• eric aspen marley

The Gargoyle: A Parable

We all have our demons, but where do they come from? What tools do we have to help us overcome them? It turns out that we have more than we thought, operating at our direction on many layers of what we call "reality." Let me introduce you to a person in another level of reality called a "Hunter." He'll the story of how his actions affect his "Master," someone just like you or me.

A gargoyle sits on a distant, frigid cliff side in a vast wilderness. He is grey in color, and sees only grey. Grey rocks, grey trees, grey clouds; only the shade varies. He lives in a perpetual twilight. He feels neither warmth nor deep cold, yet he’s always slightly chilled. He is full of hate, and this emotion registers on his face in a persistent scowl. Directed at nothing in particular, his cavernous contempt is spread thin, a low-grade fever applied to all he sees in general. Upon no one thing does it kindle into a flame hot enough to consume anything but himself. His being is a vast pond near which all love has died, a swamp of darkened non-water that belches toxicity into what’s left of his soul. This is the nature of the primary emotion that informs his suffering Self.

This lonely gargoyle has access to people, including me, somehow. From time to time, the clouds part in the sky above him and upon it flashes my every experience, thought and emotion. From where he sits, he can see it all, feel it, feel me. From the depths of his misery, he can comment on my every action as well, scornfully laughing and ridiculing me. Worse, in the mystic calculation of the Universe, his comments are able to reach my awareness. I can hear his sneering narration crystal clear in my mind. It’s a miserable experience, this evil critique, and in recent months it’s getting worse.

And who am I?

I am a Hunter of lost souls. I do this work for a human to whom I’m somehow connected. I call him simply, “Master.” I look human, like him, and I think I feel like a human, too, with roughly the same emotional makeup, needs and wants. As far as I can tell, I’m as human as he is, and as you are. But I walk in a different dimension than that of humanity. I live in a place that shares most of the traits of your earth, but as it’s hidden from what you’d call “civilization,” magic still abounds.

My world is a shadowy, alchemical place of imagination, spirit and intention, where some of the rules that earth-bound humans know simply don’t apply.

My work is to spend my life looking for those beings and things that affect the pure transmission of my Master’s desires into reality, that block his worthy intentions and instead turn them into karmic lessons which both help and temporarily hinder his progress toward the manifestation of the perfect imaginations of his pure heart.

Here, one can find and converse with the unicorn, elves, satyrs, and plenty of other beings, named and unnamed. All these are aspects of my Master’s soul. They’re little parts of his Self that are lost to him, but not to me. They appear here depending on his choices and how he reacts to what happens to him there, in his reality, on his earth. Some are friendly and helpful to my Master’s life, and therefore to me, and some are not.

A soul in perfect harmony has no frightening creatures. A soul as this is a garden of such peace that I doubt a human can imagine it. Think of the mythical Garden of Eden and you’ll be close, I suppose. My Master, as good as he is, is just not there yet.

Hence the gargoyle.

I’m lucky in this regard: my Master is intent upon doing work of the soul. Other Hunters with other Masters are not so lucky. It’s possible for a Hunter to die here in this place, to be overcome by demonic forces that can find and consume him. If this happens, life fares ill for the Master in his own world. He’ll suffer until he does the work that creates a habitat conducive to a new Hunter, who’ll then have his work cut out for him. Doing his spiritual work helps me help the Master rid his soul of those things that slow his progress. As he makes a leap in understanding or creates a helpful habit, I gain tools that help me become more effective in the slaying of his dragons which in his life are metaphorical but in my world, are anything but. In short, the work I do here affects my Masters’ world, his dimension, his reality and his turn in his current mortality.

To help you picture me, I’ll describe myself.

Like all Hunters, I look human, very similar to my Master. All Hunters do. My dress is simple: a dark green and black hooded poncho, over which I wear a belt with many tools hanging from it. I keep the belt buckled over the poncho because this way is warmer, for where I hunt the climate is seldom warm. Besides, keeping my belt on the outside keeps my tools within easy reach. This can be critical to my survival. As my Master makes progress in his journey, as he increases his access to his own soul while in mortality, these tools appear for me in my world and I become more effective for him. In short, as he does his work, I become better at doing mine.

