Tag Archives: Past Lives

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.

Consciousness Podcast and Review

Consciousness Podcast and Review about Trailing Sky Six Feathers Book

 

It’s Official – my interview is now “LIVE” on the all-new 7-Day-A-Week Consciously Speaking and is up and running on iTunes. Here are the links: Season 1, Episode 118:   Dr. Ian Prattis – Poet, Author & Spiritual Warrior Available on iTunes: http://bit.ly/CS2015-118

Available on Conscious Speaking website: http://bit.ly/MN-CS2015-118 

Here is the review by Blue Ink – significant voice in Indie Publishing 

Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse

by Ian Prattis

Xlibris, 199 pages, (paperback) Order a signed copy at http://www.ianprattis.com/TrailingSky.html

Click on Order Book tab

In this spiritual exploration, a highly educated man becomes a humble seeker, works painstakingly through the events of two fascinating lifetimes, and emerges with a message for humankind. British/Canadian author Ian Prattis has taught university-level religion and anthropology, but even with this impressive intellectual grounding, his journey was incomplete until he contacted Trailing Sky Six Feathers, a powerful female shaman to whom he believes he was wed, in the 1700s, in Arizona. In 1777, her final vow as he lay dying was, “I will find you, my husband.”

Prattis, whose childhood was marred by sexual abuse, set out to comprehend his present life through his study of religious beliefs of indigenous peoples. This led him to encounters with several contemporary Native American sages who forced him to drop his intellectual approach and accept his lustrous spiritual experiences as real, not dreams or self-induced visions. The merging of the parallel spirit world of Native American religion into his current incarnation put many disparate elements of his life in perspective and facilitated his reunion with Trailing Sky Six Feathers, “the greatest medicine woman the Southwest has ever known.”

Though this fantastic tale leaves room for skepticism, most who read Prattis’ latest work will be swept up in this saga of self-examination, revelation, and indeed, exhilarating global adventure. Prattis writes with erudition, charm and humor, ridiculing his own blunders as much as he praises his teachers. Now a spiritual retreat leader, Prattis presents a unique viewpoint hewn from hard-won exploration of traditional wisdom, offering all of us the overarching advice to “awaken spiritually” so that we may “create a stable economy and way of life” and save Mother Earth.

Front Cover Trailing Sky Six Feathers

A Tale of Two Books

I recently offered a talk on my two books published this year – Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse and Redemption – beginning with an excerpt from the Blue Ink Review of the first one.

“In this spiritual exploration, a highly educated man becomes a humble seeker, works painstakingly through the events of two fascinating lifetimes, and emerges with a message for humankind.

Prattis, whose childhood was marred by sexual abuse, set out to comprehend his present life through his study of religious beliefs of indigenous peoples. This led him to encounters with contemporary Native American sages who forced him to drop his intellectual approach and accept his lustrous spiritual experiences as real, not dreams or self-induced visions. The merging of the parallel spirit world of Native American religion into his current incarnation put many disparate elements of his life in perspective and facilitated his reunion with Trailing Sky Six Feathers, “the greatest medicine woman the Southwest has ever known.”

Though this fantastic tale leaves room for skepticism, most who read Prattis’ latest work will be swept up in this saga of self-examination, revelation, and indeed, exhilarating global adventure. Prattis writes with erudition, charm and humor, ridiculing his own blunders as much as he praises his teachers. Prattis presents a unique viewpoint hewn from hard-won exploration of traditional wisdom, offering all of us the overarching advice to “awaken spiritually” so that we may “create a stable economy and way of life” on Mother Earth.”

Singing Pebble 2

This book follows my spiritual journey as I travel across the globe throughout the course of two lifetimes. It illuminates issues that will impact the human race for generations. I believe that our culture needs to awaken spiritually in order to ensure survival. The darkness before us does offer an opportunity, a chance to remake ourselves by transforming our minds. Instead of being eaten up by the abyss we can choose to Awaken Spiritually, for that transforms the one thing we can control – our minds.

There are two main characters that open the book in 18th century Arizona – Trailing Sky Six Feathers and Eagle Speaker. When readers encounter Trailing Sky Six Feathers, my Muse from the past, they meet a powerful, relentless woman who transforms my life in reality in the 21st century, not in historical fiction.  Eagle Speaker is her husband and also my transformation vehicle. He dies cradled in her arms in a medicine wheel in the year 1777. As he takes his last breath, Trailing Sky whispers to him:

“I will find you my husband, I will find you.” And she does 231 years later, though not in the manner that a romantic may anticipate!

