Hopi Stories of Witchcraft, Shamanism, and Magic

xxvii-xxxi functions of Hopi shamanism




The shaman was known as povosqa (plural povosyaqam) {with this /-ya-m/ grammatical plural, cf. the <ibri^ /-iym/ plural} at Second mesa and as poosi`ytaqa (plural poosi`yyungqam) in the Third Mesa dialect area. Etymologically connected to poosi, “eye,” povosqa literally translates “one who does seeing,” whereas poosi`ytaqa means “one who has an eye.” ...

As a rule, this “seeing” was enhanced by the use of a ruupi, “crystal,” the shaman’s “third eye.”” A “shaman ... “can see with his eyes the very spot affected when anyone is ill.””


all Hopi shamans had to be members of the so-called poswimi ... denoting “eye society” ... . Its individual members, termed poovost or poswiwimkyam, were basically men with “X-ray” vision.”


Here, there is “the lexeme wimkya, “initiated member,” ... plural ... wimkyam, “initiated members ...” ... .”

[autobiographical account of initiation into the poswimi at Walpi] “I was placed before the three medicine-men, and ... three smooth crystals .... were laid in a row beside the fire. They told me to remove my clothing and sit beside the fireplace, and ... the leader, took one of the crystals, and while singing he slapped it against my breast over the heart. This was to give me a heart as hard and strong as the crystal. He rubbed it about over the spot, and then asked it I felt something, and ... he ... said aloud, “It is well done!” Then the next man did the same thing, and thus I received the heart of a po`si-taka [correctly, poosi`ytaqa]. This ceremony they called u^na`n.-vana [correctly, unangwvana, “to put in, insert heart”].” (Curtis ... 53-55) {this is also the Australian aboriginal method of initiation into the official society of shamans}

[lightning-shaman] “a man who survived a lightning strike “later dreamed that he had been chosen by the cloud deities, who imbued him with their healing power.”” (Levy 1994:319).


[myth of origin of clan-shamanism] “ “the Badger who came up from Below was the first Po`boshtu:” [correctly, Poovost].” (Stephen 1936:861)

[lightning-shaman] “whenever a person survives a lightning strike, he gets in initiated into the business of curing. By being struck, he gets to see things in a clear way and, as a result, learns ... healing.”


The lightning-strike survivor “later dreamed that the cloud deities had imbued them with some of their power, which he had to use on the pain of death, for helping others.” (Titiev 1942:522)

The seer or shaman will sometimes call on a wolf as a godfather and even dress like one when he shamanizes. Others come to have the bear or eagle as a helping spirit. Even the little mouse will qualify, for it is very skillful. However, while medicine men will call on the powers of these animals, they ... possess their hearts and may dress like them as they treat a patient.” (Malotki 1993:164-5)

A certain shaman “had a hawk for an animal father, so he behaved and screamed like one. Like a hawk he had his wings spread out and ... even climbed on top of things. Shamans will typically have one of the game animals, bears, pronghorn, ... even mountain lions, for helpers. Thus, with a bear for an animal familiar, he will act like one too. Growling like a bear he feels around his patients and removes from them the foreign objects that are causing the disease.”

Curtis = Edward S. Curtis : The Hopi. = Vol. 12 of THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN. 1922.

Levy 1994 = Jerrold E. Levy : “Hopi Shamanism”. In :- Raymond J. DeMallie & Alfonso Ortiz (eds.) : North American Indian Anthropology. Norman : U of OK Pr, 1994. pp. 307-27.

Stephen 1936 = Alexander Stephen (ed. by Elsie Clews Parsons) : Hopi Journal. = COLUMBIA U CONTRIBUTIONS TO ANTHROPOLOGY 23, 1936. 2 vols.

Titiev 1942 = Mischa Titiev : “Notes on Hopi Witchcraft”. PAPERS OF THE MICHIGAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCE, ARTS, AND LETTERS 29:425-37.

Malotki 1993 = Ekkehart Malotki : Hopi Ruin Legends : Kiqo:tutuwutsi. Lincoln, U of NE Pr, 1993.

pp. xxxiv-xxxix use of hallucinogens by shamans




Whenever the shaman was going to practice at night, he used a special medicine. Upon eating this medicine, it got like daylight for him. ... After first swallowing some sort of medicine the shaman can see the foreign object ... that is causing the ailment. He then removes this foreign object.”


