"A voice I am sending as I walk.
In a sacred manner I am walking.
With visible tracks I am walking.
In a sacred manner I walk."
- Black Elk
Day 7 - Thursday, June 29, 1995 - The walkers strode in a swift and orderly manner to Conanicut Island (Jamestown, Rhode Island), a strategically located plot of land in the great waters of Narragansett Bay. After a day of efficient walking, they spent the night upon the island.
|Conanicut Island - The rocks, the shore, and the Jamestown Lighthouse. (Photo by Justabiggeek, courtesy of flckr.com)|
Conanicut Island was named after Canonicus, a chief of the Narragansett Indians, who befriended Roger Williams in 1636. Canonicus and his nephew Miantonomi presented the heretic from Massachusetts, Roger Williams, with a large tract of land to establish a colony. That colony became known as Rhode Island -- a place of guaranteed religious freedom.
People in Rhode Island were free to have any kind of relationship with spirit that suited them, including none at all. Spiritual beliefs and practices were formally recognized as being a personal, interior matter.
|Enishkeetompauog Narragansett - Wooden sculpture by Peter Toth.|
When the Narragansetts agreed to let the English use the island for livestock grazing, the colonists had been in the area for only two years. The natives, by contrast, had been there for an enormous long string of generations. In the words of Pressicus, a sachem of the colonial era, the Naragansett people had inhabited these east coast lands since "time out of mind."
Archaeologists have found remains of early Indian settlements in Rhode Island dating back at least 5,000 years. Some speculate that natives settled the land much earlier, perhaps 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, after the last of the glaciers melted away.
The Narragansett people hold in their tradition the memory that their ancestors roamed the region more than 30,000 years ago. The evidence, they say, is written in the stones.
Several Narragansett people visited, honoring the walkers with 25 T-shirts that they have made up for the big Intertribal "Heal the Earth Mother Pow Wow" that they are sponsoring next weekend. They also handed to the walk a $250 cash donation. Hiawatha Brown spoke, expressing the Narragansetts support for the walk. He honored the walkers with two raven wings. Raven is a sacred creature for the Narragansetts. The walkers in turn gifted their hosts with bundles of the California sage they are bearing.
The Raven wings will likely take a place on our eagle staff -- a totem carried by the walk to signify the teachings, and to mark the distance walked each day. Walkers take turns carrying the staff. Whoever has the strength that day carries the staff as far as she or he can go, and then a marker is set on the ground. The next day all the walkers return to that marker with the staff, say a prayer to establish focus, then begin walking.
Ned Paschene carved our staff in the days just before our walk began. On the staff are four colors, four medicines, four directions, and also a growing flock of feathers. Before the walk started the Innu people gifted the staff with three Eagle feathers. Chief Birdsong and the Wampanoag people gifted the staff with four Hawk feathers. Now Raven has arrived.
As the walk approached the staggeringly high Jamestown Bridge, Tom’s son Aaron Dostou walked in front and carried the eagle staff.
Aaron and the other walkers saw two eagles stir in the woods, and then begin to lift in the air over the waters. The eagles flew up then over the walk. One eagle went west. The other began a circle over Aaron's head, and held the circle pattern directly overhead as he carried the staff for another half mile.
That afternoon in New Hampshire I looked out the window of my office at mid-afternoon and saw a vibrant Sunbow in the southeast radiating all the colors.
Over 100 miles away on Cape Cod, Naoko Haga saw the same bright Sunbow. She was closing up her rented house in Harwich, packing her belongings, and preparing with her children to join Tom and the walk all the way through to the end. She paused to look out her window, and she beheld the Sunbow.
Naoko and I talked by phone, sharing and exploring our growing knowledge of the Sunbow, and its symbology.
|Sunbow - The colored corona of the Whirling Rainbow, with the intense light of the Sun shielded by a tree. (Author photo)|
A Sunbow (sometimes called Sundog or Whirling Rainbow) is a natural phenomenon of light in a full, wide circle around the Sun. On a physical level these luminous rainbow circles are produced by the reflection of the sun's light on ice crystals. Sunbows vary greatly in brightness and distinctness depending on the number and arrangement of the ice crystals in the atmosphere.
As far as our walk is concerned, Naoko is mother to the Sunbow vision. She first beheld the Sunbow phenomenon in the mid-1980s when she was visiting Los Angeles with her husband, Hiroshi Haga, the father of her three children. Hiroshi died of a heart attack in 1993, while serving as President of New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire.
Naoko retained a vivid impression of the Sunbow she beheld with Hiroshi, feeling that it signified something of paramount importance to the times, and to her personal mission in life. She deepened her appreciation of the Sunbow when she read the book accompanying Sacred Path Cards, by Jamie Sams, a teacher of Iroquois and Choctaw heritage.
"The Whirling Rainbow (Sunbow) is the promise of peace among all Nations and people," Sams wrote. "The Whirling Rainbow will appear in the form of a Sun Dog to those who are ready to see...Many Sun Dogs will be seen around the time of the White Buffalo, which will be the sky language sign that the Secret and Sacred Teachings are to be shared with all races. Enough of the Children of the Earth will be awakened to carry the responsibility of the teachings, and the healing process will begin in full swing."
At the time of the last great global transition -- a story held in the memory of nearly 200 cultures around the world -- a great flood purified the earth. According to the Bible, one important record of this flood, as the deluge was ending a half-circle rainbow appeared in the sky. At this time Jehovah forged a covenant with Noah and the people: "I promise that never again will all living beings be destroyed by a flood. As a sign of this everlasting covenant with the world, I place a rainbow in the sky." (Genesis 9:11-13).
This time -- our current era of transition -- the rainbow goes not half way, but all the way around the circle of the sun. The solar rainbow circle, some elders say, is the sky sign marking the current transition from an old time to a new time.
Many people appreciate the imagery of the Whirling Rainbow as a symbol of hope. The hope, specifically, is that if enough people act with wisdom and respect, the time of global transition that we are living out can go more smoothly, more intelligently, more beautifully.
In this epoch, when fire is a critical element arising, some traditional peoples regard the full-circle Sunbow as a sign not just of warning, but also of the possibility of peace, respect, sanity, spirituality.
According to David Yarrow of Albany, New York, who followed the progress of our pilgrimage closely on the internet, Sunbows are not circles. They are vortexes in the form of a spinning ring of light and energy -- basically, vortexes in the shape of doughnuts. The geometric term for this form is "torus."
According to David, the Sunbow is not a two-dimensional celestial reality, as it appears when we look up from Earth, but rather it is at least a three-dimensional torus form. If you factor in time, you could say that the Sunbow is a four-dimensional reality -- existing on an elevated plane of energy expression.
David writes that in his view "the Sunbow walk is keyed to the right imagery, geometry, and mythology. The walk is a journey along a spiritual axis to meet and gather allies at each power center (vortex) along the route.
"This ongoing pilgrimage from power center to power center," he wrote, "is preparation for confronting and nullifying the dark forces destroying our planet and blocking our focus on our inner spiritual power." David said that as he sees it, the core issue to reckon with is free will.
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Copyright 2006 – by Steven McFadden