The story is a bit like Indiana Jones meets the Buddha with a dash of Celestine Prophecy. It shines light on the darkest elements of the human condition, including my own. This challenging journey has me stumbling through the first part of life, then standing strong in my own sovereignty in the latter part. I navigate past and present life experiences from brutal raids on Indian settlements in 18th century Arizona, insane sea voyages off the Scottish Hebrides in the 20th century to surrender to The Muse in the 21st century.

My challenging journey includes 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 experience stretching back in time two hundred and thirty one years. Past life memories collide head on with the present, all thanks to the persistence of Trailing Sky Six Feathers, the Muse who refused to give up. Karma is reversed. The internal battles are over and I begin to live life as a Meditation for Gaia. The relentless shadowing by this engaging Muse brings understanding not only to me, but to anyone engaged in overcoming the darkness of their past.

The other book – Redemption – was a novel I first wrote in 1975.  It was soon forgotten, as back then, I did not know how to get published. The manuscript was rediscovered by accident in 2011. I found it in an old filing cabinet where it was gathering dust. I could scarcely believe it was such a good read. I requested my wife and a couple of friends with critical eyes to read it through, just in case I was dreaming. One friend cried all the way through, the other mused about the film to be made. Modern technology enabled the yellowing typed manuscript to be transformed into a computer-ready document.

Redemption front cover

It required attention ranging from spelling and typos to small additions from my writer’s eye some forty years later, yet stands pristine as when first written. The story is an allegory for the life difficulties I experienced at that time, forty years ago. The surprise for me was how could I have written such a book while in a desperate state of mind? I was a total mess with a failing marriage in the Hebrides, Scotland, and trying to maintain a career at Carleton University in Canada. I was not doing a good job with either. It was also laced with insights that I did not cotton on to until much later.

Presently, almost 15 million adults in North America suffer from some form of depression, enhanced through alcoholism and other mental afflictions.  I believe that the power of inner strength can help such wounded individuals overcome their worldly crutches. It took me a while to come to these realizations and the avenue was through this book I wrote some 40 years ago.  Redemption is in fact an allegory for depression and life difficulties that I once experienced, though I did not realize it at the time. The themes of mental illness and depression are writ large in this book – a turbulent Hero’s Journey to emancipation.

This novel is set in The Hebrides, islands off the northwest coast of Scotland, with startling cycles of maturing and downfall of the main epic character Callum Mor, a gifted child, master mariner, derelict drunk, who eventually gains wisdom from a hard life’s journey. He enters the dark zone of alcoholism and withdraws from society. With only his animals keeping him this side of sanity, he survives in a bleak solitude. Until a family with a small girl seeking refuge from a storm come to his house. Slowly, he edges away from his self-destruction. He saves the girl’s life in a blizzard. At this point, a glimmer of awakening dawns in him, and this sets the stage for the final drama that illuminates the resilience of the human spirit.

Laced with grim humor, the story has nature’s harsh and beautiful rhapsody as the background for tragic human failings. It applies universally to human suffering in a chaotic world. The triumph of human decency provides Redemption rather than giving up. Awakening transforms everything.

 

These books can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Xlibris websites. All Order options are on my website www.ianprattis.com

TRAILING SKY SIX FEATHERS: NOW AVAILABLE

My 2008 book Failsafe: Saving the Earth from Ourselves was dedicated to Trailing Sky Six Feathers, a South West Native American medicine woman from the 18th century. My new book is her story and how her life and mine interconnect in the 21st century through a journey that spans four centuries. The collision of past with present lives creates a radical new compass to guide me through the difficult times we live in.

I am grateful to the many hearts and minds that helped me complete this lifework. Trailing Sky Six Feathers illuminates issues that will affect our world for generations to come. This hero’s journey is like Indiana Jones meets the Buddha with a dash of Celestine Prophecy; shining light on the darkest elements of the human condition, including my own.
For Autographed Version GO TO: http://www.ianprattis.com/TrailingSky.html Click on ORDER BOOK. Check out Overview, The Author, Chapter Summaries, Chapter Three, Testimonials and Blog. You can also Order Book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Xlibris for Hardcover, Softcover and E-Book.

