Sacred Visions of an Apache Elder
Night of the Red Sky: The Prophetic Vision of 'Grandfather'
The following account comes from Tom Brown Jr. It was published in Nexus Magazine, Volume 7, Number 1 (Dec '99 - Jan '00). I offer it here exactly as published.
Tom Brown, Jr. (born January 29, 1950) is an American naturalist, wilderness tracker and the author of numerous books, including a series of Field Guides. Brown attributes his tracking skills and his spiritual philosophy to the teachings of a Lipan Apache elder named Stalking Wolf, who instructed Brown during his childhood. Brown refers to Stalking Wolf as "Grandfather" in his writings.
December 22, 1923
In the 1920s, an Apache wise man had a Vision of four prophecies that foretold death and destruction for mankind, unless we incorporate Spirit in our daily lives. Two of these prophecies may already have come true.
A number of people can predict the future, but few get the timing correct. "Grandfather" was an Apache wise man and scout, named Stalking Wolf, who grew up outside white man's influence. His many predictions not only came true in the manner he predicted, but also when he predicted . . .
Grandfather had been wandering for several years and was well into his forties when the Vision of the four signs was given to him. He had just finished his third Vision Quest at the Eternal Cave when the Vision made itself known. He had been seated at the mouth of the cave, awaiting the rising Sun, when the spirit of the warrior appeared to him. He felt as if he were in a state somewhere between dream and reality, sleep and wakefulness, until the spirit finally spoke and he knew that it was not his imagination. The spirit called Grandfather's name and beckoned him to follow.
As Grandfather stood, he was suddenly transported to another world. Again, he thought that he was dreaming, but his flesh could feel the reality of this place; his senses knew that this was a state of abject reality, but in another time and place.
The spirit warrior spoke to Grandfather. "These are the things yet to come that will mark the destruction of man. These things you may never see, but you must work to stop them and pass these warnings on to your grandchildren. They are the possible futures of what will come if man does not come back to the Earth and begin to obey the laws of Creation and the Creator. There are four signs, four warnings, that only the children of the Earth will understand. Each warning marks the beginning of a possible future, and as each warning becomes reality, so too does the future it marks" . . .
The First Sign
". . . Welcome to what will be called the 'land of starvation'. The world will one day look upon all of this with horror and will blame the famine on the weather and the Earth. This will be the first warning to the world that man cannot live beyond the laws of Creation, nor can he fight Nature . . .
There will come starvation before and after this starvation, but none will capture the attention of the world with such impact as does this one. The children of the Earth will know the lessons that are held in all of this pain and death, but the world will only see it as drought and famine, blaming Nature instead of itself . . ."
In his dream, the spirit spoke to Grandfather. "It is during the years of the famine, the first sign, that man will be plagued by a disease, a disease that will sweep the land and terrorize the masses. The white coats [doctors/scientists] will have no answers for the people, and a great cry will arise across the land. The disease will be born of monkeys, drugs and sex. It will destroy man from inside, making common sickness a killing disease. Mankind will bring this disease upon himself as a result of his life, his worship of sex and drugs, and a life away from Nature. This, too, is a part of the first warning; but, again, man will not heed this warning and he will continue to worship the false gods of sex and the unconscious spirit of drugs." [Author's note: This is presumably a reference to AIDS.]
The Second Sign
The spirit looked at Grandfather for a long moment, then finally spoke. "Holes in the sky . . . will become the second sign of the destruction of man. The holes in the sky and all that you have seen could become man's reality. It is here, at the beginning of this second sign, that man can no longer heal the Earth with physical action. It is here that man must heed the warning and work harder to change the future at hand. But man must not only work physically, he must also work spiritually, through prayer, for only through prayer can man now hope to heal the Earth and himself . . ."
"These holes are a direct result of man's life, his travel, and of the sins of his grandfathers and grandmothers. These holes, the second sign, will mark the killing of his grandchildren and will become a legacy to man's life away from Nature. It is the time of these holes that will mark a great transition in mankind's thinking. They will then be faced with a choice - a choice to continue following the path of destruction, or a choice to move back to the philosophy of the Earth and a simpler existence. It is here that the decision must be made, or all will be lost . . ." [A reference to harmful radiation from holes in the ozone layer caused by burning fossil fuels.]
The Third Sign
Grandfather spent the next four days at the cave entrance, though for those four days nothing spoke to him, not even the Earth. He said that it was a time of great sorrow, of aloneness, and a time to digest all that had taken place.
He knew that these things would not appear in his lifetime, but they had to be passed down to the people of the future with the same urgency and power with which they had been delivered to him. But he did not know how he would explain these unlikely events to anyone. Surely the elders and shamans of the tribes would understand, but not society, and certainly not anyone who was removed from the Earth and Spirit.
