In reality I didn´t attend to any ceremony. I stayed in Hopi Nation for a week and slept in a church in Kykotsmovi Village. When I was introduced to the chief of Old Oraibi I asked him about an inscription in a rock I had read about. The conversation had been friendly up until that point. But now the chief got very angry and practically chased me out of his house.
“You white men, you poke your nose into everything that is holy to us. And when you’re ready, leave a ruin behind. You go to that other village (he meant Hotevilla). There they will tell you everything you want to know.”
Lost and Found?
In the drizzling October rain of 1985 I walked along road 264 in the direction of Hotevilla. But halfway I turned back. Maybe the chief was right after all. Maybe I just came here to get some short-lived spiritual kick and then leave ruin behind. But a few days later, I felt that I couldn’t have come all the way without actually trying to find out more about the inscription that had fascinated me so much back home. I decided to give it another try and leave it to the whims of chance if I was to be initiated into the secrets of Hopi Prophecy.
The first persons I saw in Hotevilla were two youngsters on a scaffolding busy renovating a house. After I’d greeted them, I heard them sneeringly saying behind my back: “Huh, Bahanna.” Bahanna is the not so flattering name for white people in Hopi language.
The second person I met was an old man who was climbing with a basket full of vegetables from the fields at the foot of the mesa up to the village on top of it. He was panting under his burden. I took on his load. When we’d reached the village, the old man insisted to carry his basket himself. He said Thank You and when I said a few words in English to him, he kept repeating Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.
At last I hitched a ride along road 264, back to Kykotsmovi Village. A Native American drove me to a fast food restaurant at the side of the road. We ate a hamburger and talked about cars and the lack of money. It was very cosy but we didn’t discuss spiritual matters.
At the end of my stay a Hopi converted to Christianity showed me the rock. He couldn’t tell anything about the inscription that I didn’t already know. Except that the inscription wasn’t of a prehistoric origin, but that it is was made by a modern-time Hopi, who was an outsider in the community. A real voice from the wilderness…
As we listened to Jesus, etc. we drove down the hill called Sion on the other side. Here are the fields where we had seen the hoopoes a few years ago. Well, frankly my wife is the birdwatcher. I can hardly tell a starling from a blackbird, but even for me the hoopoe was easily recognizable with its almost alien appearance. This time there were no hoopoes, though.
My wife loves to read Marianne Williamson. Sometimes she quotes from her books. I don´t read Ms. Williamson´s books. I don’t read books at all. One of the peculiarities of my obsessive-compulsive disorder was that sometimes I had to read and reread sentences over and over again. Twentyfold, fortyfold, sixtyfold…
When I was a teenager I had to repeat prayers that way, until I felt that they were utterly perfect. Nowadays I hardly pray. As for reading, the remembrance of that experience is so disgraceful, that I avoid reading as much as I can. But I must admit that without my wife’s quotes from Ms. Williamson’s books every now and then I might not have started writing this account.
Jesus etc is written by Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett from Wilco. It’s for my wife. This is her: a burning sun.