Front Cover Trailing Sky Six Feathers

Option B: From the Publisher
XLIBRIS: For Hardcover, Softcover and E-Book
http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000915195/TRAILING-SKY-SIX-FEATHERS.aspx
Option C: From Amazon and Barnes & Noble
AMAZON: Hardcover and Softcover
http://www.amazon.com/Trailing-Sky-Six-Feathers-Journey/dp/1493196790/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400002916&sr=1-2&keywords=TRAILING+SKY+SIX+FEATHERS
KINDLE E Book: http://www.amazon.com/TRAILING-SKY-SIX-FEATHERS-Journey-ebook/dp/B00JV06FFY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400087917&sr=1-1&keywords=TRAILING+SKY+SIX+FEATHERS
BARNES AND NOBLE: Hardcover and Softcover
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trailing-sky-six-feathers-ian-prattis/1119281452?ean=9781493196791
NOOK E Book: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trailing-sky-six-feathers-ian-prattis/1119281452?ean=9781493196777

Here is the publisher’s Overview:
The author is a Zen teacher, Poet, Professor Emeritus, Founder of Friends for Peace, Spiritual Warrior for Planetary Care and Social Justice. In this book he navigates past and present life experiences from brutal raids on Indian settlements in 18th century Arizona, insane sea voyages off the Scottish Hebrides in the 20th century to surrender to The Muse in the 21st century. These screenplay epics weave together to create inspiration for a wide range of spiritual seekers, environmentalists, educators, Generation X and Y, feminists, students and academics alike.

We are staring into the abyss: climate change, ecosystem and financial collapse, nuclear breakdown, terrorism and anarchy. Instead of being eaten up by the abyss “Awaken Spiritually” for that transforms everything. Our world has become an unpredictable beast. We fail to work with it intelligently. We must take back control of ourselves and this is a spiritual matter.

An exciting Hero’s Journey, as we follow his journey to accept The Muse capable of transforming his karma. The story has the author stumbling through the first part of life, then standing strong in his own sovereignty in the latter part. In India, Arizona, France and Canada’s wilderness, he goes to extraordinary lengths to transform four centuries of karma.
Readers will travel the pages with Ian as he learns to embrace The Muse – Trailing Sky Six Feathers – his South Western Native American wife and medicine woman in whose arms he died in 1777. Trailing Sky Six Feathers vows to find Ian (then known as Eagle Speaker) in a future time, to help him complete his purpose despite resistance from Ian’s intellectual and logical mind to remember that pledge in this lifetime.

Over a period of thirty years, four extraordinary medicine people enhance his process of remembering, while Trailing Sky waits patiently from the distant past. Ian learns how to reconfigure his understanding of time, place, consciousness and even Carl Jung’s psychology, where he chose to listen to the feminine voice of Earth Wisdom rather than to the multitude of competing voices in his deep unconscious.
Readers will be inspired as they watch Ian’s intention and strength of purpose transcend the patterns he 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. Karma is reversed and the internal battles are over, as Ian begins to live his life as a Meditation for Gaia. The relentless shadowing of this engaging Muse brings understanding not only to Ian, but to anyone engaged in overcoming the darkness of their past.

Trailing Sky Six Feathers caps the author’s long-term fascination with consciousness. As a Professor of Anthropology and Religion he has taught courses on Ecology, Symbols, Engaged Buddhism and Meditation Systems. He is 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. Ian’s story is offered as a gift to our planet, as his purpose in life is to share his wealth of experience 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 his Muse, Trailing Sky Six Feathers, Ian asked her if he should write her story. There was a long silence that stretched into infinity until he finally heard her affirmation. Ian stood up and reached for his backpack and took out a writing pad. There was a gold plated fountain pen in the pack, though he used it rarely. This story had to be hand written. He 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 his pen to paper he started to write the first line of this book:
“Put down your weapons, my husband,” she said quietly with steely insistence.

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.

