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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“Brothers and sisters: We bring to your thoughts and minds that right-minded human beings seek to promote above all else the life of all things. We direct to your minds that peace is not merely the absence of war, but the constant effort to maintain harmonious existence between all peoples, from individual to individual, and between humans and the other beings of this planet.

“We point out to you that a spiritual consciousness is the path to survival of humankind.”

                           - the Haudenausaunee Declaration

Day 224  - Thursday, February 1, 1996 - The great storm which has been upon us is departing. The clouds are still thick, but they are in motion, heading east.

Staring into the fire - Weary at the end of the trail. From the left: Steven Jaffey, Ned Paschene, Joe Soto, William Commanda. (Author photo).

We met by the fire at the Circle V Ranch at late morning. After we’d circled up, Grandfather Commanda read aloud a letter to us from Frank Decontie. Frank, who had been with us on First Encounter Beach, and who had spoken memorably in Grandfather’s place on Day 1 of our long pilgrimage, was unable to come to California, but wanted to convey his appreciation.

Frank Decontie

Frank’s letter to us was dated January 26, 1996:

Greetings Walkers,
It
is very pleasing to hear that you have completed your walk. It has been a difficult journey, and you have certainly sacrificed yourself for this sacred purpose. This walk is a history that will be remembered, respected, and honored.

You have done your job; the message is delivered. May the California Sun Shine into your hearts and minds.     

- Algonquin Nation, Frank Decontie

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Our plan is to break camp early tomorrow at the Circle V Ranch, head to East Beach in Santa Barbara for closing ceremonies, then scatter on our own, each person heading where she or he needs to go next. For most of us, that’s home.

All who walked, or helped, or who feel called to join, are invited. No exceptions: all invited.

Grandfather directed us to gather all the embers of our fire tomorrow morning, and to leave the ashes on the beach at the end of the ceremony. We carried the fire all the way from east to west, from the Atlantic to the Pacific; this is where it is supposed to be left, he said. We ought not to take any ashes back east with us.  

We will spend this afternoon saying goodbye to one another, getting all our equipment and personal effects ready for the return.

Several times today eagles flew low over our circle, cruising strongly above the fire, looking down with powerful eyes. Of all creatures on Earth, only eagle has eyes strong enough to gaze directly into the Sun. The eagles are still watching us. They are still with us.

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Dappled sunlight - fell upon our circle as we gathered round the sacred fire at Circle V ranch. (Author photo)

After a mess hall meal of venison, fruit salad, and cupcakes, we repaired to the main lodge for our final circle.

We sent an eagle feather around the room for all who wished to speak. The Sunbow pilgrims spoke from the hearts until well after midnight. All expressed gratitude for the experience, for the friendships, for the tests, for the help, for the beauty of the land we walked, for each other, for all of it. Our circle that night created a powerful good feeling.

With the feather, Steven Jaffey, who walked for about two months, told us, “I liked seeing the wampum belt yesterday. It was a visual reminder of our connection with something that is centuries old: native culture and the prophecies.

“I don’t remember who said it, but I agree that walking was the easiest part of this trip,” he said. “At times walking was challenging in its own sense. But it was challenging in predictable ways, unlike the rest of the walk, which was challenging in unpredictable ways.

“I found all the emotional and psychic baggage I brought to the walk would come out when I was walking,” Steven told us. “Sure it came out at other times too, but it was while I was walking that I was able to get in touch with what I was feeling and wasn’t really distracted. It was healing for me, to just let that happen. The whole experience of the walk truly strengthened my connection with Creator.”

Deirdre Dostou spoke of her sadness and confusion, and also her understanding and compassion for her father, Tom. She wept as she talked of how much love there was here on the walk, and forgiveness for her and her father, for everyone. She said she felt it in her heart, and it meant a lot to her. She told us that she loved her father, and that she loved us, too.

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With the feather, Grandfather Commanda circled back to the beginning of our pilgrimage, and took a moment to recall his connection with the Little People. After the first day of walking eight months ago, he and Rita had gone to First Encounter beach at about sundown. They smoked a pipe in a sacred manner, and waited.

Caribou - (Photo by Woodcreeper, courtesy of flckr.com)

Grandfather asked the Little People to tell him about the walk, and how it would go. After a while he saw a small, bright light coming toward him. In the light was the image of an eagle, a caribou, and a Thunderbird. They were all in one big hoop together."

Grandfather understood the vision as a response to what he was asking. But back then he said he would have to wait to understand what it means. Now, at the end of our walk, he said of his vision: "I think it was trying to tell us we should love each other."

Grandfather closed the circle by offering blessings in a prayer for all the people, animals, plants and waters – the Sacred Hoop of Life. Then he wished us all goodnight.

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Copyright 2007 by Steven McFadden

Read Day 225 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire

 
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  With thanksgiving — Steven McFadden



 
     

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