the man who fell into a well

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” ~ Marie Curie

Once upon a time, before time was collected by government agencies and shredded into suffocating regulations, a man fell into a well. His name, Bob,  is unimportant because before he fell, he never discovered, mainly because he wasn’t looking, what gift he brought into the world on the day he was born. Presumably, he is still falling because nobody heard a splash.

Circumstantial evidence suggests that he grabbed for the old oaken bucket, a viable hope to be sure, but it failed him because he never got around to replacing the old, frayed rope with a sturdy new rope from the seed and feed. Other than his falling into it, nobody had used the well for years. New ropes cost money. So did covering over the well or even placing a sign that said: “watch your step.”

Calls to his cell phone go directly to voice mail. “Hello. Your call is very important to me. I’ll get back to you as soon as I hit bottom.”

His wife, Grace, told police he was falling before he fell into the well. Never could get a handle on his purpose or his life’s story because–truth be told–his fields were always too wet to plough and he had proven on numerous occasions that he couldn’t dance the dance, much less walk the walk. “I felt like I always had to push him to do anything,” she said.

After the prescribed amount of time, she had him declared dead, inherited the mule and his forty-acre farm, both of which were sold to a developer for $267,613.40. He transformed the wet fields into a mall for the rich and famous who never bothered to show up.

The epitaph in his tombstone reads: “He fell from Grace.”

I knew Bob before he fell into the well. He had hopes and dreams, all that stuff. As the Asian bar girls said of many sailors in liberty ports during the Vietnam War, he was a “butterfly man,” going from flower to flower before falling away into a new desire or vision. I suggested many things when he asked for help. He didn’t like them, swore up and down he didn’t need them even though he said often, “Life is nothing but falling without a parachute.”

One might say Bob’s true gift to the world was falling into a well. If so, perhaps he will serve as an example to others who are prone to fall into wells. I doubt it since there aren’t many books about people whose primary accomplishment if life was falling into a well. What a paradox: those who need to hear his incomplete story will never know about it.

“Well,” somebody says during a pause in the conversation. “That’s a deep subject,” somebody else replies.

If they only knew before it was too late.


Malcolm R. Campbell

Publisher: Thomas-Jacob Publishing


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In Indigo is the Preservation of the Cosmos

My favorite book in 1962 was In Wildness Is the Preservation of the World by Eliot Porter. That title, supported by the book’s amazing photographs, has served as a glorious mantra for many people in many lifetimes. I have always thought that if we were had not been so busy destroying the natural world, we would be more mentally and spiritually healthy–and that means never having a pandemic.

In an era where many people don’t believe in climate change or–if they do–have any idea what they can do about it–I keep coming back to Joseph Campbell’s admonition that, “We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.” So, in many ways, we’re learning that concentrating on the big picture may not be the best way to fix the big picture.

My color is indigo. Wikipedia photo

Whether the matter is pseudoscience or spiritual truth, we have been since the 1970s work of Nancy Ann Tappe been hearing about Indigo children, often as near-mentally-ill children who need to be feared, cured, or coddled, and occasionally as the wild ones who will ultimately save the known universe.

“Indios,writes Alex Myles, “are the rebels of the world; they are the game changers, the curious ones, the philosophers, the truth seekers, the daydreamers, the creators, the unconventional ones, the peacekeepers, the mystical and magical ones, the quirky ones, the warriors, the free spirits, the feisty ones with tender hearts and tough unbreakable spirits.”

Society tends to see such people as “wildness” intruding into the so-called civilized world of conformity. I see such people as our salvation because I identify with and support their focus in every possible way. In simplistic terms, Indigos not only think outside the box, but they also don’t see a box.  I want to ask: “What box, what envelope?”

When it comes to wildness, the current Presidential administration rolled back environmental protections it took years to create. So, we still have a complete lack of understanding about the value of the Earth or of wildness. And we watched it happen. Perhaps the rollbacks will be rolled back. The trouble is, we’re looking at environmental protections as matters of public opinion rather than science.

