Let Me Travel Through the Air Like a Winged Bird

the Wanderling


The Buddha said "If a monk should frame a wish as follows: 'Let me travel through the air like a winged bird,' then must he be perfect in the precepts (Sila), bring his thoughts to a state of quiescence (Samadhi), practice diligently the trances (Jhana), attain to insight (Prajna) and be frequenter to lonely places."(source)

After what could be called nothing less than a NOT so successful foray into a more formalized Zen practice under the venerated Japanese Zen master, Yasutani Hakuun Roshi, followed by an undetermined amount of time doing hard time in a Zen monastery and more study practice under my own spiritual guide and mentor and the somewhat obscure American Zen master Alfred Pulyan, I ended up living on the island of Jamaica.

Because of the continuous sultry heat and overwhelming humidity typically encountered along the lower coastal plains of the southern part of the island I chose to set up housekeeping above the mosquito zone somewhat absconded high among the cliffsides of the Blue Mountains, nearly a mile above the island's capitol city, Kingston, facing out over the Caribbean.[1]

One day a young girl living in the small village close to where I lived got hit by a car on the mountain road. The vehicle took off leaving her injured and unconscious laying facedown in the scrub brush of a muddy ditch alongside the weathered asphalt. The girl's parents, like most of the locals, were poor. Being poor they were not able to afford a regular doctor, so instead they opted for a less expensive, local solution. That solution included me, because I had found the young girl and knew the parents, and a village member because he knew the way among the mountain perilous trails and where we were going. We made a sling hammock suspended between two poles placed on our shoulders and carrying her slung front-to-back between us on what turned out to be an all day rugged journey high into the mountains of Jamaica. Our goal, to find a nearly hermit man of spells called an Obeah.

Some things I recall seem as though they just happened, others are blurred and long lost. One thing I remember for sure about that night was, even though I helped carry an injured girl up perilous trails high into the mountains, because I was a white man, the Obeah would not let me enter his hut...and at first refused to have anything to do with me. I sat outside in the dark basically just poking the fire with a stick and watching the light flicker amongst the trees. As the night wore on something in the light off my eyes must have caught his attention because I felt him staring at me. Eventually he came over and tipped my chin up looking into my eyes glowing dimmly in the flame-lit darkness. Mimicking almost the exact same thing that happend to me as a ten year-old boy at Pendejo Cave with the Native American spritual elder, the Obeah squated down without changing or losing eye contact, peering at me with an astounding set of eyes that seemed to shine deeply from within with a mysterious, intense light of their own, and said, in his heavy Jamaican patois, "You have felt the breath of the Dark One." "Yes, once," I said, "many years ago," refering to an incident in the military when I literally felt the boney fingers of the Shadow of Death brush across my soul. "Why didn't he take you with him," the Obeah asked? "I don't know," I responded, shrugging my shoulders. Then the Obeah said:

"In ancient times far away a young maiden came upon a starving prince sitting beneath a tree. Bringing him gruel, he lived. You see what he sees. There are other things planned for you."

The Obeah poured a warm tea-like broth into two small bowl-shaped cups without handles. He took one and gave me the other, gulping down the liquid while motioning me to do the same. (see)

He asked me what I liked about Jamaica. I told him things like the weather and the people. Then he asked again what I liked about Jamaica. But now I wasn't able to answer. It was like my mind had grown so huge that trying to focus on something as minuscule as a few words to string together into a sentence had become an impossible hardship. As I struggled to form something at least semi-comprehensible the Obeah asked, "What about the old man in a far away place a long time ago that constructed bird-like contraptions in order to fly even as you did as a child?" Da Vinci was the answer, but I couldn't form the words. Finally I told him about my Totem Animal, Cathartes Aura, the huge six-foot wingspan condor-like vultures Jamaicans call John Crows, that glide and soar for hours, riding the thermals, never flapping their wings.

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That the Obeah seemed to like. Soon a cool breeze fell across my face even though it came from a direction from across the fire. The Obeahman took a vessel of water and tossed it onto the flames. A huge cloud of steam burst forth followed by a thick cloud of smoke. I jumped back and turned away, stumbling to the ground while covering my face and eyes. Then it got cold, very cold. The breeze began to blow harder and I could no longer feel the ground underneath me. It felt as though I was moving very fast, yet as far as I knew I was still on the ground by the fire. I moved my arm away from my face just barely squinting my eyes open. For an instant I was still in the billowing white smoke, then suddenly I broke through to clean, fresh air. The smoke was no longer smoke, but clouds high in the night sky. I wasn't on the ground, but hundreds of feet in the air, soaring through the night, arms along my side, wind in my face, stars over my head.

