Sunday, August 29, 2021

Mango Season


There was a powerful Monsoon storm this afternoon, it rolled in perfectly on time (between 4 and 6 as always), the Great Thunder Gods announcing themselves as they came.  Suddenly the skies opened and rain came roaring down, bring it's blessings and cool air and winds, and once again the streets filled with rushing water, the sidewalk became a river, and it all ended within an hour as the Monsoon moved on.  I was reminded of the same phenomenon in an entirely different place,  more than 20 years ago when I was in Bali.  

I went to Bali to study sacred  mask arts and traditional masked theatre, and worked for a while with Ida Bagus Anom, a Brahman traditional mask artist, although Anom was anything except traditional! Bali truly embraced me!  Within a matter of 2 months there I had had a show and performance at Buka Creati Gallery in Ubud, became friends with an Australian healer and an Australian artist whose work was all about the Goddess, I'd travelled through the country, had many conversations with both Balinese and Ex-pats, and was completely in love with Bali's art, culture, and spirituality.  I remember being at the airport, getting ready to board the plane, and thinking "Why am I leaving?  I am so much more at home here than I am in Tucson?"  I assumed I would be back, but I never did go back, and I will always have some regrets about getting on that plane.  In time, I became responsible for the care of my brother, and then my mother - it was while visiting her at an assisted living facility where she eventually needed to live that I wrote this poem.  It's  not about monsoons, but about Mangos, which are literally the fruit of Monsoons, the gifts of the Gods.

Mango Season


Parking on the second level,

I struggle sometimes with fate and duty.


Turning the key, my tropical imagination

carries me far away

to wander among volcanic archipelagos,

I remember the Island of the Gods

in mango season.


Here, summer heat rises

from waterless pavements.

I walk to the "Memory Care" unit

a long beige hallway, too familiar now.


Bewildered eyes regard me from wheelchairs.

The old man in the white striped shirt says,


"Take me home. I don't belong here".


If I could, if I only could,

I would take us all home.


Instead, I bring fruit

imagining for them

mango season

in all its splendor.



from APHRODITE IN BROOKLYN and Other Mythic Voices 

Friday, August 27, 2021

La Llorona

La Llorona


Sometimes you walk out

under an old, cold moon to call.

You call, but there is no answer,

no heartbeat, no rhythm to follow or find.


Dry.  All you hear is traffic, dust,

Smoke obscuring the distance. 

Your time is eaten by long lists of little things.

The sounds of human discord ring like a broken bell

where once the lucid air sang among the stones,

this you know with bone knowledge,

bone history, you know this with your feet.


Where once the lucid air sang among the subtle stones,

metates, petroglyphs.  Where once a river flowed.

Even here, a river, before the cattle,

cars, too much thankless taking.


As if the waters would always flow.

As if the breast would never run dry.

As if, as if there were no children lost

And yet unborn, their open mouths,

Crying just beneath your feet.


Dry.  I look into my life, the river is dry.

I have also been eaten. There is no magic to replenish

these years made of too many little things. 

Sometimes, you hold your hands to the mountain

You ask, "whose hands are these?"


Am I not also this land?

One small and moving piece of it?

You call, but there is no answer.


Where have they gone?  Coyote moon celebrant,

even Snake and Scorpion, who leave all stones best unturned?

Plastic katchinas made in China invent them.

Spirals written among the holy rocks are silent,

where old men push little balls across green grass

among the desert's drought.


Here, where once a river ran,

A river that ghosts among the stars.


In looking at my 2018 illustrated poetry collection  APHRODITE IN BROOKLYN and Other Mythic Voices  I've had the urge to share some of them here (well, some of them I've already shared over the years but they are finally finished  now!) Since very few people will ever read it, and I'm not doing any copyright infringements, I think I will share some of them here.  This poem "ghosts" a river that sometimes I glimpse, a river lost in the dry arroyos of consumer culture.  Perhaps, not my most optimistic of poems.............



Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Sig Lonegren on Sacred Sites and Consciousness

"My understanding was that the driving factor in the construction of purpose-built sacred spaces in prehistoric times was the loss of the ability of more and more of humanity to connect on a conscious level with the world of spirit.  I felt, and still do, that the archaeoastronomy, sacred geometry and Earth Energies all enhanced the ability of this connection as we became more and more left-brain/rational."

Over the years I've included in this Blog articles by Sig Lonegren,  who I consider an important teacher for me.  Recently I found a 2012 UTube Interview with him, and felt like sharing it here.  For those interested in Earth Mysteries, follow the links to Sig Lonegren, his writings and interviews or videos..........and you will travel down a fascinating path that challenges paradigms.

Sig is a dowser and a geomancer, and he has spent many years exploring  sacred places, in England, Europe, and in the U.S.  As a dowser myself, I've experienced shifts in energy - which means also shifts in  consciousness and perception -many times when visiting areas that are geomantically potent, be it the henge of Avebury,  or the labyrinth at Unity Church in Tucson. Sig demonstrated that Sites are able to change consciousness (raise energy) because they are intrinsically geomantically potent, and/or  they also become potent because of human interaction with the innate intelligence of place, what the Greeks called "genus loci".  Geomantic reciprocity - as human beings bring intentionality, reverence and focus to a particular place, building sacred architecture, or engaging in ritual.  Sacred places have both an innate and a developed capacity to transform consciousness. 

