24 February 2021

#23 – A Raft of Hope

The Four Worlds legends of the Hopi people tell how the tribe progressed through barbarous, uncouth phases to the Fourth World, through the intervention of Spider Grandmother, who taught them civilisation. In reading around the legends and learning a little more about the Hopi people, I was treated to depictions of some of the deprivations visited on them by various waves of marauders, and couldn’t, in all conscience, ignore this.

No matter what he tells you, here’s the truth:
Kookyangwso’wuuti led you to this place.
You’ve been here since the earth still glowed with youth;
Her intervention summoned you to grace.

Whatever cataclysm shattered hope,
Your ancestors were saved by hollow reeds;
With charity and faith in constant scope,
You’ll go wherever loving kindness leads.

But kind does not mean cowardly or soft;
Pahána learned your spines are formed from stone,
As you were rooted deep in tongue and croft,
And wedded to your quiet spider-crone.

Your legends tell how new tribes rise from rifts;
Cut hair will grow, the earth renews your gifts.


Over a dark landscape, a textured orange globe hangs in the background, barely lighting a scene where most of the light comes from an enormous woman with light brown skin, high cheekbones, and long, dark eyes, who dwarfs the mountains and seas glimpsed in the background. She is gazes intently but impassively somewhere beyond the viewer and her straight black hair is being swept back in the wind, across the dark sky. She has a long, thick braid of it reaching down her near arm and it's impossible to tell her age - is the silver in her hair from time, the light from her cobwebbed cloak, or actual strands of cobweb? Between her outstretched hands half an enormous web glows in silver and a kind of greenish gold, with strange, blue accents. Down the side of the picture is an elaborate cartouche of stylised eyes, spirals, geometric shapes which echo the glimpses of the woman's clothing under her cloak, and a cartoon spider composed of golden lines in a web with a cross in a circle on its back. Under the spider is writing of the same golden colour saying Susan Seddon-Boulet 1986.
Spider Woman by Susan Seddon-Boulet. See more of her extraordinary ancient goddess art hosted here by Tutt'Art. Image description in alt-text.

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