Way back in the 1980s, I was a Type A, “get it done” kind of gal. Then I became spiritual and learned about attaining enlightenment. “Wow! There’s a doorway outta here?” I thought. “I’m going for it!”
I was a maniac for meditation, living in isolated cabins in the middle of nowhere, doing freelance journalism to get by, meditating for hours and days on end. And after 20 years and over 20,000 hours of intense sadhana surprise! One morning in 2007 “I” woke up and the joke was on me.
After all that work there was no ego left to accept the prize. No one home to take credit for the long-hoped-for event. Then, after three days of blissful liberation, the personality structure of “I-Cate” came back. And it was horrifying. And there was nothing I could do about it.
For years, I wrestled with the burning question, “Why?” Why did I come back? Why wasn’t the liberation permanent? And eventually the answer arrived: I hadn’t fully lived.
I hadn’t freely and joyously engaged all aspects of my human experience. I hadn’t flowered naturally. I had forced a brief awakening through rigidly schooling myself and trying to be “spiritual” by avoiding much of physical life.
I had taken a highly masculine path to awakening—a very masculine path to living—and hadn’t really learned to live at all.
And then something happened that changed all that.
A godly encounter
It was April of 2015 and I was on deadline writing an intense psychological exploration of the ego and enlightenment for an imprint of Simon & Schuster that was to be my third published book.
A friend had invited me to stay at her house on the island of Paros for three months to finish it, and I’d taken a brief two-day jaunt up to Apollo’s temple complex at Delphi before catching the ferry at the port of Piraeus to the island. The last time I’d been to the temple was when I was 19, and I couldn’t wait to see the place again. I’d always had a “thing” for the Greek gods, Apollo in particular. But after a full day spent battling the tourist crowds taking selfies in front of every ancient crumbling wall and column I’d had enough.
I hiked up Mount Parnassus the next morning to get away from people and savor the ambience of this ancient world that seemed at once both deeply familiar and utterly foreign.
Stopping to rest, I sat in a field of wildflowers near a cliff face high above the temple complex overlooking the stadium and the Pleistos River valley. And then, out of seeming nowhere, a boldly athletic man erupted onto the scene, bounding over the rocks towards me wearing stylishly-ripped jeans, t-shirt, and an Earth-shattering smile.
He walked right up to me and sat down mere inches away, locked his eyes on mine and said, “Hi! I’m Apollo. I have things to tell humanity. Let’s talk.”
And then . . . he disappeared.
I didn’t think to try to touch him. It all happened so fast. One moment I was surprised by this guy showing up out of nowhere, pissed that my solitude had been broken. Then I’d been mildly alarmed when he sat down next to me. Then he said what he said. And then POOF! He was gone.
Was I crazy? Seeing things? Hearing things? Had it been real? Yes? No? And if yes, what did Apollo want to tell humanity?
I hung around for an hour or so, hoping (fearing) he’d come back, my mind running in confused circles. Finally I gave it up and started hiking back down the mountain, my peaceful morning plans shredded. As soon as I got back to my room at the little hotel in the village of Delphi I pulled out my computer and started writing about my encounter.
The next two days were spent obsessing about Apollo, going wild with doubt and wonder. And then I had to get back to my life. Had to get on a ferry to Paros, change gears, wrap my head around the psychology of the ego, dig in and meet my deadline, leaving all thoughts of Apollo behind.
But he wouldn’t leave me alone. The moment I emailed my completed manuscript to my editor, there he was. I kept seeing him sitting there next to me in the morning sun, his shocking copper-colored eyes intent on mine, his dark red-brown shoulder-length curls shot through with glints of gold. And his very modern clothes. T-shirt and jeans. Upon reflection I remembered the t-shirt he wore bore the words APOLLO ROCKS! shouting the impossible in white ink on black cotton.
Impossible. But there it was. So now what?
My last few days on Paros flew past in a blur of farewell parties and last-minute sight-seeing. But the moment I got to the echoingly vast, crumbling 10th century castle in the Danube valley region of Austria, the floodgates opened. Another friend and his wife had invited me to stay with them at their castle for a few weeks, and I remember waking up in the middle of my first night there, the dark silence of the ancient stone walls oppressive and thick around me.
I hadn’t felt any ghosts near my little room at the far end of the second floor. (Would my friends even hear me if I screamed?) But I was a little spooked none the less. So I called him into my mind. Apollo was the god of Light after all, dispeller of darkness and ignorance. Then I switched on the light, grabbed my computer, tuned into his energy and started writing anything that occurred to me—ancient misunderstandings, wars, annihilation, cross-time plots and schemes for power and manipulation by beings that humanity took for gods but that were far from that ideal . . . one word leading to the next.
I wrote every chance I got while in Austria, often far into the night, barely hearing the creaking sounds and whispering sighs of the past flitting around my little room. I was far deeper in time than 10th century Austria. I was being hurtled through dimensions, meeting past and future selves—Polymnia, a Delphic priestess and Apollo’s long-dead lover. Desma, a future being on a completely different planet. And Apollo . . . oh lord, Apollo.
What can I say? In the story that was unfolding we’d been lovers before and were to be lovers again. But here and now on 21st century Earth, my primary role was to be his messenger, telling the world the real story about the coming of the gods to Earth and their shatteringly destructive relationship with humanity. And his role, in turn, was to sooth and heal my aching woman’s soul, opening me to love and gentleness and life and romance—all the things I’d rudely judged as “not spiritual” and impatiently shoved aside over 30 years before.
As the weeks and then the months passed, he told me he loved me. Told me that working with him and telling his story was part of my healing—if I would accept it. He commanded me to live. To have it all. Be it all. He made love to me and told me that living life fully was the only answer to surviving it. Laughing, his copper eyes wise and tender, he enjoined me to suck the nectar from all the flowers of the world, spit out the pips and ask for more.
I fell in love with Apollo as I wrote—fell in love with a god—again, if any of this is to be believed and held as true. And even if he is only a character in a book flowing from my mind, his dream for me is being accomplished. For he has opened the door for life and more love to come. And more and more and more.
And aren’t we all gods ultimately?
And what is “truth” in this illusory world anyway? Sometimes I think the only imaginary thing about Apollo lies in thinking he is imaginary. To which I can only say, “Then come, be with me, my love. And let’s see where the world takes us.”
Cate Montana has a master’s degree in psychology and has just about given up writing non-fiction articles and books about consciousness, quantum physics, and ego evolution. She is now a novelist and a pure romantic, blending head and heart in her first spiritual teaching novel Apollo & Me, now available at Amazon.com!
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