As is the case for all mortals, it’s important to have a good Hunter working with them, because some aspects of a Master’s soul like to hide. Due to some act in a Master's life, these aspects are born into this world. If the experience is beautiful and conducive to love, they appear as helpful beings such as angels, nymphs, dryads, unicorns - even doppelgangers of the Master himself. These will then wander this expansive land of my Master's inner self and support him in their way, according to their nature.

If, on the other hand, my Master experiences something traumatic or less-conducive to love, another type of being appears here; a fragment of my Master's beautiful soul that has become ill and wants to stay away from his conscious mind. Sometimes they die immediately, since the landscape here is one of general light and goodness. But if they live long enough, they become aware of themselves. They begin to feed and the desire to survive increases, with effects that range from instability to dangerous habits and thought forms in the Master’s life. The longer they live, the more powerful and influential they can be. They get better and better at camouflage as well.

As you’ve gathered, my job is to find these beings and engage them.

Upon locating the lost souls I seek, I talk to them for as long as they’ll engage me. I tell them that I love them; for as frightening and destructive as they may be, as aspects of my Master’s amazing heart, I do. I beckon to them to come to me from the cave where they live, or from underground, from behind a tree or from the depths of ocean or lake. Because I love them, they can’t help but trust me, eventually. Generally, they run away at first. But over time they trust me enough to listen to me. The trust can take moments or millennia to develop, but once it’s manifested, they always come to me for help. I then ask them what they want from me and I grant their request if I am able. I eventually succeed with most of them.

It’s an amazing life and adventure.

Once, while in the midst of my search, I came upon a fantastic being. He was a troll - as dangerous and carnivorous as I had ever seen. Still, there was enough in his heart that was good – a desire to one day be good is all it was– to respond to the proof of my love: my persistent return visits.

One overcast day he came to me from the depths of a great lake where he lived. Emerging from what looked like a black hole in the fetid water, he strode towards me, dripping, his red eyes locked on mine. I stood on the beach, my hand on my trusty crystal knife. I was unafraid (on the outside, anyway). I remember thinking that my moccasins were wet, and how that didn’t matter, and how odd it was to think of that as the great troll approached me. He stopped, towering over me, twice my height. Then, he sat down a mere three feet from me. The ground shook. His face was level with mine.

When I'm approached by a lost soul, I must be certain I do not assume I know what to do with them. Even the most frightening of monsters has a desire that has to be fulfilled. Sometimes it's a story to tell in this place so my Master can process it in his. When a story, for instance, is told here, it may appear in a dream or coincidence in his world. He can then further process the experience that brought about the loss of soul for him. Sometimes, the monster has served a purpose and is ready to die.

This time, when the troll sat in front of me and I asked, “What do you want?” I mindfully kept my voice steady so he would sense no fear. This could be dangerous, as monsters always feed on fear.

Looking deeply into my clear eyes from his haunted ones, he said, “Please kill me.” He plead with me to do it quickly and with a minimum of pain. He was ready to go. And I was ready to comply with his request.

I comprehended on some level the amount of trust he was placing in me during this, our first real interaction. In the mind of a creature like this, he had no ascertainable reason to believe someone in power wouldn’t torture him for decades, as this was the kind of being that he in fact was. Moreover, he didn’t really know me; to this point, he had only ever listened to me talk to him as I reassured him from the shore.

Still, here he sat, slightly quivering.

Taking a deep breath, I told him to close his eyes, and then and there I slit his mighty throat. The last look on his face was one of relief for helping him process a deep trauma to which I was about to be exposed as a spectator.

Now dead, his body melted into the sand, leaving a wet outline. Upon the spot where his body had been, a scene from the life of my Master played. I can't describe it to you, but it was so horrific in terms of trauma, especially to one as young as he had been, that I wondered why this troll hadn't been even more horrible than he was. As the scene ended, the spot on the sand where it had played and where the troll lay became warm, as if sunlit. Upon that spot, the leaf of a small, germinating plant appeared, a sign of life resulting from his majestic death.

Simultaneously, somewhere, I felt my Master sob with relief as a weight of monstrous proportion was lifted from his shoulders.

