Tokpela: The First World
[From Book of the Hopi by Frank Waters, 1963.]
The first world was Tokpela (Endless Space).
But first, they say, there was only the Creator, Taiowa.... There was no beginning and no end, no time, no shape, no life. Just an immeasureable void that had its beginning and end, time, shape, and life in the mind of Taiowa the Creator.
Then he, the infinite, conceived of the finite. First he created Sotuknang to make it manifest, saying to him, "I have created you, the first power and instrument as a person, to carry out my plan for life in endless space. I am your Uncle. You are my Nephew. Go now and lay out these universes in proper order so they may work harmoniously with one another according to my plan."
Sotuknang did as he was commanded. From endless space he gathered that which was to be manifest as solid substance, molded it into forms, and arranged them into nine universal kingdoms: one for Taiowa the Creator, one for himself, and seven universes for the life to come. Finishing this, [he] went to Taiowa and asked, "Is this according to your plan?"
"It is very good," said Taiowa. "Now I want you to do the same thing with the waters. Place them on the surfaces of these universes so they will be divided equally among all and each."
[This Sotuknang did.] Going now to Taiowa, he said "I want you to see the work I have done and if it pleases you."
"It is very good," said Taiowa. "The next thing now is to put the forces of air into peaceful movement about all."
This Sotuknang did....
Taiowa was pleased. "You have done a great work according to my plan, Nephew. You have created the universes and made them manifest in solids, waters, and winds, and put them in their proper places.... Now you must create life and its movement to complete the four parts, Tuwaqachi, of my universal plan.
Spider Woman and The Twins
Sotuknang went to the universe [which] was to be... the First World, and out of it he created her who was to remain on that earth and be his helper. Her name was Kokyangwuti, Spider Woman.
When she awoke to life and received her name she asked, "Why am I here?"
"Look about you," answered Sotuknang. "Here is this earth we have created. It has shape and substance, direction and time, a beginning and an end. But there is no life upon it. We see no joyful movement. We hear no joyful sound.... So you have been given the power to help us create this life. You have been given the knowledge, wisdom, and love to bless all the beings you create. That is why you are here."
Following his instructions, Spider Woman took some earth, mixed it with some tuchvala (saliva), and molded it into two beings. Then she covered them with a cape made of white substance which was the creative wisdom itself, and sang the Creation Song over them. When she uncovered them, the two beings, twins, sat up and saked, "Who are we? Why are we here?"
To the one on the right Spider Woman said, "You are Poqanghoya and you are to help keep this world in order when life is put upon it. Now go around all the world and put your hands upon the earth so that it will become fully solidified. This is your duty."
Spider Woman then said to the twin on her left, "You are Palongawhoya and you are to help keep this world in order when life is put upon it. This is your duty now: go about all the world and send out sound so that it may be heard throughout all the land. When this is heard you will also be known as 'Echo', for all sound echoes the Creator."
Poqanghoya, traveling throughout the earth, solidified the higher reaches into great mountains. The lower reaches he made firm but still pliable enough to be used by those beings to be placed upon it and who would call it their mother.
Palongawhoya, traveling throughout the earth, sounded out his call as he was bidden. All the vibratory centers along the earth's axis from pole to pole resounded to his call; the whole earth trembled; the universe quivered in tune. Thus he made the whole world an instrument of sound, and sound an instrument for carrying messages, resounding praise to the Creator of all.
When they had accomplished their duties, Poqanghoya was sent to the north pole of the world axis and Palongawhoya to the south pole, where they were jointly commanded to keep the world properly rotating. Poqanghoya was also given the power to keep the earth in a stable form of solidness. Palongawhoya was given the power to keep the air in gentle ordered movement, and instructed to send out his call for good or for warning through the vibratory centers of the earth.
"These will be your duties in time to come," said Spider Woman. She then created from the earth trees, bushes, plants, flowers, all kinds of seed-bearers and nut-bearers to clothe the earth, giving to each a life and name. In the same manner she created all kinds of birds and animals-- molding them out of earth, covering them with her white-substance-cape, and singing over them. Some she placed to her right, some to her left, others before and behind her, indicating how they should spread to all four corners of the earth to live.
Creation of Mankind
So Spider Woman gathered earth, this time of four colors; yellow, red, white, and black; mixed them with tuchvala, the liquid of her mouth; molded them; and covered them with her white-substance cape which was the creative wisdom itself. As before, she sang over them the Creation Song, and when she uncovered them these forms were humans beings in the image of Sotuknang. Then she created four other beings after her own form. They were wuti, female partners, for the first four male beings.
When Spider Woman uncovered them the forms came to life. This was at the time of the dark purple light, Qoyangnuptu, the first phase of the dawn of Creation, which first reveals the mystery of man's creation.
They soon awakened and began to move, but there was still a dampness on their foreheads and a soft spot on their heads. This was at the time of the yellow light, Sikangnuqa, the second phase of the dawn of Creation, when the breath of life entered man.
In a short time the sun appeared above the horizon, drying the dampness on their foreheads and hardening the soft spot on their heads. This was the time of the red light, Talwva, the third phase of the dawn of Creation, when man, fully formed and firmed, proudly faced his Creator.
