"Cactus Father" is a character that appeared in my spontaneous writing, that served as a seeming conduit for wizardly and other-worldly knowledge. I decided at some point to "allow" this character to express itself in my stream-of-conscious stories, to see what it had to say. What follows are the stories.
CACTUS FATHER SPEAKS
First Published on Medium Dec 17, 2019
The Cactus Father dreamed seven realities into existence before I found my way to him. These are the dreams spilt on open realities by the one that folds into himself at night, the thorns the only protector from armies and winds. After several decades swirling with the debris of time and mistaking their flow for my will, I came to the desert full of unsightly Joshua Trees, ugliest trees in all the world, and knocked on the tree-stump of the thorned one.
Why, Cactus Father, have we been born into this life? Why here, why now? I’ve been asking my angels, they came up to my window and told me that we are all here to experience contrast, but when I asked them what that means, there came a storm that ripped apart my house and sent me walking, traveling miles to answer for myself, why contrast? Why would I have come here for contrast, what’s the point?
The Cactus Father unfurled his infinite mind from the coven of its underground completion, and started a song that continues to this day. We are countless, we are dispersed, and we are needed for the one to know all possibility. Once we were knowledge, now we are seekers looking for knowledge everywhere, there isn’t a point unless it comes to you naturally. I was a vision in the mind of a planet, a purple magma center that spent its five thousand years sleeping and spilling fumes into the void. The recurring dream of its boiling was my soul, another mirror on the voice of creation. I came to rest in this forest of beautiful trees and looked for the answer, why was I dreamed, I looked into myself. The forest yawned into the field of stars that lies behind the stars, older than the universe we know, from which there emerges from time to time a physical presence, an impossible star, a force without description, and many many entities that can’t incarnate here. The field is incredibly vaster than the universe we see, all knowledge is a reflection of its glow. These things were us once, substance without orientation, glowing without choice. The world we know is created by choices, as beings of infinite glow we make our first choice by deciding to glow more brightly, to go further to the source. To go further to the Source, all things must first go further away, and return. The most beautiful journey is the journey of return, the most beautiful journey is that of return, and all things will return- the full beauty of this knowledge is yet to be revealed. All things return, the beauty of that stands for future beings to feel expanded from. The return across thresholds of suffering, the return across despair — these things have not been fully played out yet, but they are on the path to becoming clear. There’s a roadmap inside each creature, not yet clear to see, its signs muddled, but all have seen this somewhere in their life: that the road home is magnificent enough it places all struggles into context, even across many lives.
This was not good enough for me, not after losing my house and traveling 300 miles to talk to the ugliest tree in the galaxy. “How can you stand there in the sand and say that?” I said, “roadmap or no, the struggle is severer than you say- some people experience slavery, what ‘context’ can there be for that?”
Most Cacti would have turned back into plants after such a question, but not the Cactus Father, whose guts are in other dimensions and whose mind has left the linear realm behind. He said, “the history of humans has left strange debris all around your spirit bodies, it can be cleaned off in an instant or after several lifetimes of care. The power of Masculine Divine uses the former, the power of Feminine Divine uses the latter, the power of Completion is the center, in which none of these things ever happened. The energy of Completion is the time residing at the fulcrum of every timeline, the atom at the center of every atom in the universe, the instant at the center of every second, the DNA strand that connects all beings to their higher dimensions. It has always been hard to walk the rocks of planets, to cross the deserts of sand. There will be a reckoning, the body remembers what its been put through. There will come a reckoning and you all will be there, all those who’ve been in movie seats watching, or on the screen; and all who’ve been entangled in the Earth since the beginning, including many spending most of their time far away. The ultimate forms of contrast, the ultimate extreme, is a time of maximum suffering, coupled with maximum joy. It has not always been possible to experience both maximum suffering and maximum joy in the span of a single life. The maximums were slanted in the past, creating joy based on avoidance, and suffering that separates a soul from joys that are its right. But now, now the part of the film arrives in which joy extends past the limits it had before. Suffering was the process that made joy poignant, made it meaningful in a way it never could be in paradise. The distance you travel from your truth intensifies the significance of your eventual return. It will not always be this way, there’ll be another cycle of exploration to live out in a future Earth.
“That sounds like a bad movie to me and not one I want to sit through any longer,” I said, “I would gather my popcorn and leave if this were the conclusion. You’re making this reality sound like a cheap flick where the moral is ‘love will save the day’ and the ticket sales are frustrating to my sense of justice. How am I supposed to rest assured that it’ll all have context in the end, how am I supposed to return home to my demolished house and see it as a step towards happily ever after? How does this work, does the universe need a new script department?”
