Tag Archives: Medicine Wheel

Ottawa Independent Writers 30th Anthology

I have two pieces in the 30th Anthology of OIW. My poem “Vietnam War Memorial” and short story “Dawson’s Desert Legacy.” The anthology will be published in October 2016. I invite you to meet Dawson.

Dawson’s Desert Legacy                                                                                       

Dawson was a wisdom holder of many traditions – Ojibwa, Hopi, Lakota and the Native American Church. He did have a second name, but preferred Dawson. He was a legendary figure in Central Arizona and left a lasting impression on everyone he met. I have encountered many people at conferences and talks all over North America and when it emerges that I have spent a considerable amount of time in Central Arizona desert country, I am always asked if I know a man named Dawson. He had met all kinds of people in his capacity as a guide and teacher. Yet his attention and presence never wavered in its intensity as he welcomed all into his orbit of wisdom and patience. I first met him in 1987 on a day long ethno-botany field trip he offered in the Sonora desert region of Central Arizona. I was the only person to turn up, yet this did not deter him. He generously extended his knowledge of plants and hidden sources of water in the scrubland of the Sonora desert. His field trip skirted ancient medicine wheels created centuries ago. He talked about plant cycles within the teachings of the medicine wheel both for ceremony and healing. Part of the mentorship in future years was his instruction of how to build a medicine wheel.

Dawson was a slender yet muscular man in his sixties, though he seemed to be much older. His manner was slow and deliberate, gentle but firm though his light blue eyes carried a steely glint. He loved movies and would always sit in the cinema until the end of the credits, the last person to leave. Eyes closed, he made a point of downloading the full feeling of the movie. It was the same with people, animals and the desert. He brought a sense of gentle intensity and intimacy to every relationship. The initial connection from that first field trip and movie experience warmed into a friendship. One evening in Sedona, two years after our initial meeting, I received a call from him. He asked if I would pick him up two hours before dawn the next morning.

“Wear hiking boots,” he said.

I drove in the early morning dark to Cornville and found him waiting outside his house. I followed his directions to take various forestry roads leading to a reserve on the northern fringe of the Sonora desert. After parking we hiked for approximately thirty minutes into the desert through a scrubland trail. It was still dark when he gestured that we should stop. We shared a flask of coffee and the intense silence of the desert, interrupted only by the scurry of small wildlife. As daylight slowly emerged I could barely see the clouds across a setting moon, yet Dawson gestured for me to look in the direction of three large cacti directly in front of us. The sun rose and I could vaguely make out the flowers opening. Then Dawson pointed them out. They were absolutely stunning in their unreal beauty, ranging from yellow to dark violet. We sat there for over an hour, appreciating their beauty, as the morning sun rose.

“You had to see this before you travelled home to Canada,” were his only spoken words. The morning heat was suddenly broken by a sudden hail storm. We put our packs over our heads and ran quickly to the shelter of the nearest rocky outcrop. The storm lasted only ten minutes although the stones were not small, making quite an impact on any unprotected area of the body. Dawson looked at me strangely.

“That sure is some kind of acknowledgement from the past, and it ain’t for me. What have you been up to Mister Ian?”  Dawson asked.

I just shrugged, as I had no intimations of cause. We walked in silence to where I had parked the car. The hailstones were not to be found beyond a hundred yard perimeter of where we had been sitting.

“Beats the hell out of me, though I reckon you will have some building to do back in Canada,” said Dawson cryptically, as he peered at me out of the corner of his eye. These were the last words I heard him speak. As was his custom we drove in silence. He got out of the car by his property, waved once and was gone.

On a later journey in 1992 to that region of Arizona, when enquiring about him, I discovered to my dismay that he had been killed in a car accident outside Phoenix. I was deeply saddened by this loss, thinking about all that he had so patiently taught me. I drove to where I had last walked with him, to pay my respects to this extraordinary spiritual  teacher, remembering the way almost without thinking. It was not the time for the cacti to flower but I treasured once again the gift he had shown me. I wondered who he had passed on his vast knowledge to, then realized suddenly that he had passed on a great deal to me about medicine wheel lore and construction. Dawson was a spiritual guide and had taken me through many shamanic journeys. The hailstone storm was no longer a mystery to me, rather an early prompt. What I had received from him was put into place in the hermitage where I lived, in the Gatineau Forest in Quebec.

            Over a period of five months in the spring and summer of 1994 I experienced very intensive shamanic journeys with an Algonquin shaman that I prepared for through fasting, meditation and sexual abstinence. On five separate journeys I met and dialogued with ancient shamans from the East, the South, the West, the North and finally to the ancient shaman of the Center. I figured at first that this was an experience with five facets of the same archetypal material from my deep unconscious – though there were major surprises I had not anticipated. Each shaman created distinctive unconscious energy within me, interconnected to the other four. In each journey I was always met by the same beautiful female figure, who then led me to the ancient shaman.  Dawson had repeatedly told me that the feminine source would eventually emerge as a Muse for me – and there she was.

At my hermitage in the middle of Gatineau Park Forest in Quebec, I had a small circle of large stones in my front yard with beautiful ferns growing at the center. I had an overwhelming compulsion that summer of 1994 to build a medicine wheel with this circle of stones as the interior circle. I had been taught by Dawson the appropriate mind-state and procedure of respect to construct a medicine wheel. Dawson had instructed me intensely in Arizona about the central circle of the medicine wheel. It could only be truly experienced when connection to the sacred mystery was intact. The four cardinal directions, East, West, South and North, were the organizing axis for this ultimate fusion, represented by the ferns over which I took such care. It had sunk into my intellect but now reached my heart.

I constructed the medicine wheel with the assistance of two friends who shared my respect and training. We carried out the appropriate ritual, and worked with reverence on a very hot and humid summer’s day. The silence settled on all three of us spoke of something happening inside and around us while creating this architecture of incredible grace, power and beauty. The stones for the medicine wheel came from my garden and the surrounding forest, the hard granite of the Canadian Shield, part of the very ground where the medicine wheel was being built.

After filling the four quadrants of the medicine wheel with fresh garden soil, we contemplated what had been created. I realized its connection to my five shamanic journeys over the previous year. The cardinal points of the wheel and its center were a reflection of the five ancient shamans I had journeyed to meet and the ferns at the centre were an appropriate symbol for the feminine muse that delivered me. The medicine wheel was a symbolic map of my internal experience. I was re-inventing the wheel from my journeys to meet the five Ancient Shamans, yet also ensured that the beautiful ferns remained intact at the centre of the medicine wheel.

I started to smile at how this medicine lore and knowledge had gradually seeped into my consciousness from Dawson. His overarching influence had prepared me for the journeys to the five shamans. I could feel his intense blue eyes watching me at this moment and perhaps he permitted himself a smile too. He had known that I would eventually understand, and had instructed me five years prior in the precise construction of a mental medicine wheel and quietly informed me at that time about the space at the centre being the locale where I would seek counsel from the internal feminine – the beautiful ferns at the center.

             

New Planet, New World

The final bookend of a trilogy is now ready for publishers’ eyes. Sci Fi novel that takes place in the near future. It is the final bookend of a trilogy – “Chronicles of Awakening.” Redemption is the first book in this trilogy that has Trailing Sky Six Feathers as the second book. The final tome of this trilogy takes characters from the prior two books, placing them in the future on a new planet. I place in the mouth of Dr. Tom Hagen a blistering rant to the UN in 2080 that I would certainly 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. Here is an extract from the opening chapter, where Catriona and Rising Moon do their best to kill one another.

She looked around for combustible material to build a fire, while her mind deeply grieved the loss of her parents. There was an abundance of dry weathered wood on the sandy beach. Catriona quickly gathered a clumsy pile and ignited it with her small hand laser. Then she consumed the emergency landing rations – protein, liquid and sedative. She followed all the necessary protocols as the wood caught fire. Then the shock hit her. She was shaking uncontrollably, frightened and at a total loss. Catriona sat weeping next to the bonfire. Tears splashed on her delicate hands, leaving wet blotches on her grey space tunic. Her sobs were accompanied by the gentle lapping of the lake, as it washed ashore driven by wind.

She felt a presence close by and turned around. A young woman wearing an embroidered buckskin dress and calf length laced moccasins was standing there with her bow pulled back, an arrow pointed right at the middle of her chest. She gasped at the stern yet beautiful face, noticing a cut on the woman’s forehead and a long black braid of hair hanging loosely at the front. She took everything in about this fierce apparition, who clearly meant her harm. She watched the woman carefully approach closer, one silent foot after the other, the arrow unwavering from its destination. The woman had a long knife in a sheath at her embroidered belt. Her deep dark eyes pierced right into Catriona. She had not been on the spaceship.

Catriona summoned all her courage, abandoning her shock and grief. Her voice quivered, “Who are you? Where did you come from? How are you here?” Her cry echoed through the deadly silence.

In halting English the strange woman replied tersely, “Why you need to know?”

There was a fierce edge to her words. The stranger’s eyes glared steadily at the young red haired, blue eyed woman dressed in a body tunic from neck to feet. She noticed the tear lined face and the strange craft pulled up on the shore. Catriona bravely stood her ground though her hands were shaking. She stepped forward and in an instant the intruder lowered her bow and swiftly threw a lariat so the noose settled around Catriona’s neck. With a sharp jerk Catriona went face first into the sand. Her assailant quickly bound her hands behind her back with a leather strap from her belt. She then jerked Catriona upright and they were face to face.

Catriona’s deep blue eyes blazed with anger. She was suddenly alert and yelled into the woman’s face, “I am not your enemy. We may be the only two people on this planet and you choose stupidity.”

Then Catriona head-butted the dark eyed woman on the bridge of her nose, just as she had learned in martial arts training aboard the spaceship. As the woman stumbled back, Catriona with her hands still tied behind her back, pivoted on her left foot and landed a perfect round house kick to the side of her assailant’s head with her right foot, followed by a swift side kick into her ribs.

