Saturday, January 15, 2011

Grandfather David and the Holy Man Jam, 1970

 The year, I believe,  was  1970. My kids and I and several other hippies were living in an old mining cabin in the Tahoe National Forest when my friend “Pooh” showed up, inviting us on a trip with her to Boulder, Colorado, to a “Holy Man Jam.” This was to be a several-day event, with spiritual teachers from many disciplines giving talks and leading prayers and meditations. There had been a similar event at the Family Dog in San Francisco, maybe a year earlier, but I had gotten there late, just in time to participate with a huge crowd, all chanting “Hare Krishna” with Swami Bhaktivedanta. That was a very high experience, and I liked the idea of attending a few days’ worth of similar vibes. Pooh had a car and seventy dollars. I threw in whatever money I had – probably not much. We put it all in one pouch for everyone’s expenses on the trip and headed for Hotevilla, an Indian reservation in Arizona, where Pooh wanted to visit an old Indian she knew, Grandfather David Monongye of the Hopi, and invite him to come with us to speak at the Boulder Holy Man Jam. After a brief stop in LA for dinner with Pooh’s parents, we hit the road again.

We drove on across the desert in the cool of the night and on to Hotevilla, Arizona, in the Hopi Indian Reservation. I didn’t know much about the Hopi at that time, so Pooh filled me in on some details. She told me that the name “Hopi” means “Peace,” that the Hopi were famous for their Prophecy, and that part of that prophecy spoke of the coming of a generation of white-eyes’ children, who would paint their faces and bodies, wear beads, speak of Peace, and seek out the wisdom of the Native elders. And this generation would be called a name that sounded something like "Hopi."  Hm-m-m-m, I thought, hippies paint their bodies and face - albeit with day-glo body-paint - and they wear Indian-style beads, and they do seek Native wisdom. And the term “hippie” certainly sounds something like Hopi. Hm-m-m-m.

This was my first visit to an Indian reservation, and I had never really had a conversation with a Native American before. My own grandfather, Rufus Moody, was an Indian, but I had never known him, and he was rarely even spoken of in our family. So I looked forward to meeting some real Hopi people, expecting to find a red-skinned version of hippies.

But Pooh had been there before so she was able to drive down the main road of Hotevilla, turn right onto a smaller road, and stop in front of an adobe house with a flat roof on the left-hand side of the road. We all went in, Pooh first. Grandfather David remembered Pooh from the last time she was there, and he greeted us all cordially. He was a small, thin, frail old Indian man, with a wrinkled face, thick glasses, a big smile, and graying black hair that came down over his ears. His wife, Nora, a heavier woman, sat in a corner. Pooh called her “Grandmother,” so we followed suit. There was also a middle-aged Indian man sitting in the corner but at this point I don’t remember his name or relationship to David and Nora. One of the first things I noticed was the poverty. The adobe home was humble – no electricity, no running water, simple wooden furniture, and not much of that. Pooh had stopped in town and bought some cornmeal, lard, bacon and a few other items, which she gave to Grandmother Nora, who seemed very pleased by it. We hippies were among the materially poorest people in American society, but these Hopi were even poorer than hippies!

Another thing I noticed immediately was that although these folks were very cordial to us, they sure didn’t vibe like hippies. Grandfather David spoke to us in English, of course, but Nora and the other family member spoke only Hopi. They spoke their traditional language, which sounded rather guttural and abrupt to me. The vibes were not really mellow or joyous. I think I was feeling the struggling consciousness of a highly spiritual but seriously oppressed people – something I had never experienced before. How naive of me to expect them to vibe like hippies!

Pooh told Grandfather David about the Holy Man Jam in Boulder and invited him to come along with us to speak about the Hopi Prophecy. He agreed to go with us, and Pooh was sure she could get him onto the program. But the Hopi were holding their “Home Dance” the following weekend, and he would need to be back home for that. Before leaving he would have to go over to Old Oraibi and talk to Thomas Banyaca, another traditional Hopi elder, to finalize details for the dance.

Grandfather David invited us to stay for a day or two, so he could get his responsibilities taken care of before he left.

