"Nature itself does not speak with a voice that we can easily understand. Neither can the animals and birds we are threatening with extinction talk to us. Who in this world can speak for nature and the spiritual energy that creates and flows through all life? In every continent are human beings who are like you but who have not separated themselves from the land and from nature. It is through their voice that Nature can speak to us...
"Nature, the First People and the spirit of our ancestors are giving you loud warnings. Today, December 10, 1992, you see increasing floods, more damaging hurricanes, hail storms, climate changes and earthquakes as our prophecies said would come. Even animals and birds are warning us with strange changes in their behavior such as the beaching of whales. Why do animals act like they know about the earth's problems and most humans act like they know nothing? If we humans do not wake up to the warnings, the Great Purification will come to destroy this world just as the previous worlds were destroyed."
- Grandfather Thomas Banyacya, speaking before the United Nations in 1992.
According to traditional Hopi history, we presently occupy the fourth in a series of worlds inhabited by humans since the time of our creation. The previous worlds were destroyed as a consequence of human corruption, after the majority of mankind had left the spiritual path of simplicity and respect for all life and had turned to materialistic lifestyles of violence and sexual misconduct. When the time was approaching for the Day of Purification on which these worlds were destroyed, the Great Spirit gathered together the people who had stayed true to their ancestral promise to be peaceful people and to be responsible caretakers of their environment. Through the psychic door that had remained open on top of their heads, Spirit sent out a message to them that the time had come to begin their migration to the next world, and guided them to the place where they would meet to begin the journey.
In the 1950's a group of Traditionalist Hopi Elders held a special meeting in which they acknowledged that the signs had appeared for the time to migrate to the next world. Specifically, they interpreted the use of the Atom Bomb at Hiroshima as one of the final signs that this world was rapidly approaching its Day of Purification. These Elders had been entrusted with instructions on what to do when certain events came to pass, and from the early 1960's through the 1990's this small group of Elders worked tirelessly to bring their message to the rest of the world. Today only one person from that original group remains, and it was my great honor to meet Grandfather Martin Gashweseoma at his home in the village of Hotevilla on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona in 2002. I returned a few years later to spend more time with Grandfather Martin, and on this visit he led me deeper into the heart of Hopi spirituality.