Catriona’s onslaught briefly caught the woman by surprise yet once again she faced an arrow aimed right at her heart. Catriona saw the woman pull the bowstring back and stared into dark angry eyes. Time stood still, then the woman’s eyes suddenly changed and her mouth fell open. She had heard her mother’s voice speaking inside her mind to put the bow down. She felt the weight of her mother’s hand lower the bow. The two young women were both breathing heavily. The fire leaped in flames as it caught the adjacent logs. There was only a ripple of air across the lake. Both women were indifferent to the morning’s layered colors across the lake and into the sky.

Screenwriter’s Hollywood Treatment for Trailing Sky Six Feathers

Hollywood Treatment Date: 7/14/14. I was stunned to receive this document. The screenwriter had seen deeply into the work and took it up a level. The cinematic vision was incredible and wove the cinematic expression into something more than the writing permitted. I was humbled and inspired by the craft.

Title: Trailing Sky Six Feathers
Author: Ian Prattis
Treatment By: R.J. Welch

Mission Statement:
Trailing Sky Six Feathers by Ian Prattis is the tremendous story of Ian’s modern day spiritual awakening and discovery of his past life as Native American Eagle Speaker during the 18th century. Only through the intervention of his spirit wife Trailing Sky is Ian able to defeat his past vices and personal struggles to become the man he is today.
It’s important to recognize the film adaptation will be “based on true events” and not a documentary or biopic. The novel’s incredible scope of events – from the 18th century Indian struggles to contemporary political movements – is fertile territory for great drama and will be adjusted and adapted to best serve the themes of the novel while creating a gripping film.
With all novel adaptations, it’s important to focus on creating a compelling beginning, middle and end that can be captured in two hours of screen time. The film treatment will condense the novel’s amazing depth of detail, life stories and lessons about politics, anima, Gaia, Buddhism, and much more to create a linear filmic narrative.
In the novel, the first chapters set in the 18th century will now be interspersed throughout the rest of the narrative, mirroring challenges Ian faces, culminating in his death in the 18th century and his discovery of his true self and relationship with Trailing Sky in the modern day.
Additionally, like other real life film adaptations, characters and events will be condensed, combined or expanded to serve the narrative of the story. The Native American sequences will be expanded considerably while Ian’s contemporary life will be streamlined to highlight certain important events.
Overall, Trailing Sky Six Feathers by Ian Prattis can be an excellent and exciting film with a unique Native American spiritual angle rarely seen on screen.

Cathedral Rock

Logline:
A Canadian professor struggles with the realization his life is guided by the spirit of his dead Native American wife.

Treatment:
ENGLISH COAST — IAN PRATTIS, mid 30’s, takes a swig of beer as he steers a BOAT
off the coast. With him are his two young children IAIN and ALEXANDER and his WIFE. Other PASSENGERS are with them, Ian is giving a boat tour of the bay.
His wife says they should head back to shore, the weather is getting bad. But Ian isn’t in the mood to hear it, he wants to stay out longer, tempting fate, pushing his wife away because he’s drunk and hates being told what to do.
The SHORE radios over, saying a storm is coming. Ian sees CLOUDS forming on the horizon, FLASHES of lightning and –

Cut to the Great Plains of America, the 1800s. And a Native American Village complete with tents and horses. TRAILING SKY, a beautiful woman, sits with her husband, the strong and stoic EAGLE SPEAKER outside of their lodging. Trailing Sky breaks out of a trance — she says a storm is coming. She has had a vision of violence and destruction. She doesn’t understand it, only that they must pack up immediately if they’re going to survive.

Back with Ian on the boat, the STORM hits them hard, waves crashing over the bow. Ian knows he’s made a terrible mistake. The radio chirps to life, the MAN on the other end saying they’re going to be in for a rough ride. At the shore, they turn on all the house lights, one by one, to help the distressed boat find its way. Ian hears that there’s only one path that they can use to get back to the safety of the bay. But it’s surrounded by rocks. If Ian can’t navigate perfectly, they’ll all die. Ian looks at his wife and children and prays for help.

With Trailing Sky, she awakens from a trance – her husband says they’re under attack! APACHE WARRIORS are burning the village, killing the men and kidnapping the women. Trailing Sky, praying to her sky gods and ancestors for strength, goes into a trance, says she’ll save her husband.
Ian on the boat hears the voice of Trailing Sky saying “I’ll guide us to safety” – he looks around, but doesn’t understand it. Is he going crazy?
But he steers the boat forward, as if possessed, and navigates through huge rocks and hidden shoals to safety. They arrive at the dock and the VILLAGERS are there, saying it’s a miracle. Ian docks the boat and everyone departs thankful to be alive. Alone on the boat, Ian looks around – who was that woman who spoke to him?

Back to the attack, Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker, as if guided by a magic hand, are able to sneak past the attacking Apaches, ducking behind bushes and rocks until they’re out of the encampment.
Eagle Speaker asks her how she did that. She says it’s the power of their ancestors and the medicine woman strength. She felt as if she was guiding her husband to safety, but through a watery world. She doesn’t know why she sees this, only that she knew if she didn’t save him from the crashing waves, she’d have lost him forever.
Now safe on a bluff, they look back on their village and see families escaping, apaches chasing them down. The village is burning. Their only path is forward into the unknown wilderness.

Ian finds himself in a bar celebrating his brilliant sailing skills. The BARTENDER lines up a dozen shots for him. Ian downs them all, but confesses he was stupid, getting caught in the storm was his fault. And he’s not some brilliant sailor, something happened he doesn’t understand. Regardless, he decides to drown his questions is whiskey.
He arrives home drunk to find his wife waiting for him. His two sons are asleep. But she says it’s over, she knows he nearly killed them all. She’s leaving him. He needs to clean up his act, otherwise he’ll drink himself to death. She says he needs a new beginning and he knows she’s right.

Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker arrive at a cave in the mountains. Trailing Sky says the spirits have guided them here and this is where they’ll make their new beginning. Eagle Speaker says he trusts his wife’s spiritual powers.

Ian arrives in Ottawa, Canada with nothing but a solitary suitcase and an invite to the university. Cut to Ian teaching a night class, but his heart isn’t into it. It’s a new beginning, but is this really where he belongs? He says to himself he needs a sign.
After class, he leaves the university and sees a bar. He wants to go in but he hears a VOICE, female, telling him to go a different direction.

Back with Trailing Sky, she awakens from a trance – she’s panicked, Eagle Speaker is in danger! Cut to Eagle Speaker hunting a deer. He sneaks through the brush after the deer, but doesn’t see three APACHE SCOUTS hunting him.
An apache raises his bow to fire but – thwack – the apache is killed, an arrow sticking out of his neck. Eagle Speaker looks up and sees Trailing Sky holding the bow. She aims as the other two apaches attack Eagle Speaker. She fires, killing the second apache, and Eagle Speaker uses his axe to fight the last apache, killing him.

After the battle, Eagle Speaker asks how Trailing Sky knew he was in danger. She says the spirits spoke to her. But there’s dangers out there greater than the apache. He must be guided in the right way to find true happiness.

Ian follows the haunting female voice through the forest until he comes to a lodge. There’s chanting and firelight shining through the doorway. He goes inside and finds SPIRITUAL ELDERS holding a ceremony.
Ian hangs back, watching the amazing rituals. One older WOMAN in particular draws his attention. This is WHITE EAGLE WOMAN. Ian is lost in the dancing fire light and chanting, FLASHES of Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker taking over his mind. He makes eye contact with the woman before he passes out.

Back at the cave, Eagle Speaker and Trailing Sky see a WOMAN approaching. They recognize her outfit, know she’s one of their neighboring clans. They greet her and she says her name is LONG WILLOW. Her family was killed by the apaches, but she’s had a vision she must help the man who speaks with eagles to build a new village.
Trailing Sky says she had a vision Long Willow would join them. The man who speaks with eagles is Eagle Speaker. Willow says she will help him on his journey.

Ian awakes to find White Eagle Woman kneeling over him. It’s morning and Ian passed out on the floor of the lodge. She helps him to his feet and leads him outside where they find a golden eagle flying high above, circling them. White Eagle Woman says she’s never seen a golden eagle do that, it’s a sign. Who is he to receive such a powerful sign? He says he’s just a professor and has no idea how he got to the lodge last night.
White Eagle Woman says he needs to open his mind to the ancient spirits. He says he doesn’t like the voices, they’re bizarre, and it’s beyond his understanding. She says that a golden eagle has spoken to him, he’s chosen for great things.

Light Beam at the centre of the Medicine Wheel

The Native Americans leave their cave behind and start on their journey to the river encampment where they hope they’ll find more of their people. Long Willow says she’ll stay with Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker forever, she won’t remarry, their goal is too important for her to start a new family. They accept her into their family as they trek onto the open plain.

Meanwhile, Ian is told by White Eagle Woman he needs to go on a self-discovery journey. It’ll be hard, but it’ll help connect him with the spirits he’s been hearing. He meets RISHI PRABHAKAR, a mystic, who invites him to India.
Cut to Ian arriving in India. Ian takes cabs through CROWDS of people to a shrine. There, he finds HUNDREDS of people have come to experience awakenings. Ian talks with Rishi and learns of his customs and how to awaken his inner spirits.

Back with Trailing Sky, she leads them over a bluff to see FAMILIES setting up camp near a river. They recognize the families, these are survivors from the apache attacks. They sit together and thank their ancestors for bringing them together again.
But Trailing Sky has a vision – sickness is coming, she worries her powers won’t be able to save Eagle Speaker.