 

New Book Testimonials

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Final stages for Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with his Muse. The manuscript is edited – by the professional editing eyes of Lisa Fugard. The platform and Book Proposal is in good shape thanks to Julie Colvin. These two maestros have been so necessary on the journey to completion.  Last steps in the 231 years for this work to percolate. To pique your interest – I post some of the testimonials received so far. There is one more to come, hopefully, from a best selling author. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed on that one. The recent Writers Retreat in Sedona was a marvellous space to do the hard work.  And later relax in the Universe’s Cathedral in Red Rock country.

PRAISE FOR TRAILING SKY SIX FEATHERS

Dawn James. Author of “Raise Your Vibration,” Speaker, Consultant, Sound Healer, Teacher. www.raiseyourvibration.ca

 “I feel what they feel; I hear what they hear”… as Ian Prattis eloquently captures the inner dialogues of his characters as they face emotional upheavals, unplanned events and brilliant realizations of personal and spiritual power. In Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse you find yourself walking beside each character with each turning page, joining them on their journey until together, we reach the final destination of discovering our true nature and purpose in life. A must read!

Dr. Tom Hynoski. Philosopher, Chiropractor, Community Builder.

I look forward to the exploits of this time traveler, Eagle Speaker, who lives in the far off mountains of inspiration. Trailing Skys’ final words to her husband chilled my body and warmed my soul. Love is inter-dimensional and Trailing Sky will follow it just as the great migratory flocks follow the unformed path across the sky. Much thanks for sharing this with me. Namaste.

Bob Allen. Founding CEO and Chief Story Teller at Ideas Orlando – Independent film studio – off shoot of Disney. 1992 – 2001 VP Disney Production Services Orlando.

I am familiar with both Ian’s oral style and his writing as a mentor and Buddhist teacher. But this is a new voice, a very fresh and captivating voice and it offers a narrative that will engage audiences. Ian’s character – for that is really who the teller is here – permits him the objectivity of time and distance and he rewards us with a transparent honesty that makes us part of this journey – which of course we are all on.

Melissa Studdard. Award winning author of “Six Weeks to Yehidah,” Editor of Criterion, Professor of English Literature, Radio Show Host Tiferet Talk Interviews

A thrilling adventure spanning four centuries, Ian Prattis’ Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse renders nothing less than a complete transformation of karma. In addition to weaving a narrative that will captivate readers from the first page to the last, Prattis tells a story of depth and substance, one that, through example, has the potential to activate healing and promote understanding. This is the story of determination, of humanity’s true nature and greatest potential, of how we can live in harmony.

Death of Eagle Speaker

Death of Eagle Speaker                                                                                           Ian Prattis

Excerpt from Chapter Three of my forthcoming book 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 through four centuries of my consciousness shines light on some of the darkest elements of the human condition, including my own. This clip is set in 18th century Arizona.

 DCF 1.0

The landscape they travelled through that night had a rare beauty and stillness. It felt as though time itself had stopped. A portent of things to come, a foreboding rebuke to the crisis they already knew they were to face together. By daybreak they found Eagle Speaker, near to death with fever and very cold underneath the weeping willow tree, whose branches touched lightly onto the river’s surface.  Trailing Sky knew what to do with the fever to prevent it penetrating her and The People.  She asked Rising Moon to fetch water from the river so her medicines could be prepared. She noticed that there was an ancient medicine wheel on a high bluff overlooking the canyon to the east, just above the weeping willow tree where they had found Eagle Speaker.  She knew instantly that this was where she must take him. Help was immediately at hand as the Clan Chiefs with twenty warriors arrived. They had carefully followed the tracks left by the three women. Long Willow had clearly marked the trail they took so the Clan Chiefs could follow. Trailing Sky asked the Clan Chiefs to carry her husband to the medicine wheel on a hastily built carrying frame, which Long Willow and Rising Moon had constructed. That was the place where she could summon the Sky People to help her.  The Clan Chiefs gently laid the frame down in the medicine wheel so that Eagle Speaker’s head was in the west, his heart in the centre and his feet pointing to the eastern door of the medicine wheel. The eastern door was where the Sky People could enter. She mixed her medicines with appropriate prayers, yet Trailing Sky knew by this time that even her medicine powers were insufficient.

