From Coincidence to Coin-incidence

I’ve wanted to write about the strange string of experiences that led up to the Coin-incidence for over 25 years now. But because I’ve thought it would basically take an entire book to explain, I’ve avoided doing so, fearing I would never have the committed time to actually write such a book. And I was afraid that if I tried to just piece-meal it, it wouldn’t come out right – it would just be a big, tangled mess of words and sentences, with no cohesion or meaning. And there is still a risk of that happening. But because I don’t want to miss out on the chance to record what happened, and I’m not getting any younger, I want to at least try to capture the spirit of what happened that caused me to forever see “coin-incidence” when I come across the word “coincidence.”

The first few posts here at AO (Atque Occultatum) play heavily into the story, because it’s really the story of me – at least the “me” that is constantly seeking something. It started when I was very young, got extremely interesting in a very outward way in the coin-incidence, and continues to this day. In fact, a string of circumstances has led to the creation of this site and these posts that falls right into line with the whole epic of – well, whatever it is lol. I guess I would call it my life, my journey, my Quest – to find the meaning of life, of my life, and why I just don’t seem to completely feel at home in this world, this time. And don’t get me wrong – or at least I hope my wife and kids don’t take this wrong if they read it – I am VERY at home in the life I live now. I am EXTREMELY blessed, and more comfortable and happy than I deserve. But I think even they know that dad/sweetie has some longings, some questions and drives that go beyond the mundane.

So what is this all about? I mean, I know I would be wondering that. “You’ve told us this is going to be some long, confusing mess of words about something you can’t even explain – so what the hell is it?” Lol. I mean, it’s not even that it would be anti-climactic to just come out and say what it is, it’s just that it wouldn’t really seem like much of anything at all. In fact, here is what the actual coin-incidence was: my friend Luke put a coin down on this page with a “boom!” and we all went “Whoaaaa…”

Incredible, right..?!?!

See – it doesn’t seem like much of anything without any context or backstory. But if I’m an even halfway decent storyteller, I hope to lead you along the path so that you can partake in the wonder of the coin-incidence yourself. Honestly, looking back, I sometimes doubt whether or not what happened was really all that awe-inspiring or special. But I reached out to one of my good friends who was there, and he agrees – in his words, it was a “whoooaaaaa” moment. And he’s much more pragmatic than I. Back in the day, I was quite the hippy/poet/guru/mystic/wanderer, etc. I still am to some extent. But I am a little older, quite a bit more responsible, and MUCH more sober than I was back then lol. In fact, I’ve been clean and sober for over 17 years now.

And I think that is part of what has taken so long too. For a long time after getting sober, I pretty much jettisoned all of those experiences from the time before into the “I was on drugs” bin of life, which caused me to not only throw out everything I had ever written up until that point (boy, do I regret doing that), but also to automatically toss out the importance or validity of any experiences I had, at least in as far as being able to share about them. I always see someone reading parts of it and saying, “Well yeah, but you were totally high dude.” And in honesty, I probably was. But in this brave new world of legalized marijuana (here in Arizona and many other states), legalized heavier drugs (Oregon, other locales) and even respectability for hallucinogenic use for depression, PTSD, etc – not to mention the whole DMT/Ayahuasca thang – yeah…. I think I can talk about this now without being automatically dismissed.

And so begins our tale of a knight on the quest for truth. And that’s probably a great place to start – what’s up with all the “knight” and “quest” stuff anyway…???

See Footnotes 2 – Purely coin-incidental

The Banishment Continues

After writing that last post, I realized that, in some sense, I have again been banished to the back of the classroom. In this instance, the classroom is anywhere scientific or philosophical discussion are happening (most often, Facebook, Twitter, etc at the current moment, because of the pandemic) and the “teacher” is any one of the many materialists and/or atheists out there defending their church of materialism. And make no mistake – it is a religion of its own, its dogma every bit as demanding and strenuous as the most severe Christian one of ages past, and its priests, prophets and missionaries willing to give their all to defend their sacred scriptures that state science is god now, none shall question this god’s pronouncement, and anyone who believes in the “old God” or any kind of spirituality or mysticism is a heretic, not worthy of listening to, and shall be immediately banished into the hell or purgatory of irrelevance or humiliation.