With Ian, he’s become sick. He worries he’s going to die and receives phone calls from his friends, this could be it for him. But Rishi says this is only an awakening. Rishi does a ceremony and Ian falls into a dream state.
In the dream state, Ian sees Trailing Sky who lays her hand on his cheek. The sickness immediately fades away. Ian asks who she is, but she says he’s not ready to know because he’s not ready to believe. She disappears as he wakes up to find the sickness has lifted. Rishi recognizes that Ian has had a profound experience but Ian still doesn’t know what all this means. Ian returns home and meets with White Eagle Woman to meditate on these developments.

Meanwhile, Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker have set up their new home at the river village. Around the great fire, the families speak of starting a better society, one where they can protect against the apache. Eagle Speaker is angry about the apache, wants to go on the offensive and kill them all.
But Trailing Sky says he needs to let go of his anger. There are demons inside of him that have tormented him. Until he can overcome his demons, he’ll never be the great leader he’s destined to be.

Back with Ian, White Eagle Woman does a ceremony to unlock the demons sealed inside him. In a dream state, Ian is visited by his dead AUNT who reveals Ian was molested as a boy by a relative. She apologizes for not stopping it before, knows Ian buried this knowledge deep down. It was an attack, a violation, one that can never be undone.
But if Ian doesn’t let go of the hate, he’ll never be able to discover his true self and move on. Ian awakens and tells White Eagle Woman what happened. She says he’s moving closer and says he needs to go on a solitary retreat. There, he will meet his next guide.
Ian drives into the Canadian Rockies, well beyond civilization, to a cabin. There, Ian meditates, looking out over the great expanse of forest. A medicine circle sits outside the cabin. The circle calls to him, it’s powerful, ancient power is enshrined here.
Ian closes his eyes but when he opens them again, a TIMBER WOLF has appeared. Ian stands, scared of the creature. But the wolf comes to him and licks his hand. Ian then gives the wolf an offering of food, which the wolf accepts. The wolf then paces around the cabin, motioning for Ian to follow him. Ian goes into the forest and —

Cut to Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker run through the forest, Trailing Sky ahead of her husband. They’re having fun, a moment of levity.
With Ian, he runs with the wolf through the forest. The wolf leads him over streams and up rock paths.
Back with Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker, they embrace and fall into a soft patch of grass and begin making love.
Ian and the wolf finally reach a rock outcropping high above the forest line. Ian sits, looks out over the incredible view, untouched by man. He has quick visions of Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker making love. He cries, the moment so pure and beautiful.
Later, the wolf rides in the back of Ian’s car as he returns to his home. Ian stops at a restaurant to get food and meets CAROLYN who takes an immediate interest in the wolf. He tells her the truth about meeting the wolf. He thinks she’s going to think he’s crazy, but she believes him. She holds her hand out to the wolf who licks her, approving of this new woman. Ian can’t help but take it as a sign.
Cut to Carolyn moving in with Ian. Ian is surprised by his son Iain, now an adult, has come to live in Canada. His son tells him that his other son Alexander is in a bad way in Glasgow, Scotland. Ian knows he must do something otherwise he’ll lose Alexander.

Meanwhile, Trailing Sky and Eagle Speaker welcome their DAUGHTER into the world. They hold a ceremony to the now HUNDREDS of members of their new society. Eagle Speaker has been elected the leader. As they burn offerings to the spirits to welcome in their daughter, they receive news from a SCOUT – the apaches are preparing for war.

Ian lands in Scotland and goes to find his son. ALEXANDER, early 20’s, is living at a place called the “Punk Palace” – a home filled with DRUG DEALERS, burned out MUSICIANS and more. Ian finds his son has been beaten up and is in a really bad way. Worse, Alexander owes drug dealers money or he’s going to get killed.

Back with Trailing Sky, she and Long Willow train WOMEN how to fight. The women are determined to defend their homes and families. Eagle Speaker works with the men to prepare a strategy against the apache invaders. It’s going to be a bloody battle.

Ian says he’ll pay off Alexander’s debts if his son joins him in meditation. They go on a walk and learn walking meditation, practicing their breathing. Then, they jump a fence into a private park and meditate together, father and son. Alexander is coming around, the drug withdrawal eased by the meditation. But Ian has a vision of APACHE WARRIORS.

The apache warriors approach the river settlement. Like last time, they think the village will be an easy victory. They see weak men, children and women for the taking.
But as they rush the village, Trailing Sky leads an attack – arrows fly out of the trees and kill scores of apaches. Eagle Speaker leads hand-to-hand fighting against the apaches. One apache is able to get into the village and grabs a woman, only to find the woman has a knife and stabs him to death.

Meanwhile, Ian and Alexander finish their meditation and return to the Punk Palace. There, DRUG DEALERS are waiting for Alexander. And this time they’re going to do more than beat him up.
Ian sits with the dealers and offers to pay Alexander’s debts. Moreover, Ian wants to make sure the drug dealers never come after his son again. The thugs don’t like being told what to do, but Ian’s genuine conviction convinces them to let Alexander move on.

Back with Eagle Speaker, he walks over the dead bodies of defeated apaches. The APACHE LEADER meets with Eagle Speaker. The apache thinks he’s going to be killed, but Eagle Speaker shows him compassion. He says the apache aren’t welcome here unless they come to trade. If they want war, Eagle Speaker’s people will defeat them again and again. The apache agrees to peace and leaves.

Ian bids farewell to Alexander who is on his path to recovery. Alexander says he’s going to keep meditating and he’s done with drugs forever. Ian is glad he’s finally been able to connect with his son, the guilt of being a distant father in the grip of alcohol has been weighing on him. But now, he sees Alexander is going to turn out just fine.

Later, Eagle Speaker celebrates with Trailing Sky and the rest of the village. They’ve secured their peace in the world. But Trailing Sky is worried, she’s had spirit visions and something bad is coming for Eagle Speaker.
Meanwhile, Ian and Carolyn are on a journey to Arizona. Ian has had a vision of something important in the Arizona desert he must discover. Ian doesn’t know what he’s looking for, but he and Carolyn get in a rental car and start driving.

Eagle Speaker tells Trailing Sky he must go on his own journey now. Eagle Speaker gets on his horse and leaves Trailing Sky behind.

Ian and Carolyn arrive at a national monument called Rainbow Bridge. The bridge is a natural rock formation hundreds of feet high spanning a river. All alone at the bridge, Ian and Carolyn walk towards the formation. Ian reaches out and touches the rock and receives a shock –
Eagle Speaker rides until he sees EUROPEAN SETTLERS in a wagon train. He’s curious about these people, rides up close. At the same time, Trailing Sky awakens from a vision. She knows Eagle Speaker is in danger. She gets on her horse and rides off.

Ian now climbs up on the bridge as the sky darkens and a thunderstorm begins, raining hail down on them.

Eagle Speaker looks to the sky and sees storm clouds. At his feet is a European blanket. He picks it up and it begins to hail. Eagle Speaker COUGHS —

Carolyn calls out to Ian, they need to leave! But Ian is in a trance. The hail falls in a perfect circle around him.
Trailing Sky rides as fast as she can and sees the Rainbow Bridge before her.
Ian looks up and sees the vision of Trailing Sky walking towards him on the bridge. He reaches out his hand and, as he does, he’s superimposed over the body of Eagle Speaker, dying on the bridge.
Eagle Speaker says he’s sick and dying rapidly. Trailing Sky says she can call on the spirits to heal him, but he says his mission in life is complete, he’s found a home for their people and defended them against the Apaches.
Trailing Sky cries as Eagle Speaker’s life fades away. But she says, “I will find you, my husband. I will find you,” as he dies. He says he knows she will and closes his eyes.

Ian awakens to find the hail storm has ended. And before him is Trailing Sky, like a spiritual vision. She says she’s found her husband again and she’s been with Ian for his whole life, watching over him and protecting him.
Trailing Sky takes Ian’s hand. This is a union over two hundred years in the making. Finally, she says, she can be with Eagle Speaker forever, now reincarnated as Ian. Trailing Sky turns into a BEAM OF LIGHT and enters Ian, as if his soul and the soul of Trailing Sky combine inside of him.
Later, Ian walks down the Rainbow Bridge. Carolyn is glowing and understands completely as Ian takes her hand, the circle is complete. They walk away framed by the sun shining through the majestic arch of the Rainbow Bridge.

DCF 1.0

Trailing Sky Six Feathers and Internal Discernment

My journey and resistance to the Muse over four centuries certainly had its moments. They inspired deep reflections about insight and discernment. To say that Trailing Sky Six Feathers became my inner compass misses the point. The indescribable, palpable truth is that this deep source of feminine wisdom was not only lodged in my mind, it was integrated with my total being. My conversations with Trailing Sky opened up the past for my understanding. These dialogs were very different from Carl Jung’s “Red Book,” as I chose one voice to listen to rather than a multitude of competitors in my deep unconscious.

SKU-000915196_COVER_V2.indd

The daily conversations with Trailing Sky took place in a mental meditation wheel. This was taught to me by my medicine woman mentor, White Eagle Woman. She had taught me how to create a mental medicine wheel early in my training with her. I was always to start by bringing into my mind the ancient shaman from the East, then the South, West and North in succession. Finally I was to bring in the ancient shaman from the Centre in. She instructed me to see this as a map in my mind, the foundation for a personal mandala. Next, I was instructed by White Eagle Woman to call forth the animal guides I had personally experienced, again starting from the East. I had experienced many animal guides and told her so. White Eagle Woman retorted with some exasperation:
“Choose the most powerful ones, dammit.”

With that cryptic encouragement, I chose mountain lion in the East, moose in the South, deer in the West and medicine bear in the North, with dolphin and whale below and the great eagles above. The space at the centre of the medicine wheel was a still-point, a safety zone and conduit for different time/space conjunctions. It became the meeting place for my later dialogs with Trailing Sky. The dialogs with Trailing Sky expanded my mind beyond its logical limitations. There were certainly times that I did not understand, but never, ever was Trailing Sky incorrect. There was something primordial about her all seeing wisdom that was now infusing me, so that I could live and love better. Major lessons in radical self-correction were received through respectful engagement with this very deep Muse. Greater wisdom, compassion and understanding emerged, so that I could engage more intelligently with the travails of life and teach that way of being to others. It made the prophecy of the Deer card, drawn at the medicine wheel with Yaqui guide Sam in Sedona (2007), come alive.
Bringer of the message of a new paradigm resting on gentleness and compassion that serves the Earth Mother and penetrates all beings – no matter how wounded they may be. With great courage the Deer clears the path for others to reach their destiny with Spirit by taking away fear.

