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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.