She called in the Sky People to save her husband, as they had long been her mentors in medicine power. They came as requested. Their light could be seen along the canyon to the east and it spread up to the medicine wheel into which Eagle Speaker had been placed. But Eagle Speaker was too far gone for even their extraordinary powers.  Trailing Sky felt a momentary rush of rage at the inability of the Sky People to help her save Eagle Speaker.  But she knew that her rage was a product of her grief and deep sorrow.  She abandoned it immediately and asked forgiveness from her mentors, requesting the Sky People to help her through the ordeal of her husband’s death that she was facing.  She then lit four fires of sacred herbs within each quadrant of the medicine wheel to purify him for his journey across time and space. She had herbs and medicine prepared long ago for such an instance.  With some water from the river, brought up by Rising Moon, she held his head so he could drink it. Eagle Speaker came back to her for a moment and smiled. A beautiful smile that enveloped her with so much love that Trailing Sky almost broke down completely. She instantly remembered their first meeting – the silent young man offering her a bundle of feathers at a trading parley between her people and Eagle Speaker’s people. He did not speak and did not smile on that occasion – yet here he was dying in her arms with a smile of such gratitude and beauty.  It was almost too much for her and she had to hang on grimly to what she knew as a medicine woman and what she now had to do. Eagle Speaker knew it was his time and had no fear, just as his grandfather had known at his time of death.  Eagle Speaker felt all the joy from the life he had spent with her. Trailing Sky’s heart was breaking, for she did not want to let him go. Yet the depth of wisdom within her knew that she could not keep him any longer. The grief and deep sorrow abated as Trailing Sky summoned all her internal strength and love to assist the journey from his body across time and space.  She beseeched the Sky People to enable her to stay steady and for Eagle Speaker to journey safely.

Light Beam at the centre of the Medicine Wheel

By this time family groups from the village had arrived until there was over one thousand of The People gathered at the high bluff where their leader now lay in the centre of the medicine wheel. The Clan Chiefs had alerted all the families and they came en masse, leaving only the elderly and sufficient caretakers of their village behind. The families were quiet, knowing that this was not a usual death, but something very different. The Clan Chiefs, Long Willow and Rising Moon stood in silence round the medicine wheel. They were instilled with Trailing Sky’s calm and fortitude.  Only she knew of her inward struggle and sorrow. She surmounted both successfully and then began to chant the sacred songs of her people. Trailing Sky knew not to vent her grief at this moment of Eagle Speaker’s traversing. As she sang, Eagle Speaker looked up at her with amazement as he had done so often before during their life together.  Just before he drew his last breath, she cradled his head in her arms, leaned over and whispered softly in his ear, so that no-one would hear her:

“I will find you, my husband. I will find you”

As Eagle Speaker began to travel on universal waves, Trailing Sky chanted the sacred song of the Sky People – the secret chant that saved their lives in that first terrible raid. She chanted their journey to the cave, to their care for the Earth Mother and for The People. Sharing at last in her husband’s smile she cried tears of pure joy to accompany the chant.  She continued chanting throughout the night to prevent her grief from overwhelming her. The Clan Chiefs and family groups stayed close to her, as they knew this powerful woman would bring them all through to a different realization. On the dawn of the second day, Rising Moon, who had sat quietly outside the medicine wheel, approached her mother. She gently took her mother’s arm and whispered:

“It is time mother.”

Rising Moon had expected her mother to be gaunt and drained by grief, instead she gasped in surprise at the radiance of her mother’s face, framed as it now was by long white hair. The ordeal of her husband’s transition had turned Trailing Sky’s long black tresses to snow. She looked majestic and powerful, as she gently laid her husband’s head down from the cradle of her arms.   Trailing Sky stood up and looked around at The People gathered on this high bluff above the gentle river.  She lifted her arms to the sky as if she were holding him still. Long Willow stood beside her and did the same. All the People raised their arms at the same time – to the sky and to the universe. Then they heard Trailing Sky’s strong voice:

“We will prepare my husband’s body in the old way, for all our relations and the Earth Mother.”