Why would the ancient people who built Stonehenge spend generations hauling monstrous (and apparently specific) stones hundreds of miles to pose them in  circles, laid  in various alignments with the skies, seasons, and land? According to Sig, who references psychologist Julian Jayne's controversial 1970's book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, possibly because, as human culture and language became increasingly complex,  we began to lose mediumistic consciousness,  a daily, conversant Gnosis.  With the gradual ascendancy of left-brained reasoning he suggests the ancients developed a concern with how to continue contact with the gods, the ancestors, the numina of the land. 

 Stonehenge was a temple on a sacred landscape - according to Sig, it may also represent a "last ditch effort" to keep in touch with the spirit world as communal experience.   As the rift between personal gnosis and spiritual contact deepened,  gradually  Gnosis was replaced by complex religious institutions that removed individuals from the earlier tribal mind, and rendered spiritual authority to priests who were often viewed as  the sole representatives of  the  Gods or God.  

 As Sig has commented:

"I have been arguing for decades that these (sacred) spaces were special places that enhance the possibility of connection to the other side - to the One.  Please judge what follows in that context. You may well find that it challenges some of your paradigms you hold about the past.  It combines two separate lines of investigation that support the perception that these spaces really “did what’s on the box.”  The gods came to earth.  And us humans in great numbers communicated directly with them.  

Since the mid-seventies when I began work on my Masters’ degree on Sacred Space, one of the major themes I have chewed on has been the shift from the dominance of that more intuitive right brain in prehistory to the analytical left brain brought to us by (IMHO) the increase of influence of the Patriarchy.  The book that really turned me on initially was The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes, first published in 1976. 

I don’t agree with some of what he has to say, for example, his choice of a particular word to describe how our prehistoric ancestors received their right brain information - "hallucinations."  I don't think that's what they were.  But on the whole, I found his thesis most useful in forming my perception of this global shift in consciousness.   It began with the Neolithic Revolution - the increasing use of agriculture rather than hunter gathering.  It facilitated a shift in consciousness.  My understanding was that the driving factor in the construction of purpose-built sacred spaces in prehistoric times was the loss of the ability of more and more of humanity to connect on a conscious level with the world of spirit.  I felt, and still do, that the archaeoastronomy, sacred geometry and Earth Energies all enhanced the ability of this connection as we became more and more left-brain/rational.  I wrote about this at great length in my first book, Spiritual Dowsing, initially published in 1986."

Sig Lonegren (2012)


Jaynes, Julian. 1976. The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. (Available from Amazon Books.)

Lonegren, Sig. 2007. Spiritual Dowsing. Glastonbury, England: Gothic Image. History of the earth energies, healing and other uses of dowsing today. A book for the spiritual pilgrim. Initially published 1986. ISBN 978-0-906362-70-9.  (Available from Amazon books).

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Afghanistan: Memory and Tragedy

Photo by Steve McCurry

I am very deeply saddened by the fall of Kabul, and of the country of Afghanistan, this past week to the Taliban, a violent, feudal, fundamentalist regime.  While it was probably  inevitable that it would happen, as Afghanstan is a country that has been devastated with war ever since the coup of 1973,  I do not speak to that here, or try to analyze the sad desolation of the country since that time.  And while debate and blame rages on the internet about the U.S. withdrawal, leaving the people of Afghanistan  to their fate, while internet voices loudly blame the Bush presidency and the military complex for invading in the first  place,  and equally, while voices on the internet condemn Biden's presidency for withdrawing from Afghanistan after 20 years.............I don't chose to speak to that either in this post.  

I just grieve for the people of Afghanistan, some of whom I knew long ago in my youth.  I grieve especially for the women and girls, who will now be utterly oppressed by a patriarchal religion and regime that regards women as, in essence, slaves.  And affords them virtually no freedom. They will have no sovereignty any longer, and many will be punished or killed for whatever freedoms they briefly enjoyed during the American occupation.   I grieve for the hope so many Afghans had when they were liberated, at least in the urban centers, in the early 2000's.  I grieve for the intellectuals, the doctors and teachers and artists and writers and scientists, who will now be forced to flee, if they can, from a feudal oppressive religious regime that will allow no free thought or freedom of speech.  I grieve for the genocide that will now come, indeed, is no doubt going on as I write, as people who are accused of being associated with the Americans are killed by the "rightous warriors" of Allah.

Or "God", or "Mohammed" or "Yaweh" or even, sadly "Jesus"  -  all the womanless, merciless   gods of authoritarian Patriarchy, concretized into religions that their enlightened Prophets of long ago would no doubt be horrified by.  All the suffering, all the endless violence in the name of these "gods", whether it is the burning of witches at the Inquisition, or the  enslavement of the women of Kabul.


