Harvest of Gems - Two

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Mahakala. The Big Black One. He was on my mind a lot this spring. Mahakala was one of the nasty protectors of the Tibetan canon. I could feel his hot breath all the time. When mental sludge was thick: Mahakala cleaned it up. As I whizzed by the vast empty wasteland of the Arizona desert, my mind became lighter and stronger. The compressed madness of Los Angeles seemed far away. The angry spray-painted graffiti of South-Central was transformed into this floating white flak of clouds. Small puffy little cotton balls moving slowly against the pale sky. It was breath-taking to watch.
But where was Mother Nature's son? We had agreed to meet near Winslow. But when I arrived at the Indian chief's place, he wasn't there. A crazy Catholic priest who knew him told me he had already taken off to the mesas nearby with some other guy I didn't know. I was pissed off. How was I going to find this guy? The mesas could be seen in the distance. They were rugged and wind-swept. A primordial kind of feeling took hold of my body. This was very sacred land. The Indians knew it and so did I.

The next morning I decided to go to the mesas blind. The pure sky and vast expanse of the country reminded me of Tibet. Just north of Winslow, the Hopi mesas began. It was actually a small island in a Navajo sea. I picked up an old Navajo Indian on the road and he just pointed towards the horizon. The old guy didn't say a word during the entire trip. He got off just before the mesas and told me to keep going north.

I was told once that power is accelerated manifestation and this is what I felt happening here beside this sacred blue sky canopy and womb-like earth that the Hopis called their home. Words were useless here. The mind was just swallowed up and the heart simply expanded. I knew that anything could happen here. The air was filled with magic and finding a needle in a haystack seemed an easy trick. I spotted Mother Nature Son's yellow Ford truck next to a corn-field on the main road. I put on the brakes and waved. Mother Nature's Son spotted me and waved to me. It was cool stuff.
It was weeding time. I had caught all these people hoeing away and just joined in. The work wasn't too hard and after an hour, we drove back to the second mesa. We were invited for dinner at the niece's trailer. She had prepared a tasty stew of beans and meat. A kind of flat bread went along with it and we washed it all down with this tea that really stoked me. I can't even pronounce its name, but it was pretty delicious. The niece said it helped the blood to circulate better. It was a great meal and for a little extra atmosphere the uncle played Hopi rain chants from a beaten old tape-recorder.

The niece talked about Hopi prophecy and I was all ears. This stuff really kept me on the edge of my seat. It really did. I mean the niece talked about these Hopi warnings that invaders would come from the sea and attack their way of doing things. Also that these invading people would build weird missiles that could then burn everything into ash.
The Hopis believed in the Kachina spirits who lived in the skies and who when offered sacred stuff with a fervent heart would bring forth life-giving waters and make the corn-fields bloom. Special caves called kivas gave the priest honchos shelter to commune with and be taken over temporarily by these kachinas. The kivas were womb-looking and mysterious. Only a few people with special clearance were allowed in.
The niece told us that food left over-night was found half-eaten the next morning. Special eagles were tied up and killed after many months of feeding. We were told that the spirits of the eagles would protect the Hopis. This didn't sound very Buddhist to me. It's not cool to really kill animals like this. But I was told that Tibetan lamas had actually come to visit the Hopis and that they hit it off rather well.

For many Hopis life was KOYONASQUATSI. Everything was fucked up. A lot of Hopis were getting drunk and materialistic. The old ways were now dying out. A lot of Hopis didn't want whites around. Others were selling out. It was all pretty confusing stuff. Hopis were also really sensitive to photos. Kids would throw rocks at me when I snapped around. No running water was available in the old villages and a lot of people were upset that a SAFEWAY was going to be built nearby.
The uncle took me into his workshop and showed me his wooden carvings of Kachina spirits. These little dolls were really colorful and I took a lot of snaps. The uncle didn't seem to mind, but he wouldn't let me shoot a large painting his father had left him. It was filled with wild images of dancers and spirits communing between different worlds and I was sorry the painting had been damaged. It had been at some kind of American exhibit and water had dripped on to it from a leaky roof. One more karmic slap at the Hopis.

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