Dr. Pip Lipkin has lived for 12,000 years, incarnated many times as man, woman, and even as species beyond our world and senses. But he's here for a reason: to pay restitution for an ancient crime by working to save humanity from certain destruction. Ascending Spiral is a book that will take the reader to many different places and times, showing, ultimately,
that our differences and divisions, even at their most devastating, are less important than our similarities.
"Bob Rich powerfully evokes the wounded healer archetype in Ascending Spiral, taking readers on Pip's painful and insightful journey through lifetimes that serve as a shining example of how to turn misery into virtue."
--Diane Wing, author, Coven: Scrolls of the Four Winds
"Dr. Bob Rich's Ascending Spiral is a true genre-buster, incorporating elements of historical fiction, literary fiction, science fiction, and even a hint of nonfiction to create an entertaining novel with an important message."
Magdalena Ball, CompulsiveReader.com
"The way of karma rings true for many people, and this book is a very well written and thoughtful explanation of its message. It is also an exciting, historically accurate series of linked stories that will hold the reader in his chair for a single sitting. Highly recommended."
Frances Burke, author of Endless Time
From Marvelous Spirit Press www.MarvelousSpirit.com
"Books that maximize empowerment of mind and spirit"
|Publisher:||Loving Healing Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.52(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Book 1: Dermot
Over the cliff
The second time I saw my love, she had golden hair, a square face and a terrible temper. She was two years of age, and me four, and when her parents and mine worked in the potato fields, it was my task to keep her from mischief. But as she lay in the dirt and screamed with her face going blue and her heels hammering the ground, that was when I knew I loved her, and always had and always would.
Granny came over. "Good boy, Dermot," she said to me, "You was right to stop her going into the creek." Then she scooped Maeve up and carried her to their cottage.
After this, I sometimes saw deep blue eyes looking through the sky-blue, and dark hair shadow the gold.
One winter's day, our fathers were both out to sea, fishing, and her Ma came over. She walked carefully in the mud, because her tummy was great, like my Ma's. I knew there was a baby in each. Maeve held her Ma's hand and carried a small basket of her own.
I rushed to open the door. Being a big boy, I could now reach the latch on tippy-toes.
In they came, and we shared some fine baking and a hot drink of milk, then were sent off to play in a corner. I had some bits of firewood I'd polished up into dolls. Some I called people, some horses or sheep or dogs. I got these out. "Hey," I said, "this is you and this is me."
"Nah. No it isn't."
"C'mon Sheilagh ..." Huh? Where had that name come from? I knew no one called Sheilagh.
"Me name's Maeve. MaevEEEE!"
Her Ma shouted, "And Maeve, keep it down you hear, or I'll paddle your bottom!"
She did grow out of being Tantrum Monster Mistress No. Then my fun was to play with the other boys, but all Maeve wanted was to tag along behind me, and I couldn't get rid of her.
The first time Da took me out fishing, she stood on the beach, great tears wetting her face for being left behind. So, on my return, I triumphantly made her a gift of the first fish I'd ever caught. "Oh Dermot," she said with a great grin, "doesn't it even look like you!" With that she whirled, fish clutched to her chest, and ran to her Ma, cooking at the fireplace. As I followed, she said, all sweetness, "Ma, look at the wonderful fish Dermot caught, just for me!" That was her, during all our childhood: the needle and the honey.
Sometimes, I needed to get away from her. Twelve I was when I made a fishing rod, and learned to tease the trout in the creeks above the fields. I cut a long willow branch and carefully seasoned it to stay supple, and saved the long strings that came on the occasional parcel from the city of Dublin, over on the other side. This string was the thickness of my finger and rough, but it made do. I fashioned a hook from a knot on a twig, and a sinker from a stone, and on the first day came back with three trout.
It was good I caught them, because Ma could not say I was wasting time, but for myself I cared not. It was a blessing to be away from all people, all noise, the smell of the pigs, the chatter and worry. I could be alone under God's sky, at peace, dreaming of nothing much.
