Insight from a Hopi Creation Story that will make you want to paint again
Some Hopi wisdom in tribal stories to get you in a daily creative habit.
Some people learn by example, some learn through teachings. I, and I have a feeling you too, learn through story. Stories that transcend the fluctuations of societal trends are particularly powerful. Especially when they’re embedded with beautiful imagery and nature’s wisdom.
I came across such a story four years ago, the “Hopi Creation Story”. It was part of the catalyst for my starting, and more importantly, actually completing a 365 daily painting challenge in 2019. (I’m not a great finisher of things – all the ideas, but tend to peter out in the follow through.)
The story is a beautiful story. It’s not long. It’s also not complicated. But it’s powerful.
In a few short lines it helped me understand why doing the daily work of being creative, in my case painting, was the only way I would ever find the nameless fulfilment I was seeking.
“Doing the daily work of being creative…was the only way I would ever find the nameless fulfilment I was seeking.”
This is the Hopi Creation Story, although some sources say Sioux, .
Hopi is the shortened form of their full tribal name, Hopituh Shi-nu-mu, which means “good in every respect” or “good, peaceable, wise, and knowing.”
Origin aside, its sentiment offers a universal understanding.
“I want to hide something from the humans until they are ready for it.
It’s the realisation they create their own reality.”
The eagle said, “Give it to me, I will take it to the moon.”
The Creator said, “No, one day they will go there and find it.”
The salmon said, “I will bury it on the bottom of the ocean.”
The Creator said, “No, they will go there too.”
The buffalo said, “I will bury it on the Great Plains.”
The Creator said, “They will cut into the skin of the earth and find it even there.”
Grandmother who lives in the breast of Mother Earth, and who has no physical eyes but sees with spiritual eyes, said, “Put it inside them.”
And the Creator said, “It is done.”
Does it give you goosebumps? My eyes welled up when I first read it.
These simple, honest words fell like rain into the dried up, dusty parts of my creative self worth.
Here’s the thing though. I believe we all have that wise Grandmother living inside us.
It was her wisdom that urged the Creator to hide our ‘something special’ deep inside us. It was her wisdom that knew the only way we would ever be able to find the place where ‘it’ – our truths- were hidden would be through deep digging.
Here’s how I interpreted The Hopi Creation Story
The only way to dig into the soul is to excavate it. We excavate by releasing what is compacted inside. And the way we humans release is through making, through becoming creators.
She knew, grandmother earth, that only the diligent work of seeking by creating daily, could ever lead us to the truth that we are quite literally the makers of our own reality.
The revealing part of accepting your responsibility as a maker, is understanding that it’s not so important to put emphasis on what you’re making. The outcome while you make daily is of less relevance than what you uncover while you’re making.
Think of it this way, ‘the making’ is the shovel, the tool you use to dig. What you end up producing, at least in the beginning, is just the clay you’re excavating. Leave it behind you and continue making, continue to unearth.
I had this story hanging above my desk where I painted every day for a year. Even on the days, especially actually on those days, where it was the last thing I wanted to face, I would read this story again and find the will to dig deeper into my own creation. There was reward and insight at the end of every one of those paintings.
Not one left me less.
“only the diligent work of seeking by creating daily, could ever lead us to the truth that we are indeed the makers of our own reality”
Here’s how you can use the power of this story to be more creative
1. Write it out. Paint it out. But make it tangible.
2. Stick it above your creative space or your writing desk, heck above your yoga mat. Where ever you do the one thing you do that helps you get closer to what brings you joy. It doesn’t matter if you now only see it as “just a hobby”.
3. Now do your creative thing. And do it daily. Don’t make it big. Make it do-able. Most importantly, dig daily.
If you don’t have a creative thing yet or you don’t feel creative at all you can try this free 21 day ‘drawing insight challenge’ under resources that I created. It’s super easy and combines simple quick ball point drawing prompts with some writing prompts to help get your intuition flowing. Something will unlock for you. I believe it with my whole heart.
4. Then, it doesn’t matter what creative thing you’re doing, write. Write write write. They don’t have to be essays. They don’t even have to be good. But writing is the only way, I’ve found, your own inner wise Grandmother can start sharing her wisdom with you. You will be humbled and blown away by the realisations only applicable to you and only knowable by you that are waiting to be tapped into. I’ve been looking for a long time, and the only way I’ve found to access these realisations is through the daily task of creating and writing. I’m not the first to advocate this by a long shot. If you want more proof of the power of writing pick up ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron.
You’ve got to start digging somewhere. It may as well be inward.
References on The Hop Creation Story:
It came to me many moons ago from the pages of one of my favourite magazines, Happinez
I have since also found a slightly different version referenced by Gary Zukov in a transcript of a discussion on his book Seat of the Soul on the Intuition Network.
It’s also mention on page 9 in a book entitled ‘ Somebody Should Have Told Us Simple Truths For Living Well’ by Jack Pransky and George Pransky PDF – available for download.
The Hopi (The History and Culture of Native Americans) by Barry Pritzker (z-lib.org)
Womb Wisdom: Awakening the Creative and Forgotten Powers of the Feminine, by Padma Aon Prakasha, Anaiya Aon Prakasha
If you liked this post, please share it with a friend who could use some creative inspiration. I’d be so grateful and I’m sure, so would your friend. x
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