Global Ebook Award Nomination Honors L.A.’s Original People, The Tongva

If you asked a person on the street who the original inhabitants of Los
Angeles were, many would say the Spanish, and others the Mexicans. And
some might say the film companies! None of these would be correct.

The original peoples of Los Angeles were a culturally rich tribe called
the Gabrielino-Tongva, or just the Tongva, which means “People of the
Earth.” The name “Gabrielino” was used because so many Tongva lived and
worked in association with the San Gabriel Mission after its
establishment. But their native heritage outstrips the Spanish Mission
era by thousands of years: Southern California has been their homeland
for at least 2500 years, and some sources say 5000.

Relatively few people are aware of this tribe because they were nearly
exterminated in the period between the Spanish Mission Era and the
nineteenth century. It was so close, in fact, and their numbers and
culture were so decimated by missionization, disease and persecution
that some historians mistakenly believed they were extinct.

The good news is that the Tongva community is still in Southern California in its
original homeland. As of this writing, more than 300 enrolled members of the Gabrielino-Tongva San
Gabriel Band of Mission Indians, and an estimated 2,000 or more
descendants of the tribe, live throughout the Los Angeles-Orange County
area. There is no tribally owned land or reservation and the Tongva
Nation has yet to be federally recognized, but various Tongva tribal
groups and bands are organized and have been recognized by local
governments.

The Tongva community works hard to recover and
preserve their culture, language, and native identity. The Tongva
community gathers for meetings and celebrations, to dedicate cultural
sites, and to participate in other community events. They also work to
prevent the destruction of sacred burial sites by developers.

An increasing number of Tongva historical sites, village sites and
markers have been formally dedicated. The story of how a peak in the
Verdugo Mountains came to be dedicated as Tongva Peak is linked here: articles.latimes.com/2001/aug/13/local/me-33740

As of February, 2012, the illegal and secret excavation by Los Angeles County of the remains of
Tongva tribe members and other early inhabitants of the original site of the city’s founding during the construction of the downtown LA
Plaza de Cultura y Artes project was still unresolved. Federal grant
money was still being withheld. See article: “Concerns over Indian
remains stall LA museum grant” indiancountrynews.net/index.phpblog.theautry.org/2011/05/05/george-harwood-phillips-on-stitching-together-the-story-of-a-people/

Author D.E. Lamont wished to honor the Tongva and let more people know
about them by writing a story about them set in the period before the
arrival of the Spanish in 1542. Her ebook novella, The Way of the Eagle: An Early California Journey of Awakening,
is a historical fantasy. It portrays a young Tongva brave’s adventures
in surviving the dangerous lessons given him by his mysterious spiritual
mentor and finally coming to know who he really is. Its well-researched
details can give readers a taste of what life for the Tongva might have
been like.

The Way of the Eagle has been well received. The softcover edition was designated a Weekly Pick by Kirkus, which wrote in its review,

“There is hardly a word out of place … what is most commendable is
the precision and unpretentiousness of the prose while still managing to
invoke the intense quality of Tacu’s visionary quest and moving nature
of his movement.”

The book was honored as an Award-winning Finalist in USA Book News’s “Best Books 2011” in the
category of Visionary Fiction. A judge in another competition stated:


“I found this ‘journey’ easy to follow, easy to enter into with
Tacu, easy to rejoice, hurt, and cry with him on his path to maturity.
… This book is nearly flawless and I found few areas, if any, that I
could comment on in the area of improvements. It was very
inspirational.”

– Judge’s Commentary, 19th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, Jan. 2012

 

Lamont was raised in the rapidly developing San Fernando Valley during
the 50s and 60s, but was never taught that Native Americans were the original inhabitants. When she and her brothers found arrowheads, an ancient
cave, and the vestiges of a native village site in the wild
chaparral-covered hills and canyons surrounding the Valley, she wasn’t
sure if these artifacts were real. Later, as an adult, Lamont felt that
it was ironic that thousands of years before Hollywood, a creative,
resourceful and fun-loving people lived a rich, bountiful life in the
same locations.

The Way of the Eagle has been
nominated for a 2012 Global Ebook Award. Now in its second year, the
Global Ebook Awards honor and bring attention to the future of book
publishing—Ebooks. The Awards are presented in 72 specific categories.
They are open to all publishers large and small so that a winner is the
best in its category, not just the best of small or regionally-published
ebooks. globalebookawards.com/

“Unexplained” Phenomena (Supposedly)

In my last post on this blog, Are We Really Living in the Matrix (also posted on my new blog, MagicalMysticalYou.com), I talked about the possibility that we can affect the physical universe around us through our intention.

