Canyon de Chelly, Hopi & Navajo Nations,…

May 11, 2017 Photos

What an amazing day…

Hiking in Canyon de Chelly [last part pronounced ‘shay’] in the Navajo Nation of North-Eastern Arizona) is limited, but even for a relatively short visit, well worth the trip. (Better would be to sign up for a guided tour.)

Couple photos from an unplanned day, unfolding as it rolled…:

Spider Rock, a sandstone spire that rises 750 feet (229 m) from the canyon floor at the junction of Canyon de Chelly and Monument Canyon;  & other vistas:

“Access to the canyon floor is restricted, and visitors are allowed to travel in the canyons only when accompanied by a park ranger or an authorized Navajo guide.”.

The only exception to this rule is the White House Ruin Trail, a short (1.5 hr -ish round-trip) hike:

For nearly 5,000 years, people have lived in these canyons – longer than anyone has lived uninterrupted anywhere on the Colorado Plateau.   Many other ruins are visible from the rim as well.

Magnificent place…  Yet with some sad history here as well.

It is in these magnificent canyon lands that Colonel Christopher H. “Kit” Carson, then part of the United States’ military invasion of the Southwest, turned to ‘scorched earth’ warfare by destroying homes, food and supplies, including the cutting down of Canyon de Chelly’s ancient fruit orchards.

An earlier Spanish attack occurred on a winter day in 1805, when Spanish military, led by Lt. Antonio Narbona, fought an all-day battle with a group of Navajo people fortified in a rock shelter in Canyon del Muerto, on the north side of the Canyon de Chelly National Monument.  By the end of the day, Narbona reported that 115 Navajos were killed. The rock shelter where this occurred is called Massacre Cave:

Through Navajo Nation lands, I passed through what’s left of the once far more expansive and overlapping-with-other-tribes Hopi Nation:

In some way it is strangely like coming home… 

Much of KOYAANISQATSI – by Godfrey Reggio (VIDEO) includes footage from this region.  Koyaanisqatsi is a Hopi word for the crazed modern world most of us were born into, meaning ‘world out of balance’. 

A segment:

When I saw a sign for ‘First Village’, I turned up a windy road to see where my curiosity would lead…

And so I found myself in the ancient village of Sichomovi, right next to the most-ancient most traditional and well-protected ceremonial village, Walpi, which has been continuously inhabited by Hopi for at least 1100 years.

Having missed the last guided tour of the day, I ended up talking with a local Hopi artist about his art, ceremonial elements depicted (and not depicted…), the importance of continuing the local unique Hopi language, and other things, ending with a brief invitation to his family home.  The warmth, material simplicity, deep spiritual wealth of understanding,…   Remembering…   Grateful.

Also… Such fascinating overlap with Shambhala and Tibetan Dharma (ancient Buddhist teachings, mixed with older shamanic insights, that when skillfully and diligently applied can lead to the embodied realization of the ultimate nature of reality, including Emptiness-Luminosity  being inseparable from Loving-Kindness)

Here’s a short clip from the visit of the 16th Karmapa to the Hopi Nation in 1974:

–> Speaking of [the Karmapa], one of my favorite places in Crestone (Southern Colorado, just off Hwy 17 between Alamosa and Salida) is the Tashi Gomang Stupa, which holds relics of this meditation teacher, as well as that of many other allegedly renowned spiritual teachers, enshrined, as part of ‘a beacon of harmony’…:


— May Sanity Prevail On Earth —

The wonderfully magical afternoon in the heart of the Hopi Nation was just what I needed.   Such contrast with the craziness encountered in recent years, even in the beautiful remote area by Crestone…

I pray that anyone immersed in the world-out-of-balance find his and her way to a more peaceful, harmonious and respectful way of life.  It appears the world has gone crazy, and it’s not letting up any day soon, but it is never too late to limit discord and dispel unhelpful disruptive energies from our own lives…

Couple views on the Hopi Prophesy / Emergence rock:

Slightly different interpretation, same gist:

No photography or recording of any kind is allowed anywhere in this sacred heartland of the traditional Hopi villages.  It is very important to respect these customs, even if they make no sense.  Look at what damage modern industrial civilization has wreaked upon this beautiful Earth, and compare it to the amazing ecologically thriving conditions indigenous people stewarded bioregions in.

Their understanding of how to live in harmony with ‘all our relations’ through ceremony was, and remains (!), crucial to this.  I can appreciate the photography ban, actually, as much as I would like to share.  In my view, photographs can be like subtle energetic portals that can diffuse or distort non-obvious energies, or bring energies in or out of circumstances that are not conducive to the prayerful ceremonies that are engaged here.  If it wasn’t for all the indigenous and other heart-genuine prayers and harmonizing ceremonies this world would have been ruined already many times over.

So, I have not much to show for this most randomly amazing part of this mini road trip, apart from this road view of the Second Mesa village in the distance:

On my way towards the Grand Canyon, I had a long stop-over enjoying the beauty of the trading post and gallery @ Cameron, Arizona.  Some of its Navajo rugs (photos taken with permission):


Grateful.  Re-inspired.

In the dim light after sunset, my camera ran out of battery power, but I was able to squeeze one more out of it @ the Little Colorado river, which flows into the Rio Colorado in the Grand Canyon:

Grand Canyon’s next…

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