He sat for the full four days, unmoving, as if made of stone, and his heart felt heavy with the burden he now carried.
It was at the end of the fourth day that the third Vision came to him. As he gazed out onto the landscape towards the setting Sun, the sky suddenly turned to a liquid and then turned blood-red. As far as his eyes could see, the sky was solid red, with no variation in shadow, texture or light. The whole of Creation seemed to have grown still, as if awaiting some unseen command. Time, place and destiny seemed to be in limbo, stilled by the bleeding sky. He gazed for a long time at the sky, in a state of awe and terror, for the red colour of the sky was like nothing he had ever seen in any sunset or sunrise. The colour was that of man, not of Nature, and it had a vile stench and texture. It seemed to burn the Earth wherever it touched. As sunset drifted to night, the stars shone bright red, the colour never leaving the sky, and everywhere the cries of fear and pain were heard.
Again, the warrior spirit appeared to Grandfather, but this time as a voice from the sky. Like thunder, the voice shook the landscape. "This, then, is the third sign, the night of the bleeding stars. It will become known throughout the world, for the sky in all lands will be red with the blood of the sky, day and night. It is then, with this sign of the third probable future, that there is no longer hope. Life on the Earth as man has lived it will come to an end, and there can be no turning back, physically or spiritually. It is then, if things are not changed during the second sign, that man will surely know the destruction of the Earth is at hand. It is then that the children of the Earth must run to the wild places and hide. For when the sky bleeds fire, there will be no safety in the world of man."
Grandfather sat in shocked horror as the voice continued. "From this time, when the stars bleed, to the fourth and final sign, will be four seasons of peace [that is, one year]. It is in these four seasons that the children of the Earth must live deep in the wild places and find a new home, close to the Earth and the Creator. It is only the children of the Earth that will survive, and they must live the philosophy of the Earth, never returning to the thinking of man. And survival will not be enough, for the children of the Earth must also live close to the Spirit. So tell them not to hesitate if and when this third sign becomes manifest in the stars, for there are but four seasons to escape."
Grandfather said that the voice and red sky lingered for a week, and then were gone as quickly as they were manifest.
The Fourth Sign
He did not remember how many days he'd spent at the mouth of the cave, nor did it make a difference, for he had received the Vision he had come for.
It was in his final night at the Eternal Cave that the fourth Vision came to Grandfather, this time carried by the voice of a young child.
The child said, "The fourth and final sign will appear through the next ten winters [that is, ten years] following the night that the stars will bleed. During this time, the Earth will heal itself and man will die. For those ten years, the children of the Earth must remain hidden in the wild places, make no permanent camps, and wander to avoid contact with the last remaining forces of man. They must remain hidden, like the ancient scouts, and fight the urge to go back to the destruction of man. Curiosity could kill many."
There was a long silence, until Grandfather spoke to the child spirit, asking, "And what will happen to the worlds of man?"
There was another period of silence until finally the child spoke again. "There will be a great famine throughout the world, like man cannot imagine. Waters will run vile, the poisons of man's sins running strong in the waters of the soils, lakes and rivers. Crops will fail, the animals of man will die, and disease will kill the masses. The grandchildren will feed upon the remains of the dead, and all about will be the cries of pain and anguish. Roving bands of men will hunt and kill other men for food, and water will always be scarce, getting scarcer with each passing year. The land, the water, the sky will all be poisoned, and man will live in the wrath of the Creator. Man will hide at first in the cities, but there he will die. A few will run to the wilderness, but the wilderness will destroy them, for they had long ago been given a choice. Man will be destroyed, his cities in ruin, and it is then that the grandchildren will pay for the sins of their grandfathers and grandmothers."
"Is there then no hope?" Grandfather asked.
The child spoke again. "There is only hope during the time of the first and second signs. Upon the third sign, the night of the bleeding, there is no longer hope, for only the children of the Earth will survive. Man will be given these warnings; if unheeded, there can be no hope, for only the children of the Earth will purge themselves of the cancers of mankind, of mankind's destructive thinking. It will be the children of the Earth who will bring a new hope to the new society, living closer to the Earth and Spirit."
Then all was silent, the landscape cleared and returned to normal, and Grandfather stepped from the Vision. Shaken, he said that he had wandered for the next season, trying to understand all that had been given to him, trying to understand why he had been chosen.
Grandfather had related the story to me in great detail during that night of the four prophecies. I don't think that any event had been left out, and his emotions and thoughts were such that he actually relived it for us. Thus the power of his Vision became part of our spirit, our driving force, and a big part of our fears.
I sat for a long time up on the hill. The fire had gone out, and all had retired to sleep for the night. Creation seemed to be at a standstill, awaiting this darkest part of the night to pass by. I felt alone and vulnerable, as if all of Creation were scrutinizing my every thought.
Grandfather had this Vision some time in the 1920s.