A similar phenomenon is people’s demonstration of “kinetic” psychic abilities – they can control movement at a distance (without physically touching an object). Of course the movies have dramatized the disastrous or evil possibilities of this ability ad nauseum, such as with firestarters or poltergeists, not to mention ghosts. But such abilities are not very common in our age, as it takes a being with quite a bit of “horsepower” to directly manipulate the physical universe in that way. Apparently, not too many of those are still around, either in or out of bodies. You read about an incident involving such ability now and then in the news or in a book.

For many, believing in these phenomena seems to require a leap of faith.  I prefer a leap of understanding – of what exactly we’re talking about. Such phenomena can’t be explained unless you understand that humans have two main parts: the spirit and the body, and the spirit is normally senior to and controls the body. A body without life (the spirit) doesn’t do anything, because it is inanimate matter – it is dead. A brain by itself cannot reach out and affect matter apart from the body.

But the “life principle” or “animating principle” is the spirit, and it is the spirit which possesses intelligence and potentially unlimited abilities, including those which take precedence over the physical universe. The spirit and what it influences are not necessarily limited to, or by, the body.

Now for the fun part! I have had several amazing, distinct supernatural experiences during my lifetime that appeared to be demonstrations by someone else of this ability, although in all cases there was nobody else present besides me anywhere in my vicinity! 

The first incident was amazing, and it saved my life. I was in college in the late 60s and my boyfriend and I had taken a secret drive up to the Sierra Nevada to hike and camp in the backcountry. My parents didn’t know and I didn’t want them to find out!  I had to be back for class on Monday morning. We started driving back quite late and were probably going to have to drive all night. It was somewhere on old Highway 99 leading down through the California central valley toward Los Angeles, in my boyfriend’s old ’56 Chevy.

I was driving, unbelievably tired, and I kept almost dozing off and just barely catching myself. Finally I fell sound asleep. Next thing I knew I was jerked into consciousness because the steering wheel suddenly started shimmying crazily back and forth with my hands on it. It jerked me into full wakefulness.  I was still on the road and the car was going straight, but I realized I had been asleep and I was shocked and alarmed.

I frantically asked my boyfriend if he had seen anything or if the car had been shimmying or swerved. He said no, nothing happened, he didn’t see anything. And I realized, even without knowing anything about such a thing as a spiritual being, that somebody, some force, had saved our lives by making the steering wheel either start shimmying for real, or by giving me the distinct illusion that it was shaking hard, and waking me. I was filled with a profound relief and amazement, and I never forgot the experience.

Later, in the 80s, I seemed to have a “guardian spirit” with me at times who would find ways to give me a little tip that I should or should not do something, kind of a reminder to do what I knew I was supposed to do. It felt like a mother-figure. A couple of times, I was alone in my apartment, reading in bed. Both times I was really into the novel and I kept reading waaaaay too long past the time I should have turned off the light and gone to sleep, because I knew that otherwise, it was going to be very difficult for me to get up for work next morning.  But I didn’t have the discipline to stop reading.

All of a sudden, the lamp on my night table starting flashing and blinking on and off erratically — just like in the movies!  It did it for about a second, just long enough to definitely get my attention. I instantly got the idea that somebody was telling me “Go to bed!” so I closed the book, ready to sleep. As soon as I did, the light was steady again. I hadn’t gotten anywhere near the light and there was no physical explanation for the blinking.  The light bulb was fine next day and did not burn out for some time!

Another time, in the same bedroom, I was reading really late, being really bad. There would be consequences in my having difficulty getting up next morning to go to work. All of a sudden the closet door, which was a normal hinged door and which was within my line of sight, began shaking rapidly back and forth, back and forth, all by itself!  It moved about an inch in each direction, very rapidly. There was no denying it, and it was making a noise, a little squeaking sound as it went back and forth.

I could barely believe my eyes! I freaked out for an instant – it was really creepy!  But again I got the distinct impression that a friend in spirit form was saying to me, “Come on, put that darn book down and get to sleep!”  I spoke aloud to the spirit, whoever it was.  I said “OK, I will go to sleep, and I appreciate your caring enough to help me stop reading, but please don’t do this any more … because it really does kind of of creep me out, and I don’t like the feeling that somebody is always here watching what I do. It is too introverting!”  Then I went to bed.  And what do you know, the guardian spirit honored my request – because it never happened again!

Later, reflecting back on the incidents in my bedroom, I was thrilled and humbled to realize that I had had encounters with a quite capable spiritual individual. It meant something to me that someone cared enough for me to try to help me be a better person, even in little ways. 

And of course, I will never forget that out on Highway 99 in Central California in the middle of the night, some very aware, compassionate being found me in my moment of need, and gave me a new chance at life.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

All the best,
D.E. Lamont

A Virtuous or Spiritual Life: All Seriousness and No Fun?

