evoke a sense of ancient mystery and the birthplace of legends

The Ark On Superstition Mountain | A Pima Legend

In the sunbaked expanse of Arizona, where the Verde and Salt Rivers carve their way through the land, there rests a trove of tales as old as the rivers themselves.

The Pima Indians, indigenous to these parts, have been the custodians of a rich tapestry of myths that speak to the very essence of human nature. Among these is a legend that stands as a testament to their spiritual and cultural beliefs—the tale of the Ark on Superstition Mountain.

This narrative is not merely a story; it is a chronicle of creation, folly, and prophecy that has been whispered through the generations. It is a tale that intertwines the fates of men with the whims of gods, and the very forces of nature.

As we peer into this legend, let us tread softly, for we are walking on the hallowed ground of the Pima’s most sacred beliefs, where the echoes of the past still resonate with a profound and timeless truth.

The Dawning of Mankind and the Descent of Cherwit Make

majestic butterfly with wings that resemble an intricate tapestry

The Butterfly That Shaped the World

In the beginning, as the Pima recount, there was the butterfly—Cherwit Make, the Earth-Maker. Imagine, if you will, a being of such transcendent origin, fluttering down from the lofty embrace of the clouds.

It was upon the Blue Cliffs, where the Verde and Salt Rivers meet in a confluence as natural as the joining of past and future, that Cherwit Make chose to alight. There, in the solitude of creation, he undertook the labor of fashioning mankind.

The Sweat-Born Children of the Cliffs

With the patience of the eternal and the care of a craftsman, Cherwit Make toiled, and from his divine perspiration, he wrought the first men. These beings, born of the Earth-Maker’s own exertion, emerged upon the Blue Cliffs as the inaugural citizens of the world. They were the ancestors of the Pima, the primordial souls from whom all life would spring forth.

In the shadow of the cliffs, under the watchful gaze of Cherwit Make, the first chapters of human history were written in the sand and stone of Arizona. The Pima hold these tales not as mere folklore, but as the sacred narrative of their very existence, a story of celestial craftsmanship and the dawn of consciousness.

The Fracturing of Paradise

The Corruption of Cherwit Make’s Children

As time unfurled like the petals of a desert bloom, the children of Cherwit Make, once pure and noble, began to stray from the path of virtue. They multiplied, as was their nature, but with their numbers grew a selfishness that gnawed at the fabric of their society. Quarrels erupted like sudden storms, fierce and destructive, sullying the once harmonious existence that had pleased their maker.

The Disgust of the Earth-Maker

Cherwit Make, who had watched his creations with the fondness of a father, now gazed upon them with a mounting disdain. From his lofty realm, he witnessed the pettiness, the discord, and the unraveling of the community he had so lovingly crafted. It was a sight that soured the sweetness of creation, and the Earth-Maker resolved that such transgressions could not persist unchallenged.

Warnings Whispered by the Winds

In an act of both mercy and admonition, Cherwit Make conveyed his displeasure through the voice of the north wind—a chilling, unseen herald of the divine will. It spoke to the people, urging honesty and peace, a return to the ways of old. Yet the words of the wind were met with skepticism and mockery.

The prophet Suha, who alone heeded the warning, became the object of ridicule, branded a fool for his communion with the elements. But the winds would not be silenced.

The east wind followed, echoing the command, its breath tinged with the ominous portent of destruction. The ruler of heaven, it warned, would suffer their defiance no longer.

In this chapter of the Pima legend, we find a reflection of our own follies—a parable of pride and the perils of ignoring the wisdom that nature itself imparts. It is a tale that cautions against the hubris that can lead to downfall, a reminder whispered by the winds of time that still resonate through the canyons and mesas of the Pima homeland.

The Voice in the Wilderness: Suha’s Stand

Suha: The Seer of the Silent Words

Suha, a stern and elderly Pima Indian

In the midst of turmoil and the cacophony of disbelief, there stood one figure, solitary yet steadfast—Suha, the prophet. He was the conduit for Cherwit Make’s celestial counsel, the interpreter of the ethereal whispers that many chose to ignore.

Suha, in his wisdom, recognized the voice of the north wind for what it was: a divine plea for reformation, a call to mend the ways of his people.

Mocked for Heeding the Heavens

Yet, the path of a prophet is seldom strewn with roses. Suha’s revelations were met with scorn, his insights dismissed as the ravings of a mind ensnared by the invisible.

To listen to the wind, they said, was the mark of a fool—not a trait befitting a leader of men. And so, Suha bore the brunt of ridicule, his words falling on ears that were deaf to anything but their own desires.

The East Wind’s Omens

But the saga was far from over. The east wind arrived, as inexorable as the dawn, carrying with it a reinforcement of Suha’s warnings. The message was clear: the ruler of heaven’s patience had worn thin.