Not all the creatures here are so monstrous, however. Another time, I came across an elf that lived in a cave. He was malnourished, with owl eyes that saw in the dark, but that observed mostly dreams and deep illusion. Since this was the case, he was essentially blind. As such, he had regressed further and further back into the cave, because this felt like safety to him.

Eventually, he heard me and ventured out to the edge of it. Appearing where I stood in fading light, his clothing was torn, dirty, ragged. Tears streaked his dusty skin which was almost transparent white, as he was daily fading into loss, disappearing from this sphere into a nothingness so complete that I may never have found him.

Still, this sorrowful waif could still feel some love, could yet perceive some light. So, he would sit at the edge of his cavern, shivering, and let me tell him stories from a distance; happy stories with beautiful endings from my Master’s life, or others like him. It was the only beauty he knew, these tales that were rooted in a truth he could somehow feel and to which he could relate.

Eventually, he ventured out to me, tentative, like a wild rabbit approaching a human holding food for them for the first time. I did not grab for him. I just waited. When he sat on my knee, I asked him what he wanted.

“I was scared. I don’t want to be scared anymore,” was all he said.

I slowly and solidly hugged him and welcomed him home. “You’re safe, my little brother,” was all I said. With this, he faded into me. In his world, my Master cried tears of joy as an innocence he’d thought he’d forever lost returned to him like a gift.

You can see that I’ve had success. While doing this work, I’ve had many adventures in this land, this shadowy land that lives between solid and dream, between manifested and potential, between light and darkness. I’ve overcome my fear of the dark and, because of my Master’s consistent work, I no longer believe death will come for me in this place. For me, they’re mere illusion. I know that. Pain is real, absolutely, and darkness as well. But both are temporary. My Master trusts me more and more, and I him, and I want nothing more than to please him but…

This gargoyle. I can’t find him.

From somewhere in this land of shadow, he eludes me. Far from trusting me, he sees me in his cinematic sky which serves him like a great crystal ball. He sees and feels me coming for him and he hides, and his hiding is effective because he sees where I am, from what direction I might approach. I arrive where I sense he will be and all I see are his tracks. Or I smell his recent passing. Or I hear distant, wheezing laughter echoing through canyons no Hunter has ever seen.

He runs because he knows that he can’t trust me. I’ve looked for him for almost as long as I’ve been aware of my calling here. He’s rebuffed me, hid, even thrown stones at me. His laughter and frequent one-way commentary has infuriated me for so long that he’s right not to trust me, because I’ll kill him from revenge alone. He’s the one being I don’t know that I can conquer, that I certainly can’t love into trusting me. This is because I don’t love him, why I fear and hate him as much as he hates everything else.

The problem with this is that, feeding off my own emotion, a gargoyle will eventually become dangerous to a Hunter like me. His general hate will become specific, an arrow directed at his pursuer. I have no defense against this type of weapon. Worse yet, the more I try and fail to find (let alone love) this being, the more I can feel his attention turning towards me with increasing specificity.

I was beginning to lose hope in spite of the many successes we’ve had, Master and I. I felt trapped in a situation I couldn’t reconcile. I knew that eventually the gargoyle would have all the ammunition he’d need to destroy me.

That’s when I felt it – my Master’s call.

“Get to the garden.”

In his world, Master had partaken of some ceremony or had developed a practice to the extent that another gift could appear in my world, to assist in his. Most gifts simply appear on my belt, unless they’re particularly powerful. With haste I went to my – our – garden. It overlooks a great valley and a lake of such multilayered purity it sparkles with laughter and joy. It’s fenced with an ancient, low rock wall. Enormous flowers luxuriate therein, and fruit is abundant. As the plants have all been placed where they are with intention, there are no weeds. With breathless anticipation, I awaited the gift. Then the sky opened and down it came, from his intention into my world.

It was a Jaguar.

Jag is a mythical, mystical being, far better than I at tracking beings of spirit, which my nemesis the gargoyle definitely is. When I saw her, I almost ran away. What manner of tool was this? After all, she’s black and frightening as hell to look at. Her head and body are enormous, her coat is sleek, and her paws are the size of salad plates. I try not to stare at her teeth. Were I to judge her alone on her looks, I’d say she belongs to a being like the Lucifer of Christianity. That was my first thought. That is, until I looked into her yellow eyes and saw that she was my friend - if I will accept her as such. I decided to give it a shot and this was good enough for her.

