© Frank Westcott, 2013. All rights reserved.


This story is for my granddaughter, Jaidyn, who had open heart surgery at three months of age. Jaidyn is ten at this writingin 2012. Today, she figure skates spinning and swirling and twirling at her club and during competitions. She was born November 25, 2002. This story is also for my other granddaughter, Khiyla. She is dancer a singer a comedienne an entertainer supreme. And she is only six! They both have huge hearts, and heart of the best kind, of the inner kind.


            Navajo Bill decorated his tree, then left for the forest. He would spend part of the night in the woods. With no presents under his tree, he would not hurry home.  He hoped to find some signs of Christmas at his campfire.

To Navajo Bill, the signs of Christmas were little knowings that came to him, inside himself, little bits of knowledge, he needed to learn to become a man…  to become fully who he was… to become  a human being.

Later, at his campfire, the sparkle of wood and cinders, rising gold and orange in the air, reminded Navajo Bill of home.  A before home. One long forgotten.

 You see, Navajo Bill came from Ancient Civilizations, existing long before thisone and long before Christmas had ever been invented. Sometimes, Navajo Bill thought, he could see back into this othertime, a time before Santa rode a sleigh, and a time before a reindeer called Rudolph, nose aglow, brightened the way for children’s dreams and stories.

Watching his fire, Navajo Bill was reminded of windows he’d seen on his way out of town. They were windows with glue-on… stick-on… adhere-to-anything decorator snowflakes stuck to glass that seemed to dance out of the night’s darkness, as if fuelled by home-lights inside. In these snowflakes on the window panes, Navajo Bill saw every colour of the rainbow. It seemed… as if lights from every human soul from ages past, flashed at Navajo Bill, jarring him out of some deep place, inside.Navajo Bill waited. He wasn’t sure for what. But in these moments of remembering his drive through town, he waited for another window to appear, and clear, a strange window, one in his mind. Navajo Bill wanted to see this window so he could truly see. Yet, there seemed to be a grey mist over this window. And it was hard. And solid. Like the grey of a rock.

Some said, Navajo Bill was waiting for the window to his soul to clear.

Navajo Bill sat quietly, now.All alone, and under the stars and in front of his campfire.

Then, Navajo Bill stood, walked slowly to edge of his clearing and put thirteen rocks around the clearing’s outer edge, making a large circle. Navajo Bill walked back to the centre of this circle and put another thirteen rocks around his campfire. ThirteenrocksA circle. Two circles. One around his campfire. One around his clearing place. No beginnings. No end.Thirteen. One stone for every moon in the sky in one full year.

 Navajo Bill breathed deeply, now. He did not like it, but there were mysterious stones, he did not place there, around his heart, too. But twelve. Only twelve. Twelve. This made Navajo Bill wonder? Why… only twelve?

 Navajo Bill began to wonder about many things. He knew The Thirteen Step Dance. One step for every moon in the sky in one full year. But Navajo Bill knew, also, even if he began to dance The Thirteen Step Dance, he would still not understand why, there were twelve stones around his heart, and he was to put thirteen around everything else. In their sacred teachings, the Ancient Ones had told Navajo Bill to put thirteen stones around his clearing. And thirteen around his campfire. Thirteen. One for every moon in the sky in one full year. Two times.

Navajo Bill heard the cry or call of a moose. He wasn’t sure which. Whether the sound was a cry? Or a call? Or maybe, it was both?  He waited.To see. To listen. To hear. To listen and hear the seeing of what would happen next.

A large moose stepped into the clearing. Light from the campfire swirled golden flecks, dancing them high around the moose’s antlers. Bright orange flames, like long iridescent fingers, licked the sky. The flames touched stars, magically rising on moonbeams, bringing Nature’s Harmonies back to Navajo Bill and the moose.  The thirteen stones around Navajo Bill’s fire began to spin rapidly, then up-up-up into this sparkling velvet sky, where space met sound, and the universal life-force began to cascade like a mystical, vibrant sky-waterfall of light, around Navajo Bill and Moose. Navajo Bill’s campfire began to spin inside its thirteen stone circle. Light above all existence, even the Earth itself, bounced from rock to rock, sparks shooting in-and-around and across all space. This light entered Navajo Bill, and he saw how twelve stones circled Moose’s heart, too. In this ricocheting light, Navajo Bill watched as Moose stepped into the very centre of the clearing to stand beside Navajo Bill.

“Maybe…” Navajo Bill wondered aloud and to Moose, “…my clearing place is Moose’s clearing place, also.” 

But that didn’t explain why there were thirteen stones around his fire, thirteen around the clearing, but only twelve stones around their hearts.

Like the thirteenstonesaround the fire, the thirteenstones around the clearing started spinning. They shot up into the sky to join the others. All of the stones in this space swirled around-and-around each other. Thirteen. And thirteen. Two times. Stones spinning. One stone for every moon in the sky during one full year. Two times. Thirteen. And thirteen. Thirteen for Navajo Bill. Thirteen for Moose.

Thirteen two times.