Acknowledgements for Trailing Sky Six Feathers

This book is ready to dance in the daylight. I offer thanks to the many hearts and minds that helped me complete this piece of writing. http://www.ianprattis.com/TrailingSky.html

In the summer of 2010 my friend Joseph Kennedy and his wife Helen offered their secluded cottage on a beautiful lake so I could begin the work on this manuscript. In the solitude a first draft about four centuries of my consciousness began to emerge. Their repeated kindness in providing the perfect locale to write is deeply appreciated. This book has been percolating in my mind for over two hundred and thirty years, yet how do I write about The Muse – Trailing Sky Six Feathers – my Native American wife and medicine woman in whose arms I died in 1777? She vows to find me in a future time, despite the overwhelming resistance from my intellectual mind to remember her.
All trace of me from the manuscript was removed for a while after that summer. Two years passed by. In the spring of 2012 I returned to the remote cottage and manuscript. I began to absorb what I had previously written and transmuted it to another level with copyediting advice from my wife Carolyn. Her contribution to the manuscript was immense as the collision of past life with present time impacted her as well as me. I had immense support and encouragement from many sources. The biggest impact on my “remembering” was Trailing Sky Six Feathers herself. Past life memories collided head on with my present life, all thanks to her persistence – the Muse who refused to give up. The relentless shadowing by this engaging Muse from the 18th century brought understanding not only to me, but to anyone striving to overcome the darkness of their past.

Driftwood

In the spring of 2013 the lure of a writer’s retreat in Sedona was irresistible. My companion writers arrived as strangers and we left as a tight knit family. Their talent and bravery to bring forward deeply personal issues in their writing impressed me. As did our day on the land with a gifted guide, Clint Frakes, which culminated in a medicine wheel ceremony that deeply affected every one of us. EagleSpirit, a contemporary shaman from New Brunswick in Canada, took photos of the medicine wheel after we had left it. She caught a light beam right in the middle of the medicine wheel, exactly where I had been standing. With her permission that photo adorns the cover of this book. Also on the front cover is a superimposed photo of a statue of Sacawajea sculpted by John Soderland. My humble thanks to both EagleSpirit and John for their gifts to this work. My niece Theresa Kelly and her partner Steve da Costa sculpted these two photos into the front cover for the book. I offer my appreciation of their skill and care.

Light Beam at the centre of the Medicine Wheel

I benefited enormously from my fellow writers who bared their souls in beautifully written and courageous prose. I could do no less. My thanks to Lydia Ramsey, Gary Finnan, Randy Webster, Daniella Panet-Raymond, Diana Howe-Richards, Krista Houstoun, Susan Mullen, Mary Beth Robinson, Dana Srebenick, Mary Enright-Olson, Darlene Simmonds, Lori Morrison Novoa, EagleSpirit, Pat Knauss, Charisse Webster, Pauleen Robertson and Arlene Dreste. The keen editing eyes of the brilliant facilitators – Lisa Fugard and Julie Colvin – led me to cut prose that I liked, but did not need. In the rewrite I introduced, where necessary, a harsh and somewhat ugly honesty that brought the missing edge to the adventure. Throughout the manuscript the footprint of Trailing Sky Six Feathers danced lightly. Though sometimes she needed heavy wooden clogs on her feet to kick my backside so I would fully wake up to her presence.
I also attended the fall writers retreat in Sedona with the same facilitators to create the final refinements to my book. It was a privilege to share excerpts from the work with gifted writers and facilitators. My personal journey through four centuries of consciousness seemed to strike a chord. That insignia continued once the retreat finished, as Carolyn joined me for a further week to explore the extraordinary terrain of Red Rock Country. Clint Frakes took us out on the land – walking in to Cathedral Rock from Red Rock Crossing at sunrise. We climbed a vertical cliff to a hidden space where Clint conducted a sacred ceremony for us in front of two soaring slabs of pictoglyphs – painted and carved. We left hours later, transformed and imbued with the reality of Traiing Sky Six Feathers. Walking the land evoked the latticework of vortex energy, challenging us to be the best we can. Later in the day, just before sunset, Clint provided an awesome medicine wheel experience for us. He had re-built this wheel many years ago and before we left this sacred place he took out a stone, the size of my hand, from the medicine wheel and gave it to me. A gift to call us home to the awakened self that has been sleeping. My debt to Clint and to the land of the Red Rock country is completely beyond words.

The integral person of my book – Trailing Sky Six Feathers – was everywhere. Nowhere so strong and beautiful as when Carolyn perused the Kopavi Gallery, just across the road from Tlaquepaque – Sedona’s most exotic market. In the Kopavi Gallery, Carolyn was shown an eagle feather pendant in 18K gold. It was intricately hand carved by John Coochywpten of the Hopi Tobacco Clan, a master goldsmith who blessed each of his pieces with prayer and ceremony before they went to market. The pendant was small, approximately one slim inch long. The foundation was a beautifully crafted eagle feather in gold. John Coochywpten placed a medicine wheel at the top of the feather and rested an eagle head with an all seeing diamond eye upon it. The two diamonds at the bottom of the feather depicted two travelers through time. The pendant had a simmering power to it that Carolyn felt deeply. She gasped with surprise the moment she saw it, as it was a symbolic reflection of this book and the modern day adventure she and I were exploring. This gold and diamond pendant spoke of Trailing Sky Six Feathers’ legacy to us.

Sacawajea

While Carolyn was upstairs in the Kopavi Gallery, I had been sitting outside on a wooden bench, taking in the sky, moving clouds, the sound of Oak Creek with traffic as a background hum. I was inadvertently ready for a sign, which came in a totally hilarious manner. I meditated and after a short internal dialog with Trailing Sky about my next steps, I opened my eyes. I saw a white utility van slowly approaching the round-about right in front of me. Emblazoned in bold, red capital letters on the side panel was the logo “YOU GOTTA DO IT!!” I laughed out loud at that and later wondered how Trailing Sky had managed such perfect timing. I went upstairs to join Carolyn in the Kopavi Gallery. She was telling the manager of the gallery the story of my book and why the Eagle Pendant had spoken so deeply to her. I could see how elated Carolyn was, with that secret smile she saves for rare occasions. And there was the talisman of Trailing Sky Six Feathers and Eagle Speaker in minute detail and provocative power. I looked at it for a long moment. Carolyn softly asked me if I saw and felt its resonance. There was no hesitation on my part. After all, I had just received the message “YOU GOTTA DO IT!!” Carolyn knew intuitively that the pendant symbolized my book and our 21st century adventure. We were glowing with confirmation.
Carolyn and I were forever changed by this gift. I offer homage to the Hopi goldsmith as John Coochywpten suffered a stroke after completing this incredible piece of art and lost the use of his right arm. This was the last piece he ever made. I can never thank him enough for creating the symbol that provided Carolyn and I with such startling confirmation.

Notes on Completing the Manuscript

The final brush strokes adorn Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse. My diary and scribbles about completing the manuscript provide a glimpse of the work. In 2014 the hard work begins – finding a publisher and agent to bring this memoir to life, so it can be shared.

 DCF 1.0

Carolyn and I journeyed by car to a secluded cottage on a beautiful Ontario lake in the summer of 2010 so I could at last begin the work on this manuscript. In the solitude gracefully offered, a first draft about four centuries of my consciousness began to emerge. How do I write about The Muse – Trailing Sky Six Feathers – my Native American wife and medicine woman in whose arms I died in 1777? That is what I was about to find out.  She vows to find me in a future time, despite the overwhelming resistance from my intellectual mind to remember her.

Past life memories collide head on with my present life, all thanks to the persistence of Trailing Sky Six Feathers, the Muse who refused to give up. The relentless shadowing by this engaging Muse from the 18th century brings understanding not only to me, but to anyone striving to overcome the darkness of their past. In 2010, after an intense internal dialogue with Trailing Sky Six Feathers, I asked if I should write her story. I heard her affirmation. This first mapping is to examine my notes and rough outlines of chapters to see if I am capable of writing this story. This book had been percolating in my mind for over two hundred and thirty years. No doubt it will simmer for a few years more. My time at this remote cottage was set within the discipline and compass of meditation. I kept a diary that may sound like a Star Date log.

March 2010

In the spring of 2010 the first line was written in the Zen room of my son’s house in Nanaimo:

“Put your weapons down, my husband,” Trailing Sky said quietly with steely insistence.

Then I scribbled a few chapters in longhand with my gold plated fountain pen. How archaic can one get?

August 2010

Secluded Cottage set on a high rock bluff overlooking the northern arm of a long lake.

Purpose: Completion of first draft of Trailing Sky Six Feathers

Friday, August 6, 2010

We arrived late in the evening at the cottage, which invited us in immediately. It was at the end of a long solitary lane and stood on a high rock bluff overlooking the lake. Mixed forest surrounded the laneway and sacred cedars formed an amphitheater of trees to the north of the building. A dock for canoes sat quietly bobbing by the lakeshore.

