Ever since writing and publishing Tales of the Whirling Rainbow last September, I’ve been tinkering with it: improving the content, layout, and adding photographs. This January I decided to add a new chapter about the thousands of pyramids and temples in Meso-America, and the role they have in the teachings about the transition of the Mayan Calendar on December 21, 2012.
The full title of the ebook is Tales of the Whirling Rainbow: Myths & Mysteries for Our Times. It is available in over a dozen ebook formats, including Kindle, Nook, PDF for any computer, and also in iPad, IPhone and Smartphone formats, and its sold at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and other popular online retailers. For now, the most up-to-date version of the book is available at Smashwords.com.
The new chapter, based on interviews with traditional Mayan Daykeepers, expands the scope of the book by exploring the key role of the 21,000 pyramids and temples of Meso-America as they figure in the 2012 teachings of the Maya. This elaborate network of sacred centers, the Mayan Daykeepers told me, has a key energetic role to play in keeping the balance as Earth Changes intensify, and our human lives attain high velocity.
The tales offer many dynamic insights associated with 2012, including the role the Sun may play. The true tales are told in plain, precise language, creating a quick but deep investigation into the mythology of this moment in time. “The calendar of 26,000 years is new for the dominant civilization,” Mayan Daykeepers told me, “but the calendar portends big changes.”
I’m pleased to announce that I’ve written and published a new book Tales of the Whirling Rainbow: Myths & Mysteries for Our Times.
The book is my account of some of the key myths and mysteries of the Americas, and an exploration of how those myths are echoed in real time. The true stories in the book arise out of my experiences over the last four decades, and also out of the venerable tradition of storytelling.
This ebook is in part a pastiche of elements I have written for other books and articles, now woven together in a new telling both by the context of time as 2012 approaches, and also by the living, mythic image of the whirling rainbow.
In his book Transformations of Myth Through Time, Joseph Campbell noted that a society that does not have a myth to support it and give it coherence goes into dissolution. “That,” he wrote, “is what’s happening to us.” And that, I feel, is why it is worthwhile to tell the rainbow tales again in yet another way in this ebook, to contribute a word picture of what I regard as a supporting and coherent myth for our times, a mystery to engage the fullness of the contemporary soul.
Paul Michael Fitzsimmons 1923-2010
My uncle Paul Michael Fitzsimmons, writer, passed away on July 11, 2010 at the Bath VA, where he received excellent care in his last year of life. He was the person who inspired me to become a writer — an occupation I’d never conceived of until hearing him tell of his life.
The obituary that follows was written by Paul’s children, my beloved cousins.
Paul was born in Boston on June 12, 1923. He was the son of Edward and Julia (Coveney) Fitzsimmons and brother of Marie McFadden, Fred (Audrey) Fitzsimmons, Celestine Gookin, Joan Stinson (deceased) and Richard Fitzsimmons (deceased). Paul was a veteran of World War II, serving in the Merchant Marine in the Pacific, Atlantic and Mediterranean as second mate and navigator on the U.S. Rum River. He was licensed to sail any ship, any tonnage, on any ocean. One of his most stirring memories was meeting up with his brother Freddie in the midst of the war on the island of Guam, where Freddie was serving with the United States Marine Corps. Their mother, Julia, wept with joy to receive word that her sons had such a reunion in the midst of such times.
Paul was a passionate defender of the Constitution and a devoted patriot of the principles of democracy. Until his dying day, he maintained an impassioned plea to the nation to peacefully rebel against the corporate takeover of our liberties. His People’s Manifesto was last published in the Watkins Review in 2008.
Paul is the father of Robert (Mindy) Fitzsimmons, John Fitzsimmons (deceased), Paula Fitzsimmons (Philip Davis), Marie Fitzsimmons (Kirk Peters), and Daniel Fitzsimmons (Dorothy Elizabeth). He is the grandfather of Dr. Coveney Fitzsimmons (Gabriel Gomez), Liam Fitzsimmons, Jores Peters, Jared Peters, Sophie Fitzsimmons Peters, Hilary Davis, Colin Davis, Connor Fitzsimmons, Rowan Elizabeth, and William Fitzsimmons. He is the great grandfather of Zade Ixchel.
Paul began his writing career in New York City, where his early literary successes included Family of Five (1956), End of the Road (1957), By the Light of the Moon (1957) Green Goods and Gold (1959), A Ring is a Precious Thing (1957), The Oracle Machine and Mr. Kessler (1957) and The Way of a Dog (1957). Paul was commissioned by Beacon Press to write the Howard Hughes story and to bring his family to Hollywood to write screenplays. Instead, the family moved to Burdett to an old farmhouse with 100 acres and began their lives in upstate New York.