As concerning the hallucinogen Tsimona ‘jimsonweed (Datura)’, “the root was allegedly chewed to induce visions by the medicine man while examining the patient. ... (Whiting ... 37) ...

[female kac^ina] Tsimonmana, “Jimsonweed Girl” ... was ... to fetch Maasaw, the god of death, in the course of the Nevenwehekiw ceremony (Malotki and Lomatuway`ma ... 133-38).”


[effect of belladonna on females] “Women in particular experience nymphomania, a condition that is vividly illustrated in “The Story of the ‘Tsimonmamant’ or Jimson Weed Girls” (Malotki 1983b:204-20)”.

In addition to Datura, Whiting (1966:30-31) mentions two other plants ... that the Hopi shamans exploited ... . Of these, the herb palena {this is a Spanish/Italian term}, ... its root was chewed by the medicine man “in order to induce visions and thus help him in locating the source of the trouble” (Whiting 1960:30).

The same application procedure was true for four o’clock [Mirabilis multiflora]. Known as soksi in the Hopi dialect of Third Mesa, its root oo was masticated “to induce vision while making diagnosis” (Whiting 1966:75).” (so`ksi; Mm; Mm-blog)

Whiting = Alfred F. Whiting : Ethnobotany of the Hopi. Flagstaff : Northland Pr, 1966.

Malotki and Lomatuway`ma = Ekkehart Malotki & Michael Lomatuway`ma : Maasaw. Lincoln : U of NE Pr, 1987.

Malotki 1983b = Ekkehart Malotki : “... A Hopi narrative featuring the motif of the vagina dentata”. In :- Brian Swann (ed.) : Smoothing the Ground. Berkeley : U of CA Pr, 1983.

so`ksi = http://www.erowid.org/psychoactives/cultivation/cultivation_growing-the-hallucinogens.shtml#SOKSI

Mm = http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Mirabilis+multiflora = http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Mirabilis+multiflora & http://www.liberherbarum.com/pn3728.HTM

Mm-blog = http://www.bluelight.ru/vb/archive/index.php/t-289260.html & http://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Number/2172894

xxxii, xxxviii-xlviii Hopi tales implying shamanism



tale of shamanism


shamans’ inserts into initiates’ bodies

the sorcerers ... create the cannibal monster Chaveyu [correctly, Tseeveyo], from juniper bark ... . Into the monster they insert a crystal for the heart and shells for the liver and lungs, singing over it to bring it to life.”



Gambling Boy Who Married a Bear Girl” : “He returns to his village and forgets her, however, and ... she kills him ..., she brings him back to life, and he subsequently becomes a great healer.”


shaman’s tobacco

a village crier chief ... is tested by Winged-Snake Girl, ... with tobacco ...,

“ “

however, ... the smoke passes down ... down into Mole’s burrow” (Curtis, p. 196).


“ “

Mole allows a man who has gone to the kiva of the bird monster Kwaatoko to pass a smoking trial, one of a number necessary before he can recover his stolen wife.” (Curtis, p. 212)

shaman’s music

Old Spider Woman plays the drum for her grandsons Po:qangwhoya and Palo:ngawhoya, who ... can go to Kiisiw, where kachinas live, and bring back a new dance” (Courlander 1982:221). ... the cicadas sing and play the flute to counter a blizzard (Malotki 1998:179)”.


magical flight by shaman

the paatuwvota, “magic flying shield,” ... Literally denoting “water-shield,” the term paatuwvota also alludes to the rings in the water that ripple out in every direction when an object is cast into a pool. Serving supernaturals as their premier mode of transportation, the device is described as consisting of “two parts, with the lower one spinning and the upper one remaining still” (Malotki 1993:307). ... “... The owner of such a vehicle needs only to climb aboard, tug on something and utter a command, whereupon the shield rises in the air” (Malotki 1993:429), taking its occupant wherever he wishes to go.