Photo by Steve McCurry

1966:  A Memory 

Image result for istalif afghanistan

Photo of Istalif area

Istalif, outside of Kabul, was famous for its blue glass artisans, and its beautiful blue pottery.  Maybe it still is. I don’t know – my memories are of bulky azure glasses, and thick strands of cerulean beads that jingled on the camel harnesses, and occasionally the wrists, of nomadic Kootchi women passing through Kabul, where I lived as a teenager, as they made their seasonal routes  in caravans.  Probably they no longer do this journey through Afghanistan, which has been war torn for so very long.  I don't know, but I remember the Kootchis,  and I remember the camels.  

My father worked for U.S. A.I.D., and I attended an international school in Kabul.  This was during the very hopeful and prosperous days of the Sorbonne educated King Mohammed Zahir Shah  who was dedicated to modernizing the country, and brought into Kabul embassies and aid from countries aroundt he world.  The American Compound and community in Kabul was extensive, and included my father, who worked with the Teacher's College at the University of Kabul.   It was an exciting time for the country - in Kabul women were becoming educated, taking off the veil, western technologies and medicine were flooding into the urban centers and being dispersed into the more rural areas, and even the arts flourished in Kabul. 

And I was just another "embassy brat", finishing up my last high school  year at A.I.S.K. (the American International School of Kabul).  I was 16,  and like all 16 year olds, I thought mostly about romance, adventure, and what was "new and happening", which at the time was  the Beatles, mini skirts, and Swinging London. 

Just before I left Afghanistan, my family went for an excursion to Istalif,  a village not too far from Kabul.  It was late spring, and waters rushed down in cold, lively streams from fierce mountains still snow-clad.  Many  westerners went to Istalif to sight-see, and there was a rather  exclusive restaurant that catered to foreigners there - it offered a good view, and  coffee and pastries.

Image result for istalif afghanistan
Shop in Istalif with famous turquoise wares

Debbie Simon (my best friend) and I were, like all 16 year olds, eager to get away from the boring conversations of our elders. Dressed in our French coats, our high black boots and mod turtlenecks, with adolescent stealth we escaped the tabled terraces for a while, to walk below on  granite boulders that overlooked a stream.  We were young, fashionable, and elated with the prospect of leaving Afghanistan.  Debbie was headed home to New York, and I was going to London to attend a secretarial college.  

Debbie’s father worked for the Embassy, and both our fathers had completed their assignments.  We were going back to the states at last!   Back to  the Rolling Stones and boys and beaches and college sooner or later.   
As we talked excitedly, not so far away was a familiar sight – a group of local women doing laundry by the stream. Seeing us approach, they had dropped their chadoris over their faces, and now resembled a collection of multi-colored tents huddled among the  rocks.  We paid no attention to them, and they returned to their work.

I didn’t notice when one “tent” disengaged from the rest and quietly approached us.   But we grew silent as she came to stand,  silently, about fifteen feet before us, her face hidden under layers of pleated cloth, an opaque net before her eyes.   As we watched in surprise, her hands emerged from the chador to lift it above her face.  

Before us stood a girl of 16 or 17.  Black eyes lined in kohl shone with humor.   She smiled shyly at each of us as she lifted her veil,  and then she dropped it before her face again, turned and walked back to the group of veiled women as Debbie and I stood  silently on our rock by the stream.

I don't know why she approached us. Perhaps she just wanted to let us know that she also was young and pretty, reminding us of our common youth, and yet living in worlds so far apart.   I never forgot that moment - it was a gift.  

I also never have forgotten the enormous privilege my life has been.

Photo by Steve McCurry

Photos by Steve McCurry

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Prayers for the Dying - 7 Years later

"Prayers for the Dying" (triptech) 2014
I remembered that exactly 7 years ago, in 2014,  I had life support withdrawn from my brother, Glenn, and had to watch him die.  Glenn suffered a massive stroke that left him brain dead in 2008.  But because he did not leave a living will, and my mother refused to remove life support, he was artificially sustained by life support for 6 years.  In 2014 I was able, finally, to remove life support and allow his body to die - although I very much felt his spirit had left long before that event.  I made a series of sculptures for him, sculptures that were really prayers made visible to, I hoped, help him to leave this world.  I just felt like remembering today, and sharing those sculptures.  I copy below the post from 2014 that still describes the event, and the sculptures, pretty well.  Wherever Glenn is, I know that his suffering is long past him, and I believe he wishes me very well.  


 August 2014


   Do not stand at my grave and weep,
    I am not there; I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow,
    I am the diamond glints on snow,
    I am the sun on ripened grain,
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circling flight.
    I am the soft star-shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there; I did not die.
    Ann Frye
"Form Is Empty" (2009)
In 2008 my brother suffered a brain stem stroke.  Because he did not have a living will, since then he has been on complete life support.  In 2009 he was pronounced brain dead.  My mother is now in a nursing home with Alzheimer's, and my other brother has finally agreed to allow me to withdraw life support for Glenn, which we will do on the 15th of this month.  