During that time, Paul authored “Confessions of a Year Round Hunter” for True Magazine, scripts for plays, eloquent poetry, and impassioned political articles. He acted in local theatre with the Burdett Players, worked to bring about the Citizen’s Party, demonstrated against the closing of Sampson State Hospital, and wrote prolifically. After the Flood of ’72, Paul wrote a sweeping ode of the Chemung River Flood. His Christmas Dream, written for his daughter Paula, was loved by Katharine Hepburn, who was touched by the magic of Paul’s writing. Paul resided for many years in Front Royal, Virginia, where he wrote guest editorials for The Washington Post and The Riverton Press. In 1982, at age 59, Paul fulfilled a lifetime dream of hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, 2,175 miles from Springer, Georgia to Mt. Katahdin, Maine. His story was published in the Appalachian Hiker. In 2000, Paul made a trip to Scotland to see his beloved friend and fellow AT hiker, war correspondent Jack Willis. The two writers had a special bond borne from their restless natures and adventurous souls.
Paul recently celebrated his 87th birthday at the music recital of his grandson Colin, enjoyed a beer at the Stone Cat Café, and ate homemade cake prepared by his son-in-law Kirk. More than anything, Paul was most proud of his children and expressed enormous gratitude to their mother. Paul died having held each of his four children on the last day of his life.
As Paul lived by the pen, your remembrances may be sent to C/O Fitzsimmons Family, 5550 Peach Orchard Point, Hector, New York 14841. Perhaps you would like to buy a lottery ticket, make a contribution to the Watkins Glen Library to offset his many late charges, or hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail in his memory. Or simply start a peaceful revolution. As Paul would say: “Good Deal.”
The family will receive friends at the Stone Cat Café near Hector, New York on Saturday, July 17th from 2-4 p.m.
Sailing to Byzantium
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees.
– Those dying generations – at their song,
The Salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
– William Butler Yeats
As I think of it today, I am moved to post a link to Day 15 of the epic, non-fiction saga, Odyssey of the 8th Fire.
Odyssey of the 8th Fire is a an online journal I created in 2006 to tell the true story of a prayer walk for the Earth that lasted for eight months as a band of pilgrims walked from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, listening all the way to the call of the land, as well as the people, plants, and animals who live upon the land.
On Day 15 of this historic journey, the band of walkers arrived at United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York City. While at the UN they remembered the explicit messages of the traditional elders of Turtle Island (North America), as they fulfilled one of the core traditions of the land they have responsibility to caretake. Because the elders words remain relevant and worthy of careful consideration, I am posting a link to that one, small but significant part of the great, long saga.
Traditional elders of the Four Directions meet with UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali in his office at the conclusion of the Cry of the Earth. Photo by Wanelle Fitch, 1993.
My friend Cindy Pickard has produced a beautiful film exploring these themes: The 8th Fire. I highly recommend her film.
An authoritative new study sets out a grim vision of what lies ahead: climate change will cause shortages and violence, provoking much of civilization to collapse.
This blunt warning is the heart of the 2009 State of the Future study from the UN’s Millennium Project. The report, which will be made public in August, is based on the input of 2,700 researchers, and backed by a range of organizations including UNESCO, the World Bank, and the US Army.
According to the report, “The scope and scale of the future effects of climate change – ranging from changes in weather patterns to loss of livelihoods and disappearing states – has unprecedented implications for political and social stability.”
The immediate problems are rising food and energy prices, shortages of water and increasing migrations “due to political, environmental and economic conditions,” which could plunge half the world into social instability and violence.
The report suggests the threats could also engender wise and healthy responses. “The good news is that the global financial crisis and climate change planning may be helping humanity to move from its often selfish, self-centered adolescence to a more globally responsible adulthood…Many perceive the current economic disaster as an opportunity to invest in the next generation of greener technologies…and to put the world on course for a better future.”
What is good and healthy and helpful?
Reading the stark forecasts from this report put me in mind – thankfully — of someone I knew and admired, the late Leon Secatero of the Canoncito Band of Navajo, To’Hajiilee, New Mexico. Whenever Leon would hear pronouncements of inevitable doom, he would acknowledge the potential, then respond calmly.
In one of our conversations back in 2005, Grandfather Leon spoke with me about the future. “The journey we are beginning now is for the next 500 years. What will be the sacred path that people will walk over the next 500 years? Even in the midst of all the changes taking place and all the things falling apart, we are building that foundation now. That’s something important for us to remember and to focus on. If we don’t do it, no one else will.
