphill in a sandwash, on a hot day in the desert. As I came into the drive at the ranger station, I noticed Buddy, laying under the shade of a tamarisk grove. Coming near, I thought he was asleep, but something looked wrong about his position. Looking closely, I noticed that there was no sweat, but he was cold, and barely breathing. As I lifted him to take him inside, he roused, and mentioned his money clip, which was laying on the ground.
 I treated him for heat stroke, sponging him to simulate sweat, and feeding him mild salt water as soon as he could drink it. Within a few minutes, he was coherent enough to say that Mike was in trouble. Soon after that, we had my dad, the hiway parol, and sheriff's deputies looking for a lost man, walking around in 118ø heat.
 Mike was in very critical condition when they found him, laying on his back in a sandwash and staring at the sun. The sheriff said that the surface temperature there was 200ø. The nearest hospital was 50 miles away, in Lancaster. Buddy rode down with the ambulance. Buddy returned late that night. Speaking through the fence, he said only that: " no longer with us".
The big tin can was a tea, made from 20 leaves of the female datura plant, and two quarts of water. Datura, or Jimson weed, contains belladonna, a psychotropic drug that is very poisonous in even small amounts. They had heard of it through a book by Carlos Casteneda, "Don Juan, a Yaqui way of Knowledge", where the sorcerer, Don Juan, uses the plant in a paste preparation, to share an experience with his student, Carlos.
Mike's father had flown to Lancaster to retrieve the body. Then, he flew it back to Chicago for cremation. Then, he flew back to the desert, and scattered the ashes at the head of the wash where Mike had been found. Two days after Mike's death, my dad and I were on the first patrol of the day, when we noticed this new splash of white and gray on the ground. We were both crouched over the ashes, just discovering that they were human.
 "Your friend." Looking up, we saw that the words had been spoken by a man dresssed in full Indian Chief regalia. Raising his right hand slightly, he said: "Yatahe, I am Silvercloud. The plants told me about your friend."
Thus began what would be my desert experience. I was 13 then. Ready or not, when life opens up, there is nothing to do but open with it. Silvercloud wanted us to know what there was to know about the local flora. Under his guidance, we came to see that Jimson weed was very prolific in that area, at the time, along with some 30 other plants that could be used as drugs for various purposes.
 Silvercloud was fast to teach that there was a chance to release Mike's spirit from the clutches of the power of the plant which had claimed him. Datura has a feminine and possessive nature. Being of the world, it is also bi-polar, so it can be influenced to darkness or light. For this reason, Silvercloud had nurtured a garden of these plants for his use as the medicine man and Chief of the Oglala Souix.
 I consented to an initiation into his influence. This was begun with smoking the mixture that he kept in his medicine pouch, while we sat in his car, listening to Santana. I don't know what all came to pass, but it was sunrise when I went back home.
 On the night of the first full moon after Mike's death, I was to go to the top of a nearby basalt ridge, and wait for whatever would come. My dad was not prohibited from participating, so he came along to observe. The night arrived. Before sunset, we sat together at the table in our trailer without speaking. Time passed. When I felt that it was clearly time to go, I got up and just walked in that direction. We had crossed the hiway, and the sandwash. So far, everything seemed to be perfectly normal. Crossing from the sand to the carpet of volcanic ash, I sensed that my path had been predetermined, and each footfall was landing where fate would have it be. Passing through an opening between two monolithic boulders, there came a slight visual sensation. Where tears would well up in the cup of my lower eyelids, a luminous green static came. I stopped to study the sensation. There was no fear or compulsion to leave off with the plan. Looking up the hillside in the moonlight, no path appeared, yet I did feel that it was to continue. Still, the awareness of purpose remained as I slowly ascended the hill.
 About 1/3 of the way up, I became aware of having done what there was to do here. I circled a smaller boulder, and descended the hill, back to our trailer. No word was ever spoken between my father and I about the whole thing. To my knowledge, this was never discussed between Silvercloud and I.
The next encounter was not long in coming. One morning I was very much aware of the strange call of the chukars, coming from beyond the ridge to the Southwest of our compound. We had a bag of popcorn that didn't pop at all well, so I decided to find those birds, and feed them. I didn't know it at the time, but the path I found and followed that day was the same one that we had walked on the night of the full moon. This time, I was on the South side of the road that we had crossed on that night, going North. On this day, I could see that a definite path existed, even when I climbed over some vertical rock faces, the path continued.