What do I mean by “a virtuous or spiritual life”?  I’m not here addressing holy sisters, priests, monks, apostles, or full-time religious devotees. Instead, I’m talking about most people — those who want to live a good, productive life in keeping with their dreams, goals and the spiritual and moral/ethical values they hold dear.  In other words, possibly you! 

So, perhaps you’ve wondered, to live the best life I am capable of, must I have a serious attitude and engage in serious endeavors most of the time? When I engage in some light diversion is it an omission or a transgression? In order to stay on the straight and narrow and keep going with my projects and purposeful activities, must I omit pleasure? Would seeking to enjoy myself and have fun be a betrayal of my goals and purposes?

Some of the most revered spiritual leaders teach that a light heart and capacity for enjoyment and pleasure are part of a balanced life. The Dalai Lama, one of our greatest modern spiritual leaders, sets such an example, as he can often be observed to be smiling and laughing as he engages with others.

However, in the following passage, philosopher and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard puts these concepts in the clearest perspective. This is my favorite statement about the human need for pleasure:

There is therefore a necessity for pleasure, for working, as happiness can be defined, toward known goals over not unknowable obstacles.  And the necessity for pleasure is such that a great deal of pain can be borne to attain it.  Pleasure is the positive commodity.  It is enjoyment of work, contemplation of deeds well done; it is a good book or a good friend; it is taking all the skin off one’s knees climbing the Matterhorn; it is hearing the kid first say daddy; it is a brawl on the Bund at Shanghai or the whistle of amour from a doorway; it’s adventure and hope and enthusiasm and “someday I’ll learn to paint”; it’s eating a good meal or kissing a pretty girl or playing a stiff game of bluff on the stock exchange. It’s what Man does that he enjoys doing; it’s what Man does that he enjoys contemplating; it’s what Man does that he enjoys remembering; and it may be just the talk of things he knows he’ll never do.Man will endure a lot of pain to obtain a little pleasure. Out in the laboratory of the world, it takes very little time to confirm that.

And how does necessity fit this picture? There is a necessity for pleasure, a necessity as live and quivering and vital as the human heart itself. . . . The creative, the constructive, the beautiful, the harmonious, the adventurous, yes, and even escape from the maw of oblivion, these things are pleasure and these things are necessity.

from Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health, by L. Ron Hubbard, (c) 1950, 2007 L. Ron Hubbard Library

I recommend you get this book so you see the entire context.

Have a day filled with good cheer!
D.E. Lamont

Are the Worlds of Magic and Spirituality Related?

"Rainy River" copyright 2012 by Doug Fairchild

“Rainy River” by Doug Fairchild. Used with permission.

When I was about five, the dramatized story of Peter Pan came on television. I loved everything about the story. I fell in love with Peter Pan (not realizing he was played by a woman, Mary Martin). Tinkerbell was a bright sparkling little light who darted about during the show, working magic. I loved the idea of Tinkerbell having magic fairy dust she could sprinkle around to create wondrous effects.

Best of all, at the very end of Peter Pan, Tinkerbell sprinkled fairydust toward the audience and told them that if they really, truly believed, they would be able to fly – just like Wendy and her brothers. I KNEW that I knew how to fly – I could feel it in the very core of my being – and after the movie ended, I got up on our raised brick hearth and jumped down over and over again, trying to take flight. I never could, but I never gave up hoping. And my love for magic and capabilities that exceeded our everyday reality never abated.

As an adult I searched among various philosophies, religions and the paranormal, interested in finding out what humanity’s true nature was – and if there was any part of us that transcended everyday reality and was greater than the apparent solidity of the material world around us. That part of us I was seeking was the spiritual. I wasn’t so much interested in ghosts, although I believed they probably existed. I was interested in finding out what the potential capabilities of living human beings were.

I came to believe that, somewhat like the X-Men and Superman, we have the potential to overcome our physical limitations and affect ourselves and our world through the power of the spirit – even to the extent of eventually being able to develop wondrous abilities. I also began to find out that many of us, perhaps even most of us, have untapped “paranormal” abilities that simply have not been exercised or developed.

I experienced some of these abilities myself on a minor level – such as “seeing” or getting a visual impression of a place far away from my physical location, or being able to know that someone was trying to reach me. I have also had firsthand experience of being in the presence of a loved and capable individual who was outside a body, yet could communicate to me and manipulate physical objects via direct spiritual means.

So to me, such abilities would not only make life much more interesting, but they would enable us to do good on a broader scale. The knowledge and certainty of one’s spiritual side could make us braver, calmer, and more powerful in a good way.

I finally realized that someday I would truly be able to make my dreams come true and fly – not perhaps with my body, but certainly as a free spiritual being.

All the best,
D.E. Lamont