Photography "Sipapu" by Hunter Madsen



Pueblo communities, inhabiting the American Southwest thousands of years ago, developed their own lyrical creation myth that depicted the profound, underlying unity of Mankind and the Universe. In the floor of their dwellings they dug a small hole called a sipapu, to symbolize the portal through which their first ancestors climbed up from deep inside the earth, into the bright, fresh sunlight of our outer world. They held that, in clambering up from primordial darkness, people advanced from a lizard-like form underground to become the contemporary human species, which, having stepped out, began immediately to proliferate into countless tribes that wandered across the planet. 

In its sweet, elliptical simplicity, this is an apt allegory of human evolution, yet the narrative cannot resist adding a presumption of destiny or purpose to our progress. What's more, the myth has us being guided by the loving hand of a Great Father in the universe, the weaver of both time and tale.

What is it in the evolved mind of our species that plants the curious seed of sacred belief in almost every heart, it seems, throughout all peoples and all times, from the earliest cave dwellers onward? Does this notion arise from mortal dread? The need for meaning? A will to power? Unquenchable wonderment? An intergalactic transponder placed here as a desert monolith by godlike overseers? Or the mind of the Godhead, impersonating us in order to hide from Itself? What is it, so deep beneath our surface, that ever seeks to climb up and out? 

TITLE - "Sipapu"
WHERE - Construction site, San Diego, California (2017).  This image, which is also titled "Arise," has been dedicated by the photographer to his friend, the composer and artist, Robert Kyr.