Transformations

We are cattle. (I guess this is not going to be my average post.)

So, here’s the thing. I’ve been thinking about knowledge lately, Gnosis, in other words.

According to Wikipedia:

KNOWLEDGE:

noun

  1. 1.

facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

“a thirst for knowledge”

GNOSIS

In ChristianIslamic, or Jewish mysticismmystery religions and Gnosticism gnosisgenerally signifies a spiritual knowledge or “religion of knowledge”, in the sense of mystical enlightenment or “insight”. Gnosis taught a deliverance of man from the constraints of earthly existence through insight into an essential relationship, as soul or spirit, with a supramundane place of freedom

With knowledge comes a hunger for more knowledge. Eventually, you start seeing things in your real world that you’d never noticed before. I started seeing it in the television shows we watch , the sporting events to which we flock, and, of course, our religions.

Somewhere along the line, you reach that Awakening. I hate calling it an Awakening, because there are so many things tied to that term. It’s become something of a myth, actually. It’s something we expect is going to happen, but it doesn’t happen to us. Why doesn’t it happen to us? we scream. So we look cockeyed at someone who insists that is what’s happening to him or her.

The thing about myths, though, is that many times they are actually Truth hidden from the view of the majority of us.

With me, my Awakening, or Enlightenment as I prefer to call it, has been a long time coming. It hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes, I’ve been dragged to my realizations kicking and screaming by that higher sense of self that’s guiding me. As my knowledge grows, I want to proclaim it from the rooftops. I want to give everyone a how-to guide for this thing I can’t identify, but you can’t describe a cake from the mixing bowl until it’s gone through the oven. Essentially, I’m still the gooey mess inside the mixing bowl. I’m still meeting my shadow self in bits and pieces – ingredients that need to be beaten into the mix like eggs, and milk, and flour.

I don’t know how this process of transformation works for others. For me it’s been a years-long process that involves people I love and respect. And the reason a full awakening is difficult to attain for many. There’s that voice that peals like a bell in my head telling me to protect those I love and ignore my own desires.

That has got to be the most painful realization to have to accept. So it’s been a slow process for me. There is still an intense battle between The Awakening Me and what I call The Human Me.

People may question the origin of a power that works this way. I’ve been torn inside and out trying to define my experience. In the end, I’ve decided it is for the benefit of my own higher self.

How do I know this is right? Because the existence I used to live feels inauthentic. The thought of returning to that life is like heavy iron bars. Moving forward from here is exciting.

I guess this will function as a warning to my classmates out there in the Internet world. If you would not be willing to turn your current life upside down and backwards, you’d better stop searching right now.

The truth is that once you’ve opened your mind, there’s no turning back. You can’t unlearn a truth you’ve learned. It’s impossible to do it without psychotropic drugs.

I love the life I lived that brought me to this point in my life. How could I not? I am this person because of the experiences I’ve lived. Right now, I’m trying to clear up my emotional Karma – that thing that makes me feel I am tied to this reality. There are still some shadows I find difficult to face. Which is why I’m still not at full-awakened status.

So, let’s go back to the beginning of this blog.

We are cattle.

Responding to a friend’s Facebook post about the international banking system and the slaves we have become, I got on my pulpit.

The idea is hard for people to understand, I guess. I mean, really, who wants to accept that to the powers that be, we are cattle. Livestock. We go to work (the field for cattle, for example) then return home at the end of the day for dinner and relaxation and sleep. It’s rarely what we really want to be doing with our lives, so we dream of the weekend or summer vacation or retirement.

The Ranch Owners are the ones who collect the profits of our labor. Our bosses and, in a greater sense, our governments which collect our fruits via taxation.

Enough on that. That is an argument for you to have with yourself if you decide to drop down that rabbit hole! There are so many others, all leading us to realizations about the truth of our human existence.

