Quite an informative message.

> But it was only when I stumbled on the delightful novels written by
Tony Hillerman that I was first introduced to the Navaho concept of
hozho. One source nicely (and hopefully accurately) defines it as
"harmony, beauty, balance, tranquillity, equilibrium, rightness,
centred, present moment centred awareness, truth, clarity of action,
thought and thinking."

Very Zen-like.   Any hozho in our culture?  Any hozho in any extant
culture?

> And we drove, and the land went on and on, harsh desert land yet
teeming with life, and the few scattered houses, and I felt as if, just
as the ancient Hebraic religions make sense if you trek through the
harsh Judean hills, hozho, if it feels right anywhere, feels right here.

Ancient  Hebraic religion(s) with hozho?

Hmmm ...

--ED



Brian Schwartz wrote:

Night fell somewhere around Amarillo, and the stars blazed down as we
crossed the high plains of New Mexico. First light just outside Gallup,
and from a hill we saw the endless empty lands and red mesas of the Four
Corners spread out below us. The flatlands stretched on and on, a rich
blue-green carpet of desert vegetation. A lot of bushy salsola weeds,
mixed with who knows what. It's basically desert but there are 500
species of plants out there. I was wide awake now. The arid land hummed
with life and energy. It was another world. The Navajo world.      The
Navajo trickled in from northern Canada about 1000 years ago but now the
Four Corners is the center of their world, and for them the world ends
if they leave the area bounded by their four sacred mountains. It's a
tightly ordered world. Everything has its assigned place and meaning,
and all the shapes correspond. The four mountain directions find their
analogy in the walls of the traditional Navajo house, the hogan. The
south walls are for making a living; weaving takes place there. The
north is for reverence, and it's there that blessing ceremonies are
organized. The women stay on the north side; women are sacred, powerful,
and it's they who own family property. A man moves in with his wife's
family.    As we drove through the rugged roads of the Navajo Nation, I
could see houses scattered on the high plateau as if a giant man had
thrown handfuls of dice around. Most were trailers or cinderblock low
flat houses, but each and every one of them had a hogan attached. They
weren't used except for ceremonies but no one wanted to cut themselves
off from this link to ancient tradition and harmony of life.    I first
ran across the Navajo concepts of harmony about 5 years ago while
researching Navajo weavings. I'd read a lot of the dry history of
classic weaving's three phases, and a lot of the bloody history of how
the Navajo were dispersed and chased and killed and herded onto some
barren land far to the east before, years later in 1868, being allowed
to return. But it was only when I stumbled on the delightful novels
written by Tony Hillerman that I was first introduced to the Navaho
concept of hozho. One source nicely (and hopefully accurately) defines
it as "harmony, beauty, balance, tranquillity, equilibrium, rightness,
centred, present moment centred awareness, truth, clarity of action,
thought and thinking." I immediately put a postscript on my Navajo rug
essay and here's part of it: "The Navajo believe in the
interconnectedness of the natural world.  If a butterfly flapping its
wings in China causes a storm in New Mexico, they wouldn't be surprised
at all. They have a word for it. Hozho. It connotes harmony and balance.
It also connotes beauty. The beauty of their weavings is an attempt to
express and honor the beauty, the hozho, of the natural world."    And
we drove, and the land went on and on, harsh desert land yet teeming
with life, and the few scattered houses, and I felt as if, just as the
ancient Hebraic religions make sense if you trek through the harsh
Judean hills, hozho, if it feels right anywhere, feels right here.    I
was too dazzled to take any photos in the Navajo Nation but later on I
took this photo just after we'd left it, and it gives you some idea of
the terrain:

