by Wes Hansen

“So, you have these two events involving people jumping from tall structures and bouncing off of the pavement, that does seem significant. And the time between these events?”

“Approximately thirty years, thirty-three years to be exact.”

“Have you experienced any other events related to suicide that you would like to tell me about?”

“Well, what I would like doesn’t seem to have anything much to do with it. But yes, I do have; two other experiences, but I’ll tell you of one. Several years after hearing the Deadhead’s story, and walking through the most innocent-looking doorway – answering a help-wanted ad in the paper, I unwittingly end up ensnarled in a cult. This cult was supposedly based on an interpretation of Native American ritual generated by a few wealthy, white psychologists. I was pressured to join the cult but I refused. Things went south and I was experiencing a period of semi-self-imposed exile – a type of solitary confinement almost. I was teaching myself yoga and meditation, but I had these entities in my mind? I called them the Demons and the Jesters and I somehow knew that they were there because of this cult, due to pressure from the members of this cult. I could probably explain the physics, but most would consider it pathological. But it was real as real can be to me.

The Jesters were not so bad, because they had a sense of humor, even though I was always the butt of their jokes. But the Demons, man, they would just invade my mind and take me to the darkest depths of depression. Sometimes I would just lay on my bed, rocking myself back and forth, back and forth; it was all I could do. But then I discovered that I could quiet the Demons if I sat in a tub filled with water and cut my arms and legs open, if I bled until the water became soupy with blood. I developed these ropy scars, three on each forearm and three on each thigh. Like I was some kind of Warrior! Then I started cutting under my eyes, which is really an amazing thing to do.

I get locked up. I’m in and out of cages, homeless under bridges, back in the cage, homeless. I finally find myself living in a small patch of woods, north side of Houston, Texas. I have a truck that doesn’t run, its bed full of tools, a home office, shit I didn’t really need, and a little bit of money. When I ran out of money, feeling sorry for myself, I resolved to not eat until something happened, societally, to rectify the situation I was in, or else I died. I had fasted for 14 days, back when I was dealing with the Demons, but that was a juice fast. This was a difficult fast! Every day I would just sit under a bridge by this small bayou and watch the turtles and fish swim by. The bayou expanded out to a small swamp/pond under this bridge and there was a huge, HUGE, bullfrog living there. This bullfrog was so huge, whenever it would jump it sounded like a brick – a cinder block, hitting the water! So here I am just sitting and fasting.

After 14 days of sitting and fasting my mind became quite agitated and I knew that I was going to be cutting. So I took my blades and went and sat under the bridge. I started cutting, my eyes first, then my arms, and last my legs. I was cutting really good – I mean deep, and I was laughing the whole time and I just knew that I was going to just keep cutting until there was no return. All of a sudden, a little girls voice enters my head and says, “Mommy help!” As soon as I heard that little girls voice that big bullfrog started to croak! If you’ve ever heard a bison bull during rut, that’s what that frog sounded like! I zoned in on that bullfrog’s croak like a mantra without even really being consciously aware of it and my mind just immediately began to fill with images – visions.

I grew up in the Midwest, along the Medicine Creek and there was a piece of property along the Medicine my father used to farm and run cattle on; I really loved that property. Anyway, I saw that property in my mind and it was covered with bison; then I saw the birth of a white bison calf; then I saw that same property covered with people from all walks of life and from all the tribes – white, yellow, black, and red. There was a Wiwanyag Wacipi, the gazing-at-the-sun dance, and a Kalachakra ceremony taking place both at the same time. I was a dancer in the Wiwanyag Wacipi. I know it sounds crazy, but it was just my own vision. And, really, it’s not so crazy. Both the Wiwanyag Wacipi and the Kalachakra are micro-representations of the macrocosm; the dancing leaf tree, which provides the sun dance pole, sends out prayers with its rustling leaves, just as prayer flags do, half way around the world. So, it’s not so crazy. I was tethered to the pole, and as I pulled on the eagle talon and tether connecting my heart to the pole, an actual eagle appeared in the sky above, and it dove down at me. Just before it slammed into me, it started to flap its wings really hard, it grabbed the talon in my flesh with its own, and it ripped it from my flesh! The feeling was just indescribable! As that eagle flew away from me, I collapsed on the ground, and the sun dance chief knelt down beside me and whispered my name, my Medicine name – Walks with Turtle.

Turtle is not only the progenitor of all living creatures, but the entirety of creation rests on Turtle. In Buddhism circles, Turtle represents a high spiritual state, retraction into its shell representing a turning inward. But the shell, the Turtle shell, in that it protects, is really a metaphor for Mantrayana. And, perhaps, more superficially, Turtle represents the long view, the long view of bodhicitta.

At any rate, I came out of that vision hungry! It was late at night and I felt as if I were being directed to a filling station not far away, the only such establishment for miles around. They had recently installed a small Subway counter within. I looked in the dumpster and there was a tuna-salad sandwich, still wrapped up and lying on top of the trash, like it had been placed there intentionally. Turtles like tuna; so do crows and ravens. I broke my fast with that sandwich and it was one of the best tasting sandwiches I have ever experienced.”

