First questions taken from Tiferet Interview with Melissa Studdard:
Tiferet Journal is at the nexus of literature and spirituality. It publishes high-quality poetry, prose and art that further meaningful dialogue about what it is to be human and conscious in today’s often divisive world. http://tiferetjournal.com/
MS: Redemption the manuscript has been on quite a journey. It was written in 1975, lost for decades, rediscovered in 2011, and published in 2014. In what ways is this journey relevant or parallel to Redemption’s plot? What do you hope will be the next stage of this book’s journey?
IP: In 1975 I was writing way over my head and lacked the maturity to understand the deep nuances emerging from my pen. The book was writing me and it is fitting that it was not published until 2014, as the time lapse allowed me to grow into the insights and revelations writ large. I was a total mess in 1975 – with a failing marriage in the Hebrides and trying to keep my career intact as a young professor at Carleton University in Canada. I was not doing a good job with either. The surprise for me in 2011 was how could I have written such a powerful book while in a desperate state of mind? The themes of mental illness and alcoholism are writ large in this deep and turbulent Hero’s Journey to emancipation. Redemption is an allegory for the depression and life difficulties I once experienced, though I did not realize it at that time.
MS: Speaking of the Hero’s journey, can you say a bit about the connection between Redemption and Trailing Sky Six Feathers and why the Hero’s journey works so well to convey your ideas?
IP: I consider Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey as an underlying template for all great books and weave its threads through my writing. Redemption is the first book in a trilogy that has Trailing Sky Six Feathers as the second book. They are companions – but the reader may not cotton on to that until they read the final chapter of Trailing Sky Six Feathers. Chapter Nine is titled “The Circle Closes” with a return to memories of the insane sea journeys I undertook in the Hebrides. That chapter is quite an “AHAH” moment. The final book in the trilogy (under construction) takes characters from both books, placing them in the future on a new planet. From the 18th century, Rising Moon (daughter of Trailing Sky) is hurled by shamanic means to the new planet. From the 21st century Tom and Sian Hagen with their daughter Catriona get there from a failing spaceship. Life on the new planet permits a beginning anew for our species – A Hero’s Journey to reconstruct a society based on ecology, sharing and caring.
But there are calamities to endure – a brutal abduction and rape, a militant group hi-jacking a spaceship in order to take over the new planet, the desperate loss of pioneers in an exploding spaceship. I do not shy away from the reason for finding a new planet and place in the mouth of Dr. Tom Hagen a speech to the UN that I would like to give from the future. It is about the willful ignorance displayed by corporate and government cabals invested in the carbon/oil complex, while eco militias murder in the streets and social disorder is a norm. The first chapter of the final book is a lyrical and dangerous meeting on the new planet between Catriona and Rising Moon. Instead of killing one another they become blood sisters. The second chapter is quite dark about the perilous destruction of the spaceship and safe departure of some of the travellers. Chapter three is a love story. Chapter four and five are dark yet permit the human spirit to prevail. The end game is a philosophy to endure and not repeat the mistakes of the prior civilization on Planet Earth.
Excerpt from the futuristic book: “New Planet, New World” which completes the bookend of a trilogy. The precursors are awards winning Redemption and Trailing Sky Six Feathers. Order at http://www.ianprattis.com
The final book is presently under completion.
“The billionaires amongst you have well equipped and tightly defended underground bunkers to escape to – but I have bad news for you. The deep core drilling for oil and gas all over the world, particularly in fragile ocean beds, have compromised the tectonic plates at the center of the Earth. The tectonic plates are now moving faster and rising closer to the outer crust of Earth. Where they collide precipitates world-wide volcanic eruptions and earthquakes that will first of all destroy your underground bunkers. It is estimated that billions will die from the volcanic explosions and many of those surviving will likely die from poisonous gases and the inevitable tsunamis in every ocean. Fifty years ago seismologists provided the critical evidence that deep core drilling is directly associated with the rapid increase in global earthquake and volcanic epicenters. Tectonic plates ride on a fluid like core, known as the asthenosphere, and the tectonic plates that are now colliding trigger massive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Repeated warnings from scientists to ban deep core drilling were ignored, bringing the unspeakable into reality.”