That evening, after dinner, I sat at the wooden table by the light of a kerosene lamp and talked with Grandfather David. Having had prophetic visions of my own, I was very interested in hearing about Hopi Prophecy, and we talked for several hours. I certainly can’t reproduce the dialogue verbatim for these pages – wish I could! - but here’s what I do remember.

Grandfather David explained that the Hopi didn’t have a written language – it was against the Original Instructions they got from the Creator when they first arrived in this “world” – what they called the “Fourth World.” He said the Creator had appeared to the people in human form at some time in the distant past and  had interacted with the Hopi on a material level. I listened intently. To Grandfather David, this “Creator” being seemed to be a real person of some kind, not the Great “Allness of the All” that I had considered “The Creator” since my awakening in Haight-Ashbury a few years earlier.  Hm-m-m-m. Interesting. I wonder what that’s all about.

Without a written language, the Prophecy had to be passed down by word of mouth, from father to son, in the family line designated long ago to be the carriers of the Prophecy. Grandfather David was of that family. As the oldest son, his father had repeated the Prophecy to him, over and over again since childhood until he knew it by heart, and he had taught it to his oldest son in the same way. And part of the job was that he was supposed to tell it to anyone who asked him about it.

I asked Grandfather David how old he was. He said he didn’t really know. He was born before the U.S. government started making the Hopi write down birth dates and other tribal information. The writing down started in the year we call 1874 (I think), so Grandfather David knew he was at least 96 by now – maybe older. He went on to tell me how the government had come in and forced the Hopi people to send their kids to white man’s school to learn to read and write, even though it was against the Hopi religion. The government would surround the village and go house-to-house, hunting for school-age children. Fathers who refused were arrested and taken off to jail, and their children taken to school by force. (This was beginning to sound very familiar to me. I definitely knew what it was like to be hassled for practicing my spiritual beliefs, and to have my child hunted by the government to force him into their indoctrination factories called “schools.” I had not wanted to send Todd to public school and had hid him out in our forest cabin, even when local cops came by looking for him. These were the days before the term or concept of “home schooling” was around.)

Grandfather David laughed a thin, almost sad laugh when he spoke of his people’s misfortunes—a  testament to his own high consciousness—but behind that laugh were the tears of severe hardship born by a tribe of humble people trying to follow the Original Instructions of the Creator.

He told me how his people came up into this world from another world – the “Third World” - beneath this current world, which he called the “Fourth World.” Okay, I think, levels of consciousness, right? From a lower one into a higher one. I was into catching the symbolism here—to listen with expanded ears. (As of this writing in December 2010, I have a different understanding of  what the Hopi call “worlds.” At that time I related to them as headspaces, but now I understand them more as long periods of human life on Earth, punctuated by periods of cataclysmic transition.)

Grandfather David’s next story was about some ears of corn, of many different sizes and colors, which Great Spirit and Spider Woman laid out before the leaders of the various groups who had come up into this Fourth World. The leaders were told to pick one ear of corn to be their food in this world. One by one the leaders choose the longest and fullest looking ears of corn until only the smallest ear of corn was left. This smallest ear of corn was picked by the Hopi leader, who had humbly waited till last to take hiss turn. Great Spirit said, “You have shown me you are wise and humble. For this reason you will be called Hopi, which means a peaceful, kind, gentle, truthful people.”

Next Grandfather told me about two brothers—grandsons of Spider Woman—who were given stone tablets into which the Great Spirit had breathed instructions and prophecies and warnings. The older brother—the “True White Brother”—was told to go immediately to the east, to the rising sun, and as soon as he got there he was to touch his head to the Earth, then return to the younger brother, the Hopi. The younger brother, the Hopi, was instructed to continue searching for Great Spirit and to settle where they found Him.

The Hopi found Great Spirit—“the Spirit who owns this world”—living at Old Oraibi over 1,000 years ago. He appeared to them in the form of a man. They asked him if they could live there with him. The Great Spirit said, “It’s up to you. All I have is my planting stick and my corn. If you are willing to live as I do and follow my instructions, you may live here with me and take care of my land.”

The Hopi people said, “Yes, we are willing to live your way.” And they settled in the desert at Old Oraibi to be close to Great Spirit. And that’s how the Hopi lived for many, many years—simply and  peacefully, true to the Original Instructions of the Creator.