Moksha, our goofy six year old standard poodle, demonstrated that she is growing up at last. Most dogs are mature by then, but Moksha prefers to remain a puppy for as long as she can. Moksha is Sanskrit for “Liberation,” an appropriate name for a dharma dog.  But in her first six years of being a wrecking ball “Tsunami” would be a better descriptor. Perhaps she is growing into her true name, as she behaved beautifully in the woods and by the lake. She came when called and would constantly check in to see that we were OK while she patrolled her new territory. After unloading the car and meditating by the lakeshore, we placed our bed on the screened deck overlooking the lake. We listened to the night sounds – the soft call of the loons and the occasional hoot from a long eared owl before sleeping deeply. Moksha detected other beings with various woofs and growls – to no avail – as they, and we, totally ignored her.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Carolyn noticed the previous evening that I had entered a “zone” of concentration – a natural unfolding into the stretching tendrils of meditation practice. It aided my first documentation of memories that constitute this book. We woke up to the early morning dancing light sweeping across the screened in deck. Moksha was still snoozing at the foot of our bed, dreaming of all the rabbits and ducks she would chase that day. Moksha had her usual breakfast – half of whatever I was eating, usually sharing a slice of toast with cheese and jam on it.

Working meditation brought attention to cottage chores, food preparation for the day while tuning in to Mother Nature. She was in splendor.  Lazy flights of mergansers were chased away by blue jays. A slow moving porcupine was having breakfast in a tall alder tree, ignoring the squirrels who scurried quickly by. No sign of the loons who had serenaded us to sleep, but several downy woodpeckers were busy hammering insects and grubs from the bark of the surrounding trees. Then Qi-Gong exercises on the outside deck. Three sets of this ancient Chinese system of health care: first set to warm up, second to balance the body and mind and a final set to boost the immune system.  Walking meditation with Moksha with compulsory frisby throwing for her swift pursuit. This continued until one mighty throw from Carolyn saw the green frisby curl slowly over an inlet and plop into a marsh – beyond recovery.

Manuscript meditation. I focused on the rough outline of the final chapter: The Circle Closes. I recalled to mind the insanity of sea voyages in my small clinkered boat off the Hebridean Islands, jagged emeralds in the North Atlantic. I also remembered the difficulties and suffering in my life at that time some forty years ago. It was a miracle I was still alive. I shook my head in disbelief at some of the memories, as I did not possess the skills or knowledge to navigate through storm laden seas. Nor did I like my graceless oblivion of sliding into alcohol and depression. Such mental dwelling was abruptly interrupted by the joyful arrival of my friends Joe and Helen to spend an afternoon with us at their cottage.  I discussed the book with Joe – he had seen an overview and was enthusiastic about my work.  Talking to him about the work remaining helped to clarify matters in my own mind.  We toasted their recent wedding – a lovely union for their latter days in life. Carolyn prepared a wonderful dinner and played her Celtic harp afterwards.  A meditation in itself. Joe and Helen returned to Ottawa after supper – leaving us with all kinds of goodies to eat and drink.

I had the cleaning up chores as Carolyn had cooked. While washing up the dishes I talked to her about the last chapter, with a number of questions in my mind. Once the chores were done, I settled down to rework the notes for the final chapter from the hard copy that had Carolyn’s comments and suggestions. I had my “mini-mee” computer with me.   All the files I needed for the book were on a memory stick. The joys and benefits of modern technology were now in the hands of a techno-peasant.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Wake up and rise at 6.00 a.m. Coffee and Silence. Deep appreciation for breakfast. You already know what Moksha had. I would test her with melon, oranges and other foods she did not like. But at breakfast time it was always half of whatever I was eating. Without fail. While Carolyn attended to the chores and her own harp practice I began work on the manuscript. It was lovely to listen to her playing the harp while I concentrated. On the screened in deck overlooking the lake from high on the rock bluff, I set up a small table and a comfortable chair. I plugged in my computer and slipped the memory stick into its socket. From this vantage point I could enjoy the vista of lake, rock and harp during respites from writing. The last was first. I carefully pulled together the notes for Chapter Six: The Circle Closes, not realizing then that I would later split it into two chapters. This dissection of words was eventually applied to Chapter Four: Remembering and to Chapter Five: Healing and Transformation.  Then to the beginning – Chapter One: The Raid – set in 18th century Arizona before contact between indigenous communities and the Spanish and Americans. The opening chapter never fails to move me deeply, though there were clumsy passages that I rewrote.

Carolyn’s voice gently called, “Lunch is ready.” I had no sense of time. Lunch was followed by walking meditation with Moksha. It sounds better to translate the Sanskrit to English to make it: “Walking Meditation with Liberation!”  Only this time without her green frisby sunk into the marsh. Before returning to the manuscript I did Qi-Gong exercises on the outside deck – three sets.

Manuscript meditation. I progressed steadily with editing the draft files of Chapter Two: Renewal and Chapter Four: Remembering. I knew Chapter Four would be difficult – and it was, as this was the transition between time frames. Carolyn brought my supper out to me as she could see how engrossed I was in this task.

Torrential downpour ensued – almost like a monsoon. Carolyn had packed her harp and other gear, as she had to return to Ottawa for work next day. She took Moksha with her, as I would likely forget about the dog’s needs. As the rain intensified I wondered if she would get out of here before morning. But the downpour relented. I found some rain slickers in one of Joe’s cupboards and quickly packed up the car and Moksha. After a hug and lingering kiss – Carolyn waved goodbye and drove away to Ottawa. She would be back to pick me up on Tuesday evening.

The silence in the cottage was palpable, yet full of resonance. I had moved my computer and documents inside to protect them from the incessant rain. On Joe’s CD player there was a disc of Pine Gate Meditations that Carolyn and I created some years ago. I relaxed for a while with the sound of Carolyn singing chants and my voice speaking the meditations. I enjoyed our creation. But there was another creation that was crying out for my attention. Hours later I released a contented sigh. I came to the end of the first review of the notes and scribbles for the manuscript. I was tired but satisfied. I knew I would have to return to Chapter Six: The Circle Closes and especially to the chapter on Remembering, as that is the pivotal cog of the book. Plus some attention to the discussion of Jung, as my views on his work have changed. A decision had to be made about the title of the book. It was not until three years later that I hit the right button with Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I had slept in! I smiled at that. No early morning coffee from Carolyn’s gentle hands. The weather had calmed, though it was still overcast. The lake was still. The screened deck would need a mopping up so it could dry out and make way for my writing table. Breakfast, coffee and toast in delightful silence. Deep Appreciation. Once I was dressed, my thoughts were at a temporary rest as I took on the task of weeding the stone patio outside the cottage. I think the stones had received little or no attention for forty years, so I was happy to weed it little by little and let my mind be still. I weeded and pulled up invading shrubs, noticing the generations of bugs that had been there. Quite a meditation of sorts as the stones had soaked up the history of the place and they were walking me through it as I patiently pulled up weeds for the compost.

The hot water was not working, so I made a few trips to the lake with large buckets. I decided to leave all the day’s dishes in the sink until evening and wash them up in one go. I needed a shower, though there was nobody around to smell me. I filled the large iron pot on the wood stove. The luxury of warm water using the bucket and rinse method I had last experienced in India was sweet. Two great blue herons flew stately past while I was fetching water. They are always a good omen for me. Very few boats on the lake this morning – indicating the weekend is over. But not for me. While the bathing water was heating up, I cleaned the deck and took the compost out and completed the few cottage chores that were essential. I thought a clean fresh Ian may be a good presentation to the manuscript. Two blue jays in the tall cedar in front of the cottage squawked in agreement.

After the delicious bath that took me back to fond memories of India, a clean, non-smelly me worked on the final chapter. I noticed with surprise that it was now noon. I decided to complete this review before making a simple lunch of cheese and homemade bread. The edit and re-write of The Circle Closes took longer than anticipated. As I got up from typing, another great blue heron flew lazily past. Time to relax, for a little while anyway, before the re-write of a section in the Remembering chapter.  This key chapter provides the transition from 18th century Arizona to present day Canada. How can I best sculpt the transition between time frames and the shamanic training that made it possible? Three years later – I had the inspiration to begin the chapter with a description of one of my shamanic journeys. This was the ideal transition vehicle across four centuries. It offered an elegant bridge between time frames.

I had my simple lunch and coffee on the wooden chairs placed on the outside deck. The weather beaten planks tell the story of who has walked here – human, animal and insect life forms. I enjoyed my lunch of cheese, bread with grapes and cherries, even finding a chocolate bar that was sheer heaven. Carolyn had left me with such  delicious supplies and surprises. She knew I was basically a twelve year old at heart! Since she left for Ottawa I realized that I had not moved from the environs of the cottage or the screened in deck where I am writing. The solitude is exquisite. Perhaps magnified by my occupying a zone of concentration to complete a preliminary draft. This is more and more a descriptor of my everyday life. It is not so much the place I occupy but the internal place that occupies me.

With the dishes conveniently piled in the sink, attention is once again on the chapter about Remembering, with further alterations to be made to the opening chapter. After which I did a long and slow series of qi-gong sets. The Remembering chapter is the one I keep coming back to – over and over again. Thunder Beings are announcing their presence – sounding like not so distant drums. Very big drums. I always welcome the Thunder Beings for the pouring rain and lightning they bring. There is acknowledgement with their presence. The rewrites in Chapter Four and Chapter One are  complete, for now anyways. Time for qi-gong, though it has become very hot. Better wear my headband and remove my shirt. Definitely a call for a later swim in the lake.

Indeed, swimming in the lake to the accompaniment of loon calls was delicious. I swam out from the small dock below the rock bluff and then floated on my back looking up at the sky. I saw the dark clouds racing in as the wind picked up. Thunder still ominous in the background. The lightning could surely not be far behind. I swam quickly back to the dock – much faster than the outward journey – and waited for the lightning to strike. Five minutes later it flickered across the horizon, behind the island right across from the cottage. I took a photograph in a pause between lightning flashes and captured six vertical plumes that looked just like feathers. My Muse was checking in, along with the Thunder Beings.