With absolutely no effort I was able to swoop down the darkened mountain gullies and high into the air, eventually passing above Bamboo Lodge recognizable along the mountain road even in the dark because of a large empty swimming pool. Then, just barely above the treetops I picked up speed and headed toward the lighted streets and tall buildings of New Kingston. Soon I was even higher in the air over Port Royal, Lime Cay, and the Caribbean. Then somehow the exhilaration began to fade. I turned back toward the mountains as a creeping apprehension seeped into my thoughts. Then nothing.

Around ten the next morning a couple of Jamaican kids found me unconscious in a ravine about a mile from Bamboo Lodge and miles from the Obeah's hut, naked, all scratched up, and in the bushes, as though I had crashed through the trees or something. The kids apparently went to their parents or adults and told them there was a naked white man in the gully all beat up. Since I was one of the few white men in the area the adults must have assumed it was me and told Benji, the Bamboo Lodge groundskeeper. After discovering for sure who it was, he brought some shoes and clothes and took me home. Everybody in the village area knew what had happened. (source)

One of the things I learned in the Peace Corps and the military is that just about everything in the tropics disintegrates rather quickly if left unattended, especially paper. Even though the reasons for my being in Jamaica were considered to be highly humanitarian in nature, humanitarian or not, when you travel, you are still only who your paperwork says you are. Because I was planning on living in Jamaica a couple of years some people concerned with my overall well being insisted I take my old military dog tags with me. That way, since I always seem to find myself in places I shouldn't be, if I ended up rotting away someplace, so their theory went, at least my metal dog tags might survive long enough to identify me.

"(T)he Obeah squated down without changing eye contact, peering at me with an astounding set of eyes that seemed to shine deeply from within with a mysterious, intense light of their own, and said, in his heavy Jamaican patois, 'You have felt the breath of the Dark One.' 'Yes, once,' I said, 'many years ago,' refering to an incident in the military when I literally felt the Shadow of Death brush across my soul. 'Why didn't he take you with him,' the Obeah asked? 'I don't know,' I responded, shrugging my shoulders."

I had my dog tags with me the night of the event with the Obeah. When I told him of the incident in the military I took off my dog tags to show him and I still had them in my hands when he threw the water on the fire. When I swooped over Bamboo Lodge I purposely dropped the dog tags into the empty pool, so at least if I never showed up again, my dog tags would AND could easily be found someday by someone. A day or two later when I was able to walk and was much less sore I made my way to Bamboo Lodge and climbed down into the swimming pool and retrieved my dog tags after which then I hiked back to the winding mountain trail to the Obeah's place. When I got to the clearing where his hut should have been, and had been a few nights before, nothing was there. No hut, no fire pit, no nothing. Not only that, to me, it looked as though nothing had ever been there.

"Some things I recall seem as though they just happened, others are blurred and long lost. One thing I remember for sure about that night was, even though I helped carry an injured girl up perilous trails high into the mountains, because I was a white man, the Obeah would not let me enter his hut...and at first refused to have anything to do with me. I sat outside in the dark basically just poking the fire with a stick and watching the light flicker amongst the trees."

Before the Obeah took the young girl into his hut he removed a string and bead necklace from around her neck as well as untying a string and bead bracelet from her wrist, hanging both on a small stick-like branch on a nearby tree about man-height above the ground. In doing so, although the necklace hung well I noticed the untied bracelet did not do so, with some of the beads coming loose and dropping into the bushes and onto the ground some distance below the branch. Taking into consideration that the necklace and bracelet might have some importance to the young girl, as much as I could see in the dark I scrounged around for as many beads as I could find, putting them back on the string as best as I could. In that the string ends were frayed, it was dark, and the bead openings were small, it was a difficult task, so much so in the end I simply left two beads of the ones I found off and put them in my pocket.

The Obeah, after hanging the necklace and bracelet on the branch, then immediately carrying the young girl into the hut would not have known, like I did staying outside the hut, that the bracelet on the branch came apart. Upon his return, with me having put it back together, theoretically, all would appear normal.

When I returned to the clearing a few days later to where his hut should have been, and had been a few nights before and nothing was there --- no hut, no fire pit, no nothing --- I began to look for familiar landmarks that might prove or disprove if I had inadvertently gone to the wrong location. While I glanced around it looked all the same as it should be the place, although I saw nothing specific that would otherwise prove it was. Going over the events of that night I remembered the necklace and bracelet and the small man-height branch they were hung on. With a little wandering around the general clearing I soon located what looked like could have been the branch. The necklace and bracelet were not there. I kneeled down and brushed the plants and weeds aside around the base of the tree directly below the branch and sure enough, in the weeds I was able to locate four or five beads that looked exactly like the ones that were on the young girl's bracelet --- and that matched perfectly with the two I had stuck in my pocket. Now, why everything else would be gone or disappear, but a few beads would somehow remain, I have no clue. However, it is my opinion they were not overlooked, but left there purposely, not blatantly obvious for anyone to come across them, but discriminately hidden only to be found by someone who would have the wherewithal to know.



