Tag Archives: James Redfield

Why Am I Writing This Book?

When I talk to folk about Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey With His Muse this is usually the first question I am asked. Here is what I 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 am writing Trailing Sky Six Feathers to shed light on issues that will affect our world for generations to come. The example of my own challenging journey and personal transformation illuminates 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. The key to change this deep freeze is Awakening, a spiritual relationship with self and Mother Earth.

The next inevitable question is – Who would be interested in this work? I reply that there are four audiences.
The Main Audience: Spiritual Seekers
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 Global Warming and Violence. We can take steady steps with wise mentors to break free of the chains and liberate ourselves.

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 and it will appeal to the large Trekkie population who may be surprised that the adventure can happen without science fiction.

Men and Feminists
In Chapter Six: Rainbow Bridge Calling, I spend time exploring maps of Central Arizona to acquaint myself with the region’s ambience. I saw that Oak Creek ran through the Red Rock country of Sedona like a thread – drawing the canyons together. My exploration began with this Water element. This was one component of the Five Great Elements in Buddhist, Taoist and Native American belief – Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Space. I understood the sequence as the correspondence of all things to each other driven by the feminine vessel of enlightenment. I have always thought of the present millennium as the century of the daughters. Not so much as a gender separate thing, but as attributes of a holistic, nurturing presence of mind. The feminine principle is the creator of all matter including the five elements and ourselves. This is why I began my exploration of the region with Water. Oak Creek was fed by spring water from the sacred canyons and she carried their unique energies in one stream. The foundation of the book is the feminine principle with a strong, powerful female character whose task is that of tutoring male stubbornness to surrender to the Muse.
This book will be sought out by men who acknowledge the feminine principle as a staple foundation of their masculinity. The story of my resistance, then final surrender, to The Muse will strike a chord within most men and provide encouragement for their persistent engagement with the internal feminine. Feminists will applaud and readily endorse such a book. The strong characters in the book are all women and the book revolves around the difficulties for men of engaging with the internal feminine principle. The testosterone ended drive of modern society raises the prospect of our species going over the cliff into the abyss. Trailing Sky Six Feathers moves the pendulum the other way to create a balance.

Environmentalists
In Chapter Seven: The Compass Changes, my point was that in every mind there is a Failsafe that would activate when matters grew so bad that moving to a new mindset would be inevitable. I argued that the notion of innate earth wisdom, when combined with tipping points in the mind and counter culture, would be sufficient to change our collective mentality in the direction of better earth stewardship and a new spiritual paradigm. On the flip side, I am very aware of the cascading collapse of the world’s eco-systems. That our overpopulated, technologically based civilization may not adapt to a fast changing future without wrecking the environment. If we wreck the environment we are toast. I knew to look for the means to shift our mind set. I replaced the question: “Can we fix the planet?” with a deeper question: “How do we fix ourselves?” I recognized that the modern era transition from “Reverential” to “Referential” with respect to the earth had to be reversed, pointing out that our technical and economic institutions were outstripping our basic humanity.
Planetary care is woven into this book in both the 18th and 21st centuries. The Wisdom of the Elders about the spiritual connection of humans with the Earth Mother provides the template for renewal in the first three chapters. That template is taken into the 21st century with my activism for planetary care through the Friends for Peace organization I established and write about in later chapters. This consistent address of environmental issues directly appeals to the growing environmental movement that Global Warming and Climate Change has catalyzed in the 21st century.

The Younger Generation
Also in Chapter Seven: The Compass Changes, I write about my last ecology class before retiring from Carleton University in 2007. Students encouraged me to get belligerent about Climate Change and its consequences. I enlisted their brilliance and diligence with a collective focus on eco-communities – from rural communities to urban condos – and promised to get testy. This adventure into the pre-conditions for eco-communities, however, had a much bigger intent. It reflected the particular shift in mindset required to salvage the global ecosystem for human habitation. Wherever we are located on the planet – it is essential to conduct ourselves as being part of a global eco-community. Our mindset has to be focused on the reality of living as one component of Gaia’s ecosystem. An edited collection emerged from the enthusiasm, insights and sheer hard work of these students.
This mentoring exercise with brilliant ecology students produced an excellent volume, which contributed to the 2011 Earth Day Environmental Award I received at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The highlight for me, however, was not the award. It was that the majority of students in this class chose to work as environmentalists in different sectors of the Canadian economy. They cared as much as I did and that was deeply fulfilling.

