For your consideration, here’s a meme I created, based upon the true tales at the heart of my epic, nonfiction saga of North America, Odyssey of the 8th Fire,
I created the meme displayed below to acknowledge our collective Summer 2017 Great American Eclipse Experience. The meme makes direct, grounding reference to the enduring, strengthening traditions which are an available heritage for every person who walks our North American continent (Turtle Island) with respect and in honor. In this manner it’s possible to walk through portals of time, archetype, and insight toward healthy states of understanding, and thereby to acquire wisdoms both practical and ethereal.
Considered in the light of the beauty way, the blessing way, Odyssey of the 8th Fire, the epic online saga I had the opportunity to author earlier this century, is a true, sincere, and respectful exploration of the grounding traditions of the Americas. Those traditions have roots many thousands of years deep, and they endure to an provide an essential foundation for all in our era and for generations of our children to come. – SM
The year 2015 marks the 20th Anniversary of a great journey that took place over the course of 8 months as a band of pilgrims guided by traditional elders of North America walked from the Atlantic to the Pacific under the sky sign of the Whirling Rainbow.
To help commemorate that walk, I am creating a series of memes letting people know where they can learn the whole of of the true, epic saga Odyssey of the 8th Fire. Here’s is yet another sample meme that I plan send out on it’s own digital odyssey:
I invite you also to begin the journey. Explore what the odyssey of the 8th fire is about, and consider making an 8-month spiritual-literary journey, reading one journal entry each day from the start of the odyssey onward.
With respect, SM
November 24, 1995 – A band of pilgrims gathered at First Encounter Beach on Cape Cod Massachsetts with Grandfather William Commanda and Frank Decontie of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, and Jose’ Lucero of the Santa Clara Pueblo.
In a circle around the roaring ceremonial fire on the beach, the pilgrims vowed to begin a prayer walk in June of 1995 from the Eastern Door at the Atlantic Ocean to the Western Gate at the Pacific.
“Moses made pilgrimages to the mountain, and Jesus spent forty days in the desert. All throughout history, people have made sacred journeys.” – don Jose’ Matsuwa
The rest of the story… http://www.8thfire.net/Day_0.html
In this brief video clip, Chief Phil Lane shares his understanding of a key ancient teaching of the Americas: the reunion of the Eagle, Quetzal and Condor.
Nineteen years ago today – June 23, 1995 – a small band of pilgrims set out walking from the Atlantic to the Pacific on an epic journey that I have come to regard, and to write about, as the Odyssey of the 8th Fire.
The saga of their journey is well worth knowing, for it remains critically relevant to the journey all of us are making now through an era of profound change upon our Earth.
As well as the tale of the pilgrims’ travels on foot across Turtle Island (North America), Odyssey of the 8th Fire is the essential story of their meetings with dozens of traditional, learned elders of North America. They gifted the pilgrims with messages to deliver to all the people.
Reading Odyssey of the 8th Fire online is a demanding quest. The story is exceedingly long. Because of this, and because many of the elders who are part of the story noted that their teachings take both time and attention to understand, I recommend this literary pilgrimage be undertaken step by step, over a span of eight months or so.
Odyssey consists of a lengthy Prologue, and then 225 accounts, one for each day of travel. Those journal entries are ordered chronologically.
By engaging this online account of the epic walk one day at a time, a reader can make a steady eight-month literary and spiritual pilgrimage from East to West across Turtle Island (North America). The journey proceeds place to place, elder to elder, teaching to teaching.
“I ask you to listen not just with your minds. I ask you to listen with your hearts, because that is the only way you can receive what it is — what we are giving. These are the teachings of our hearts.
“This walk is going to take eight or nine months. There are lots of elders out there across Turtle Island, and they have many beautiful teachings, many teachings that all the people need now. It is our hope, it is our prayer that they will come forward now that the Eastern Door is open
“It is our prayer that they will meet us as we walk; that they will teach and share what they understand from their hearts. Be patient. Listen to the elders. You need patience to receive these teachings. It doesn’t all come at once. You need patience.”
– Frank Decontie, Algonquin – June 23, 1995 – First Encounter Beach, Massachusetts
For most Americans the Four Corners is just a curiosity on the map where the survey lines that define four states come together and form a classic cross: Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. But for many native peoples, Four Corners is a broad and austerely beautiful region bounded by four sacred mountains.* Four Corners is appreciated as an exquisitely sensitive and foundationally important feminine holy place on the land, a place that serves as an earthly anchoring point for the spiritual heart of North America (Turtle Island).
Today, as has been true for over 50 years, Four Corners is under assault. Today also, as has been true for millennia, Four Corners is under the watch of human beings who have accepted their role as protectors of the land and the life that depends upon the land.