"I am Jaguar," was all she said.

"I am Hunter," I responded. "Welcome. How are you to assist Master and I?"

The first thing she told me is that she’d help me find where the gargoyle is hiding. Besides that, she said she’d tell me what tools I have that will help me see him when he moves, and work with him when he listens to me – something almost incomprehensible at that point.

“Wait,” I say. “This gargoyle is not going to listen to me.”

“How then will you do your work with him?” she asks.

I don’t have an answer for this.

“He is aware of you,” she softly says. The implication for me is dire. “He has no power over you, however. If you act with wisdom.”

The qualifier, “if you act with wisdom,” is troubling to me, but I let it pass. “Well, why can’t you just go get him and kill him, then? Don’t you work for the Master, or me? He must have sent you for a specific reason.”

“Because this is your work, Hunter, and not mine. I can only assist.”

“Oh,” is all I can dumbly say. I feel depressed and stare at the ground.

She continues, “Here’s how it works. If I tell you where to go to find the gargoyle, you’ll be invisible to him. Better yet, as we become One, truly unified, I won’t even have to tell you where to look.”

I frown. This is hard for me to believe, but I soon come to find out that it’s true.

In other words, when I act under the direction of this mythical, spiritual, mystic being Jaguar, even to the point of somehow soulfully unifying with her, my job finding gargoyle becomes possible. The implication is that until I do, he will continue to elude me and mock my life.

Secondly, she tells me I have to lose my fear and hatred of the gargoyle. “You need to accept him.”

Pfft. “Well, that’s going to be a work in progress,” I tell her.

“Of course,” she smiles. “But I am only able to assist to the extent that you obey me. Were we to be completely united, you would have no problem finding, reasoning with, understanding and loving this monster. To the extent that we are not wholly united… this will not be the case and you will struggle. He may even gain power.”

I frown.

“It’s ok,” she continues. “Do your best. We’ll try and fail and try and succeed and then fail again. It is a process - you’re right about that. This is true of both our uniting as well as our hunting. But what else have we to do that is more important than this?”

She has a point.

A few days later, we set out towards a land of clouds, where I’ve never seen the sky beyond the clouds. I see a flash of color in the sky, and look up reflexively. Was it lightning?

“Did you see that?” I ask her. It happens again.

For the first time, I can see in the sky where the gargoyle lives.


In this land of shadow, time is different from what humans, like my Master, experience. What happens here may take years of my time, but mere moments there. Or it can be the other way around; moments there can take millennia here. The relationship between His world and mine as far as time is concerned is nonlinear, unstable and inconsistent. The only thing that is consistent is the relationship between what I do and what my Master does. My job is to support him, period. His job is to get me tools.

Jaguar is the greatest tool he’s ever given me.

For months of our time, we track the gargoyle. His elusiveness astounds even Jaguar at times. At night we sit around a warming fire and trade stories of the hunt for the day, talk about our lives, that of our Master and that of the gargoyle.

“Why is he so full of hate?” I ask her late one night under the ever-present clouds.

“He is afraid,” she answers.

“What’s he afraid of? He has to be the most powerful being I know if neither of us can get close enough to him to even talk to him.”

She frowns. “Do you really believe that?”

I shake my head. “I guess not, but he’s certainly slippery.”

“I’ll give you one thing,” she says, “he is powerful. But his power has become his bane because it’s rooted in his fear.”

“Well, what’s he afraid of?”

“The fear is that, if he gives up on the fear and the hate that comes from it, that he’ll fade into nothing, that he’ll be nothing and cease to exist. It’s the fear of total annihilation, the greatest fear of all.”

“Is that true?” I ask. “It seems like he might be right if he ever meets and trusts me. I mean, that seems to be what happens to most of the lost beings I encounter here.”

“They don’t cease to exist, Hunter. That may be what you seem to experience, but it’s not true of where the Master lives,” Jaguar says gently. “They go to Him.”

“You mean, they leave here and go there to terrorize my Master?” I’m suddenly horrified that I might have, all these years, been sending monsters to the One I love.