Now some people might think this sounds way too harsh, and would strongly deny this is the case. But as someone who has made the mistake (one I will continue to make though – hehe!) of even suggesting something other than a purely material explanation for some kind of phenomenon, I can tell you that the punishment is severe; the banishment real; and the lack of openness to new ideas complete. In fact, I think the Inquisitors of old would be jealous of the religious edifice the materialists have put in place, because it has taken such a complete hold over all things, especially in this technological age, and they don’t even have to physically torture or kill people anymore to get them to renounce their mystical heresy! No, that’s because atheism is probably the most “in” it’s ever been. In the circles of science, the “cool kids” don’t believe in god, or anything non-material. Only losers think that science and materialism can’t explain everything. And just because they can’t now doesn’t give anyone any kind of reason to propose other solutions: the churches verdicts are FINAL.

That being said, I have spent many, many hours of my life reading and learning about quantum physics, consciousness, the origin of life and intelligence, DNA – you know, light subjects like that lol. And all those scientists or scientifically-minded people who like to espouse their beliefs that there is no God, that it’s silly or even ignorant to believe in one, and tend to patronize or talk down to people who do believe in one – when asked “what or who created the big bang?” or “how do you explain the counter-intuitive behavior of particles at the quantum level?” or other hard to answer questions, they tend to fall back on the ‘many worlds’ hypothesis, which states that for every single interaction in the world, in the universe, an entirely new universe splits off for each different choice or option that could be made.

So if you are out car shopping, and can’t decide on what car to buy, there is a universe that splits off where you bought a Kia, one that splits off where you bought a Ford, one that splits off where you bought a Dodge, ad infinitum. And this process happens every millisecond, of every day, for every single person on earth (all 7+ billion of them) – all of this so they, the high priests of materialism, can avoid a possible conclusion that the observer effect can suggest: that it is consciousness that is primary, and that matter is a resultant property of it – not the other way around. To some, this suggests that there is something more than material reality, some underlying force or Source of consciousness, and that Source is something some ancients called God, others called Brahman, still others called The Great Spirit, etc.

It is the old dualism vs materialism debate, and the materialists claim victory and think that dualists  are silly, ignorant, or just haven’t learned enough to know the “truth.” But to this, I like to ask whatever happened to Occam’s Razor – the postulate that states for a number of different hypotheses provided to explain an observed behavior, the simplest one, with the least assumptions necessary is the most likely correct one? Is it really easier to believe that there are an infinite number of universes for every single possible outcome for any interaction? Or is it simpler to believe that there is some higher power or creative intelligence, some force that we do not completely understand that underlies or guides and shapes our reality? I like the old analogy of a tornado rolling through a junkyard and after passing, a perfect 747 jet is sitting there, ready to fly into the air. That is rather the explanation that we are required to believe to avoid believing in God. Oh, but of course there are an infinite number of universes in which that tornado went through that junkyard, and we just HAPPEN to live in the one where it created the jumbo jet. Ok.

What do we observe in our world? Do complex structures like airplanes, skyscrapers, particle colliders just arise out of random interactions? Do I believe that if we threw a bunch of steel and other materials down, in a billion years they would? No, I don’t, and that’s not what I observe. Complex systems in this world have creators, and as someone who creates them for a living, I have a special appreciation for them. Do I develop an entirely new application every time any user takes any action, and continue doing that indefinitely? There are plenty of users who wish I would, for sure! Lol. And I know the analogy is very loose – I can hear in my head some intellectual person who is much smarter than I formulating a blistering response to that drivel haha. But the fact is, even science doesn’t believe this. e.g. the concept of entropy, which states that the degree of disorder or randomness in a system tends to increase – not decrease.