Sacawajea

I noticed it was 9.00 p.m. How did it get to be this time? My tiny computer is getting hot – it needs a rest and so do I.  Thankfully Carolyn had prepared vegetarian lasagna for tonight’s supper, so my culinary skills, which are close to zero, will not be challenged. The threatening weather seems to have passed, leaving behind a haze for the waning sun to poke through as the overcast sky lifts a little. Now that I have stopped working on the manuscript, I realize just how tired I am. This evening is a respite, as I warm up the lasagna. There is still some bean salad left and a very large piece of rhubarb and apple crumble. Perfect. In the far distance the sound of a train can be heard, stretching its long haul across Ontario. The loons must have been alarmed by the lightning strikes. I can still hear their distress cries. It makes for a marvelous symphony as the delicate drops of rain from the trees patter gently on the roof of the deck. Tonight I partake only of this symphony composed by Mother Nature and the train. The remaining work on the book can await morning light. Ha! – the timer has gone on the oven for the lasagna! I look forward to my late supper.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rising early I had such deep appreciation for bird song. There is nothing sweeter than a hedge sparrow’s lilting tones to bring in the new day.  Lying in my bed on the deck I glance at the first light appearing through the cedars, driven by a gentle wind rippling the lake to shore. I listen in to the morning calls of the small birds, the chatter of squirrels and the distant drone of an outboard motor. Then breakfast.  Aaaah – that first sip of good black coffee. Toast, black current jam and cheese, which I miss sharing with Moksha. I decided that after qi-gong – a moving meditation for me – I would clean Joe’s cottage and finish weeding the stone patio. I like to leave my temporary home more beautiful than when I found it. No trace. Slow, abundant qi-gong this morning. The movements are very full as I co-ordinate them with in-breaths and out-breaths.  Feels as though the movements are pregnant. A new vibrancy, perhaps reminding me that this beginning sojourn is settling in. I was tempted to do the qi-gong sets all over again.  I refrained – the dishes in the sink and the bathroom were calling for a thorough clean. I keep hearing the call of an osprey though have yet to see this beautiful creature.

I started the cleaning in the kitchen. Bagging the garbage to transport home. Cleaning out the compost bin, as ants just love to find remnants. Soon the kitchen is sparkling. I moved on to the bathroom to take the shine there. A thorough vacuum and sweeping of bedrooms – even the ones not used. Joe’s cottage began to take on a pleasant hum. A small token of my gratitude for the time here to complete the beginning of this work. The cottage and deck is fair sparkling from the cleanup. A slow moving skunk walked past while I was cleaning the small carpets outside. He stopped, looked at me and dismissed me, before ambling on. I wondered what he was doing out at this time of day, as skunks are mostly nocturnal creatures. I know that when Carolyn arrives later today, the first thing she will do is inspect the bathroom. If I am lucky I may get a passing grade. Looking forward now to that second cup of coffee and a large mango that I will slice up. Weeding is over and done. I think Joe will be astonished at the appearance of the stone patio, released from the grip of weeds and brush. It is cool today with another overcast sky. Just a surface ripple on the lake at present, from a breath of wind. I set up my computer and chair on the glorious screened deck and resume concentration on the manuscript. Complete solitude.

I must applaud the splendid outhouse here, which I much prefer to the toilet in the bathroom. Sturdily built with a comfortable seat, with nobody around the door to the outhouse can be left wide open. What an incredible view while going about one’s business. Resumed work on the book. This piece of writing is an unfinished symphony for me. All my books – including the university texts – are about different facets of consciousness. This book stretches the boundary further and may cast a light of understanding on everything else I have written and done in life.

Completed the refinements necessary for this stage of creation. It was very hot – even on the shaded deck. I placed a mattress on top of the wood box on the deck and rested there for the next few hours, very content with the initial progress made on the manuscript.  I knew I would make further edits on arriving home – with attention to details of formatting, paragraph length and so on, but felt that the first stage of mapping was done.  One step at a time – there is no rush with this piece of work. I estimated that Carolyn would get here around 6:00 p.m. so left sufficient time to clear the cottage of my belongings.  I did this just before she arrived with Moksha.  I was sitting on a rock admiring the shoreline when I heard the unmistakable sound of our Volkswagen’s diesel engine. And there she was with Moksha – both delighted to see me.  On inspecting the cleanup, Carolyn did give me a passing grade on the bathroom. The convection effect of the day’s heat was at work as we drove home through a severe downpour. Removing all trace.

Spring 2012

It was also the removal of “all trace” of me from the manuscript for a while.  I knew this first draft had to sit until it felt just right to return to it. Two years passed by. In the spring of 2012 I returned to the manuscript, which has its own time about when it will be told.  I began to absorb what I had previously written and transmuted it to another level. This is a process I have learned to respect, as this memoir will not be completed on my timetable. Trailing Sky Six Feathers will dance in the daylight when she sees fit. She is The Muse, after all! The 2010 work was simply an initial template that I was laying out. In 2012, I could see a distinct lack of elegance in chapters that were too long. Three of them were easily chopped in half, turning the book of six chapters into nine chapters. Nine feels much better.

Canadian Thanksgiving October 2012

The threads were picked up again in the fall of 2012. An invitation from my generous friend Joe once again made his cottage available to us for Canadian Thanksgiving. The fall was in its later stages of brilliant foliage, as the trees prepared for winter’s embrace. But not before we got to enjoy their startling colors of bright gold, shimmering red and amber. The leaves were breathtaking all the way into the lake. Moksha could hardly wait to get out of the car and gallop all over the terrain, revisiting what she remembered. Carolyn and I unloaded the car while Moksha ran like a swift stream flowing down a mountainside, checking in every so often to see that we were still around. Then she would dash off to seek phantom bunnies and errant squirrels.

Carolyn once more had her travelling Celtic harp. Normally I would be impatient to get the job done, but I know this book has its own rhythm. Nightfall came quickly as we sat on Joe’s new deck. We wrapped up warmly as it was a cold October evening. Watching the sunset take its time until the first loon call ushered us inside. Carolyn’s harp was set up, tuned and played gracefully – hauntingly beautiful – as is Carolyn for me. Her concentration at the harp helped my concentration on two particular chapters.

I expanded the book from six to nine chapters and restructured it into three parts:

Part One: The Muse – with three chapters locked into 18th century Arizona;

Part Two: The Man – four chapters that map the transition to my life in present time, charting my healing, transformation, and radical compass change;

Part Three: The Unity – has two chapters that bring the Muse, me and Consciousness full circle.

The two chapters I focused on intensely were Remembering and Transformation. Carolyn and I discussed them during our car rides for daily lunches. Lunchtime was my turn to prepare food and so I conspired with Carolyn to drive each day to the Fall River Restaurant nearby, where my sous-chefs were waiting! I would read out loud while Carolyn drove and I noted her comments about language and emphasis.

We had both forgotten our watches, so we depended on Carolyn’s iphone for time whenever it felt necessary, which was rare. We actually woke up at 5.00am on the first morning, made a coffee and immediately went back to bed once we recognized how early it was. The rain was steady, drumming on the roof of the cottage with a rhythm of soft percussion. The second coffee with dark chocolate and toast was the prelude to work. Carolyn tuned and played her harp while I turned my attention to the chapter on Transformation. I had to somehow show that all the inner work, suffering and travail had led somewhere. This meant weaving in my 21st century activism for planetary care, peace and social justice and show how it relates to my intensive spiritual journey. These different threads were all of one tapestry. I just had to create the words to weave it together. This is where Carolyn’s clarity was so helpful. She would note where I was getting too academic or preachy and so pages written were reluctantly relegated to feed the fire.

So engrossed did our conversations become that we succeeded in getting totally lost one day on the drive to the nearby restaurant. We saw a lot of surrounding countryside that we had no intention of travelling through, yet enjoyed the sunshine playing with the fall colors on the trees and hedgerows. We continued to discuss the rewritten chapters. Moksha enjoyed many walks, though had to slow down a bit for me. I had torn my right calf muscle quite severely several weeks earlier and was still in recovery. Moksha patiently observed my daily leg exercises but did insist on placing her new frisby at my feet for many a throw.

Both evenings I built up a good fire to keep the cottage warm. The flames and crackle of the logs allowed things to simmer with the chapters I was re-sculpting. No-one else was on the lake at this time of year, yet time flew instead of slowing down. Meditative silence, qi-gong exercises, car rides, plus deep concentration on writing and Celtic harp filled each day. In the evenings Moksha snored on her cushion placed right in front of the fireplace, obviously worn out from her walks and uninhibited freedom.

I released a breath of accomplishment with the final cup of tea late on Saturday evening. Before sleeping I heard the last cascade of Carolyn’s harp. The next morning the sun had come out, but the temperature had dropped radically. We wore all of our clothes in multiple layers to stay warm. After breakfast and cleaning up Joe’s cottage, I paid my honorary visit to the most splendid outhouse in the county. Door wide open with Moksha playing in front, the dazzle of a cold pre-winter day reflected in the lake. We enjoyed the drive to once again applaud our sous-chefs at the Fall River Restaurant before heading home to Ottawa.

Sedona, Arizona, Spring 2013

In the spring of 2013 the lure of a writer’s retreat in Sedona was irresistible. My companion writers arrived as strangers and we left as a tight knit family. Their talent and bravery to bring forward deeply personal issues in their writing impressed me. As did our day together on the land with a gifted guide, culminating in a medicine wheel ceremony that deeply affected every one of us. For me, that ceremony was a confirmation for both my journey and this book. On returning home to Ottawa with my revisions, experiences and copious notes – I did a major overhaul of the entire manuscript. I deleted text, rewrote entire chapters and my writing took on the incisive depth that I had felt was missing. I added a chapter that demonstrated what all the pain, suffering and inner work had led to.

I benefited from my fellow writers who bared their souls in beautifully written and courageous prose. I could do no less. The keen editing eyes of the brilliant facilitators – Lisa Fugard and Julie Colvin – led me to cut prose that I liked, but did not need for the story. In the rewrite I introduced, where necessary, a harsh and somewhat ugly honesty that brought the missing edge to the adventure. Throughout the manuscript the footprint of Trailing Sky Six Feathers dances lightly. Though sometimes she needed heavy wooden clogs on her feet to kick my backside so I would wake up to her presence.