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The shaman-sorcerer and author of a dozen best selling books, Carlos Castaneda, in his first book, THE TEACHING OF DON JUAN: A Yaqui Way To Knowledge (pp. 127-8), cites his own momentous taste of flight, of which some is presented below. Notice the similarity in Castaneda's personal experiences and outcomes to those presented previously, above, by the Wanderling:

"My legs were rubbery and long, extremely long. I took another step....and from there I soared. I remember coming down once; then I pushed up...and glided on my back. I saw the dark sky above me, and the clouds going by me. I jerked my body so I could look down. I saw the dark mass of the mountains. My speed was extraordinary....suddenly I knew it was time to come down...and I began descending like a feather with lateral motions....the next thing I remember is the feeling of waking up. I was in my bed in my own room. I sat up. And the image of my room dissolved. I stood up. I was naked! The motion of standing made me sick again. I recognized some of the landmarks. I was about half a mile from don Juan's house, near the place of his Datura Plants."

Almost everything about Castaneda is rife with controversy. He has both strong advocates and strong detractors. Whether what he wrote is true or untrue, whether he made it all up or some of it up, experienced it himself or described the experiences of others and attributed them to himself, the controversies do not seem like they are going to go away any time soon. I can, however, speak for myself and to my own personal experience. My experience was quite similar in scope to how Castaneda presents his and BOTH of our experiences are similar in extent to the Zen and Buddhist related experiences cited below. However, while the end results of both of our experiences are closely related to the outcome of the Zen and Buddhist experiences (i.e., ability to fly), they are quite different in their initial execution --- as neither were ever contingent on the more spiritually instilled supernormal perceptual states of Siddhis mastered at the level of an Arhat like the Buddhists and others are. Both Castaneda's experience and my experience were initiated in a "non-siddhi" like fashion: a "warm tea-like broth" in my case and Sacred Datura in Castaneda's case, applied rather than drank after being mixed thereof into what could be called none other than a Flying Ointment similar to what is found in witchcraft and other ancient occult practices. [2]

Even though an analogy is drawn --- as well as differences outlined --- between the various Zen, Buddhist and other experiences below and the ones presented above regarding myself and Castaneda, it should also be noted there is a HUGE but glaring difference separating my experience and any cited by Castaneda. In THE TEACHING OF DON JUAN, pp. 172-74, Castaneda relates that through an indoctrination process totally guided by the shaman-sorcerer Don Juan Matus, who had learned his art from a Diablero, Castaneda's human form gradually gave way to a crow's body, which inturn, as a crow, gave him the ability to fly.

"I could repeat every word don Juan had said. I followed each one of his directions. He said that my body was disappearing and that only my head would remain...; the head is what turns into a crow. He ordered me to wink...; I must have winked, because he said I was ready...; . He commanded me to feel the legs and observe that they were coming out slowly. He than said that I was not solid yet, that I had to grow a tail, and that the tail would come out of my neck. He ordered me to extend the tail like a fan, and to feel how it swept the floor...;. There was one last thing I had to change...; to accomplish it I had to be docile and do exactly as he told me. I had to learn to see like a crow...; it was not until don Juan directed me to see laterally that my eyes were actually capable of having a full view to the side."

No such transformation even came close or remotely transpired to me under the auspices of the Obeah, a difference that slides my experience directly into the Zen and Buddhist camps of Siddhis and away from any aspects of the areas touched on by Castaneda.

So how could all of this come about? In the opening quote found in AUSHADHIS: Awakening and the Power of Siddhis Through Herbs, it is written:

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Chapter IV, verse 1 it is stated that the supernormal perceptual powers of Siddhis CAN be reached through the use of certain herbs, replicating on the short term a mind-strength ability and potential execution of powers similar to or equal to that of a person versed in Siddhis garnered via the highest levels of Spiritual Attainment.

According to the precepts as presented by Patanjali in his sutra, although the Wanderling was NOT versed in Siddhis or their application at the level necessary to produce the results that transpired at the time of the incident, the warm tea-like broth brewed and administered by the Obeah had within itself, via the experiece and ritual of the Obeah, the capability to act in its stead. For futher clarification on the Wanderling's experience, how all of it can come about and how it is related to Aushadhis as well as the supernormal perceptual states of Siddhis please see:

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Throughout Buddhist history there have been many instances of Buddhist and Zen adepts that have exhibited the extraordinary capability of flight, most often cited through the use of a Siddhi power known in Sanskrit as the Vayu Gaman Siddhi.

