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.

Visit Steven McFadden's
Youtube channel.


"Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love."

- Don Miguel Ruiz

Day 99 - Friday, September 29, 1995 - Grandfather Commanda awoke early in his Washington D.C. hotel room, and set out by taxi for the great grassy mall at the heart of the capitol city for the U.S.A.

Washington Monument - Over 555 feet high, the tallest work of masonry in the world.

Grandfather was eager to participate in preparations for the third annual vigil at this site, "One Mind, One Voice, One Heart, One Prayer."

As the organizers of the event put it, according to several Native American prophesies a turning point in modern history will be recognized by spiritual gatherings dedicated to creating an integrated and healthy world. These gatherings will lay the foundation for new alliances, new communities, new visions, and new wisdom to grow.

Following in the spirit of the historic 1993 "Cry of the Earth" conference at United Nations headquarters, "One Mind, One Voice, One Heart, One Prayer" is intended to provide opportunities for spirit and vision to dwell together among the people every October. The vigil is simple yet profound. This year, aided by ideal weather, the gathering uplifted many thousands of people representing the various nations and traditions of the world.


The Prayer Vigil for the Earth happens every late September in Washington, D.C . All people of all traditions are welcome to participate.

The Vigil is a powerful spiritual event: a tapestry of cultures and traditions woven into a living prayer for harmony with the natural world, and the well-being of all Creation.

A sacred fire burns throughout the weekend. The Native caretakers of Turtle Island (North America) and other spiritual leaders will open the Vigil with ceremony that welcomes and ignites a wave of offerings from the many traditions of our world.

A Prayer Vigil for the Earth at the Washington Monument in the U.S. Capital - The vigil is held every September.  All people of all traditions are welcome. Photo courtesy of The Circle.

According to the organizers, creating a sacred circle at the base of the Washington Monument is more important now than ever before.

Metaphysical literature suggests that an obelisk such as the Washington Monument represents masculine power, and broadcasts information and energy. The sacred circle, a feminine power form, provides balance for the masculine obelisk and energetically invites feminine values such as home, family, relationships, and community to be active and present in right relationship with the masculine virtues.

The organizing committee intends that this annual joining of masculine and feminine energy—within the context of the world's many spiritual teachings and practices—will serve to consecrate the land and the whole of our Earth, and also produce healthy seeds for the generations to come.


Most of Friday was given over to set up. General Grant and family, who the walkers had visited with on the Qualla Boundary reservation, had driven all night from Cherokee, North Carolina in a big, brawny pickup, towing a long red horse trailer. As he pulled onto the Washington mall, General Grant's trailer held the covers, ropes, and stakes for nine tipis. Lashed to the top of the trailer were over 160 poles.

Through the morning and afternoon a circle of great beauty was slowly established by volunteers working on the lawn in the shadow of the huge obelisk that is the Washington Monument.

The Vigil's Ceremonial Circle of Tipis as photographed from the top of the Washington Monument.

To the North of the monument, we set a sacred fire for the center. The fire was surrounded at a distance by a ring of benches, and the benches surrounded in turn by a wide pathway, and then a circle of the nine large tipis General Grant had brought to the gathering. Each tipi was dedicated to a form of continuous prayer, or healing.

Linking the tipis and forming the perimeter of the ceremonial hoop, we set the flags of over 170 nations, which had been brought to the vigil by the World Peace Prayer Society. The gate was placed in the East.

Eagle feather in hand, Lakota elder Dave Chief led a consecration ceremony for the circle Friday afternoon. Then the weekend vigil unfolded.

Grandfather Commanda was very much at home in the One Heart circle, as well as at the nearby hotel where he rested from time to time. He enjoyed meeting dozens of people from many world cultures. Grandfather spoke frequently of Algonquin traditions, and also of the Sunbow 5 Walk for the Earth. He visited and spoke at length with many old friends, including Leon Shenandoah (Onondaga - Tadadaho, Iroquois Six Nations), Grace Smith and Roberta Blackgoat (Dine), Thomas Banyacya (Hopi), Corbin Harney (Western Shoshone) and Harry Charger and Arvol Looking Horse (Lakota).


As I made my prayers in the tipi circle before sunset, I turned my contemplative attention to Michael, for today, in fact September 29 every year, is Michaelmas.

Archangel Michael confronts shadow forces. He is revered by Christians, Jews and Muslims. - Painting by Luca Giordano.

In Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions, Michael is understood to be one of seven Archangels. All three traditions—otherwise so often in conflict—have a common point of reverence in the figure of Archangel Michael and all that he represents.

In that regard it is perhaps natural that the prayer vigil should occupy the same window of time as Michaelmas, early autumn, for the aim of the vigil is to establish common ground for different people and different traditions.

In esoteric circles, the image of Archangel Michael is said to symbolize the forces of will in general, and free will in particular.

These forces of will are what give to human beings the capacity to confront the ferocious, malicious soul shadows that arise in all—shadows that tend to obscure spirit in favor of various glamours in the material world. According to the legends, Michael is a bearer of true light. The image of his sword symbolizes human will, and our capacity to cut away what is toxic, demeaning, or spirit-denying.

The time of Michaelmas—late September—is presently unencumbered by established religious traditions. Thus, for Christians, Jews, Muslims, and potentially others as well, the festival of Michaelmas represents an opening toward new ways of respecting, relating and uniting. Michaelmas is common ground upon which human beings are at liberty to devise new expressions of festival that may help answer the spiritual needs of our evolving multi-demensional global culture

Archangel Michael is said to aid in opening paths to spirit so that women and men might walk forward on those pathways not out of fear or coercion, but rather out of their own intelligence and free will. Michael reminds us that we can reckon directly with spirit, and require no priestly intermediary.

As one person standing by the sacred fire at the base of the Washington Monument as the sun set, I contemplated these Michaelic matters and entered into prayer for all, excepting none, according to our instructions as Sunbow pilgrims.


 Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden

Read Day 100 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire

To support...
      You may click the basket

Please support the telling of Odyssey of the 8th Fire. I freely offer the teachings of this true saga to readers. They are not for sale. That is the tradition. Still, I bear expenses to publish, and my labor has been long. I am a human being, not a non-profit corporation; thus expressions of reciprocity and support are welcome and appreciated, but not tax-deductible.

  With thanksgiving — Steven McFadden


Home | Author's Note | Dedication | Acknowledgements | Donors
Invocation | Prologue | Contents

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