Reform was not merely advised; it was commanded, under the threat of annihilation. Suha, the so-called fool, stood vindicated by the elements themselves, yet the hearts of the people remained as hardened as the desert floor.

In Suha’s tale, we are reminded of the timeless struggle between insight and ignorance, the eternal dance of belief and skepticism. It is a narrative that resonates through the ages, as relevant to the modern ear as it was to those who first heard the winds speak.

In the Pima legend of Suha, we find not just a story, but a mirror reflecting the perennial challenges of human existence.

The Shadow on the Mesa: Hauk’s Reign of Terror

The Mountain Devil Emerges

powerful image of Hauk, cloak billowing, standing at the mouth of a cave in the Superstition Mountains

Amidst the discord and the heedless disregard of the divine, a malevolence took root in the craggy peaks of the Superstition Mountains. Hauk, the devil of the highlands, became the embodiment of the evil that the Pima had allowed to fester in their hearts. This fiend, this specter of malevolence, descended upon the settlements like a plague, sowing fear and chaos.

Abductions and Anguish

With a cruelty as sharp as obsidian, Hauk preyed upon the people. Daughters vanished into the shadow of the mountains, spirited away by this malignant force.

Sons met untimely ends, their promise extinguished by Hauk’s hand. The community reeled under this onslaught, the pain of loss etching deep furrows in the collective soul of the Pima.

Suha’s Patience Tested

The patriarch Suha, who had borne the scorn of his people and the weight of prophecy, found his endurance pushed to its very limits. Another of his daughters had been taken, another light in his life snuffed out by the mountain devil’s greed.

It was a transgression that could not stand, a wound that could not go unavenged. Suha, the prophet who had spoken with the winds, now vowed a reckoning for Hauk.

In the legend of Hauk, we encounter the darkness that lurks in the corners of the world, the evil that tests the mettle of the best among us. It is a chapter of the Pima saga that speaks of the trials that befall a people who stray from the path, and the strength of those who rise to challenge the night.

Suha’s Solemn Oath: The Quest for Justice

The Determination to End Hauk’s Tyranny

In the heart of Suha, where sorrow and resolve intertwined, a solemn oath was forged. The patriarch’s patience, once as vast as the desert sky, had reached its zenith.

Suha, the man of peace, the voice of prophecy, now took upon himself the mantle of avenger. With a resolve as unyielding as the mountains themselves, he pledged to bring an end to Hauk’s reign of terror.

The Strategy to Defeat the Mountain Devil

The wisdom that had allowed Suha to hear the whispers of the wind now guided him in his quest for retribution. He observed the comings and goings of the devil, noting the secret paths that led to the heart of the Superstition Mountains. With the stealth of a coyote, Suha followed Hauk, his every step a silent testament to his unwavering commitment.

The Confrontation and the Fall of Hauk

The moment of reckoning came like the desert’s sudden flash floods. Suha, with the cunning of a serpent, drugged the cactus wine that Hauk was to drink. As the devil succumbed to the potion’s soporific embrace, Suha emerged from the shadows. With a fury born of love and loss, he struck at the stupefied fiend, beating out the brains of the mountain devil, ending his scourge once and for all.

In Suha’s vow and subsequent triumph, we find the essence of heroism—a courage that rises from the depths of despair, a light that shines forth in the darkest of times. It is a tale that speaks to the heart of the human spirit, the capacity for justice, and the enduring quest to restore balance in a world that has lost its way.

The Echoes of a Vanquished Evil

ethereal seeds scattering across the land

The Scattering of Seeds of Wickedness

With the fall of Hauk, a silence descended upon the Superstition Mountains—a silence as profound as the void left by the devil’s absence. Yet, even in his defeat, the essence of Hauk’s malevolence lingered.

The fragments of his dark intellect, scattered across the land, became the seeds of lesser evils, a reminder that darkness is never fully eradicated, merely dispersed.

The Dawn of a More Virtuous Age

Despite the remnants of Hauk’s influence, the world was undeniably brighter without his shadow. Suha, now the slayer of devils as well as the voice of prophecy, turned his attention to the betterment of his people.

He instructed them in the arts of civilization—how to mold adobe into homes, to turn the soil with shovels, to channel water to thirsty crops, to weave fibers into cloth, and, above all, to cherish peace and spurn the folly of war.

Suha’s Teachings and Legacy

The legacy of Suha extended beyond the mere defeat of a fiend. It was the foundation of a society that sought to embody the virtues that Cherwit Make had once envisioned for his children. Under Suha’s guidance, the Pima flourished, their culture a tapestry of innovation and wisdom, woven with the threads of Suha’s teachings.

In the aftermath of Hauk’s demise, we are reminded of the resilience inherent in the human condition. The legend speaks to the capacity for rebirth and the potential for greatness that lies within the grasp of those who overcome their demons. It is a testament to the enduring power of leadership and the transformative impact of enlightened guidance on the destiny of a people.