When I launched my Vision Quest last year, I tossed aside the ideas that had been living in my reality for years. I realized, not decided. The difference between one and the other is that one is based on personal truth (realize), whereas the other implies a choice between two equal realities. The choice is not equal, hence it is not really a choice. It’s an acceptance. An allowance where the truth is allowed to take seed in us.

For me, that acceptance is ongoing. Every day is a new challenge.

I hope that your lesson of knowledge is as enlightening as mine has become.

Your classmate,

The Dragonfly’s Student

UPDATE: The Inspiration of Music

It was exactly one year ago today that I wrote and shared this post. At the time, I didn’t realize what kind of a year I was launching. I spoke about the old me in college and about the new me just being realized. I spoke about my connections with music and how it opened me to Spirit. I spoke with hope about the future.

Here I am, a year later, feeling blessed by what this year has brought me and ever-grateful to my Creator for the gifts I have been given.

May this new birth continue to bless my interactions with the world and those I love.

Much love,

The Dragonfly’s Student

A year ago today, May 20

… On nurturing the future

wpid-20150114_170517.jpg
A beautiful young flower dedicated to all the mothers out there today.

Today is the day on which we honor our mothers. So, what is a mother? She is the one who gives birth to children who, by default, become the future of her existence. She gives life and hope to beings to whom is given the hope of a life they can make into their own truth. She gives her children the nurturing and protection they need until they can step into their own responsibility for, truthfully, her children’s happiness is the mother’s goal.

This has been my truth. I’ve never expected my children to become what I want them to be. All I want is for them to be the best them they decide they want to be. I hope I’ve set them on the path that will allow them to experience their own truth.

I was musing about this when I thought about our Creator (Source, God, Sophia, … whatever works for you!) Like a parent, God placed Man into the Garden of Eden (what I like to think of as Earth.) We were given food and shelter (a parent’s function) and rules and expectations.

You know the story. Adam and Eve decided to break the one rule their Father gave them, so He kicked them out of the house. Like a parent whose child has decided to break the most important rule of the family, God kicked them out of His house until they’re ready to truly own up to their transgression. As above so below.

It is no accident Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are on Sundays – God’s day. God, after all, is the parent of us all.

Recently, I was thinking about what it was in my upbringing that made me the person I am today, and I came upon a realization. Although my parents had high hopes for me, they let me follow my own dreams. They never judge me. Although they do try to make their thoughts clear, I am never treated poorly for making my own decisions. They understand I am on my own path through this existence.

I wonder. What if every parent on this Earth acknowledged that, by giving birth, they have become as the Eternal Parent? Would that change our parenting practices? Would the parents put themselves in the place of the child and remember how much they didn’t want to be forced to do anything? Would parents stop expecting children to conform? Ah. what a conundrum, though. A paradox, maybe? Is discipline necessary or is it only necessary because the possibility for discipline exists? Hmm. 

That’s a question for each of us to answer. Sometimes children hunger for the rod of discipline to help them discover what they don’t want, but I think there comes a time when the parent has to step back and let the adult child thrive in his or her own way.

After all, we can’t live their life for them.

So, Happy Mother’s Day to all of us who have chosen to help raise young humans and set them on a path toward their own happiness, a life that only need pay homage to the memory of the parent by giving birth to a glorious life where those children become the creators of their own happiness.

Namaste, my friends.

The Dragonfly’s Student

The Parable of the Great Tree

Once upon a time, the Monkey King sat at the peak of the Great Tree that reached into the clouds in order to commune with his eldest son.

“My son, you have grown of age. I must now tell you of your inheritance. This tree is our life force. Our family uses it for sustenance – its branches support us; its coverage protects us; its fruit nourishes us. But it needs us, as well. It is our function to protect it from parasites that threaten to kill.

“As is foretold, you must set out on your own before you can become king of your own tree. Along the way, there will be challenges. You will encounter danger, you will find friends, you will grow hungry. I ask you only to not take the fruit of the tree that is meant to nourish your brothers and sisters. Feed off the parasites that endanger our home and of the ripened fruit that has fallen to the ground.

