Such an unconventional and touching tribute to a man I only met as he was passing away! 

There was plenty of food, drink, and merriment. It seemed as if the entire town had come to celebrate Dan’s life. Laughing with tears in their eyes, they joyfully shared their mead and weed, as these were two of his favorite things. Canvases had been hung on several walls of the restaurant patio, inviting attendees to offer their creative touch as a way of both preserving his memory and raising money to honor his final wish. He wanted to be cremated so he could remain in the hills he’d lived in all his life. Whilst I didn’t know him before death, this was about as loving and touching an homage as one could have been a part of.

We found ourselves surrounded by music, both live and piped in via a sound system from the local radio station where Dan had been a DJ. They played all of his favorites, and as the sun began to set on the day, we moved the frivolity to the fire circle. We continued sharing laughter, love, and heartened memories. 

Although many people from the village are slightly familiar with me, when it was my turn to honor a man I briefly met, my words brought everything to a halt. Silence fell upon the circle, as no one knew how to respond to my acknowledgment of him. What was I saying? How could it be?

I saw and spoke with him on the way out?

Dan was an older man of average height, maybe mid to late 70s, with a gentleness about him that I have never witnessed in any other mortal. This presence sent a message of radical peace to every cell in my body. As his thin gray hair grazed his shoulders, he completed the look with a stylish yet weathered leather cowboy hat. Every time he smiled, his entire being lit up. It was hard for me to imagine this man being ready to leave his physical life behind. He exuded such delight with a grin that could light up the night sky. It was impossible to believe the moments we shared were his last ones. 

“I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you allowing Paul to come through you so that we could complete our discussions.”

“Circe, Paul and I have been buddies for as long as I can remember, and with all the pot I’ve smoked in my life, I sometimes wonder how good that memory really is,” Dan said as he chuckled and tumbled while trying to sit down. “I am joking with you. I’ve known Paul for some time. We were never the best of friends because we came from two very different worlds. Yet, there was a rare understanding of one another that connected us. I was happy to be a part of his life in that way. As I said, we didn’t do much in life together, and I was aware of the message he was dying to share with you. No pun intended.” He laughed again, this time losing his hat.

“You knew what he wanted to say? Did you guys agree to him taking over your body for this ceremony?”

“No. It was destiny. Or was it?” he asked, while chuckling at his own sense of humor. “I decided it was time for me to go at the very same time you called him in. Nothing about energy is accidental. Although humans see chaos and disorder, everything about the seen and unseen is perfect timing.”

He went on to talk about his personal journeys and experiences with the mind. Oddly, his story paralleled Paul’s. He talked about the mind as something beyond the human brain. He used the word consciousness to describe a limitless place beyond emotion, which he referred to as human baggage. It was in the mind that a person could experience anything they wanted.

“You know, Circe. I’ve done my fair share of drugs. I think Amber over there—” he started to say when I noticed a shift in his gaze. With a puzzled look on his face, he cocked his head to the side and asked, “Is she alright? She’s still on the ground?”

“Huh? Oh, she’s fine,” I said, dismissing her with a wave. “Being a channel is hard on the body. That’s why we only have a small window of time to get the information we’re hoping for. Otherwise, the portal, I mean mortal, dies. Besides, she’s a bit of what you guys call a drama queen. She loves the attention. I keep thinking she should get involved with the local theater. It’ll give her a chance to be the spectacle she likes to be. Until then, she’ll milk this experience for as long as she can.” 

Now that Dan had brought attention to her lifeless figure, I had to adjust myself. I turned my back to her and squinched up my face, pretending to smooth the ground beneath me. “I just noticed something poking my bottom.” 

For some reason, Dan got a big kick out of this altered truth. “Do what you gotta do. I have plenty of padding. Not a lot of time, but plenty of cush.” 

I brushed a bit more and seized the moment to acknowledge my success in fixing the perfect spot for me to sit upon. “See! This is so much better! Now please go on,” I insisted. I was far more interested in Dan’s story than the chronicles of Amber. Not to mention, she was tempered for the moment, and I was definitely enjoying the moment of peace. “What were you saying about drugs? I’ve never experienced them, but I have heard several people talk about kush.”

“Drugs? Oh yeah. I’ve done many. Kush? Hahaha, you are a funny one, aren’t you, Circe?” Seizing the moment to make fun of my unadulterated character, he continued. “I was talking about my ass. I can sit on anything.” Although I didn’t see the humor in this conversation, Dan certainly did. He let out such a hearty chuckle, his dentures came flying out of his mouth, and that hat of his hit the ground one more time. I had never seen a mortal enjoy themselves so much with so little entertainment. But this time, instead of putting his hat back on, he quickly picked it up and placed it on my head while sheepishly putting his teeth back in.