Pine Gate has a mindfulness gathering every quarter of the year – March, June, September and December. Our cadre of chefs create awesome vegetarian dishes. Prior to the pot luck supper there is a dharma talk and discussion. The Five Contemplations in English and French are read out before we share in a sumptuous and nourishing meal. Here are some of the recipes.
(I should add that I do not qualify for the cadre of chefs,)
Cocoa-Banana Pie – sent in by Ute
3/4 cup raw almonds
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
In food processor grind almonds until they resemble bread crumbs.
In a bowl, mix ground almonds, rice flour, salt and cinnamon.
In another bowl mix oil with maple syrup.
Combine wet and dry ingredients.
Press into an oiled and floured 9 1/2 or 10 inch pie plate. Make sure rim comes up high.
Bake at 350 degrees F until lightly browned, approximately 25 minutes. Cool.
1 litre (4 cups) cocoa soy milk
1/4 cup agar flakes
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup arrowroot flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 bananas, or 3 cups sliced bananas
Bring soy milk and agar to a boil over medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Reduce heat and simmer until agar is completely dissolved.
Mix arrowroot into the maple syrup; whisk it into simmering soy milk mixture until thick. It will thicken almost immediately. Remove from heat.
Allow to cool for 15-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice bananas into pie shell.
Stir vanilla extract into soy milk mixture, then pour it over the sliced bananas.
Allow to set in refrigerator for 2 -3 hours.
Serves 8 – 10
Recipe from the Green Door Restaurant Cookbook Vegetarian Cookbook.
Reproduced with permission from the Green Door Restaurant.
Lemon Asparagus from Ken
4 – 6 bunches asparagus
1 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
¼ cup olive oil
Parmesan cheese – optional
In a large mixing bowl, toss asparagus with lemon juice, lemon zest, oil and pepper. Marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Once marinated, preheat oven to 350 F. Pour asparagus and marinade onto aluminum foil coated cookie sheet. Cook for fifteen minutes or until tender.
(Also great cooked on barbecue wrapped in aluminum foil).
Lightly sprinkle with parmesan cheese after cooking.
Millet and Bean Casserole (Lasagna) from Carolyn
The ingredient quantities are approximate – you can add more or less of anything. The amounts below make a very large lasagna casserole.
Beans – I use dry beans, but you can use canned beans also which are easier and quicker:
1 cup of dry beans – you can use any kind or a mixture
(I use 1/3 cup of dry pinto beans
1/3 cup of dry black turtle beans
1/3 baby lima beans)
Soak beans overnight, drain, and cook according to package.
3/4 cup dry green lentils -cook according to package
(I cook them about 10 minutes less than required as they cook more when baked)
3/4 cup dry millet – cook according to package
(Again, I undercook it as it will soak up juice when baked)
1 medium onion, diced
1 -2 cups of mixed vegetables – carrots, mushrooms, peppers, corn, celery – whatever you like.
Saute onion and mixed vegetables in a bit of olive oil until soft.
Add whatever spices you like. I use lots of basil, oregano, cayenne pepper.
When cooked, combine everything into a very large casserole dish.
Mix in a large can of tomato sauce – I often put in some stewed tomatoes also
Mix in a cup or so of shredded cheese – I like to use a mixture of mozzarella, romano, guyere.
Bake 350 for about 30 minutes. Then add a thick layer of cheese and bake another 10 minutes.
An admirable command of language brings to every scene a striking visual clarity.
A lost manuscript from 1975 reveals the depths of a sensitive man’s soul in this pondering look at life nearing a crossroads. Not until 2011 did Ian Prattis pick up his heartfelt novel again, a book he titled Redemption.
