Wordcarpenter Books

Chapter Six


The Sign of the Pahana


Knowing Joshua's teacher was the medicine man who gave the healing ceremonies to those who perished after the World Trade Tower disaster in 2001, and by all accounts a very important and respected man, Thomas was nervous meeting him. He was an internationally known elder who had taken his twin brother under his wing, both as a student and as a writer to record his teachings in a book. He couldn't help thinking of all the things that could go wrong.

"Don't be nervous meeting Grandfather."

"And how do I do that?"

"Delete all negative thought."

"Easier said than done."

"Say no four times to rid yourself of any negative thought." He followed this advice but didn't feel any different afterwards.

"Do you have any tobacco to offer him when you meet?"

"No, I don't."

"Let's stop then at the store up here to buy some cigarettes." They stopped at a general store in Seven Sister's Falls and bought a few packs of cigarettes.

"Put this in your pocket. Right after you shake his hand, that's when you offer him tobacco. Give him the whole pack. Listen, I can see you're uptight. Relax. He's one of us. Just be yourself." He tried to tell himself it wasn't all that important but if his twin brother respected a man this much then it was important.

They walked down front yard walkway with trimmed grass and a big totem pole that stood beside the entrance.

"See that at the top?" he said, pointing to the top of it. "That's a Thunderbird." He knocked lightly and a very old looking man with deep lines in his face appeared, opening the door slowly. Thomas was surprised at how small he was.

"Good afternoon Grandfather. I have someone I would like you to meet." Josh smiled, enjoying the moment and exuding confidence. "This is my twin brother I have told you about. Thomas. He has just come from the Far East." With grace, he opened the door, put out his hand and studied his face, smiles and then laughs. Josh too began to laugh. Thomas didn't know what was so funny but because he was so nervous, he joined in. Grandfather didn't take his eyes off him as he laughed, studying him deeply through the wrinkled lids of his weathered face. But compared to the guttural freedom of their laughter, Thomas is embarrassed at how repressed and tentative his laugh was. He thought if laughter was the sound of the soul breathing, then he had some damp stones in his heart he needed to address.

"Your twin brother," said Grandfather.

Solemnly, he brought his hand up to touch Thomas's beard as if checking to see if it was real. Thomas kept his eyes on Grandfather in awe of the sea of wrinkles that crisscrossed his face.

"Same" he said, shaking his head in disbelief and nodding approvingly. Grandfather deliberately opened his eyes wider to show Thomas a glint of intensity.

"Yes Grandfather. He has finally come back from the East."

"No, not come back. He visits his twin brother first to learn his destiny. Then he will return according to the prophecies." There was something in the way he said this that caused both brothers to stand tongue-tied as if children again. He transformed himself from a frail old man to a wise sage with the reverence in his voice that he had earned through years of cultivating his spirit.

Two large crows swooped down and landed not ten feet away just as the brightness of the sun poked through some clouds. Grandfather's eyes moved to the birds as the sun reflected off his eyes, showing the joy within.

"It is an honor to meet you Grandfather," he said, and handed him the tobacco.

"It is time when you must come together to become stronger and harness your power, harvest the wisdom you have gained. It is time the twin from the East brings back the sacred stone to its rightful home here on Turtle Island, and usher in the Coming of the Pahana - the Healer of Mankind." Grandfather looked at both crows just as they squawked. He gestured the tobacco toward the identical crows and then to Josh and Thomas. Sounds of birds, chipmunks, crickets, woodpeckers and every kind of wildlife was almost deafening for a moment.

"A pure heart is the only weapon for a warrior of the spirit," he said, and then he invited them inside.

To Thomas it was noticeable that they both moved with full awareness of mutual respect, and comfort that came from friends who harbored no doubt of each other's loyalty and dedication to their bond of friendship.

Above a big drum in the corner of the living room was a large painting of two crows. It was strange; the painting was of the two crows that were just outside on the front lawn. Pointing at the crows, Grandfather stepped close to Thomas.

"Rainbow Thunderbird gave that painting to me the first week he came here to Seven Sister's Falls many years ago." He looked back at Josh with a paternal look in his eye. "At that time he did not know that the crow was one of my totem animals and one of my sacred medicines. At that time he did not know his Spirit Name and did not know much about Native beliefs. He had only chosen to follow his vision to come here from the West to find me - the teacher who he saw in his vision. When I first saw your brother, I knew that he was the one I had been expecting. Even before I learned he was a twin, I had seen his face before in a dream. It was his face I recognized. And the voice too."

"Do you remember what you said to me when you first saw the painting?" asked Josh. Grandfather looked at the painting again, momentarily lost in recollection.

"I asked you if you had a brother," he replied.

"And when I answered that I had an identical twin brother?"

"Yes, I know." There was gentleness in his voice, and movement as if the grace of God was in him. "Yes, tell your brother," he said, nodding.

"Grandfather said: ‘Taiowa has sent you.'" At this memory, they both laughed with an easiness that caused any anxiety he felt to evaporate. "'Taiowa' means the Creator."

Grandfather motioned for them to sit down. Instead of smoking a peace pipe, which was what Thomas expected, they all smoked cigarettes. Thinking he wasn't saying enough, he pulled out the piece of paper with the sketch from his pocket.

"Speaking of questions," he said, looking at Josh.

"Grandfather we have a question about a dream Thomas had last night. I thought that you might be able to decipher it." Thomas handed the sketch to Grandfather.

"Last night Thomas had this dream, so this morning he decided to write it down, only his dream was visual - like a picture." Grandfather's eyes narrowed on the sketch.

"See, instead of normal steps there are these swirls like a double helix that lead up to behind the sun. Not only that, there is a straight line to the top of the ladder." Josh pointed at the ladder and the swirls leading up to the sun.

"In the dream when I reached for the straight line I got a shock," added Thomas.

"An orange spark?" Josh and Thomas looked at each other, eyes wider.

"Yes, it was a spark and it was orange. I could feel the spark; that's when I woke up." Grandfather kept his eyes on the sketch and pointed to the pillars.

"These two pillars were weathered stone," he went on. "The one below the sun on the right was smaller. In the dream it was almost as if I were holding these pillars for balance. The steps in the ladder were moving in a swirling motion and the star in the sky was glittering. And I couldn't stop staring at the star."

"The star was sparkling?"

"Yes! It was turquoise and had a power that lured me toward the foot of the ladder where the God of Mischief is." The laughter that came from Grandfather was light - lighter than any laugh he had ever heard - like a mild explosion of silk. Grandfather shook his head in disbelief. There was a tear that brimmed in the eye closest to me, not of sadness but from an intensity of emotion.

"I know of this dream," he said in a low voice. "I have heard an elder speak of such a dream many years ago. He said it would return when the time was near; when it was time for the missing stone tablet to come back to its rightful home from the East." He pointed at the sketch. "See how the ladder goes behind the sun to the House of the Great Spirit? See how the swirls cannot be measured by man's system of numbers yet acts as a conduit to where our ancestors live? See how the straight line calls for a pure heart? See how it is announced to the sages of man by the sparkling star overhead, like the star that shone during the time of Jesus's birth? The Hopis call this star the Blue Star Kachina." There were beads of sweat on Grandfather's brow. Thomas was bewildered into silence until he put the sketch back on the table and lit a smoke.

"So what does it mean? And why did I dream of it?" Grandfather folded his hands, turned his body and looked directly at him after he exhaled.

"Only the Great Knowing Spirit truly knows why you have been given the sacred story. It is an ancient Indian dream, not a dream for a White Man. But you are not all white. You have the skin of a White Man but inside you think like a Red Man. You have the heart of a Métis Indian. It is believed in the prophecies that he who comes to heal the dying spirits of man will not be Red, White, Yellow or Black. He will be Métis. He will look white but have a spiritual life of a Red Man. He is called the Pahana. He is also known as the True White Brother. He will come during the Time of Purification."

Grandfather watched to see if the profundity of this dream was registering in his deeper mind but Thomas was having trouble centering his thoughts.

"Why was the God of Mischief in the dream?" asked Josh.

