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Pahana and the Hopi Prophecy

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This story is one worth reading.  Remember...

All things are a gift of nature.
Be generous with what you have.
The earth is our mother.
We are all each others' brothers.

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First, they say, there was only the Creator, Taiowa. All else was endless space. There was no beginning and no end, no time, no shape, no life. Just an immeasurable void that had its beginning and end, time, shape, and life in the mind of Taiowa the Creator. Then he, the infinite, conceived the finite...

The Hopi Creator, Taiowa, is not the 'father,' but an 'uncle' whose first creation was a nephew, Sotuknang. To Sotuknang he gave the task of manifesting the finite out of the infinite, of transforming vision into reality. This Sotuknang did, creating nine universal kingdoms: one for Taiowa, one for himself, and seven universes for the life that was to come. Each of these universes was composed half of solid and half of water, and surrounded by air... To these three elements, earth, water, and air, Taiowa then instructed Sotuknang to add the fourth and final element, that of life and its movement.

To carry out this task of creating life, Sotuknang went to the First World and created a woman to help him. Her name was Kokyangwuti, or Spider Woman. When she awoke, Spider Woman asked, "Why am I here?"

"Look about you," answered Sotuknang. "Here is the earth with shape and substance, direction and time, a beginning and an end. But there is no life upon it. There is no joyful sound or movement. So you have been given the knowledge, wisdom, and love to bless all the beings you create. That is why you are here."

The first people were among the many beings that Spider Woman created. She created the first people in all the four colors of black, red, white, and yellow. Each of the four races was given a different language to speak, and the 'pristine wisdom' to understand that the earth was not to be dominated and conquered but was, rather, their mother. The corn that sustained them, because it became a part of their flesh, was the earthly manifestation of their mother. The sun, who gave life to the whole universe and served as the 'face' of the Creator Taiowa, was perceived as their father.

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In the First World, the people created by Spider Woman lived together in harmony with nature and all her creatures. They were also in harmony with all their fellow human beings, and understood one another despite their differences of color and language.

For the Hopis, the Road of Life is the journey through all seven universes created at the beginning by Taiowa's nephew Sotuknang. In the First World, children grew to identify themselves with universal citizenship, in harmony with all creatures and with the earth. The living body of man and the living body of the earth are constructed in the same way. Through each runs an axis, man's axis being the backbone, which controls the equilibrium of his movements and his functions. Along this axis are several vibratory centers that echo the primordial sound of life throughout the universe, or sound a warning if anything goes wrong.

The First World of the Hopis was corrupted not so much be evil as by 'forgetting.' The people had been instructed by Sotuknang and Spider Woman to respect their Creator, and to use their vibratory centers to help them follow his plan. But as they forgot this, they began to quarrel among themselves. Finally, the situation reached a point where Sotuknang and Taiowa decided that the world had to be destroyed.

Sotuknang appeared before those 'chosen people' who still remembered the Creator and his plan, and told them that the doors at the tops of their heads would lead them to safety before he destroyed the world. They took refuge underground with the Ant People as the First World was destroyed by fire, and a Second World was created for their emergence.

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The Second World was almost as beautiful as the first, with the significant difference that the animals no longer trusted humans and remained separate from them. But here, too, people began to forget the plan of the Creator, until finally this world also had to be destroyed.

Again, those who had 'remembered' were saved, and taken care of by the Ant People. Once they were safe, the twin guardians of the poles were told to leave their posts so the world would spin off its axis and out of control. As it traveled through space, it froze into solid ice, until the twins took up their stations again and restored the Earth to life, creating a Third World.

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Now in this Third World, the people multiplied in such numbers and advanced so rapidly that they created big cities, countries, a whole civilization. This made it difficult for them to conform to the plan of Creation and to sing praises to Taiowa and Sotuknang. More and more of them became wholly occupied with their own earthly plans. Some of them, of course, retained the wisdom granted them upon their emergence. With this wisdom they understood that the farther they proceeded on the Road of Life and the more they developed, the harder it was. That was why their world was destroyed every so often to give them a fresh start.