 Above is a card I made for Glenn  in 2009 when I created a "Dia De Los Muertos" Alter at Wesley as their resident artist.  The images reflect things that Glenn loved, and dreams, such as travelling to India, that he had.  

Below is one of the three sculptures I made in 2009 for Glenn, honoring his long interest in Buddhism. All of them have tiles with words and phrases pressed into the clay, symbols and antique designs, all of them, like pottery shards, broken, disordered, "de-constructing".  In this realm of being, words and symbols are what we construct our ideas of life from, the "shells" we create our identities from.  In  "Form is Empty" I saw the hand of the dying reaching through the shattering of form toward the offering hand of the Divine, the greater Self. 

It's been such a long time that I have grown numb to it, to be honest, worn out.  I've tried all kinds of strategies to come to grips with the situation, including calling in a medium several times who told me that Glenn was not in his body, and that he had "crossed over".  I was comforted by that.  Towards the end of his life Glenn was a bitter recluse, and I know that he was tired of the life he had.  That made the situation that much more awful to me.  I'm relieved that this is soon going to be over.

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” 

Gospel of Thomas

I suppose it sounds hard, but people take a long time to die, and after a while, you just have to go on with life, or you lose your life to the dying.  I was my beloved grandmother's caretaker for 5 years as teenager, and I learned after a while to be "selfish" enough to allow myself an adolescence.  To survive in a family with much dysfunction.  In many ways, Glenn was the most sensitive sibling, talented and intelligent,  and I'm not sure he did "survive" - so many of the things he wanted to do he never was able to.  

I often think of the quote above from the Gospel of Thomas.  I think Jesus was talking about the great creative drive that every being incarnates with, a kind of individual purpose or purposes we all have.  We have to be responsible to the needs of family and tribe.........but we also have to honor what Joseph Campbell called "following your bliss", your unique path and calling. Sometimes the demands of family or tribe are wrong, the values inappropriate.  Sometimes relationships keep us from evolving..............In examining my life, I'm glad I was both rebellious and "selfish".   I wish Glenn had been able to do so as well, and I think of him free, and able to create a new life in the other realms.

Form Is Empty

"The Heart Sutra" (2009)

One story I remember was in 2011,  when I began to remodel my mother's house after she went into assisted living.  My other brother, David, left Glenn's room exactly as it was, including a locked closet that was full of guns, reflecting the paranoia and isolation Glenn felt. David refused to open it.   Finally, when he went back to California, I decided to clear out Glenn's room no matter what David thought, and I painted it a bright sky blue, as a ritual, to embody peace, and the open sky, release.  As I was painting around the door of the locked very gently opened!

I took the guns, sold them, and sent the money to a couple of charities, including sponsoring a girl in Nepal, which I felt was another way to change the energy, to "open the way" for Glenn's spirit to be free.  I like to think, am pretty sure, that that opening door was Glenn's way of letting me know that all was well.  Unfortunately, my other brother refuses to consider anything he thinks is "metaphysical nonsense", so he's unable to benefit from experiences like this.

 In the 2nd piece, "The Heart Sutra",  I used the hand of a 90 year old woman and a 9 year old child.  The Heart is what lies between.

One of the things I hate about any kind if  fundamentalism  is the endless heavy footprint  of patriarchal preoccupation with sin, punishment, torture, etc.  The Old Testament tribal war gods have a lot of rules, and no mercy.   I've met people so terrified of death because they feel they'll be tortured forever  by some vicious god or devil. 

 How much wiser the Egyptian concept of Maat, who holds a feather and a scale before the door of  death and new life.  With "the Questions of Maat", the Goddess helps souls to weigh the lives they've had, to understand, to "fore-give" and be "fore-given".  She is both grief and praise, and as I understand the word "forgive", it means to not hold on, but to release the energy in order to give it fore-ward, into new form, new love, new creation.   When at last each soul is  "as light as the feather of Maat", the door opens, and they can pass on.

"Holy Mother Take Me Home" (2009)

A River Runs Through Us
"Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. "
Norman MacLean, "A River Runs Through It"

The last piece, "Holy Mother Take Me Home",   is a prayer to the Goddess, the Source.  I used a child's hand again, and the broken shards, with all the words, float down the river of light.  We're all children, really, all children.  She reaches out Her hand to take us Home.  It doesn't matter what you've done, where you've been, what kind of life you think you've led or not led.  She waits.  

It's been a long journey Glenn.  Be at peace.  

"We have been raised to think that our body ended here, with this bag of skin, or with our possessions or education or house.  Now we begin to realize that our body is the world."

Joanna Macy

Friday, August 13, 2021

Friday the 13th

For some of us, Friday the 13th is not a bad luck day at all, in fact, it's auspicious for the Goddess, and highly misunderstood.  And as for honey moons, that also is something with  a bit of little known history.

For one thing, "Friday" originally was dedicated to the Nordic Goddess Freya, otherwise known as "Freya's Day".  Freya was one of the oldest of the Nordic Gods, one of the Vanir** known for her beauty, her compassion (amber is still called "Freya's tears" ), and  importantly, she was the Goddess of love, sensuality, and, along with Odin, also associated with Seiðr,  sorcery, which may very well pertain to pre-Christian shamanic practices and beliefs.  

