The Perfect Novel to Celebrate Native American Heritage Month! “The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits” by Marcha Fox and Pete Risingsun
“Containing a fascinating combination of Cheyenne and Dine spiritual practices seasoned with astrology, the novel is educational as well as entertaining.”
–Readers’ Favorite 5-Star Review
Charlie Littlewolf knows there’s something suspicious about the accident that killed his best friend. Determined to solve the mystery, he must return to a way of life he’s shunned for decades. Will the Cheyenne grandfather spirits respond before a black ops team kills him, too?
Charlie uses a variety of ways to obtain guidance from the Great Spirit (known to the Cheyenne as Maheo). In this scene he’s employing the medicine wheel coupled with small stone carvings of animals known as fetishes, which serve as proxies for spirit animals.
Charlie set the medicine wheel on the floor, the cross separating its red, yellow, white, and black sections oriented to the cardinal directions. Next he set the fetishes facing center from their guardian positions: Mountain Lion, North; White Wolf, East; Badger, South; Black Bear, West; Eagle, Upper Regions; and Mole, Lower Regions.
His mind wandered back to when his grandfather taught him about spirit animals. They could manifest as spirits, in real life, dreams, or even symbolic form. Not only these six, but all living things: Turtles, frogs, ravens, rats, lizards, snakes. He taught him where the creatures lived, what they ate, whether they were dangerous, and how they cared for their young. The lessons weren’t rote, but experiential.
He met Eaglefeathers for the first time when his grandfather came to New Mexico for an extended visit, several years before his father went back to Colorado, never to return.
Charlie was a boy, going into his seventh winter, and awestruck by the man’s stature and demeanor. How ancient he seemed, with his long, grey braids and colorful clothing adorned with quill work, beads, and feathers.
Lots of feathers.
He remembered sitting with him by the fire, warmth caressing his face while the chill of desert evenings assaulted his back.
“Tell me about lizard,” Eaglefeathers said.
“He has four legs and crawls on the ground. He eats bugs,” young Charlie replied.
“Yes. But what does lizard know?”
He squinted at his grandfather as if he were crazy.
Eaglefeathers patted the ground. “Lie on your belly. Flat on the earth.”
He obeyed, sneezing when dust tickled his nose.
“Now, make your arms and legs like lizard.”
He cocked his elbows and spread his knees a bit, getting into the role play.
The old man’s voice grew softer. “Now walk. What do you see?”
“I see rocks. Grass. A sage bush.” He sneezed again.
“How does earth feel beneath your belly? Do you hear anything? Feel anything? Something that might be good to eat? Or might eat you?”
He giggled. His grandfather cleared his throat, not amused in the slightest. He focused back on his task as he realized this wasn’t a game. By the time the exercise was over, he felt as if he did understand what lizard might know, how it might feel.
The lessons continued over several nights before the fire, eventually covering not only animals known to inhabit the area, but more exotic ones as well. The tutorial taught him to be observant. Not only to their presence, but to recognize their strengths, vulnerabilities, talents, and unique wisdom. To know which to consult for answers. More importantly, to ponder its meaning upon seeing one in the wild.
More wordstouched his mind like a breeze through tall grass.
There are no coincidences.
Like raven, on his return from Tomahawk Creek.
He began the ceremony by lighting a sweet grass braid. He smudged himself and offered its smoke to the four directions. He set the smoldering braid in a shallow pan, then focused all his attention on his cadre of advisors.
Which were calling him? All did not always have anything to say. Mole had demanded his attention with the earthquake. He inhaled deeply, closed his eyes, and became a mole.
He meditated on the Earth, the smell of rich soil, the texture, far below, where moisture resided.
Her vibrations were disturbing.
Anger. Rage. Exploited.
She’d been violated. Neither honored nor appreciated. Her power rippled through him. The earthquake a warning. A reminder. All life depended on her. Humans were mere guests. Nothing compared to her. She could cast off offenders as a dog shook off dirt and fleas.
