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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Listen to the Elders: Lighting 8th Fire

According to their oral tradition, at the time of this and other signs, the Hopi had a responsibility to seek out a House of Mica (glass) that would stand on the far eastern shore of Turtle Island -- a place where leaders from around the world would come to discuss their problems. In 1948 the Hopi recognized the newly constructed UN headquarters as the long-awaited House of Mica. Prophecy instructed the Hopi that, when they found the great meeting house for the leaders of the world, they should make four knocks on the door -- four attempts to speak there and to deliver a key message.

The House of Mica - United Nations headquarters in New York City, with its distinctive glass facade, which gleams like the mineral mica in the desert sunshine. (UN Photo 104 713 SAW LWIN).

Over the years since 1948 the Hopi elders came and knocked again and again at the door to the House of Mica, but they were turned away.
Finally, a delegation of four Hopi elders came to New York in 1993 for the Cry of the Earth conference -- what amounted to a fourth and final knock at the door to the House of Mica. The Hopi were accompanied by 24 other traditional elders from six other Native American nations, including the four-person Algonquin delegation headed by Grandfather Commanda.
Speaking at UN headquarters, the elders delivered a unified and explicit warning that the time of purification -- the era of withering fruit spoken of in their traditions -- is already in progress, and likely to intensify. They presented their understandings, handed down orally since antiquity, regarding the ethical, ecological, and spiritual crises confronting humanity today. Their messages fell on deaf ears.
When Grandfather Commanda gauged the lack of understanding at the UN, he saw an urgent need to take the messages of the elders directly to the people, and to fulfill the instructions set out long ago by the Seventh Prophet. The experience at the UN set the idea in his mind. It impelled him to sound the call for a prayer walk that would "retrace the steps of the ancestors along the path of the Sun," from East to West, to recover what had been lost long ago, as the Seventh Prophet had said should happen.
Although UN officials and the media were unmoved by the elders unified cry of warning in 1993, at least one person heard the message. It changed the course of his life. Tom Dostou is a man of mixed Wabanaki and Irish heritage. He had come to New York that November in a rage. He was seeking guns and money to support an incipient revolt against the Canadian government on a Mohawk reservation. But he was stopped in his tracks by the elders.
Upon hearing their messages, Tom had what he would later describe as an instant spiritual awakening. He forswore anger and violence, and abandoned his search for weapons. He determined instead to spearhead the prayer walk that Grandfather was calling for – to retrace the footsteps of the ancestors. A forceful and charismatic figure, Tom assumed the mantle of headman for the walk.
Plans for the pilgrimage began to take shape. The walkers would start near the Eastern Door of Turtle Island -- in Massachusetts along the Atlantic Ocean -- and then retrace the footsteps of the ancestors south and west, carrying the message of the elders directly to the people.


Nine months after the elders spoke at the UN's House of Mica, something happened that intensified the sense of urgency for the walk to get underway. A white buffalo calf was born.


"I ask you to listen not just with your minds. I ask you to listen with your hearts, because that is the only way you can receive what it is -- what we are giving. These are the teachings of our hearts.
"This walk is going to take eight or nine months. There are lots of elders out there across Turtle Island, and they have many beautiful teachings, many teachings that all the people need now. It is our hope, it is our prayer that they will come forward now that the Eastern Door is open
"It is our prayer that they will meet us as we walk; that they will teach and share what they understand from their hearts. Be patient. Listen to the elders. You need patience to receive these teachings. It doesn't all come at once. You need patience."
- Frank Decontie, Algonquin
June 23, 1995
First Encounter Beach, Massachusetts

Odyssey of the 8th Fire -  Sacred journey. From First Encounter Beach on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, across Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, toward the Western Gate, California. 

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