Sedona, Arizona, Fall 2013 – Confirmation

I also attended the fall writers retreat in Sedona to create the final refinements to my book. It was a privilege to share excerpts from the work with gifted writers and facilitators. My personal journey through four centuries of consciousness seemed to strike a chord. That insignia continued once the retreat finished, as Carolyn joined me for a further week to explore the extraordinary terrain of Red Rock Country.  A gifted guide, Clint Frakes, takes us to Cathedral Rock – walking in from Red Rock Crossing. We climbed a vertical cliff to a hidden space where a sacred ceremony was conducted for us in front of two soaring slabs of pictoglyphs – painted and carved. Clint gathered red rock dust from that sacred location and placed it in a container for Carolyn to take home. Lest we forget. We leave hours later – transformed. We are windswept at Rachel’s Point and Mystic – they provide a timeless vista to all Universal directions.  Boynton Canyon with the guardian Kachina Woman brings the goddess energy to us both. Walking the land evoked the latticework of vortex energy, challenging us to be the best we can. Clint takes us through an awesome medicine wheel experience. He had re-built this wheel many years ago and before we left this sacred place he took out a stone, the size of my hand, from the medicine wheel and gave it to us to take home to Canada. Gifts to call us home to the awakened self that has been sleeping.

Rachel's Point 2 (2)

The integral person of my book – Trailing Sky Six Feathers – was everywhere. Nowhere so strong and beautiful as on our final day in Sedona, when Carolyn perused the Kopavi Gallery, just across the road from Tlaquepaque – Sedona’s most exotic market. In the Kopavi Gallery, Carolyn was shown an eagle feather pendant in 18K gold. It was intricately hand carved by John Coochywpten of the Hopi Tobacco Clan, a master goldsmith who blessed each of his pieces with prayer and ceremony before they went to market. The pendant was small, approximately one slim inch long. The foundation was a beautifully crafted eagle feather in gold. John Coochywpten placed a medicine wheel at the top of the feather and rested an eagle head with an all seeing diamond eye upon it. The two diamonds at the bottom of the feather depicted two travelers through time. The pendant had a simmering power to it that Carolyn felt deeply. She gasped with surprise the moment she saw it, as it was a symbolic reflection of the book I was writing and the modern day adventure she and I were exploring. She told me later that she had meditated the night before during which she asked for a sign that confirmed our adventure through four centuries. This pendant spoke of Trailing Sky Six Feathers’ legacy to the two modern day adventurers in a manner beyond speaking. We are forever changed by this gift.

While Carolyn was upstairs in the Kopavi Gallery, I had been sitting outside on a wooden bench, taking in the sky, moving clouds, the sound of Oak Creek with traffic as a background hum. I was inadvertently ready for a sign, which came in a totally hilarious manner. I meditated and after a short internal dialog with Trailing Sky about my next steps, I opened my eyes. I saw a white utility van slowly approaching the round-about right in front of me. Emblazoned in bold, red capital letters on the side panel was the logo “YOU GOTTA DO IT!!” I laughed out loud at that and later wondered how Trailing Sky had managed such perfect timing. I went upstairs to join Carolyn in the Kopavi Gallery. She was telling the manager of the gallery the story of my book and why the Eagle Pendant had spoken so deeply to her. Both women looked at me as I entered the door. I could see how elated Carolyn was, with that secret smile she saves for rare occasions.

She said she had something to show me. And there was the talisman of Trailing Sky Six Feathers and Eagle Speaker in minute detail and provocative power. I looked at it for a long moment. I felt what Carolyn had experienced when she first saw it. She softly asked me if I saw and felt its resonance. There was no hesitation on my part. After all, I had just received the message “YOU GOTTA DO IT!!” Carolyn was seeking a confirmation about the pendant that so symbolized my book and our 21st century adventure. She did not expect me to buy it for her, yet I simply trusted the logo on the white utility van. I told the manager of the gallery the story of how Trailing Sky received her full name.  She got goose bumps all over. I was almost in tears as I spoke the story to her. Afterwards, Carolyn and I walked over to Rene’s – the finest dining place at the exotic Tlaquepaque. This upscale Parisian style café celebrated the two of us.

We were glowing with confirmation.

 

Mountain Wedding

Mountain Wedding

Extract from Chapter 8 of Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse. It is like Indiana Jones meets the Buddha with a dash of Celestine Prophecy as we follow one man’s journey to accept The Muse capable of transforming his karma from violence and abuse to clarity and purpose. An exciting Hero’s Journey, this special and unique adventure shines light on some of the darkest elements of the human condition, including the author’s.

 DCF 1.0

I had flown into the small airport of Castlegar in the Kootenay Mountains of BC for my son Iain’s wedding in the summer of 2009.  The short hop over the Rockies in a small Dash 8 aircraft from Calgary was spectacular – especially the flight into Castlegar airport.  The wingtips seemed to touch the valley’s mountains, as the aircraft swerved sharply into the river fringed village of Castlegar.  My son, his bride to be – Nancy – and my grandson Callun were there to meet me. The wedding ceremony was next day in the Tibetan Buddhist Gompa.  I was expected to wear my Buddhist duds as I was there not only as a Dad but also apparently as a Zen teacher. That evening I had an unforgettable dream, vivid in every detail.

“I was in a river running kayak, sitting quietly in a pool outside the swift eddies that raced to the edge of a waterfall that was huge, sheer, with a vertical drop of 1,000 feet.  The kayak was bright yellow.  The short stubby craft was an extension of my body.  My wetsuit was black and I wore a red lifejacket tightly fastened.  My helmet was also red.  The shaft of the paddle was black and the twin blades a dancing red.  I looked around at the high mountains and forest, noted the mist rising from the swift flowing river before pushing out into the racing eddies straight to the edge of the waterfall.  As I went over the edge I raised the paddle high over my head and leaned back into the kayak.  I did nothing to steer or guide it. The descent seemed forever though timeless.  Yet in a moment my craft had submerged into the river below and then I was bobbing on the surface paddling downstream. A first thought in the dream as I manoeuvred in the middle of the river was “That was a really bad run.  I didn’t do anything.”  Then moments later in the dream I stopped the thinking, realizing that it was the perfect run, precisely because I did not do anything. My lack of insight while dreaming was that I missed my surrender to the fierce current of the waterfall, to the awesome power of the stream of consciousness. Then with lucidity I managed to grasp that reality just before waking up.”

I shared this dream with Iain and Nancy next morning, so they could perhaps see for themselves the surrender to the other necessary for their marriage to work well.  I believe they understood.  Their dharma and mountain friends enjoyed an incredible wedding in the Tibetan Gompa.  Although there was a mountain of alcohol at the reception and dance afterwards, hardly anyone drank it, as the “high” was the quality of celebration and surrender in the wedding ceremony. I thought about this dream a great deal and the reflections were intensely revealing. The guidance in the dream was about surrendering to the stream of consciousness – provided by going over the waterfall without resistance. My long internal journey had obviously done its job, bringing me to the point where transformation and awakening are now internalized and owned. I was no longer a wave in life washing up on some seashore or riverbank and dying without anyone noticing. I had pushed out from the safety of the shore into the middle of the river heading for the waterfall and letting go of all that I grasped onto and liberated myself by choosing to stay in the middle of the river and never return to the safety of the bank, where I would no doubt cling and attach. Instead I chose freedom. The deep water of universal consciousness now carried me through thanks to the changes wrought through my trust in Trailing Sky’s guidance and presence within me.

 

Reflecting back on these adventures made me aware that the daily, intense dialogues with Trailing Sky were creating far reaching effects on my consciousness. They were changing me radically in the direction of transformation. This is not a matter of belief but my experiencing the pragmatic implementation of compassion, mindfulness and wisdom in everyday life. The noise and traffic jams in my mind receded. The self-correcting navigation compass provided by Trailing Sky continued to astonish me. To say that Trailing Sky Six Feathers became my internal discernment misses the point. The indescribable, palpable truth is that this deep source of feminine wisdom was not only lodged in my mind, it was integrated with my total being. My conversations with Trailing Sky opened up the past for my understanding.

The daily sessions with Trailing Sky expanded my mind beyond its logical limitations. There were certainly times that I did not understand, but never, ever was Trailing Sky incorrect. There was something primordial about her all seeing wisdom that was now infusing me, so that I could live and love better. A radical reminder for me was provided in 2013 when I took part in a medicine wheel ceremony in Sedona with a group of writer friends. Our group had a day on the land with a gifted guide, Clint Frakes, visiting ancient rock dwellings and vortexes before he guided us through a medicine wheel experience. I had been to this particular wheel before with my wife Carolyn in 2007, when we both drew the Deer Card. I recognized the scrubland where it was located, marked by a white domed building nearby with the canyon edifices looming in the background, shadowed by the evening sun.

Clint asked me to lead my writer friends into the medicine wheel through the East door. I smudged myself with the burning sage, took off my shoes to walk barefoot, feeling the earth and small stones throbbing into every step. I walked slowly clockwise round the interior of this graceful architecture of universal power. I could smell the burning sage as other friends smudged themselves and followed to find their place within the four quadrants of the medicine wheel. I was slowly pulled to the North cardinal rock, holding in my hand the sacred tobacco. Then did something I had never before contemplated in medicine wheel ceremonies. I walked slowly to the centre ring of stones and stepped into it, turning to face the West. The centre was already occupied by the energy of Trailing Sky Six Feathers and the resonance of her presence pulled me into the mystery and fusion at the centre. I stood there, very still, bringing my hands up to my heart. My new friends were finding their place – two of the women stepped into the centre to share it with me, which was perfectly OK. Pauline from Boston and EagleSpirit from New Brunswick were also drawn to the centre – though both graciously stepped out to give me my space. Our guide on the land, Clint, passed a rattle so each one of us could state our heart intention while inside the medicine wheel. With great dignity and reverence my family of writers created a mosaic of prayer. When the rattle passed to me in the centre circle of stones, the tears poured down my face. I had experienced deep fusion with the living mystery of all things and sang the most sacred chant I knew – the Gayatri Mantra from my guru training in India. I was overwhelmed by the softness, clarity and steely discernment imparted.