I was now old enough to listen in on adult conversations. This was most interesting when traveling traders passed through. One had a name I thought funny: Mr. Connor O'Connor, but he was a wise man with gray in his beard, so I kept the laughing inside. On one of his visits he talked about a new kind of gun the English had, and used against the French. It had rifling in the barrel and so could shoot accurately for surprising distances. Only, and I found this funny too, Mr. O'Connor told us he had no idea what rifling in the barrel may be.
Trouble was brewing in the land. The accursed English took everything, and gave nothing but grief to anyone who complained. If you were a Catholic, or even a Presbyterian, whatever they were, you could not vote in Parliament, though I didn't know why that mattered. "There will be bloody rebellion, mark my words," Uncle Dan, the oldest in the village, said whenever anyone would listen, or even if nobody did. The words gave me a thrill. I dreamt of heroic deeds, of being part of a mighty army smashing the overlords, sending them back home.
On Sundays Father Liam arrived on his horse about midmorning, and held mass. We all ate together after this, then he left for the next village. Uncle Dan got out his tin whistle, my Da his drum, and all the young men and girls lined up to dance. One Sunday, Maeve grabbed my hand and dragged me into the line. We'd watched the dancers many a time, so were quick to pick up the steps of every dance, and I will admit it was fun, even when little cat Maeve dug her fingernails into my hand, with the sweetest of grins. And after this day, I could not get out of it if I'd wanted to: when the young men and maidens danced, so did the two of us.
But life was mostly work now: hilling the potatoes, braving storms in our boats to bring in the fish, slaughtering a pig in the snow, carrying stones to terrace a new field, helping father to make whiskey, repairing a leaking thatch roof, whatever was needed.
I had a special bond with my father's best horse, Harry, a large young gelding who was as happy pulling a cart or a plough as being ridden. He was the first horse I'd ever trained, under Da's supervision. One summer day I was up on his back, returning from a message for my father from the next village, when somehow I felt uneasy. I looked up at the scrub on the hillside above, and out to the right over the sea, then turned to look behind. A yellow dust cloud rose above the hill I'd just descended, and that was when I noticed a vibration in the ground. Before I could do anything a group of galloping riders burst over the rise, two abreast along the narrow road. The lead man's arm moved in a circle, then a terrible sting along my side, and Harry jumped, crashed into something, and I was falling off the edge, falling, down toward the sea.
Over the drumming of hooves, I heard laughter.
Agony beyond bearing. I opened my eyes, but made no sense of what I saw. Through a blur, I was looking at something brown. Salt water washed over my head, into my mouth, nose and eyes. I coughed, and must again have fainted for a moment from the pain.
Very, very carefully, I managed to raise myself on an elbow. Under me, wedged between two sharp rocks, was poor Harry, very clearly dead. I'd landed on top of him, missing those rocks.
My left arm was bent halfway between elbow and shoulder. Every breath was a sawtoothed knife there, but I had to move, or die. Bit by bit, I managed to kneel, holding my left arm with the right hand, but when I tried to stand, an even worse jolt of agony speared into my left leg. I looked down to see bloody bone poking through the skin. I knew I was as good as dead.
After an unknown time of despair, I heard, "Hey, down there!" I looked up to see Mr. O'Shea, the man I'd visited.
"Oh Dermot. Don't move, lad. We'll get you out by boat."
I don't know how long it took them, but the tide was well out by then. They beached the boat, gently put me on a scrap of fishing net and the four of them lifted me in. Then they rowed out, hauled up the sail and headed north, away from my home.
When the first wave pitched the boat, I screamed, to my shame. A man gave me a flask and I took a mouthful. The whiskey burned its way down, dulling the pain. They gave me a rope to bite on, and I closed my eyes and endured. Twice more I got a slug of whiskey, and at last we pulled in to a big wharf. It was the dark of night by then. Again they carried me on some netting, into a building. I heard Mr. O'Shea say through the fog in my head, "The blessing of God on you, Doctor. The accursed English threw this lad over a cliff." Someone held a cup to my lips. I swallowed, more burning liquid but tasting different, then darkness came.