Coming to a place where a huge section of the rock had separated from the cliff face, I was impressed that it hadn't fallen off, even though a wide fissure had opened. I went to the ledge, to peer down into the small valley where it would someday fall. As I came to the edge, a sparrow caught my whole attention. It flew up the cliff face, passing inches in front of me. As it cleared the point where my bare feet touched the ground, I had the sensation of a gossamer film being stripped away from my being, and joining with the bird. Suddenly, and quite naturally, I was aware of experiencing as the sparrow. I should note that as this gossamer film came away, it registered in my mind that this was the entity of Mike. I also recall a sound, like plastic film when you tear it from the roll.
 Flying across the chasm, I was looking down at the floor of the canyon, maybe 200 feet below. I distinctly felt the muscular control of wings and tail, and still recall that sensation even now, 24 years later. Looking down into the canyon, I saw all the natural colors, though one rock, large and oval shaped, appeared especially red.
 Seeing large branches looming ahead, I selected one, and landed. The it/I bird turned around, and looked directly at the it/I man, standing on the horizon, arms lowered, with palms turned toward us. Consciousness then continued within my identity as man, though somehow imbued. I tore a corner from the bottom of the popcorn bag, and continued up the path.
 Having climbed a lava rock face, I suddenly felt apprehensive as my head was just about to come over the top. I "knew" that I should move very cautiously. As my eyes came ever so slowly over the top, I saw a coiled Mojave Green rattlesnake, coiled on the warm rock, maybe two feet away. Oh. Just as slowly, I lowered back down, and jumped from the rock to find another way up. The rest of the ascent was without incident. I found where the peculiar sounding chukars were gathered by a seep, down in the chasm, and threw the corn to them, putting the empty bag in a back pocket. I resolved to go on to the top of the mountain, considering the events of my little hike as I went on.
 Reaching the top, I noticed how very cone-shaped the summit was. At the peak, several large rocks were apparently arranged so as to allow a small flat platform. Standing there, I felt moved to do a little ceremonial thing that Silvercloud had shown me. I had some questions about this day, and perhaps the Great Spirit would guide me in my understanding of them, if I were to ask. Letting my arms hang, I turned my palms outward and up, then faced the South with a clear mind, listening. This went on for two or three minutes, and was repeated in each direction. Coming out of my reverie, I noticed that "the green" had returned to my eyewells. This time, I saw that a green fog was ascending the hill, ankle deep, on all sides. This stuff had an ominous, vacuous character about it. Intuitively, I knew that it wanted me, and that I couldn't let it take me.
 Without thought, or even knowledge of what I was doing, I ran, in a way that wasn't running, but more of a grounded flight, down the face of the mountain and straight across the valley floor, oblivious of all that might lie before me, all the way back to the ranger station. Our little personnel gate was mysteriously left open. I virtually flew through it, and fell, sobbing, beneath our water storage tanks.
This was the physical/phenomenal experience. The cumulative impression of those events, and meditations with Silvercloud resulted in a very different memory.
I am aware of being in an impossibly thick place. Gravity is so very intense that I keep sinking into the muck. This muck is sulfurous green, and coming down in sinuous, viscous sheets. I can see some forms of hands and heads, trying to poke through the floor, but unable. One manages to get head and arms out. I can see him, far away, and I have to reach him. That's what I'm here for. The way is impossible, yet, with a force not of me, I reach him, and wrap an arm beneath his. Our joining overwhelms the field. Turning our faces upward, we are saved, and the vision is passed. I am left with a faith that I can save anyone who struggles for that reason, so long as this is the only reason in our hearts.
Some time passed. I came home one day to find a very small baby Red-tailed Hawk perched on a rafter of our ramada. Nothing could have pleased me more! The story was that a visitor to the park had found this little feather-ball on the ground, beneath a nest that contained one shot-dead mother hawk. Being a decent sort, he brought the little one to us. Thus began one of the most rewarding relationships of my entire life.