“You are meant to be a great king, but you must prove yourself first.”

ginkgo_biloba_maidenhair_tree_dinosaur_hd-wallpaper-218840

The prince bid farewell to his mother and his brothers and sisters, setting out on his own journey.

He descended the tree when the sun’s rays dawned at the ends of the forest. His first challenge came soon.

Woodpecker perched on a branch and considered the trunk near his branch before finally drilling his beak into the bark.

The prince interrupted.

“Hello, my friend.”

Woodpecker stopped his work, tilting his head toward the prince.

“Why are you pecking at our tree?” the prince asked.

“I peck because I am hungry,” said Woodpecker.

The monkey prince remembered the importance of this tree to his family’s survival. He knew Woodpecker was harming the tree. “My dear friend, this tree is home and nourishment to my family. Could you not find another tree on which to feed?”

“I know no other tree,” said Woodpecker. “To find another I would have to become an explorer, and I am not an explorer. I am a woodpecker.”

“Then join me on my journey. I seek a new tree to call my own kingdom. I would appreciate company along the way.”

Woodpecker cocked his head in thought at the prince’s proposal.

“We will eat of the parasites and the fruit on the ground, but we will need to protect this tree.”

Woodpecker knew this journey would be a different life than the one he had known until then. He wondered if he would be able to survive changing the journey in which he had grown comfortable, but, being a young male, the unknown attracted him, and he joined with the prince.

The second challenge came when the sun had reached above the treetop.

“I am hungry,” Woodpecker said. “Couldn’t I just drill right here for some sustenance?”

The Prince felt a rumble in his stomach and understood Woodpecker’s dilemma.

“I am sorry, but this tree feeds my family. We must not damage her lifeforce.”

Woodpecker clicked his beak in frustration, but remembered the agreement he had made with the prince.

“How about this fruit.” He landed on a branch that held a tuft of flowering branches that were too young to sustain his weight securely. “I know it is a little green, but it is still nourishment.”

The prince remembered his little brothers and sisters and knew that they would enjoy this fruit when it, and they, had matured. He did not want to rob his brothers of their fruit.

“We cannot feed from the fruits of others, dear friend. We must seek our own.”

Woodpecker knew this was true, for he had brothers and sisters of his own on the branches of this tree.

The two friends continued on their journey, eating only of the bugs and other parasites that threatened the tree and its fruit.

The sun dropped under the tree tops and the next challenge approached.

“It is time to rest, my friend,” the Monkey Prince said.

Woodpecker shook his head sadly. “I cannot, my friend, for I have not made my home. I have promised I would not drill into this tree, and that is where my kind sleep. We need protection from our predators.”

The Monkey Prince realized this was true. In protecting his tree, he had endangered his friend.

“I am truly sorry, my friend,” he said. “I must accept the truth that this tree is meant to share. You are allowed to burrow into this tree. I only ask that you not harm her too much.”

Woodpecker did as he was allowed, and slept soundly as the prince slept in the leafy branches. In the morning, the pair fed off the parasites Woodpecker had uncovered while making his nest. He did not feel bad for breaking into the tree, for he knew that Nuthatch would burrow into that hole after he left and protect the tree from parasites that may attack in his absence.

Monkey Prince and Woodpecker continued their journey, leaping from branch to branch, removing parasites along the way, until they came upon Squirrel, who had traveled down the trunk behind them.

“Hello, friend Squirrel, why are you here?” Monkey Prince said, for he remembered him from his childhood on the higher branches. “Is all as it should be among my people?”

Squirrel twitched his furry tail and smiled. “My friend, all is fine at home,” he said. “I have come to share in your quest, for I, too, seek to start a new life. I know you will need company to help you keep your new home healthy and strong.”

