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

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“I think one of the important aspects of our modern, Western-derived culture is that it puts so much emphasis on the material aspects of life. That has led to the exploitation of the Earth and natural resources, and also to the exploitation of people, for the sole purpose of getting money to live a kind of life that most people think is the way one should live: with a lot of material possessions and a good income and so forth. But that keeps people so much in the material world that they don’t have much opportunity to gain access to the spiritual world.”

– Nokomis Eunice Baumann-Nelson, PhD

Day 153 – Wednesday, November 22, 1995 - Coming from the Four Directions via bus, plane, truck, and on foot, the alienated and dispersed Sunbow 5 pilgrims are heading for Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Our plan is to sit in council after Thanksgiving, and to talk things over again. Our walk has split into four parts. This is our main chance to reconcile and to unite for the final leg of our long pilgrimage, and fulfill the teachings and prophecies we carry.

Sandia Mountains - Seen from the Rio Grande. The Sandias are visible in the east from where the Sunbow walkers have camped in Rio Rancho.

Grandfather Commanda is flying in from Maniwaki, Quebec, Jose Lucero is coming down from the Santa Clara Pueblo, the Rainbow Walkers are coming in from Chaco Canyon, Tom and Lauren are arriving from wherever they have been, Naoko is flying in from New Hampshire on one plane, and I am flying on another. Jim and Norma Duncan and their five daughters have promised to show up, too. Here, close by the Rio Grande, we will all meet to try and bring ourselves back together.

Jorge and Sandra Castro have opened their small ranch house to us in a suburban neighborhood of Rio Rancho, just across the Rio Grande and just north of Albuquerque. But there is only one bathroom, and the house and backyard are very crowded. We are all having to make adjustments.


The Zia - ancient Pueblo symbol for the Four Directions and the unity of the Sacred Hoop, adopted as a symbol for New Mexico.

Albuquerque and its burgeoning suburb Rio Rancho, where our walk is encamped, are set on the flat, just west of the Sandia Mountains. At sunset, the mountains often glow a luscious pink color as they reflect the sun, like a giant watermelon. The word sandia is, in fact, Spanish for watermelon.

Nineteen pueblos ring Albuquerque, a city of a half million souls. The pueblos are home to Native American cultures that date back 25,000 years or more and are considered to be the oldest tribal communities in the United States, having descended from the ancestral cultures that once inhabited Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, and Bandelier.


Francisco Coronado

Spanish explorer Francisco Vazquez de Coronado was the first European to comprehensively explore the territory now known as New Mexico, and to imagine he was discovering something. While in Mexico in 1540, after hearing stories about a fabulous hoard of gold in the north, Coronado determined to take the treasure for Spain.

Even though the Spaniards were already sending home ship after ship laden with treasure from Mexico, Coronado set out on his historic journey through the New World in search of more gold.

Beginning in 1540, Coronado and his party of 300 soldiers, several friars, and about a thousand native allies, rode north following old Indian trails across mountains and through the despoblado (wilderness). Their route led north along the western slope of the Sierra Madre, through the gorge of the Rio Sonora, and then up the Valle de Sonora on toward the territory known today as New Mexico.

With this expedition, Coronado asserted Spain's claim to ownership of the entire desert Southwest of Turtle Island, despite the hundreds of thousands of native human beings who had been inhabiting it for millennia. Coronado claimed the land in the name of Spanish royalty and under the authority of the Pope, who had declared that the non-Christian peoples of the New World were not to be regarded as human beings, and not to have any legitimate claim to inhabit the land they had lived upon for generation after generation.

Coronado was specifically searching for the Seven Cities of Cibola, the seven cities of gold. But there were no golden cities, only humble mud pueblos occupied by farmers. The gold was just a dream, just a rumor.

While searching in vain for gold, the conquistadors settled in and spent the winter of 1540-41 at the base of the Sandia Mountains, in what is now known as Bernalillo, New Mexico, just a few miles from where our Sunbow walk is now encamped. For them, for all the people of all the ages, the Sunbow walkers prayed, excepting no one, including all.


Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden

Read Day 154 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire

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