"It is said that the Pahana will be like a hippie, caring not for piety nor conventional morality as has traditionally been followed by Christians. Instead He will follow His own rules and let His heart show its true colors. They say that He will be unknowing of his destiny until later in his life. He will not be a saint; He will be a man." Grandfather closed his eyes to invite more questions. The thought of Saint Augustine's reckless youth crosses Thomas's mind.

"The Pahana has an identical twin, doesn't he?" Thomas asked, knowing that this was central to how Josh identified himself as an adult. Grandfather nodded solemnly with his eyes closed.

"The Messenger must have an identical twin, just as Jesus and his twin brother Jude Thomas were twins two millennia ago." How either of them knew of this Thomas had no idea, but it was indicative of how far these two men had studied the histories and prophecies of religions.

"So the Pahana will heal mankind through another means, other than preaching at churches?"

"The means of his ministry will be specific to his time in history. It is said that the message will be simple and easy for all to grasp; that it will eventually outgrow all other religions because it distills the essence of all religions down to first principles. It is said the message of Jesus was marred by Rome and that the Second Coming will be the full message to bring all his sheep into one fold, all the descendents of Abraham."

"'And behold,'" said Josh, mocking a preacher. "'The things which this apostle of the Lamb shall write are many things which thou hast seen; and behold the remainder shalt thou see,' to quote from Nephi in the Book of Mormon." Thomas cannot process his brother quoting passages from the Book of Mormon.

"All will be revealed in time," Grandfather said, looking at Thomas.

"Where is the sacred stone tablet?" Josh asked, not letting this opportunity slip through his fingers.

"It is said that the keepers of the prophecies have it in Arizona. The other sacred stone of the East is in Tibet."

"It was just a dream," said Thomas, comforting himself with this basic fact.

"But only in our dreams can we receive the messages from the Great Spirit," replied Grandfather.

        "Okay. If we were to look for it, how would we ever find it?"

"There's a Native saying that goes: ‘A friend always leaves a trail.'" He stood up, and gestured to the door. "Let me take you to the oldest petroglyphs in North America. It is there in a cave where you can make up your own minds. I am only a guide."

Grandfather brought a leather satchel with him as they all walked out to Joshua's truck and sped off to the cave.



Part One - Canada
1.      The Twin From the East Returns  
2.      The Sundancer  
3.      Waxing Gibbous 
4.      The Second Coming of the Messiah 
5.      The Sacred Twin Story 
6.      The Sign of the Pahana 
7.      Palongawhoya and Poqanghoya 
8.      Rainbow Thunderbird and Red Phoenix 
9.      The True White Brother 
10.    The Lost Louis Riel Notebooks 
Part Two - Hong Kong
11.    A Mixture of Revulsion and Pity 
12.    A Classroom of Scallywags 
13.    Illegitimati non Carborundum 
14.    The Distant Fire of Empyrean
Part Three - Burma
15.    The Monastery of Sacred Tablets 
16.    The Outpost of Tyranny 
17.    When the 12th Moon Comes 
18.    The Pigeon Left & the Crow Took His Place 
19.    Go North and Find Your People 
20.    Finding Orwell 
21.    Though the Monkey is in a Hurry, the Tree Branch is Not 
22.    The Castle at God's Toes 
23.    The General and Sergeant Betel Nut 
24.    The Tattooed Station Master 
25.    Reverend Crow's Life's Work 
26.    Yield Not to Adversity, But Press on More Bravely 
27.    A Bitter Cuppa Tea 
28.    The Thirteenth Tribe 
29.    When a Lamp is Lit You Must Expect Insects 
30.    John the Christian 
31.    A Guardian Angel Named Hanna 
32.    The Bar Car & Betel Nut 
33.    The Son of Light 
34.    Slipping the Karmic Knot
Part Four - Hong Kong
35.    The Tonsure Warning 
36.    The Phoenix Reborn 
37.    Touching the Empyrean 
38.    Joshua the Gatekeeper 
Part Five - Canada
39.    Lapsit Exillis 
40.    Thunderstones 
41.    The Time of Great Purification  

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