When I awoke, my arm and leg hurt no more than from a bad cut, but my head pounded with a terrible pulsing rhythm. I'd often seen men with the hangover of course, and knew it was the price for the relief of the whiskey. I must have made a noise, for a door squeaked and a woman said, "Awake, are ye, lad?" She came into my view: an old woman with a haggard face but kind eyes. She helped me to sit, and I saw that my broken arm was nestled between two shaped bits of timber, with padding under. She'd brought a big cup with steam rising from it, and I drank, a tasty broth that filled my stomach and settled my headache. Then I slept.
Father arrived the next day. "Sorry you're laid up, son," he said, "and sorry to have lost Harry. Good horse he was."
"The best, Da." I sat up, and he put an extra pillow behind me.
"Bernie O'Shea came and told me about it. Bloody English. This can't go on."
"What were they doing here?"
"Surveying the land, they said."
"What's that mean?"
"Lookin' over to see which bits they'll steal next."
"Da, buy me a gun. By the time I'm grown, I want to be the best English-killer in the land."
"Dermot, we've got a gun."
"That little old thing? It's fine for shooting birds. I want a modern gun with rifling in the barrel, like Mr. O'Connor told us about. I'll make it pay, hunting."
He thought. "We can afford it, just sell more whiskey. Finding one to buy, and the ammunition for it, that's something else. Oh ... I nearly forgot." He reached into his bag and pulled out a parcel, wrapped in a clean white cloth. "For you from your sweetheart."
"My she-cat you mean?" We laughed together while I unwrapped it. And as I chewed the first sweet mouthful, I heard Maeve's giggling laugh.
I healed. We did buy a rifled gun, all the sweeter for having been stolen from the English. The man selling it said that you needed the same size bullet as for a redcoat's musket, but wrapped in a bit of paper, and that you had to keep the barrel clean. Ammunition proved easy: we bought powder and shot for our fowling gun, and re-melted the balls into bullets of the right size. Soon the rifle started paying for itself. I provided enough meat for several families, and also we made money from the skin and fur. Father and I built a tanning shed well away from the village, and several women sewed the skins I supplied into ladies' handbags, fur coats and wallets, I know not what else for that was not my concern.
Hunting gave me many days of blessed solitude, and although tanning was a smelly business, I didn't mind. Fishing is smelly too.
Of course, as I grew, so did Maeve. Every man's eye shone with lust upon seeing her. I noticed even old Uncle Dan looking at her with more than appreciation. And the two best memories of my life are from this time.
One was the pleasure of dancing. She was joy in motion: curly golden hair a flag behind her, white grin, that lissome figure a moving poem. Our favorite dance was the stomp. There were six beats of double notes, followed by a rapid triple. The dance was steps forward and back with my arms folded across my chest, then three rapid stomps of the foot when the drum did its triple beat, then grabbing Maeve's hands and swinging her around so we ended up in the place the other started from, then repeating over and over. It was a simple dance to simple music, but we both loved it. The memory of this dance has kept me alive, many a time.
Then there was the spring day she proposed to me — as always, she led and I followed.
I had to get a load of furs from the tanning shed, and harnessed our mare Blackie to the cart. As I headed up into the hills, Maeve came running after me. "I'm coming with you," she said, blue eyes glinting with mischief.
"What will your mother say?"
She laughed. "It's easier to say sorry after than to ask permission."
We soon arrived, and piled the cart full. I gave Blackie a drink while Maeve gazed up at the breathtaking beauty of the flower-covered hillside. "Dermot, come here," she ordered, and I came. We meandered all over with my arm around her shoulder, hers around my waist, till she stopped, near the edge of a sudden drop, with the sea below. I had the feeling that I'd been like this before, with her, in just such a place, but of course I knew this couldn't be true.
She turned to face me, eyes luminous, mouth slightly open.
I raised my hands, and stroked her face from temples to chin.