There are further connections between "Friday the 13" and the Goddess, the most notable being that the number 13 represents the number of lunations in a year, and in many traditions is sacred to the Goddess or the feminine aspect of deity, because there are thus 13 menstrual cycles in the year.  In many early cultures the year was determined by the number 13, the number of moons.  And last, of course, the Moon is almost universally  associated with the Goddesses, including Selene, Isis, Artemis, and so on...............a lot of "feminine" energy, imagery, his-story, and symbology going on here, and depending on your theological point of view, either very superstitious, or very fortunate!  It is worth noting that we can see what happened to the once Sacred Day of Friday the 13th in the course of patriarchy by noting that we now (in the West) have a single male God with no wife, no mother, no daughter.  Who doesn't seem to like women very much at all.

Freya is the patron and protector of all Cats - and she is sometimes depicted as being driven in her chariot by her cats.  This is a Goddess I can very much appreciate.

Last, many people may not realize that in medieval Northern Europe it was often the custom to give a newly married couple a months supply of honey mead, which was considered a very special, rare, and rather magical brew, in the hopes that it might help to bring about fertility and love.  Hence, the "Honeymoon".  This also was associated with Freya's Blessings.

John Bauer "Freya"

In Norse mythology, the Vanir (singular Vanr) are a group of gods associated with fertility, wisdom and the ability to see the future. The Vanir are one of two groups of gods (the other being the Æsir) and are the namesake of the location Vanaheimr (Old Norse "Home of the Vanir"). After the Æsir–Vanir War, the Vanir became a subgroup of the Æsir. Subsequently, members of the Vanir are sometimes also referred to as members of the Æsir. 

"We are the Ones We've Been Waiting For": Revisiting the Hopi Prophecy

artist unknown 

Recently a video (posted herein) was sent to me by a friend, and it took me back to an article I wrote in this Blog about the "2012" prophecy, the so called Ending of the Hopi and Mayan Calendar:  the end of the 4th Age and the beginning of the 5th Age.  So I took the liberty of re-posting here an article from my Blog in 2012 as we approached the Solstice and the "beginning of the 5th Age"  It also has a fascinating article by  Daniel Pinchbeck within the post.  And I copy below a poem that circulated around the internet for years.  Although the attribution cannot be proven, it is still a very meaningful warning.

We are the Ones We've Been Waiting For

(attributed to a  Hopi Elder

You have been telling people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered…

Where are you living?

What are you doing?

What are your relationships?

Are you in right relation?

Where is your water?

Know your garden.

It is time to speak your truth.

Create your community.

Be good to each other.

And do not look outside yourself for your leader.

This could be a good time!

 There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.

And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt."

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word ’struggle’ from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

--Hopi Elders' Prophecy, June 8, 2000

2012 Prophecy: The Hopi

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hopi "Prophecy rock"

"The Emergence to the future Fifth World has begun. It is being made by the humble people of little nations, tribes, and racial minorities. 'You can read this in the earth itself. Plant forms from previous worlds are beginning to spring up as seeds. This could start a new study of botany if people were wise enough to read them. The same kinds of seeds are being planted in the sky as stars. The same kinds of seeds are being planted in our hearts. All these are the same, depending how you look at them."
 from The Book of the Hopi, by Frank Waters (1963)

Since we approach the Solstice, I felt like writing about the Hopi prophecy, as they believe the "4th World" is ending, and the 5th World is to begin.  In Hopi cosmology, there were three previous Worlds, all of which were destroyed as the New Age began. We are entering the Fifth Age.  Grandmother Spider Woman is, in most of the stories, the one who leads the people into the next age, in most stories (although not all)  through the Sipapu, the  Kiva, which can be seen as a symbolic womb and birth canal.

Hopi cosmology, as are all Pueblo culture cosmologies, is complex and has many variations.  There is no doubt that there was trade and exchange between the Pueblo peoples and the Maya, and indeed Hopi language shares much with the Aztec language, so it is not surprising that the Hopi and Mayan calendars coincide in some ways, and also that mythological figures are shared in common.  But I am far from an expert, and I can only speak of what I know in the most general sense. 

The Hopi have been an oral culture, which means that the prophecies, myths, and ceremonies have been passed on from generation to generation, changing and being influenced by external events.    It's also important, in reading the many accounts of the Hopi prophecies on the Web, to realize  that 1) the Hopi are traditionally very secretive about their sacred traditions and do not share them with outsiders; conversely, they may intentionally mislead informants, as a means of protecting their traditional wisdom from exploitation.  Two, none of the Prophecies that have been circulating, including the well known work of Frank Waters who wrote "The Book of the Hopi" in the 1950's, as far as I can determine,  were written by Hopi people.  And 3),  there is so much hype, co-option, disrespect, and fantasizing of the Hopi prophesies, and Native Americans in general, on the part of popular culture, that it's hard to wade through and find what the truth is.