Utilizing the latent power implied within the context of the Vayu Gaman Siddhi it is reported a person can become capable of flying in the skies and traveling over great distances in very short durations of time. The Jain scriptures speak of Jain ascetics who could fly from place to place in a few seconds. Swami Divakarsuri and Swami Pragyasuri have been such accomplished ascetics. Although there are several occasions of individuals flying reported in the Sutras of classical Buddhism and Zen, the Venerable Pindola Bharadvaja and the Zen monk Ying-fung, both cited below, are probably the two most commonly mentioned.

Not all are males, however. It was only AFTER her full Realization that Queen Chudala first began to observe any manifestations of Siddhis within herself. It is written that prior to Attainment she would often see women Siddhas (perfected masters) moving through the sky on the way to rendezvous with their sage husbands. It was only post event, during her fully Enlightened state that she began exploring the various potentials of Siddhis and perfecting her own ability of flight.

Swami Vishuddhanandji (d. 1937)(sometimes spelled: Vishuddhananda, Vishudhanandaaka; aka: Gandha Baba, Perfume Saint), although not Buddhist, is well-known for his supernatural powers related to the use of Siddhis. The Swami is said to have been an adept associated with the mysterious Gyanganj (Jnanaganj) hermitage somewhere in Tibet, also known as Shangri-la and Shambhala -- a secret place of great masters. He demonstrated his abilities, apparently siphoning his powers from the grounding source of the Vayu Gaman Siddhi, in Varanasi in front of hordes of people on several occasions during the 1930s. In doing so it became readily apparent to both the spiritual and laypersons alike that the secret hermitage of Shangri-la is not a myth. See:



Some time ago twenty-two western Buddhist teachers met with His Holiness The Dalai Lama to discuss a variety of Buddhist related issues.

The conference was organized by Lama Surya Das, a native of New York who is now a teacher in the Tibetan Nyingmapa tradition. Each of the teachers had practiced for at least a dozen years in either Japanese or Korean Zen, the four major Tibetan schools, Thai or Sri Lankan Buddhism, or the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, a Western school based on Great Britain. There were laypeople, monks and nuns, psychologists, scholars, essayist, translators; some had meditated in caves, others had Western doctorates. Most were actively teaching Buddhist meditation, not only in the West, but in Asia, Russia, and countries like South Africa and Brazil.

In response to questions on PSYCHIC POWERS SUCH AS FLYING His Holiness concluded:

"As far as I know, zero Lamas today can do that. Some meditators living in caves around Dharamsala are HIGHLY REALIZED and possibly capable of such attainments." (source)

The revered Indian spiritual teacher Sri H. W. L. Poonja (1910-1997), also known as Poonjaji or Papaji, a master in his own right, is considered in religious circles as the foremost disciple, devotee, follower or advocate of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Anybody who holds themselves up to be anybody in the present day Advaita Vedanta come Enlightenment movement a la Ramana, but too young or not born in time to have studied under Ramana, had to have at one time bellied up to Poonja in some fashion or the other in order to flaunt their credibility. Regardless of his latter day followers and any credibility they may or may not radiate, Poonja himself was the real thing. The quote below is from his biography. He was not some ancient saint who somebody said somebody said they saw something, but a modern day personage that reported the following:

"In the last forty years or so I have met thousands of sadhus, swamis, gurus, etc. I have been to Kumbha Melas which millions of pilgrims attended; I have been to many of the big ashrams in India; I have toured the Himalayas, meeting many reclusive hermits there; I have met yogis with great siddhis, men who could actually fly."(see)

My own Mentor and spiritual guide studied in India under the grace and light of the Enlightened sage Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. Although throughout his life Ramana never exhibited even the slightest interest in Siddhis, occult abilities, or psychic powers to outsiders, he had a fully conscious bilocation experience he rarely discussed wherein he was translocated from his ashram in a matter of minutes to a devotee many, many miles away. Arthur Osborne, Ramana's biographer writes in Ramana Maharshi And The Path of Self-Knowledge (2002) pages 104-105:

About a year after his first meeting with Sri Bhagavan, Ganapati Muni experienced a remarkable outflow of his Grace. While he was sitting in meditation in the temple of Ganapati at Tiruvottiyur he felt distracted and longed intensely for the presence and guidance of the Bhagavan. At that moment Sri Ramana entered the temple. Ganapathi prostrated himself before him and, as he was about to rise, he felt the Maharshi's hand upon his head and a terrifically vital force coursing through his body from the touch; so that he also received Grace by touch from the Master. Speaking about this incident in later years, not Ganapathi Muni, but the Enlightened sage HIMSELF Sri Ramana Maharshi said:

