Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tell Me A Story.

Mia Culpa: First my apologies for being away from here so long. Part of it was intentional as I tried to deal with the rather intense disputes over whether the Anasazi culture or their neighboring cultures ever witnessed and documented major celestial events. Well, yes they did witness many, and they may or may not have documented specific events.

Documenting, in their culture was through oral reports, stories and histories. Some petroglyphs and pictographs are very likely indirectly associated with any given event. They are, however, spiritual and historical symbols that serve to refresh the story teller's mind. This is magical and whatever event is brought to mind and told about is wrapped in deep spirituality that is directly linked to the Anasazi's everyday culture. This makes the story essentially unforgettable as it becomes a part of the culture.

A Celestially Blessed Culture:The everyday lives of the Anasazi as well as most early Native American cultures were directly linked to what was happening in the sky above. The Sun was the dominant factor that governed both their spriritual and regular lives, especially from both an agricultural and hunting standpoint. The seasons were closely monitored and given special acknowedgement by the culture's spiritual leaders. To assume that other celestial events were ignored would be a grave mistake. Because the Anasazi as a culture are no longer directly with us we cannot ask them to tell us a story about any event. However, their descendents, the Pueblo culture have told us stories of miracles in the sky.

How the Stories Are Told: Reliance on just word or mouth would probably work, but these native cultures used that, plus a panorama of ritualistic music, chants and dance to recount their stories. These methods increased the lasting quality of each story or group of stories.

Many of the stories that were and are told dealt with astronomical phenomena such as the two total solar eclipses that occurred during the Anasazi time as a culture. These happened in 1076 and in 1097. It is believed that these events encouraged the Anasazi who were already sunwatchers to take a more intense and spiritual interest in astronomical events.

The Big Question: Did the Anasazi sunwatchers witness the famous supernova of 1054 (now the Crab Nebula)? Much discussion with strong assertions related to a pictograph in Chaco Canyon state that they did. In my opinion, I have no doubt that they did, but whether the pictograph represents just that sighting, I doubt. I think it, like most Anasazi and other native culture art, is a placemark reminder of numerous astronomical events possibly including the 1054 supernova.

When you consider that these native cultures practiced practical astronomy to guide their lives, it goes without dispute that they served as witnesses to the majority of glorious celestial events that came their way. We cannot, we must not assume that they did not because we can not emphatically link a given graphic to a given event. We must console ourselves to accept both pictograph and petroglyph as beautiful (and barely enduring) Anasazi bookmarks of there history.

Credits and Copyright:
Native dances: Source:
Crab Nebula: Waddell Robey/

Copyright:(c) 2009 Anasazi Dreams - Waddell Robey (Walking Eagle) All individual copyrights apply.


  1. Great post. Here's another good source: "Prehistoric Astronomy in the Southwest," by J. McKim Malville and Claudia Putnam, at (this takes you to the Amazon page for this book -- big, hairy link when it's unshortened). Claudia tells me a new edition is coming out this fall, so wait to buy it.

    If our readers have spent any time at all in northwestern New Mexico and the Four Corners, especially at night, they'd have no doubt that these people would have been profoundly affected by things such as eclipses and the supernova. Only blind cave-dwellers would have missed them. What we don't know is how they interpreted these celestial events and what they may have caused the people to do.

    Carry on, my friend. You have a magnificent obsession.

  2. very informative, thanks for sharing.