Having said all that, I'd like to share here a great article by  Daniel Pinchbeck about the Hopi Apocalypse (see below after this post) 

The  "Nine Signs" of the Hopiwritten by Frank Waters in his book, is very famous and circulating widely.  He lived on the reservation for three years and interviewed over 30 elders.  Still, there is much that is questionable about his famous book.  The "Nine Signs", he wrote, were given to a white minister, who happened to give a ride to a Hopi elder.  The Minister conveniently died in the 70's, and the Elder, who told him his name was "White Feather of the Bear Clan", has never been traced.  As many have pointed out, the Hopi usually have an Anglo first name, and then their last name is in their own native language.  It may also be pointed out that everything in the "prophecies" could have been observed in the 50's, from the widespread terror of nuclear war to "the sea turning black and living things dying" (oil spills).  The West has had, under Christianity, a very long fascination with the Apocalypse, and many groups for a thousand years  have awaited the "Rapture" when Christ would return and the sinful world would be destroyed.   While I believe the Hopi have prophecy (and great wisdom) I  do not believe these "prophecies" supposedly given by a mysterious dying  "White Feather" are authentic.

One of the most interesting aspects of Hopi prophecy Waters wrote  of  is the "Blue Star Katchina":

"The end of all Hopi ceremonialism will come when  the Blue Star Kachina  removes his mask during a dance in the plaza before uninitiated children [ which has been interpreted to mean the naive or  general public]. For a while there will be no more ceremonies, no more faith. Then Oraibi will be rejuvenated with its faith and ceremonies, marking the start of a new cycle of Hopi life."......"You will hear of a dwelling-place in the heavens, above the earth, that shall fall with a great crash. It will appear as a blue star."

This has been interpreted to mean the comet Hale Bopp, the destruction of the space station Challenger, even UFO's.  I have to note that there were manned satellites  in the late '50's that could have influenced this.  However,  the Blue Star Kachina removing his mask is very interesting, and I would like to learn more about that at a later time.......what the meaning of the masks are is complex. 

There is a later commentary (1998) about the Blue Star Kachina given by Robert Ghost Wolf  (aka  Robert Franzone, aka Robert Parry) that is very eloquent.  The author claims to have received them from Hopi elders, yet it turns out that Ghost Wolf  has been discredited by many  sources as a fraud, and in researching him, it seems, indeed, very difficult to believe anything he may say. 

Perhaps the closest we can get to truth is reading Dan Evehema, a Hopi  traditional leader (he died in 1999) , who was one of four Hopis (including Thomas Banyacya, David Monongye, and Dan Katchongva) who decided or were appointed to reveal Hopi traditional wisdom and teachings, including the Hopi prophecies for the future, to the general public in 1946, after the use of nuclear weapons against Japan. Evehema was co-author, with Thomas Mails, of "The Hopi Survival Kit".   The "Hopi Survival Kit" includes a signed affidavit from Dan Evehema approving the book, and is the only written account of the complete Hopi prophecies. Evehema was a member of the Greasewood/Roadrunner Clan.

Hopi prophecy also contains the return of Pahena, the white brother.  The legend of the Pahana seems connected with the Aztec story of Quetzalcoatl, and other legends of Central America.  In the early 16th century, both the Hopis and the Aztecs believed that the coming of the Spanish conquistadors was the return of this lost white prophet.  Daniel Pinchbeck has written in “The Fifth World and the Hopi Apocalypse” (which I take the liberty of excerpting belowthat “The Hopi prophecies also tell of the return of Pahana, the elder white brother, in a real exchange of knowledge and a true communion, as the Fourth World comes to an end.”   

Which is hopeful.............

"The Fifth World and the Hopi Apocalypse" by Daniel Pinchbeck
Originally published in Arthur No. 14 (Jan. 2005)

Last summer, I visited the Hopi on their tribal lands in Arizona. The Hopi are thought to be the original inhabitants of the North American continent–this is what their own legends tell us, and archaeologists agree. My initial interest in the Hopi came from reading about their oral prophecies and their “Emergence Myth.” According to the Hopi, we are currently living in the Fourth World, on the verge of transitioning, or emerging, into the Fifth World. In each of the three previous worlds, humanity eventually went berserk, tearing apart the fabric of the world through destructive practices, wars, and ruinous technologies. As the end of one world approaches a small tunnel or inter-dimensional passage —the sipapu—appears, leading the Hopi and other decent people into the next phase, or incarnation, of the Earth.

Of course, most modern people would consider this story to be an interesting folktale or fantasy with no particular relevance to our current lives. Even five years ago, I probably would have agreed with them. However, my personal experiences with indigenous cultures and shamanism convinced me, in the interim, that there is more to traditional wisdom than our modern mindset can easily accept. The Hopi themselves say that almost all of the signs have been fulfilled that precede our transition to the Fifth World. These include a “gourd of ashes falling from the sky,” destroying a city, enacted in the atomic blasts obliterating Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and a spider web across the Earth, which they associate with our power grid and telephone lines. According to Frank Waters, who compiled accounts from 30 Hopi elders in his Book of the Hopi (1963), the current Fourth World will end in a war that will be “a spiritual conflict” fought with material means, leading to the destruction of the United States through radiation. Those who survive this conflict will institute a new united world without racial or ideological divisions “under one power, that of the Creator.”