"One day, some years ago, I was lying down and awake when I distinctly felt my body rise higher and higher. I could see the physical objects below growing smaller and smaller until they disappeared and all around me was a limitless expanse of dazzling light. After some time I felt the body slowly descend and the physical objects below began to appear. I was so fully aware of this incident that I finally concluded that it must be by such means that Sages using the powers of Siddhis travel over vast distances in a short time and Appear and Disappear in such a mysterious manner. While the body thus descended to the ground it occurred to me that I was at Tiruvottiyur though I had never seen the place before. I found myself on a highroad and walked along it. At some distance from the roadside was a temple of Ganapati and I entered it."(source)

A second equally interesting incident, cast in in a similar vein, and involving the Maharshi but a little too long to put here, can be found by going to: THE MEETING: An Untold Story of Sri Ramana as well as it's prelude page, SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: The Last American Darshan.

Ying-fung was a Zen monk who had received instruction from Zen master Nan-chuan. From his meditative practice, Ying-fung attained some supernatural powers. Once he saw two armies fighting each other. In order to stop the fight, he FLEW over the battlefield and the soldiers became so distracted looking at him flying they forgot to fight. He did many unusual things like this. To show his miraculous power, he died standing on his head and nobody was able to overturn him. His sister was a nun, who came and scolded him, "Old brother, when you were alive you did not behave according to the rules. Now when you died, you still want to show off and confuse people." After saying this, she touched the body lighly, and it fell down immediately. (source)

Venerable Pindola Bharadvaja is one of the Buddha's sixteen disciples named in The Amitabha Sutra. Under the Buddha's auspices he attained the holy fruit of Arhat. Once when in a jubilant mood, he said to the faithful, "Do you think flying in the sky is magical? I will show you some spectacular acts."

He then jumped up into the sky, FLEW all around and performed many miraculous acts. The faithful were all impressed and praised him without ceasing. The Buddha was very displeased upon learning of this incident. He asked the Venerable to come forth and admonished him, "My teaching uses morality to change others and compassion to save living beings. It does not use magic to impress and confuse people. You have MISUSED magic today. As punishment you to stay in this world to work for more merits and to repent for this misbehavior." The Venerable did not in his lifetime enter Nirvana. (source)

By the age of twenty-five, Kunga Legpa had gained mastery of both mundane and spiritual arts. He was accomplished in the arts of prescience, shape-shifting, magical display, and the PSYCHIC POWER OF FLYING. Returning home to visit his mother in Ralung, she failed to recognize his achievement and judged him merely by his outward behavior.

'You must decide exactly who you are,' she complained. 'If you decide to devote yourself to the religious life, you must work constantly for the good of others. If you are going to be a lay householder, you should take a wife who can help your old mother in the house.'

The following is from the source so cited. In an event attributed to have transpired in modern times, two monks associated with the mysterious hermitage of legends said to be the abode of immortals existing beyond time hidden deep in the valleys of the remote Himalayas, and known in the west to most as Shangri-la or Shambhala, were dispatched to retrieve a lost member of their own.

"One of the monks emptied out a cloth bag he had been carrying. Falling to the ground were several leather strap items, three of which were some sort of harness things and the others looking all the same as western style boot stirrups, but with loops in the back rather than metal spinners. The monks quickly strapped the harness-like things to themselves and motioned me to to the same. We did the same with the stirrups.

"Then they laid facing down in a prone position with a slight distance between them motioning me to do the same in the open space. One of the monks slipped a staff through loops across the back of our legs being held in place just above our heels by loops on the stirrups then his. He laid down and pushed the other staff along under his chest, mine, and the other monk about even with our shoulders through leather loops on the harness. Then with me between them holding the staff with both hands across my chest at my shoulders the same as the two of them the next thing I knew we were in the air with me positioned between them suspended by the two staffs front to back moving forward at a quick pace. The mountains fell away under us, the wind was blowing hard enough to force tears from my eyes, and the ground, that had dropped well below us, was passing beneath us at a fairly high rate of speed."(source)

During the late 1930s into the 1940s and beyond there was a whole slew of radio, comic book, and movie serial based superheroes that had origin connections back to, if not Buddhism per se,' at least Tibet, the Himalayas and Siddhi-based powers. The two best known are Lamont Cranston (the Shadow) and Bruce Wayne (Batman). Lesser known, but exhibiting a wider range of powers are the Black Condor, born of English parents but raised from an infant by condor-like birds in the Himalayas and the Green Lama. The Green Lama, whose alter ego, Jethero Dumont, spent years in Tibet, in his case ten years studying to be a Lama and learning in the process, many mystical, what I would call from my own experience, Siddhi related abilities. He returned to the United States intending to spread the doctrines of Tibetan Buddhism (remove ignorance and relieve suffering), but realized that he could accomplish more by fighting crime. He never carried a gun, believing that "this would make me no better than those I fight." Neither the Shadow or Batman refined their abilities as written to the point they could fly. Both the Black Condor and the Green Lama did.




