Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Priest of the Sun

Georgia O'Keefe
Tosamah, orator, physician, Priest of the Sun, son of Hummingbird, spoke:
" 'Peyote is a small, spineless, carrot shaped cactus growing in the Rio Grande Valley and southward. It contains nine narcotic alkaloids of the isoquinoline series, some of them strychnine-like in physiological action, the rest morphine-like. Physiologically, the salient characteristic of peyote is its production of visual hallucinations or color visions, as well as kinesthetic, olfactory, and auditory derangements.' Or, to put it another way, that little old woolly booger turns you on like a light, man. Daddy peyote is the vegetal representation of the sun."

The Priest of the Sun was going to conduct a prayer meeting, and he had painted himself for it. The part in his hair was a bright yellow line; there were vertical red lines on either side of his face; and there were yellow half moons under his eyes. He was a holy, sinister sight. Everything was ready. He stepped upon the platform with a gourd rattle and staff in one hand and the paraphernalia satchel in the other. One by one the celebrants followed and sat down in a circle. Cristobal Cruz was the fireman, Napoleon Kills-in-the-Timber the drummer.

~ N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn


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