The prince embraced Squirrel and introduced him to Woodpecker. “We will make a fine home for ourselves, my friends.”

The fourth challenge approached as they traveled into the late afternoon. They grew hungry but did not eat because of the agreement they had made with the Monkey Prince.

A soft mist shrouded the sunlight as they neared leafier lower branches, which were so tightly woven as to hide the light that bathed the upper branches. In fact, there was so much coverage that the sun had been having trouble breaking through to nourish the lower branches. Some of the leaves were beginning to wither, and the fruit his brothers would expect as they grew was less than it should be.

“If these leaves continue to overgrow, they may harm lower branches and Great Tree’s health,” Monkey Prince noted the problem. “I believe we must pause to nourish ourselves on these leaves,” he said. “We must each select a branch and eat only every seventh leaf.”

As Squirrel and Monkey Prince busied themselves picking every seventh leaf on the tree, Woodpecker found nourishment off the leaking tree sap coming from a hole his father had drilled the year before.

When they had completed their task, the now-visible setting sun danced through the mist in a myriad of colors.

“I am ready to rest, my friends,” said Monkey Prince. “Will you be able to find safety for the night?”

“I have found an abandoned nest my father drilled years ago,” Woodpecker said. “I will be safe for the night.”

Squirrel, too, was prepared. “I have saved every seventh leaf I gathered. Some I ate. With the other leaves I built a nest. I will be safe,” he said.

Knowing all would be right for the night, Monkey Prince settled onto a sturdy branch. In the morning, he was awakened by Raccoon scuffling his way into the branches.

“Good morning, friend,” said Monkey Prince, stretching his long arms over his head in a yawn. “What wakes you so early?”

“I am not waking, but returning to rest,” said Raccoon, “for I am a night creature coming home from a long night of exploration. What brings you here?”

“We are also explorers,” said Monkey Prince. “We seek a new tree in which to build our homes and share in its existence. Would you be interested in joining us?”

“Oh, yes,” Raccoon said, “but I must rest first. I will find you when I explore tonight. In which direction will you be heading?”

Monkey Prince thought hard about how to guide his new friend. Just then, a fruit dropped from a nearby branch, bounced off others and finally settled on the ground, giving birth to an idea.

Knowing there would be more fruit on the ground, he said, “You will be able to follow the seeds we will plant on our journey.”

Satisfied, Raccoon curled into his nest. Monkey Prince woke Woodpecker and Squirrel. “We will be traveling on the ground now. We will need to find a suitable home in a proper tree,” he said, but we must make certain to set a path for my new friend Raccoon. The friends agreed to plant seeds at a set distance from each other.

Once on the ground, they fed from the fruit that had fallen to the ground before setting off on their journey. Then they followed the shadows of the trees, planting seeds in sunny areas as they had agreed.

In one sunny area, they found Green Snake sunning himself on a rock.

Curious, Monkey Prince woke him.

“My friend, I wonder if you can help,” he said. “Would you happen to know of a tree similar to this one where we can make our new home? We would be willing to share with you once we have settled.”

The snake coiled himself on his rock, made cautious by the intrusion. “I know of many trees,” he said, the word ending in an elongated hiss.

The others were hesitant because of their experience with snakes, but Monkey Prince persisted, his mood brightened by the snake’s admission. “I am looking for one similar to this one, but this one is my uncle’s home.”

The snake uncoiled itself and slithered to the tree’s roots. He slipped over and around the tree, returning after a short while.

“I know this tree,” he said. “I have sniffed the sap on others. You will have to travel a distance, but I believe it suits your purpose.”

Unable to follow at their pace, Snake pointed out the direction they must travel and promised to meet them at their new home. He, too, took the oath the others had made to only feed off what he must, and no more.

Woodpecker flew ahead to verify Snake’s information and returned to continue the journey as his friends’ guide.

