The year 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the epic, prophetic, multicultural Odyssey of the 8th Fire – a sacred walk from the Atlantic to the Pacific under the guidance of traditional elders and wisdom keepers of North America. To honor that walk, I am creating a series of memes to let people know where I have published the epic saga that tells the tale. ~ Steven McFadden (Soul*Sparks).
Throughout history most successful and long-lived civilizations have held a place of respect for elders, and benefited from their life wisdom. By and large this tradition is missing today, to the detriment not only of elders but also of society.
Each moment, each day, each one of us grows older. Thanks to medical advances and wide emphasis on personal fitness, most people will live long enough to be considered old. The average life span has, in fact, been steadily increasing since the dawn of the Twentieth Century, and this trend will likely continue in the Twenty-first Century. This reality raises some critical questions: What is the purpose of a long life? What can and should older people do with their extended years? What roles do older people have in modern societies?
As far back as five millennia ago the Greeks knew a basic life lesson that remains relevant today. Socrates put it succinctly: “the unexamined life is not worth living.”
With that foundational understanding in mind, and after a career of interviewing learned and insightful elders, I assembled an eBook of quotations, from all times and all cultures: Teach Us to Number Our Days.
My intention was to inspire readers to reflect on how we might most wisely journey through advanced maturity. I learned a lot putting the eBook together, and feel privileged to share it.
Age is very mysterious because the essence of the human being — the soul — actually never ages. It’s only the outer covering of the individual that changes.” ~ Beatrice Wood
With pleasure, we announce publication of the newest Soul*Spark eBook, A Primer for Pilgrims.
In a wealth of ways across a wide span of traditions and hundreds of generations, pilgrims have sought out holy places: forest groves, healing wells or springs, pyramids, mountains, churches, temples, stone circles or labyrinths. Millions of people have traveled for a host of reasons.
In the end, whether we go willingly or unwillingly, whether we regard ourselves as tourists, business agents, or sacred travelers, we are all, pilgrims. A pilgrimage is a journey, not only outward to a faraway place, but also, inevitably, inward toward spiritual understanding and growth. In our era pilgrimage can be as well a critical geospiritual deed to help maintain the balance of our land, our planet, our lives.
This eBook is an invaluable guide to personal spiritual growth, as well as to earth healing. It’s also a collection of riveting and beautifully told true stories about critical geospiritual actions in North America
This nonfiction eBook by veteran journalist Steven McFadden also acknowledges, honors, draws from and strives to integrate the many cultures and traditions which have streamed onto Turtle Island (North America) over the last 500 years or so.
We have long needed, and finally have begun to find ways to graft the far-flung traditions from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, Asia, and beyond — onto the rootstock that is so deeply embedded here: Native ways. So many teachings make beautiful sense, in both the short and the long term, in ways both common and rare. We need all the wisdom we can summon to meet the challenges of our times, and native pilgrimage teachings offer a deep foundation.
The book offers a wealth of insight about the challenges that arise in pilgrimage and the profound good that such a spiritual exercise may bring – not just for the individual pilgrims, but also for the world at large.
Pilgrims may set out to do penance for past evils, to find answers to questions, to invoke blessings, to pursue spiritual ecstasy, or to seek a miracle for a friend or family member. Increasingly in our era, pilgrims also set out to help heal the earth.
In most mystical traditions it is said that the human soul itself, every human soul, is on a pilgrimage, consciously or unconsciously. He or she is bound for a holy place and therefore life is not just for enjoyment, but the soul also has dharma, a purpose or objective that must ever be kept in focus.
Now as you set out on the literary pilgrimage of reading this book, my hope as the author is that it will offer up useful compass points to help you maintain your bearings.
Journeys to luminous locations are often undertaken by people with scant understanding of what pilgrimage is and the principles that have been found to enhance it. Thus, they may see only what they have come to see, whereas intentional pilgrims may more readily open doors of perception, encounter revelation, and gain constructive power.
To the extent any or all of us are alienated by modern life from the natural world, a pilgrimage to a sacred place can help heal and restore this. The energetic atmosphere of sacred places can awaken a slumbering soul, providing not only renewal, but also a clearer sense of purpose. The energy can invigorate and promote balance — assisting human beings to realign through physical, mental, and emotional planes.
Just as I finished writing and prepared to publish this new eBook, my mother died. Marie Dolores Fitzsimmons McFadden was herself an inveterate pilgrim. Over the 92 1/2 years of her life she traveled to just about every region of the planet, and to an impressive number of sacred sites including Jerusalem, Rome, Fatima, Lourdes, El Santuario de Chimayo, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, and many other places. To honor her memory, this new book is dedicated to her, as well as to all of us who are “on the road” in an era when extreme circumstances call out for our presence and our intelligent healing participation.
A Primer for Pilgrims delivers nonfiction insight, excitement, inspiration, adventure, and more. It’s available in 10 different eBook and Smartphone formats through Smashwords, and also available for Kindle through Amazon.com and for all Apple devices such as iPad and iPhone in the Apple bookstore.
The late Navajo elder Leon Secatero once told me that he saw the Wind Walkers take corn pollen in their mouths to bless their words before they spoke to him.
“The elders talked about positive things, focusing on the positive to make things happen, to bring in good energy so that life will continue. They said to use song, prayer, dance to focus on positive thought, and to help us go forward on the path to the future in a good way, in a sacred way.”
“What I was shown,” Grandfather Leon told me, “was the way we should be, how we must be to influence the future, and also to influence all the plants, the animals, the waters, the air and the fire.
“It’s important. I came to a knowing that the only way you can have the power, is through the color and the light of positive thought and energy. Put all your concentration on this, not other things.
“Put your concentration on the positive. That’s how it’s done.”
– Excerpt from a forthcoming Soul*Sparks book
by author Steven McFadden
From now until October 31, 2013, you can save 20% off the cost of the Soul*Sparks ebook, Classical Considerations: Musings Prompted by the Late Harvard Master John H. Finley, Jr.
To purchase the book at the sale price, follow this link to the Classical Considerations web page, and select the ebook, Smartphone or PDF format you want, and then on the check out page enter coupon code RV74E.
A discount on wisdom! Such a deal.
Like shards of pottery excavated from some ancient site, the fragments of Master Finley and the classics offered herein allow readers to extrapolate and to experience some of the debate and discussion that he spurred at Harvard – questions and responses that remain eminently relevant.