Many alternative writers claim that the Hopi have “ancient” prophecies that foretold the Euro-American settlement of the continental United States as well as its ultimate destruction by nuclear weapons. Such prophecies are often said to have come from a spirit being from Sirius known as the Blue Star Kachina, whom ancient astronaut writers claim is an extraterrestrial being, one of the creatures Robert Temple imagined served as the prototype for the Babylonian myth of Oannes.
I have not been able to trace the phrase “Blue Star Kachina” back before 1963, when the novelist and New Age mystic Frank Waters used the term in his The Book of the Hopi. I have not been able to find any reference to the “Blue Star Kachina” predating this book, or any scholarly report confirming that this name for Sirius predated the New Age movement. (I will return to this point momentarily.)
Where it does appear, however, is in two “ancient” Hopi prophecies that have made the rounds across hundreds of alternative books and thousands of websites. The more detailed of these prophecies is attributed to a Hopi named White Feather:
"This is the First Sign: We are told of the coming of the white-skinned men, like Pahana, but not living like Pahana men who took the land that was not theirs. And men who struck their enemies with thunder.
So, the prophecies foretell nine things, eight of which have happened: (1) European colonization, (2) pioneers in wagons, (3) cattle ranching, (4) train tracks, (5) telephone lines, (6) highways, (7) oil spills, and (8) hippies. The ninth seems to refer to a space station, and the coda at the end makes clear reference to nuclear war. The space station reference, however, may not be what was intended. The prophecy is so vague it could refer to a jet aircraft, or, more likely, to an event that happened in the past. In Fingerprints of the Gods (1995), Graham Hancock visited the Hopi elder Paul Sifki, who told him that he remembered a supernova in the early 1900s, “a star that exploded,” which his grandfather had told him foretold the destruction of the earth. I wonder if the prophecies’ author, White Feather, wasn’t referring to this or a similar event. I can’t find a nova from the early 1900s, but one was observed in 1885 in the vicinity of the Andromeda galaxy; however, any number of rare astronomical events could produce similar light shows, not necessarily an actual supernova. Heck, for all I know, Sifki could have witnessed the disintegrating comet that caused the Tunguska event of 1908, when that comet (or asteroid) exploded over Siberia.
My reference to the Tunguska event, I think, clues you in that the prophecies aren’t exactly what they seem. If these were truly “ancient” Hopi prophecies, this would be astonishing—and indeed many alternative writers claim them as such. (Even the 2005 encyclopedia Gods, Goddesses, and Mythology claims they are ancient—and accurate.) However, these “prophecies” were concocted ex post facto in 1958, when at least eight of the nine prophecies had already happened, nuclear war was a pervasive fear, and science fiction had made space stations a probable future occurrence. The prophecies were supposedly uttered to the Methodist pastor David Young after Young picked up White Feather as a hitchhiker. The strong Christian apocalyptic themes in the prophecy make plain that Young was likely far more than the mere transmitter of the prophecies; the text was allegedly first circulated in Christian churches in 1959 in privately-printed handbills but is only known (to me at least) from the published sources, including Something in This Book Is True by Bob Frisell. I cannot find references to the prophecy earlier than 1980, when it appeared in Rolling Thunder: The Coming Earth Changes by Joey R. Jochmans. If this is in fact the case, the blue star referenced would therefore likely be dependent upon the blue star we are about to meet in the next prophecy.
A second Hopi prophecy, today often paired with the first, also predicts a third World War, the destruction of the United States by nuclear weapons, and the rise of a single world government. Needless to say, this prophecy dates from 1963, as recorded by Frank Waters in The Book of the Hopi, and is similarly not ancient. Interestingly, though, this prophecy makes explicit that the end of the world will come when Saquasohuh Kachina dances. The name “Saquasohuh” means “Blue Star,” the same “blue star” referred to by White Feather. As I mentioned at the top of the piece, I am unable to find a clear reference to the “blue star” in any document published prior to the 1980 and 1963 texts, and it seems likely that if the White Feather prophecies are really from the 1980s they therefore are merely expanding upon and reworking the prophecy from The Book of the Hopi. Jochmans' attribution of words to White Feather surrounding the prophecies seems clearly influenced by Book of the Hopi and its discussion of Hopi tablets and other myths, as is the nuclear apocalypse given after the common text of the prophecies ends, especially where both prophecies claim that the Hopi, by virtue of their wisdom, are exempt from destruction.
The prophecies came to a head in the summer of 1987 at the Harmonic Convergence, an event New Agers thought signaled a change in history. Many gathered at Prophecy Rock on the Hopi mesas, but the event there had no Hopi participants and was decried by Hopi elders, especially after New Age attendees invoked aliens. At the event, the alleged Hopi prophecies from the 1950s and 1960s were appropriated by (white) New Agers as “ancient” mysteries and associated with all manner of alternative beliefs, including Robert Temple’s Sirius Mystery, UFOs, and other unconventional ideas. As a result, the “prophecies” entered the alternative mainstream (if that’s what you’d call it) in association with space beings, Sirius, and other extraterrestrial mysteries.
The association of the Blue Star Kachina from Waters’ book with the star Sirius then bled back into Native American beliefs from the New Age. The Native American activist Oh Shinnah, who is not Hopi (she is Apache and Mohawk), told Grandmother Twylah Nitsch, a Seneca, that she felt the Blue Kachina had “something to do with Sirius.” Oh Shinnah and Twylah Nitsch together concluded that the Hopi prophecies therefore meant that Sirius was associated with the apocalypse and a new universal consciousness emerging when our three-dimensional world becomes “four dimensional,” and this would happen in December 2012, when the Mayans prophesied the end of the world. Since that prophecy is well-known to be a Euro-American imposition on Native belief, the “Hopi” prophecies similarly seem to be Native peoples reflecting back the West’s own apocalyptic traditions!
The authors of these alleged prophecies were drawing on a traditional Hopi cosmology in which the current world, the Fourth World, would eventually give way to the Fifth World, in a recurrence of the periodic destruction that gave birth to new world ages. This myth, which posits the return of Pahana, the White Brother, from the East, is almost certainly related to the Mesoamerican feathered serpent legend of Quetzalcoatl and the Mesoamerican idea of successive worlds. As in the Aztec case, it is possible that the whiteness of the being was ascribed to him after the contact period to help place the arrival of white men from the east into a mythic context; there are no ancient Hopi texts, only oral accounts, so we simply can’t know what was believed before the first records were made. The traditional cosmology was continuously reinterpreted, however, in light of modern conditions.
Armin Geertz studied Hopi prophecy (most notably in 1994’s The Invention of Prophecy) and determined that no Hopi prophecy could be traced back before the event which it describes; in fact the Hopi have continuously recreated their prophecies to justify current conditions. For example, when the Hopi split around 1900, they created a “prophecy” to support the split, and new prophecies were added to reflect new technologies. The “spider web” analogy for telephone wires came about only after the wires went up. The most famous ex post facto “prophecy” is the “gourd full of ashes” that supposedly represented the destructive power of the atomic bomb. The “gourd” prophecy wasn’t invented until 1956 (though some oral traditions claim 1948), long after the bomb it supposedly predicted.
Thus, in short, the Hopi prophecies tell us much about the concerns of the people who uttered them, but very little about the future. Oh, and they also tell us that alternative writers will repeat anything they hear.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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