Aug 05 2009

Pima – The Creation of the Earth

Published by at 8:41 am under Ivan's Story,Poetry

The Creation of the Earth
by Pima (Anonymous)

English version by Frank Russell

Earth Magician shapes the world.
      Behold what he can do!
Round and smooth he molds it.
      Behold what he can do!
Earth Magician makes the mountains.
      Heed what he has to say!
He it is that makes the mesas.
      Heed what he has to say.
Earth Magician shapes the world;
      Earth Magician makes its mountains;
Makes all larger, larger, larger.
      Into the earth the Magician glances,
Into its mountains he may see.

— from The Sky Clears: Poetry of the American Indians, Edited by A. Grove Day


/ Photo by LifeHouseDesign /

My college years in the late 1980s were a time of searching and confusion for me. I attended three different universities in three years, with as many majors, before I dropped out of school and bumped through jobs and life until somehow I stumbled my way into adulthood.

I mention this because one of the schools I attended briefly was the University of Arizona. And while there I first became aware of the Pima people of Arizona…

Something about this shamanic chant is really striking to me.

Earth Magician shapes the world.
Behold what he can do!

“Earth Magician” sounds so tangible, like the name of a person. Yet this “person” is the shaper of the world, the maker of mountains and mesas. The formation of the world, it is an act of magic! It is an act of power and wonderment!

This song is really an invitation to truly see the majesty of creation, the vast natural world that is our home. Seeing the beauty and immensity of the earth, we can’t help but be reminded of that which shaped it, the formless “magician” that gave form. The natural world is always telling us — Behold!

And my favorite lines –

Into the earth the Magician glances,
Into its mountains he may see.

Notice that this great Magician isn’t looking at the creation; no, he is looking “into” it. He sees into the earth and into the mountains. For this Magician, the apparently tangible world is not a realm of solidity and impenetrable surfaces. That doesn’t seem to be what interests him. His sight seems to flow effortlessly into the heart of all things, and that seems to be the only reality that draws his glance.

Pima (Anonymous)

US (18th Century) Timeline
Primal/Tribal/Shamanic : American Indian

Attributing this to the 18th century is a guess. The source book did not estimate the date of composition.

The Pima people traditionally come from the Salt River Valley and Gila River areas of Arizona.

More poetry by Pima (Anonymous)

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Pima – The Creation of the Earth”

  1. Letitiaon 05 Aug 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Dearest Ivan,

    I was surprised to read of your years of struggle and unsettlement during your younger years. I just bet you are grateful for the gifts found during these years, however difficult they may have been. I found some of my richest gifts amongst the rubble and despair of my growth years. There is ALWAYS a gift in every experience. I am so grateful for the ability to sort through the mire and fill my pockets with the precious gifts my courage and self compassion have allowed. It is my hope that you too stand proud with pockets full of love…

    Warm regards to my fellow traveler Ivan… <3

    ~ letitia

  2. Percy Bisque Silleyon 06 Aug 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Indeed, as Poets we are all Seers…

  3. aparnaon 11 Aug 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Letitia, I want to thank you for your beautiful, kind words-It is my hope that you too stand proud with pockets full of loveā€¦
    They mean a lot!!
    Thanks!!

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