A Hopi Hero’s Journey: How the Snake Clan Came to Arizona

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By Gary A. David

Top image: Left:  Hopi snake dancer ( adobegallery) Right: A Hopi male during the annual snake dance and ritual prayers for rain, 1946 (public domain)


Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press/Bollingen Foundation, 1973, 1949), p. 30.

Alexander M. Stephen, “Hopi Tales,” The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 42, No. 163, January/March, 1929, pp. 35-36. From the description of these people, who made garments, shoes, and ropes from yucca as well as axes and hoes from stone, we may assume that they are a very early group of ancestral Hopi, perhaps the so-called Basketmakers.

Harold Courlander, The Fourth World of the Hopis: the Epic Story of the Hopi Indians As Preserved In Their Legends and Traditions (Albuquerque, New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 1991, reprint 1971), p. 85. One account calls it the “Far-Far-Below River,” which implies that it flows to the underworld, where the great ocean lies—thus, the reference is to the Third World, or the era prior to the present one. G. M. Mullett, Spider Woman Stories: Legends of the Hopi Indians (Tucson, Arizona: The University of Arizona Press, 1991, reprint 1979), p. 11.

Carol Patterson-Rudolph, On the Trail of Spider Woman: Petroglyphs, Pictographs, and Myths of the Southwest (Santa Fe, New Mexico: Ancient City Press, 1997), p. 42.

Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, op. cit., pp. 69-71.

H. R. Voth, The Traditions of the Hopi (Chicago: Field Columbian Museum, Pub. 96, Anthropological Series, Vol. VIII, March, 1905), p. 31.

Courlander, The Fourth World of the Hopis, op. cit., p. 88. The tobacco used in ancient times was much more potent than that smoked today, especially if it were mixed with the hallucinogenic plant jimsonweed (Datura wrightii).

Voth, The Traditions of the Hopi, op. cit., p. 5.

Patterson-Rudolph, On the Trail of Spider Woman, op. cit., p. 78.

Courlander, The Fourth World of the Hopis, op. cit., p. 204.

Voth, The Traditions of the Hopi, op. cit., p. 34.

Harry C. James, Pages From Hopi History (Tucson, Arizona: The University of Arizona Press, 1974), pp. 18-22.

Jesse Walter Fewkes, Hopi Katcinas (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1985, reprint of Twenty-First Annual Report to the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1903), pp. 50-51.

Susan B. Martinez, Ph.D., The Lost Continent of Pan: The Oceanic Civilization at the Origin of World Culture (Rochester, Vermont: Bear & Co., 2016), p. 221; Hopi-English Dictionary of the Third Mesa Dialect, edited by Kenneth C. Hill, Emory Sekaquaptewa, Mary E. Black, and Ekkehart Malotki (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1998), p. 649.

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