Grandfather David said that part of the Prophecy given to the Hopi by Great Spirit was that another race of people would come to this land and claim it as their own. These people would be very clever and would invent many things, but the Hopi were told not to accept anything these people would offer, even though it would be hard to resist. The people were told that these invaders would come in something with spinning wheels, pulled by animals. This turned out to be the covered wagons. The people were told that the land would be crossed by long rivers of stone that would make pictures in the sun, and on these stone rivers would be little boxes on wheels. Grandfather David said he thought this was the highways that produce shimmering mirages on hot, sunny days. The prophecy also said the land would be crossed by snakes of iron—railroad tracks to Grandfather David. The people were also told that the land would be criss-crossed by a giant spider’s web that people could talk across, and this “talking web”, Grandfather said, was the web of telephone lines that crisscross this land at that time. (And now, in 2010, the “world-wide web” criss-crosses the entire planet.)

Then Grandfather David told me about how the prophecy spoke of a Great Purification that would take place when the True White Brother returned. There would be three phases of life during which the whole Earth would be shaken up by the True White Brother and his two helpers, and that after each shaking, the people of Earth would have a chance to come together in a circle that would bring peace to the Earth. Grandfather told me about an ancient gourd rattle that the Hopi people use in their sacred Kachina ceremonies that is marked with the symbols of the two helpers who would shake the world. Those symbols are the swastika and the sun. The Hopi elders recognized the flags of Germany and Japan as the symbols on their ancient rattle, and they understand World War I and World War II to be the first and second shaking of the Earth by the True White Brother and his helpers. The third shaking of the Earth is yet to come. Survivors of the Purification will enter the Fifth World of Peace.

Grandfather David next spoke of a “gourd of ashes” that the Prophecy said would “fall from the air” and boil everything for miles and miles around, and nothing would grow on that land for a long, long time. The elders believe that the atomic bomb, dropped near the end of WWII, is that gourd of ashes and, according to the Prophecy, that would be a sign to them that they needed to go to a “Great House of Mica” and warn all the peoples of the need to come together in peace. So in 1948 (or maybe 1949) Grandfather David and three other Hopi elders drove to New York City and right up to the front door of the “Great House of Mica”—the tall, glass United Nations building—but they were not allowed to speak.

There were more signs that the time of the third shaking of the Earth was coming soon. All over the world there would be great winds, fires, earthquakes, droughts and floods, changes in the weather and in the seasons, the disappearance of wildlife, and many famines. Everything would be speeded up. Thhey referred to it as “The Quickening.” Women would start dressing like men. Nature would be out of balance. World leaders would be corrupt, and the people would not know who to look to for direction. When these conditions occur on Earth, the Hopi are to recognize that the Day of the Great Purification is near.

While listening to Grandfather David in his simple home in Hotevilla, I was remembering the visions I had seen on the wall of my Shrader Street kitchen in 1966—earthquakes, tidal waves, fires. I knew then that it was a purification, a cleansing—to be followed by a new beginning. But I didn’t interrupt. I wanted to hear more of the Hopi Prophecy from this humble, down-to-earth Native elder.

When the True White Brother or Purifier returns, Grandfather David said, he will be very powerful and large in population. He will belong to no religion but his very own, he will be symbolized by the color red, and the people will wear red caps or red robes. Grandfather David told me he thought this would be the Red Chinese, and that the final shaking would be World War III.

The Prophecy went on to say that when the True White Brother comes back, if there are any Hopi—even only one, two or three—who have remained true to the Original Instructions, the Great Spirit will appear before all, and our world will be saved. The Earth will be restored, flowers will bloom again, all who survive the Purification will share everything equally, they will all recognize the Great Spirit, and they will all speak one language again, as the first people had done. There will be abundance for everyone and peace on Mother Earth.

Then Grandfather David told me that we could go,  tomorrow, over to Old Oraibi, where he would show me a rock on which the Prophecy was drawn.

It was late. I thanked Grandfather for sharing so much with me. Then Grandfather David insisted that Todd, Gentle and I sleep in their home-made double bed, while he and Grandmother Nora rolled out a thin straw mat on the adobe kitchen floor, where they would sleep themselves. I protested to no avail. They insisted they would be fine, that the kids and I should have the only bed in the house. I was overwhelmed by their generosity. Spiritual people, for sure! The smallest ear of corn in action!