But I decided long ago to stop arguing with the members of the Church of Materialism. It takes too much energy, and it’s not important to me to convince them what is real and what is not. In fact, I can’t even claim to know that completely myself. But I do believe that materialist science does not have all the answers. And because we all exist in our own consciousness, which to date, still evades materialist description, it may never have them. I believe, as did the mystics through all the ages – and, much to the churches consternation, even many of the greatest scientific minds of all time – that there is something “more.” And it is the search to better understand what that “more” is, to get a clearer glimpse of it, that guides my life now, just as it did then. They can still try banish me to the back of the classroom, but they don’t realize – I dropped out of their school a long time ago, quit their church, and am loving my life of heresy!


I found out pretty early on that most people, especially adults, don’t like being asked that question – and especially in an educational or authoritative setting. One might think, rightly so, that a classroom is the perfect place to ask “Why?” But that was often not the case, as I came to find out.

I was a curious child, probably more so than some, and I’m certain there were times when I was that annoying kid who asked, “Why?” – was told an answer, to which he asked, “Why?” – was told another answer, to which – you get it. I don’t think I was that way that often, but then it’s hard sometimes to judge ourselves accurately, especially looking so far into the past. But I really wanted to know the ‘why’ to the big questions. Why are there some people who are homeless, when there are other people who have so many houses, they don’t ever even stay in some of them? Why are people, especially kids, so cruel to each other? Why do people claim to be Christians, but then act so opposite to the way Christ did? Why do we have to have money? Why can’t we use another system?

And while I thought that there just had to be other kids or people who asked these questions, I was quite surprised to find that most just don’t. Most people go one or 2 levels deep, and when they hit the “Because God made it that way,” or “Because I said so,” that was good enough for them, and they just let it go. Me, not so much. I recognized this for what it was – somebody being afraid or embarrassed to admit they didn’t know and dodging the question. Looking back, I don’t understand why more people didn’t just simply say, “I don’t know.” Oh, but wait – some did. We all remember the old, “I don’t know, ask your mom/dad/grandpa/teacher.” Lol. In fact, I’m sure many of us parents would say that now, if not for Google. It has become the oracle that now knows all the “whys”. How many times have I heard myself say to my kids, “I don’t know, go Google it.” But I digress.

Asking “why?” too much was actually a punishable offense I came to discover. I remember in 3rd grade, I had a fairly mean old woman (you’ll see why I refer to her that way) for a teacher. As usual, I often asked, “Why?” and sometimes, if she tried to just brush my questions aside, I would push a little more for an actual answer. I think she was too proud to just say “I don’t know.” In any case, after a few months, she grew tired of me, and decided to banish me: she sat me in a desk at the back of the room, separated from the rest of the class, and instead of interacting with her and everyone else, I was to complete the studies on my own. If I was “so smart,” I could just complete the class without assistance or help was her thinking I guess. I was 9 years old. Needless to say, my mom did NOT like that very well, and when teacher conferences came, she gave Mrs. Forkner a piece of her mind! And my mom was NOT someone you wanted to tell you off. She was a drill instructor in the Army National Guard – so, yeahhh.

I remember thinking so many times when I was young that I must have been born in the wrong time period. Either God had messed up, or played some sick joke on me, because certainly these weren’t “my people.” There just weren’t any “others.” Actually, that’s not entirely true. There were – but only in stories, myths, legends, and spiritual texts. I was especially drawn to the tales of King Arthur and his knights, and felt as though surely, THAT was the time period I was supposed to be born into – a time when chivalry meant something, and being kind, respectful and sensitive to the travails of others meant something. And that was another characteristic I had: I was an extremely sensitive kid, very empathic. I cried at the end of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Most people thought I was silly. I cried for a lot of the last, torturous part of “Jesus of Nazareth.” And I really sobbed at the end of “The Elephant Man.” That poor guy. So many people were just so horrible to him. How could they act that way? How could anyone be so mean?

