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The Orion Zone: Ancient Star Cities of the American Southwest (cont.)
By Gary A. David

Non-solstice Lines, the Grand Chakra System, and the Hopi Winter Solstice Ceremony

In addition to the solstice alignments, a number of intriguing non-solstice lines exists to corroborate the pattern as a whole. As heretofore stated, an extension of the solstice line between Oraibi and Wupatki (the belt and left shoulder of the terrestrial Orion respectively) would ultimately end on the Colorado River at the point where a major trail east toward Anasazi territory began. Similarly, if the non-solstice line between Walpi and Homol'ovi (the belt and the right shoulder respectively) is extended, it intersects the wrist of the constellation and terminates within five miles of the important Hohokam ruin site and astronomical observatory of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, near the Gila River one hundred and fifty miles to the south. We have also already discussed the extension of the Walpi-Canyon de Chelly solstice line (Orion's right leg) ending up at the Salmon-Aztec ruin area. An extension of the Oraibi-Betatakin non-solstice line (Orion's left leg) would bring us to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area nearly fifty miles to the north. Ruefully, hundreds or perhaps even thousands of small Anasazi ruins were submerged by the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam in 1963, and the few that remain can only be reached by boat.

Another alignment of ancient pueblo sites forms the grand chakra system of Orion and indicates the direction of the flow of spiritual energy. Drawing a line southwest from Shungopovi/Alnilam, we pass less than five miles southeast of Roden Crater and Grand Falls, both mentioned above. Continuing southwest the line runs by Ridge Ruin [12], through Winona Village [13], and into the forehead of Orion, namely, Walnut Canyon National Monument, a significant mid-twelfth century Sinagua ruin located in the foothills of the San Francisco Peaks. If the line is extended farther still, it intersects the red rock country of Sedona with its electromagnetic vortices, passing the small but gorgeously located ruin and pictograph site of Palatki, or "Red House," as well as the larger Honanki, or "Bear House." In Verde Valley the newly energized vector directly transits Tuzigoot National Monument, a major thirteenth century Sinagua ruin of over one hundred rooms perched on a hilltop for the probable purpose of stellar observation. The line traverses the Black Hills of Arizona, goes by the newly excavated Emilienne Ruin [14] in Lonesome Valley, intersects the Fitzmaurice Ruin [15] located upon a ridge on the south bank of Lynx Creek in Prescott Valley, continues through the small Lynx Creek Ruin at the northern base of the Bradshaw Mountains, treks across the northern limits of the Sonoran desert, and passes near geoglyphs [16] in Arizona and California to ultimately reach a point just north of the mouth of the Colorado River, perhaps the place where the ancients migrating on reed rafts from the Third to the Fourth World entered the territory. This line extended in the other direction from Shungopovi travels northeast across Black Mesa, passing just southeast of Four Corners to finally end up at the major Anasazi sites at Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado.

In this series of villages we see eleven both major and minor Anasazi or Sinagua ruins and one Hopi pueblo perfectly aligned over a distance of over 275 miles within the framework of the tellurian Orion. The probability that these were randomly distributed is highly unlikely and increases the possibility that Masau'u (or some other agent perceived as being divine) directed their positioning. This "ley line" forms a grand chakra system that provides an inseparable link and a conduit of flowing pranic earth energy from the Hopi Mesas to the evergreens forests of the San Francisco Peaks. More specifically, Walnut Canyon symbolizes the Third Eye, or pineal gland (etymologically derived from the Latin word pinus, or "pine cone"), of Orion.

At this point we might ask: Why is the template of Orion placed on the earth at the specific angle that we find it relative to longitude? The "chakra" line mentioned above, which runs in part from Shungopovi/Alnilam (the belt of Orion) to Walnut Canyon/Meissa (the head of Orion) is 231 degrees azimuth in relation to Shungopovi. The azimuthal direction of southwest is 225 degrees. The axis for the terrestrial Orion is thus within six degrees of northeast/southwest. If we stood at Shungopovi shortly after midnight nine centuries ago on the winter solstice and looked southwest, we would find the middle star of Orion's belt hovering directly above the southwest horizon at an altitude of about 38 degrees. Specifically, at 1:15 a.m. on December 22, 1100 A.D., Alnilam was at 231 degrees azimuth. [17] In other words, gazing from the central star of the earthbound belt of Orion toward its head located in the foothills of the San Francisco Peaks where the katsinam live, we would see the celestial constellation precisely mirror the angle of the terrestrial configuration.

But what is the significance of this precise time when the middle star in Orion's belt is at 231 degrees? At the very moment we are watching this sidereal spectacle, "one of the most sacred ceremonies" [18] of the Hopi known as the Soyal is taking place in the subterranean chamber called a kiva. Just past its meridian Orion can be clearly seen through the hatchway. This is the time "when Hotomkam [Orion's belt] begins to hang down in the sky." Now a powerful, barefooted figure descends the kiva ladder. He is painted with white dots that resemble stars on his arms, legs, chest, and back. He carries a crook on which is tied an ear of black corn, Masau'u's maize signifying the Above. One account identifies him as Muy'ingwa, the deity of germination related to Masau'u. [19] Another calls him "Star man," ostensibly because his headdress made of four white corn leaves represents a four-pointed star, perhaps Aldebaran in the Hyades. [20] This person takes a hoop covered with buckskin and begins to dance. His "sun shield" fringed with red horsehair is about a foot across with a dozen or so eagle feathers tied to its circumference. Its lower hemisphere is painted blue, its upper right quadrant is red, and its upper left quadrant is yellow. Two horizontal black lines for the eyes and a small downward pointing triangle for the mouth are painted on the lower half of this striking face of Tawa. Alexander Stephen, who witnessed the ritual at Walpi in 1891, remarked that the Star Priest stamps upon the sipapu (the hole in the floor of the kiva that links it to the Underworld) as a signal to start the most important portion of the ceremony. [21] This occurs just after 1:00 a.m., the time on this date in 1100 A.D. (the approximate onset of settlement on the Hopi Mesas) when Orion was at 231 degrees of azimuth.