I felt the past of 1777 and Trailing Sky’s fusion with me on Rainbow Bridge in 2007 rushing in. She had travelled through dimensions, time and space to become one unified being with me. On this day the dimensions did not have to move or open – everything was already in place. In occupying the centre of the wheel, I felt the deepest stillness and silence, remaining quiet about what was happening within me. The connection in my heart grew ever deeper. There are no words to express the gratitude about bringing alive the Muse patiently waiting for me at the centre of the medicine wheel. This was why I had come to Sedona.  The fusion from the central circle of rocks unleashed from the depths of the earth, energy of a limitless upwards trajectory. This became a foundation point for everything I may say, do or create from this moment on. Awakening, I realized, is a mere road sign for the way forward. It is how such states are applied and used in the world that matters for our times. New levels of deep knowing, essential for survival arose. Not mine – everyone’s, the planet and just perhaps the entire cosmos.

The eruption of energy where I stood at the centre of the wheel was met by the cooling shafts of energy from the divine realms. The two way traffic enveloped me in the forceful energy. To keep me going forward with courage, discernment and fearlessness on behalf of the Earth Mother and to acknowledge this marker for further transition. All that I am describing was captured by the camera of EagleSpirit, an intuitive shaman from New Brunswick in Canada. After we had all moved out of the medicine wheel she took photographs of this stone architecture, now empty of everything except a column of light stretching from the centre circle of stones right up into the sky. The column of light was right where I had been standing at the centre of the medicine wheel.

Light Beam at the centre of the Medicine Wheel

 

Sedona Writer’s Retreat, Spring 2013

With Captain Mark Hansen and a no door helicopter

Sedona Writer’s Retreat, Spring 2013                                                         Ian Prattis

My latest book – in progress – is set in Central Arizona in the 18th century before settlers and prospectors made incursions to Indian lands. This was before Arizona became a state within the USA. This starting point made the announcement of a Writer’s Retreat inLight Beam at the centre of the Medicine Wheel the spring of 2013 very appealing. I was no stranger to Sedona and Central Arizona, having made many investigations of the region over the past thirty years. I arrived several days early, prior to the retreat, to visit places that were sacred to me and to soak in the ambience of the region providing the foundation stone for the book. I revised some chapters and intended to visit the sacred canyons.

But Joe Biden, VP of the USA was speaking at a conference held in the Enchantment Resort at the head of Boynton Canyon, Security was heavy, and until he left – this region was a no fly zone.  On the morning of the retreat there was a window for me to pay an unusual visit to the canyons. Mr. Biden had left the area and I decided to take a helicopter ride to photograph Rainbow Bridge and Boynton Canyon, as both loomed large in my opening chapters.  I was staying at Sky Ranch Lodge right next to the airport vortex and the airport itself. I indicated what I wanted to photograph and the pilot kindly made sure the doors were taken off, so I would have a non-restricted field for photography. I had never been in a helicopter before and this scared the hell out of me. A three strap harness was all that kept me from falling out of the small helicopter into the canyons below. It was totally scary but beyond awesome. I got the photos and a totally new perspective on the canyons.

The retreat was exhilarating. A group of ten writers arrived as strangers and left as family. The sheer talent of each writer was admirable, as was the manner in which encouragement and guidance were constructively offered rather than held out as criticism.  Courageous prose, great food and much laughter was daily fare.

“Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse” is the title of my book. It is a bit like Indiana Jones meets the Buddha with a dash of Celestine Prophecy. The reader is invited to follow my journey to accept The Muse capable of transforming my karma from violence and abuse, to clarity and purpose. An exciting Hero’s Journey, this special and unique adventure shines light on some of the darkest elements of the human condition, especially my own. Written in an authentic and elegant voice, I navigate past and present life experiences over four centuries. From brutal raids on Indian settlements in 18th century Arizona, insane sea voyages off the Scottish Hebrides in the 20th century and finally, to a decisive life moment of surrender to The Muse in the 21st century. These screenplay-worthy epic tales weave together to create inspiration for a wide range of fellow spiritual seekers. The genre is legend mixed with autobiography and this memoir could be described as “Metaphysical Non-Fiction.” Readers will travel the pages as I learn to embrace The Muse – Trailing Sky Six Feathers – my South Western Native American wife and medicine woman in whose arms I died in 1777.  She vows to find me (then known as Eagle Speaker) in a future time, to help me complete a purpose despite insurmountable resistance from my logical mind to remember that pledge in this current lifetime.

The journey is both severe and challenging as I navigate shamanic healings of childhood sexual abuse, guru training as well as a near death experience in an Ashram in India. Trailing Sky Six Feathers initiates a dream vision in 2008 that caps my slow process of remembering a clear mosaic of experiences stretching back in time over a rare cycle of two hundred and thirty one years. I sculpt the narrative in a novel way as the person who stumbles through the first part of his life, but then stands strong in his own sovereignty in the latter part. In India, Arizona, France and in Canada’s wilderness, I went to extraordinary lengths to erase and transform natal karma. Guided by four separate shamans, I reconfigured my understanding of time, place, consciousness and even Carl Jung’s psychology, as I chose to listen to the feminine voice of Earth Wisdom rather than to the multitude of competing voices in my deep unconscious.

Readers may be inspired as they watch intention and strength of purpose transcend patterns I had carried since childhood. Past life memories finally collide head on with the present, all thanks to the persistence of Trailing Sky Six Feathers, who refused to give up on me. Natal karma is reversed, the internal battles are over as I begin to live life as a Meditation for Gaia. The relentless shadowing of this engaging Muse brings understanding not only to me, but to anyone engaged in overcoming the darkness of their past. Trailing Sky Six Feathers caps 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. Friends look at my story as a gift to our planet. My purpose in writing it is to share the incredible wealth of knowledge and experience achieved on how to live in harmony not just with ourselves but with the place we call home… Earth.

In 2010, after an intense internal dialogue with my Muse, Trailing Sky Six Feathers, I asked if her story should be written. There was a long silence that stretched into infinity until I finally heard her affirmation. I stood up and reached for my backpack and took out a writing pad. There was a gold plated fountain pen in the pack, rarely used. This story had to be hand written. I inserted an ink cartridge into the pen and sat in a chair overlooking the sea and mountains on the west coast of British Columbia. Putting pen to paper I started to write the first line of this book:

“Put down your weapons, my husband,” she said quietly with steely insistence.

I signed up for the writer’s retreat in Sedona as an opportunity to complete the manuscript, though I was scarcely prepared for the surprises in store. One in particular stands out beyond all others.  Our group had a day on the land with a gifted guide, Clint Frakes, visiting ancient rock dwellings and vortexes before a medicine wheel experience. I had been to this wheel before with my wife Carolyn in 2007, though the 2013 experience was very different. Clint asked me to lead my writer friends in through the East door. I smudged myself with the burning sage, took off my shoes to walk barefoot, feeling the earth and small stones throbbing into every step. I walked slowly clockwise round the interior of the wheel – graceful architecture of universal power. I could smell the burning sage as other friends smudged themselves and followed to find their place within the four quadrants of the medicine wheel. I was slowly pulled to the North cardinal rock, holding in my hand the sacred tobacco. Then did something I had never contemplated in prior medicine wheel ceremonies. I walked slowly to the centre ring of stones and stepped into it and turned to the West. The centre was already occupied by the energy of Trailing Sky Six Feathers and the resonance of her presence pulled me into the mystery and fusion at the centre.

Light Beam at the centre of the Medicine Wheel

I stood there, very still, bringing my hands up to my heart. My new friends were finding their place – two of the women even stepped into the centre to share it with me, which was perfectly OK. Pauline from Boston and Eagle Spirit from New Brunswick were also drawn to the centre – though both stepped out to give me my space. We offered our gratitude in turn with a great dignity and reverence. I held a rattle in my right hand, the tobacco in my left and gave thanks to the Earth Mother and the fusion of mystery at the centre. I chanted the most sacred sounds I knew – the Gayatri Mantra from my guru training in India. The tears rolled down my face. I was deeply moved with gratitude to enter the mystery at the centre of all things. I felt the past of 1777 and Trailing Sky’s fusion with me on Rainbow Bridge in 2007. She had travelled through dimensions, time and space to become one unified being with me. On this day the dimensions did not have to move or open – everything was already in place. In occupying the centre of the wheel, surrounded by a new family of friends, I felt the deepest stillness and silence, remaining quiet about what was happening within me.

The connection in my heart grew ever deeper. There are no words to express the gratitude about bringing alive the Muse patiently waiting for me at the centre of the medicine wheel. This was why I had come to Sedona. For the fusion from the central circle of rocks unleashed from the depths of the earth a limitless upwards trajectory. This became a foundation point for everything I may say, do or create from this moment on. Awakening, I realized, is a mere road sign for the way forward. It is how such states are applied and used in the world that matters for our times. New levels of deep knowing, essential for survival arose. Not mine – everyone’s, the planet and just perhaps the entire cosmos. The eruption of energy where I stood at the centre of the wheel was met by the cooling shafts of energy from the divine realms. The two way traffic enveloped me in the forceful energy. To keep me going forward with courage, discernment and fearlessness on behalf of the Earth Mother and to register with this marker for further transition. I know the template, where I it now takes me is the mystery.

All that I am describing was captured by the camera of Eagle Spirit. After we had all moved out of the medicine wheel she took photographs of this stone architecture, now empty of everything except a column of light stretching from the centre circle of stones right up into the sky. The column of light was right where I had been standing.