Within the Mountain boundaries of the Four Corners lies the sweeping, majestic prominence of Black Mesa in northeast Arizona. Upon the mesa, in simplicity and humility, stands Big Mountain, a geomantic ground zero. As held in traditional knowings, Four Corners in general and Black Mesa and Big Mountain in particular are understood to represent what we might conceive of as a microcosmic holograph of our entire planet — a subtle, supersensible phenomenon of the region possibly grasped only through legend, direct perception, or quantum mechanics.
What happens in the Four Corners does not stay in the Four Corners, but through the web of life and relationship resonates consequences across and within all of Mother Earth.
Over the last decades of our era, traditional native peoples at Black Mesa have lived in resistance. Strip-mines have ripped apart the sacred lands, coal-burning power plants have befouled the desert air to send electricity to the Las Vegas Strip, and elsewhere, and mining corporations have dug up the toxic ‘cledge’ (uranium). According to various Creation stories, native peoples were explicitly warned to leave the cledge unmolested; digging yellowcake up, the traditions related, would cause it to arise in the world as nayee, a monster.
In resistance of this ongoing exploitation, there will be a gathering on Black Mesa the week of June 3-9, 2013. The gathering will include workshops and conversations among the Big Mountain/Black Mesa community and other frontline resistance communities from around North America. They will participate in a native youth caucus, cultural sharing, work parties, an elders’ circle, community meals, and concerts with hip hop artists.
This June gathering is being organized by Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS), an all-volunteer, non-native collective committed to long-term, relationship-based, request-based solidarity with the native communities of Black Mesa.
This is not the first such gathering in support of Black Mesa/Big Mountain and surely will not be the last. Thousands of people have learned of Big Mountain over the last 40 years, and hundreds of gatherings have been held in support. This particular gathering is a “big doing” not so much in the sense of size, but rather in the overall context of extreme planetary imbalance or earth changes, and overall patterns of spiritual awakening.
The Black Mesa gathering in early June happens toward the beginnings of Sovereignty Summer, and thus can be appreciated as a node in a network of awakenings now underway onward through 2013. What is “big” in the ultimate realm of possibilities, is the potential for good that may come from Big Mountain, from Ottawa, and from hundreds of other gatherings and non-violent actions across Turtle Island (North America).
The BMIS collective sets out their ideal by echoing a statement from Honor the Earth: “We believe a sustainable world is predicated on transforming economic, social, and political relationships that have been based on systems of conquest toward systems based on just relationships with each other and with the natural world. We are committed to restoring a paradigm that recognizes our collective humanity and our joint dependence on the Earth.”
Occupying a spiritual axis for North America, Black Mesa is home to one of the world’s largest and richest coal mines. A site long considered sacred by traditional Hopi and Dine’ (Navajo), the mesa is also home to profitable deposits of gas, petroleum, and uranium.
As understood for millennia, Black Mesa and Big Mountain are inherently, energetically feminine. Yang, masculine digging and drilling for monetary profit and environmental ruin constitute a direct assault on this yin feminine holy center of the land we live on, North America.
In that sense Black Mesa/Big Mountain represent a microcosmic mirror of the deranged yang-masculine dominance, and the ongoing determined debasement of feminine, life-sustaining peoples, persons, substances and ways — as is evidenced all over the planet.
The native elders and the traditional families of Black Mesa appreciate coal as a substance that serves as the liver of the Sacred Female Mountain. When coal is taken from the ground, it no longer can absorb and neutralize impurities in the air and water, the arising thoughts and feelings that circulate in the atmosphere of our planet home.
Even in the face of genocide and ongoing persecution, native peoples have faithfully perpetuated ceremonies intended to give back appreciation and the primal energies of thought, song and dance to help maintain the balance of natural forces of sunlight, rain and winds, and further to reaffirm respect for all life and trust in the Great Spirit. This is how they express it. This is what they do. This is the nature of the call they are sounding, the support they seek.
Igniting a Spiritual Fire
Sovereignty Summer is a term that originated in Canada, arising through the indigenous movement Idle No More. The movement demands sustainable development as well restoration of integrity to sworn treaties. “We believe in healthy, just, equitable and sustainable communities,” the movement reasons, “and (we) have a vision and plan of how to build them. Please join us in creating this vision.”
Idle No More has ignited a spiritual fire in the hearts of thousands of human beings to address a range of core matters, including the fundamental issue of protecting the earth that sustains us so life may endure and we may all go forward. They intend to keep striking sparks.
The human beings who sparked Idle No More have networked with Defenders of the Land to make a declaration: “We are in a critical time,” they write, “where lives, lands, waters and Creation are at-risk and they must be protected.” They call the attention of people to the potential of Sovereignty Summer. Meanwhile, in Alberta earlier this month, many native peoples gathered to create and then to sign a historic document, the Turtle Lodge Treaty. Of this treaty we are likely to hear more in the years to come.
Big Medicine is afoot. There is a spiritual energy stirring and a larger awakening is on the horizon as we transition to Sovereignty Summer. The gathering at Big Mountain is one facet or node of this ongoing awakening.
