"Welcome."

"Where am I?"

"You are here. How do you feel?"

"Good enough, I imagine."

The landscape stretched out before him. Looking around he could see he was in a small cabin in the hills overlooking a desert on one side and a small town on the other. The cabin was small and warm and he recognized it from dreams he had of it over the years. The voice that addressed him came from a woman he knew well.

"It all changes so quickly here," she told him.

"I imagine it does," he said. With that the woman was gone.

There was a time where it was possible to exit with all the cards on the table, turned over and reflecting positive qualities on every level. It was May of 1999 and a night he will not forget. What he had been asked to do had been done. The three queens had been met and what needed to happen between himself and them had happened. He had given Tina the inspiration she needed. He had given Christina as feeling of value, highlighted on that night when they were at their ends and they met them together. He had given Tammy the manuscript and entrusted it to her, knowing she would know when the time was right to reveal it.

The words startled him, coming in a vision as he sat in Christina's truck, his head in her lap, looking up at her and seeing beauty in its purest form.

"You can leave now, it is your choice, but this is the end. If you stay, the time to come is going to hurt like hell."

I chose to stay.


I'm reminded lately of that chapter of my personal mythology in recent days as I have taken stock in my position amongst the stars of my personal sky, the one that quite rarely, but often enough turns to gold. Yesterday I did not sleep. I was in the grasp of an insomnia that I haven't known for many months.

It began with appearances of an angelic form in the places where darkness meets light, the shadows where nothing is truly certain and what doesn't make sense is often cast off as illusion. This is a form I once saw regularly, usually at a time of change, or where I had lost my way on the path I am sworn to travel.

Back in 1998 I was sitting in the bar I still call my church. It is now 1,500 miles away and I haven't been there in nearly two years. At one point in 1998, I was puzzling over my need for a word of definition for this experience I knew as losing my way along the path. At the time I was trying to understand how my journey had led me to Orlando, Florida in order to find a waitress who seemed to want nothing to do with me other than conversation. As I drove to my church, I struggled to come up with a term that would simply saying, "I lost my way along the path and now I'm in the forest and everything is overgrown and I can't find my way back to the path without help." This was an uncomfortable mouthful to shove into the middle of a sentence. When I walked into the bar, I saw Tina, who as usual made sure I was not put off by her reluctance to stop and talk with me immediately. She walked past me at the bar and said, "I'll be with you in a while. I'm in the weeds right now."

She had given me the definition I was looking for the moment she saw me. Sometimes we forget the weight of seemingly random moments in our personal history. And now, once again, I find myself in the weeds.


There are many strange things about me. One is the strange way in which I remember my past prior to June of 1994. When I remember things that happened before that passage in my life, they all seem like a story I've been told by someone else. There are many holes in the memories and I'm often unable to make the connections between a person and an event that seems to have been significant. Only by writing stories of the times in my life before my experience with death can I explore them as anything more than abstract concepts. Often I am not sure how much of what I remember is true, in the sense that it may be the story of someone else's life that was close to me then that I integrated into my own. Sometimes I have to talk to people who knew me then in order to understand what parts of what I remember are actually my disenfranchised memories.

Doing this has helped me piece together stories I know that I "translate" which are told to me by the angels that sometimes manifest themselves in the shadows. When I am in the weeds they appear to me in a blinding light. When I accept the nature of my personal faith and believe in them they come to me in waking dreams. I close my eyes and listen, but I do not hear voices, I simply feel and speak words. And then I am driven to write them down, and I write amazingly clearly and neatly, my handwriting far more legible than it normally is. The thing is, I write this clearly and legibly and do it in complete darkness, yet I can see perfectly. The blinding light combined with the total darkness of the room moderates into a golden light in which I see everything. And the sky will turn to gold.

Which brings me to remember why I have found myself in the weeds these past few months. Sometimes I let go of my faith. Usually this doesn't happen because I renounce it or reject it. Most of the time it is because I simply wander off the path, either because the darkness is too powerful, such as when becoming nearly homeless and destitute drove me to focus all my energy on escaping from that fate for the next two years, or because the light becomes too strong.

I had been translating a new book of Anastasia's teachings, this one called The Book of Zealots. Unlike many of the other books, which teach a way of living that parallels the teachings of the great prophets of the past, Zealots is a kind of prophesy and an explanation of our times. It tells of the rise of zealotry and how it will be the undoing of our era, as those driven by righteousness will begin a war that will continue throughout the lifetimes of those being born tomorrow. The killing, hatred and violence will destroy so much of our potential that it will bring about a new era, rising from the ashes of this one's complete self-destruction. I started translating it in 1997. Often these books are translated in bits and pieces along the course of my journey.

The translation drove me to anger and impatience, as I sought to try to point out and scream about how this could be averted if only we would open our eyes. And then I realized that is impossible. No one is truly listening any longer, not on those fronts anyway. They are simply trying to be the one who yells loudest. In what became the perfect irony, in trying to fight against the zealots, I descended into zealotry myself. This is, of course, the trap that makes the War of the Zealots unavoidable. You cannot try to stop it without becoming a zealot yourself and in doing so you join with them and help drive the flames of this war that can neither be won nor ended peacefully.

Seeing and feeling the vision of this and understanding where the principle players have gone wrong in igniting and continuing this war with out end... Amen. It cannot be stopped. It will be the destruction of this era of human history. Not the end of us. Not the "Apocalypse" as it were, but the end of this era. In order for us to continue as human beings sharing a highly populated world with diverse cultures and philosophies of living, our current course, armored in zealotry, will only bring an ending. The final end of the War of the Zealots will create ashes that will settle onto the fertile ground upon which the next era will begin.