People, especially those seeped in traditions and cultures of the West, read the examples of flying I have cited above and often discount the possibilities as being unreliable because they are either foreign to them, as in the Buddhist or Indian examples, or stem from the occult --- aspects of which are typically not afforded much credibility. However, the Bible, depending on how Luke 4:29-30 is interpreted, indicates Jesus, in all his mortal glory prior to the Resurrection, flew on at least one occasion. The Bible also speaks of at least one other person that came to be known for accomplishing just such a feat as well --- the person being one Simon Magus who shows up in Acts 8:9-24.

Tjitze Baarda, a professor in Semitic languages, earned a PhD at the Free University of Amsterdam. His doctoral dissertation was a two-volume study of the text of the Gospel of John by the fourth century Christian muse and theologian Aphrahat. During his research Baarda noticed a somewhat large discrepancy between what Aphrahat presented in his works related to a confrontation Jesus engaged in at Nazareth as found in Luke 4:16-30 and what has been traditionally presented in the Bible. In the narrative, Jesus returns to Nazareth and goes to the synagogue on the day of the sabbath. Soon a confrontation develops between Jesus and those at the synagogue. Luke 4:29-30 typically relates the outcome thus:

"And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.

"But he passing through the midst of them went his way."

Like with Aphrahat, when reading the verse, if you think about it, the final outcome of the incident is not clear --- with no clear explanation forthcoming. The traditional verse seems to indicate that Jesus simply "passed through their midst," it is supposed, by just walking away unmolested through the crowd. Considering the terseness of the verse, that is, why a mob that was so riled up that they would force Jesus out of the city and up to the top of a hill with every intent of casting him down --- but instead, just allow him to walk away is questionable. However, Baarda, in his research of Aphrahat's works, as well at a number of other sources, discovered quite a different translation that opens up a fuller explanation of events. Aphrahat's translation, garnered from a number of ancient texts, states that Jesus was indeed, thrown off the cliff by the mob and "flew," unhurt, down to Capernaum --- a city located twenty to thirty miles away from Nazareth. Aphrahat's verse of the events reads:

"They stood up and they led Him out from the town and brought Him by the side of the hill where the town was built in order to cast Him down. They cast Him down from the height into the depth and He did not fall and was not hurt/harmed.

"Through their midst He passed and He flew [in the air] and He descended [from above] to Kapharnaum."

William L. Petersen (1950-2006), formally of the Department of Religious Studies, Pennsylvania State University in TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism (1996) writes:

The causal reader is inclined to dismiss Aphrahat's account as his own overly dramatic invention. But Baarda knows both the ancient and modern sources too well to fall into this trap. In 1881 Theodor Zahn had already noted the reading, when he set about reconstructing the text of the Diatessaron. Basing himself on the Armenian version of Ephrem's Commentary on the Diatessaron, Zahn determined that a similar reading probably stood in Tatian's second century harmony. Baarda then turns to Ephrem's Commentary and presents evidence from both the Armenian version and the Syriac text (discovered only in 1957 and published in 1963). In no fewer than nine instances in the Commentary Ephrem either directly states or obliges one to infer that Jesus was, indeed, cast from the precipice by the mob and "flew," unhurt, down to Capernaum.

The other person in the Bible said to have exhibited an ability to fly was Simon Magus, a Samaritan from a village called Gitto. He first shows up in Acts 8:9-24:

"But there was a man named Simon who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the nation of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. They all gave heed to him, from the least thought him greatest, saying 'This man is that power of God which is called Great.' And they gave heed to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip (i.e., Saint Philip the Evangelist). And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed. Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, 'Give me also this power, that any one on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.' But Peter said to him, 'Your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.' And Simon answered, "Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me."

The Bible states in Acts, as cited above, that Simon Magus previously practiced magic, constantly amazing the citizens and nation of Samaria with his abilities. Among his various skills, as documented by a number of ancient scribes and recorders, was the ability to make himself visible or invisible at will, pass through rocks as if they were clay, throw himself down from a mountain unhurt, loose himself when bound, animate statues, make trees spring up. He could also throw himself into fire without harm, appear with two faces, and ascend by flight into the air --- all, in one form or the other, well known supernormal perceptual states known in the ancient world, and still to this day, as Siddhis.

