Palatkwapi #AtoZAprilChallenge



Harold Courlander retells the story of the creation and destruction of Palatkwapi.

“Since the beginning of things much time had passed. People had journeyed from one place to another, built villages, abandoned them, following the instructions of their wise men and the signs that appeared in the sky. Somewhere far, far to the south of where the Hopis now live, a band calling themselves Patkiwoema, the Patki people, moved through the wilderness… At last they came to the place they called Palatkwapi… where they became known as the Water Clan… Life was good to them. Their corn matured, there was always water in the nearby river, the rain fell and there was plenty of game. The older people, however, did not forget the sipapuni [place of emergence in the Hopi tradition, where people migrated from the Third to the Fourth World] and the meaning of life. In their songs they asked, ‘Who are we? Where do we come from? Why are we here?’… Yet while some people recalled these things, there were many who did not think of them anymore.

Palatkwapi… then grew large, and by the time it was old there were numerous persons in the village who rejected virtue… Evil and corruption entered the village. Instead of gathering in the kivas to examine the meaning of life, men and women used the kivas to play totolospi, kokotukwi and other gambling games. They neglected their fields and forgot to make pahos for the gods. Young people abandoned respect for older people and old ways… Married women accepted he company of men who were not their husbands, lying with them wherever it was convenient. A shadow seemed to be falling over Palatkwapi.”

The village chief, the kikmongwi, and the leaders of the clans then attempt to warn the people of the consequences of their bad behavior. “Unless Palatkwapi returns to a good way of life it will cease to be a living village.” After a while people forget about the warning and resume their bad ways. “The kikmongwi and the clan chiefs were distressed, not knowing what to do next. Now, the kikmongwi was considered the father of the village, and his wife was considered the mother of the people. They were expected to demonstrate by example the virtuous way of life. But the kikmongwi’s wife succumbed to the evil around her. And when the kikmongwi discovered her lying with other men he was aroused to great anger. He said, “Palatkawi has returned to the chaos of the Third World [before sipapuni and the exodus to the Fourth World when people left the evil behind them]. Now we are back where we began.”

Helped by his nephew the chief then invokes Masauwu, the spirit of Death and Master of the Upper World. Alas the people kill the chief’s nephew. “They felt a foreboding. Nevertheless, the ones who valued pleasure above a good life went to do the things they had become accustomed.” The people had buried the body of the nephew on the plaza, leaving just one hand protruding from the earth, four fingers pointing upward. On the third following morning only the little finger was pointing up. “Seeing this, the people of Palatkwapi understood that there were forces at work that could not be turned back, and they became afraid.

On the fourth morning when they came to the plaza the sun was red, and though there were no clouds in the sky the light was subdued. They looked at the place where the body was buried and saw that the last finger was turned down, marking the end of the cycle of four. There was a rumbling in the distance. The sound grew louder as it came closer. The earth began to shake. Large stones slid from their foundations and the walls of the houses cracked. The building began to crumble and fall. Out of the gray cloudless sky rain poured down, and a cold wind swept through the plaza. The people of Palatkwapi fled to their houses seeking refuge… but water began to flood through their fireplaces, washing through the rooms and doorways… Where once the people had danced in the plaza there was now a deep pond. From the earth underneath this spot,where the kikmongwi’s nephew had been buried, the head of the great water serpent Balolokong appeared. Balolokongs’ head reared higher and higher as his body emerged out of the earth. On the back of his head was a single horn like the one worn by the young man who had been interred there.  Balolokong’s eyes turned this way and that, surveying the crumbling walls of Palatkwapi. The people fled in terror, but there was no ore sanctuary in the village, which by now was submerged in the surging water. In the flight to the safety of high ground outside the village some children were lost or swept away, and some of the old and the crippled were left behind.”

The survivors found refuge among rocks and caves. “The kikmongwi and the clan chiefs discussed what might be done to quiet Balolokong. They agreed that prayer offering must be made… They chose a boy and a girl to carry out this mission [to take the pathos back to Palatkwapi].”

