EL AANIIGOO AHOOT’E
My Indian name is Mato Cante. I received it during a traditional Oglala Sioux naming ceremony in 1991, the year I graduated from high school. My grandfather bestowed me with this name, which means “Bear Heart”, after a vision of the eagle feather he also gifted me with. At this period of my life, I was simply trying to make it to my classes, to make it to the finish line in my cross-country and track meets, to make it to my part-time job on time, to make the evening bus to downtown Denver where another more exciting world always beckoned me at dusk.
I was living several different lives, following several different strands of reality, and for the most part I didn’t mind adopting the alter-egos I’d walk in to school with - I bored pretty easily. I was / am a natural-born dreamer, subject to many hours staring out school windows, focusing on the mystery just over the Rocky Mountains. As a child it was cloud patterns in Indian summer sunsets, looking for some portal to another place where no one would come calling me home when it got too dark to play. As a teen it was starlight, the romanticism, overdramaticism, yearning and despair one feels when just discovering their emotional body, reeling from their first crush, searching the Milky Way for answers. In California it was the ocean, first learning to meditate at 16 and discovering that music would be the primary tool I would use to escape. In South Dakota, my homeland, it was the brutal snows in winter and the crushing gravity a reminder of the struggles in breaking free.
I never knew exactly where I was supposed to be, I only knew I was not yet there, but I could feel its twilight pull when everything else in my life felt far from authentic. Scanning the constellations on camping trips or out my bedroom window, I figured I might as well have originated from another planet. My skin was somewhat darker than most of my classmates, my eyelids had epicanthic folds, no one knew whether to judge me as Asian, Hispanic, Hawaiian or “Other”. To top it all off I was very androgynous-looking and it didn’t help that I always had my nose in books on occult matters.
As a result, I began to get very serious very early on about my true place and role in life. I grew up in a stark concrete apartment complex next to a busy Denver highway, far from the sweat lodges, sundances and vision quests of my ancestors. As such I often resorted to looking within for answers. I was observant, quiet and shy, and as stoic and brooding as anyone else in my tribe. Receiving an Indian name thus felt alien to me, as it seemed I was only able to see my elders and their way of life during the occasional funerals we’d drive up to Pine Ridge to attend. I knew there was great power in ceremony and ritual, though growing up Presbyterian was somewhat disappointing and anything connected to religion felt confusing and empty. As many of my family members were deacons of the church, located behind the house of the cousins I grew up with, I often had unsupervised access to the building, which I often visited in search of some sort of proof of a man people claimed was the only one who could save my soul. I walked up and down the pews, calling out the names of the characters from the gilded bible I’d earned through attending countless bible schools, camps and youth groups, but no one ever answered. I thought for sure during my first church sleep-over I might see the ghost of some long-dead disciple or saint, but that particular house of the Lord only seemed to come alive when its followers put something of themselves there. Even when a Sunday school teacher drove the tip of a nail partway into her palm and demanded me to, “LOOK AT WHAT HE DID FOR YOU”, I only shook my head in embarrassment for her and chuckled to myself afterward.
I honestly didn’t think then, that a bird feather and the burning of sage would do anything for me at all, or that my instructions to journal my dreamtime for visionary clues could amount to much of anything. At a very fast-paced 19, it was just one more thing I had to do. Though in the very first of the dreams I had after being christened Mato Cante, I dreamt about being driven through a desert in a busted-up pickup truck with a driver I couldn’t see due to the glare from the sun on the rear-view mirror. In the distance before us I could see a sign coming up like the “HOLLYWOOD” type with enormous cut-out letters. I couldn’t read it until we passed it, turning my head around to see that it said, “GOD EXISTS”, doubly surprised to realize that my driver was not in fact hidden from a light reflection but was in fact made out of light. Despite his silence, I knew only that He was male, that He was smiling, and that He was my father. I already had a biological father, who I’d only seen once in my youth but was too young to remember, and the man I always called my dad, the one who adopted and cared for me. I didn’t feel much of a relationship with either at that time, but the man in my dream was undoubtedly the one who created me, so I began to refer to him as my Creator.
He would pop in and out of several dreams and knew quite a bit about alter-egos as well. Once He appeared to me as a raccoon who hollowed out a giant pumpkin for me as a guest house, visiting an unknown island without electricity, the streetlights made out of carved-out turnips with candles placed inside. He was taking me to an evening swimming class whose amphibious instructor would be teaching me how to breathe underwater, and another who would teach me how to fly. Once I dreamt of floating in a pink nebula and woke myself up saying, “I am the universe.” I didn’t understand these things and I didn’t share them with anyone. I was deemed odd enough as it was and I didn’t want to admit I was finding God after all, that I didn’t need any middleman to grant me access to His “word”.
After some time, my dreams began spilling out into my waking life. I was a lost boy, a Pan, a Puer Eternis ( eternal child ) who was still going out well into dusk in search of that portal. As such I dreamt of some pretty fantastical places and as soon as that first star of the evening appeared I was more than ready to hop on my bike to look for them. Once, upon waking up from a daytime nap, I was shocked to see a star visible in the afternoon sky, the fabled “second star to the right” which remained stationary and faded only after I began to question whether or not it was really there. I understood then, that there were some things you just couldn’t prove to anyone, so I stopped minding so much about what others thought and began developing a much-needed, deeper relationship with my intuition. Afterward, the phenomenon of synchronicity exploded into my reality and I began to meet people who lived congruently spiritual lives. Many of them believed in things I was afraid to admit: ghosts, aliens, ESP, out-of-body experiences, cryptozoological animals, etc. Like me, they had also gone forth in pursuit of greater mysteries and I was therefore more than happy to accompany them, trading in my old bike for sport utility vehicles and speeding off toward adrenaline-enriched places where UFOs were being witnessed, unknown forms of life were being observed and spirits of the departed still walked.
I had found the places I was dreaming about and discovered that which I always dreamt of doing. In 2004 I met a partner who was fearless and game for anything, who also marveled at the synchronicity unraveling before us. We soon christened our investigative unit The SpiritChasers, chasing down the spirit in everything with a hearty faith and a belief than anything can happen, that anything is possible. Our photo albums and synchronistic spoils attest to this, and we still feel we have only just begun our greatest adventures.
So, a spirit from the bear clan and one from the turtle clan, both with great strength, patience and determination. We hibernate in the winter in a symbolic cavern of higher consciousness and dreams, my “bear medicine” full of introspection, wisdom, the courage to change, communication with Spirit, death and rebirth, transformation, astral travel, shamanic and mystic journeying.
The SpiritChasers have thus just come out of hibernation in time for Spring, in time for two new radio shows and a presentation and investigation at the haunted Onaledge in Manitou Springs ( where our own physical cavern is located ). We have a major to-do at a haunted mansion in Denver a couple weekends from now and are looking forward to another national television appearance. We completed filming of our yearly “SpiritChasers” film in time for the end of the Mayan calendar and will soon begin work on the next one, as the coming months will provide more footage and evidence as we participate in more conventions, ghost tours and investigations.
During the last radio program we were guests of, we were asked where the hell we had been, as our last blog stopped in November of last year. So, I answered;
“I am a bear and I was doing what bears do: hibernating and ‘dreaming the Great Spirit’. ‘The sleeper has awakened’. And it’s good to be back.”
( EL 'AANIIGOO 'AHOOT’E is a loose translation of “THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE” in Navaho, from one of my favorite episodes of The X-Files )
www.facebook.com/thespiritchasers for the latest news and updates.
Christopher Allen Brewer, April, 2013
Christopher Allen Brewer, April, 2013