The gathering space at Black Mesa is already full this year. Organizers cannot accommodate anyone else coming. But there are other ways to support the effort to maintain Big Mountain, Black Mesa and the Four Corners, and to support the whole of the earth in a sacred manner. That is the idea animating Sovereignty Summer: to come together not in one particular place, but to establish a spiritually respectful stance where you are called upon the land.
* The four sacred mountains: Mount Blanca in Colorado, Mount Taylor in New Mexico, San Francisco Peaks in Arizona, and Mount Hesperus in Utah.
This month a small band of women from the Ojibwe native nation is walking the land in prayer from the source of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca in the north, more than 1,200 miles in a south direction along the shore to the point where the great river spills into the sea at the Gulf of Mexico.
The Mississippi River Water Walkers sang the Water Song when they began their walk on March 1, 2013. By now they are many hundreds of miles further south, still in ceremony, still walking on to fulfill their vision.
When the Mississippi Water Walkers reach Memphis, Tennessee in a week or so, their north-to-south trail will intersect with the east-to-west trail of the Sunbow Prayer Walk, which was guided 2,500 miles across the land 20 years ago by Grandfather William Commanda, now in spirit.
The trails of these two pilgrim bands will intersect in space and across time, forming a Four Directions wheel anchored in prayer and ceremony on the land at the Memphis shore of the Mississippi.
The eight-month long, male-driven Sunbow Walk from the Atlantic to the Pacific crossed the Mississippi River from Tennessee to Arkansas on the ninety-eighth day of the journey (Sept. 28, 1995). They traveled then under the teachings of the Seventh Fire and the skysign of the Whirling Rainbow
The women who are the Mississippi River Walkers, now on foot in real time 2013, are approaching intersection with the Sunbow trail in Memphis.
You can friend the River Walkers and support them on their Facebook page, a page which is growing as the walkers make their way to the south, stopping at key points along the way to offer ceremonial blessings.
“We want the walk to be a prayer,” says Sharon Day, walk organizer, on their Facebook page. “Every step we take we will be praying for and thinking of the water. The water has given us life and now, we will support the water.”
Among the many accomplishments in his long life as a protector and defender of the land, Grandfather served as Spiritual Advisor to the Sunbow 5 Walk for the Earth in 1995-95, a walk chronicled in Odyssey of the 8th Fire. The story of Grandfather’s leadership of this epic walk is also at the heart of the project to create an audiobook based on the nonfiction Tales of the Whirling Rainbow. I am honored to have known Grandfather, and to have traveled with him, since 1989. He was a remarkable man with a brilliant soul.
Rest in Peace, Mishomis (Grandfather)
* * * * * * * *
One vivid memory of Grandfather’s resolute nature comes from Friday, November 24, 1995 in the desert to the west of Rio Rancho, New Mexico. It was Day 155 in the Sunbow 5 Walk for the Earth, what I have come to describe as the Odyssey of the 8th Fire. In his 80s at the time, Grandfather served as Spiritual Advisor for the walk and its epic quest across Turtle Island (North America).
Grandfather was leading us from Atlantic to Pacific to meet with and learn from wise elders of all traditions, and to seek out “what had been left by the side of the trail long ago” as described in the Seven Fires Prophecy.
But our grand pilgrimage for peace and unity had hit the wall of human nature by the time we got to New Mexico. We had been arguing viciously among ourselves, and fractured into four or more groups — each group filled with suspicions and hostility.
As we arrived at a desert knoll to hold our council and air our ferocious grievances against each other, the wind rose. It blew so hard — 45 to 50 mph — that the air literally began to scream across the desert. The unrelenting desert gale blew stinging sand into everyone and everything. The storm rocked across the desert relentlessly, whipping ceaselessly through our gathering as we huddled low on a dune, seeking a windbreak. We prayed.
In the western desert, Grandfather listened to us for a long, long time, and then confronted our brokenness. His hands shook and his eyes filled with tears. He wiped his tears and then spoke. “No,” he said. “This is not my way, this is not the way. You must all stay together. You must stay in unity.”
He was unshakeable on this point: “You must all stay together as one group, one circle,” he said. “You can’t kick people out of the hoop. That’s not the way forward. You must find a way to stay together…You cannot fulfill the Seven Fires teachings any other way…”
In this manner it was settled. We were all to walk together — one reconciled, reunited walk.
* * * * * * * *
With the help of his companion Romola Treblecock, Grandfather Commanda developed his own website, a Circle of All Nations. Among the many treasures in his spiritual legacy to the people, he left his vision for Asinabka – an indigenous guided island for personal and planetary healing, located downtown in the river that runs through the heart of Ottawa, Ontario and Hull, Quebec. Grandfather Commanda’s final vision is only part way to fulfillment. It needs wider support to come to full realization.