“And now the clan leaders called the survivors together, and the Chief of the Water Clan, who was also the kikmongwi, addressed them in this way: ‘We are here among the rocks and caves. Our village, Palatkwapi, we may not go back to it any more, for it is a ruin and a cursed place that will be haunted until the end of time by the evil deeds that were committed there. The chiefs said over and over again, ‘Do not forget who you are and why we are here’. But the people did not want to remember. Therefore we must now begin again at the beginning as we did when we came out of the Third World. Palatkwapi is dead to us. It will be covered with wind-blown sand, and the writings we have put on the rocks will be weathered away and become invisible. As it was at the sipupani, so it is now’… This is how the people departed from Palatkwapi.”

Image: Paho, “road” or “path”, courtesy University of Idaho


Oraibi #AtoZAprilChallenge


Oraibi, whose original name is Ojaibi – Round Rock  – is an old Hopi village on Third Mesa. Marshall Trimble (“Arizona: a Cavalcade History“) writes that “Old Oraibi, on Third mesa, is the oldest continuously inhabited city in America, dating back to before AD 1200.” The region surrounding the Black Mesa, 2,500 square miles of the now Hopi Reservation area surrounded by Navajo country, has been settled since before the time of Christ.

Oraibi witnessed several tragedies in the history, and oral tradition, of the “Peaceful People”. Trimble again: “The first whites to visit Hopiland were soldiers from Coronado‘s exhibition in 1540 during his quest for the mythical Seven Cities of Gold… In their pursuit of treasure other Spanish explorers, including Espejo, Farfán, and Oñate, all visited the mesas in the late 1500s.”

Harold Courlander (“The Fourth World of the Hopis“) tells the story of the arrival of the Castillas in Oraibi. “The Castillas demanded food offerings constantly, and many families had to give up a share of their corn, squash and melons. By this time the priests had a lot of sheep that had been sent to them from Santa Fe. They made the Hopis build large stone corrals for them. The Hopis had few sheep, the Castillas had many. The people became discouraged about the way life was going. They did not plant as much as in the old days, and some of them neglected their fields. They were tired of the heavy work they had to do for the Castillas. They were tired of hearing the priests say that the kachinas [representation of the spirits in traditional Hopi ceremonies] were something bad. And they grew angry when they discovered that the Castillas were taking Hopi women into their house and abusing them. Talking together in the kivas at night they say, ‘Something must be done. We cannot go on living this way’.” Eventually the Spaniards were driven out in the Great Revolt of 1680 by the Pueblo tribes of what is now New Mexico, and of course the Hopi clans. “Beams from the church were used to construct a new kiva [ceremonial chamber] at Oraibi, still in use today.”

Often the Navajos raided Hopi villages. Courlander tells of one such attack on Oraibi. The tradition says that, at a crucial moment in the battle, “the warriors gods, Pokanghoya and Polongahoya, [went] out toward the enemy with lightning arrows in their bows… There was a great flash and a sound like thunder, and many Navajos who had been riding a moment before were now lying scattered and lifeless on the battlefield… The main Navajo party turned away and rode northward. Seeing this, the raiders looting Oraibi abandoned the stocks of corn they had piled up, mounted their horses and departed.”

Image: Originally uploaded by Promking (Transferred by JaumeBG) – Originally uploaded on en.wikipedia, Public Domain, – Very old abandoned house and panoramic view on the outskirts of Oraibi village.

#AtoZAprilChallenge Mausoleum


It stands at the highest point, in the historical landscape of Cobham Park, in West Kent. From there one can see the Thames estuary to the North, and south-westwards, the rolling North Downs.

In 1767, the 3rd Lord Darnley left clear instructions in his will that “a chapel or mausoleum be built as a family burying place… on top of the hill in my Park at Cobham called Williams Hill.”

After his death, his widow asked James Wyatt, one of Britain’s great architects, to design the mausoleum. Wyatt’s design was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1783 and the mausoleum was built under the supervision of another architect, George Dance the Younger.

The mausoleum was never consecrated, so couldn’t be used; instead it became a landscape feature in the wood, outside the historic parkland of Cobham Hall, which Humphry Repton designed.

Falling into decline after the Second World War, the mausoleum suffered several attacks of vandalism. It was eventually purchased and restored by the Cobham Ashenbank Management Scheme.

From: “Darnley Mausoleum – a rescue story”, National Trust.

#AtoZAprilChallenge Martin Luther



The early 16th century was the crucible of what was to become modern Europe. The previous fifty years had been marked by tremendous events. In 1453 Constantinople – the last stand of classical Rome, and the heart of eastern Christendom – had fallen to the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. In 1492 Imperial Spain had discovered America.