Identical in function, but of different construction and design, is the tawiya, “gourd.” This flying machine is said to consist of two halves. Its rider, after climbing aboard and closing the upper half over himself, ... installs a tightly stretched sinew between the bottom of the gourd and its stem button. By twisting the sinew between his palms, the rider causes the flying machine to miraculously lift off and zoom along, emitting a humming noise (Malotki 1993:135, 139).”

entry into land of the dead

the descent of a deceased person’s soul to Maski. ... the devices serving this purpose are part of the Hopi beliefs surrounding death and afterlife. Termed hahawpi, “climbing-down instrument,” ...


“ “

A married man employs the hahawpiyungyapu, a specially designed wicker plaque that is traditionally given to him as a bridegroom by his bride. A married woman, on the other hand, uses the smaller of the two oova, “wedding robes,” she receives as a means of descending to the underworld after death.”

magical flight by shaman

in the stories “The Yaya`t and Their Feats” and “How the Po:qangw Brothers Found Their Father,” the Yaya`t use a spinning piki tray vessel and a flying burden basket, and the sun transports the brothers on a “spinning device.” Elsewhere, a young girl is taken away by a kachina to the Land of the Cloud People in ... round craft that makes a roaring, hissing sound (Courlander 1982:202).”


tunnel [near-death exper.]

the Sipaapuni, the place at which the ... people emerged from the earth (the Grand Canyon)”.

magical flight by shaman aboard bird

in “The Man Who Traveled to Maski, Home of the Dead, to Bring Back His Wife,” the man journeys partway there on the back of a talking owl, and in “An Oraibi Boy’s Visit to Maski, Home of the Dead,” the boy returns partway to the world of the living on the back of an eagle.”


revival [in dream]

[In story “The Boy Who Wanted to Be a Medicine Man”,] “there is nothing left of him but a pile of bones and flesh. Under the direction of his “father” (a bear), the kachinas dance him back to life. In a similar story, a young man who wants to be a medicine man is taken to Toko`navi, Navajo Mountain, where a group of ancient men break all his bones and reconstitute him (Courlander 1982:194).”

spectral rainbow

Pavayoykyasi and his son ride a rainbow to Nuvatukya`ovi, the San Francisco Peaks (Malotki 1993:345); a girl and her suitor, who is actually a Ka`nas kachina, travel great distances on a rainbow that the suitor pulls from his pouch and hurls forward (Malotki 1987:27)


obstacles on road to abode of souls of the dead

in “The Man Who Traveled to Maski, Home of the Dead, to Bring Back His Wife,” not only is the man’s way blocked by a huge rattlesnake, a giant bear, a mountain lion, and Paalo:olo:qangw, but also he must make his way between two gargantuan rock cliffs in the water that open and close with great force. ... Also ..., in the story “How the Po:qangw Borthers Found Their Father,” the brothers find their way blocked by a huge mountain lion and rattlesnake”.


mystical heat

in “The Boy Who Wanted to Be a Medicine Man” ..., the boy looks around among the kachinas who have danced him back to life and exclaims “Oh boy, is it hot.””


cosmic levels

Tuuwanasavi, literally “sand middle,” ... in Malotki (1996:16)” : “In this story a hummingbird made from sunflower stalk


“ “

marrow comes alive and ... flies to Tuuwanasavi, marked by a wretched prickly pear cactus, and alights on its single flower. This opens the way down to Muy`ingwa, through kivas on four successive levels”.

nether-world reversals

when it is day in the in the surface world, it is night down below. {opposite longitude} Similarly, when it is winter in the upper world, it is summer in the lower. {opposite latitude} ...

Also, the dead eat only the essence or odor of food {cf. Gandharva-s, as-yet-unborn souls who feed on only the odor of food}, not its material form ..., and

when they see a live person in the underworld, the children there remark upon them as “skeletons” ... .

Finally, ... “a person who dies on earth ‘becomes like a baby’ in the other world, and that spirits of the dead become embodied in children born on earth” (Titiev 1944:176 ...).”

in ... “How Coyote Came to Visit Maski, Home of the Dead” .... Coyote come across nothing but frolicking children there”.


clowns of the nether-world

In the underworld, “every attribute is reversed, which may account for the clowns saying the opposite of what they mean, for their association with the dead, and for their coming over the clouds to the villages. As inhabitants of both worlds, the clowns also become the caretakers, or ‘fathers,’ of the kachinas, able to announce their arrival ..., and serve as interpreters between the two worlds” (Wright 1994:4).”

