Should we beware of a “blue star”?
by Frank Joseph
Although the Mayan calendar’s termination due to occur on the morning of December 21, 2012, is receiving increasing attention as the world approaches this controversial Winter Solstice, less well known is a Native American tradition regarding that same date.
The Hopi Indians of the American Southwest tell of four worlds, or ages, all ending in natural disasters instigated by the unbalanced behavior of mankind. They predict a Day of Purification, when Saquasohuh Kachina dances in the plaza and removes his mask. In other words, modern civilization will be shattered as the Blue Star appears in the sky. In the Hopi language, qatsina, or literally “life bringer,” refers to anything in the natural world or cosmos, including natural phenomena, whether good or evil. As Hopi Nation elder Dan Evehema stated, “We are in the final stages now, so our prophecy says.”
Saquasohuh Kachina cannot be positively identified with any particular blue star, although Sirius, the Dog Star, is sometimes suggested for its blue-white color shift. If so, its relationship to the controversial winter solstice seems unclear. At 8.6 light years from Earth, we should not anticipate the appearance of Sirius in our skies by 2012 or at any other time. The Hopi’s blue star is more likely a large meteor or asteroid that could approach the orbit of our planet.
Great Destruction Coming
In any case, their Saquasohuh Kachina prophecy was supposedly an ancient oral tradition shared with Presbyterian minister David Young by a terminally ill elder of the Bear Clan, White Feather, during the summer of 1958, and published five years later by the historical writer Frank Waters in The Book of the Hopi.
Dr. Allen C. Ross, a Santee Dakota educator and Lakota language scholar, relates that the same prophecy was uttered during the most important Hopi ceremony, the Wuwuchim, at least as long ago as early 1914. It may, in fact, predate this early 20th-century instance by many years, perhaps generations.
It forecast, in part, “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. Very soon after this, the ceremonies of my people will cease. These are the signs that great destruction is coming. The world shall rock to and fro. There will be many columns of smoke and fire such as White Feather has seen the white man make in the deserts not far from here. You will hear of the sea turning black, and many living things dying because of it. Turtle Island could turn over two or three times, and the oceans could join hands and meet the sky.”
Unlike the Maya, the Hopi are less definite regarding the arrival of these Earth-changing events, although some tribal elders have implied that an undisclosed section of the Wuwuchim ceremony does indeed specify 2012’s winter solstice for the appearance of the blue star. They are more willing to describe the last catastrophe that brought our present world into existence by destroying a former one.
This ancestral homeland was a large island in the Sunrise Sea, which one day rose up over the people, drowning most of them. Some were saved by the flood-hero Kuskurza, who directed them to the back of a giant turtle. It carried them westward across the ocean, eventually coming to rest on the shores of a new land the survivors named after their means of rescue: Turtle Island.
Joining Kuskurza and his followers was a pair of antediluvian holy women, the Huruing Wuhti, today venerated as mother goddesses, because they greatly increased the number of survivors.
The Hopi version of the Deluge states in part, “Down on the bottom of the seas lie all the proud virtue, and the flying patuwvotas, and 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.”
The Peaceful People
The Hopi Indians’ most important ceremonial center, Orayvi, better known to outsiders as Old Oraibi, is located in Navajo County in northeastern Arizona. North America’s oldest continuously inhabited settlement sits atop Third Mesa near Kykotsmovi Village, on the Hopi Reservation. Orayvi was founded before a.d. 1100, a time when the great Anasazi civilization flourished throughout the American Southwest. The passing of this culture was occasioned in part by a catastrophic drought that afflicted the northern hemisphere 100 years later.
The first European to visit Orayvi was explorer Don Pedro de Tovar in 1540. He was part of Coronado’s expedition in search of Cibola, or the Seven Cities of Gold. Orayvi failed miserably to live up to the Spaniards’ greedy hopes, and they gave up their futile expedition.
Today, the Hopi regard themselves as a gathering of various peoples representing tribes from distant areas and epochs, referred to as either the Hisatsinom, a generic term for ancestors,or perhaps more specifically as the Pavatsinom, an enigmatic variant of the Old Ones, instead of Anasazi. Hopi descent from the lost Pavatsinom-Anasazi is strongly suggested by the existence of Orayvi.
As a bastion of Hopi mysticism, Christian attempts at conversion there were doomed to fail, as borne out by the experience of a Mennonite minister, H. R. Voth, who built his church nearby in 1901. Its incineration by lightning 40 years later was regarded by the imposed-upon Indians as heaven’s welcome judgment, and no further attempts were made to proselytize them.
In Orayvi and its related villages, ceremonies are still governed by the lunar calendar, while communal life is bound to the growing cycle of corn.
The term “Hopi” is derived from Hopituh Shi-nu-mu, the Peaceful People. This name may refer to Mu, the sunken Pacific Ocean realm also known as Lemuria. Hopi oral traditions recall ancestral origins in a splendid land overwhelmed long ago by the sea.
Orayvi’s last known population estimate was made in 1890, when 905 inhabitants occupied the pueblo. Since then, the Hopi forbid any form of census taking, including photography, because they regard Orayvi as the means of preserving their traditional way of life, removed from external influences of the modern world. Residents keep very much to themselves, and respectful visitors, although welcome, are expected to leave by sundown. Invitations to outsiders are rare, and usually extended for religious matters.
Frank Joseph is a regular Fate contributor and editor of Ancient American.