 Bird spent her nights on her original perch. In early life, it was a good question as to whether she or the bugs would end up being fed. She persevered, at first, against them. Very soon, she discovered that this was her domain, and that if she held still, food would come on little wings. Shortly after that, it came time to teach her that she had wings, too. I would take her out running, just fast enough to fill her wings. This had to be done. Next, I compelled her to let go of my finger, and soar as best she could. The poor girl had a great deal to learn about landings! By holding her from behind, with a hand grasping her beneath her wings, I was able to get the body angle and leg pitch ingrained into her awareness. How very fascinating it became, to work with such an intelligent student! In a matter of weeks, she came to understand that lizards were the best thing to land on, because that was food.
 In many parts of our Southern deserts, there is a bird who hoards food against lean times by hanging carcasses on the spines of joshua trees. I noticed that the Butcher bird had been very busy in our area. Wanting to give "my baby" every advantage that I could, I endeavored to teach her how to cheat the butcher. By walking her through the "snatch swoop", she learned it, and became very eager to show me how well she had learned. This hawk understood praise and affection. In six weeks, she was gone.
 Life went on. My best friend, Joe, lived on a gold mine, some seventeen miles Northwest. Most of our time was spent together, as his mother would pick me up to ride with them down to our bus stop in Cantil. We had most of our school classes together. Most of our time on week-ends was spent together. We went through a very destructive period together, beginning first with minor arson, and ending up with some fairly spectacular explosions. In that year, we estimated that the net effect of our exploits was some $300,000 in 1973 dollars. We were both very intelligent; even brilliant. It was so very easy to have our "fun", and get away with it. In the midst of all this, I was out at my little gas dump, in a corner of the compound one day, gassing up my motorcycle. A strange rustling sound on the fence caught my attention. Sitting there, within arm's reach, was a full-grown female Red-tailed Hawk. What a fright! She must have been two feet tall, with her wings spread to nearly full span. Baby! She caught my eye, and looked upward. Way up there, maybe a half mile high, was her mate, patiently circling. Looking back at her, I could only say "Yatahe."
Not far from our station, to the North, was an old ceremonial site where a rock outcrop jutted from the canyon floor. On the top, one could see where generations of medicine men had worn mortars into the rock, grinding pigments for the burials that were on the underside of the outcrop. These burials had already been desecrated. U.C.L.A. had expressed an interest in having their anthropology department conduct a dig there, to preserve whatever artifacts might still remain. Silvercloud attended to obtaining permission through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and administered the proper ceremonies to right things with all Spirits concerned. So, now we're anthropology stewards. Because Silvercloud had sanctioned it, I felt compelled to assist in the excavation and reclamation. Interesting stuff we found. The site dated to pre-white contact, perhaps 700 years old. At that point, I sifted out an infant clavicle bone.
 Events of the whole learning affair with Silvercloud had been weighing heavily on me. I felt that it was not my existential obligation to know these things; that I should be allowed to go on with a "normal" life, like everyone else, unburdened with this knowledge of such ancient roots, and the obligation to answer to it. Finding that bone seemed to just add one more unwanted tie. In frustration, I took leave of the party, to go for a long walk and just be alone with this dilemma. The course of my hike led first across the battlefield, where the local white population had gathered forces with spanish soldiers to rid themselves of the red men. I knew, as I walked, that the land was steeped in this blood, and even as my blood was alive and flowing, it was no different, but only in a current state of animation.
We had been working an average of one accident a month involving a death. On one occasion, a man had flown down a cliff on a motorcycle. No vehicle we had could reach him, and we didn't want to move him without the paramedics in attendance. He said it didn't matter anyway.....just give me some shade, and write down what I say. For two hours, my father and I sat with him, jotting down his last will and testament as the sand blew around us, and he coughed blood from the wounds in his chest. As the pitiful sound of a distant siren came winding up the canyon, he died. The ambulance arrived, and the driver was drunk, scorning the dead man for having wasted her trip. I was pretty sure at the time that God was a son of a bitch.
 It was more than negatives that gave me reason to be upset. Our area was very powerful with all of the forces of nature. Electric storms were always either building, raging, or in temporary abeyance. Often, I would be out walking when one would rise to activity. Many times, raw, vast POWER would come washing over the canyon floor, toward me. I can still feel that, too. It would approach as a sizzling field, and I would know that I would be IT. An unexplainable molecular thing happens when that comes; an exchange of essences. I would watch as my "print" washed with the wave, to reach the canyon rim and discharge skyward in magnificent bolts of the absolute, in answer to its' Source. All of these things were the theft of my free will. My consent had nothing to do with it, and there was never a question of what I wanted to be.
