Wordcarpenter Books

Chapter Eight


 

Rainbow Thunderbird and Red Phoenix

۞

Neither of the brothers said much after dropping of Grandfather and driving west into the orange smile of the sun. Soon the orange-gray hue hovering above the treetops lost its battle to hold off the colorless night, the sun falling over the prairie table to hibernate for the night. They agreed on more buffalo burgers at The Wounded Knee.

Charlotte came by with pints of Hoegaarten as Thomas slouched, drained of strength.

"Tommy man! You're a phoenix! Now I'm beginning to see." He flicked his lighter to light a cigarette.

"What?"

"That being a phoenix is hard-core. Regeneration, immortality. It's all there, man. Full package." He looked at the blank expression in front of him.

"Listen bro, it's very cool and an important spirit name. Only one phoenix exists. A phoenix has no young because there is only one phoenix. From what I know, the phoenix left the West to escape people touching its red-and-orange plumage because it was so beautiful, so the phoenix lived in the East where the sun rises every morning, and where it sings its song to the sun every morning. The sun declared the phoenix a sacred bird and that it would live forever. Every 500 years it's reborn from the ashes of a fire that had been its nest."

"Is that right," he said flippantly. It was all too much. 

"Did you know that the phoenix was depicted on the first Great Seal of the United States in 1782?"

"No, I didn't. When-"

"Changed to the eagle in 1902," he replied, reading his mind. "It represents immortality and some say the phoenix is a symbol of the Messiah. That's a biggie." Josh was quiet for a moment.

"So I'm a firebird and you're a thunderbird," said Thomas, realizing there was a connection only after he said it. He thought the naming ceremony would help him make the transition from being all white to being Métis: white on the outside and red on the inside. He knew for the sake of mental health, he needed to understand his true identity in the hope of being less marred by pestering internal incongruities. It was a major paradigm shift.

"Remember when we used to live in Winnipeg and you used to stare at the sun?"

"How can I forget," he said, amazed that he remembered. "That was when we were in kindergarten. I don't know why but I still have a thing about the sun."

"So now at forty, you toss lightning and I cough thunder." At that moment Thomas had a tingling sensation creep up his spine.

"Did you plan all this?"

"How could I? Grandfather gives a naming ceremony based on the spirit he sees in you. I didn't know, but it's pretty freaky isn't it, all this coincidence." He removed his bandana and pushed back his long hair.

"Did he say I was a crow during the ceremony?"

"Yeah. That's your embodiment of the mythical phoenix. And isn't it weird that there were two crows on his front yard when we met him?"

"And the two crows in the painting you gave him?" There were too many coincidences to string together.

"Indians take their naming ceremony very seriously. The name describes the character of your spirit."

"What about your name? I've never really asked you about it. The Thunderbird is a mythical bird isn't it, like a griffin in Celtic lore?"

"Actually, the Thunderbird is thought of as a great eagle in Indian belief, that claps his wings to produce thunder and flashes lightning from its eyes. It is believed that he who dreams of a thunderbird may be destined to become a medicine man." Medicine man, yes. He could now see Josh as a medicine man.

"And the Rainbow?"

"It symbolizes the bridge between the mind and spirit represented by the seven colors of the rainbow."

"So you're telling me that your name literally means the one who bridges between mind and spirit? Or the bringer of spiritual medicine for those out of whack?"

"Well I would never say that, but between you and I, yes, that's what it means."

"My brother the shaman." Rarely was Josh ever embarrassed, but he was at the mention of this.

"Do you know what the seven colors in the rainbow are?"

"Well I'd say red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. That's six."

"You won't get the last one. Burgundy is the seventh color and the top on the spiritual plane. Guess what each color means and I'll buy the next round."

"Well, red would be anger. Blue is probably tranquility or serenity or something. And purple is probably wisdom."

"Nice one. Red is courage. Orange is balance. Yellow is creativity - and also the color of the Creator. Green is spiritual growth. Blue is truth. Purple is indeed wisdom, and burgundy represents impeccability."

"The colors of the rainbow; I didn't know something so simple and so common had so much meaning." It intrigued Thomas, this new side of Josh. All this newly acquired knowledge of Indian beliefs could be more interesting than he thought.

"I don't think I own anything that's orange," said Thomas.

A tall chap walked into the bar, causing Josh to nudge him.

"Remember me telling you that I had met Louis Riel's grandson?"

"Yes, I do." Josh gestured toward the new arrival.

"That's him who just walked in."  

 

  

 
 
 
 

 
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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  
         
 
 
  
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