The sword so many now carry out in front of them, whether it is a weapon of war, or a weapon of the tongue, will take so many in the coming years. We can join the battle in the vain belief we can win the war, or we can begin to plant the seeds of the era to come.

I have gone back to the translations. I have rejoined with my faith. I have sworn off zealotry, and I will find my way out of the weeds once more. I can only hope it will be sooner than later.

Today, at the University of Texas at Arlington, the AARP hosted an event on the subject of health care in Texas. Special guests included gubernatorial candidates Chris Bell (D), Kinky Friedman (I), and Carol Strayhorn (I). Each candidate talked for roughly fifteen minutes, and then answered selected questions asked by a representative of the AARP. Unfortunately, with a paper to write, I was only able to hear Chris Bell and Kinky Friedman talk, so forgive me if this is unsatisfying; if you really want to get down and dirty, you can visit the AARP's "dontvote.com".

Issues

In recent years, health care has become more and more costly. The United States, for instance, spends twice as much nationally on health care as the next nation down the list (kind of like our defense budget) but leads industrialized nations in negative indicators such as infant mortality. Before the recent bankruptcy bill was passed by congress, fifty percent of all bankruptcies filed were caused by medical bills (the bill currently in effect makes it far more difficult to declare bankruptcy, with no exceptions for people citing medical bills). Since 2001, over six million people across the nation have lost health insurance. Drug prices are through the roof, and the FDA preventing importation of those dangerous Canadian drugs isn't helping. Texas in particular has suffered from the numerous issues wrapped up with health care; Texas is fiftieth in the nation in terms of quality and quantity of health care. Even illegal immigration has contributed to the problem, as many Texas hospitals have closed down because treating everyone who needed it was too expensive. Dallas area Parkland Hospital, wher JFK was taken after he was shot, estimates that treating illegal immigrants costs roughly fifty million dollars per year. Solutions are in high demand, but low on supply.

Candidates

Chris Bell spoke for ten minutes. His delivery was clear and practiced, and he got his points across well, deftly weaving in criticism of his opponents (mostly Rick Perry and Carol Strayhorn, who he describes as two sleeves on the same empty suit). Whether his political skills are a positive element is left as an exercise for the voter. Opening with an anecdote/joke about going into Mexico and finding a virtual medical supermarket just across the border from Rio Grande City (this reminded me greatly of the node one stop shopping: is Chris Bell an E2 user?), he highlighted america's increasing flight across the borders to find affordable health care. He came out quickly with the statement that he wants to lead Texas towards Universal health care, citing the increasing number of people without health care under governor Rick Perry's Reign of Error. He says that he wants to appoint an insurance watch dog to ensure that companies look after consumer's needs in a better fashion. He came out strongly in favor of stem cell research, even saying that Texas should be a national leader in the field. He also said that every child should be receiving all proper vaccinations, although that was really just a vehicle for saying that he supports giving children the new HPV vaccine that fights one of the main viruses that causes cervical cancer. To fund these proposals, he says the state should be enforcing and expanding business taxes (only 1 in 16 Texas businesses pay the franchise tax) and opening up Texas to casino gambling.

Knky Friedman came out on stage in a cowboy hat, a black jacket, jeans, and a cigar in his mouth. By audience reaction, he seemed far more popular, although my perception of the whole may have been limited by the five people screaming and applauding in the row directly behind me (I had grabbed a front row seat). His speech was less focussed and practiced than Chris Bell's; he didn't know what to do with his hands (opening a bottle of coke wihout taking a drink), and he didn't get into his speech for about thirty seconds or so because of various distractions. It was also clear he doesn't give speeches often: he talked much the way ordinary people would talk, not as one would expect someone who was reading a prepared speech to talk. He opened with a story about a dream he claims had: In it, governor Rick Perry dies (to much approval in the audience) and is given a choice between heaven and hell. Going to hell, he sees all of his lobbyist friends playing golf and having a good time. Going to heaven the next day, he is rather bored. He chooses hell, and is surprised at what he finds: his pals are all wearing rags and picking up trash. Asking the devil what happened, the devil says Oh, we were campaigning yesterday. Today, you voted.

His speech continued for fifteen minutes, although he said less than Chris Bell in that time. He supports not Universal health care or Socialized Medicine but what he called managed health care, which would be similar to Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura's plan, which made Minnesota number one in the U.S. in health care and which he believes would work well for Texas. He said that teachers would be on easy street under him, receiving all the health care they needed, because allowing casino gambling in Texas would bring in roughly six billion dollars per year (he went on a fact finding mission to Las Vegas a few weeks prior to this), paying for any expenses that would ever arise. He also spoke about how he would put more National Guard troops on the border with Texas, saying that the troops there now are hanging about like FEMA officials without the power to arrest. His responses to questions were far more direct than Chris Bell's — i.e. Yes, I would support that — although that may indicate that he didn't really know as much offhand as Chris Bell. Despite all of that, before I left a group of women with strong Texas accents were discussing the candidates seemed to be in consensus about their support for Kinky. One said I'm not voting for anyone who's held office before. The house, and the senate, they're just the most rotten group of people out there. If Kinky wins, and it's looking like an increasing possibility, it may have national implications. Whichever party wins the congress this year, the Tastycrats and the Fingerlicans are going to have a fire under their asses to really do something in the coming years.

Again, you lonestars (and anyone around the country seeking information about their own elections) will wish to visit dontvote.com, which features stories about the race and links to the candidates' websites, for more in depth information.

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