The Burial of the Magician – A Hopi Relation

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What you are looking at is one of the richest prehistoric burials in ancient Arizona. This individual, known as the magician, was clearly of elite status and high ranking in Sinagua society. The man was buried at Ridge Ruin in a room set apart from the rest of the pueblo with wooden wands, lots of shell, argillite, pots, baskets, projectile points, scarlet macaws, and heavy amounts of turquoise–over 650 artifacts. The modern day Hopi claim the magician to be an early ancestor of theirs. Some in archaeology questioned this statement until they met with a group of Hopi people. An archaeologist named John McGregor set the burial items on tables and placed a few objects in his pocket. The archaeologist then asked the Hopi to explain the use and meaning of each item. The Hopis explained, the antelope hoofed wand was used in the war society. He was able to control other societies by power. In addition he was a leader of the war class and swallowed the wands to promote rain and control weather. He was a healer and a medicine man. The pigments buried with him were used to heal sick people. Specifically the micaceous hematite was a strong medicine used in curing the ill. He was associated with animals of power in a shamanistic manner. After explaining these uses and associations, the Hopis looked puzzled at each other and said there are items missing with this man and named each one in Mr. McGregor’s pocket.Although some Hopi are not descendants of Sinagua, the continuity amongst the Hopi in Northern Arizona is clear. Many Sinagua are the ancestors of Hopi.

Watch Peter Pilles discuss the Sinagua and the Magician

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Primitive Lifeways