"That is the Sun," said Spider Woman. "You are meeting your Father the Creator for the first time. You must always remember and observe these three phases of your Creation. The time of the three lights; the dark purple, the yellow, and the red reveal in turn the mystery, the breath of life, and warmth of love. These comprise the Creator's plan of life for you as sung over you in the Song of Creation....
The First People of the First World did not answer her; they could not speak.... So Sotuknang gave them speech, a different langauge to each color, with respect for each other's difference. He gave them the wisdom and the power to reproduce and multiply. Then he said to them, "With all these I have given you this world to live on and be happy. There is only one thing I ask of you. To respect the Creator at all times. Wisdom, harmony, and respect for the love of the Creator who made you. May it grow and never be forgotten among you as long as you live."
So the First People went their directions, were happy, and began to multiply.
The Nature of Man
With the pristine wisdom granted them, they understood that the earth was a living entity like themselves. She was their mother; they were made from her flesh; they suckled at her breast. For her milk was the grass upon which all animals grazed and the corn which had been created specially to supply food for mankind. But the corn plant was also a living entity with a body similar to man's in many respects, and the people built its flesh into their own. Hence corn was also their mother. Thus they knew their mother in two aspects, which were often synonymous-- as Mother Earth and the Corn Mother.
In their wisdom they also knew their father in two aspects. He was the Sun, the solar god of their universe. Not until he first appeared to them at the time of the red light, Talawva, had they been fully firmed and formed. Yet his was but the face through which looked Taiowa, their Creator.
These universal entities were their real parents, their human parents being but the instruments through which their power was made manifest. In modern times their descendants remembered this.
When a child was born his Corn Mother [an ear of perfect corn whose tip ends in four full kernels] was placed beside him, where it was kept for twenty days, and during this period he was kept in darkness; for while his newborn body was of this world, he was still under the protection of his universal parents. If the child was born at night, four lines were painted with cornmeal on each of the four walls and ceiling early next morning. If he was born during the day, the lines were painted the following morning. The lines signified that a spiritual home, as well as a temporal home, had been prepared for him on earth.
[Numerous small rituals were performed until] early in the morning of the twentieth day, [and] while it was still dark, all the aunts of the child arrived at the house, each carrying a Corn Mother... and wishing to be the child's godmother....and each blessed the child and gave it a name from the clan of either the mother or father of the aunt. The yellow light was by then showing in the east. The mother, holding the child in her left arm and the Corn Mother in her right hand, and accompanied by her own mother-- the child's grandmother-- left the house and walked toward the east. Then they stopped, facing east and prayed silently, casting pinches of cornmeal toward the rising sun.
When the sun cleared the horizon the mother stepped forward, held up the child to sun sun and said, "Father Sun, this is your child," [then repeating] this [while] passing the Corn Mother over the child's body as when she had named him.... The grandmother did the same thing when the mother had finished. Then they both marked a cornmeal path toward the sun for this new life.
The child now belonged to his family and the earth. The village crier announced his borth, and a feast was held in his honor. For several years the child was called by the different names that were given him. The one that seemed most predominant became his name, and the aunt who gave it to him became his godmother. The Corn Mother remained his spiritual mother.
For seven or eight years he led the normal earthly life of a child. The came his first initiation into a religious society, and he began to learn that, although he had human parents, his real parents were the universal entities who had created him through them... [and] that he was a member of an earthly family and tribal clan, and he was a citizen of the great universe, to which he owed a growing allegiance as his understanding developed.
The First People, then, understood the mystery of their parenthood. In their pristine wisdom they also understood their own structure and functions-- the nature of man himself. The living body of man and the living body of the earth were constructed in the same way. Through each ran an axis, man's axis being the backbone... which controlled the equilibrium of his movements and his functions. Along this axis were several vibratory centers which echoed the primordial sound of life throughout the universe or sounded a warning if anything went wrong.
The first of these in man lay at the top of the head. Here, when he was born, was the soft spot, kopavi, the "open door" through which he received his life and communicated with his Creator. For with every breath the soft spot moved up and down with a gentle vibration that was communicated to the Creator. At the time of the red light, Talawva, the last phase of his creation, the soft spot was hardened and the door was closed. It remained closed until his death, opening then for his life to depart as it had come.
Just below it lay the second center, the organ that man learned to think with by himself... called the brain. Its earthly function enabled man to think about his actions and work on this earth. But the more he understood that his work and actions should conform to the plan of the Creator, the more clearly he understood that the real function of the... brain was carrying out the plan of all Creation.
The third center lay in the throat. It tied together those openings in the nose and mouth through which he received the breath of life and the vibratory organs that enabled him to give back his breath in sound. This... sound, as that coming from the vibratory centers of the body of earth, was attuned to the universal vibration of all Creation....
The fourth center was the heart. It too was a vibrating organ, pulsing with the vibration of life itself. In his heart man felt the good of life, his sincere purpose. He was of One Heart. But there were those who permitted evil feelings to enter. They were said to be of Two Hearts.
The last of man's important centers lay under his navel, the organ some people now call the solar plexus. As this name signifies, it was the throne in man of the Creator himself. From it he directed all the functions of man.
Thus the First People understood themselves. And this was the First World they lived upon. Its name was Tokpela, Endless Space. Its direction was west; its color sikyangpu, yellow; its mineral sikyasvu, gold. Significant upon it were kato'ya, the snake with a big head; wisoko, the fat-eating bird; and muha, the little four-leaved plant. On it the First People were pure and happy.
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