And I got to find out firsthand. Maybe that’s why I was particularly sensitive to it. I was bullied a lot when I was a kid. I was almost always the shortest kid in the class. I had a big nose. I had straight hair, like Alfalfa in “The Little Rascals.” I had freckles. I was smart, a nerd. So I had all KINDS of stuff to get teased for, and I did – all the time. My family was always supportive, and assured me that I was smart, and kind, and funny, and that those kids should be pitied; that someday, I would be successful and everything would be ok. But it couldn’t stop me from hating myself, and from being mad at God for making me such an easy target by “blessing” me with so many things that kids loved to make fun of. I was certain it wouldn’t have been this way in the times of King Arthur, or in the times of Jesus. One of them would have appreciated me for who I was, and wouldn’t have cared about all that stuff. So where was the modern incarnation of the Knights of the Round Table? Where were the disciples of Jesus who carried forward his teachings into the current day and age? Where indeed.

In books. That’s where they were – that’s where they lived. They were only myths, much to my great sadness. And there just weren’t any “others.” I certainly had some wonderful friends and loving family members. But none really wanted to join the Quest to find the truths I was looking for. I would have to be ok going it on my own.

The Call to the Well

I was 10 years old, laying in bed that night, crying. Like really crying – a pain deep in my chest, sobbing. The conclusion was inescapable: I was going to hell. No matter what I did for the rest of my life, I was doomed. I was damned. At 10 years old, my fate had been sealed, and no matter how good I was from here out, I was going straight to hell to be tortured in the lake of fire for eternity.

And I was MAD. So mad at my mom. Why hadn’t she gotten me baptized? All Catholic moms did that for their kids – got them baptized right after they were born. It was so easy. That one act assured that they wouldn’t suffer the horrible fate that I surely would now. Oh, sure, I could try to get baptized now and make it right. But it wasn’t so easy for “non-babies.” No, if I wanted to do it now, I would have to go through catechism, spend lots of time learning all kinds of information, prayers, rituals, etc. I would have to spend a lot of time and effort to get that sprinkling of water, and would have to commit myself to the Catholic belief system – fully. It would have been SO much easier if she had just done it when I was a baby. Why hadn’t she?! It was so unfair.

I started thinking about what I would be missing out on; about Heaven. I started imagining what it must be like – floating around up there, sitting on puffy clouds, playing harps and praising God all day. Every day. For eternity. Just sitting. And playing. Or not. And praising. For the rest of ETERNITY. I even tried to envision infinity – I tried to picture a line of angels that stretched out into space, never ending. You kept going down the line, but it never ended – it just kept going and going and going. And then, it hit me – fear. A fear of Heaven. Sitting on a cloud for eternity? At 10 years old, I figured it would only be about 15 minutes before I was bored, and then I would have an INFINITY to figure out how to deal with that boredom. Oh no – no, no, no. This heaven was not for me, I was sure of it. I didn’t want to go to hell, but I certainly didn’t want to be bored for an infinite amount of time – that was a special kind of hell. In fact, getting tortured and burned in the lake of fire sounded no worse, and would actually be less boring.

So I thought a little more deeply about this whole process – about how God decides who goes to heaven and hell, and how unfair it seemed, especially to those poor babies who never got the chance to be baptized. Surely, there must be millions of kids, all over the world, in all ages, who had never been baptized into Christianity (at least the Catholic flavor, which believes in original sin). ALL of those poor babies, through absolutely no fault of their own, were going straight to HELL? What kind of sick god would create such a terrible system? No, something was wrong with this, I was sure of it. If there was a god, which I was pretty sure of, he (or she) – at least the one I believed in – would never have or support or even allow such a system. This was some sick stuff. (see Footnotes 1)

I thought about my own life, my own dad. I had definitely done some “non-saintly” stuff in my 10 years. But would he banish me to be tortured and burned for eternity because of it? No, not at all. He expressed unconditional love, and always allowed me to redeem myself. And I believed in my heart that no matter how bad I was, my dad would never consign me to be burned in a lake of fire for all eternity in any case – not even if I did something REALLY bad. That just wasn’t who he was – what a dad was. And so if my dad, who wasn’t even religious, had this kind of love, forgiveness and acceptance, how could god not? What kind of god would be so vicious, spiteful and cruel to his own children – children that HE supposedly created?