The next day we did go over to Old Oraibi, in Pooh’s car, where Grandfather David dropped in on Thomas Banyaca, who talked with David for a while in the Hopi tongue. Grandfather David was telling Thomas about his upcoming trip to Boulder, and they were discussing when to hold the Home Dance.

When they were done talking, we drove out to the Prophecy Rock, which was actually the side of a cliff. Carved into the side of the cliff was a diagram of sorts – a line drawing starting with a swastika inside a sun symbol—a circle with rays coming out of it. There was a large stick figure representing Great Spirit, according to Grandfather David, and this figure stood beside two lines or paths—the lower one was the path Great Spirit had given the Hopi people to follow. This path ended with pictures of corn plants, symbolizing abundance. The top line or path showed the journey of the white man (not to be confused with the “Great White Brother”) and his clever inventions—the path of technology. This path ended in a very jagged line, representing the ups and down of turmoil and earth changes. Before the very jagged line starts, there is a vertical line going from the white man’s path down to the Hopi path, indicating that those who had chosen the path of technology could at that point return to the Original Instructions of the Creator, avoid the turmoil, and share in the abundance.

I was amazed to see the swastika and the rising sun symbols carved in this ancient rock. How could the ancient Hopi have know this? Does this mean that prophecy really is true? I remembered early experience of clairvoyance and my own visions, and I pondered the meaning of all these things.

            Later that day we left for Boulder. When we got into Pooh’s car, Grandfather David, sitting in the front passenger’s seat, took a pinch of cornmeal out of a pouch on his belt and sprinkled it out the open window and onto the ground beside the car, saying a short prayer in the Hopi language for our safe travels. He continued this practice every time we started traveling again after stopping throughout the whole trip.

We spent the first night sleeping on the side of the road in our sleeping bags or blankets, under the desert stars. In the morning the arthritis in Grandfather David’s hands was bothering him, so Pooh massaged his hands for him. He laughed about his pain. He was such a high traveling companion!

            We stopped to visit drummer Richard and his band, the Anonymous Artists of America, on a piece of land they had bought in the southwest corner of Colorado, near the tiny town of Redwing. Then we continued on to Boulder. The Holy Man Jam had been going for a day or two by the time we arrived. Admission was free. There was lots of grass, a few booths, and many blankets spread with craft items, a stage, lots of earth-loving people, and gurus galore. Spiritual teachers from all over the world were pouring into the United States at that time, hearing there was a whole generation of spiritual seekers here. Some were enlightened; some were charlatans. We wanted to hear them all and decide for ourselves. (This was before the powers-that-be co-opted the hip movement and the concept of a new age into the commercial, materialistic, “New Age”, over-the-counter culture so prevalent today, where people pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for a weekend conference where wanna-be teachers sell their teachings, books, and videos. Tradition says that Henry Kissinger was in charge of derailing the hippies, and this is how he decided to do it—make it a business and thereby seduce many of the newly awakened back into materialistic values, while espousing spiritual truths. And it worked for a few decades. But now there’s a new generation of awakened individuals who can see through that hypocrisy and are looking for something more real and more truly spiritual. Sorry, Henry. Your time is up. You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.)

Pooh knew some of the organizers and spoke to them about arranging for Grandfather David to speak. The program was full. The only way he could get any time was if another speaker would give up some of his. A Buddhist monk offered to share his time with Grandfather David. Grandfather spoke for just a few minutes, but later I heard several people say that he was the one they liked best of all the holy men—that he had the most humble vibes and the most sincere message.

Stephen Gaskin and a bunch of his students were there. Seems there had been some kind of raggedy vibes the evening before—a candlelight march or something had been planned, but Stephen was not in agreement with the timing or something, so he and some of his students refused to participate.

Stephen and Yogi Bhajan, a burly turbaned Sikh teacher from India, were sharing the same stage the afternoon that we arrived, with one microphone between them. Each gave a short pitch for his chosen path. Stephen spoke of the psychedelic path and what he was learning from it. Yogi Bhajan pitched Kundalini Yoga and a breathing technique called “Breath of Fire.” He insisted that psychedelics were not a valid spiritual path. His vibes were self-righteous and disdainful toward Stephen.

