Rain Dance

Drought. The sun pulls, but the plant can no longer lift water through its system, for the connection between the sky, the soil moisture, and the roots of the plant have been broken. Death follows: the grass, the herd, and then the herdsman.

For centuries the peoples of this high desert have practiced their only sure way to break a drought. They pray. They dance. Here is the way of the Hopi.

There had been a four month drought in southwest Colorado, and the Hopis of Shungopavi in Arizona went into a spiritual retreat. On June 19, 1996, they emerged from their kiva. The next day it rained at Chimney Rock, Colorado, just southwest of Pagosa Springs.

That Independence Day weekend they danced at Chimney Rock, CO, which is a sacred place to them.

The Corn Dance began at noon, with an elder leading, as he scattered corn pollen for the rain to follow. The ceremony was performed by singers, dancers, and drummers. As soon as the corn dance ended it began to sprinkle.

The second dance began and a steady rain wet down the area; then the Rainbow Dance just as the sun came through.

It rained on their corn at Shungopavi the day after the Hopi returned from the Chimney Rock dance.

These are their beliefs:
On May 31 through June 1 this year of 1997, the Shungopavi dancers and singers will return to Chimney Rock Archaeological Site in Colorado for the third time.

There will be three dances each day at noon and 2 and 4. All are welcome, but are requested to observe only one dance to accommodate more people. Dancers will stay at the site for four nights.

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©Copyright 1998 by L. Michael Smith. Fair use granted.