I don’t recall exactly what reason brought me to Roland’s house that day in the fall of my nineteenth year. More than likely I was meeting up with his sons so that we could set off on some type of mission of fun and mischief. Roland had raised three sons, and the eldest two were young men whom I happily called friends. The youngest was in the process of reaching an age I could tolerate and was showing signs of becoming just as fair and likeable a man as his siblings.
Roland at the time was in the peak of his forties; tall and sturdy with a handle-bar mustache and a head of light brown hair now receding back from his furrowed brow. He worked at the pulp and paper mill, one of the few that still remained in our city after the industry’s decline in decades past, and the work and the lot in life he’d been dealt and the land and the northern Ontario weather had made him a hard man.
He had a softness about him, though. His olive green eyes glittered with a gentle, sage-like wisdom. His voice, although booming with sonorous authority (a necessity and inevitability of any man charged with raising three boys), when lowered to a conversational volume would hum melodically and soothingly. He could sing, and sing well – almost as well as he could whistle. He loved music and poetry.
He read voraciously. He enjoyed novels on fantasy and science fiction. He also indulged in non-fiction, and was a wealth of knowledge when it came to topics of the soul. As I developed from a shy and repressed youth to an avid seeker of experience, I began to see Roland as a source of great guidance – a guru, one might say. Many of the strange and wonderful topics I was beginning to explore were fields where he was quite at home: the blending of western psychology and eastern spirituality; chakras, auras and yogic meditation practices; the inconsistencies and hypocrisies found in the establishment; dreams and their meanings; the significance of coincidences.
He was the first to introduce me to Scott Peck’s The Road Less Travelled, and he gave me my first lesson in perceiving the auras in others and myself. I enjoyed talking with Roland and picking his brain for insights, and would do so at any opportunity.
Such an opportunity was present this day in the fall of my nineteenth year. As I say, I must have come to the house to meet up with either of Roland’s sons or possibly both so that we could go off somewhere, to the trails in the park or the coffee shop or the river, and enjoy the quickly-shortening days of autumn before the cold of winter took hold. Whichever brother I was there to meet was held up with some ablution or was late in waking up, so while waiting I sought out Roland for a chat.
I found him in the basement of the house. I had only ventured down there once before, accompanied by Kaj, the eldest son and my closest friend. He had taken me down to show me the wonders that Roland kept there.
Roland worked at the mill, as I said, but he had many hobbies. One of which was prospecting. Apparently, years ago, Roland’s good mate whom he called the Finlander came to Roland with a proposition to stake a claim to a plot of land in the craggy hills outside town. Roland had never prospected before nor given much thought to it, but decided to go along. Almost immediately the plot yielded amethyst, and Roland was hooked on prospecting. They went out on days off to search and dig and quarry their precious stones. He would bring his plunder to the basement, where he would work on them further.
In Roland’s basement was the largest and finest collection of amethyst I had ever seen. Thunder Bay was a city known for its amethyst and I’d seen pieces of the purple gem sold in gift shops and jewelry stores all my life. But the pieces I saw in that basement rivaled anything I had ever previously beheld. There were enormous crystals whose single spike were the size of a fist, larger than I ever knew they were capable of growing.
And they were not all purple: as Kaj had explained to me, amethyst was most common in its light purple hue but in its rarer forms could be found in ox-blood red and even black. This rare black amethyst, which never had I seen displayed in any rock or gem shop, was abound in the basement of Roland’s house.
I remember thinking to myself that the gems found here would make a comfortable retirement fund for the aging mill-worker.
It was in and among these impressive pieces of quarried glory that I found Roland on that fall afternoon. He was puttering away, a cigarette fixed in the corner of his mouth, and he welcomed me down to his workshop. He talked to me about his hobby, and as always I was fascinated by everything he said. He obviously loved his crystals and found the whole subject spiritually engrossing.
After a time, he asked me what was on my mind. Roland possessed a practiced sense of intuition, and he was perceptive to an unnerving degree. He was the type of person who never seemed surprised by anything that occurred or by anything uttered by another – he merely nodded in acknowledgement, as though he had expected it.
I searched my mind for some unanswered question, some nagging bit of unsettled matter that could potentially be cleared away or laid to rest by the man’s wise counsel. After a moment I came upon something: a matter which had been bothering me for a while. I brought it up to him.
“I was wondering,” I said, “if you could give me any advice on remembering my dreams. It seems as though every morning I wake up and the whole night has just been a blank. I feel like I’m off in my imagination having all these adventures that other people talk about, and I’m not remembering any of them. Do you know of anything I could do that would help?”
As I had been speaking, a smile spread across Roland’s face. By the time I had finished, he was suppressing a satisfied chuckle. That expression of having expected what I said was all about him.
“You come to me,” he said in his controlled cadence, with an air of whimsical incredulity, “asking me about remembering your dreams, when we are in a basement full of amethyst. Amethyst is a crystal that is perfect for just that purpose. Doesn’t this just make you more of a believer in synchronicity?”
Roland explained to me that while quartz was a crystal which aided in clarity, both in thought transmission and dreams, amethyst had retentive qualities. He told me that if you slept with a piece of amethyst under your pillow or beside your bed, the thoughts emitted from your mind as you dreamed would be absorbed and retained and slowly released back from the crystal.
Crystals, he said, contain electromagnetic properties. They can absorb and transmit electromagnetic waves. He said that since our thoughts are nothing more than electromagnetic waves transmitted from our bodies and minds, it is possible to charge a crystal with whatever thoughts or feelings you please, and it will retain and transmit in turn those thoughts and feelings back into the world or into any nearby receptor.
He said that I could use amethyst to help me remember my dreams, or conversely I could use amethyst to influence my dreams by charging it ahead of time. To illustrate his point, he picked up a piece of deep purple and red crystal from a shelf beside him.
“What you want to do is, every night, you start by washing the crystal. There’s nothing fancy about it, you just run some water from the tap and rub it over the stone. But when you do it, you do it with intent. The goal isn’t really to make the stone clean of dirt, although that is important. The goal is to put your intention to make it clean as you clean it. It’s feeding off your intention, so you concentrate on cleaning as you clean it.”
He continued. “Once you do that, you can hold the stone to your third eye,” he brought the piece of amethyst up to the place where his light brown eyebrows met, closing his eyes momentarily, “if you like. You don’t have to. You can just hold it in front of your face to focus on it, it’s all good. Again, the important thing is your intent and your concentration. You put whatever intent you want into the stone. You repeat it in your head, like a mantra, as you focus on beaming it into the stone. Something like, I want pleasant dreams tonight, I want pleasant dreams tonight. Or, maybe in your case, I want to remember my dreams tonight, I want to remember my dreams tonight.
“Then you put it next to your pillow or under your pillow or wherever, and all night long the stone will beam that intention out to you. At the same time, it will be receiving all of the transmissions you send out as you sleep. Give it a try, let me know how it works for you.”
He held out the piece of amethyst to me. I hesitated, not sure what to say.
“Go ahead, that’s yours,” he said, nodding reassuringly. The gentle wisdom on his face was potent and infectious.
I gratefully took the beautiful bit of stone and gave Roland my sincere thanks.
I spent the rest of the day with Roland’s sons, though I don’t recall now what we did. All other events of that day are now washed from my memory. I will always remember my first special piece of amethyst crystal, though. I will remember it for the rest of my life, as I will remember Roland, the guru and spiritual guide and his menagerie of rare crystal, as I will remember the power of coincidence and synchronicity in this life, which can be so wonderful, mysterious and magical.