“You know it’s funny,” he continued. “Ever since I was a teenager, people referred to weed as the gateway drug. Little did they know how accurate they were, although, not in the context from which they spoke.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“It quiets the brain and opens us up to the mind. It removes all barriers that hold humans hostage to their physical existence. But like Paul, there was a time early in my life when I didn’t need a drug to travel. Yet with years of cultural grooming and serving my country in two wars, being human became a painful experience.”

Dan said something that confused me, so I stopped him for a moment to say, “I don’t understand. Why are mortal children able to travel but not the adults?”

“You know, Circe, I’m no scientist, so I can’t explain it in chemical terms, but it does come down to changes in the brain chemistry. To be honest, since it’s just you and me, modern society is fucked.”

“Whoa! What?”

“I know that sounds harsh, but humans sling judgments more than monkeys fling poo!”

“Hahaha! Dan!”

“It’s true! Moralism is a disease. As new humans, we’re quite clear about the true nature of our existence, which hits a nerve with those in power. How do you control the uncontrollable? Lead with fear and steer them away from their authentic self. This, of course, fosters instability within every individual. They now live with an inner conflict between what they instinctively know and what they’ve been told.”

“This is sad. But on a lighter note, I adore the way you jump between silliness and seriousness!”

“Thanks, and it is sad. It’s also the reason I believe humans are witnessing an unparalleled epidemic of mental health issues. Or should I say, disorders of the brain? In any case, drugs alter brain chemistry and provide an opportunity to journey into another realm. Even though I hate the fact that we can’t get there from here, I’m all for a little assistance!”

“So then, why are you allowing your body to die?” I asked.

“I’ve survived in this physical world for as long as possible. I find it disturbing that culturally, we’ve cut ourselves off from our greatest power! Quite frankly, humans are killing themselves off. I may have enjoyed my party days, but the truth is these mind-altering plants are meant to be medicinal, not entertainment. The longer I go on trying to stay connected to my truth with drugs, the bigger the gap in my integrity. I believe my purpose was to go through this experience so that I might shed light on the human potential. Just like Paul’s, my body is broken down. Don’t get me wrong. I love being alive! To be alive is to be in one’s magic, and magic, as you know, is creation. However, creation cannot be controlled. This is the difference between good and poor health. Unfortunately, my body was exposed to many damaging chemicals over the years, and I chose to prolong my physical life for as long as I could. Through it all, I didn’t quit traveling. The more I ventured, the clearer I became. It’s time for humans to wake up!”

“Wow, Dan, I’m kind of at a loss for words! What do you want from me?”

“Consider yourself a warrior for truth. I spent many years as a soldier fighting to protect human lives. This is no different. I am, we are, grappling with the biggest war yet. The one within the self. And now we are asking you to join the ranks.”

I wondered out loud, “How? What?”

“Look,” he went on, “I realize there appears to be an urgency. You are a sorceress and tapped into your magic. The how will reveal itself, and you will know what to do next. Baby steps. Plus, you need to get out more. Why is it I’m only meeting you at the brink of death?”

“Touche!” I replied. 

“May I go now?” he asked.

“Uh, you’re asking me?” I wondered as I stood up and walked over to the fire circle. “If that’s the case, I have one more question for you.” Stooping over to absorb some heat from the glowing embers with my hands, I looked up at Dan with my last query. “It seemed as if you had something to say about Amber before you were distracted by her lifeless body. What was it?” Bending over to be sure she was still breathing, I cackled. “Aww, she looks so pure and innocent lying there. But I know better!”

“Oh, yeah!” Springing to his feet, he pleaded, “Hold that thought! I’m not really leaving the planet. I’m moving into a new body. Please hold off on your plans with her! At least for a little while.”

“I see. What do you know? How did you know? How long is a little while?”

“I know because she knows, and she is going to be my new momma.”

I dropped to my knees with my head in my hands. “Oh, for goddess’ sake!”

As the celebration continued, Hefe raised a glass in honor of Dan and asked, “What did he say?”

I gulped, tears coming to my eyes, and all I could do was stare up at the sky. 

Ken attempted to break what he thought was sadness with the question. “Did he mention any last regrets?”

Tom wasn’t interested in hearing remorse, so he jumped in and shouted, “I hope he completed his life with one final toke and a smile!”

“You guys! Dan loved being alive!” I shared. “And all of you put him in touch with that feeling every time he was with you. His final wish was that each of you returns to honesty and remains true to the essential you. Make sense of that as you will,” I said, as I questioned the meaning with a shrug and a wink.

Circe (Tammy Davis)
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