The 12,000 Hopi live in a dry and dramatic landscape strewn with enormous boulders, resembling the surface of an alien planet. Their towns are clustered on three mesas—high, flat cliffs overlooking vast swathes of desert. Traditionally, the Hopi are subsistence farmers; they work with ancient strains of corn and beans that are, almost miraculously, able to grow in that arid environment. For obvious reasons, water is sacred to their culture—many of their rituals are aimed at bringing rain. Each spring, each well, is precious to the Hopi. While I was visiting Hopiland I attended a rain dance in the town of Walpi, on First Mesa. Perhaps 50 men of the town—wearing masks and costumes and feathered headdresses —participated in the dance, which was held in the town’s center. The dancers are dressed as katsinas, the spiritual beings that are thought to control elemental forces. The ceremony is a form of possession trance—the goal is to summon the katsinas to temporarily inhabit the bodies of the dancers. The Hopi believe that their culture can only prosper if they maintain direct contact with the supernatural powers that manifest directly through the natural world.

In his book Rethinking Hopi Anthropology, the Cambridge anthropologist Peter Whitely recalls, with an almost embarrassed reluctance, that during his time with the Hopi in the 1980s, he witnessed repeated demonstrations of their precognitive abilities and their ability to influence natural forces through ritual.
*** He was transfixed by his first visit to a Snake Dance in 1980: “This was no commodified spectacle of the exotic … its profound religiosity was tangible, sensible. Within half an hour of the dance (which lasts about 45 minutes), a soft rain began to fall from a sky that had been burningly cloudless throughout the day.” When he went to see one of his informants, Harry Kewanimptewa, a septuagenarian member of the Spider clan, he would often find that the elder would answer the questions he had intended to ask before he could vocalize them: “I have no desire to fetishize or exoticize here, but this was something about him and some other, particularly older, Hopis that I have experienced repeatedly and am unable to explain rationally.”

I can sympathize with Whiteley’s plight. Since I started exploring shamanism almost a decade ago, I have found myself living in two worlds simultaneously—the world of Western rationalist discourse with its empirical and materialist emphasis, and the shamanic realm of magical correspondences, supernatural forces, dream messages, and synchronicities. The shamanic realm is one in which human consciousness is not an epiphenomenon or dualistic byproduct of a purely physical evolution, but an inseparable aspect of the world, intertwined with reality at every level. It seems that quantum physics has attained a perspective that is similar to the shamanic view, acknowledging a direct relation between the observer and observed.

I went to the Hopi as part of my research for the book I am writing on prophecies, studying the Mayan and Toltec obsession with the year 2012, the Apocalypse described in the Biblical Book of Revelation, the Hopi foretellings, and various modern Western philosophers and visionaries whose ideas offer a context or system for understanding these predictions. Before I visited the Hopi or even read much about them, I had a few powerful dream experiences that seemed to indicate, to me, the importance of my imminent encounter with this ancient tribe. After seeing the film Naqoyqatsi (“Life as War”)—the last in the trilogy of films beginning with Koyaanisqatsi (“Life out of Balance”), by Godfrey Reggio (appropriating Hopi concepts with no input from the tribe) — I had a dream of fiery demons at computer workstations, and awoke with the sense of a visceral supernatural presence flying through my house. The night before I left for the Southwest, I had an even more specific and frightening nightmare. In this dream, I was killed and dismembered by a disgusting-looking demon—who was simultaneously, in typical dream dislogic, the famous conceptual artist Bruce Naumann. In the dream, I returned to Naumann’s studio or the demon’s home and said, “Great—now that you have killed me, I control you.” I went to a bookcase and picked up a huge leather-bound volume titled “Grimoire” (a Medieval catalogue of imaginary beasts and supernatural creatures) and melted it down over a fire. As I did this, I heard incredibly loud Native American chanting and maniacal laughter. I awoke, once again, with the sense of a powerful presence, a kind of unhinged or wild diabolical force, looming overhead and then soaring away.

While traveling to Hopiland I scanned several books of Hopi anthropology and folktales and found that the being who had haunted my dreams closely matched descriptions of Maasaw, the complex creator-deity of the Hopi. According to Hopi legend, when the Hopi first emerged from the Third World to the Fourth, they met Maasaw, who gave them the rules of conduct for life on this new land and introduced them to the rudiments of their agricultural system. Maasaw brought the sun into the Fourth World; but once he had accomplished this, he left the daylight world forever to haunt the realm of night and darkness. The name Maasaw literally means “corpse demon” or “death spirit” in the Hopi language, and he is considered to be the ruler of the land of the dead. Maasaw resembles the ambiguous deities found in Hinduism and Tibetan Tantra, who have wrathful and benevolent manifestations. Since his disappearance from the earth, Maasaw often appears to the Hopi in dreams as a terrifying presence, wearing a ghoulish mask. According to some accounts, Maasaw’s deviation began long ago in the Third World, where he became arrogant and defiant. His assignment to rule over the underworld was a kind of demotion. I wondered why—as seemed to be the case—this spirit had introduced himself to me, in my dreams, even before I arrived in Hopiland.

