In The Cavity of a Rock

In The Cavity of a Rock
Father Lehi

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ancient Jewish, Mayan and Hopi Ceremony Correlations (continued)

(Video of 1913 Hopi Snake Ceremony, the Kisi is the tree looking object to the right of the video that the dancers pass by and gather around as well)

So a few months ago I put together a blog post about ancient Hebrew ceremonies with similar correlations that are found in Mesoamerica.  The focus of this post was centered mainly on Sukkot or the feast of the tabernacles an ancient Hebrew ceremony and what seems to be its new world equivalent in the Mayan Cha Cha'ac ceremony still practiced to this day in the Yucatan in southern Mexico.  In this post I wanted to continue with the a Hopi practice that also has similarities to Sukkot. This is the use of the Hopi Kisi.  Here is a link to the first half of this post.

Although the Kisi is involved in ceremonies that differ from Sukkot or the Cha Cha'ac to some degree, it is the use and structure of the Kisi that is reminiscent of the alters from both of the previously mentioned ceremonies. According to Tom Cryers in his book Visual Testament he states the Kisi is the most prominent Hopi setting, and the one most available to the public eye, and the one most widespread in the Americas, and the one used in both the Flute and Snake festivals or ceremonies which take place in the full moon of the fall.  The Kisi is a bower made of leafy cottonwood branches.  Kissay in Hebrew means "covered throne".  According to Hugh Nibley all over the ancient world , the King sat in a Kissay of green bowers at the New Year. (Nibley 1975:170).  Keh' seh, in Hebrew, means "full moon festival, appointed time."  The Hopi kisi is a little booth with its opening facing east and is sometimes walled and carpeted inside with buffalo robes.  The leaves are left on the branches that cover it on the outside.  The entrance is covered with a buckskin or a wedding robe.  Cryers also noted that the construction of such a leafy structure was practiced by the children of Israel in Moses' day as part of the "feast of tabernacles," which is also called the Feast of booths or the Fest of Ingathering (Sukkot). 

Hopi Antelope Dancers with Kisi (tree looking structure to
the left of the picture)
So you may ask what is the importance of finding similarities between the Jewish Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), the Mayan Cha Cha'ac ceremony and the use of the Hopi Kisi?  The religious use of these as noted in the above noted blog post have a lot in common as well.  With the Hopi Kisi we can also see a similar reason for the use of the structure.  The ceremonies in which the Kisi is used all have a surrounding theme of the need for rain.  This was also an important part of the previous two examples.  These seem to have roots in Sukkot which was done for the same reason as noted in Zechariah 14:16-17 which states,

"And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 

And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain."

This is also important to the relevance of the Book of Mormon which claims to be the record of a group of Jews who were commanded to leave Jerusalem around 600BC and were lead by the Lord into the new world where they became a great civilization that divided amongst itself and were known as the Nephites and Lamanites.  We know that during their existence (from 600 BC to at least 400AD) that the Law of Moses was practiced by the Nephites and more than likely apostate forms by the Lamanites.  These were practiced until the law was fulfilled and a new law given by the resurrected Savior Jesus Christ which appeared to the Nephites and Lamanites in 33AD.  Many of these old law practices and new practices can be found in the religious ceremonies of the indigenous around Mesoamerica and the Native Americans of the Southwest of the United States mainly the ancient Maya and Ancient Pueblo (Anasazi and Hohokam) who are the descendants of our modern day Hopi, Zuni, Pima, Gila River and many other tribes .  So if links between these civilizations and their religious ceremonies and beliefs can be tied together with those of the Jewish old world they stand as evidence of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.