Following an unknown passage of time after the events in Acts 8:9-24, Simon Magus, according to Stephan A. Hoeller in Jung and the Last Gospels (1989), received a supernal summons to speed to Rome and flies through the air from Aricia arriving at the gates in a cloud of dust. Hoeller also writes that previously, when confronted with Peter's opposition in Judea, Simon Magus simply rose into the air and flew away. While in Rome, although he had been baptized into the Christian faith by Phillip, contrary to the beliefs of the faith, did mighty acts of magic. Because of his powers he was as enthusiastically received and considered by many as a god, and as a god, honored with a statue erected on the river Tiber, between the two bridges --- a recognition of such magnitude that it, except for being a god, as a non citizen, could not have been done even with the full approval of Caesar and the Senate of Rome.

Tradition holds, as recorded in the Clementine Homilies and preserved in Christian literature, that the disciple of Jesus, Peter, came into Rome and engaged in a series of mystical debates with Simon Magus in an effort to undermine any claims of godship by him. In the final chapters of the Acts of Peter the disciple and Simon Magus agreed to engage in a contest to win the faith of the Roman citizens. The following is found in the Acts of Peter XXXII, translated by M.R. James:

"So then this man standing on an high place beheld Peter and began to say: Peter, at this time when I am going up before all this people that behold me, I say unto thee: If thy God is able, whom the Jews put to death, and stoned you that were chosen of him, let him show that faith in him is faith in God, and let it appear at this time, if it be worthy of God. For I, ascending up, will show myself unto all this multitude, who I am. And behold when he was lifted up on high, and all beheld him raised up above all Rome and the temples thereof and the mountains, the faithful looked toward Peter. And Peter seeing the strangeness of the sight cried unto the Lord Jesus Christ: If thou suffer this man to accomplish that which he hath set about, now will all they that have believed on thee be offended, and the signs and wonders which thou hast given them through me will not be believed: hasten thy grace, O Lord, and let him fall from the height and be disabled; and let him not die but be brought to nought, and break his leg in three places. And he fell from the height and brake his leg in three places. Then every man cast stones at him and went away home, and thenceforth believed Peter."

Legend implies that Peter specifically challenged Simon to fly through the air, and when he easily did so, flying over the temples and hills of Rome to the amazement of the crowd, Peter just as easily caused him to fall to the ground though prayer. In the version quoted above Simon Magus broke his legs in three places and retired in shame, dying some time later. A second version states that Simon Magus was killed on the spot by the fall. A third version, not favored by Christians --- but the most plausible given Peter's known tendencies toward doubts --- states that it was actually the disciple and NOT Simon Magus who broke his legs in the attempt to imitate him. Nowhere in any of the versions, however, is there any hint or suggestion that Simon Magus did not fly. The church of Santa Francesca Romana in Rome claims to have been built on the spot in question where Simon Magus crashed to earth, affirming in a sense that Simon Magus could indeed and DID fly.


Why all the fuss about giant flying creatures, giant birds, and giant feathers, and all somehow and in someway related back to the Wanderling?

Basically, my uncle stated many times that he felt the reason for my destiny and fascination regarding all aspects of giant flying creatures went back to an incident that involved the fly over of a giant airborne object that I witnessed as a young boy. The object, of an unknown nature and an unknown origin, was seen by literally thousands of people along the coast of California barely three months into World War II. Sometimes I call it the UFO Over L.A. and sometimes The Battle of Los Angeles: 1942 UFO, the incident is mostly forgotten now except by maybe myself and a major chronicler of the event C. Scott Littleton whose critiques of my eyewitness accounts of the event are explored in Littleton Vs. The Wanderling. Anyway, as the story goes, during the early morning hours of February 25, 1942 the whole city and surrounding communities were in an uproar as thousands of rounds of anti-aircraft shells were expended in an attempt to pull down whatever it was in the sky that night. The slow moving object, said to be as big or bigger than a Zeppelin, was caught in the glare of the searchlights from Santa Monica to Long Beach and seemed impervious to the the constant barrarge of shells. It eventually disappeared out over the Pacific after cruising along the coast and cutting inland for a while. The huge object was never clearly explained and was basically hushed up without response from the authorities.

One of the most interesting aspects of the whole event was the downstream outflow put into motion seemingly by Karma and conditions. Somewhere along the way I met a man who said he had experienced the northern most flight path of the object as it was crossing over the mountains into the Los Angeles basin. Years and years after the event, doing some research on what he had to say I stopped in a small park in the San Fernando Valley just north of Los Angeles. While there, totally unrelated to anything I was doing, I just happened across a man of great Spiritual Attainment by the name of Robert Adams, a man who had met and studied under the great Indian holy man Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.


