Melinda and I took a trip out to New Mexico to see Grey Antelope not long after I met him in 1990. Melinda was my roommate and actually the instigator of my meeting him at all. Certain activities on her part, namely attempting a working on me that I did not choose to allow, made it so that I needed to find someone to fix the tangled knot of a problem that resulted. Thus came Grey Antelope into the picture.
After meeting him for the first time and having him handle my issue matter-of-factly and without undue fuss, I kept in touch with him by phone for several months. This led to the trip out to see him at the Santa Clara Pueblo. It was a spur of the moment decision on our part. He requested we come visit. After talking it over with Melinda, we agreed. She took time off, I was already out of work, it worked out fine.
I got a speeding ticket almost the moment we crossed over into Arizona. Not exactly the most dazzling of ways to start off a visit to a holy man. Perhaps the lessons were beginning a bit earlier than I had anticipated. Ok, slow down, he will still be there even if we take 30 seconds longer or a couple of minutes or even a few hours. Just slow the hell down. Melinda was not thrilled with how this had started either.
We drove through the night and into the next day, switching off driving so that we arrived in Espanola around 5pm. We stopped and called Grey Antelope to make sure he was home. We were fortunate that he was. Then we drove the last leg and arrived at his front door. His directions were perfect and we had no trouble finding him.
We talked for a short time with him examining us both from behind his sunglasses. He always wore them, inside or out, rain or shine. You could just barely make out the direction he was actually looking without having to stare hard to the point of rudeness. He named Melinda ‘Raven Woman’ or ‘Dancing Raven’. I waited in breathless expectation and then waited some more. I was not named during that visit. Like a whiny brat, I asked why not. Grey Antelope grinned at me and told me it was simply not time to name me yet. That the next time I saw him, then he would reveal my name to me. I had to be content with that. It wasn’t easy.
I admit, reluctantly, that I had a bit of an internal snit fit about it. What about me?! With some relief, I can say that I managed to keep the whining internal and not let it out the flapping gums that devour extremities adorned with toes. It was a near thing. Still, with his decision I had to be content. What was I going to do, pick him up, turn him upside down and shake a name out of his pockets? He could tell when I finally resigned myself to his decision. The twinkle in his eyes was pretty visible, shades or no shades.
Once we chatted ourselves into the proverbial corner, Grey Antelope had a suggestion for us on where to sleep that night. We ought to go camp up at the tribal campgrounds. Er… ok. Also, we should bathe in the stream up there. Ummm… bracing. After that, well, perhaps we should keep a fire lit all night. Huh? He smiled and sent us on our way without another word on it. Melinda and I just looked at each other and drove off to the campgrounds still trying to figure out just what this was about.
The campsites weren’t terribly bad. Each location had a three-walled shelter with a roof. One wall contained a fireplace. Well, that made the keeping a fire going directive simpler. We parked the car and I wandered off to find the stream he had suggested. It wasn’t too difficult to find either. Stripping down, I planted myself dead center and plunged under the swift water. Yikes! Yelp! Snow run-off! Holy hell, that was cold. I think my butt sailed right out of the water and landed on the bank without once touching it again. As I sat drying off and getting dressed again, I found a golf ball sitting next to me. I pocketed it and headed back to the campsite to let Melinda have her turn at freezing her private bits.
I got out my blankets and put them on the concrete of the shelter’s floor. There was a picnic table just a few feet from the fireplace and I was on the other side of it. Melinda came back and put her sleeping bag down near mine. I got the fire going and curled up into my nest, exhausted from the drive and from trying to puzzle out what Grey Antelope was really up to. Melinda was just as tired.
Mere minutes passed and suddenly Melinda shot bolt upright and nearly screamed. Something had run across her hand in the dark. Faster than fast, her sleeping bag and her person were bundled up into the car and I was on my own. I gravely pondered the situation and decided that perhaps the concrete was not the best possible spot in the shelter to attempt sleeping after all. I hauled my blankets up off the ground and laid them out on the picnic table’s surface. Nodding to myself at my cleverness, I laid down again and watched the fire’s flickering flames as I drifted off to sleep.