I thought that I needed to learn more about the Hopi prophecies—and indeed, I did manage to visit an elder in that extraordinary desert landscape. Martin Gasheseoma took time off from working on his field of corn and beans, to tell me that the “purification,” as foretold, would soon come to pass, that there was no way to prevent it. “It goes like a movie now,” he said. However, even before I had found my way to this meeting, my perspective had shifted. I had realized that the essence of the prophecy—the solution to the riddle—was not in some transcendent or otherworldly event, but in the very immanent and real world around us.

The Hopi way of life is threatened with imminent extinction. In the 1960s, the Peabody Coal Company was given a concession to mine coal on their land. They were also awarded the right to use water from the aquifer under Black Mesa to slurry the coal down a pipeline, built by the Enron Corporation. This operation wastes 1.3 billion gallons of pure drinking water annually. Of course, there are other ways to transport coal, but this is the cheapest for Peabody, and the company has continually fought against and effectively delayed all efforts to change their destructive practices.

In the 1980s, it was discovered that the lawyer who negotiated the original deal for the Hopi was, at the same time, on the payroll of the Peabody Corporation—and the Hopi have received a tiny fraction of the revenue they deserve, while forfeiting control of their own destiny. According to US Government Geological Surveys, by the year 2011, the aquifer will be finished—already the Hopi are finding that the local springs on which they rely are drying up.

In the middle-class New Age culture and “New Edge” festivals such as Burning Man, much lip service is paid to Native American traditions. Perhaps millions of white people hang dream catchers over their beds and put kachina dolls on their shelves. Despite this sentimental interest in indigenous culture and spirituality, precious little, or nothing, is done by us—those of us with the leisure for yoga and raw food and sweat lodges, who often sanctimoniously consider ourselves to be especially “conscious” or “spiritual” beings—to help the Native Americans on this continent. The indigenous people are resettled next to toxic waste dumps, abandoned to the least arable lands, ignored when the fish in their rivers are poisoned, when their resources are robbed from them. In every way, they continue to be treated with condescension and contempt.

This is also what I intuited from Maasaw’s mocking laughter and deviant presence in my dreams: Some deep schism of the soul remains to be recognized; the wound can only be healed if we work to forge a real relationship with the indigenous world, to expiate our dominator culture’s guilt and denial through pragmatic action in this reality, as it is now. If this is the case, then the Hopi situation represents the perfect place to begin the reversal: They are probably the oldest and perhaps most well-known indigenous group in the US, zealously studied by ethnographers for over a century, while repeatedly and blatantly betrayed by the US government and private corporations.

As climate change accelerates along with the global depletion of resources, we are being forced to recognize that our current system is unsustainable, even in the short term. The Hopi situation provides a microcosm of the global crisis—a cruelly ironic situation considering the essential meaning of their culture. As Whiteley notes, “The phrase ‘Hopi environmentalism’ is practically a redundancy. So much of Hopi culture and thought, both religious and secular, revolves around an attention to balance and harmony in the forces of nature that environmental ethics are in many ways critical to the very meaning of the word ‘Hopi.’” Visiting the Hopi, it occurred to me that indigenous prophecy, in itself, arises out of a deep level of attunement to the natural world, rather than anything “spiritual” or immaterial.

According to Vernon Masayesva, of the Black Mesa Trust ( “It is our water ethic that has allowed us to survive and thrive in one of the most arid areas on planet Earth. It is the knowledge and teachings of our elders that have sustained us. This water ethic that has been handed down to us by our ancestors we are eager to share with everyone who will be facing water shortages—and according to some studies, water wars—in the next few decades. When the water is gone from Black Mesa, so will be the traditional cultures that could have taught the world so much about living successfully with less.” The Hopi prophecies also tell of the return of Pahana, the elder white brother, in a real exchange of knowledge and a true communion, as the Fourth World comes to an end.

Like so many manifestations of our neurotic and alienated culture, the Koyaanasqatsi films create a mood of inescapable doom and approaching cataclysm. Personally, I reject this attitude. We still have time to save the Hopi and other indigenous groups — perhaps, by extension, ourselves—if we are willing to learn from them and fight for them, rather then appropriating their spirituality while ignoring the destruction we keep inflicting upon their world.

*** This is of great interest to me, as a person who has attempted, with the communities I've worked with, to study about,  and create,  a Sacred Mask collection  (The Masks of the Goddess, 1998-2019).  The intention of the performers was to invoke, and bring the energies, of the Goddesses to the performers and the participants/audience.   And so it often was.

I also think, when I read this, about the work that has been done at Findhorn, Perelandra, and the Sirius Community with the Devas, the elemental beings that help the plant world to manifest.  Perhaps they are in part  Katchinas. Or the  Numina of the Romans.   How sad to think that we have mostly lost this understanding.  How sad to think that we have lost the Sanctity of nature.