So, I suggest we must aim higher than the environment to save ourselves and preserve our planet and the universe we know. Instead of focusing on ways to make Indigo children fit in, we need–my opinion–to make sure that they don’t. We need them as they are, as leaders of the massive changes in consciousness that have been predicted.

New kinds of thinking, new ideas, higher goals, and the kind of wildness that sends the comfortable status-quo thinkers running back to their beds where they can hide.

The sky’s not the limit. It’s a starting point.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Fate’s Arrows.”  Set in the early 1950s  in the Florida  Panhandle,  this novel features a skilled young lady who fights the  KKK.

Brown Bag Presentation: Glacier’s Butterflies

from the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center:

ChinnColor in Motion: A Look at Glacier’s Butterflies

 by Bob Chinn

Monday, July 14, 2014
12 noon-1 PM
Glacier National Park Community Building

Over 100 species of butterflies and many more species of moths play an important role in Glacier National Park. For some they catch the eye as beautiful flowers on the move, while for others they bring special delight by landing on a finger. Through photographs and video clips, Bob Chinn will share his eBook and take guests on a virtual tour of Glacier’s Lepidoptera.

Click here for more information about the brown bag presentations.

Park visitors often miss the butterflies while looking at grand vistas and hoping to see mountain goats and bears. This presentation, and Bob Chinn’s soon-to-be-available e-book show you there’s a lot of small color in the park if you know where to look.


A notion about the gospel of your life

“Quests are personal journeys, and every step is taken alone.” –Deepak Chopra, The Way of the Wizard

DCFC0152.JPGIf there is a subtle message in my novel The Sun Singer it is this: the great words of the great masters about our life’s journeys are—at best—hints. The ideas from the rest of us are mere notions.

The words of the masters may suggest to us that there are other worlds and other levels of consciousness and other levels of awareness. And they may also suggest techniques that will help us find the doorways, paths, enlightenments, and awakenings we desire.

After that, the great words are lies insofar as our journeys are concerned. The great masters’ great words describe the great masters’ journeys. As such, they are the gospels of the great masters’ experience.

My journey is mine alone. Your journey is yours alone. Neither journey can be undertaken by following in the great masters’ footsteps or by concretizing the great masters’ thoughts into a recipe book. We alone know the terrain upon which we’re walking and when all is said and done, the great masters’ view from the mountaintop will never be ours. Attempting to see what they saw creates blindness.

I am continuously writing my story just as you alone will write the gospel of your life, and it will be based on your awareness of your own experience. Nothing else matters; nothing else exists. You and I are both the creators of our paths and the ones who walk upon them enjoying the scenery and surprising ourselves with the wonders we encounter.


From the Archives: This post was first published in my blog in 2005.

Read it now on your Kindle
Read it now on your Kindle

The Dance of Sun and Moon – Stages on the Journey

When the Sun and the Moon are viewed within the arena of Western esoteric traditions, including alchemy and the Tarot, they represent opposites that approach and retreat from each other even though they are destined to be merged into one. In these traditions, the Sun represents fire, masculine, positive (polarity), rational, visible world, and the consciousness mind. The Moon represents water, feminine, negative (polarity), intuition, hidden world, and the unconscious mind.

It is said that the enlightened being, often called The Wonder Child or viewed as the Philosopher’s Stone, is born from the merging of these apparent father/mother, king/queen opposites as depicted in the old art work shown here.

One of the many ways of illustrating the steps on the path to enlightenment, the goal of the hero’s and heroine’s journeys, is through the sequence of Major Arcana (trumps) cards in a Tarot deck. The Major Arcana  cards begin with “0 The Fool,” who is considered the innocent initiate at the beginning of the journey/quest and end with “21 The Universe,” which represents ascension. En route, the seeker finds “18 The Moon” and “19 The Sun.”

I like the description of the Moon and Sun  cards in the ancient quests of  knights for the Holy Grail. The Moon, then, is the Grail in the lake (beautiful water symbolism here) and the Sun represents the Grail lifted up into the pure light prior to completing the quest. Afterwards, the initiate/seeker reaches “20 Aeon” which is viewed as the rising of the Phoenix from the ashes prior to ascension.

