November 10, 2023

 This morning I found myself in a small chapel. There was a stained glass window to my right through which a colored pattern of red, yellow and blue light shone. It seemed modern, although I’m not exactly sure, reminding me of the Catholic retreat center’s chapel in Clarkston where my Diamond Approach group meets. There was an old man in a white robe kneeling before an altar with a simple silver cross. He didn’t seem to be aware of me. Next to him was a coffin covered by a white shroud. I was curious who was in the coffin and peered inside, realizing that it was none other than the man kneeling beside me.

The man didn’t seem to be aware of me and continued praying earnestly. His face was austere, almost mask-like. He was completely drained of color such that his face and hands and hair were all white.

I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, especially because the man wasn’t aware of my presence. I kicked around the chapel, peering at things. The cross kept drawing my attention because it reflected only blue light. Curious, I reached out and touched it but found it was merely smooth metal. Still, I couldn’t help thinking it was somehow connected with my presence there.

I don’t know what gave me the idea but I figured out that the cross was the portal through which the man was supposed to pass. Since he couldn’t see me, I did something a little rude and shoved him forward so that he fell headlong toward the cross. As his body neared it, the blue light expanded and enveloped him, taking him inside. I followed.

The portal opened into a beautiful scene of a blue night sky with stars and a moon. Mist curled around our feet. Even though the man still couldn’t see me, I took his head and led him forward. His skin was cold to the touch. He felt papery, almost insubstantial.

I led him forward until we came to a small clearing. Before us, a half-circle of angelic beings stood. They appeared much like the man, dressed in white. Their hair and skin was likewise white. I don’t know if they were really angels because I didn’t get that kind of a read from them. To me, they could have simply been apparitions, pulled from the man’s expectation of what would happen when he died. Was he a monk? Did he expect to be reunited with his fellow monks upon his death? Was this what was happening?

My attention was drawn to an interloper behind the semicircle of beings and I walked around them to discover a small boy. At first I thought he was a small demon but soon realized he was just covered in black dirt. He was full of energy and excitement and joy. I approached him and took him up in my arms, cradling him. As I stared at his face, I realized there was something special about the black dirt covering his face. It was the black of the Absolute.

As soon as I recognized the Absolute, I was pulled into it. I found myself underground, submerged in black dirt. There were tree roots around me. The body of the little body lay entombed nearby. I emerged from the dirt and saw that I was in a graveyard overlooking a small, stone chapel. There was an enormous oak tree on the top of the hill behind me. Its branches spread over me and the graveyard. It reminded me of the oak tree from my last Imaginal journey, the one from which the bodies of the four women hung.

Similar to the last journey, a big ogre waited for me beneath the oak tree. This ogre was hulking and huge but benign like the troll in the last journey. I bowed to him and he led me down the hill to the chapel where I discovered a young mother was kneeling. The chapel was made completely out of stone and was quite crude. It was nighttime outside and inside the chapel was dark, save for a couple of candles on the altar. The young woman knelt much like the man had been kneeling and I realized she was mourning the loss of her young son, the same boy I’d just encountered.

The connection between the three–the old man, the young boy and the mother–came to me then: They were a family. The child had died and perhaps the mother hadn’t lived long after his death. This left the man alone. I think he became a monk as a result, renouncing his previous, secular life and living for decades afterwards. Eventually, he died, too.

As this dawned on me, the sun dawned upon the chapel as well. Its golden light flooded inside through the open doorway behind me. I turned and saw the shining orb rising from behind the hill. Silhouetted at the top of the hill along with the big oak were three figures: A young couple and their child. It was interesting to see that the old man now appeared much more human than before when he’d been nearly featureless, barely an image. Now at last he was free and reunited with his family.


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