Set in the Hebrides off the northwest coast of Scotland, an unpretentious locale steeped in regional culture, this story focuses on an eccentric yet down-to-earth protagonist named Callum Mor. Subject to individual understanding and loaded with the symbolism often found in parables, the book alludes to more than what is openly stated in the narrative. Like all interpretive fiction, Prattis’s writing will communicate a different meaning to anyone who attempts to analyze his carefully crafted words. Short but powerful, Redemption may leave a person wondering whether pieces of this tale were intentionally obscured, for the plot covers an extensive period of time from Callum Mor’s childhood to maturity.
An admirable command of language brings to every scene a striking visual clarity. In this descriptive passage, the devastated mood surrounding Callum Mor’s father can be seen and felt in contrast to the harsh elements of nature: “In the wake of the gale, the day had produced a hazy sunlight that made the reeds in the marsh glimmer, but the unexpected heat in the day could do nothing to warm the cold, vacant, deadness that now enveloped Andrew.”
As Callum Mor ages, he slips into abject loneliness and succumbs to alcoholism before he goes through a positive reawakening. Gentle, with a poignant affection for animals, this cosmically aware lover of God’s creatures seems to collapse under the brutality of man’s instinct to inflict pain. To a certain degree, this somewhat typical view of morality confronting immorality causes the novel to fall into a vague realm of timeless storytelling for any indefinable, poetic piece without a specific purpose. This does not detract from the literary quality, but anyone seeking an indisputable message will not find it here. In this scene, winter emerges as a villainous character: “The wind from the north soughed softly along the shore but froze any man it gripped. The cold stole into every door and numbed the hands and minds of those unprepared for it.”
Ian Prattis is a professor of anthropology and religion. A peace and environmental activist, he was born in the UK. Prattis has spent much of his life living and teaching in Canada. This moving and eye-opening book will be a memorable experience for anyone who enjoys reading about primordial tendencies. Beneath a polished urban facade remains a part of human nature that few want to acknowledge, either due to fear or simply because it is easier to deny the basic instincts that have kept us alive on an unforgiving earth.
Julia Ann Charpentier
I share a personal journey and advocate spiritual awakening and empowerment in this new book: Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse. Climate change, ecosystem collapse and anarchy are just some of the current issues that propelled me to widen advocacy of empowerment and change. Through this book I shed light on issues that affect and will continue to affect the generations to come. I illuminate a path for others to expand their consciousness and chart the course for a future beyond the abyss. The human race does not need to be stuck with maladaptive options and patterns, we can and must transform. Our culture needs to awaken spiritually if humanity wants to ensure survival. Insightful and illuminating, this story follows the exciting journey of a hero which is like Indiana Jones meets the Buddha with a dash of Celestine Prophecy. Trailing Sky Six Feathers shines light on the darkest elements of the human condition, including my own.
When I talk to folk about Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey With His Muse the first question is usually “Why did you write this?” Here is my reply:
Global citizens are staring into the abyss–yet instead of being eaten up by it all, I say to them: “Awaken Spiritually,” for that transforms everything. We have made our world an unpredictable beast because we fail to work with it intelligently. Rumi’s wise words are cogent: “Sit down and be quiet. You are drunk and this is the edge of the roof.” We have to take back control of ourselves and this is a spiritual matter. Turning on the switch of awakening seems to be a good idea right now. We just need to touch the sacred in ordinary experiences of life to find the courage and determination to transform.
I like to consider Trailing Sky Six Feathers the real life version of James Redfield’s best-selling fictional book The Celestine Prophecy. I have nine chapters, loaded with Insights and adventure. Trailing Sky Six Feathers is drawn from my actual lived experience. Reality based information is in high demand in today’s society, which provides the potential for this project to become a fresh, new icon for today’s hungry culture. Hungry, that is, for authentic transformation. Trailing Sky Six Feathers delivers a vigorous message about personal transformation in order to become different stewards of the earth and society. Extensive shamanic training is highlighted, as it was the instrument to overcome my childhood sexual abuse. The journey of remembering childhood wounds and past lives will draw in people searching for interior solutions. In Trailing Sky Six Feathers I show that we can transform the damage and limitations of the past and step onto a path of enlightenment for all who suffer from road blocks in the mind. People around the world are overwhelmed by distraction, fear, suffering and violence – all of which keeps them frozen in a state of inaction – deeply wounded and unable to make changes within themselves and for the planet. The inner journey that occupies this book demonstrates that we do not have to be caught by our suffering, fear and maladaptive responses to Climate Change and Violence.