When this world and its advanced civilization was finally destroyed by Sotuknang, this time with great floods, the people who still remembered took refuge inside the hollow stems of the bamboo. Then came their emergence into the Fourth World.

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In the Fourth World, the people had to search long and hard for a place to establish themselves and start over again. They journeyed by boat, paddling uphill from place to place. Whenever they found a beautiful and bounteous place to land, they would be told by Spider Woman that they must move on: this place was too easy, and soon they would fall into evil ways if they stayed. Finally, completely exhausted from their efforts, the people 'opened their doors' and let themselves be guided. The water carried them gently to a sandy shore, where they were greeted by Sotuknang and given further instructions. They were to separate into different groups, each heading in different directions, to claim all the land for the Creator. Each group would have to 'follow its own star' to a place where the earth met the sea. They would complete such a journey four times in all, to cover all the four directions, before being guided back together again to settle permanently.

The people who eventually settled together in the Hopi desert mesa homeland had spent many generations of time apart, living in different clans, developing their own traditions and ceremonies. But throughout their journeys they left signs of their passage, and these signs reveal the common threads that bound them even as they went their separate ways. By looking at these symbols, they can tell how many rounds of their pilgrimage the clan had completed at the time, what direction they were moving, and how long they stayed.

There are four clans who carry out essential ceremonials throughout the year. Each of these four clans also represents one of the four directions. It is said that these are the actual directions from where these clans originally came to settle in the village of Oraibi, the central, spiritual heart of the Hopi homeland. Traditionally, the Village Chief of Oraibi has been a member of the Bear Clan. It is generally agreed that the Bear Clan was the first to complete the cycle of four migrations and settle in Oraibi. It is said that the Bear Clan arrived from the west.

The 'mother' of Oraibi is represented by the Parrot Clan, a clan that is said to have arrived from the South. The other two points of the compass in the sacred ceremonies are represented by the Badger and the Eagle clans, occupying north and east respectively. The Badger Clan holds special knowledge of the powers of the spruce tree, whose upturned branches provide a 'throne' for the clouds and attract the precious rain. The Eagle Clan contributed feathers for the paho, which carries the remembrances and prayers of the people to their spiritual father, the sun.

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All through their migrations, there were prophecies that the Hopis would make their final home at an austere place where life would be difficult. But their guiding spirit promised to watch over them if they led decent lives. The Hopis were not supposed to accumulate wealth, but to be generous with everything. And when they settled in their desert country, they said, "Life will be hard in this place, but no one will envy us. No one will try to take our land away. This is the place we will stay."

"We feel that the world is good. We are grateful to be alive. We are conscious that all men are brothers. We sense that we are related to other living creatures. When you go out of the house in the morning and see the rising sun, pause a moment to think about it. The sun brings warmth to the things that grow in the fields. If there's a cloud in the sky, look at it and remember that it brings rain to a dry land. When you take water from a spring, be aware that it is a gift of nature.

"If you meet a person, you greet him. If he is a stranger or someone you know, it is all the same. If someone comes to the village from another place, even if he belongs to a different tribe, feed him. Keep your mind cleansed of evil thoughts against people... Be generous with whatever you have."

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Before the newcomers to the Fourth World set out on their migrations, they were given a tablet containing symbolic representations of their journey and final resting place, and events that would confirm their adherence to the Creator's plan. The tablet today is reportedly held by members of the Fire Clan in the village of Hotevilla. This tablet has one corner missing that, according to legend, is in possession of a 'lost white brother' called Pahana. Pahana's return with the missing corner will signal the beginning of a new brotherhood of mankind.

"See," said Sotuknang, "I have washed away even the footprints of your Emergence; the stepping-stones which I left for you. Down on the bottom of the seas lie all the proud cities, the worldly treasures corrupted with evil, and those people who found no time to sing praises to the Creator from the tops of their hills. But the day will come, if you preserve the memory and the meaning of your Emergence, when these stepping-stones will emerge again and prove the truth you speak."

The fulfillment of the Hopi prophecy will be a new brotherhood of mankind.

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