4.01.06.02 Hopi [Native American (A.E.T.)]

Native American (A.E.T.) 

  • Hopi
Among the Native peoples of the Americas, the Hopi also have expectations of a “Day of Purification” followed by a great renewal. Hopi tribal leaders such as Dan Evehema, Thomas Banyaca and Martin Gashwaseoma, prophesize that the coming of the white man signals the end times, along with a strange beast “like a buffalo but with great horns that would overrun the land”.

It is prophesied that during the end times, the earth would be crossed by iron snakes and stone rivers; the land would be criss-crossed by a giant spider’s web, and seas will turn black. (A common speculative interpretation is to equal “iron snakes” with trains, “rock rivers” with highways and the giant spiders web with powerlines or even the World Wide Web.)

It is also prophesied that a “great dwelling place” in the heavens shall fall with a great crash. It will appear as a blue star, and the earth will rock to and fro. White men would then battle people in other lands, with those who possess wisdom of their presence. There would then be smoke in the deserts, and the signs that great destruction is near.

Many would then die, but those who understand the prophecies shall live in the places of the Hopi people and be safe. The Pahana or “True White Brother” would then return to plant the seeds of wisdom in people’s hearts, and thus usher in the dawn of the Fifth World.1)SEE: http://religion.wikia.com/wiki/End_time

In at least one American movie, there is mention of Hopi prophecies, specifically, the movie “Koyaanisqatsi“, which was produced and released in 1982.

Mythological Tradition

The Hopi maintain a complex religious and mythological tradition stretching back over centuries. However, it is difficult to definitively state what all Hopis as a group believe.

Like the oral traditions of many other societies, Hopi mythology is not always told consistently and each Hopi mesa, or even each village, may have its own version of a particular story. But, “in essence the variants of the Hopi myth bear marked similarity to one another.”

It is also not clear that those stories which are told to non-Hopis, such as anthropologists and ethnographers, represent genuine Hopi beliefs or are merely stories told to the curious while keeping safe the Hopi’s more sacred doctrines. As folklorist Harold Courlander states, “there is a Hopi reticence about discussing matters that could be considered ritual secrets or religion-oriented traditions.” In addition, the Hopis have always been willing to assimilate foreign ideas into their cosmology if they are proven effective for such practical necessities as bringing rain. 

The Hopi had at least some contact with Europeans as early as the 16th century, and some believe that European Christian traditions may have entered Hopi cosmology at some point. Indeed, Spanish missions were built in several Hopi villages starting in 1629 and were in operation until the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.

However, after the revolt, it was the Hopi alone of all the Pueblo tribes who kept the Spanish out of their villages permanently, and regular contact with whites did not begin again until nearly two centuries later. The Hopi mesas have therefore been seen as “relatively unacculturated” at least through the early 20th century, and it may be posited that the European influence on the core themes of Hopi mythology was slight.2)SEE: Wikipedia Hopi mythology

Native American Eschatology

by James Bradford Pate

In my latest reading of Circle of Life: Traditional Teachings of Native American Elders, James David Audlin talks about eschatology.  In reading Audlin’s discussion of this, I thought about Rosemary Ruether’s critique of environmental apocalyptism in her book, Gaia and God.  In my post here, I say that Ruether “criticizes ‘militant environmentalists’ who expect ‘Mother Earth’ to rise up ‘like a chthonic Jehovah to topple the human empires and return the earth to precivilized simplicity when humans, in small hunter-gatherer tribes, lived lightly off the land’, apparently unconcerned that ‘most human beings would die in the process’ (page 84).”  I don’t know if Audlin agrees with all of what Ruether criticizes here, but he did talk about a Native American eschatology that presumes that nature and the spirits are upset with what humans are doing to the earth.

On page 332, Audlin refers to Hopi prophecies.  He says: “The end is near, the prophecies say, when the House of Mica in the Lands to the East where world leaders meet to resolve issues and settle disputes ignore three times the message of peace and harmony with Nature (as the United Nations has done) and a ‘gourd of ashes’ is dropped upon the earth (nuclear war).  Soon after that, all land and life could be destroyed…unless human beings remember first how to live in peace with each other and in harmony with Nature.”  This intrigued me because Audlin’s interpretation of the Hopi prophecies actually wants for the United Nations to take an active role, a sentiment that you will not see in Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins’ Left Behind series (which holds that the UN will set the stage for the Antichrist one world government).  But are the Hopi prophecies about the UN?  I doubt this somewhat, for the prophecy says that the world leaders meet in the Lands to the East, whereas the UN is located in the west, in New York City.

I’d like to quote something that Audlin says on pages 332-333:

“Elders have told me that this future is all but unavoidable—-but that that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  And that, in fact, it might be a bad idea (or at the least wasted effort) to try to stop it from happening.  Just as we are taught not to try to heal someone whose time to die has come but only use palliative medicines to make their passing as comfortable as possible, we should do what we can to provide comfort and safety for all nations.  We may need to let the washichu descend into nuclear war.  It will be devastating and many people will unfortunately die (though remember there is no death, only a change of worlds, so they will yet live), but, as in homeopathic medicine, the [debacle] will cleanse the Earth of all chemical, mental and spiritual pollution.  Mainstream modern culture may already be terminally ill; it may already be impossible to change the direction of this juggernaut enough to avoid annihilation, but its worst effects might yet be blunted somewhat.  We can prepare for the time that will follow this nuclear winter, so that the teachings of the traditional ways, the descriptive law of how humans properly live, will still be remembered and taught and followed.  That is why I must write this book.”

That is a very disturbing passage, and it reminds me of the environmental apocalypticism that Rosemary Ruether was criticizing.  I’d say that Audlin is a little more generous towards humanity than are the environmental apocalypticists, however, for he supports ways to blunt the effects of the catastrophe.  But he does appear to envision a new beginning: after the earth is cleansed of pollution, people can follow the traditional ways of harmony with nature.  Personally, I’d like to think that we can avoid the catastrophe altogether.  Of course, the Christian apocalypticism with which I was raised would probably be skeptical that humans can effect any significant good at this stage, and so it looks for Christ to return to cleanse the earth and renew it.3)Source: https://jamesbradfordpate.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/native-american-eschatology/

References   [ + ]

1. SEE: http://religion.wikia.com/wiki/End_time
2. SEE: Wikipedia Hopi mythology
3. Source: https://jamesbradfordpate.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/native-american-eschatology/