Flying shields of the Hopi

Flying shields of the Hopi:

Paatuwvota: the flying shields of the kachinam

These magical flying shields called paatuwvota existed in the Third World, a previous epoch destroyed by an immense flood. In an address delivered to the United Nations, Thomas Banyacya of the Hopi Coyote Clan said: “The people invented many machines and conveniences of high technology, some of which have not yet been seen in this age.”

In one legend the flying shield is associated with Sotuknang, the Hopi sky god… The city of Palatkwapi was destroyed by a fire from the sky brought by the kachinam as punishment for evil deeds…

Shortly afterwards a brother named Tiwahongva and his sister Tawiayisnima, who were forgotten in the chaos and left behind by their fleeing parents, set out on a journey to find them. In the evening they decided to make camp. They were just opening their bundle for dinner when they heard a great roar overhead. The children were very frightened, wondering what this strange thing could be. The brother held his sister tightly to his breast as a fantastic being descended from the heavens. He was wearing a costume that glittered like ice while his head and face shone like a star.

He spoke: “Do not be afraid. My name is Sotuknang. Because of my sympathy for your plight, I have come to help you. Get on my paatuwvota and let us be on our way.”

He then took them on his flying shield up into the sky so that they could see for many miles around. Feeding the hungry children ripe melons, he told them that they must have faith in him and in his teachings that would later arrive through their dreams. Finally he landed a short distance from the village in which their mother and father had settled, bid the young ones farewell, and flew up again into the clouds.

Forever grateful to the sky god, the brother and sister walked into the village to be reunited with their parents.

One Hopi myth tells of a young bride who accompanies her handsome Kana kachina husband back to her Second Mesa village of Mishongnovi on a flying shield.

“As the shield lifted off, the kachinas all gave out a boisterous yell.

The spectacle was incredible; every sort of kachina conceivable was present. All of a sudden as the couple flew along, flashes of lightning were visible in the air and the rumble of thunder could be heard. When the shield rose higher, drizzle began to fall. The kachinas were now accompanying them…

Her parents had headed to the edge of the mesa at this time to look out. Looking down from the rim of the mesa, they saw an incredible number of people coming across the plain. To their great amazement all were kachinas, singing and crying out their calls in a pandemonium.”

This passage is taken from a book called Earth Fire: A Hopi Legend of the Sunset Crater Eruption co-authored by Ekkehart Malotki, a white professor of languages at Northern Arizona University, and Michael Lomatuwayima, a Hopi from the Third Mesa shrine-village of Hotevilla.

Source: Biblioteca Pleyades

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