Wordcarpenter Books

Chapter Seven


Palongawhoya and Poqanghoya


Grandfather sat between them as they spoke about an upcoming sweat lodge and the things they needed to do for it. There were some white men coming from Toronto and New York City who wanted the real Indian experience so they planned to give them an authentic sweat lodge and some authentic teachings. Thomas was pinched against the window deep in thought. When Grandfather offered him a cigarette he saw the thinness up close. It was as if he existed in the ethers surviving on tobacco rather than meat and potatoes.

"So what do they say exactly about the twins?" he asked, again thinking of the things Josh had said to him in the past.

"The Pahana will be weakened from life," Grandfather replied. "It is said that the window to his soul will be scarred." The brothers glanced at each other. It occurred to Thomas that they were the exact same age as Jesus when he was crucified, which didn't comfort him in the slightest. Thinking opportunities would be few, Thomas asked him if he could give him a spirit name. Nodding slowly, Thomas sensed he already knew he would ask for one.

When they arrived at Whiteshell Provincial Park, they followed Grandfather towards the sound of a waterfall. On the way they walked past a river that gave Thomas a strange sensation, like a de ja vu; as if he had seen this river in his dreams. Reaching a large waterfall, Thomas walked to the water's edge, and hung his head down in disbelief because he was sure he has seen this before in his dreams too. 

"I've flown over these falls in a dream before, looking down to this very place." Grandfather and Josh looked at him curiously.

"You flew over?" Josh repeated.


"That's called astroplaning, one of the highest forms of dreaming."

"Right here in this cave, at this place on the continent, is the very center of our land," Grandfather said. "It is a holy site where our forefathers have protected these glyphs since the earliest times. Not many people know of them." Grandfather went ahead, hugging the rock to get behind the waterfall where there was an opening to a cave, hidden from view by the falling water. A breeze stirred his hair and the sun reflected off the water illuminating their faces, causing Thomas to shiver. He knew he had been here too in his dreams.

Without a word they went into the cave through the ankle-high water with minimal light, until Grandfather told them to stop. Josh shined his flashlight on the wall where they could see lines engraved in the rock. The first thing Thomas could make out was the distinct image of Kokopelli, with his spiked hair and his flute.

"There's the God of Mischief," he said, getting some spring back in his stride. The etched lines in the wall were made from red ochre paint. At first glance the writings on the rock looked like Viking runes, but when Thomas looked closer he saw they were slightly different. The connected lines and slashes seemed Celtic, like that ancient script archeologists called Ogam.

"And there's the ladder leading to the sun," said Josh. Thomas could see the swastika in the sun with the ladder curling around it.

"Can you see the star?" asked Grandfather. Josh shined his light closer to the wall. His hand went up to the rock as if helping his bad eyesight, but Grandfather told him not to touch the wall.

"I don't believe it," he said, pointing at a simple "X" above the ladder that was parallel to the swastika. With his bad eye he misjudged how close his finger was to the wall so it touched the star and there was a snapping sound. His elbow shot backwards as he yelled out. In the darkness they all saw the orange spark. Josh knelt down to recover his breath, as Thomas's laughter echoed through the cave. While he was busy with his schadenfreuden laughter, Josh reached out and touched Thomas's forehead. This stopped the laughter because he felt the electricity and heard the snapping sound. Then it was Joshua's turn to laugh, face turning red from laughing as Thomas rubbed his forehead. Standing there it soon grew quiet in the cave, wind howling past them and through their legs. It seemed to penetrate through the opening on his forehead between his eyes.

When they leave the cave, they stopped for a drink of water at the waterfall where Grandfather opened his leather satchel. He took out two arrows and approached them beside the water. Looking at Thomas he said: "A blue arrow painted with juice and oil of many medicinal plants; this is for you." He took the arrow in his hands, noticing the intricate care that had gone into creating it. "You are the left-handed twin from the East. The Hopis call you Palongawhoya."

Then he approached Josh and handed him a black arrow, and said: "A very special arrow, blackened from the smoke of herbs burned in medicine fire." Josh accepted the arrow. It had been carefully blackened over a fire and treated with a finish that made it glow. "You are the right-handed twin from the West. The Hopis call you Poqanghoya. These are your twin names." They both nodded, and felt the burning scratch on their foreheads.

Then looking at Thomas Grandfather said: "Your totem animal is the black bear and your spirit name is the Red Phoenix, Bird of the Sun, a crow dancing in a dying fire. You are the Protector and Keeper of the Fires of Creation. You symbolize fire, rebirth and learning to forgive." Having an intuitive reaction, Thomas was surprised at how sure he was that the Phoenix was his Indian spirit name. "You are the son of the sun," he said and smiled.



Part One - Canada
1.      The Twin From the East Returns  
2.      The Sundancer  
3.      Waxing Gibbous 
4.      The Second Coming of the Messiah 
5.      The Sacred Twin Story 
6.      The Sign of the Pahana 
7.      Palongawhoya and Poqanghoya 
8.      Rainbow Thunderbird and Red Phoenix 
9.      The True White Brother 
10.    The Lost Louis Riel Notebooks 
Part Two - Hong Kong
11.    A Mixture of Revulsion and Pity 
12.    A Classroom of Scallywags 
13.    Illegitimati non Carborundum 
14.    The Distant Fire of Empyrean
Part Three - Burma
15.    The Monastery of Sacred Tablets 
16.    The Outpost of Tyranny 
17.    When the 12th Moon Comes 
18.    The Pigeon Left & the Crow Took His Place 
19.    Go North and Find Your People 
20.    Finding Orwell 
21.    Though the Monkey is in a Hurry, the Tree Branch is Not 
22.    The Castle at God's Toes 
23.    The General and Sergeant Betel Nut 
24.    The Tattooed Station Master 
25.    Reverend Crow's Life's Work 
26.    Yield Not to Adversity, But Press on More Bravely 
27.    A Bitter Cuppa Tea 
28.    The Thirteenth Tribe 
29.    When a Lamp is Lit You Must Expect Insects 
30.    John the Christian 
31.    A Guardian Angel Named Hanna 
32.    The Bar Car & Betel Nut 
33.    The Son of Light 
34.    Slipping the Karmic Knot
Part Four - Hong Kong
35.    The Tonsure Warning 
36.    The Phoenix Reborn 
37.    Touching the Empyrean 
38.    Joshua the Gatekeeper 
Part Five - Canada
39.    Lapsit Exillis 
40.    Thunderstones 
41.    The Time of Great Purification  

Following the Canadian theme,
Neil Young's "Harvest Moon"

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