The Vision of the Griffin: A Short Story

It was an inconspicuous day; a humid morning in the middle of the summer, as I recall. I was sitting at the computer, as I often did, and had been writing quite furiously for some time. Then, in a seemingly minuscule decision, I leaned back in my seat to stretch and closed my eyes to rest them for a second. It was then, totally at random, that I received the most vivid vision I ever have seen. It was not the kind of vision where one can swear what they’re seeing is really sitting before their eyes. Rather, it looked like a memory, but I knew for certain it was nothing from my memory. It appeared to me, and I held my pose in surprise as it lingered for far longer than I expected. Finally, I opened my eyes having etched it into my head, and I wrote it down in as great of detail as I could muster.

The vision itself was outlined by snake wrapped in a circle, slowly rotating about as it continually ate its own tail. This image, as I now know, has a name; the Ouroboros. The Ouroboros was uninterested with everything but itself. It seemed content to simply continue on rotating for eternity. Within it was a sort of color wheel, all the colors blended together in a gradient and organized with the darkest shades on the outer edge and a point of white light in its center. This was an image I had already consciously come up with; the Circle of Solutions, as I had called it, for it was a way to visualize one’s issues and the many different approaches one could take to solve them. Much of the circle was covered up, though, by a large and striking central image; the griffin.

This grand beast was wrapped around the center of the Circle of Solutions in a sort of semicircle. Its body was colored a pure and brilliant gold, and it had one shining violet eye staring right at me. Its claws were wrapped around the central white light, almost as if the beast was protecting or presenting this precious point. Its tail was wrapped more loosely around the inner layers of the Circle of Solutions, and as I fixated upon it, I realized something strange; the griffin’s tail was made of water. It was like a thin but all-powerful wave jutting out from the beast and into the rest of the image, its bushy end flinging out bits of foam. With all this noted, the image stood still for a few moments before I opened my eyes and it disappeared, never to be seen again.

Griffins had, since early childhood, been my favorite of the mythological beasts. There was always just something about their majestic appearance that had captivated me from the beginning. In heraldry, griffins typically symbolize strength, valor, leadership and divinity, but these associations meant little to me until after I had received my vision. Afterward, I got the sense that the griffin, very simply, symbolized me. It was a representation of my innermost self; both in that it symbolized the divinity within us all and the traits within me specifically. The animal’s eye was similar to the eye in a different vision I received some time later, but of course, this connection only dawned on me then. Its claws clearly symbolized how it had some connection to or reverence for the central white light. Its tail of water I have not yet been able to decipher into anything meaningful of all.

Moving away from the griffin and onto its surroundings, the Circle of Solutions was, as mentioned above, a symbol I had already made. However, I had never originally meant to represent the white light in its center as anything more than the ideal (and typically unattainable) solution to one’s issues. Its inclusion into my vision gave it another meaning entirely; one of spiritual significance, in which the white light represented the Absolute and Ineffable that lies within the center of the Self. It is at the heart of many teachings worldwide (Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Sufism, Unitarianism, Jungian psychology) that we are all, at our very cores, our own distinct expressions of the same universal force (identified, by many, as the transcendent or Spinoza’s God). This is what I believe the light to symbolize; the only description I can give my waking mind of the indescribable nature of my innermost being.

Going outward, the circle represents different parts of me with every point, with the darkest outer layers representing the empty depictions of myself I (and everyone else, for that matter) present to the outside world. The very end of the image, the Ouroboros, may symbolize many things, but I believe it to symbolize the infinity in which I live and which surrounds my entire existence. It is the image of the universe, and all within it is the image of me. No one image is complete without the other.

No depiction of this scene currently exists. Neither the minimalist griffin featured in a few places on my website nor the detailed drawing of a griffin below represents the true griffin I saw in my vision. Hopefully, I will be able to one day perfect this unexpected mandala of mine with added symbolism and a professional rendition. For now, it exists only in words, but it has carved for itself a permanent place in my mind as well. This was my first experience that can rightfully be called a vision. It was not the last, but as I begin work on the final part of my final book, it will be the last I write about for some time.

Griffin by Monika Zagrobelna




Writer of the most eclectic mix of material this side of the Mississippi. Author, 2016–2019. Blogger, 2017–2022. Columbia University, 2020–2024.

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J. W. Barlament

J. W. Barlament

Writer of the most eclectic mix of material this side of the Mississippi. Author, 2016–2019. Blogger, 2017–2022. Columbia University, 2020–2024.

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