Then in 1517, in a university town of Saxony called Wittenberg, a monk named Martin Luther pinned his ninety five “theses” on the door of the All Saints church. There was an uncompromising condemnation of the venality of the Church, and of the practice of Indulgences. Then started  a hundred and thirty years period of war of religion that was to shape the sub continent.

Luther was brave enough to challenge the authority of Rome, but he was no revolutionary. Popular uprisings that followed were mercilessly crushed by the princes. The Reformation was to sweep Northern Europe and become the official church of many principalities and kingdoms, from Sweden to the United Kingdom. Luther had support, first and foremost from the Elector of Saxony, and from many other German princes who wanted to challenge not only the Pope, but also the Habsburg Emperor. Rome’s reaction, and the onset of the Counter-Reformation, was to seal the fate of a divided Christendom.

Image: Luther Before the Diet of Worms by Anton von Werner (1843–1915)

Kafka #AtoZAprilChallenge

From my “K” entry in the 2013 AtoZ Challenge: 

In the world of this blogger there are two of them: a writer of genius, who died in 1924, wrote The Trial, The Castle, The Metamorphosis and a host of stories and plays, and Nakata “Kafka” Tamura, hero of “Kafka on the Shore”, the novel by Haruki Murakami.

Kafka statue in Prague Franz Kafka, the writer, inspired Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, among others.  To the love of his life, the writer Milena Jesenská, he wrote passionate letters. Milená died in 1944, murdered with so many other women at Auschwitz.  He is the lead writer on the Absurd of the beginning of the 20th century depicting the insanity of the bureaucracies of his time.

The other Kafka is a growing young man, who discovers love in the person of the unattainable Miss Saeki.  When I go to Japan, I hope I will meet them both.

Janus #AtoZAprilChallenge


Janus is the Roman god of “beginnings, gates, transitions, doorways, time, and doors”.

In his classical representation Janus has two faces: one turned toward the past, the other toward the future. “Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict, and hence war and peace. The doors of his temple were open in time of war, and closed to mark the peace. As a god of transitions, he had functions pertaining to birth and to journeys and exchange, and in his association with Portunus, a similar harbor and gateway god, he was concerned with travelling, trading and shipping.”

“In Act I Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s OthelloIago invokes the name of Janus after the failure of his premiere plot to undo the titular character. As the story’s primary agent of change, it’s fitting that Iago align himself with Janus. His schemes prompt the beginning of each of the main characters’ ends: in his absence, Othello and Desdemona would likely have remained married and Cassio would have remained in his respected position of power. Iago guides (if not forces) the story through inception, climax, and finale. Furthermore, Janus’ common two-faced depiction is the perfect visual metaphor for Iago’s character. Othello’s characters believe him to have only the best of intentions, even going as far as to call him “honest Iago,” completely unaware that he spends every unwatched second plotting their undoing. He appears selfless and compassionate but, in truth, is power-hungry, amoral, and without regard for the well-being of others.”

“Janus is depicted as a robotic mage in the 2014 free-to-play MOBA video game Smite.[255]

In James Bond movie GoldenEye, agent 006 calls himself Janus after faking his death.

In season 2, episode six of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of the episode’s antagonists, “a chaos worshipper,” is seen praying to a statue of the god.

The Resident Evil series of movies loosely based on the popular game franchise of the same name’s amnesiac lead character of Alice has been identified as previously having gone under the name “Janus Prospero”.

The Doctor Who episode “Face the Raven” introduces the Janus, a psychic humanoid species with two faces in the likeness of the deity.

The Buffy: The Vampire Slayer episode “Halloween” has Ethan Rayne using a ritual dedicated to Janus to trigger the spell that transforms anyone wearing costume pieces bought at his story into the characters they dressed as.

In The Castle in the Attic, a medallion with the image of Janus is used to magically shrink and enlarge characters, and is a major plot point.

In Utopia (UK TV series), Janus is the name of method of population control hidden within the manuscript, a major plot point.”

