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White Heart Print E-mail
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White Heart
by Heather Rose

whiteheart.jpg

Life is, in itself, an initiation. From our childhood joys and woundings to the resolutions, resignations, and reconciliations of our later years, the journey leaves us very different from the way we began it. There are no guarantees that any of us will finish, nor end up whole if we do.

Heather Rose's White Heart is the tale of Farley Willow's journey so far, and it is a spiritual journey - one that takes her far from her native Tasmania to the American Southwest, following a path that her dreams have called her to follow. Along the way, she is beset by her demons, her doubts and her memories.

Back and forth from Tasmania to America, we follow Farley as she is tugged by two parallel threads. In Tasmania, she struggles with her relationships to the men in her life and becomes a single mother. This thread is about her past - her parents and their legacy, her brother and his haunting presence, her failures and successes.

Like so many others, Farley also feels the pull of the Lakota Sundance ceremony. In her case, this pull is felt across the vast Pacific and it draws her into a world that is completely foreign: the harsh and demanding world of the sweatlodge, the vision fast, and the Sundance. This thread is about Farleys unknown future - she has no idea whether she will survive this part of her journey, only hope and a vision. She commits to four years of Sundance, each dance lasting four days, four days without food or water, four days of dancing and prayer.

Tangled at the intersection of these two threads, Farley struggles like a fish in a net. She is fish and net at once - and the only way to slip that trap is to be like Coyote, change the context, change the rules, become something else, someone else.

This transformation takes place on the last day of her last Sundance. Four days without food nor water, dancing hard and praying under the hot New Mexico sun take Farley out of her body and across the threshold. It's a bit of a brutal birth.

Reborn, Farley returns to Tasmania to her ordinary life. The past is reconciled, truths revealed , illusions dissolved. The future is unknown, but no longer a mystery. She lives now in the present, like the monk in the Ten Oxen returning to the market after enlightenment on the mountain. But there are surprises and revelations that make you glad you stuck with Farley through the journey.

This is a classic tale of a spiritual journey, set in our modern world. Well-crafted, the story flows beautifully and speaks truthfully - it's a good read, with some gorgeous passages. It has been a bestseller in Tasmania and I recommend it - but until Anchor Australia cuts a deal with a US publisher/distributor, you'll have to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it at Fullers Bookshop in Hobart. The paperback will run you about US$11 plus a few dollars for shipping. Well worth it, I think - I know I've paid more for a good read - and it's nice to to know you are part of the global economy in a personal way.

 

Copyright © 2000 by Munro Sickafoose

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