Yeah, I was pretty convinced by this point that this whole system was messed up, and I decided that night that I would have my own God – not the one they prayed to. My God was like my dad – kind, loving, forgiving, understanding, supportive. Sure, he’d spank my butt if I did stuff wrong and would definitely dole out discipline where it was due. He wasn’t a pushover, and I would never have gotten away with one tenth of the stuff the kids today get away with! Lol. But he wanted the best for me, and understood that making mistakes is part of life, it’s how we learn, and we shouldn’t be condemned for it. He offered redemption – something that my God did too; even to all those babies, kids and even adults who never got that water sprinkled on them. And what was so big about that whole process anyway? Some guy in a weird outfit says some prayers, being “ordained” by god, and by sprinkling some water on a baby’s head, boom – all that sin is gone, and he or she is good to go? Nah, I just couldn’t buy it.

So that night, I got my own God, and my very own “religion,” or more accurately spirituality. I talked to my mom shortly after about my desire to check out some other religions to see if perhaps there was one out there that didn’t have the whole “original sin” concept and fit me better. So for the next few months, I went to a different church each weekend, taking them for “test drives” to see how they fit. (one in particular was especially “fun”: they made us cry for our sins – like literally cry. I mean, I just didn’t feel like I had been THAT bad, but they told me we all were, and I HAD to cry, “Cry for your sins!” they admonished me Lol) And while there were many others that didn’t have original sin, they all had one belief in common: people who didn’t accept Jesus as their lord and savior were all going to hell, there was just no way around it. . Again, this struck me as off – what about all the people who lived in ages past before Christ was even born – they were all going to hell simply because of their poor luck in being born too early? What about all the people in other countries, on different continents, who never even heard of Jesus? What about all the Native Americans? What about the millions of people in other locales who simply didn’t have anyone bring the “good word” to them yet – all of them, going to hell? This was truly some messed up stuff, this Christianity.

And the topper was watching “Jesus of Nazareth” when I was a kid. ( . This was a wonderfully done, beautifully acted movie/mini series about Jesus, and the guy who played him was absolutely sublime! I was certain this is what Jesus was really like, and I loved him – loved his teachings, the way he was so kind, loving, and forgiving to people; the way he spoke of God as a loving Father; the humility he displayed, always saying it wasn’t him doing the works people were worshipping him for – which he did NOT like by the way – but the Father within him. Yes, THIS was Jesus, this was the guy.

But how could THIS be the guy that all these churches and religious groups claimed to be representing? How could they all be worshipping him when he specifically said – no, IMPLORED them – not to do that? How could they say that everyone who didn’t do certain things was going to hell, when that is not at all what Christ said? How could they gather in churches and have some priest lead them in prayer in some big spectacle when Christ said, “When ye pray, gather ye not in the synagoues…” I mean, it honestly seemed like they were doing everything he said not to, and NOT doing the things he DID say to do, like loving your neighbor as yourself, praying for your enemies, not calling out the faults in others when you have your own. Something was VERY off with all of this. Either that Christ I saw portrayed was completely wrong, or the churches, and most of Christianity was. And, being of the scientific mind that I was, I determined, based on evidence, observation, analysis and personal experience, that the only conclusion was the seemingly crazy, almost inescapable one: that the Christ I saw portrayed was 100% accurate, and that somehow – somehow – ALL of these churches, religions, groups, people – all of them had gotten it wrong somehow. No, this was NOT the Christianity that Christ taught. It was something else, and I didn’t want to be a part of it.

So I accepted that I would have to find “the others.” Certainly, there had to be other people out there who saw this was all just wrong? I mean, I – a 10 year old boy with limited knowledge and experience – couldn’t be the only one who saw how messed up this was, right? I had to find some other people who saw this. They had to be out there – I just knew it.