The Cactus Father, a wizard of another kind, a flower and a mountain and a river all at once, said nothing for several moments while he transformed into a star and back again. “We have all made the decision to transform,” he said, “we all see each other, we have only to look inside ourselves and there we are, every being in all the universes, being their own infinite aspect of the infinite scope. All possible explorations of what existence means are being carried out, all possible experiments in what being means, because the question of the universe has pestered beings on an individual level: what am I? The way the universe answers this question is to become everything possible, as many times and as many different ways as it takes to experience what is possible. Free choice means every intelligence can pursue the track it wants, while the universe explores every possible choice that every intelligence could have made. All choices have already been made, and at the same time you are free to make the choices you want. Each time you ask yourself any variation on ‘what am I’ or ‘why am I here,’ that’s a small particle, or a portion, of the grand question being answered by the universe. Thus the only way to truly answer such questions is, ‘we’re working on it.’” The Cacti Father then tetragrammatically refolded himself into a hideous Joshua Tree, perhaps to underline his final point, perhaps to catch some Z’s. Either way I knew the conversation was done.
I crossed the desert again, through the vast territory of ugly Joshua Trees, to the long long freeway back home. Except now the freeway wouldn’t carry me home, but into a new reality where everything had been replaced by something new, each waiting for its turn to unfold.
Cactus Father Remembers
Published on Medium Sep 10, 2020
Again this place with the horrible trees. I stumble in quite often now the power’s out, and the lines are down between me and elsewhere. “Where do we go but inside,” said the last-printed remnants of the world before, “when the outside disappears?” The printed words I have leftover from that time are mish-mash, it makes me wonder how my mind made sense of it when it was made of screens, or if it was hallucination in the electric.
The Cactus Father speaks. He tells me there is room for another breath of that life electric, but that it must be made of different circuits this time. I ask him where we’re supposed to go for motivation for new circuits, since the last ones fell so sharply on our heads. He says, “you don’t have to find motivation, you have to find movements.” I never know what Cactus Father is saying, why do I always come out to this desert for answers?
I sit with a bandaid and a bottle of water, wary of snakes, wary of hybrid farmer-warriors with motorcycles and machine guns. These days are weird, these days are outer space. We get normal to the weirdest things, a nearby sage bush reminds me. I had better learn to talk to plants, I think, since they’re the only ones that are talking sense out here.
I wander forward, and the Cactus Father stays with me, talking out of every hideous Joshua Tree on my path. “Why so glum?” He says. “My world is fallen down,” I say. He tells me that I need to learn not to speak plant but to see plant, because then he could show me the alternative world we avoided.
It doesn’t help the sun is red now. Was this how history was supposed to go? I fasten the buckle of this backpack. Nobody but weirdos comes out here and I am very much one of them. “How are we supposed to wage peace when we want to fight so much?” I ask.
The Cactus Father tells me, “humans say they want war because they’re bored of peace, but really they haven’t figured out what peace is for. It’s quite exciting over here,” the ugliest tree in view shakes its branch, “in the peace dimension with the other trees. We have a blast. You humans think you’ve seen peace and gotten tired of it, but fact is you haven’t seen it ever. Just you wait,” he says, “just you wait.”
“Where is it?” I ask, “where’s the door?”
“Inside yourselves,” says Cactus Father, “they put it where you’d surely find it, but it’s become the last place you go looking. It’s at the center of the human BEing, the place you think is rotten. It is not rotten, it’s just hidden. It’s just waiting.”
A tumbleweed rolls by, aware of our conversation, uninterested in interrupting.
I kick a rock, “how do we get to the center of the human BEing?” I ask, seeing how far I can get this time with my questions.
“By valuing what has most value of all.” A large Joshua Tree to the left, with its disgusting branches twisting in 360 degrees into a tangled ball, started turning. Each joint in its mass of branches began rotating, a hypnotic geodesic dance, almost enough to make me forget the nastiness of these trees. It landed in alignment, straight as a redwood, pointing to the sky. Then came the voice of the Cactus Father, “The human contains an arrow straight to the Source of all creation, it is unique in this, it is treasured in this. In each and every human is the direct beaming lantern of Source. Nothing else is quite like it.” The bolt-upright form unraveled and spun back into its heinously gnarled form again. “The universe is in it, and the universe values itself beyond words. Recognize this and you’ll recognize your door.”
I had just wandered back to my car, though I hadn’t intended to, a sign it was time for me to go. I figured I’d squeeze one more question in. “But how do I tell the other humans this is what to look for?”
The dust spun upward from between the thorny bushes. In the desert, nothing can be soft. “How am I supposed to know? I’m just a Joshua Tree.”
More like Joshua Grass, I thought, climbing annoyed back in my car. It always turns out like this. The information always ends somewhere. But then, I thought as I drove back to my quiet city, where else am I supposed to get news these days?