After several days of traveling to the outskirts of the forest, they were awakened by a sweet-smelling mist one day. The Monkey Prince recognized the scent carried in the breeze. The tree was found that day, and, indeed, it was a fine home. The roots were healthy, the leaves plentiful, yet, not too crowded, and the strong trunk seemed to tickle the bottoms of the clouds.

The friends celebrated with a feast of fallen fruit, seeds, and parasites before settling into their new homes. There were truly enough limbs for each of them, including Raccoon and Snake, who made certain to do no unnecessary harm.

Over the years, the friends found mates and raised families that shared the fruits of the tree – its branches supported them; its coverage protected them; its fruit nourished them. They also did their part, protecting their home from parasites that threatened to kill.

One day, the Monkey King who had been the Monkey Prince sat at the peak of the Great Tree that reached into the clouds. His task, as had been his father’s before him, was to commune with his eldest son.

“My son, you have grown of age. I must now tell you of your inheritance. This tree is our life force. Our family uses it for sustenance – its branches support us; its coverage protects us; its fruit nourishes us. But it needs us, as well. It is our function to protect it from parasites that threaten to kill.

“As is foretold, you must set out on your own before you can become king of your own tree. Along the way, there will be challenges. You will encounter danger, you will find friends, you will grow hungry. I ask you only to not take the fruit of the tree that is meant to nourish your brothers and sisters. Feed off the parasites that endanger our home and of the ripened fruit that has fallen to the ground.

“You are meant to be a great king, but you must prove yourself first by retracing the steps of your ancestors, traveling through the maze that gives us life.”

The prince bid farewell to his mother and his brothers and sisters, setting out on his own journey, for what was, will be again in the great circle of life.

The Parable of the Great Tree

Once upon a time, the Monkey King sat at the peak of the Great Tree that reached into the clouds in order to commune with his eldest son.

“My son, you have grown of age. I must now tell you of your inheritance. This tree is our life force. Our family uses it for sustenance – its branches support us; its coverage protects us; its fruit nourishes us. But it needs us, as well. It is our function to protect it from parasites that threaten to kill.

“As is foretold, you must set out on your own before you can become king of your own tree. Along the way, there will be challenges. You will encounter danger, you will find friends, you will grow hungry. I ask you only to not take the fruit of the tree that is meant to nourish your brothers and sisters. Feed off the parasites that endanger our home and of the ripened fruit that has fallen to the ground.

“You are meant to be a great king, but you must prove yourself first.”

ginkgo_biloba_maidenhair_tree_dinosaur_hd-wallpaper-218840
The Gingko biloba tree is a living fossil dating dating back 270 million years.

The prince bid farewell to his mother and his brothers and sisters, setting out on his own journey.

He descended the tree when the sun’s rays dawned at the ends of the forest. His first challenge came soon.

Woodpecker perched on a branch and considered the trunk near his branch before finally drilling his beak into the bark.

The prince interrupted.

“Hello, my friend.”

Woodpecker stopped his work, tilting his head toward the prince.

“Why are you pecking at our tree?” the prince asked.

“I peck because I am hungry,” said Woodpecker.

The monkey prince remembered the importance of this tree to his family’s survival. He knew Woodpecker was harming the tree. “My dear friend, this tree is home and nourishment to my family. Could you not find another tree on which to feed?”

“I know no other tree,” said Woodpecker. “To find another I would have to become an explorer, and I am not an explorer. I am a woodpecker.”

“Then join me on my journey. I seek a new tree to call my own kingdom. I would appreciate company along the way.”

Woodpecker cocked his head in thought at the prince’s proposal.

“We will eat of the parasites and the fruit on the ground, but we will need to protect this tree.”

Woodpecker knew this journey would be a different life than the one he had known until then. He wondered if he would be able to survive changing the journey in which he had grown comfortable, but, being a young male, the unknown attracted him, and he joined with the prince.

The second challenge came when the sun had reached above the treetop.