(abstracts from Wikipedia article on Janus)

Irrevocable #AtoZAprilChallenge


Some quotes with irrevocable:

“The circumstances of the world are so variable that an irrevocable purpose or opinion is almost synonymous with a foolish one.” – William Shakespeare

“We have become irrevocably involved with, and responsible for, each other.” – Marshall McLuhan

“In retrospect, each of the steps toward this abyss seemed irrevocable, and yet they had all been so small!” – James Blish

“It seemed that he gazed down on me from the height of his divinity with the aloof though passionate attention of an artist judging his finished work; calmly rejoicing in his achievement, but recognizing at last the irrevocable flaws in his initial conception, and already lusting for fresh creation.” – Olaf Stapledon

“Dear, sweet, unforgettable childhood! Why does this irrevocable time, forever departed, seem brighter, more festive and richer than it actually was?” – Anton Chekhov

“Nor deem the irrevocable Past, As wholly wasted, wholly vain, If, rising on its wrecks, at last To something nobler we attain.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Haunted #AtoZAprilChallenge


From: List of reportedly haunted locations in France

Photo: Chateau de Brissac, France (“Even if you’re not into ghost hunting, this is a great place to visit. This ornate castle was masterfully rebuilt in the 17th century, and is overflowing with antiques, original tapestries, and the ceilings are even painted with gold. As soon as you enter the castle you get an eerie felling and a slight shiver runs up your spine. That’s because this was the site of a gruesome double murder. Jacques de Breze found his wife Charlotte and her lover one evening together in the castle. After his discovery, Jacques murdered them both. Legend has it the pair have haunted the castle ever since. Jacques was said to have sold the castle soon after their deaths, as he was so scared of the ghosts, and could no longer live alone in the castle.”)

Gamble #AtoZAprilChallenge


The Cardsharps.jpg

From Merriam-Webster:

Full Definition of gamble

gam·bledgam·bling play \-b(ə-)liŋ\

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1a  :  to play a game for money or property, b  :  to bet on an uncertain outcome

  3. 2:  to stake something on a contingency :  take a chance

  4. transitive verb
  5. 1:  to risk by gambling:wager

  6. 2:venturehazard

gam·blerplay \-blər\noun
From Wikipedia:


Because contracts of insurance have many features in common with wagers, insurance contracts are often distinguished under law as agreements in which either party has an interest in the “bet-upon” outcome beyond the specific financial terms. E.g.: a “bet” with an insurer on whether one’s house will burn down is not gambling, but rather insurance — as the homeowner has an obvious interest in the continued existence of his/her home independent of the purely financial aspects of the “bet” (i.e., the insurance policy). Nonetheless, both insurance and gambling contracts are typically considered aleatory contracts under most legal systems, though they are subject to different types of regulation.

Asset recovery

Under common law, particularly English Law (English unjust enrichment), a gambling contract may not give a casino bona fide purchaser status, permitting the recovery of stolen funds in some situations. In Lipkin Gorman v Karpnale Ltd, where a solicitor used stolen funds to gamble at a casino, the House of Lords overruled the High Court’s previous verdict, adjudicating that the casino return the stolen funds less those subject to any change of position defence. U.S. Law precedents are somewhat similar.[14]

Sharia law

Although different interpretations of sharia law exists in the Muslim world, there is a consensus among the ulema that gambling is haraam (sinful). In assertions made during its prohibition, Muslim jurists describe gambling as being both unquranic and as being generally harmful to the Muslim community. The Islamic terminology for gambling is maisarhowever this also has a second definition meaning easy money.[15] In parts of the world that implement full sharia law such as Aceh, punishments for Muslim gamblers can range up to 12 lashes or a one-year prison term and a fine for those who provide a venue for such practises.[16]

Image: CaravaggioThe Cardsharps, c. 1594, from en.wikipedia, Public Domain,

Fame #AtoZAprilChallenge



What is “Fame“? Well, there are plenty of quotes with fame in them!

Here are some of my favourites:

“A celebrity is a person who is known for his well-knownness.”

  • Daniel J. BoorstinThe Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America (1961), Chapter 3, p. 57.

“I think fame itself is not a rewarding thing. The most you can say is that it gets you a seat in restaurants.”

“How dreary — to be — Somebody!
How public — like a Frog —
To tell one’s name — the livelong June —
To an admiring Bog!”

  • Emily Dickinson, “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” (1891). In some editions “June” has been altered to “day”.

“The courage to stand alone as if others didn’t exist and think only of what you’re doing. Not to get scared if people ignore you. You have to wait for years, have to die. Then after you’re dead, if you’re lucky, you become somebody.”