"Buddhism teaches that after a practitioner achieves a certain degree of realization, spiritual power develops. A person at the level of an Arhat is said to possess six supernatural powers. Furthermore, it is acknowledged as well that supernatural powers are not attainable exclusively JUST by Buddhists and Buddhists only. It is possible for anyone who has deep religious and spiritual cultivation to develop some kind of 'super-normal powers.'"

NAGARJUNA: The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom (Dharmamitra Translation)

Anyone who finds themselves pursuing a casual to serious interest in Buddhism and Zen, especially so those seeking insights into spiritual Enlightenment a la Buddha and any relationship that exists thereof, it isn't long before they come face-to-face with some of the more esoteric aspects found in both religions, such as, for example, the super-normal perceptual states known as Siddhis, the mysterious hermitage said to exist somewhere beyond time in a remote area of the Himalayas known under a variety of names such as Gyanganj, Shambhala or Shangri-La, or the ability to fly.

Even though Buddhism and Zen are found to be deeply seeped in all three concepts, those who encounter one or the other individually or all, especially seekers on the path with a strong western background, although they may like the idea, they are usually uncomfortable with a formal acceptance of any possibility of reality for any or all, and quickly relegate or disregard such ideas into areas of forced silence.

As mentioned previously above, the revered Indian spiritual teacher Sri H. W. L. Poonja (1910-1997), also known as Poonjaji or Papaji, a master in his own right, is considered in religious circles as the foremost disciple, devotee, follower or advocate of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. Again, from the above, as you may recall, the quote below is from his biography. Poonja was not some ancient saint who somebody said somebody said they saw something, but a modern day personage that reported the following:

"In the last forty years or so I have met thousands of sadhus, swamis, gurus, etc. I have been to Kumbha Melas which millions of pilgrims attended; I have been to many of the big ashrams in India; I have toured the Himalayas, meeting many reclusive hermits there; I have met yogis with great siddhis, men who could actually fly."

The Buddha is quite clear on the level of Attainment and criteria that MUST be met in order successfully set into motion such actions. A person cannot simply sit down meditating for a few minutes and then find themselves with the ability to fly off, for example, to someplace like the mysterious hermitage said to exist somewhere beyond time in a remote area of the Himalayas known under a variety of names such as Gyanganj, Shambhala or Shangri-La, re the following:

"The Buddha said 'If a monk should frame a wish as follows: 'Let me travel through the air like a winged bird,' then must he be perfect in the precepts (Sila), bring his thoughts to a state of quiescence (Samadhi), practice diligently the trances (Jhana), attain to insight (Prajna) and be frequenter to lonely places.'"

SIDDHIS: Supernormal Perceptual States

Simply put, for the practitioner to have the ability to fly he must be perfect in the precepts of Sila, Samadhi, Jhana, and Praja. If the practioner is not perfect in any one or all, no flying.

"(No) matter how innocent I was in Chiang Mai, if it were learned I was there and didn't pay my respects and explain why I was there, even though it had been some years since I had been in Chiang Mai there might have been complications that I rather not have wanted to deal with. Soon we were going into a classy Thai restaurant in a classy part of town escorted the whole way through the streets by the two punks on motorcycles. Inside I told the person of concern that the lady I was traveling with was in the early stages of following a spiritual path and had expressed a desire for my assistance hoping to become masterful in Sila, Samadhi, Jhana, and Prajna. To do so she needed to be a frequenter of lonely places."

The lady so referred to in the above quote that I was travelling with was one Phyllis Davis who decided one day to explore a budding spiritual awareness and in the process headed toward Asia to become masterful in Sila, Samadhi, Jhana, and Prajna. To do so she needed to be a frequenter of lonely places. See:

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Howard Hughes, Da Vinci, and Flying Machines




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Let Me Travel Through the Air Like a Winged Bird
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The Case Against "Shamans" In the
North American Indigenous Cultures



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QUETZALCOATLUS: Dragon of the Clouds


POWER OF THE SHAMAN: Where Does It Come From, How Does It Work?









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For those who may be so interested, pertinent follow-up information regarding the opening two paragraphs can be found at the following links:


According to Castandea, in his first book, THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (1968), on Thursday, July 3, 1963, he and Don Juan Matus set about making what could be called none other than a Flying Ointment, the use of which ended in Castaneda's infamous metamorphosis into a crow --- including the full ability of flight. One of the key ingredients in that ointment was lard. Below is how Castaneda presents it from the words of Don Juan:

"My benefactor (Don Juan's benefactor being HIS teacher, said to be one Julian Osorio) told me it was permissible to mix the plant with lard. And that is what you are going to do. My benefactor mixed it with lard for me, but, as I have already said, I never was very fond of the plant and never really tried to become one with her. My benefactor told me that for best results, for those who really want to master the power, the proper thing is to mix the plant with the lard of a wild boar."

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