“I am hungry,” Woodpecker said. “Couldn’t I just drill right here for some sustenance?”

The Prince felt a rumble in his stomach and understood Woodpecker’s dilemma.

“I am sorry, but this tree feeds my family. We must not damage her lifeforce.”

Woodpecker clicked his beak in frustration, but remembered the agreement he had made with the prince.

“How about this fruit.” He landed on a branch that held a tuft of flowering branches that were too young to sustain his weight securely. “I know it is a little green, but it is still nourishment.”

The prince remembered his little brothers and sisters and knew that they would enjoy this fruit when it, and they, had matured. He did not want to rob his brothers of their fruit.

“We cannot feed from the fruits of others, dear friend. We must seek our own.”

Woodpecker knew this was true, for he had brothers and sisters of his own on the branches of this tree.

The two friends continued on their journey, eating only of the bugs and other parasites that threatened the tree and its fruit.

The sun dropped under the tree tops and the next challenge approached.

“It is time to rest, my friend,” the Monkey Prince said.

Woodpecker shook his head sadly. “I cannot, my friend, for I have not made my home. I have promised I would not drill into this tree, and that is where my kind sleep. We need protection from our predators.”

The Monkey Prince realized this was true. In protecting his tree, he had endangered his friend.

“I am truly sorry, my friend,” he said. “I must accept the truth that this tree is meant to share. You are allowed to burrow into this tree. I only ask that you not harm her too much.”

Woodpecker did as he was allowed, and slept soundly as the prince slept in the leafy branches. In the morning, the pair fed off the parasites Woodpecker had uncovered while making his nest. He did not feel bad for breaking into the tree, for he knew that Nuthatch would burrow into that hole after he left and protect the tree from parasites that may attack in his absence.

Monkey Prince and Woodpecker continued their journey, leaping from branch to branch, removing parasites along the way, until they came upon Squirrel, who had traveled down the trunk behind them.

“Hello, friend Squirrel, why are you here?” Monkey Prince said, for he remembered him from his childhood on the higher branches. “Is all as it should be among my people?”

Squirrel twitched his furry tail and smiled. “My friend, all is fine at home,” he said. “I have come to share in your quest, for I, too, seek to start a new life. I know you will need company to help you keep your new home healthy and strong.”

The prince embraced Squirrel and introduced him to Woodpecker. “We will make a fine home for ourselves, my friends.”

The fourth challenge approached as they traveled into the late afternoon. They grew hungry but did not eat because of the agreement they had made with the Monkey Prince.

A soft mist shrouded the sunlight as they neared leafier lower branches, which were so tightly woven as to hide the light that bathed the upper branches. In fact, there was so much coverage that the sun had been having trouble breaking through to nourish the lower branches. Some of the leaves were beginning to wither, and the fruit his brothers would expect as they grew was less than it should be.

“If these leaves continue to overgrow, they may harm lower branches and Great Tree’s health,” Monkey Prince noted the problem. “I believe we must pause to nourish ourselves on these leaves,” he said. “We must each select a branch and eat only every seventh leaf.”

As Squirrel and Monkey Prince busied themselves picking every seventh leaf on the tree, Woodpecker found nourishment off the leaking tree sap coming from a hole his father had drilled the year before.

When they had completed their task, the now-visible setting sun danced through the mist in a myriad of colors.

“I am ready to rest, my friends,” said Monkey Prince. “Will you be able to find safety for the night?”

“I have found an abandoned nest my father drilled years ago,” Woodpecker said. “I will be safe for the night.”

Squirrel, too, was prepared. “I have saved every seventh leaf I gathered. Some I ate. With the other leaves I built a nest. I will be safe,” he said.

Knowing all would be right for the night, Monkey Prince settled onto a sturdy branch. In the morning, he was awakened by Raccoon scuffling his way into the branches.

“Good morning, friend,” said Monkey Prince, stretching his long arms over his head in a yawn. “What wakes you so early?”