“All anyone needs to do is look around,” Leon said. “We have been destroying nature systematically for many decades. Now nature is destroying us with winds and storms and earthquakes and volcanoes. All that was known a long time ago. The elders have been telling us for years that this would come. Now it’s here and it’s hurting us.
“We need to take a close look at this and then really come to terms with ourselves,” Leon said. “To move ahead into the next 500 years we must leave some things behind or they will contaminate or even eliminate the future. We cannot go forward if we keep destroying the earth. But we must also ask, what is good and healthy and helpful? Those good things can be part of our foundation, part of our pathway into the next 500 years…”
There is a growing cohort of people who are actively asking these questions, and responding creatively. I have come to think of them as the Millennial Agrarians, and they got a nod of acknowledgement this week from USA Today.
In the story, reporter Elizabeth Weise wrote “Agriculture specialists say there is a burgeoning movement in which young people — most of whom come from cities and suburbs — are taking up what may be the world’s oldest profession: organic farming.
“The wave of young farmers on tiny farms is too new and too small to have turned up significantly in USDA statistics, but people in the farming world acknowledge there’s something afoot.
“For these new farmers, going back to the land isn’t a rejection of conventional society, but an embrace of growing crops and raising animals for market as an honorable, important career choice.”
In the face of the grim vision described by the researchers involved with the State of the Future report, these Millennial Agrarians are an embodiment of hope. We are going to need millions more people – perhaps as many as 80 to 100 million more – to face what is happening in our world, and to respond intelligently to the call of the land.
(For more on this theme, including many more creative responses, see my blog at The Call of the Land.).
by Steven McFadden
I have recently initiated a new blog: The Call of the Land – An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century.
If you have an interest in food and matters agrarian, I invite you visit the blog, which I will develop steadily in the years ahead. I set out my reasons for doing so in one of my initial posts.
Amplifying the Call
Our land, farms and food require immediate attention from everyone who recognizes what is so rapidly unfolding. Prices rising, supplies dwindling, crops mutating, population growing. An agrarian revolution is essential to our survival.
Agriculture is the foundation of our civilization. We must have it. Everything else depends on our meeting the primary needs of clean food and clean water. This state of affairs is a blessed necessity, for it interweaves our human souls with the soul of the earth. It is also a key to a successful future, for agriculture can serve as a basis for the wholesome renewal of our overall relationship with the earth.
Food and farms are in the ongoing thrall of a blitzkrieg of mutations, both negative and positive. Because agrarian matters are of such fundamental importance, impending matters of finance, transport, petrochemical supply, climate stability, environmental health, water supply, food availability and composition, necessitateâ€”right nowâ€”a clear, visionary look at matters agrarian.
Our current approach is, bluntly, unsustainable, and the harsh consequences are now plain. As a matter of survival â€“ while food prices rise and supplies dwindle — we must find wise ways to evolve. That evolution must take place swiftly, and it will require the involvement of almost all of us. A few farmers struggling the vortex of change cannot alone take care of us all. That has become an inescapable fact for anyone who follows agrarian news.
Just four months ago a major UN environment report (UNEP) concluded that our Earth is reaching the point of no return. The speed at which mankind is using and abusing the Earthâ€™s resources is putting humanityâ€™s survival at risk, the team of scientists said. They collectively issued an â€œurgent call for action.â€
Meanwhile, geologists are now debating whether they should add a new epoch to the geological time scale. They call it the Anthropocene â€“ the epoch when, for the first time in Earth’s history, humans have become a predominant geophysical force.
Perhaps the major factor of this â€œforceâ€ is modern industrial agriculture. On a massive scale it is poisoning and eroding the soil, draining water supplies, polluting the environment, and radically altering the genetic character of our planetary vegetation and livestock, as well as our diets and our perhaps our destiny.
While there may be no single remedy for the many challenges we face, there are many possible positive paths. With diligence we can construct a map for some of those paths, showing how a sustainable agrarian foundation can serve our brilliant yet fragile high-tech culture both nationally and globally.
For me a core ethical necessity in regard to our land and food is to strive in all endeavors to enhance the health and the regenerative capacity of the Earth. To support our farms so that, rather than being major sources of pollution, they are instead oases of environmental health, radiating this vitality out widely, and producing an abundance of clean food.
I intend this blog to amplify the call that is arising from our land. As Jack London put it in his classic novel, â€œThe Call of the Wild,â€ we face a moment of truth.
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