Navajo Bill looked skyward. He saw into the darkness that, strangely, had become light, also. And bright, also. The fervour of spinning lights, and rocks and sounds danced Nature’sAngelicHarmonies  back to Navajo Bill and Moose. These sounds seemed like singing from a sacred place where all sound met all space. And space, met destiny. A place where time met itself. And no longer existed.

The twelve stones circling Navajo Bill’s heart and the twelve stones circling Moose’s heart, spun off, too, joining with these sounds. Sounds of Nature. Sounds of the Universe. And all that was Holy. Singing to itself. And in rainbow lights. To Navajo Bill’s ears. And Moose’s ears.

 The twelve stones from Navajo Bill’s heart and the twelve from the Moose’s heart joined with the other sky-stones, the stones from the campfire and the clearing. All dancing and clacking together,  creating a steady rhythm. The rhythm of The Thirteen Step Dance.  Navajo Bill began the slow shuffle.  One step for every beat. One step, one after the other, thirteen times as he had been taught by the Ancient Ones. Moose danced, too. But with two feet on one side moving in unison to each shuffle beat. Then two feet on the other side. The way he had been taught by his AncientOnes.  Moose and Navajo Bill danced together. Their movement felt strange. And would have looked strange, if anyone could have seen them. Yet, an even stranger peace came over them. A new vibrating orange light. Navajo Bill became still. He sat. Moose became still. Moose could not sit like Navajo Bill. So, Moose kneeled, on his two front legs. As soon as Moose’s knees touched the ground, Navajo Bill stood, once more. Moose stretched long, then stood again, too. Navajo Bill raised one arm. He pointed to the sky. And to the light. Flames from the fire bouncing off stars joined the hovering orange light around Navajo Bill and Moose. The light suddenly sent blue sparks flashing to Navajo Bill’s finger tips. And Moose’s antlers. Moose and  Navajo Bill stood mightily. Moose saw how his stones, the twelve around his heart, had spun away from the others to join this magnificent golden shimmering orange spray of mysterious light all around them. Next, the twelve stones that had been around Navajo Bill’s heart, spun out of the sky to join Moose’s stones in this light. All colours of the rainbow danced out of and inside this light.

            A grand Voice spoke from deep inside this spinning light.

 “Navajo Bill and Moose, you both have released the twelve stones around your heart. One stone for every moon in the year, but one. Navajo Bill, whether you realized it or not, you have reached manhood. Moose, you have reached adulthood, too. You have reached Moosehood. You both have claimed your maturity by releasing your twelve stones. There is magic in this releasing. A magic you will soon know of. You have freed yourself to clearlysee through the window to your soul, the thirteenth stone.

Moose nodded. He already understood this. Moose had paid attention to his AncientOnes’teachings. Navajo Bill was careless in his learning. He did not pay close attention to his Ancient Ones.

“But why…?” Navajo Bill asked. “Why are there just twelve stones around my heart? But  why thirteen around everything else? One stone for every moon in the sky in one full year? Thirteen?”

                        There was a pause. Silence. Then the Voice answered. Slowly. Deeply.  As if contemplating his response while speaking. “Your twelve stones were there to protect you. To teach you. During your childhood. While you grew. To now. Fully emerging as your who you are. Your twelve stones  acted like a shell… like the shell of an egg around the embryo, you, inside. Until you were ready to break through. Until you broke through. Your twelve heart-stones encircled your heart as you cleared all that was not you. As you put out the fires inside you. The twelve stones around your heart kept you intact. Know this. The twelve stones represented everything you carried inside, that was not you.”

            “Inside? What are you talking about? Me?Not me?  Voice, you make no sense!?” Navajo Bill exclaimed and asked. Both at the same time. “How can anyone? Anything? We? Me? Moose? How can we be what we are not, inside? That makes no sense? Especially, around our hearts?  How can that be?” Navajo Bill, asked without exclaiming this time.

            “That is a problem, isn’t it?” the Voice answered with a question

               “It is,” Navajo Bill, said, answering the question in a statement.

            “Actually…” the Voice said, boldly, “it is THE problem. But… it is the way itis.”The glowing orange light shone brighter.

            “Why is this so?” Navajo Bill, asked. “Why is it theway it is? I don’t get it!?. I don’t understand !?.” Navajo Bill exclaimed, asked and said all at the same time because he really wanted to know. How could he, Navajo Bill, have inside what was not him, and circled by twelve stones around his heart?  Navajo Bill wanted to know where the thirteenth stone was? There were thirteen stones around everything else. He had to have thirteen stones, too. His fire had thirteen stones. His clearing place had thirteen stones. One for every moon in the sky in one full year. Navajo Bill wanted to be complete. He wanted his thirteenth stone. He wished he had paid closer attention to the Ancient Ones’ in their teachings. He wasn’t like Moose. Navajo Bill wasn’t a good student.  

            The Voice, of course, heard Navajo Bill’s thoughts and mumblings and internal rumblings, because that’s what it was like when you were a Voice inside… a Voice inside a golden shimmering orange light. The voice answered Navajo Bill’s thoughts, rumblings and grumblings this way…

            “Navajo Bill, you, like all others, came into the world with Thirteen Stones, one sacred stone for every moon in one full year. This was and is the way it is for everything in sacred existence. This is your completeness. The completeness you seek.  As a year completesitself, every thirteen moons, you grow inside and out, and come closer to your Holy You.”

