Odyssey of the 8th Fire is the true tale
of an epic pilgrimage for the Earth
across North America

by people of all colors and faiths.

  - A creative non-fiction book in online evolution - ◊
© - 2007 by Steven McFadden

To hear a sample
audio recording of
Odyssey of the 8th Fire,
click here.


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"Do not lose heart, we were made for these times..."

- Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Day 215  - Tuesday, January 23, 1996 – So we might use the pay phones, Jacki, Scott and I drove down the long winding canyon to Ojai, California. We needed to call Grandfather Commanda, to check dates and details, and then to make final arrangements for him and his daughter Evelyn Dewache to fly out here next week. They want to be with us at the end of the walk.

While strolling about Ojai after making the calls, I picked up a copy of Newsweek magazine dated, January 22, 1996. The cover was headlined “Hot Zone.” The story said that scientists are warning explicitly that recent blizzards, as well as a worldwide run of severe hurricanes, floods, and droughts, constitute early symptoms of global warming.

This pattern of disruptive Earth changes will get worse soon, according to Newsweek and its sources. We should expect an increase in weather extremes and calamities.

In saying this, the majority of qualified scientists are echoing with data, a basic natural observation that traditional native elders have been making for decades.

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Ace mechanic - Michael Nicholson, resting on a rock at one of our camps, kept the ragtag fleet of Sunbow vehicles rolling. (Author photo).

Joe finally told us a bit about the meeting he went to with the Chumash people on Sunday after our walk was stopped. He said he had to spend a lot of time defending himself at the meeting. According to Joe, Tom had told the Chumash and others that Joe is a CIA agent, and that he has been intentionally messing up the walk. Tom told them that Joe is solely responsible for all the walk’s problems, and for the split in Oklahoma.

First we laughed at the outrageousness of these lies, so twisted as to be comic. Then we sighed with heartfelt disappointment in Tom. All 45 or so of us who are together, and who are actually doing the walk, are in good relationship with one another. Not a one of us will follow Tom.

In our consensus view, the disharmony and dissension that are associated with our walk originated not with Joe, but primarily with Tom. It is bizarre that Tom is pointing the finger, projecting onto someone else his own behavior: control and domination, intimidation, emotional bullying, telling falsehoods, and apparent financial malfeasance. It is tragic that people, especially the Chumash, are listening to him

A man of many devices, Tom, by his own choice, long ago stopped walking with us. He's been traveling in cars, staying in motels, and eating in restaurants while we walked and camped. His totems of authority - eagle staff, feathers, and other medicines – were immolated in a raging Arizona house fire immediately after he instigated threats against the walk and tried to stop it. As far as we are concerned, the fire of incineration sent a message.

Despite any rumors Tom or others might spread about us, we are in basically good relation with each other, of one heart and one mind. We are clear that we will no longer accept Tom’s volatile bullying and disrespectful behavior. We have forgiven him, and we have let him know that we will walk with him, side by side. But we will not follow him.

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Ojai vista - Afternoon sunlight illuminates the valley and mountains at Ojai, California. (Photo by Maddcovv, courtesy of flckr.com)

Apparently as soon as Jacki, Scott and I departed the Rancho Chorro Grande base camp to go use the telephones in Ojai, Ho Washtay and entourage, including Tom, visited the camp. We found out about it when we got back.

As we heard the story, they came for a visit and talked a while, then smoked a ceremonial pipe with the people in camp. Following Tom’s advice, Ho Washtay picked several people that he said could go the Western Gate for the closing ceremonies. Only the people picked by Tom and Ho Washtay, they said, would be welcome. The rest of us were on our own, unwelcome at that sacred site.

To us that sounds like a strategy to divide and to weaken our walk even further. We have all walked and prayed together. We are not about to let Ho Washtay, Tom, or anyone who might be listening to him, divide and weaken us further. We are determined to hold to our vision. We will all walk together.

If we cannot go to the Western Gate as one group of pilgrims who have striven and sacrificed together, then none of us will go.

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Copyright 2007 by Steven McFadden

Read Day 216 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire

 
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Odyssey of the 8th Fire Copyright © 2006-2008 by Steven McFadden