She stepped even closer. I felt both love and lust for her. I gently pulled her head toward me. She came willingly, and as we kissed, her arms went around me and she hugged me so I felt her breasts against my chest. My erection almost hurt, although this was anything but lewd: more like religious worship in feeling.
As my hands held her shoulders, she wriggled, like a cat relishing a stroke does. "Dermot," she murmured, "it's time you and me got married."
It was arranged with Father Liam, for three weeks ahead.
Word came the next week: rebellion had broken out. The village was abuzz. Maeve came to me. "You're going, aren't you?"
"I have to go."
"Yes, and you may not come back. I want your child, in case ..."
We didn't need to talk, just walked up above the tanning shed, into the field of flowers, and there gently undressed each other. Naked, she looked even more lovely. Often have I wished I were a sculptor, so I could make a statue of her.
With the soft green grass caressing our skin, our bodies and spirits became as one. Then it was my time to go to war.
War was disaster. Oh, I heard that we'd had great victories in Wicklow, but I never saw one battle where we got the better of them. Our leaders knew not what they were doing. Our men were brave enough, but without discipline, without skill. I've seen a hundred English soldiers devastate Irishmen five times their number. They acted as one man, and after each of their victories, their confidence grew, ours shattered.
I was usually safe enough, because of my rifle and my skill with it. Typically, I was sent to some high place alone, and from there picked off one Englishman after another. I started with the officers, and worked my way down. Indeed, my wish as a boy came true — I may have killed more English than any other man.
Still, it was all for naught. Battle after battle they won, and captured men by the hundreds. Hidden safely up some hill, often I saw the slaughter of the prisoners. These English were less than human. They tortured wounded men, killing them as slowly as they could.
Guilt ate me as I escaped, time and again. But what good could I do by dying or being captured also? My duty was to stay free, and kill as many of the monsters as I could.
I did so, even when alone, living off the land. I slit the throat of many a sentry. They were easy to find by their smell alone, for these English didn't seem to wash themselves. Several times I set fire to buildings they slept in, then picked them off with my rifle as they rushed out, clear to see with the flames behind them. Then I ran, dissolving into the dark countryside long before they could shoot back at me.
When I needed to, I stripped my victims of powder, shot, and also food and good Irish whiskey, which they liked as much as we did. Then I spent an hour or so, wrapping each bullet in paper, which I also borrowed when I could.
Often I thought, I may have been the last Irishman to carry on the fight.
Slowly I made my way over to the west coast, toward home.
Ever cautious, at last I reached country I knew, the steep, rugged hills where I'd hunted for three years. Something was wrong: I sighted the tracks of a pig, then of a couple of sheep. I knew what this meant: devastated villages. Domestic animals are too valuable to the living to be let loose.
I looked west from a tall peak. The forest, my forest, had a big bare patch in it, like the mange on an old dog. I already was a killer. If not, this would have turned me into one. That forest had been my church, my connection to God, but for the English it was merely timber with land under it.
For the first time since childhood, I cried. I knew they were dead. They had to be dead: my parents, sisters and brothers, all the people of the village I loved ... and above all Maeve. Horrid visions tortured my inner eye, of what the savage, barbaric English must have done to her, to my love, to my all. I'd seen them at it elsewhere, and many a time had I avenged poor girls and women, raped before being killed.
But here, no doubt I was too late. The soldiers were sure to have moved on years ago, leaving ruins and corpses behind.
I waited till dark, and made my way to the tanning shed. It still stood, but the lack of a stink showed that it had been unused for a long time. A few old, brittle skins remained, and with amusement I noticed my ancient fishing rod leaning against the back wall.
I ghosted down the well-known path though it was overgrown, the starlight enough for my experienced eyes. There was the ocean, a luminous darkness, and the dark shapes of the cottages.
All was silent. I detected no scent of smoke, no smell of pigs or horses or last evening's dinner. My heart was a black stone within me.
Excerpted from "Ascending Spiral"
Copyright © 2013 Bob Rich.
Excerpted by permission of Loving Healing Press, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Book 1: Dermot,
Book 2: Amelia,
Book 3: Other Worlds,
Book 4: Pip,