            Moose nodded. He knew this.

The Voice continued to speak. “Thirteen Stones. Thirteen stones around your clearing and around your fires.  This is the alchemy of life. In these fires, a transmutation occurs, burning out of you and releasing, wehope, the twelve stones. The twelve stones around your heart. That hold you back. From you. Everyone comes into the world with twelve stones in a circle around their hearts. Everyone, everything,must release these twelve stones in their own sacred way. You must be free of your twelve stones before mastery… self-mastery… adulthood and true knowing can be attained.  It is the way.

            Navajo Bill remained puzzled. He wished he had paid closer attention to the Ancient Ones’ teachings. “But why twelve stones around my heart?” Navajo Bill asked, quietly, politely, now. “Why not thirteen like the moons in the sky in each sacred year? Where is my Thirteenth Stone to match the thirteen moons like around everything else? My fire? My clearing? My clearing place?”

            Moose nodded, once more, like before. Heknew. Moose knew, too, Navajo Bill was getting somewhere. They both listened, now. Moose. And Navajo Bill.

            “It is this way,” the Voice said ”…when you begin in the world there are twelve stones around your heart. These represent people. Ideas. Events, Happenings. Anything notyou in your life. Anything not truly you. Not truly part of you. When you clear these twelve stones, you leave only one thing… justyou, as you and Moose stand, now. Free of your twelve stones. You are left with one thing… one stone, so to speak.  The Thirteenth. This is what is most important. And what is truly you.”

            Navajo Bill jumped up and down. Happily. And began to jig-a-lig. He jig-a-ligged to the 43 and 1/2-step dance, with all its steps at once. Even the half-step, where you dangled one leg high, at the dance’s  end like a horse in a half-prance. Giggling. And jig-a-ligging. And knowing fully what he was to know, Navajo Bill exclaimed without asking or anything else. Just exclaiming! “When you are free of all your twelve stones, you are left with one thing! Your heart!!!”

            The Voice wanted to do the 43 and 1/2-half step dance too, because he was so happy. But the Voice couldn’t. The Voice had no legs. Or arms. Or shape to dance with. So, the Voice jiggled and wiggled and bounced and bobbed, jig-a-ligging the best it could, inside the sparkling glowing effervescent, shimmering and shining, orange-gold light. The Voice shouted to the rhythm of Navajo Bill’s dancing, “Yes! Navajo Bill! When you free yourself of your twelve stones, you are left with one glorious thing! Your heart!

And with that, Moose started to dance, too. But Moose danced the 57 step dance with no halves. Just fifty-seven good glorious happy Moose steps. And he did it two at a time. First on one side. Then two at a time on the other. Then the one final hop-stomp for 57.  And when he was done one cycle, Moose sat down happily, tired, and full and flat on his haunches, and yawned. All this Navajo Bill stuff had made him tired. His head nodded. Not because he agreed to anything, but because he fell asleep. And Moose moose-snored all through the night.

“You have it!” the Voice said happily to Navajo Bill. And said again. Sort of. “When all your twelve stones are free of you and you of them, you are left with your heart! Your heart. The thirteenth stone! Clear as a crystal. Shining now. For always. The grey mists within you gone. The grey of the rocks? Gone. The blocking twelve? Gone. Cleared. Burned away in the fires you had within, and around your clearing place. YOU, Navajo Bill, are the Thirteenth Stone. A golden shimmering stone. All of you and only you shining inside you now,” the Voice said, glad he had repeated himself. Sort of.

            “So… I… I.. did have one sacred stone for every moon in the sky in one full year,” Navajo Bill whispered.

            “Yes, one sacred stone for every moon in the sky, Navajo Bill. And you are left, now, with the most important one of all. Yourself. Your heart!” the Voice whispered back. And the Voice added, almost as an afterthought, but the Voice thought this last bit was important for Navajo Bill to know. So the Voice said it. “You will find that time does not exist for anyone or anything who finds their thirteenth stone. You will know a sense of timelessness. You are free now, Navajo Bill. To be yourself. To walk as you truly are. Simply. Freely.”

            Moose yawned, again, but still in his deep-snoring, all-night sleep. He knew all this. Even when he was sleeping.

            Navajo Bill wondered inside himself, why Moose was part of all this? But, of course, the Voice heard even though Navajo Bill did not speak aloud.

The Voice answered, “It is good to have a friend along on any journey.”
            Then, taking the orange-golden light with him, the Voice flew off into the silent sounds of the Universe, where space and sound meet, and all becomes the quiet of the soul. And where time does not know itself because it no longer exists.


            Later that night, and before light brightened Navajo Bill’s part of the Earth with morning, Navajo Bill returned home. Mysteriously, there were thirteen gifts around his Christmas tree. And on his roof, stood thirteen tiny reindeer in front of a not so tiny, bright, red sleigh. On the sleigh’s, almost tiny but not quite tiny, seat, a big golden shimmering heart.

And that’s the story of Navajo Bill’s Christmas and the Magic of Thirteen Stones.

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