Jaguar smiles. “Remember that things here are not as they are there. What we do here, if it’s done with our love, only benefits him. He alone fully reintegrates them and can process their stories for His benefit… and theirs.”

I consider this. I guess I knew that on some level, but it feels good to hear her say it. “OK,” I whisper.

I notice that my heart feels less…what’s the word? “Contracted” towards the beast, I guess. I feel something like empathy. I sit with this. Then, after a few minutes I ask, “What was he before he was a gargoyle?”

Jaguar looks at me but doesn’t say anything. She just closes her beautiful, yellow eyes and goes to sleep.

The next day we awaken before the sun rises and see upon the clearing sky, the great gargoyle. We watch him in wonder. He seems to be scanning his own sky for something.

Gazing up through the trees, Jaguar says, “He’s looking for us, but can’t find us. He can sense us, but we’re invisible to him." Then she adds, "We’re close.”

My heart leaps. I instinctively reach for my belt, tightening this, arranging that. My tools are always kept in perfect order – that’s my job. But I check things anyway.

We take off toward where we feel he is. I notice that I perceive Jaguar almost automatically. It’s not quite like I can see through her eyes, but it’s close to that. She leaps and I look for her sure footed-landing, seeing it in my mind. I think a question, and she answers it without speaking. We are becoming one, in the nick of time.

Late in the day, I get my first actual glimpse of the monster I’ve hated, feared and for whom I’m beginning to find a general sense of compassion. The compassion is as surprising to me as the fact that we’ve found him. But there he is, far, far above us on a great cliff, seated on cold granite and silhouetted against a slate sky that looks like it’s about to rain pure acid. He’s scanning the vast clouds, looking for a break in them so he can find us.

I shudder.

“Are you ready?” Jaguar whispers.

I don’t answer. I can’t speak. I only nod.

“OK,” she whispers again. “Let’s go.”

I can’t tell you all that happened after that. All I know is that time is strange, here in this land, and that there are some things that cannot be explained. What I’m about to tell you is not how it happened; words don’t exist for that and where you’re reading this, the comprehension to understand the actual course of events does not exist in word, only in feeling. So feel as I tell you this.

The Jaguar was the first to make contact. We had sneaked up on him from behind on the cliff where he sat and she pounced. We pounced. His screams… I can’t begin to describe the rage. I almost turned and ran. His face was a mask of hatred so deep that my legs buckled and I hit my knee on a stone, momentarily incapacitating me. Jaguar struggled to subdue him, but after a few seconds he was disabled under her great weight as his chest heaved. His pain. Oh, his great pain. I’d never felt an emotion so strongly. It was as if I were him.

Then, the oddest things happened simultaneously.

A tear fell from my eye.

My Master’s face instantaneously appeared and then disappeared in the sky past parted clouds.

And the gargoyle changed from a fearsome monster into a young boy that looked like my Master had been, many years before.

Listening to an intuition that came in my mind as the voice of my Master, I whispered through cracking voice to the now-frail captive. “Do you have anything to tell me?”

“Will you listen to me?” was all he said.

“I will, I promise.”

The Jaguar carefully let her weight off the child and sat close by. Her claws were still extended on the stone, but she was still.

And from there the gargoyle, now a little boy about seven years old, told me of a time when he felt alone, abandoned by his father. I listened and we cried together. Jaguar sat nearby, intent upon the proceedings, but this was my work, not hers.

Finishing his story, he said, “That was what happened to me.”

It was all I could do to not sob into his arms. However, I kept my composure and asked my question.

“What do you want?”

This is a true story.

The nature of our reality here on earth is far more multi-faceted than we can imagine. I wrote this story to help the reader comprehend the depth of our relationship to All That Is, as well as to comprehend in the slightest way the greatest fact of all, that we are not alone. I wish all humanity to come to See we have sacred tools and Helpers at our disposal, and that the work we do on ourselves, the hunting for our own frightening (and, as we’ve seen, frightened) monsters has effects on many layers of what we call reality. Including this one. We all have Hunters. We all have Jaguars. May we unite with our Spirit Helpers, become one with them, and find our lonely, frightened gargoyles.

Stay tuned for "Tools for Hunters: How to Find and Deliver Them")

(Dedicated to Danielle)

Artist unknown

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