“I am not waking, but returning to rest,” said Raccoon, “for I am a night creature coming home from a long night of exploration. What brings you here?”

“We are also explorers,” said Monkey Prince. “We seek a new tree in which to build our homes and share in its existence. Would you be interested in joining us?”

“Oh, yes,” Raccoon said, “but I must rest first. I will find you when I explore tonight. In which direction will you be heading?”

Monkey Prince thought hard about how to guide his new friend. Just then, a fruit dropped from a nearby branch, bounced off others and finally settled on the ground, giving birth to an idea.

Knowing there would be more fruit on the ground, he said, “You will be able to follow the seeds we will plant on our journey.”

Satisfied, Raccoon curled into his nest. Monkey Prince woke Woodpecker and Squirrel. “We will be traveling on the ground now. We will need to find a suitable home in a proper tree,” he said, but we must make certain to set a path for my new friend Raccoon. The friends agreed to plant seeds at a set distance from each other.

Once on the ground, they fed from the fruit that had fallen to the ground before setting off on their journey. Then they followed the shadows of the trees, planting seeds in sunny areas as they had agreed.

In one sunny area, they found Green Snake sunning himself on a rock.

Curious, Monkey Prince woke him.

“My friend, I wonder if you can help,” he said. “Would you happen to know of a tree similar to this one where we can make our new home? We would be willing to share with you once we have settled.”

The snake coiled himself on his rock, made cautious by the intrusion. “I know of many trees,” he said, the word ending in an elongated hiss.

The others were hesitant because of their experience with snakes, but Monkey Prince persisted, his mood brightened by the snake’s admission. “I am looking for one similar to this one, but this one is my uncle’s home.”

The snake uncoiled itself and slithered to the tree’s roots. He slipped over and around the tree, returning after a short while.

“I know this tree,” he said. “I have sniffed the sap on others. You will have to travel a distance, but I believe it suits your purpose.”

Unable to follow at their pace, Snake pointed out the direction they must travel and promised to meet them at their new home. He, too, took the oath the others had made to only feed off what he must, and no more.

Woodpecker flew ahead to verify Snake’s information and returned to continue the journey as his friends’ guide.

After several days of traveling to the outskirts of the forest, they were awakened by a sweet-smelling mist one day. The Monkey Prince recognized the scent carried in the breeze. The tree was found that day, and, indeed, it was a fine home. The roots were healthy, the leaves plentiful, yet, not too crowded, and the strong trunk seemed to tickle the bottoms of the clouds.

The friends celebrated with a feast of fallen fruit, seeds, and parasites before settling into their new homes. There were truly enough limbs for each of them, including Raccoon and Snake, who made certain to do no unnecessary harm.

Over the years, the friends found mates and raised families that shared the fruits of the tree – its branches supported them; its coverage protected them; its fruit nourished them. They also did their part, protecting their home from parasites that threatened to kill.

One day, the Monkey King who had been the Monkey Prince sat at the peak of the Great Tree that reached into the clouds. His task, as had been his father’s before him, was to commune with his eldest son.

“My son, you have grown of age. I must now tell you of your inheritance. This tree is our life force. Our family uses it for sustenance – its branches support us; its coverage protects us; its fruit nourishes us. But it needs us, as well. It is our function to protect it from parasites that threaten to kill.

“As is foretold, you must set out on your own before you can become king of your own tree. Along the way, there will be challenges. You will encounter danger, you will find friends, you will grow hungry. I ask you only to not take the fruit of the tree that is meant to nourish your brothers and sisters. Feed off the parasites that endanger our home and of the ripened fruit that has fallen to the ground.

“You are meant to be a great king, but you must prove yourself first by retracing the steps of your ancestors, traveling through the maze that gives us life.”

The prince bid farewell to his mother and his brothers and sisters, setting out on his own journey, for what was, will be again in the great circle of life.