Courlander 1982 = Harold Courlander : Hopi Voices. Albuquerque : U of NM Pr, 1982.

Malotki 1998 = Ekkehart Malotki : Hopi Animal Tales. Lincoln : U of NE Pr, 1998.

Malotki 1987 = Ekkehart Malotki : Earth Fire : a Hopi legend. Flagstaff : Northland Pr, 1987.

Malotki 1996 = Ekkehart Malotki : The Magic Hummingbird : a Hopi folktale. Santa Fe : Kiva, 1996.

Titiev 1944 = Mischa Titiev : “Old Oraibi” = PAPERS OF THE PEABODY MUSEUM OF ARCHAEOLOGY AND ETHNOLOGY 22(1). 1944.

Wright 1994 = Barton Wright : Clowns of the Hopi. Flagstaff : Northland, 1994.

p. l legendary origins of the Yaya`t Society

the term /Yaya`i/ is “supposed to be of Keresan origin, specifically from the New Mexico pueblo of Cochiti, and denotes “mother””

the Yaya`t originated ... when a hawk in the form of a man took a group of thieving young boys and initiated them by throwing them bodily into a oven”;

the Yaya`t fashioned animal effigies from toosi (sweet cornbread)”, which effigies the married couple god Maasaw & goddess Tiikuywuuti vivified.

p. li shamanistic “tricks” performed by the Yaya`t Society at Walpi (Curtis, pp. 160-65)

producing a talking and singing skull” {cf. [African] tale of talking skull}

turning belts and knee garters into snakes”

calling Salt Woman from Zuni Salt Lake” {cf. [Aztec] salt-goddess Huixto-cihuatl}

dancing barefoot on burning embers” {[Maori etc.] fire-walking}

leaping over the side of mesa and returning unharmed” [Ladder Dance (Nequatewa, Spruce Tree dance) “kachinas ... dangled downward from the top [of tall poles] and swung out over the mesa edge” (p. xliii)]

calling a deer from the mountains to the foot of the mesa” {cf. [South American Indian] summoning of game-animals from the jungle}

transforming a long line of meal ...”

removing their limbs and fastening legs to shoulders and arms to hips”

sailing through the air on a circular shield”

washing hands and arms in fire from a pot like liquid”

pp. lii-liii Hopi myths involving magical acts



event in myth


Creation of the Morning and Evening Stars”

Old Spider Woman sprays mica with magic medicine, kneads the mica into shiny balls, and places them in the sky as stars”

taming of “the avian monster Kwaatoko”

Old Spider Woman ... having a brave youth spray some of her medicine on ... the monster”


destruction of “the Hehey`a Kachinas”

Hahay`iwuuti has kachina girls grind corn first into coarse hailstones ..., and then she has them grind it extremely fine into soft gentle rain”


barrier to save the village of Oraibi from destruction by fire”

Old Spider Woman ... weaves her web between two arrows (fletched with red-shafted flicker feathers) plunged into the ground”

fooling of Coyote

the Sparrow Girls throw their eyeballs up into the trees and catch them when they fall back down”

sorcerer rabbit”

the image of a cougar, which comes to life and it used to free a youth’s hand caught in the grip”


Po:qangw Brothers Stole Ligtning”

Po:qangwhoya and his brother stole pots containing blue-green lightning and red lightning.

pp. 42-54 water-ripples & reflection (cf. S^into myth of man in tree above woman at water)



Pongoktsina’s wife eloped with a god who “wore a beautiful indigo-hued shirt” (p. 42). {was he the personification of fleur-de-lys?}

Narkissos was son of nymph Leiri-ope (“three-petalled blue fleur-de-lys or iris” – GM 85.1).

[“the term paatuwvota also alludes to the rings in the water that ripple out in every direction when an object is cast into a pool.” (p. lx)] “there were rings in the water, still spreading in every direction. ... stepping into the water, she inspected the sunflower, but ...

The sunflower is the heliotrope, which turneth so as to face the sun [: cf. the turning as “the shield began rotating.” Thus the wife eloped. (p. 42)]

Pongoktsina actually peered down at her as she stood there in the water. That very moment she also looked into the pool and saw her husband’s reflection looking up at her from the pond.” (p. 52)

cf. Narkissos, the flower-god who peered into his own reflection in a pool of water : he gazed at this reflection

Pongoktsina’s wife had started following him about when “he took a pinch of power ... and sprinkled it into his wife’s vulva.” Thus she died and revived. (p. 49)

in order to remind himself of his own twin-sister, who had died (CDCM, s.v. “Narcissus”).

Pongoktsina and his wife “ascended into the sky where they became ... Nango:ysohut ... “The two stars that are chasing one another.”” (p. 54)

Atalante, heroine who raced men (GM 80.k), bore a son to the planet-god Ares (GM 80.l).

GM = Robert Graves : The Greek Myths. 1955.

CDCM = Pierre Grimal : A Concise Dictionary of Classical Mythology. 1990.

pp. 57-63 how man brought his dead wife’s soul out of Maski



CL, p.



he rode on back of flying graveyard-owl

Taawa, the sun-hero {cf. sun-brilliant heels of >adam (TS, p. 130)}


to kiva (entered by twisting his heel) of Old Spider Woman; thence


in kiva (entered by rotating his heel {cf. rotating heel of Inuus (Sat 1.22.2-7)}) of Old Spider Woman.

(wearing deerskin leggings given by her) walked through, successively :

grove of prickly-pear cactus, and

grove of cholla cactus.

he passed by, successively :

a “huge rattlesnake”, and

he passed by, successively :

a “huge striped black snake”,


a “vicious wolf”,


a “large bear”.


a “huge bear”.


enormous thicket of thorns and burrs” he “waded into” while wearing “high-topped moccasins”.

to him was given, by Old Spider Woman, a boat,


to him was given, by Old Spider Woman, a boat,


in which he passed (propelled by punting)

between clashing cliffs (one on each side of river).

in which he passed

between clashing cliffs (one on each side of river).


he passed by, spraying from his mouth with medicine {this is a Daoist ritual practice}, successively :

the “gigantic” death-god Maasaw (who “rose from the ground” [headfirst] {cf. the [according to Platon, in the Politikos ‘Statesman’(S)] “earth-born” souls of the antient dead}), and

a “mountain lion”.


he arrived at the abode of the dead, where he was told :

Your wife is a newcomer, so the chief will first want to have intercourse with her.” “The chief stepped up to her and raised up her dress. ... The chief now , even though he was an old man, displayed an erect penis of enormous size. The he spread-eagled himself on top of the woman.”


Then came “the man’s first girlfriend. ... As he continued staring at her, he got an erection ... .”

On his return voyage via the boat, with his wife,

they passed by (and he sprayed) a horned water-serpent Paalo:lo:qangw.


he passed by a feathered water-serpent


Eventually, the wife became an owl and flew away.

S = http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/stateman.html

CL = [Hopi myth] Ekkehart Malotki : “Boy Who Went in Search of His Father”. In :- Brian Swann (ed.) : Coming to Light. Random House, NY, 1994. pp. 657-678

TS = Howard Schwartz : Tree of Souls. Oxford U Pr, 2004. section 162 http://books.google.com/books?id=QJfmvbJZovkC&pg=PA130&lpg=PA130&dq=heels+bright+sun+Adam&source=bl&ots=Nsfbu9O0Zi&sig=m0n_jNmWpnXUm3Zh6hx8cYnw0BY

Sat = Macrobius : Saturnalia.

pp. 73-86 Oraibi boy’s visit to Maski




instructions by Sun-god :- to go successive to Apoonivi, Awat`ovi, Hootatsomi


he departed out of his entrance body, proceeded northwesterly


to Awat`ovi, thence northwesterly to Hootatsomi.

Just as the Sun climbed aboard, the kilt rose gently up in the air and flew off with the two.” the flying kilt-vehicle “neared a large pool. The edges of this pool were flanked with a great many burden baskets filled to the brim with small pebbles.” {cf. burthen-baskets (filled with time-pebbles) toted by Maya time-deities, as depicted on Maya stone-carvings}


He also saw women walking along with large strands of penises about their necks. Then also there were men who had dangling from their necks large strands made up of vulvas.” (necklaces worn by fornicatrices & by fornicators)


After flying over all these beings, the two finally landed. ... The boy now journeyed on alone.”


he heard a “clacking noise” from “turtle shell rattles on both legs” of an Aala`ytaqa, a man of the 2-Horn Society.


No sooner had the two climbed aboard than the thing rose off the ground. It first took them a little ways beyond the rim of the cliff, and then began its descent .., to reach the ground below.” Having disembarked, “the boy started out again.”

he came to an area studded with many rock spires. ... he realized that numerous people were perched on top of these rock towers.”


he heard the “ringing of a bell” of a Kwaani`ytaqa, a man of the 1-Horn Society.


Women and men, all “stark naked”, became “a black stinkbug” {cf. Olinda ‘stinkbug’, Brazil} – these had practiced witchcraft while living.


they (he and the Kwaani`ytaqa) walked amidst the flying “various songbirds, ... butterflies and hummingbirds”.


he moved on to a huge field of sunflowers. He noticed that children ... kept climbing up and down on the stalks.” Those children told him : “Only we who live here can climb on these sunflowers because we are only souls and weigh nothing. That’s also the reason why the ladders at our village are made from sunflower stalks.”


he returned via the same route.

pp. 117-121 Coyote came to visit Maski




Coyote died when he fell over the brink of a cliff while pursuing a rabbit.


having departed out of his corpse, he proceeded southwesterly

to Apoonivi, and thence “descending the staircase”, southwesterly,

passing a woman, and a man “shaking with laughter.”

Coyote now looked down at himself and, much to his astonishment, saw a chain of vulvas hanging around his neck.”


such a necklace ... was ... for men who had lain with several women”.

Soon he met a man with a burden basket ... filled with pebbles. ... He also encountered women hauling similar baskets. These basket carriers were people who, as boys or girls, had gotten together with married men or women.”

Some of the men carried large necklaces of vulvas, and then there were women who had penises strung around their necks.”

He traveled on and eventually came to a fork in the road, with one path leading off to the right, and one to the left. ... As he sat there with the vulvas around his neck, he noticed that they were emitting an awful stench.”


he “selected the trail on the right. ... the left trail ... was overgrown with thorny cactuses”.

he arrived at a pit oven whereinto men and women, all “stark naked”, were flung.


he came to the edge of a mesa where ... he noticed that women were sailing down on their wedding robes, and men on their wicker wedding plaques.”

they lowered Coyote by the tail, on a rope.

he came to a large field of sunflowers. Happy children ... climbed to the top of the sunflower stalks”.


those children fetched the “gigantic ... god Maasaw, caretaker of Maski and guardian of the children there. Apparently, where a Hopi dies, he becomes like a child again, and for that reason there were nothing but children there.”

p. 122 effects of the souls of the dead on the weather

each time a Hopi dies, the sun in the sky is fueled in its movement by his death ... .

This is likewise an Aztec belief.

Dead humans also visit their relatives in the form of clouds ... and bring them rain.”

cotton used ... on the face of the dead as clouds” (PIR, p. 489).

PIR = Elsie Clews Parsons : Pueblo Indian Religion.

pp. 226-232 Po:qangw twin-brethren found their father




traveling northeasterly, at a “tall snake weed”


they found the kiva of Old Spider Woman.

a gopher gave to them mouthpieces for a smoking-pipe.


they passed by, successively :

a “big mountain lion”, and

a “huge rattlesnake”.


Sun-god tested them with, successively, ordeals of :



heated rocks,

wood-fire, and


wakefulness (using gray-fox pelt & yellow-fox pelt).

The two brothers ... climbed aboard the magic flier ... it began to rotate and lifted off.”


from aloft, “the Po:qangw brothers slid down along the rainbow ..., and instantly the rainbow retracted back into the sky.”

they returned to their mother.


they encountered So`yoko, whose “entire body was made of quartz crystals.


They also retrieved ... necklaces.”

Ekkehart Malotki & Ken Gary : Hopi Stories of Witchcraft, Shamanism, and Magic. U of NE Pr, Lincoln, 2001.