The book will also attract the attention of people interested in Shamanism, Jung, Religion, New Age, Alternative Medicine, Meditation, Consciousness, Buddhism, India, Native American Culture and Wisdom of the Elders. The Sky People who mentored Trailing Sky in medicine lore will certainly pique the interest of Trekkies, given this extra-terrestrial component of the book. Ever since the Star Trek series captured the public imagination with time/space crossovers, there is an intense interest in how past realms and dimensions impact our present reality. That is the very fabric of Trailing Sky Six Feathers.
My life as a global traveler certainly stretched my attention beyond any limits I could have placed on it. From teenage volunteering in Borneo with Britain’s Peace Corps to being a yogi in India and a Zen teacher in Canada – expansion of mind was inescapable.
My challenging journey navigates shamanic healing of childhood sexual abuse, guru training as well as a near death experience in an ashram in India. From this vast range of experience I found an ability to sculpt narrative in a novel way. I certainly stumbled through the first part of life, but then stood strong in my own sovereignty in the latter part. In India, Arizona, France and Canada’s wilderness, I went to extraordinary lengths to transform karma. Over a period of thirty years, four extraordinary medicine people enhanced my process of remembering. I learned how to reconfigure my understanding of time, place, consciousness and re-write Carl Jung’s psychology. I chose to listen to the feminine voice of Earth Wisdom rather than to the multitude of competing voices in my deep unconscious.
In Trailing Sky Six Feathers readers may be inspired as they watch my intention and strength of purpose to transcend patterns carried since childhood. Past life memories collide head on with the present, all thanks to the Muse who refused to give up. Karma is reversed; the internal battles are over as I begin to live life as a Meditation for Gaia. The relentless shadowing by this engaging Muse brings understanding not only to me, but to anyone engaged in overcoming the darkness of their past.
This books cap my long-term fascination with consciousness. As a Professor of Anthropology and Religion I taught courses on Ecology, Symbols, Engaged Buddhism and Meditation Systems. I am a healer, mentor and educator, able to encourage people through example to find their true nature so that humanity and the world may be renewed. I am a Zen teacher, also a recognized guru in India. My initial task is to refine my own consciousness, so that I can be an authentic vehicle to chart a path for spiritual friends. Trailing Sky Six Feathers is a screenplay-worthy epic that weaves together seamlessly to create inspiration for a wide range of fellow spiritual seekers, environmentalists, generation X, feminists, students and academics alike.
Celebrating National Poetry Month – here is a short one about the craft and just maybe who is writing who!
Behind a plough of words
the poet drives a furrow,
– never straight.
Phrases spiral upwards,
as an eagle soars in a sky
with no horizon or meter.
Universal alphabet mimics dancing clouds
to touch Creation’s syntax.
Cascading into passages that hover,
tracing cosmic runes
at the edge of knowing.
Words drift by on the morning mist.
A whisper of wind,
That haunts every thought
The Muse –
waiting wondrous so long,
for cracks in façade’s order to crumble.
Then she grants life to a poem.
Xlibris author Ian Prattis once hit rock bottom, but he used this to gift readers with a moving story about depression. Read on to discover more about his novel Redemption, which in a sense has become his own redemption.
More about the Xlibris book
Callum Mor’s bleak solitude is broken when a family with a small girl seeking refuge from a storm come to his house. Slowly, he edges away from his self-destruction. He saves the girl’s life in a blizzard. The glimmer of awakening dawns in him, and this sets the stage for the final drama that illuminates the resilience of the human spirit.
From the rhapsody of an idyllic childhood through traumatic tragedies to the derelict zone of alcoholism and then to a state of awakening – I depict the stations of a personal Calvary that ultimately leads to “Redemption.”
