This page last updated on 2015-07-02
Coin Name : Cavan’s Prayer
Edition Name: Crystal Ports of Light
Finish: 24 karat gold
2012 – 50 coins
The “Cavan’s Prayer” coin features a prayer that Gregson wrote for his nephew when he was just a toddler. It is meant to serve as an alternative for the beloved children’s prayer “God is great, God is good”. The other side shows the sources of much of what we eat. In the middle is food from the water, farther out is animal based food, then plant based food, and finally food from the air. The intention is to respectfully thank the animals for their sacrifice. The coin is large at 2 inches in diameter and has a unique icon.
This was the first Gregson Vaux Artifacts coin to feature white pearl enamel. White pearl was an important enamel in many later coin designs.
*** Narrative ***
What is real? What is real? When I was younger I had some answers. Now I have stories and anecdotes, but in their own way they suffice.
One of the Greek philosophers, Plato, said that our whole lives we are chained in a cave and what we call reality is just shadows on the wall. We are unaware of the real objects that make the shadows and we are unaware of the source of light. A popular Christian writer, C.S. Lewis, said something similar. He wrote that we live in Shadowlands and that our real lives will come later. The Hindus and Buddhists speak of “maya”, which is often translated as illusion. Our daily lives are just an illusion and the reality is something else.
I had a dream in which I stood outside, at night, under the stars. It was just an ordinary evening and I walked slowly and without purpose. Without warning, the whole world was bathed in a brilliant light that illuminated everything. I remember so clearly how the light penetrated, so that solid objects appeared to be made of glass and each thing was so brilliantly lit as to appear to be glowing from within. I tried to find the source of the light but I couldn’t locate it because the light was coming from everywhere.
I looked around and all that I saw was transparent and glowing, but when I looked up I saw them; there, in full glory, were the stars. I made out the familiar constellations: Orion, Cassiopeia, The Big Dipper and though the patterns were the same, the stars were terribly and wonderfully changed. They were the source of the light, or should I say, the light was shining through them. My eyes had changed too, because the stars were not just distant points. Somehow I could see what they were in detail as though they were just an arm’s length away. Each star was a round glass window. I like to think of myself as a scientist, so I know that I should have seen incandescent balls of hydrogen with some helium, but what I saw were huge disks of clear glass embedded in a great black wall and beyond them I saw . . . I don’t know any words to describe what was beyond the windows . . . I could say ‘heaven’, but that word is just too inadequate and maybe misleading.
I and everyone else began to rise into the sky like a scene out of Peter Pan or Mary Poppins. I had been alone, but now I was part of a crowd. It was very difficult to judge distances. Was the woman next to me miles away or just a few feet? If I had stretched out my arms, would I have been able to touch her? I looked at her and thought that she was the most beautiful thing that I had ever seen. Like everything else, the light passed through her and made her appear to be transparent and glowing. I laugh now, when I think of this, because I could see through her night gown so that she was quite naked. However, that is not why she was beautiful. I was also able to see through her skin so that her lungs and heart were visible to me as if she were an anatomy model. Her mind was also transparent and I could see all of her thoughts playing out like little toy dioramas. Her clothes, and her skin, and her organs, and her thoughts, and other things inside of her that I don’t have words for, were so wonderful that I wanted to start singing, so I did. We all did.
I looked up at the stars and saw that they were rapidly getting closer. However, we were not all going to the same place. A thought came over me that the stars were not large glass windows, at least not anymore, they were now . . . what? Words began to come to me, “bab”, “men”, “tor”, “porte”. That was it, they were no longer windows, they were now doors! I had to choose one to reach what lay beyond. I made my choice and passed through the great glass disk. As I passed through I heard a single pure tone. Filling space was a great multitude of tones as each individual passed through his or her own chosen glass port. These countless notes combined to make a melody more complex and more moving than had ever been played before. We had come through many different doors. How Many? How many stars are there in the sky? But then we came together again and sat down to the banquet.
It was just a dream, right? It wasn’t real, right? I can’t answer that question. That vision feels more real to me than anything else I have experienced before or since. I am a man of science and I hold firmly to math and empiricism. I believe what I see and I don’t want to believe in things that aren’t real. But I was there and I say that stars are more than just blobs of glowing hydrogen. I was there and I know that there is a greater truth beyond this current game we are playing.
I stumbled by chance upon an old song, written long before my birth, that goes like this:
“Then I rose, then first humanity
Triumphant passed the crystal ports of light,
And seized eternal youth.
Man all immortal hail,
Heaven, all lavish of strange gifts to man . . . ”
I wasn’t alone in that vision. There were others with me that night, who saw and remembered the greater truth.
C.S. Lewis wrote the following dialog in the book, “The Voyage of The Dawn Treader”:
“In our world,” said Eustace, “a star is a huge ball of flaming gas.”
Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is, but only what it is made of.”