Many Paths = One Destination

There are multiple layers of symbols here when we overlay the hero’s/heroine’s journey paths with all their traditional associations, including the Lesser Mysteries and Greater Mysteries, the cycles of the seasons around “the wheel of the year,” the Tree of Life, Tarot, alchemy and astrology. One need not study all of this, or even any of this, to understand seeker’s journey. The journey is who we are and what we are about. All of the paths to enlightenment are pointed toward the same end: transformation. Each of us focuses on the symbols we’re most comfortable with and attuned to.

Some experts say that we’re impacted by these symbols even if we are not consciously aware of them or understand the little we may have heard about them. I am a novice in using Tarot and understanding the cards’ many connections to the Tree of Life, spiritual alchemy and the cycles of the seasons. Generally, though, I like the symbolism of the Thoth Deck of Cards. The Moon and Sun cards shown here are from that deck and have a fair amount of symbolism.

  • Moon: The overall tone here is night. In the Book of Thoth, the Moon is called the “Gateway of Resurrection.” During night and Winter, the waiting Sun is diminished or absent. The landscape here is severe and the stream is mixed with blood. The sacred scarab holds the sun in its darkness while the moon occupies the mind and cosmos.
  • Sun: The overall tone here is light, with the twelve major rays standing for the signs of the zodiac. The light emanates from a rose-like sun, standing for the flowering of the solar influence. The children above the green and fertile earth are forever young and innocent. They represent the seeker’s and/or humankind’s next stage.

The Writer’s Raw Materials


As a writer, I love the relationship of symbols and story ideas. They can strongly impact plots, themes and characters. There are many ways to characterize a journey. For example, readers of my hero’s journey novel The Sun Singer  will find numerous references to light and the other aspects of the so-called solar journey. For more information, see the Journey Page on my website and explore the information on the Joseph Campbell Foundation site. The book’s Glacier Park setting reminds park visitors and fans of “Going to the Sun Road” and the expanse of light one sees from high mountain trails.

Likewise, readers of my heroine’s journey novel Sarabande will find numerous references to water and the other aspects of the so-called lunar journey. The Heroine’s Page and the Sarabande Page on my website have more details. While the book’s story begins in the mountain high country, the plot (which is oriented around the moon’s phases) becomes more focused on rivers, dreams and the so-called “Underworld.”



For more information about Tarot cards in general, you might enjoy exploring one of my favorite sites: Raven’s Tarot Site. Here you’ll learn more about the Major Arcana (trumps), Minor Arcana (suits), and their correspondences with the Tree of Life, the classic elements, and astrology.

My first intention in both of these books is telling an exciting story. Both stories have many associations with myths and symbols. Those who know the myths and symbols will, perhaps, smile when they see the references. Those who do not consciously know the myths and symbols will still be subject to their spells.

As Rumi said, “What you seek, seeks you.” So, perhaps when you’ve finished reading the stories, you’ll be drawn into the “inner stories” behind the actions of Robert Adams (The Sun Singer) and Sarabande (Sarabande). When that happens, you’ll find that what you are looking for will begin to appear more often in your life in the form of books, websites and links, things you see on the way to work or on a hike, people who are interested in these subjects, and your dreams.

Meanwhile, as you read the novels, I hope you’ll enjoy the action while you are dancing with the Sun and the Moon—as they dance with each other.


One positive person makes my day

Truth be told, I experience blue days in spades.

Call me cynical, but the sugary tweets on Twitter (WHO CAN I HELP TODAY) and (LEARN TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER) just don’t help. I applaud the person who approaches each day with a WHO CAN I HELP ATTITUDE. But when a person says that, alarm bells go off.

I wonder, why are they saying that on Twitter? It’s marketing, I think, for clearly getting their help will cost me a lot of money. Maybe I would trust them more if they would just say something that helps me without flaunting the fact that they want to do it.