As the dance rhythm crescendos, the "Star man" begins to twirl the sun hoop very fast in clockwise rotation around the intercardinal points between two lines of Singers, one at the north and the other at the south. To quote A. M. Stephen, by his "mad oscillations" he is attempting to turn back the sun from its southward journey. "All these dances, songs, and spinning of the sun are timed by the changing positions of the three stars, Hotomkam, overhead. Now is the time this must be done, before the sun rises and takes up his journey." [22] If this were merely a solar ritual, we assume that it would take place at sunrise. On the contrary, the sidereal position of Orion must reflect the terrestrial positioning of the constellation, which occurs only after the former has passed its meridian, that is, "...when Hotomkam begins to hang down in the sky." Prior to dawn runners are sent out to the shrines of both Masau'u (Orion) and Tawa (the sun) in order to deposit pahos (prayer feathers), offerings to the two gods whose complex interaction helps to assure the seasons' cyclic return, keeping the world in balance for yet another year.

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  1. Occupied from 1085-1207 A.D., Ridge Ruin was a thirty-room pueblo with three kivas and a Maya-style ball court. It was also the site of the so-called Magician's Burial. Thought by Hopi elders to be of the Motswimi, or Warrior Society, this apparently important man was interred with twenty-five whole pottery vessels and over six hundred other artifacts, including shell and stone jewelry, turquoise mosaics, woven baskets, wooden wands, arrow points, and a bead cap.
    --a. Rose Houk, Sinagua: Prehistoric Cultures of the Southwest (Tucson, Arizona: Southwest Parks & Monuments Association, 1992), p. 7.
    --b. Oppelt, Guide to Prehistoric Ruins, pp. 99-100.
    --c. Reid and Whittlesey, Archaeology of Ancient Arizona, pp. 219-220.
  2. The eponymous Winona Village, which was occupied at the end of the 11th century, contained about twenty pit houses and five surface storage rooms. Oppelt, Guide To Prehistoric Ruins, p. 99.
  3. The Emilienne Ruin had a foundation of twelve rooms, most of which could have been two stories high, plus eleven outlying one-room units.
  4. The Fitzmaurice Ruin, occupied from 1140-1300 A.D., had twenty-seven rooms in which were found beads, pendants, bracelets, and eighty-one amulets, including crystals, animal fetishes, obsidian nodules (so-called "Apache Tears") and a curious six-faceted, truncated pyramid carved from jadeite and measuring 1.5 centimeters wide.
    --a. Franklin Barnett, Excavation of Main Pueblo At Fitzmaurice Ruin: Prescott Culture in Yavapai County, Arizona (Flagstaff, Arizona: Museum of Northern Arizona, 1974), p. 95.
    --b. Johnson, Prehistory in the Prescott Region, p. 16.
  5. Similar to the Nazca lines of Peru, these intaglios of human, animal, and star figures, some over a hundred of feet long, were made by removal of the darker, "desert varnished" pebbles, exposing the lighter soil beneath. Reid and Whittlesey, Archaeology of Ancient Arizona, pp. 127-129.
    --According to the Mohave and Quechan tribes of the lower Colorado River region, the human figures represent the deity Mastamho, the Creator of the Earth and all life. Notice the similarity between the name of this god and that of the Hopi earth god Masau'u. These figures are thought to be between 450 and 2000 years old.
  6. Also at 1:15 a.m. on this date Bellatrix is at 240 degrees azimuth and Meissa is at 242 degrees azimuth. Forty minutes later Alnilam is at 240 degrees, the azimuthal degree at which the sun will set at 5:15 p.m. on this same day. Incidentally, at this winter solstice sunset time Orion is just rising on the opposite horizon, thus emphasizing the pivotal relationship of Orion/Masau'u and the Sun/Tawa. All astronomical computations performed with Skyglobe (KlassM Software). Mark A. Haney, Skyglobe 2.04 for Windows [floppy disk] (Ann Arbor, Michigan: KlassM Software, 1997.
  7. Edmund Nequatewea cited by John D. Loftin, Religion and Hopi Life In the Twentieth Century (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1994, reprint 1991), p. 33.
  8. Frank Waters and Oswald White Bear Fredericks, Book of the Hopi (New York: Penguins Books, 1987, reprint, 1963), pp. 158-161.
  9. Richard Maitland Bradfield, An Interpretation of Hopi Culture (Derby, England: published by author, 1995), pp. 134-135.
  10. Stephen cited by Ray A. Williamson, Living the Sky: The Cosmos of the American Indian (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989, reprint 1984), pp. 79-82.
  11. Waters and Fredericks, Book of the Hopi, pp. 161-162.

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