The Anonymous Ones, by Margaret Dulaney

Come join the circle of we who pray

Kogi Indian. Photograph by Darin McClure
Kogi Indian. Photograph by Darin McClure

Come join the circle of we who pray

There is a tribe of South American Indians, indigenous to the mountains of Columbia, that the Spanish never managed to conquer. They are called the Kogi, and over the years they have traveled farther and farther up into the mountains, where they remain untouched by their Hispanic neighbors. They are secretive and isolated by nature and, until recently, have maintained a policy of unblemished anonymity.

They refer to themselves as the Elder Brothers and consider the people of the industrialized world their younger siblings. Only recently have they broken their silence, in order to warn us that we may be very close to destroying our planet.

They claim to be able to communicate telepathically with other members of their population, on other, distant mountains, an innate ability that they have been practicing for centuries.

The Kogi’s powers of telepathy are most pronounced among their spiritual leaders, wise ones who are carefully singled out early in life and raised to be spiritual guides for the community. These chosen Elders say that there is a council of souls from around the world with whom they regularly consult with their thoughts. And, it is the Kogi, along with this coalition of connected souls, who are hoping to reach out to the Younger Brothers (those of us who are busily causing the destruction of our planet) to beg us to turn the situation around.

The Theosophists from the turn of the last century believed in a similar anonymous brotherhood of spirits that was responsible for the progress of love and goodwill for the world. This was a sort of fellowship of adepts, on earth and in the hereafter, who prayed and otherwise aided in the development of the human race.

I am intrigued by this notion, partly because of the romance of it—imagine meeting one of these enlightened souls—but also because of what it implies about our collective thoughts and prayers. It gives hope to those of us who wish to be of use, through prayer, to the advancement of love and harmony for our earthly home.

We spend so much time feeling small and unequal to the task of helping to solve the issues that face us here. We despair of having any effect on the huge problems: wars, world hunger, the poisoning of this beautiful planet. How can our tiny efforts, our miniscule prayers help? At the same time we are embarrassed to pray for our small concerns, our petty wishes, finding it difficult to believe that the great God who watches over all of the planets, the solar systems, the galaxies in the billions would have time to listen to our tiny domestic concerns.

Today I shamelessly prayed for peace in the Middle East and the return of my missing cat. I do believe that both appeals were heard, and I trust that they are both important to the Great Spirit that watches over this world. “His eye is upon the sparrow,” Jesus taught, and I have to believe Him.

Maybe we should let God be the judge of the size requirements of an acceptable prayer. Our own ideas are bound to be all out of proportion, and might hinder a worthy prayer from being released and heard.

If we fear we are offering a speck of prayer to knock down an obstacle of mountainous proportions, such as a boiling pot of hatred that looks to be developing into an all out war, we can take comfort in the idea that our prayers are joining those of countless others, to make an anonymous global appeal that might astound us if we could see it. As if all of our prayers were so many doves released into the heavens, and this soaring flock, somewhere in the billions, were flying in perfect formation, creating enormous, gorgeous images of peace for all the world to believe in.

Two Kogi. Photograph by katiebordner
Two Kogi. Photograph by katiebordner

Recently, in my morning meditation in the woods, I have tried to imagine that I am joining a group of concerned, anonymous souls in prayer. I envision them to be both incarnated and in the spirit world, both inside of time and outside it. Our prayers, no matter how simply or grandly expressed, fly off together and are delivered in the most beautiful shapes, extraordinary visions of what the world could look like in perfect peace, in loving harmony with our good mother earth.

I have a fantasy of one day receiving a summons to meet my anonymous prayer alliance. The communication will arrive while I am on my walk in the woods. It might fall from the sky, with its message impressed on the soft side of a leaf. It will direct me to travel to Switzerland or Peru, or somewhere else with an impressive mountain range. My orders will be to board a train on a specific day at a certain time and not to disembark until I have arrived at the final station. I follow my directions carefully, traveling up into the mountains, with the train stopping at increasingly more remote outposts, until it eventually arrives at the second to last station, deep in the hinterlands, and every passenger departs but me. The conductor walks past, and smiles as if he were in on a delicious secret. When I arrive at the station, I step out onto the platform to discover that no one is there (no human, that is), only a profoundly handsome dog, large and thick coated, with a gentle nobility. He watches me with considerable intensity. After several moments, he turns away, turns back to look at me, and then turns again and begins to walk away. I follow him.

He leads me along a gentle path through the mountains, with views of rich, densely wooded valleys on either side. We walk for some time. It is mild summer and exquisitely lovely. Eventually we come upon a view of a delicate round lake surrounded by the most inviting little cabins. I can see small groups of gentle people gathering and talking in soft tones, punctuated by occasional eruptions of joyous laughter. They are waiting for someone, expectant, searching the hills with their eyes. I run down to greet them, all of them strangely familiar but unknown to me on earth. They speak my name as if it were an answered prayer. I will not tell of what we say to each other, it’s too private, too sacred, but by the time I depart from this place I am filled with the conviction that the power of our collected prayers can and eventually will make a paradise of this grieving planet.

We would love to have you join us some day. We gather whenever one of us is praying, so you can’t very well miss us. Our numbers shift and change, but we always have just enough to be heard. ♦

Reprinted by permission from Margaret Dulaney’s TO HEAR THE FOREST SING: SOME MUSINGS ON THE DIVINE, Listen Well Publishing (, 2017

From Parabola Volume 42, No. 4, “Families,” Winter 2017-2018. This issue is available to purchase here. If you have enjoyed this piece, consider subscribing

Photograph by Vidar Kristiansen
Photograph by Vidar Kristiansen


By Margaret Dulaney

Margaret Dulaney is a playwright and essayist, and founder of the spoken word website (