 These were my thoughts as I wandered, first across the canyon floor, and then to the North rim. A series of knolls had interested me, so I meandered through them. There seemed to be a structure to this that I didn't understand, and I didn't even want to be aware of my will to see structure in it. In a very agitated state, I just wanted to be somewhere, in a place that didn't have to mean anything. Coming to awareness of what was now before me, I could no longer maintain any manner of sanity. I had been circling a caprock. Arranged at the four cardinal points were the telltale depressions of burials. At a fifth point, roughly in the Northeast position, was another. I knew that there would be hieroglyphs inscribed in the overhang above each. Having come this far, I had nothing left to "lose" by seeing that as well. Sure enough, there was a generational progression. The North-facing entity was a seventh level being; a Godman. The one in the odd position had a stem leading from the seventh orb, indicating that He was advanced beyond all mythos..... O.K.....alright; just what the hell am I supposed to do with this?
I leapt to the top of the rock, shaking with rage, demanding that God tell me, here and now, what He would have me do. I had to know if I was to answer to the God of Christianity, as He is presented in orthodox religion, or to the Great Spirit, as He presented Himself to me. Asking first for the orthodox God to tell me, in some subtle way, that He is indeed the Way and the Light, I went through the listening in each direction. A fly on my nose, or a breath of warmth wafting across my cheek; surely, a gracious God would afford this response to His Son? Nothing. This process lasted for some fifteen minutes. At the time, this was a remarkably long period for me to listen in silence, given my rage and the impatience that came with that. Nothing. Beginning the process again, I asked the Great Spirit for the same response. The whole thing looked like neither guy had the guts to respond. I was ready to leave, when I hesitated, facing the Northeast. Movement there. I couldn't speak, or even form a thought. Three miles away, on the pink tufa mountain, a landslide broke loose. I was terrified. Blindly, I ran straight South. Cliff coming. So what? I hit the bottom in the slough, still running. My path led to a water cut crevice, maybe three feet wide, with vertical walls that were very high. Soon, I stopped dead in my tracks, for there ahead lay a coiled Mojave Green. One doesn't forget that these guys permit only 3% of their victims to survive. Still, God himself was back there, and mad enough with me to break a mountain. The snake and I locked eyes. I knew that it knew that I could easily kill it with a rock, and pass in safety. It knew that I knew that this was not allowed in this situation. We met in the agreement that both would live without harm, if we would pass one another with respect. Very slowly, I inched past. How difficult it was, to spend those several minutes within easy striking distance of those fangs, without foolishly bolting! When I knew that the distance from me to the snake was equal to my height, I broke into a run, and kept running. Coming to the first outcrops at the dig site, another snake crossed my path. As I jumped to miss it, I noticed that it was a Red Racer. In that recognition, I felt my emanated message answered: "hi, Little Friend!" That's english for Yatahe. It carries kindness.
More time passed. Joe and I were called to answer for a little theft that we were not careful enough to cover. I ended up working the summer of '75 at a State Park in Northern California. When I came home, it was not to the desert, but to Gaviota, 28 miles North of Santa Barbara, on the coast. At first, we lived in a nice single level house that used to be quarters for the ranch hands, before the state bought the property. Before long, we were offered a chance to move to a much nicer, more modern house made entirely of Redwood, with fruit trees in the front yard and a brook across the drive. A pair of my fathers' fellow rangers were sharing the place. They explained that it was built on what had been a Chumash graveyard, and they had encountered spirit entities who did not appear to want them there. Nothing outright scary, but just the sort of thing that makes it very difficult to sleep well. It was very hard for them to say these things, you's, well, haunted, you know? We agreed to try it, and if it felt somehow wrong, we would try to get the place torn down, and have the land set aside as a sacred reserve.
 I had one experience with "ghostly entities" there. The place was built with a separate bedroom and bath on the second floor, with it's own balcony. One early morning, I was roused from sleep by the opening of the door at the top of the stairs from the front room. No one there, but the door opened, and then closed, as though someone had entered. I was not at all alarmed, or moved to anything like fear. It felt benevolent. Then, the left side closet door slid open. Then it closed. The right side opened. And closed. The balcony door opened. Although no visual perception came, I "knew" that the entity paused to wish me well, before leaving, and politely closing the door. Yatahe.
