“A crossroad is a holy place. There, the pilgrim has to make a decision. That is why the
gods usually sleep and eat at crossroads. Where roads cross, two great forces are concentrated -the path that will be chosen, and the path to be ignored. Both are transformed into a single path, but only for a short period of time. The pilgrim may rest, sleep a bit, and even consult with the gods that inhabit the crossroad. But no one can remain there forever: once his choice is made, he has to move on, without thinking about the path he has rejected. Otherwise, the crossroad becomes a curse.” –Paulo Coelho
About this Blog
Thirty years ago, across the hours of an April night, my dream-self went on a journey across a mountain range with a dozen people I knew but didn’t know. Under changeable morning skies, we set out on foot, single-file, down a long arid valley running between steep ridges whose tilted rock beds protruded above slopes of sand and loose gravel. As I walked, I noticed crystals glittering through the brown desert earth: while everyone else walked on, I paused to fill my bag with what turned out to be pink and green watermelon tourmaline, deep purple amethyst and clear quartz.
The sky had turned dusky dark blue by the time I reached our lodging: a cheerily-lit hilltop house which belonged to two sad, dark-haired women whom I knew but didn’t know. I found my companions rolling out their sleeping bags in the cozy living room. “So there she is,” they chorused, “It’s Sophia!”
In the morning, instead of boarding the bus that was to transport us to our next stop, I hired a native guide—a man with a black hawk—put on my heavy cloak, strapped my pack to my back, and struck out across the wide snowy plain overlooked by the house. The road was long, the sky a clear, cold blue, and dark boulders stood out starkly against the snow.
As evening approached, we crested a hill—and were transfixed. Before us lay a lake, icy mist rising from its surface. Frost sparkled on the grass bordering the lake, leading our eyes to the huge oak trees growing on its far shore, now silhouetted by the cirrus-shrouded westering sun. My guide and I stood for a long moment taking in this scene, committing to memory its colors, the cold pale green-blue of the sky, the frigid filtered sunlight, the umber-dark tree trunks. Then reluctantly we turned away and continued down, out of the heights. The next day, we reached a place that was somehow familiar, and as we walked it was I who instructed my guide to take the downhill path to the left and to take care not to fall into the swamp.
As we descended, the light filtering through the trees grew much warmer. We turned away from the swamp and walked along a level road dappled by golden sunshine. After a little while, we reached the base of another hill, and I heard voices: I turned to my guide and smiled, “We must almost be there.”
The road had been excavated back into the hillside, leaving a high, steep cut to our right: as we walked up the hill, the ridge above us became visible, and I could see a row of picnic tables—and, to my amazement, my companions just sitting down to dinner. As I hurried to join them a woman waved and exclaimed, “Here she is at last!”
Thirteen years ago, after 25 years of searching, I found the destination I had envisioned in my dream at Four Quarters Farm. The details shared by dream and reality were so startling that I could not but say, “This is it—the place I dreamed about and that I’ve been searching for since 1985. I’ve finally found it!”
I still believe this. Clearly, I was meant to take this path: Four Quarters was crucial in my developing into the person I am today. But I always wondered about those people I knew but didn’t know. Who were they? At the time, I was so excited by finding my spiritual home—the destination in my dream—that I forgot all about them.
Now, thanks to a set of circumstances straight out of a true crime paperback about David Koresh, I’ve been thrown in with a group of people I knew but didn’t know. Before October 1st, all of us were passing acquaintances—resulting in: “Hi! How are you?” and a hug at events, but did I know them? Did they know me? Did they come up to my campsite or vendor’s booth to hang out—or did I visit them? For the most part no—or we visited so seldom that I could not say I “knew them well.”
So here I am, making a journey with roughly a dozen people, most of whom who I knew but didn’t know, because we’ve all been ejected from Four Quarters, and the “didn’t know” part is changing. A couple of people started up a Facebook chat, and dialogue between those who had been exiled began. We tasked ourselves with forming a cohesive group—what is now the Stone Circle Council. A Code of Conduct was created. Samhain was coming up, and we had no place in which to celebrate it: some began organizing a celebration—which turned into a calendar of events. There’s this blog: I can’t manage a blog, but we can. And through all of this, each of us has helped the others to deal with the grief and rage at the realization that we’d been duped, betrayed, kicked out, and threatened. But we are doing all of this as a group.
A group of people I knew, but didn’t know.