Their traditions steeped in ecology, the Navajo unwittingly and
ironically violated it. They ruined the land. Wood-gathering stripped
the terrain. Later, around 1600, they got sheep from the Spanish. Herds
of sheep ate the grass down to the roots, turned the lush grasslands
into desert. Just beyond the sleepy capital of the Navajo Nation, Window
Rock, where we ate a McDonald's breakfast served by a kindly Navajo lady
and watched stray dogs fight in the parking lot, we passed through hills
planted with evergreens in a recent attempt to restore the land. Beyond
that, desert flatland and scattered hogans as we approached the rugged
hills beyond.   The hills closed in around us. Jagged cliffs and
monstrous mesas hemmed us in. We came to a place named Steamboat
(strange name here) and found a tiny store with a laundromat attached.
If you have no electricity or running water, a laundromat is a fine and
precious thing, and this one was packed. Then we were through the hills
and entered Hopi land. The Hopis, pueblo people, have been in the area
forever. Northern Arizona is dotted with long-abandoned ruins built by
the mysterious Anasazi people, who disappeared during a drought around
the time of Genghis Khan. Not quite disappeared; some of them drifted
into the Four Corners and became known as Hopi. During the 1600s, to
escape the Spanish conquistadors, they moved their villages to the top
of rugged mesas, sometimes running 50 miles every day to till the
fertile fields in the green valley of Moenkopi. Here's a look at that
valley; you can see why it's worth a long walk in the desert.      The
Hopis have a cosmology like the Navajos, also tied to the land, but it's
much more complex and little known to outsiders. Their world is one of
peace and harmony, and their calendar is punctuated by a complex round
of ceremonies. The gods (or so they say) join them during planting and
harvest, and dancing and masked processions celebrate their arrival.
Even today, when it's far easier to live on the flatlands, the clifftop
villages (and the ceremonies) thrive. The Hopi eschatology is much like
the Book of Revelation. We are living in an era called the Fourth World,
and that is coming to an end, but the Fifth World can begin only if
those sacred villages are occupied by Hopi.    Tourists visit the Hopi
lands, and bring needed cash, but they bring disruption too so nothing
is done to welcome them. The turnoff for the fabled villages of First
Mesa is barely marked at all. I was looking for it and I spotted it and
off we went. UP we went, as the narrow bumpy road suddenly climbed in
switchback curves, rock wall on one side and a 1000 foot drop on the
other. The dizzying roller-coaster ride disoriented me. I hadn't felt
that way since hitchhiking the narrow skyways of Tibet. Then with little
warning we were on top, thousands of feet above the land that stretched
out on either side. Crazy low-slung houses were jumbled up together like
one sprawling monstrous organic being. (And in fact most of those houses
are connected by interior doors just like the ancient Anasazi pueblos.)
Some were cinderblock, some mud adobe walls, all brightly painted -- I
was still disoriented from the ride and this place seemed so alien. It
was far more like a village on the Tibetan plateau than the normal world
of malls and McDonald's I'd left a few hours ago. It was far older than
that world, in some ways far richer, and very very strange.    Up one
street, no wider than an alley, and down another and then we went to the
valley below. Soon the road climbed again, giving us an eagle's view of
the land we'd crossed.      Not far beyond that was Oraibi, which is on
Third Mesa but which doesn't have the climb since the cliff is only on
one side. Oriabi, perhaps the most sacred of Hopi villages, is also the
oldest, and dates back, incredibly, to around 1100 A.D. The same sort of
pueblo buildings, but somewhat less crowded, and I walked along the
dusty alleys for a while. The streets were deserted. I think I saw the
entrance to a kiva, those secret underground chambers where the most
intimate communion with the Hopi spirit world takes place. I wouldn't
have been surprised to meet a spirit walking in First Mesa or Oraibi,
not surprised at all. Then we left. You're not allowed to take photos at
First Mesa or Oraibi but just at the edge of town was a long-abandoned
house built in the old pueblo style and, telling myself that we were
doubtless outside the village, I took a photo. It shows the
exhilarating, mind-bending view that surrounds you 24/7 if you live on
those mesas.       Not far beyond Oraibi was Moenkopi, and just beyond
that Hopi lands ended. We were back in Navajo territory now, but after a
few miles we left the Navajo Nation and turned onto Route 89 to Salt
Lake City. Dazzling landscapes awaited us. The bizarre, towering
wind-sculpted mesas as we passed along the southern fringe of Grand
Staircase Escalante, wildest of the national parks, full of bear and
elk, and then beyond Kanab the road turned north and a long green valley
began. A few farms here and there, and old towns. This area had been
settled by Mormons long ago. Farther north through Utah: jagged grey
barren hills punctuated by verdant strips of valley land. It looks SO
much like Afghanistan, I said, and indeed it did. But the feeling of
strange and alien exhilaration was gone. We had left Indian land. We
were back in the U.S.A.    Brian Schwartz   Here is part of a Hopi
dance, recorded at a Hopi village near Third Mesa and Oraibi:
http://music.myspace.com/Modules/MusicV2/Pages/PopUpPlayer.aspx?songid=4\
6522001&artid=21777231
<http://music.myspace.com/Modules/MusicV2/Pages/PopUpPlayer.aspx?songid=\
46522001&artid=21777231>     Here is a portion of a Navajo religious
ceremony, recreated about 50 years ago by a group of Navajo singers.
http://music.myspace.com/Modules/MusicV2/Pages/PopUpPlayer.aspx?songid=4\
9183799&artid=22204378
<http://music.myspace.com/Modules/MusicV2/Pages/PopUpPlayer.aspx?songid=\
49183799&artid=22204378>    Listen to the voice of the Navajo Nation
broadcasting from Window Rock:
http://den-a.plr.liquidcompass.net/standard_plr/audio_player.php?id=KTNN\
AM&playerType=wmp
<http://den-a.plr.liquidcompass.net/standard_plr/audio_player.php?id=KTN\
NAM&playerType=wmp>    Listen to the voice of the Hopi people:
http://www.kuyi.net/listen-online <http://www.kuyi.net/listen-online>   
For a much larger and clearer version of the photo taken near Oraibi, go
to http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/fe/Oraibi1.jpg
<http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/fe/Oraibi1.jpg>    If you
go: Go to Gallup, New Mexico, which is on Interstate 40. Take route 491
about 4 miles and turn left onto route 264. This is the long road that
goes through Navajo and Hopi lands. When you get to Tuba City, take
route 160 west a few miles to route 89. Then turn north to Utah or south
to Flagstaff on I-40.





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