In contrast to this, I attended a book signing at Hall Book Exchange in Gainesville, Georgia yesterday afternoon for hypnotherapist Melissa Watts. She didn’t sit down and say WHO CAN I HELP TODAY or read a string of tweet-length platitudes off a prepared script. She sat there and was genuinely and infectiously herself: positive, giving, sharing.

Her words changed the tone of my weekend and inspired me anew to look within, to listen, to set aside doubts and to remember that what I see in the mirror is, using her words, like an overcoat, and that I am more than that and so is each of us who sat with her for two hours and shared our beliefs about past lives, energy, vibrations, and the big picture.

I may not know exactly why I drove 22 miles to sit in that room with Melissa Watts and five other people, but I know I was led there. I’m led everywhere I end up. The why of yesterday afternoon is probably summed up in answers I already know subconsciously. Short term, I walked in feeling blue and dark and I walked out with a sunny mood.

One positive person per day is all I need to keep my life and my emotions on track. I’m always looking for that person, hoping that through “chance” and “circumstance” I will be led to that person and that they will say what I need to hear and that, just maybe, I will say what they need to hear.

A transcendent novel set in Glacier National Park

Flying with Ravens – Friday afternoon magic

from Jupiter Images
“Robert, Maistó (Raven) has reminded me that you must not confuse him with common crows. They are greedy, self-serving birds that eat too fast. According to Maistó, the ‘caw’ sound we associate with crows is more of a belch than a call.” — David Ward in “The Sun Singer”

“I have fled in the shape of a raven of prophetic speech.” — Taliesin

“They slept until the black raven, the blithe hearted proclaimed the joy of heaven.” –Beowulf

When you fly with Raven and/or imagine flying with Raven you must have a sense of humor. Prepare to be mocked, mimicked and satirized in every possible way. Accept this, for it shifts your consciousness rather like getting hit in the face with a feather pillow and refocuses your attention on your inner journey. When you pretend to be flying with Raven, you are flying with Raven.

Synchronize your flight with Raven’s flight and you will go within, dying to the exterior world so that dreams and magic are paramount. Alchemists call this stage of the great work “blackening” and often represent it in a variety of morbid death’s head and graveyard drawings. While flying with tricksters, you will in time see the humor in this.

To synchronize your flying with Raven, resist the urge to fly like a common crow and shout “caw caw” at the people in the world below. Observe and you will see that crows soar with bent wings and that ravens fly like hawks, flapping and then soaring on horizontal wings. Keep your hands straight and, if you must say anything, shout “crrrruck crrrruck.”

Ravens are keepers of secrets and they will escort you into the void where the mysteries are contained or they will bring you messages from the spirits of darkness with knowledge to impart. Sometimes, to emphasize your re-focused attention, Ravens will change into something else and expect you to follow suit.

While your encounter with Ravens stops the world as you know, it can be confusing. In terms of mythology and animal totems, Ravens are fun loving and fast moving and it’s best to be adaptable. However, flattery will get you everywhere. Inform them that you know that even mainstream science believes Ravens have more intelligence and insight than crows or, for heaven’s sakes, magpies. Figuratively speaking, the diverse Corvidae family has its share of black sheep.

When you see Raven in your dreams, magic is afoot–or, actually, awing–and it’s best to fly wherever it takes you. Whether you are a garden-variety author, a seeker, or a shaman, an open-ended, nonjudgemental experience with Raven is the key to power and mystery from (depending on your belief system) the astral, inner, or spirit world.

Meditations and magical flights with Raven can turn into a carnival of colors and changing seasons and laughter out of which–when you fear all is lost in the great chaos of the moment–meanings begin to appear clear and cold as black ice. Smile, laugh, and go with the flow; otherwise insanity is a risk–and that’s no joking matter.

Truth be told, Ravens have done their best to drive me crazy. They see it as a benefit–part of the initiation, so to speak–and a prelude to greater mysteries. I’ve told them they are quite full of themselves and their only defense is to laugh and tell me I fly like a baboon in heat. (I really don’t know what that means and haven’t wanted to ask.)


