Sunday, January 1, 2017

Serpentine Stone

Thousands of years ago, a powerful wizard created a serpentine stone. The stone served various masters, being passed down from Father to Son. It was a manifest stone with the particular power to grant whatever the owner truly desired as long as he kept the stone in his possession. The serpentine stone, itself, was not a ruby or sapphire, but a rather common looking stone. It was slightly smaller than a quail egg, but similar in shape and  was of reddish, brown hue. Because of its power, it was only given to those who had proven themselves. A very wise master, realizing his inability to control his desires, stood at the edge of the woods and hurled the rock deep into the forest, knowing he would never be able to find it.
There it sat in the woods among the earth and decaying branches for over 200 years when a gathering of woods people took place. Among these woods people was a man known for his spirituality, a Shaman. Sensing the connections of all things was second nature to him both among those things that modern science calls living and those things they do not. While the stone to you and I would have been impossible to notice to him its inward powers shown like a great flame sitting on the forest floor. Not only was the stone easily found by this man of great discernment but he also recognized instantly what powers the stone had. Adding it to his pouch, he knew that his next job was to find the stones next master and that he must choose wisely for the stone's power could bring great good or great calamity to the earth.
While at the gathering, he met Carlos. Carlos was not always wise but he was sincere. Several times he had determined to give Carlos the stone, only to see the foolhardy youth error, causing him to retract his decision. But no matter how many times he determined his choice would be someone else, Carlos kept coming to mind. At the last day of the gathering he met with Carlos. The stone was given but so was a charge that he not take this responsibility lightly, for to have all your true desires met puts great responsibility on the owner. They must learn to control and decide wisely what their true desires would be. For the stone would help you get your desires but it would not be without repercussions. Bad desires would be achieved with at times, dire consequences. Carlos was determined to be deserving of this charge.
Carlos soon found that the stone was exactly as advertised. At first, he was very careful to control his desires and keep them in check. He could not control regular whims but with effort he could keep unwise thoughts or directions from becoming true desires. However, over time he found it easier and easier to allow unwise and foolhardy enterprises to become his desire. In these he found victory but the more unwise the pursuit the more sorrow he left in his wake. It was only when a particular victory almost led to the loss of that which he loved most that he realized he had failed his charge, he was undeserving of the stone. Wisely he began to seek out the wise man who had first given him the stone.
Friends told him that the Shaman would once again be at another wood gathering at the exact location where the stone had first been given to Carlos. The gathering was much larger than it had been in years past. The main fire was set in the middle of the various camps. Word of Carlos arrival spread quickly, as the years had made him a powerful man. Most of the camp was gathered as he came to main fire where the Shaman, the same man who had found the stone stood counseling various leaders.
The camp fell quite as Carlos approached.
“I know why you are here.” The Shaman said.
Carlos held the stone out in his hand. He was determined to return the stone but now that the moment had come, he was torn. How could he voluntarily give up such immense power? For years, would he look back on this moment with regret? Yet, he knew he could not handle the power any longer, that it would be unwise not to give the stone back.
The group stood in silence and the pause became uncomfortable. The Shaman calmly approached and said with an open palm, “It is your choice, you must give it of your own free will.”
Never had Carlos been so torn. He felt his desire for the stone and his desire to be rid of the stone both as overpowering. As silence prevailed suddenly a loud crack filled the camp. The small stone was now two stones in the hand of Carlos. The light the stone once emanated, that had been so clear to the Shaman, was now gone. The stone, charged with granting the desire of its owner was pulled so intensely in two directions that it split loosing it’s power forever.
This story was told to me by Carlos (a homeless man who I will write about later). Many of you may assume it is fictional but I can say with much confidence that while it may be a fictional tail, it was very real to Carlos. He regularly attends gathering of rainbow people in the woods and told me this story while holding half of a small stone, what he claimed was the serpentine stone. He had pulled it out of a small pouch, the kind of pouch you would expect a woodsman to keep his coins in. It was filled with small stones, Knick knacks, and jewels. He also pulled out a quartz crystal, something else he said was known to have powers and gave it to me. This small pouch held a majority of Carlos’s worldly possessions and I was honored he shared some with me.
I was also honored to have the story shared with me. I am not sure what aspects of the story are true but there is much we could all learn from it. For one, I believe in the serpentine stone not as the holder of the power but as a very effective icon to bring out something that we all already have. Psalms 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” The older I get the more I believe, in as much as our desires are in line with natural law, God grants them to us. Like Carlos the responsibility to control and be intentional with our desires is important. For even poor desires can be granted but not without consequences. The greatest reason we may still fail to gain our desires are: They do not align with natural law such as finding happiness in sin, or we can’t truly decide what our desires are. Like Carlos in the story we are torn. We can’t decide what our goals are or what we truly want. Under such circumstances, God like the serpentine stone cannot grant us our desires. However, if you are united internally, in heart and mind you will reach your desires, whether or not you have a serpentine stone in your pocket, so choose wisely.

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