As I always have, I became familiar with the area for several miles in the most enticing directions. Returning home one day from a walk, I found a very big round thing, with a kind of leafy outer shell. As near as I could tell, it was filled entirely with a cotton-like stuff, as you find inside of milkweed bulbs. That was what I thought I had, but it was about six inches through. I left it outside, on the doorstep. When I saw dad next, he remarked that he noticed my puffball. So that's what you call it. What is it? He explained that he had just read about them that day. The only significance he could find was that Indian myth held that these were a welcome sign for benign spirits. How very appropriate. Soon after we moved into the house, we figured that the best way to reconcile our presence with the history of the grounds was to offer refuge to anyone who asked. As a result, we ended up harboring many guests in the unused bedrooms, and several room-mates in the extra bed in my room. If spirits wanted to rest with us as well, then let us welcome them. Of course.
Very soon after the puffball was left outside, the last "green" experience came. As had become my habit, I was out on the balcony one night after work, drinking a couple of beers and rolling a few joints for the coming day. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Looking up to grab my beer, I suddenly noticed that "the green" had crept up to the edge of the balcony wall. I somehow knew that it had come up that far all around the house, and there was nowhere to run. I knew that it was different this time.
 It continued to rise, until the mass in front of me converged with that which had come up from the roof of the house. By the force of my will, I was able to keep a hole in the middle of it. Around the edges of that hole, the mass began to spin. As it went faster, it began to close the hole. It was looking for a space between the continuum of my intent. So very fast, the edges closed in a vortex. It struck me between the eyes, slightly above, and penetrated. My body was instantly drained. It was too late to fear. The reality was perfectly clear. My primum mobile; my life force, had been taken. I literally crawled to bed. Sleep did not refresh, and food did not nourish. For two weeks, I was aware of life as only a body, with no connection at all to the Source of human-ness. I moved along the track of my life without interest or passion. I was aware that my energy was decreasing as it became more difficult to simply function. Fear became the focus of my awareness. In the presence of others, I would sense either beneficence, neutrality, or terribly threatening evil. I tried to avoid human contact as much as possible, because the evil ones so taxed my dwindling life energy.
 This condition became so very bad that I had to lay down at work, between customers. I kept several guns there, in the event that one of these "evil ones" should somehow force his advantage. One evening as I lay there, I sensed the approach of the most malignant presence that had come into awareness as yet. This would be a decisive encounter. It took a few minutes while my apprehension increased. Finally, I heard a loud car decelerating for the turn into my station. My eyes remained fixed on the man from the moment he came into view. I could see that he was an illegal. He looked desperate and tired. There was a nickel plated revolver on the seat beside him. He pushed a 10 through the barely opened window, and remained silent, returning my gaze with equal intensity. As I approached the pump, I switched into that deja-vu feeling of living through fated moments. Without intending it, my attention focused on the back of the man's head, just as the green had focused on me, waiting for a space in his consciousness. With an audible crack, something leapt from me and struck to the core of him. In the same instant, he floored his throttle, barely allowing me to get the hose from his car, still spewing fuel. Even now, I can see that car, blasting down the drive and out to the hiway, in clouds of tire smoke. I remember thinking: "you know you won't outrun that."
 Phew! Now that's written. Very soon after my transfer of that blackness, a vision came. Or maybe it formed during that period; I don't know, but this is what it left:
An egg shaped luminous being is perched on the edge of a reddish-black firmament, waiting for me. It is nearly white, with only the slightest tinge of violet. I arrive as another luminous egg. My hue is a perceptible blue. The power in me joins us, and carries us from the edge, out into space. We travel for a long time through blackness. Presently, we arrive above a huge domed structure, with a belt along the bottom edge. There are many portals in a horizontal line along this belt. The violet egg separates from "me", and descends to the dome, entering through one of the portals. The dome is vast, seeming to be built more of time than of substance. It is a luminous dull yellow, wrought through with black, as though the fabric of it is transitory.
That was 1976. Right after I "came back", a letter arrived from Morning Star, Silvercloud's wife, informing us that he had died. By the way, his birth name was Richard Elliot.