When I look at the younger generation emerging into maturity, I see beyond the ipods, electronic gadgetry and attitude to the deep intelligence that yearns for something better. I love their in-your-face attitude, as that is the energy of determination that will drive them to put things into balance on the planet. They are not caught so readily by the identities and trade-offs that my generation is so good at entertaining. They are breaking down the barriers of discrimination, storming the barricades of separation. I have only one thing to ask of them. That they slow down for a moment and hold out their hand. For as long as I have a spark in this mind and breath in this body I say to them: “Wait for me, because I am going with you.”
Young people just need to be presented with an opportunity for a way forward and the bell to step up. This book provides both. I can guarantee that Generation X and Y will respond.

DCF 1.0

Comparables with Trailing Sky’s Story

Comparables to Trailing Sky’s Story

 Rachel's Point 2

There are many excellent books that overlap with the genre I am writing about.  I researched comparable books to illustrate where my book goes beyond what already exists. There are two competitive advantages I bring to the table that are not found in the many excellent comparable books to Trailing Sky Six Feathers.

Firstly, I wrote the definitive paper on Reflexive Anthropology in the 1990’s.  It was published in The Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology in 1996 and it became a template for the emerging New Anthropology. Trailing Sky Six Feathers rests in the domain I outlined for Reflexive Anthropology. In re-assessing the science of anthropology, I established a requirement for scholars to have the capacity of being self-reflexive and self-aware in order to communicate across cultural and personal boundaries. This enables the writer to arrive at a sense of “interiority,” an aspect of global existence unhampered by conditioning. This produces a different kind of text, as it taps into a different dimension of understanding. I am bringing in a modern and accepted scientific template as the foundation of this memoir, which makes the book attractive to universities as well as to the general reading public.

1996    Reflexive Anthropology.  The Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology:

(Editors) D. Levinson, M. Ember. H.R.A.F.  N.Y.: Henry Holt & Company

 

Secondly, I am not a fictional character.  The adventure in Trailing Sky Six Feathers through time and space is distinctly my own lived lives. I am fortunate to have such deep experience, professionally and personally. This makes what I write about spiritual transformation very appealing to a public that is waiting for this kind of message from an authentic voice of actual experience.

The main comparable books are the bestsellers written by James Redfield:

The Celestine Prophecy published by Warner Books, 1993.

The Tenth Insight published by Warner Books, 1996.

The Twelfth Insight published by Grand Central Publishing, 2011

Redfield’s books certainly captured the spiritual moment in the 1990’s with memories of past experiences and centuries. He drew inspiration from Gauguin’s masterpiece “Who Are We? Where Are We Going? Where Did We Come From?” In the rain forests of Peru an ancient manuscript has been discovered. Within its pages are nine key insights into life itself – insights each human being is predicted to grasp sequentially, one insight then another, as we move toward a completely spiritual culture on Earth. This book captured the spiritual moment inspired by three decades of interest in modern physics, ecology, mystical religion and interpersonal psychology finally synthesizing into a new spiritual “common sense.” Are we now beginning to live this new common sense? Can it become the dominant paradigm of the next century?

Redfield’s books offered a resounding “YES” to these questions. The vehicle to carry his wonderful story was a series of exciting fictional characters. The difference with my book is that Trailing Sky Six Feathers catches the spiritual moment for the 21st century with an actual real live account of arriving at spiritual common sense. His Celestine Insights – see www.celestinevision.com – are incorporated in my nine chapters, but embedded within a rich mosaic of personal understanding and experience. For instance, his Twelfth Insight corresponds to the Eighth Fire Training I had with Grandfather William Commanda. In this book I write about the responsibility of getting on with it NOW, as the result of my transformations across centuries.

Trailing Sky Six Feathers begins with Part One: The Muse, moves on to Part Two: The Man and concludes with Part Three: The Unity. This adventure in transformation is based on real life experience – suffering, fear, violence, abuse, transformation, wisdom, freedom and spiritual stewardship of the planet.

Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk, McClelland & Stewart, 2009

This book is an intriguing chess game with huge emotional wallops. The author is brilliant with the levels, shadows and tensions from the 15th and 21st centuries, as he links Christopher Columbus with a 21st century mental patient. The reader is drawn in by a gifted story teller into the possibilities of transference across centuries. It blends the history of Columbus with an enigmatic post-modern mystery in a mental institution. Trofimuk’s check mate is the final revelation that Columbus exists only in a mind traumatized by a car accident, disordered by knowledge of the historic events surrounding Christopher Columbus. This mad romp of an excellent novel is certainly exciting.

Trofimuk offers fictional present day characters looking for answers hidden in the past but does not deliver a connection between time frames or with real living characters the way I’m able to do with Trailing Sky Six Feathers. This is what makes my book unique from Waiting for Columbus.

 

Through Dark Spruce by Joseph Boyden, Viking Canada, 2008

Boyden’s narratives in this book carry the theme of “dreaming” the past through generations of Cree Indians in the Canadian Arctic. A legendary Cree bush pilot, lying in a coma, communes with his niece Annie to piece together their ancestry through their different and disastrous journeys. The book depicts a depravity of drugs and violence that reflects Canadian guilt. The story ends in a melodrama and unravels. It is a tired account of native derailment with little hope, despite the appeal of familial strength at the end that does not ring true to this reader. Boyden’s descriptive prose about the bush and wilderness is the saving grace and this is where this book echoes strongly with my descriptive passages about nature in Trailing Sky Six Feathers. Boyden won the 2008 Giller Prize – so perhaps Canadian guilt was assuaged!

I write differently about aboriginal lore, showing how it sparked something in me that is applied to the betterment of humanity as a whole. The renewal of the Indian village in the 18th century in my book, led to the renewal of me in the 21st century. The narrative I provide is uplifting – not dismal.

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, Harper Collins, 2007

Lawrence Hill’s exceptional work:  “The Book Of Negroes” was retitled to Someone Knows My Name for US circulation. He provides a masterful and sweeping story of historical fiction, from tribal West Africa to US plantations, escape to Canada in the US civil war only to discover a different oppression. Told through the eyes of Aminata Diallo – we are introduced to one of the most powerful women in recent Canadian literature – someone who is larger than life and lingers long in the mind after the book is put down. She sweeps through adversity and cuts a path through a world that is hostile to her color and her sex. Years later she returns by boat to Sierra Leone to serve her people with the establishment of Freetown. Even in old age she strikes the reader as a formidable figure. Her place in literature is timeless and strong.

When the reader of my book encounters Trailing Sky Six Feathers – the Muse from four centuries back – they will encounter an equally powerful, relentless woman. She transforms my life in reality – not in historical fiction. Lawrence Hill’s book is superbly written and impressive in reach, stunning and inspiring. Trailing Sky Six Feathers joins that rare company of strong female figures in modern writing.

Mutant Message Down UnderMarlo Morgan 1991

Morgan’s account of venturing into the Australian Outback and going on a walkabout with a small aboriginal tribe is an intriguing spiritual journey. It draws the reader in, as one discovers how transforming the experience is for the author. The gentle, mystic aboriginals share cosmology and an intimate knowledge of the environment with her, which leads to a change in values of all she holds to be important.

The message is to become better human beings, in touch with spirit and the land, and the presence of a higher power. The aboriginals communicated by telepathy, heal with energy and transform the author. Morgan faces many challenges to her endurance in the harsh Outback environment. Her book became a world-wide best seller once it graduated to the Harper Collins fold, particularly with support from the New Age movement. Initially the author states the book was written after her actual experience. In 1996 though, she admitted that the book was fiction – much to the anger of Australian Aboriginals who claim it gave a false picture of their traditional culture and current struggle for survival. Despite the controversy, the book touched the themes of living in harmony, of living as a spiritual being no matter the landscape.  The tale stands as a mythic metaphor to examine modern culture and to review our poor stewardship of society and the planet. Fiction or non-fiction may be irrelevant, as the message is significant, profound and deeply touching.

The themes of Marlo Morgan’s book resonate strongly with Trailing Sky Six Feathers. But as the author of this book, I hold myself accountable to the process of remembering and the stubborn refusal to accept my links with the past until the veils of illusion dropped away.