I startled awake just as the fire was nearing its last bit of useful heat and light. I got up and rekindled it up to a robust blaze and tried to remember clearly what I had been dreaming just before I popped awake. Ummm…well… I actually remembered easily without any blur or fuzziness or doubt what I was dreaming. It was just extremely strange given the surroundings. Then again, maybe not so strange. I was being made love to by an extremely attractive man. Short dark hair, brown skin, very experienced hands doing very nice things… all in all, not unpleasant. Ok, downright naughty and erotic. I just couldn’t figure out where my subconscious was bringing him in from. It wasn’t anyone I recognized at all. I was getting sleepy again and now that the fire was cheerily burning away again, I let my eyes go back down.
Again I woke just before the fire could go completely out. Again I had been dreaming. No cute guys doing naughty things this time. Nope. This time I was having an argument with my employer. Actually, we were yelling at each other and I somehow did something that shut it down and stopped it cold. Everything around us froze and I moved away from him and left the building. As I was stomping up the stairs to leave, I woke up. I was not so thrilled with this dream. It was so real. Every color, every sound, every word. Now that I think about it, the first dream had been like that too. More real than real.
I took quite a bit longer to fall back asleep this time. The strangeness was bothering me but eventually the heat of the fire and the flickering of the flames made me drowsy and I nodded off again. This time the first dream picked up right where it originally left off. Things got downright pornographic and I sat bolt upright just as the fire was giving up the ghost for the final time. Dawn had arrived. I looked down at my lap and willed the uncomfortable hard-on to go away. Well, at least I managed to keep the fire going all night as we had been told to do. Melinda unkinked herself from the contortions she had twisted herself into in the car and joined me at the fireplace.
She admitted to dreaming as well but would not say what she dreamed about. I mentioned the middle dream but decided it was best not to say a word about the other split one. TMI if ever there was such a things as Too Much Information. Besides, I really didn’t want to engage her jealousy if it could be avoided. I decided that I wanted some of the soil from the stream bank where we had bathed. I filled a plastic grocery bag with dirt from the side of the stream and tucked it into the back of the car. We then packed up and drove back to Grey Antelope. He was waiting on his porch for us, sitting comfortably and grinning. I finally began to realize what the old trickster had had us doing.
I reported our doings of the night as he nodded. He oh so innocently inquired as to any dreams we might have had. I know I turned bright red. Melinda said she dreamed but didn’t want to share them just yet. I latched onto that idea as well. Grey Antelope nodded and grinned some more. Then he explained we had just done the Tewa Vision Quest. I shook my head at his stealthy trick and asked why he didn’t just tell us in the first place. He responded with he wanted to see if we would follow directions.
Grey Antelope took us to breakfast and as we ate, he told us of one of his people’s traditions. From every meal, a very tiny amount was set aside. This was then placed outdoors and left. It was to honor the ancestors and to remind us that part of us always must go back to where we began. It didn’t matter if a cat came along and ate it, or a raccoon or anything else, just that it be done and that we think about the ancestors.
Melinda and I drove back to Riverside in about half the time it took us to go the other direction. I was glad to be home again. I had learned quite a bit from that trip. The other shoe dropped when both dreams ended up actually happening. Erotic dream turned out to be a White Mountain Apache named John that I met a couple of weeks later. He was every bit as skilled at love making at the dream implied. I also ended up having the fight with my employer but six months later. Again, the details literally matched what the dream had showed without any change in particulars. Figure that one out and get back to me.
I never asked Melinda if her dream had come true the way mine had. I have spoken to very few people about this part of my life. It seemed too personal twenty years ago. I also didn’t really want anyone trying to argue with me that it wasn’t possible, that I was mistaken or the whole plethora of other negative comments people can come up with concerning what I have shared. All I know is that I did what I was told, had interesting dreams that ended up not being dreams and that I spent some quality time with a man I admire more and more with each passing year. Oh and Grey Antelope did name me the next time I saw him: Chikowanu which means Lightning in Tewa. I will answer to that name for the rest of my life no matter what road I eventually go down.