"I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true fix'd and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament."
- William Shakespeare
Day 112 - Thursday, October 12, 1995 - After the Sunbow groups came together and talked last night, the walk split at Aux Ark State Park in Arkansas on October 12, Columbus Day.
Tom is back with the main group as head man, and a small group (Alycia, Brianna, Clayton, VaLaine, and Sherry) are off on their own. They have forsaken the Sunbow 5 name, and have become the “Rainbow Walkers.”
I am profoundly unsettled by this split and the way it came about. We are working and walking for unity. I feel strongly that there needs to be some deep healing on the walk to bring all the people back into the hoop.
I had a brief, tense phone conversation today with Tom. He would not answer questions, but said that they (Rainbow Walkers) were never part of the main group, at least temperamentally. They were already separate, he said, and would put their tents up away from everyone else. They had their own interests, he said, and were not interested in being part of the Pipe circles all the time. Now that they are gone, he said, camp is quiet—no complaints, no dissension.
For thousands of years people have looked to the North Star (Stella Polaris) to guide them on their long journeys. A bright point that is easy to locate, Polaris appears to stand motionless in the sky, with all the Northern stars rotating around it. Therefore, it makes an excellent point from which to draw measurements.
But I read in the newspaper today that, because of the precession of the equinox, the North Star is really as inconstant as everything else in the universe. It’s moving and changing all the time.
While Polaris appears to hold its position in the sky, it oscillates rapidly -- a subtle blur of ceaseless vibration and change. Today I also feel as if I am oscillating, and so it seems is our pilgrimage.
The Rainbow Walkers have set out on their own for good, with the support of Sherry’s van to transport their gear.
I spoke with Alycia by phone. She explained their position: "We had become weary of the constant anger and attacks of the man (Tom), and seen also that his rhetoric in public gatherings was steadily becoming more and more angry, political, and hateful. It was too much.
“The situation got turned around when I confronted Tom. He went back to the main group and used politics to bring me down, and to define the whole problem as a power struggle for leadership of the walk. I became the issue.
"People charged that I was making a power play for leadership, and there was a lot of yelling and screaming at me that I had no right to press these issues, or to ask what I was asking—that Tom walk ahead of the main group for a couple of weeks to find his peace.
“That was it for me. Tom had a little group selected for a circle, four or five people he knew he could count on. But he did not want the issues to come before the whole circle. He seemed really afraid of that. So he told me to leave. I left.”
“I did not want the leadership of the walk then, and I do not want it now," Alycia said. "I want to walk in peace and love, and to ensure that our walk is not carrying and spreading a message of anger."
"Our plans are to continue to walk with the original intentions, in peace and harmony, with each voice carefully and respectfully heard, and with none of that other stuff. We are going straight across. We will pray for the whole of the sacred hoop, including the other walk.
"We bear no hard feeling toward the other group," she said, "nor will we nurture any bad feelings that arise. We will hope and pray for reconciliation. But that leader (Tom) has to find his healing.
“We all know it is there inside him: a lot of love and beauty and healing power: that's definitely there in him. But until he finds it, and sets all the rage and power stuff aside, he should not be in control."
"We feel that Grandfather Commanda would want us to go on in love and respect, praying as we have been since the beginning. This is how we will honor him and his vision."
The main group of Sunbow 5 walkers covered 27 miles heading west, and shifted their camp from Aux Arc Park to Spring Hill Park near Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden
Read Day 113 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire