Gary David has spent the last 30 years immersed in Native American culture and history. From the Black Hills of South Dakota to the desert of Arizona , David has sought after the mystical connection between patterns in the heavens and the cosmic arrangement of things on Earth that reflects the order handed down by the gods of antiquity.
David has produced two books dealing with his research into, among other things, the Hopi tribe of Arizona : “The Orion Zone: Ancient Star Cities of the American Southwest” and its sequel “Eye of the Phoenix : Mysterious Visions and Secrets of the American Southwest.” Both books cover different aspects of the many anomalies of the region.
The fascination with Native American culture began for David when he taught English at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and witnessed some of the indigenous ceremonies.
“Sacred ceremonies,” David said, “like the Sun Dance. I did some Sweat Lodges and the Sacred Pipe Ceremony. And I met a woman named Charlotte Black Elk, and she was talking about the idea that the Earth reflects the stars. As above, so below, that hermetic maxim. For instance, the Black Hills are kind of the center of Lakota culture, and it’s represented in the sky by a celestial buffalo. The buffalo is made up of various constellations.
“The backbone of the buffalo,” he continued, “is Orion’s belt, and the nose of the buffalo is the Pleiades and the tail of the buffalo is the star Sirius. So there is this great buffalo in the sky that reflects the Black Hills on Earth. There’s a direct relationship between terrestrial and celestial. This got me thinking about the idea of how various points on the Earth are reflected in the sky and how people try to build monuments or arrange their villages in a pattern that reflects the constellations.”
David made a trip down into the Southwest in 1987, visiting various ruin sites and other ancient Hopi sites and began to take an interest in their culture, which he is says is much different from the Lakota up north.
“The Hopi are agrarian,” he explained. “They’re farmers rather than hunters, basically. And they live in these ancient stone pueblos.”
David’s fascination with the Hopis led him to move there in 1994, and he has been studying the culture and attending various ceremonies ever since. His inspiration for his first book, “The Orion Zone,” came to him when he was watching a Hopi Kachina dance. The reader is perhaps familiar with the well-known Kachina dolls, but the term also applies to the native custom of wearing a Kachina mask as well as to the dancers impersonating a Kachina as part of the ritual.
“They use a single cottonwood drum,” David said, “and they dance in the village plaza. You see these dancers come into the plaza and they’re all multicolored and they have these bizarre masks. Some are circular and others might be dome-shaped or cylindrical, and they’ve got horns and feathers and hair sticking off the masks. Some of these masks, the eyes are bug-eyed, and others just have slits for eyes. Some of the masks actually look like space helmets, like something an alien would wear. You just wonder how these ancient people hooked up with this whole concept of Kachinas.”
David said that Kachinas are considered to be a kind of intermediary between the realm of humans and the realm of the gods.
“They’re like angelic figures in Christian culture,” he said, “basically benevolent beings that help the Hopi to get rain. The Hopi are very concerned with bringing rainfall to the desert, which is kind of a dicey thing anyway in Arizona . But these Kachina are just an amazing sight to watch against this background of earth tones and ancient pueblos, these bizarre-looking, almost alien-like creatures against this very ancient backdrop.”
When attending one of the Kachina dances on the Hopi reservation, having just read a book called “The Orion Mystery” by Robert Bauval and Adrian Gilbert, which theorized that the pyramids of Giza were patterned after the Belt of Orion, David said he looked up at the three primary mesas on which the Hopi have settled in northern Arizona and was struck by the thought that something similar may have happened there.
“When I got home,” he said, “I got out my sky chart and my map and compared the two. What I found astounded me, because there was either a Hopi village or a ruin site corresponding to every major star in the constellation of Orion. So there is the terrestrial plane reflected perfectly by the celestial realm. It just amazed me.”
For ten years, David traveled to the various sites on his map matching the Orion pattern and began to study the local rock art as well. Needless to say, he found further correlations, including indigenous star charts and depictions of various celestial creatures.
The more recent of David’s books, “Eye of the Phoenix ,” gets its title from the familiar myth of the great bird rising from its own ashes.
“At the end of each cycle,” David said, “this bird flies to a place called Heliopolis in Egypt , and it builds a nest. This nest becomes a pyre, and the bird is reborn. This is kind of symbolic of the transition from one world to the next, or from one cycle to the next.”
The Hopi belief is that the world has gone through many different cycles, and they say that we are presently at the end of the Fourth World .
“We’ve gone through three different worlds,” David said, “and three different worlds were destroyed. Now we’re at the end of the Fourth World , which they say is going to be destroyed. So this is kind of symbolic of the phoenix rising again from its ashes, being reborn into a new world.”
David next made a connection between Egypt and Arizona and the naming of the city of Phoenix itself.
“ Phoenix is very purposefully named,” David said. “There’s a lot of intent to that name. A man named Bryan Philip Darrel Duppa back in 1867 named the city of Phoenix . He was a Freemason, so there’s some Masonic connection there. Of course, Phoenix is located in the Valley of the Sun. This has to do with the mythology of Heliopolis , the City of the Sun. There’s even a place in Phoenix called Sun City , a suburb of Phoenix . It’s basically just an expression of the idea that we’re transitioning to another world, symbolized by the phoenix.”
There is still a further interesting link.
“The Southwest is also called ‘Aztlan,’” he said, “and that literally means ‘the place of the heron.’ The heron is kind of a naturalistic model for the phoenix bird. You see the heron in Egyptian hieroglyphs perched on an obelisk or a pyramid. So this whole mythology swirls around the phoenix bird and the heron, this place being called the ‘place of the heron.’”
The phenomenon of culture and mythology tying the Hopis to the Egyptians, separated by millennia and thousands of miles is at least partially explained by a theory of history called “diffusionism,” which simply means that ancient man may have traveled much more widely than he is given credit for. The opposite school of thought is called “isolationism,” meaning that once the native people crossed the Bering Straits, they remained isolated on this continent until the arrival of Columbus , or at least until the Vikings came along in 1000 A.D.
“But the diffusionist ideas,” David said, “are that people were coming here to this continent from all over—from India, from China, from Europe—coming to the new world in very ancient times, in pre-Christian times, and there was a lot more travel than we tend to think of today.”
David points to some rock art near Sedona , Arizona , as one piece of evidence for this idea. The natives there carved out a symbol for their water clan virtually identical to the ancient Hindu symbol for OM , the mystical sound of the universe that is part of meditation rituals throughout the world.
“So it’s my belief,” David said, “that the ancient Hindu people, probably a people called the Nagas, the serpent people of the Indus River Valley in India , made trips across the Pacific Ocean and made it to Arizona .”
But even beyond the serpentine Nagas, there is the extraterrestrial presence to consider, according to David.
“The Hopi are connected to so many different entities,” David said, “that we might think of as extraterrestrial today. They have the idea of the ‘Sky People,’ or ‘Sky Elders,’ coming down to the Earth. One particular group of people that the Hopi have talked about in their legends—and I found evidence of this in the rock art there—are the Ant People, a very important group that helped the Hopi out during the destruction of two different worlds.”
That Hopi sense of history goes like this: the first world was destroyed by fire, which may have manifested itself as an asteroid strike or some kind of volcanism. The second world was destroyed by ice, indicating the ice age or an extremely cold period. The Ant People led the Hopis down into caverns where they survived the terrible cataclysms being suffered by the Earth. The Ant People also taught the Hopis to sprout beans in the caverns in order to feed the people, an event commemorated even today by the ritual Bean Dance
“The Ant People are basically benevolent creatures,” David said. “In the pictures I’ve seen in the rock art there are antennae on these creatures and they have spindly bodies and large eyes and bulbous heads. Some of these creatures assume what’s called a ‘prayer stance.’ That means that both arms are raised at their sides above their heads and the elbows are at right angles. This is a traditional stance that you see all over the Southwest in rock art. Also, in the Freemasonry lore, it’s called ‘the grand hailing sign of distress.’ So maybe this information from ancient times was filtered through the Knights Templar and eventually the Freemasons, this very ancient knowledge about the Sky People coming down.”
There is also a linguistic link with the Anunnaki of ancient Sumeria, thought by revered scholar Zachariah Sitchin and others to be the alien race that came down from the sky to teach man the ways of civilization.
“It’s funny,” David said, “but the Hopi word for ‘ant’ is ‘Anu,’ and the Hopi word for friends is ‘naki.’ So you put those two together, the Anunnaki, the Sumerian cylinder seals and so forth, you see these Sky People came down to Earth. So the Ant People might be the same as the Anunnaki of the Sumerians.”
The friendly Ant People seem to have left the Hopis to their own devices when the time came for the Third World to be destroyed in a terrible flood. In that disaster, the Hopis survived by going across the ocean on bamboo rafts to arrive in our present Fourth World and the Ant People dropped out of the story. But other helpers soon came along.
“The Hopis have other benevolent entities that have helped them,” David said. “They have what is known as the Sky God Sotuknang. He has a curved headdress, again similar to a helmet, and looks very much like an alien being. There’s a legend about Sotuknang related to the flood.”
According to the story related by David, a great flood was about to engulf a Hopi village and the people were fleeing the coming destruction. There was a little boy and girl, twins, who were somehow left behind. They decided to try to find their parents and escape the flood.
“So they went out across the desert,” David recounted, “and during the first night they were camping. They saw what is called a ‘flying shield’ come down right before them. This being, this sky creature, got out of this flying shield. It was described in the legend as having some kind of clothing or costume that glittered like icicles, and the face shone like a star. That’s the way they describe the face.
“So this might be some kind of inter-dimensional being,” he continued, “or it might be that the helmet is lit up in some fashion. But this creature came to the children and said, ‘Don’t be afraid. I’m going to take you up into my flying shield and we’re going to go up above the desert and find your parents.’ So much like the account in the Book of Enoch, these two children are taken up into this flying shield, many miles above the desert. And this entity Sotuknang gave them something to eat, corn and melon and so forth. And he said that, ‘In the future, I’m going to come to you in your dreams and I’ll instruct you in the proper way to live and the proper life to pursue.’”
The sky creature located the twins’ parents and delivered the children to them, after which the flying shield took off again. David explained that flying shields are a frequent motif of the Hopi, and there is again a linguistic connection.
“The flying shields are interesting,” he said, “because the term for them is ‘paatuwvota.’ The prefix for this word is ‘paa,’ which means ‘water’ or ‘wonder.’ Some think that this describes the concentric circles in water, the way they expand in water. This is the way flying shields looked in the air when they were flying.”
Along with Sotuknang, the benevolent Kachinas, the spirit messengers, also pilot the flying shields-type craft. There is yet another Hopis god with extraterrestrial overtones, named Masau’u.
“Masau’u was there at the beginning of the Fourth World . He’s the god of the Earth and the underworld and fire. This god led the people around and determined where they should build their villages. The people were basically migrating across the desert and building stone pueblos. They would live in these pueblos for maybe a century or less, and then they would abandon things and move on to another place. And the god Masau’u was with them all along in their journey. That’s where I believe this pattern of Orion on the desert of Arizona was fixed, by their migrations and the instructions of the Hopi god about where to build these villages.
“But Masau’u is a strange looking creature,” David continued. “He has a bulbous head and very large round eyes and a large round mouth. And he’s kind of bald. It’s said that his skin resembles the texture of a summer squash, kind of bumpy like that. His feet are very long and his body is always described as being gray. In fact, the word ‘amaus,’ the root word of Masau’u, literally means in the Hopi language gray. There are connections with the underworld and death and this kind of subterranean world that Masau’u is supposed to inhabit.
“Artists have made drawings based upon the descriptions that the Hopi elders have made of this particular god and it really looks like an extraterrestrial gray. Our contemporary idea of what a gray looks like matches this ancient Hopi god perfectly. So, like I say, this god has a lot to do with how the Hopis lived and where they settled. Perhaps another extraterrestrial creature or maybe an inter-dimensional creature was assisting the Hopi in their life, in their existence in this Fourth World .”
The Hopis also have a long legacy of prophecy, including dire predictions of the End Times. The prophecies reached the world at large through what is called the “Hopi Hearings,” held in July of 1955.
“The Bureau of Indian Affairs,” David said, “met with the Hopis to discuss mundane things like grazing rights and stock management and forced schooling. The kids were taken from their homes and sent off to boarding school. And the rise of alcoholism on the reservation. But in the process, some of these spiritual elders began to talk about the End Times, the floods, the famines, all these kind of Biblical-proportion End Time prophecies, great strife among people, the end of all Hopi ceremonies. They mentioned World War III and images of bombs raining down like hailstones and rivers of blood. Very reminiscent of the Book of Revelation and the kind of language they were using.”
“It’s funny,” David continued, “that the Hopis are probably the least Christianized of any of the tribes in the Southwest. Some of the tribes along the Rio Grande were more affected by the Catholic Church and their bringing missionaries to the area and building mission churches. But on the other hand, the Hopis have what I call a legacy of prophecy that resembles a lot of Biblical prophecy. A lot of people are interested in End Times prophecy, and the Hopi have been foreseeing the future for perhaps over a thousand years. They’ve foreseen what’s going to happen.
“Some of the things that the Hopi people were saying have come to pass. For instance, they made certain prophecies about people speaking through spider webs, meaning that eventually people in the future would speak through spider webs or cobwebs. You can picture telegraph or telephone lines—and the worldwide web, an actual web of communication.”
Meanwhile, the Hopis are themselves a very isolated culture, with some people on the reservation still living without electricity and with a single well serving the water needs of the entire village.
“Basically a primitive culture,” David said, “and there’s no condescension in that term ‘primitive.’ But they’ve made these prophecies of things coming to pass. Another prophecy is that people will be riding in wagons without horses on black ribbons. These of course are automobiles going across the black asphalt. Another prophecy the Hopis came up with before it actually happened was that a gourd of ashes will fall on the Earth and burn the people. Of course then the atomic bomb blew up in Hiroshima and Nagasaki , and it was metaphorically the gourd of ashes falling on the Earth. The Hopis foretold people living in the sky at the End Times. And we have the International Space Station and the shuttle, so people are living in the sky now.”
The Hopis may have foretold the coming of the women’s liberation movement when they prophesied that women will start to wear men’s clothing.
“The Hopis of course are a very traditional culture and the women wear long dresses,” David said. “But they said that women will start to dress like men.”
The Hopi also prophesied that they would journey to the “House of Mica” to plead for peace and would be ignored.
“This actually happened,” David said, “because Hopi delegations went to the UN building, the House of Mica, and they tried to plead for peace and were essentially ignored or patronized. They said that in the End Times, we’ll go to this House of Mica and try to get the world to wake up before it’s too late.”
The passing away of the Fourth World and the coming of the Fifth will be a difficult time for mankind.
“The Hopi are a very humble people in that they perform their ceremonies to keep the world in balance. But they think that slowly the axis of the world is becoming unstable, and unfortunately a lot of the ceremonies are no longer being performed in the same spirit that they used to. Because of the modern assault on Hopi culture, the traditional culture—and this is true for all Native-American cultures—a lot of the ceremonies are dropping away. The Hopi have foretold that the ceremonial cycle will end and this will be at the very End Times.
“And when they no longer perform the ceremonies, when so many of the young Hopi people are not learning the language and going off to urban areas like Phoenix to work, the whole traditional culture breaks down. I have a Hopi friend, he’s in his 50s, and he says that probably in his lifetime the Hopi ceremonies will probably cease to exist. And that means that all these prophecies will come to pass.”
There will also come a “Purifier,” named Pahana.
“And he’ll have a certain tool,” David said, “that’s like a cosmic weapon of destruction. This figure Pahana will destroy all those that were not living the life pattern given to the Hopis in the beginning of the Fourth World . Also, in one account it says that the wicked will be beheaded. It’s kind of a frightening scenario for what is to come. But the Hopis foresee that some of the people will survive, just like they survived the destruction of the three previous worlds. And a few people will go into the Fifth World, and there will be a world of paradise and a new beginning.”