“Okay, fine, but how does this relate to the suicides bouncing off of the pavement?”

“Well, I don’t really know for certain, other than they all occupied the same mindstream at various points in time. Perhaps it’s just contrast, compare and contrast? But the story is not through; it leads directly back to Kukkuripa, the Mahasidda who must have lived with numerous dogs.”

“Kukkuripa, the mad yogin who consorted with a bitch? He was a zoophiliac, was he not?”

“No, that’s the ordinary, mistaken view. In the Secret Mantrayana practice it is said that the result of tantra is like a snake in a hollow bamboo: you either exit out the top – omniscient Buddhahood, or out the bottom – the hell realms. To think that Kukkuripa literally took a bitch as a tantric consort is ludicrous; he became an omniscient Buddha, a dynamic display of the Trikaya.

Shortly after I broke my fast, I was gifted a small bitch! I was living in the woods at the end of a dead-end street, not far from a city dump. People would be heading to the dump, see that dead-end street, and save $40 by dumping their trash at the end of the street. They would also quite often drop unwanted pets – dogs invariably. I woke up one morning and there was a female puppy, a beautiful little mutt, crying and whining, trying to get in to my sleeping quarters. Like Kukkuripa, I started feeding her. In Kukkuripa’s time, there were no free spay and neuter clinics, so clearly he must of ended up feeding an entire pack; this is what happened to me.

I named that female pup Moon, and I tried to get her spayed but I needed proof of financial difficulty, i.e. government aid such as SNAP or Medicaid, which I didn’t have. I was pulling my food out of dumpsters behind a grocery and didn’t think to collect scrap, so that I could pay to have her spayed. She invariably became pregnant due to a beautiful feral male I called Billy the Kidd. She had 13 pups, 11 of which survived. I fed the dogs by collecting dog and cat food from dumpsters behind pet stores and meat from grocery stores, which I cooked on an Old Smoky.

One of the pups was a tiny little, all white female I called Purity, and she was The Moon Cult Priestess. These hounds started a moon worshiping ritual, during which, at every full moon they would go into a clearing, the females off to one side, the two males and Purity in the middle; Purity would give a yap, yap, yap and the males would start howling at the moon and the females would just get all excited – jumping, biting, playing, the kind of things that dogs do.

At first, I was irritated and would get up and tell them to shut up, which had no effect whatsoever. On the third occasion, I got up and went and joined in with the males and Purity, howling at the moon after Purity did the yap, yap, yap. The hounds were just ecstatic at that and that single event earned me their complete trust. Purity and my big male Nadua started to communicate with me telepathically!

I first became aware that Nadua was capable when he was about nine months old. I used to bring treats home from the grocery dumpsters to the dogs quite regularly, sometimes stew bones and sometimes silly stuff like candy bars. My telepathic male could care less about candy bars but the girls loved them.

One day I was working on a project, sitting in a chair, and my telepathic male came up, sat down on his haunches next to me, and looked at me intently. I looked over at him, patted his head and scratched his ears, said, “what’s up buddy,” took a drink of coffee, and went back to painting. He just kept sitting there, looking at me intently, so I completely stopped what I was doing and looked back at him – intently.

I immediately felt this conscious and aware presence enter my mind; it was a presence that was clearly distinct from all of my multiple personalities and I could tell it was searching my memory. I knew this intuitively but it was taking place in my own head. When it found the memory it was looking for, that memory became my awareness and it was a memory of me feeding candy bars to the dogs! My male was asking me if I had any candy bars for the girls. I got up, fed the girls some candy bars, and everyone was happy!

Dogs hide a lot from humans – can’t say that I blame them much since humans are oftentimes unpleasant! Their primary form of communication is telepathic and they have a very rich social fabric. Naturally, I couldn’t properly care for all of my dogs, I fed them and that was about it, but they seemed rather happy. Sometimes feral dogs would show up and my dogs would eat them, other times they get treated like old friends. I was never able to figure out what distinguished the friends from the dog-eat-dog meals. Eventually, through breeding and collecting feral dogs, I ended up feeding forty-two feral hounds, which is certainly what must have also happened to Kukkuripa. I was unaware of Kukkuripa at the time. But imagine my surprise when, several years later, I read about Kukkuripa in The Snow Lion’s Turquoise Mane. Even though I am Nyingmapa, I feel a karmic connection.”

“What, I am afraid to ask, happened to the dogs?”

“They were collected and euthanized by the county, Harris County. I was caring for twenty-seven at the time.”

“How did you feel about that?”

“Well, I walk with Turtle, but I still felt terrible. What bothers me more is folks like you, academics and medical professionals with numerous hours of formal education, standing around wondering if animals are conscious, if they are self-aware.”