She asked the Clan Chiefs to build a platform for Eagle Speaker’s body, so that his body could be offered to the elements in the same way as his grandfather before him. The burial platform was constructed swiftly with vines strung across to carry the weight of Eagle Speaker’s body and the weight of their collective grief. The platform was placed next to the medicine wheel on the West side, following Trailing Sky’s instructions. Crow Feather, chief of the North Clan, had brought with him a freshly cured bear skin and he brought this to Trailing Sky, knowing that it would be needed. She thanked Crow Feather for his gift and gently wrapped her husband’s body with the bear skin, remembering that this was what Eagle Speaker’s grandfather had done when he met his death. Very tenderly the Clan Chiefs carried Eagle Speaker’s body to the platform that they had erected. The outline against the sky was stark at the top of the high bluff above the weeping willow tree and river, with the dark canyon stretching to the east. The fingers of the dawn had drawn daylight awake so everyone could see. The medicine women had strung vines of forest flowers, herbs and grasses around the four strong posts. Trailing Sky climbed the notched pole that was the ladder to where her beloved lay. She was humming a chant to herself as she lovingly laid his favorite bow, arrow and spear by his side. She placed her medicine pouch in his hands clasped in front of his body, so that he would have sustenance for his next journey.

DCF 1.0

When she descended the notched pole and asked the chiefs to remove it, Trailing Sky requested that they return in six months to take the platform down and render to ashes anything that was left of Eagle Speaker. The ash was to be scattered to the four directions, into the river and into the sky. Then she stood in front of the funeral place of her husband and faced The People.  She stood tall, magnificent and very powerful before the thousand members of The People who had followed the path to this moment. She was calm and serene. All those gathered sensed her extraordinary medicine power.  In a steady measure she began to chant the life story of her beloved Eagle Speaker, from what she remembered him speaking of and from what she knew of him. Her voice was strong and melodious and it carried directly to every listener. The People swayed backwards and forwards in a spontaneous dance that had its own unison. They clasped arms around shoulders that shook with grief as they danced forward and backward to the mesmerizing chant Trailing Sky offered to them. She chanted the circumstances of Eagle Speaker’s birth and his naming after the great eagle by his grandfather. Her voice carried the story of Eagle Speaker’s training with his grandfather in the mountains, desert and forests of their region and how Eagle Speaker came to live his life as constant prayer. She sang blessings for his mother and father and for all who nurtured him. She sang the story of her first meeting with this handsome young man who moved with the grace of a mountain lion, of how he named her with his gift of six feathers, of how their eyes had connected that first time as if drawn together by the threads of time.

Strong warriors bowed their heads and wept openly as her vibrant voice shook everyone to their core.  Other warriors fell to their knees, overwhelmed by the burden of loss. Long Willow was deeply distraught and leaned on her protégé among the women warriors – Dancing Mountain Lion – who stood strong while the tears coursed down her cheeks. The People were then uplifted from their sorrow when the chant from Trailing Sky carried everyone to remember all that Eagle Speaker had put in place for The People and the legacy left that they must cherish and build on. Trailing Sky chanted about the first deadly raid on their summer settlement and their retreat to the cave in the sacred canyon. She continued with the story of his wise preparation for the second raid, of how Eagle Speaker had orchestrated the changes that built The People stronger. She sang his wisdom and patience that wove a tapestry of co-operation between clans and peoples. She chanted of their child Rising Moon, the exquisite bond between daughter and father, and the tenderness he always showed to both of them. Then Trailing Sky’s voice fell silent for a moment. After a time that stretched painfully into infinity she announced to all with a voice that now had a deeper timbre and a source of power they were not expecting:

“I am Trailing Sky Six Feathers. I ask you all to be a witness of my last words to my husband, Eagle Speaker, before he died in this medicine wheel on the high bluff above the river.” It was as though every one of The People took a deep breath at the same time, waiting for Trailing Sky’s next words:

“As he smiled to me and took his last breath, I said to Eagle Speaker – I will find you my husband, I will find you.”

The ensuing silence cut through everyone’s tension, fear and grief. The words that had been heard by Eagle Speaker, now voiced by Trailing Sky for The People, was taken by a whisper of wind into every heart. The trees heard her words and told the animals and birds. The clouds heard her words and extended them to the Sky People. Across the forests, grasslands and mountains – her words echoed, growing stronger and more penetrating so that the universe itself paused to listen.  Such was the power emanating from Trailing Sky.  On hearing her mother’s words Rising Moon gasped out loud in pain and tears poured down her face. She was very still, swaying like a sapling in the morning breeze. She cried out:

“Mother, will I find him too?”

Trailing Sky gently took her beautiful daughter’s tear streaked face in her two hands and said:

“Yes my daughter. Eagle Speaker has traveled safely. We will both find him.”