He absorbed Earth’s unrest, then regarded the others. Did they, too, have a message?
Eagle and Mountain Lion were silent, but White Wolf beckoned. He imagined four paws, a thick coat of fur, an acute sense of smell for seeking prey. Unfailing loyalty to family and the pack, the many inflections and meanings of its soulful howl.
As Guardian of the East, he pictured himself as Wolf sitting tall and confident on an outcropping awaiting the dawn. Wolf didn’t know what would happen that day or any other, but he faced it with courage and accepted its lessons.
He must do the same.
He didn’t have the truth, but must sniff it out. Watch with a sharp eye for it to make itself known. With gratitude he released wolf’s persona and regarded the remaining fetishes, Badger and Bear.
He sensed Badger’s call. He contemplated the energy he sensed in its hide, the animal’s link to Novavose. He assimilated its sleek, muscular body that hugs the earth, long claws and razor-sharp teeth. One of the few animals ferocious enough to take down a bear. A diet mostly comprised of prairie dogs, carrion, berries and other vegetation—whatever was available.
Badger’s unconquerable spirit coursed through him, strengthening and comforting his wounded heart. Since his arrest he’d felt helpless and ashamed, then humiliated by Sara’s assistance.
Badger reminded him not to feel like a victim. It was within him to be deadly and aggressive when the time was right. A time he would recognize as more truth was revealed.
His attention turned to Bear. He, too, remained silent. Thus, he meditated on what he’d received from Mole, Wolf, and Badger.
His conviction expanded. The curse was culminating in a way that wouldn’t be mistaken for anything else.
Neither myth nor coincidence.
Bryan’s death started it, he would finish it.
Startled by the impression, he’d barely absorbed it when another followed.
He had much to do. Much to learn.
Could he do it on his own?
MEET THE AUTHORS
Marcha Fox earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Utah State University in 1987, which facilitated a 20+ year career at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Her interests expand far beyond the world of aerospace and hard science, however. The esoteric realm of metaphysics and all things weird and wonderful hold her interest as well.
When her attempt to debunk astrology backfired, she pursued knowledge in that field as well. She graduated from the International Academy of Astrology’s professional development program in 2012 and is the sole proprietor of ValkyrieAstrology.com. Much of the popular website’s content can be found in “Whobeda’s Guide to Basic Astrology.”
Her previous fiction work includes her epic Star Trails Tetralogy series, which has been highly acclaimed for its family-oriented plot as well as its palatable and STEM-friendly science content described in detail on http://www.StarTrailsSaga.com.
Born in Peekskill, New York, she has lived in California, Utah, and Texas in the course of raising her family of six children, now grown. Besides writing, she pampers her two cats, maintains an active astrology practice of international clients, and tries to keep up with her home, yard, friends, and family.
Social Media Contact Links
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marchafoxauthor
Blog Page: http://marcha2014.wordpress.com/
Series Website: https://www.Dead-Horse-Canyon.com
Pete Risingsun is an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe who has served as a spirit helper to medicine men in ceremonial sweat lodges. He’s a proud fifth generation descendant of Chief Iron Shirt, who was a lodge keeper and powerful medicine man.
Born in 1950, he was raised on a small ranch east of Busby, Montana. He attended Montana State University, then worked for Exxon in Billings, Montana for a year before returning home to the reservation as adult education director for the Northern Cheyenne tribe where he also raised black angus cattle and bred championship Quarter horses. He has served as a Tribal Council member and was the first Northern Cheyenne elected to serve as a Rosebud County Commissioner.
He’s the proud father of one daughter and grandfather to two. Pete is currently retired, but in addition to co-writing The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits” he makes and sells sweet grass braids, a sacred plant used in various ceremonies.
Social Media Contact Links
Series Website: https://www.Dead-Horse-Canyon.com
Universal Buy Links: https://www.books2read.com/deadhorsecanyon
It has been my honor and pleasure to host two outstanding authors on my blog this week. Please show them your support with a comment, questions, and a purchase of this book.