The Navajo nation believes to this day that they are the direct descendants of the Holy People or Creation Gods. Their whole reason for existence is to carry their legacy forwards with each generation endowed with the physical and emotional attributes of human beings. Their way of life known as the Blessing Way, or Beauty Way, represents the female energy of creation – harmonious, peaceful, happy, undemanding.
In Navajo wisdom, there is no division between sacred and secular unlike in western traditions. Life itself is sacred, only sacred, therefore knowledge, the process of learning, is also sacred.
Holism is their way of life, a constant expression of interconnectedness and beauty. They astutely survey the misplacement of even one small element of life because it is bound to effect all other parts and so the harmony will be broken.
I recently visited Monument Valley, Tsé Bii’ Ndzisgali (Valley of the Rocks) deep in the Navajo Lands straddling Arizona and Utah, and there I directly witnessed such harmony and beauty.
The hotel we chose was called ‘The View’ exactly because it is an astounding viewpoint out on to such Holy Rocks. This is considered to be the heart of the Earth according to Navajo Creation myths – the Monument Valley Tribal Park, 92,000 acres of majestic buttes, spires and rocks. Unlike other Navajo reservations, this valley is still inhabited by Navajo – 30-100 people depending on the season who live in hand-built houses without running water or electricity, tending their livestock and creating artifacts.
‘The View’ hotel, the first in Navajo Lands, opened in 2008, followed by a renovated visitors centre in 2009. When driving at 5 mph down the unpaved valley road which weaves in between the sandstone ‘monuments,’ we could get a view of it embraced by the sandstone contours, built in a way which completely respects the majesty of the sacred.
On arriving, after paying a modest entrance fee to enter the national park, we drove up to the rear windowless side of the hotel to enter the plain lobby. The experience was almost like walking into one of the rocks itself. The lobby is centred around a massive indoor chimney with a log fire burning in it, the walls adorned with Navajo artifacts, but it was the meeting with the beautiful female receptionists that moved me most.
They exhibited the ‘Blessing Way’ perfectly. No masks. No posturing or acting. Their voices were low and respectful, their eyes used carefully, the information we required expressed succinctly. I immediately thought of hospitality training in western traditions, and how the customer is treated as a god and entitled to amass charm points during their stay! But these young women had the courage to show their true strong nature to all visitors equally. There was no effervescent welcome because we were expected by the spirits.
It was as if we were in the presence of the Navajo Creation Beings, moving in an eternal dance with them.
Their creation story states that once the Earth was made and after things had been placed on it, the First Man and First Woman pulled a single feather out of a Bald Eagle and blew on it while vowing that from that moment on nothing would be still in the universe, ‘not even water, not even the rock.’ (see ref: 1983:16)
We ancient spirits in human form, which is what all human beings are, can directly influence such movement. I had a sense that even the 58,000 year-old rocks were flowing amongst the warm breath of the Navajo guardians, and this sense of movement is still with me several weeks after my recent visit to Monument Valley.
This experience illuminated the importance of venerating our beloved ancestors who laid the foundation of our lives. I have no single doubt that we are descended from the gods and have been entrusted to carry forward their sacred legacy. We can all choose to live as Holy Beings in this very life.
These stunning buttes below are called ‘The Mittens.’ They are the covered hands of the Earth beings pushing up from the Earth’s mantel in what was once a great ocean high in the mountains of Arizona.
Our Earth is a living moving monument to our divine origins.
Images courtesy of Linden Thorp (4-9 February, 2017) and megapixyl.com
Reference: Pinxten, Rik and Ingrid Van Dooren, Frank Harvey Anthropology of Space. Philadelphia University Press. 1982