In The Cavity of a Rock

In The Cavity of a Rock
Father Lehi

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

LDS Prospective of the Hopi Nakwach and the True Pahana or Lost White Brother


Awanu (horned serpent) petroglyph
The true Pahana (or Bahana) is the Lost White Brother of the Hopi. Most versions have it that the Pahana or Elder Brother left for the east at the time that the Hopi entered the Fourth World and began their migrations. However, the Hopi say that he will return again and at his coming the wicked will be destroyed and a new age of peace, the Fifth World, will be ushered into the world.  He will bring with him a missing section of a sacred Hopi stone in the possession of the Fire Clan, and that he will come wearing red.Traditionally, Hopis are buried facing eastward in expectation of the Pahana who will come from that direction.  For more information on the Hopi stone see: (http://inthecavityofarock.blogspot.com/2011/08/hugh-nibley-and-sacred-hopi-stone.html)

The legend of the Pahana seems intimately connected with the Aztec story of Quetzalcoatl, and other legends of Central America. This similarity is furthered by the liberal representation of Awanyu, the horned or plumed serpent, in Hopi and other Puebloan art. This figure bears a striking resemblance to figures of Quetzacoatl, the feathered serpent, in Mexico. In the early 16th century, both the Hopis and the Aztecs believed that the coming of the Spanish conquistadors was the return of this lost white prophet. Unlike the Aztecs, upon first contact the Hopi put the Spanish through a series of tests in order to determine their divinity, and having failed, the Spanish were sent away from the Hopi mesas.


One account has it that the Hopi realized that the Spanish were not the Pahana based upon the destruction of a Hopi town by the Spanish. Thus when the Spanish arrived at the village of Awatovi, they drew a line of cornmeal as a sign for the Spanish not to enter the village, but this was ignored. While some Hopi wanted to fight the invaders, it was decided to try a peaceful approach in the hope that the Spanish would eventually leave. However, Spanish accounts record a short skirmish at Awatovi before the Hopis capitulated. Frank Waters records a Hopi tradition that the Spanish did ignore a cornmeal line drawn by the Hopis and a short battle followed.


Nakwach Sacred Hand Clasp
Tovar [the leader of the Spanish] and his men were conducted to Oraibi. They were met by all the clan chiefs at Tawtoma, as prescribed by prophecy, where four lines of sacred meal were drawn. The Bear Clan leader stepped up to the barrier and extended his hand, palm up, to the leader of the white men. If he was indeed the true Pahana, the Hopis knew he would extend his own hand, palm down, and clasp the Bear Clan leader's hand to form the nakwach, the ancient symbol of brotherhood (According to Hopi legend this sacred handshake will also be required to enter into the fifth world).  Tovar instead curtly commanded one of his men to drop a gift into the Bear chief's hand, believing that the Indian wanted a present of some kind. Instantly all the Hopi chiefs knew that Pahana had forgotten the ancient agreement made between their peoples at the time of their separation. Nevertheless, the Spaniards were escorted up to Oraibi, fed and quartered, and the agreement explained to them. It was understood that when the two were finally reconciled, each would correct the other's laws and faults; they would live side by side and share in common all the riches of the land and join their faiths in one religion that would establish the truth of life in a spirit of universal brotherhood. The Spaniards did not understand, and having found no gold, they soon departed.


Hugh Nibley interpreted this story in his own way:


Jesus Christ
In 1540 when Pedro de Tovar came up to Bear Chief, who was standing to greet him on the rise at Old Oraibi, the chief reached out his hand to establish the visitor’s identity by offering him the sacred handclasp, the nachwach-was he really the promised White Brother? Naturally, the Spaniard, who had come looking for gold and nothing else, thought he was asking for money and placed a gold coin in his hand. Have you any signs or tokens? asked the chief. Yes, I have money, replied the visitor. From that moment the Hopis knew it was not the one they were looking for, and to this day they have never been converted to Christianity. (Hugh Nibley. Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints. 98-99)

From what we have read above it seems to stand as evidence that the Hopi awaiting the return of the lost white brother would be in relation to the second coming of Jesus Christ and the use of the Nakwach hand clasp has a direct relation in purpose to some of the sacred signs that are found in the LDS temple ceremony.  This would also confirm that they may have obtained this knowledge as direct descendents of the People of Ammon of whom I have spoken of extensively in previous posts. This also attests to the ancient origin of the LDS temple ceremony. 

2 comments:

  1. I think that would be better stated, "I Am", their waited for pahana.

    ReplyDelete