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The Transformative Power of the Wind

By Michael Berman

Have you noticed how the one thing people are always doing about the wind is complaining? They complain about the wind blowing rain into their faces, blowing their umbrellas inside out, spoiling their new hairdos, chilling their bones, causing a draft, blowing their newspapers away or their candles out etc., etc. The one thing they never seem to do is to acknowledge, how without it, life as we know it would probably cease to exist. The following Native American etiological tale touches on this subject, and reminds us of the folly of taking what we have been blessed with for granted.

Yaponcha, the Wind God

Many years ago the Hopi were very much troubled by the wind. It blew and blew all the time. The sand drifted away from their fields, and they tried to plant their crops but the wind would sweep the soil away before the seeds would even start to germinate. Sadness and worry were upon everybody and they made prayer offerings of many pahos but there were no results.

Many councils were held by the old men in the kivas, where they smoked their pipes earnestly and asked one another why it was that their gods should turn such strong wind upon them. And after a while, they decided that they would ask the “little fellows” (the two little War Gods Po-okonghoya and Palongahoya, his younger brother) to help them. Now these “little fellows” were called in. When they came in they wanted to know why they were called. The Hopis said that they needed their help, something must be done to the wind. The “little fellows” said yes, they would see what they could do to help the people.

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