The book is a lyrical and moving tale of struggle, love, loss, transformation and hope. It reads like an extended prose poem reflecting the primal forces of nature and human nature. Its starkly gorgeous and remote island setting creates and reinforces the central themes of struggle, family, community and wonder at the beauty of the world, and its rich cast of characters offers numerous gripping interludes that brim with complex interpersonal drama.
The story centers on and is always connected to Callum Mor – the epic main character – but he is surrounded and influenced by a fantastic cast of family and fellow islanders. They provide a deep well of material; their conflicts and intrigues move the plot forward and offer a vast array of powerfully emotional moments. The story arcs of other characters in the novel offer particularly beautiful and interesting counterpoints to one another and to Callum Mor. Their hopes, desires and difficulties intermingle in a sad and realistic tapestry of human existence.
The narrative’s tone is generally quiet and introspective, but it is frequently punctuated by storms both literal and metaphorical. Callum Mor and his people face many conflicts throughout the story, from poverty, mental illness, unwanted pregnancy, and battles with nature itself – to sexual assault and violent physical confrontation. All of this provides the tapestry for the deeper, more subtle messages of compassion and faith to carefully unfold.
A gift to readers
I dedicate my book Redemption to the millions of people who suffer from depression and alcoholism, and I stand before you as living proof that it is possible to come through and be whole.
I would like to close by thanking Bruce Haring and his staff for creating this wonderful Florida Book Festival. I am deeply humbled and grateful that they chose my book Redemption as the winner of General Fiction. They confirmed for me that:
I WAS NOT DREAMING!
Touching the Earth Ceremony at Pine Gate Thursday April 2, 7.00pm – 9.00pm
Details below. The ceremony provides a safe environment for releasing the “hooks” from ancestors – genetic, spiritual and land. We choose to retain the virtuous, noble seeds passed on to us, but direct all abusive, negative seeds to pass from our consciousness into the Earth, where they will be composted.
TOUCHING THE EARTH CEREMONY
This practice connects you in a loving way with both the positive and negative aspects of all your ancestors – biological, spiritual and land. “I see that my ancestors suffered, and their suffering spilled over to others including me. With this steady acceptance I am ready to transform the suffering and to cultivate the positive virtues of my ancestors in my daily life.”
Pain/Suffering may be strong with this contact especially if there was parental abuse/neglect – so also think of parents/ancestors as 5 yr old children – innocent and who also suffered, rather than just as persons who may have caused us deep harm.
2. Spiritual Ancestors
Perhaps those who taught us in our spiritual tradition made mistakes, discriminated, abused us and were not able to transmit the teachings well or did not live up to their calling. Allow this to pass through and retain the positive qualities of Buddha, Jesus.
3. Land Ancestors
Those who built our homes, hospitals, the original inhabitants in tune with mother nature. People who offered refuge for peoples of other countries. Present friends who work so hard to preserve the Earth. Also acknowledge bigotry, racism and cruelty passed on to us that we choose to release from our consciousness.
Retaining the positive qualities from these three roots fills us up with love and wholesome qualities.
1. Extend this energy first of all to those we love – including ourselves.
2. Last step is tricky – extend our wholesome, loving energy to those who have caused us harm or are difficult to be with. This really makes our hearts more spacious.
3. Each person’s experience will be different. Truth is in our own experience, not in duplicating the experience of others. Provides a doorway to reconnect/ fill up with love/ forgive and understand.
4. Part of a timeless flow of life, connect to the no birth no death nature of yourself. In the Touchings of the Earth we use our body to touch the Ultimate Dimension, to touch the ground of our being, to touch Nirvana and to heal and transform
5. We renew ourselves because we renew Buddhism, for we are applying the Diamond Sutra, The Discourse on Right View and the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing. In this exercise the teachings of the Buddha come alive in us as experience.
Maricel Alacantra wrote the two blogs below for my publisher – Xlibris. This was after Redemption: A Novel received the Gold Medal in Fiction at the 2015 Florida Book festival. Well worth the clicks!