Each purchase benefits Glacier National Park

Everlasting Highway

“It would be an almost perfect love affair, wouldn’t it? that between the pilgrim and the road.” –Anne Carson in Plainwater

People ask questions to break the ice at each oasis: where are you headed? where are you from? how long have you been on the road?

I tell them enough to satisfy them, and they smile, walk their dogs, smoke cigarettes, and buy Mars Bars out of the vending machines.

There are no true answers to ice-breaker questions other than “I may never know.” I see no relevance in time and distance, much less destinations.

The only true question on my mind as the everlasting highway appears to move beneath my feet is: “Have you heard it, the song you came here to sing?”

When I was young, I thought I might find that song with an outline, a diploma, a resume, a plan, a to-do list, a bank account, an organizational chart, a diagrammed sentence, a plot, a theme, or a personal mission statement.

As I grew older, I thought I might find that song by searching through the past, remembering old friends, reading history, reading the saved Christmas letters, pondering photo albums, and telling yarns about bittersweet experiences where the answers to life’s questions and the music that went with them were sure to be hidden.

As a Boy Scout, I was taught to be prepared, to be ready for whatever might happen, to know how to answer questions like “What would you do if you had one day to live, had the winning lottery ticket, found yourself stranded on a tropical island with a movie star, woke up in bed with a dead person, became President of the United States, won the Nobel Prize? Readiness was closer to God than cleanliness, we were promised, and so I must always be ready to discover the song I came here to sing. Lest I miss it.

Sweet highway, my real lover, always there, always unfolding–in time, such as it was, I began to ignore the mileage signs, distances to towns and landmarks and goals; I began to ignore the billboards promising me fresh peaches and hookers and carnival rides and satin sheets and steak and liquor at the next exit or the one after that.

I still haven’t figured anything out.

In loving the road, I believe the next step is the only step and that every time I stumble and fall and find the strength to pick myself up and see that I am still alive, that’s when I hear the song I came to sing.

Copyright (c) 2009 by Malcolm R. Campbell

Preparation + Certainty

“Stand still – the trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost.Wherever you are is called “here”… the forest knows where you are. You must let it find you.” – David Wagonner

Dreams, like the natural world, often look romantic and beautiful and easy to traverse at a distance. But sooner or later, you must make a start. As an Eagle Scout, I am a long time believer in the both the citizenship and the woodcraft preparation one receives in such programs.

Whether you’re walking alone into the wilderness or stepping into a new career or a new project, real-world preparation gives you the luxury of spontaneity. If you lose your matches, you’ll still be able to make fire; if you lose your trail, your compass and the landmarks you see will help you find where you are on the map.

Certainty comes through this preparation as well as the faith in oneself that where you are is where you must be. Listening to the environment, noting the signs, learning from the trail, and attending to the voice inside your head that is only audible when you sit in relaxed silence, all provide constant beacons that will help you know where you are within yourself and within the natural world.

Crossing the threshold into the unknown quite often brings doubts, for here the poetry of the journey may seem to be falling away and leaving you wet and hungry and mired in realities that test you and frighten you and bring about despair.

These tests are proof you are going where you are supposed to go. Expect them, for they are the stepping stones to success, a path you will best be able to follow if you have faith in what you have learned in preparation and have faith in what that learning has made of you.

Copyright (c) 2009 by Malcolm R. Campbell

Looking Outward Rather Than Inward

“All life is individual life, in which alone, the ultimate meaning is to be found.” — Carl Jung

People often look outward at their neighborhoods, cities, states and nations as though such groupings of people are entities or personalities in and of themselves.

As tempting as this view may be, it lends itself to blaming what cannot be blamed–as though the nation acted independently of the will of those who live there. So, too, does it provide an easy scapegoat to all who believe they’re not playing a role in the place where they live through silence or action or apathy.

Everything is the responsibility of us all as we tend to ourselves and share with our fellow men.