by Deborah Lindsey
You know its rare in this life to meet someone who really walks their talk. Most people are caught up in living a life, making some cash, fixing up the house, maybe raising some kids. But every once in a while you’ll meet that one person who “struts and frets his hour upon the stage” with such panache that you can only stand back in awe.
Ken Harsh was one of those men.
Anyone who has met Ken knows what I’m talking about.
Most people know Ken as the creator and grand pubah of the Universal Light Conference in Columbus, OH. Over the course of the past 20 years, Ken has taken this all-volunteer expo from a tiny little event to the largest all-volunteer metaphysical expo in the country, and probably the world. It is a place where love and light fill every crevice and then topples over the top to spill into the real world. Its one of those magic places where you can imagine the potential for an awakened world. To me, it has been a beacon of light in the world. It has also been the place where I met many of my closest friends. Each year I look forward to going like a kid waits for Christmas. And its all thanks to Ken.
In fact, I met Ken because of ULE. The year was 2003 and I was planninng my very first expo. I had somehow screwed up the courage to invite Dick Sutphen to come and do our keynote and, miracles of miracles, he accepted my offer. It was an exciting time. I was new to the metaphysical circuit and didn’t know a soul in Columbus. As it turns out, we had coincidentally booked our expo to be one week prior to ULE. So my dear friend Randy Hastings suggested that I contact Ken and see if he might be interested in having Dick at ULE as well.
Well, it was a marriage made in heaven. I picked up the phone and introduced myself. Within a few days, I was sitting at dinner with Ken and other ULE worker-goddess Tammi Rager. It was one of those nights that sticks in my memory as it was the introduction into a whole new world. We also enjoyed some kick-ass chocolate cake.
It turned out to be a very good couple of weeks for all of us. Dick and then wife Tara came to town. We were a little start-struck (hey we were new to this game) but Dick and Tara were delightful and we all became friends. We then traveled with them to ULE where we went on to meet soon-to-be IMU professor Frank DeMarco and agreements were made for Dick to publish his book Soul Contracts through Hampton Roads. The synergy goes on and on. And it all started with Ken.
I can tell many stories about Ken from our almost 10-year friendship, stories of workshops and ceremonies and trips to Serpent Mound. But my all-time favorite story comes from the time we sponsored Ken to lead a two-day mound tour in our area. I was as excited about this as anything we had ever put on at the Center but was dismayed that we didn’t have enough signups to cover the basic costs of renting a van, etc. So I called Ken and he was such a trooper. He said that he didn’t care about the money; he just wanted to go. He was “being called to go see the White Buffalo” so he wanted to go either way. I, however, didn’t want him to lose money on the deal. So I said, “if we get two more signups by 5 today we’ll do it. Otherwise, I’m gonna cancel.” As you can imagine, the phone rang at 2 minutes before five with two more signups. The tour was on.
For the next two days, Ken regaled us with his extensive knowledge about the native american Indian mounds all over our area. He told us tales of giants buried at Ben’s Run, he took us to healing mounds where we did healing ceremonies. We even visited the Octagonal Mounds in Newark, where we left gifts of crystals, burned money (something Ken loved to do) and enjoyed the beauty of our time together.
Most importantly, though, was the last-minute addition of the trip to see the White Buffalo, Kenahkihinén, at this little private zoo called the Woodland Zoo just over the border into Pennsylvania. I can’t tell you how shocked I was to learn that there even WAS a white buffalo in PA, let alone that it was so available for us to visit.
As we pulled into the little zoo, Ken was like a kid in a candy store. He could hardly contain his excitement.
So we walked up to the store to purchase our tickets and the woman at the counter informed us that Kenahkihin had been “back in the corner for days” so “don’t be surprised if you don’t see him.” Ken just smiled and said it was all going to be okay.
So we all made our way through the scorching heat to enjoy the lions and tigers and bears until we finally came upon the pen with the Buffaloes. As you can imagine the pen was huge. And just as the woman predicted, he was tucked away in the very back corner surrounded by the others. We could barely see him.
So as we stood there, curious, Ken started by telling us his story. It seems that he was born on the heels of the death of Miracle, the world-famous white buffalo who had just passed on. Interestingly, he was born int0 captivity at this privately owned-roadside zoo as a virgin birth. All of the buffalo in the pen were female. There wasn’t a male buffalo to be found anywhere. So not only was he WHITE, his mother was a virgin. Moreover, he wasn’t albino. He was WHITE. Moreover, he STAYED white. Miracle had been born white but turned dark within the year. Kenahkihin stayed white even into adulthood. He was very special indeed.
When the story ended, Ken began to beat his little drum and chant. As if on cue, we watched Kenahkihin poke his head out from the crowd and look at us. At first he just watched. But then it was like the crowd parted and he began to walk toward us. The whole thing was surreal. He walked toward us, with intention and purpose, and the others followed in a procession.
At first I thought he was just coming up for water. It was a substantial walk, and this alone was a blessing because we could actually see him. But as he reached the trough, he paused for a second, looked at it, and then turned back to us and kept coming. It was like we were in a laser beam that was guiding him right to us.
Amazingly, as if it had been scripted for a movie, he walked all the way to the front gate and came right to us as Ken continued to drum and chant. We stood there, transfixed, looking this sacred animal directly in the eye as he quite literally PARTICIPATED in the ceremony. He was conscious. Aware. Involved.
Its hard to explain the power of that moment. I grew up on a farm and have been surrounded by animals my whole life, but I have never experienced anything like it. The air was thick with something special. Off to the sides, animals seemed to stand still and watch including a camel off to the right, giving it the feel of a nativity scene.
We all felt it. Many of us wept from the power of it.
Finally, after many minutes, Ken stopped his chanting and spoke directly to the sacred calf. He thanked him for his service to the earth. And said a prayer for his safety. And with that Kenahkihin turned and traversed back to his corner, entourage in tow.
It is my favorite Ken Harsh moment and one of the most powerful moments of my life. Of course the talking Crystal Skull is also a great story too, but I’ll keep that for another time.
The last time I saw Ken was, quite appropriately, at his beloved Serpent Mound on December 21, 2012, a day we had all been working towards for a very long time. He gave me great travel advice for my upcoming adventures and handed me a copy of his itinerary for 2013. It was jam-packed with adventures to sacred sites all over the world. For many years, Ken had been leading sacred site tours to the most powerful places on earth. This year he even had a trip planned to Tibet.
So today, when mutual friend Ross Hamilton reported the sad and shocking news of his transition, I was completely caught off guard. Just a few weeks ago, he was healthy, happy, and vibrant. His life was full-speed ahead, as always, inspiring me to live my life more fully during my brief hour upon the stage.
I think it is worth mentioning that Ken chose to leave this lifetime sometime in the past few days in his home where his longtime companion Nancy died just a few months ago on the eve of the Venus Transit.
To me, it was a perfect death. No sickness, no struggle, in peace, and at home. They called it “natural causes” which is certainly how I want to go. I suspect that his life’s work had been completed on the 21st and his real work was now to transpire in the ethers of the other dimensions. Even the day or so that transpired before his body was found is perfect. I can imagine that he was enjoying the realms between the worlds without all of the ruckus of the physical world before all of the plans had to be made.
So for now I’ll say, farewell my friend. I know it won’t be long before I see you again either on the other planes or in another lifetime.
It was a very good life indeed. You did very well Ken and inspired all of us lucky enough to know you. I am grateful that you were my friend.
Oh, and say hi to Randy for me, will you?