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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Odyssey of the 8th Fire,
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“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”

- John Steinbeck

Day 208 - Tuesday, January 16, 1996 - Shrouded in fog and mist, we gathered briefly for a circle to discuss logistics, then broke camp at the Morongo Reservation. We drove on in a raggle taggle caravan of 12 vehicles, slowly snaking along I-10 and I-210 to Pasadena. To other motorists we must appear as an apparition from The Grapes of Wrath—a motley array of pickup trucks and scruffy sedans, all the drivers and passengers looking worn, weathered, expectant.

California Live Oak - (Photo by William Ward, courtesy of flckr.com)

Eventually we made our way to the Oak Grove Park (now called Hahamonga) in Pasadena to establish our new camp on what, in times past, was land sacred to native peoples.

The Harmony Warriors chose this camp for us. They told us that they will "take care of everything from here on."

Oak Grove is a huge park of some 1,300 acres, located on the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena between the Angeles National Forest and the Rose Bowl. The park offers some impressive views of the San Gabriel Mountains

The area has long been recognized as historic and sacred Land. The park has also known as the home of the world's first Frisbee Golf course. Southern California is where the Frisbee was developed, and Oak Grove Park became the home of the first Disc Golf tournament.

San Gabriel Mountains - With a skim coat of pollution. As seen from the air in a view across the Los Angeles basin. (Photo by dsearls, courtesy of flckr.com)

Conquistador Gaspar de Portola explored this area in the late summer and fall of 1770. During the exploration Portola met Tongva Indian Chief Hahamog'na. For the sake of their own convenience, Portola and the Spanish began applying the chief’s name to the whole tribe of human beings, as well as to the place where the people lived.

Almost immediately the Spanish initiated a campaign of forced religious conversion and indentured servitude. The Hahamogna, and other local Tongva peoples of the Shoshone language group, were soon gathered into the fold of the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel and collectively designated as the "Gabrieleno Indians."

As with other native groups, the Tongva people were, essentially, enslaved at the mission for purposes of building, farming, and manufacturing. Escape, resistance, or even objection to the harsh conditions of the missions was was met with brutality: reduced rations, leg irons, or flogging with a metal-tipped whip.


Sweet rain - (Photo by fotobydave, courtesy of flckr.com)

We set up our tent circle swiftly, and lit the sacred fire at the heart of our camp in Oak Grove Park. Then the rain came - a major blessing for the region. Southern California is in the midst of a drought. In native understandings, the rain is always seen as a blessing. Now that we have arrived, so has the rain.

In the evening we all piled back into the vehicles and headed off for a promised feed of free dinners at a nearby Sizzler Steak House. But it turned into a wild goose chase. We never found the place. After a couple of hours riding around, we returned to camp to scrounge the best meal we could with a bit of leftover soup and popcorn. That's all we have.


Joe Soto talked with me by the fire late that night. He emphasized that we must follow what he called "Native Law" all the way from now on. There are, he said, "three men" who absolutely must carry sacred medicines through to the Western Gate at Point Conception. "This is the priority from now on," he said.

How, I asked him, can the Eighth Fire be lit without all the people of all the colors? Are not the human beings more important than the Medicines -- the pipes, the feathers, the stones, the herbs, and all the rest of the stuff?  Joe said yes, the people are important, but the three men must get through to the Western Gate. That, he repeated, was now the top priority.


Copyright 2007 by Steven McFadden

Read Day 209 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire

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