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Environment, Space, Place

Volume 3, Issue 2, Fall 2011

Glen A. Mazis
Pages 7-21
DOI: 10.7761/ESP.3.2.7

The Sky Starts at Our Feet
Anasazi Clues about Overcoming Mind/Body Dualism through the Unity of Earth/Sky

Looking at the finding of several archeoastronomers, who examine the relationship of built cultures to celestial bodies, this essay speculates on the unique relationship of the inhabitants of Chaco Canyon in New Mexico to the earth and sky. The Anasazi who populated this region suddenly disappeared around 1000 A.D. and little is known about their culture, religion, and world except by studying the structures they left behind. This essay looks at their kivas, dwellings, the puzzling “Sun dagger” monument, and the petroglyphs throughout the canyon to understand the many ways that each structure through use of light and space marked the occurrence of a surprising number of celestial events. There is good evidence that the Anasazi dwelled within the sky and felt a continuity between earth and sky in a way to which postmodern cultures have little access. The unity of body and surround, especially as ascending into the sky from the earth, is linked to a spirituality at odds with the legacy of Plato and others, who oppose the celestial to the earthly, as an inferior realm.

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