 The two holy men decided to answer questions from the crowd. For a while each questioner addressed his question to one teacher or the other, and the teachers passed the mike back and forth between them. Then someone asked a general question about vibrations. Yogi Bhajan grabbed the mike away from Stephen and said haughtily, “I’ll answer that. Vibrations are my specialty.”

Stephen looked at the crowd, shrugged, and said to the Yogi, “I vibrate, too.”

Egos bristled. I think they each eventually took a shot at answering the vibes question, but for me it had been answered a long time before the actual words came out. It was obvious from the exchange that Stephen knew a whole lot more about vibes than Yogi Bhajan did.

There was a question about sex. Yogi Bajan, manicured and vain, said if you do it “right” you only have to do it once a month. Stephen, informal and unpretentious, talked about Tantric love-making as a tool to cleanse one’s energy field and expand one’s consciousness.

The next morning Stephen and Yogi Bhajan were on a smaller stage together again, but this time there was a Fair Witness between them, mediating the discussion. Seems Stephen was trying to “get straight” with the Yogi about things he had said about the psychedelic path the day before. Both holy men sat cross-legged on the stage with the long-haired moderator between them. I don’t think this smaller stage was wired for sound, and the crowd was much smaller than the day before. I don’t remember the details of the conversation, except that Stephen was trying to get Yogi Bhajan to concede the validity of the psychedelic path, but the Yogi wouldn’t budge from his original position. Nor would he cop to being condescending toward Stephen. Stephen seemed truly to be in a humble, peace-making headspace, but Yogi Bhajan remained haughty and holier-than-thou. At one point Stephen crawled across the stage to hug Yogi B., but the proud Yogi did not welcome the embrace. It was pretty weird, but Stephen came out looking to me like he was carrying a higher consciousness than the Sikh holy man.

Later that day I attended the showing of a film of Sathya Sai Baba, another holy man in India with a big Afro, who appeared to be able to manifest a Shiva Lingam inside his mouth and then spit it out into a white handkerchief or napkin, which he held in his left hand. In the film he did this in front of a huge crowd. His vibes, at least on film, seemed open and loving, and the “miracle” was amazing to behold. This is the first time I had ever heard of Sai Baba, and I was impressed. Could he really be doing this? I remembered the instructions from Spalding’s Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East, and my own successful experiments in manifesting what I needed. I marveled at the powers of human consciousness, but still I wondered about Sai Baba—was it real or was it all a trick?

I didn’t get to hear very many of the holy men. I was busy keeping track of my two little kids, but I fully enjoyed our few days there. Soon it was time to pile back into Pooh’s car and return to Hotevilla for the Hopi Home Dance, which Grandfather David had invited us to attend.

When we arrived, Hotevilla was alive with preparations for the Dance. An eagle had been captured for the ceremony and was chained to the roof of one of the adobe houses. Folks were busy making corn husk dolls for all the little girls of the village and toy bows and arrows for all the little boys.

The Hopi Home Dance was held in the Plaza. No photographs were allowed to be taken on the Hopi reservation (Hopi’s believed that taking someone’s photograph stole their soul, which I interpreted to mean that a photo of someone was a dead image—that soul or spirit existed only in the Here-and-Now, the present, living  moment.) Very few outsiders were ever invited to the Home Dance.

We stood at one end of the rectangular plaza and watched as Kachina Dancers in elaborate costumes danced before the people. We were told that they personified spirits that lived in nearby mountains. The Kachinas filed into the Plaza. Masks, feathers, rattles, drumming, dancing—sounds that first resembled frogs, then rain, then a full thunderstorm. They were calling in the rain so their crops would grow, so their people would be fed, so their Home would be safe. It was an amazing spectacle—the real thing, not just some Indians dancing for the entertainment of white men. We scraggly hippies were truly honored to get to attend.

After the Dance Grandfather David kept looking at the sky and pointing out the small clouds that were beginning to gather. We left without ever knowing if the rain actually came, but we carried the memory of that very special experience with us as we headed back to California.

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