The Foretold Future: Suha’s Final Vision

The Prophecy of Pride and Downfall

As Suha’s days waned and the twilight of his life approached, he gathered his people to impart a final prophecy. With the clarity of foresight that had marked his time as seer, he spoke of a distant tomorrow where his descendants would stray once more.

They would grow intoxicated with wealth, their eyes covetous of lands that were not their own, and their hands would once again wield the instruments of war for gain.

The Inevitability of a Second Deluge

The patriarch’s words were heavy with an ominous certainty: this path of arrogance would lead to a cataclysm akin to the one that had nearly befallen them before. A second flood, Suha foretold, would come to pass, sparing none. The wicked would be washed away, and the righteous would abandon the earth to dwell in the celestial warmth of the sun.

The Pimas’ Adherence to the Prophecy

Suha’s prophecy was etched into the very soul of the Pima people. It became a part of their collective consciousness, a guiding principle that cautioned against overreaching ambition and moral decay.

So deep was their belief in Suha’s vision that the Superstition Mountains became a boundary they dared not cross, for to do so was to invite the wrath of Cherwit Make and hasten the prophesied end.

In the echoes of Suha’s prophecy, we find a narrative that transcends the bounds of time and place. It is a story that warns of the cyclical nature of human excess and the perils of forgetting the lessons of the past.

The Pima’s reverence for Suha’s words serves as a poignant reminder of the power of prophecy to shape the beliefs and actions of a culture, and the enduring hope that mankind might one day break the chains of its recurrent follies.

The Watchful Guardian: Cherwit Make’s Eternal Vigil

The Role of Cherwit Make in the Pima’s Destiny

High above the Superstition Mountains, in the realm where earth meets sky, the father of all men and animals, Cherwit Make, maintains his ceaseless watch. His presence is as constant as the stars, his gaze as penetrating as the sun’s rays that pierce the desert’s heart.

Cherwit Make, the Earth-Maker, the butterfly who set the world in motion, now serves as the guardian of the Pima’s destiny, awaiting the hour when his hand will be forced once more.

The Pimas’ Fear of the Mighty Sea

The Pima hold a deep-seated belief, rooted in the bedrock of their traditions, that a mighty sea lies dormant behind the formidable barrier of the Superstition Mountains. It is a sea held at bay by the will of Cherwit Make, a potential deluge that could fulfill the grim prophecy foretold by Suha.

The people’s reverence for this legend is so profound that the mountains stand as a symbol of a threshold that must not be crossed, a line that separates the known from the unfathomable.

Cherwit Make’s Readiness to Unleash Retribution

In the hearts of the Pima, there exists an unshakeable conviction that Cherwit Make’s patience is not infinite. As the guardian of the earth and its inhabitants, he remains vigilant, his judgment poised like a drawn bow.

The Pima live with the knowledge that the culmination of their wickedness will be the signal for Cherwit Make to release the waters, to cleanse the world and begin anew.

The legend of Cherwit Make’s vigil is a powerful reminder of the delicate balance between mankind and the divine, between our actions and their consequences. It speaks to the deep respect the Pima have for the forces that govern existence and the understanding that the stewardship of the earth is a sacred trust.

In the shadow of the Superstition Mountains, the Pima walk a path lined with the wisdom of their ancestors, guided by the unseen eyes of Cherwit Make.

In the Afterglow of Myth: Reflections on the Pima Legend

Pima villagers pausing at the base of the Superstition Mountain

The Moral Lessons of the Ark on Superstition Mountain

As our journey through the legend of the Ark on Superstition Mountain comes to a close, we are left to ponder the rich moral tapestry it presents. The story is a crucible of human virtues and vices, a narrative that distills the essence of wisdom and folly.

It teaches us the value of humility, the importance of living in harmony with the natural world, and the consequences of straying from a path of righteousness.

The Cultural Significance to the Pima People

For the Pima, this legend is not a mere fable but a cornerstone of their cultural identity. It shapes their understanding of the world, their place within it, and their relationship with the unseen forces that govern their fate.

The tale of Cherwit Make, Suha, and the malevolent Hauk is a thread woven into the fabric of their daily lives, a story that has been passed down through the whispers of generations.

Broader Implications for Humanity

The legend, while deeply rooted in the Pima culture, holds universal truths that resonate with all of humanity. It serves as a reminder that every civilization carries its own myths, its own allegories that speak to the shared experiences of mankind.

The Ark on Superstition Mountain stands as a parable for the ages, a beacon that illuminates the cyclical nature of human history and the enduring quest for a better world. In the retelling of this ancient Pima legend, we find a reflection of our collective journey, a story that transcends the boundaries of time and space.

It is a testament to the enduring power of myth to convey the deepest truths of the human experience, and a call to remember the lessons of the past as we navigate the complexities of the present and the uncertainties of the future.