Town Joins the Coop: Pray for us.

By: Bill Whaley
9 September, 2017

The Sacred and the Secular

When the Lord made a bet with the devil about the loyalty of his servant Job, He tested His dutiful follower, who was visited with sores and storms. And He answered Job’s lament, why me, by posing another question: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if you have understanding?”

“On October 17, 1259 CE, at two o’clock in the afternoon, the sun blackened in the skies over Taos” in an eclipse, according to archaeologists (Severin Fowles, An Archaeology of Doings.) Subsequently hostilities ceased between the Winter People (anti-Chaco pit dwellers) and the Summer People (Chaco immigrants), who fused in the material and symbolic architecture of T’aitona, aka the Pot Creek Pueblo.

According to Taos Pueblo oral tales, “The sun said, `I was working for you and you would not pay me. You failed in your duties.” Later in 1925, Taos Pueblo’s Ochwiay Biano told Carl Jung, “The sun is God. Everyone can see that.” According to artifacts and oral tales, Father Sun is the focus of Pueblo Doings wherein ceremonies like foot races are conceived as “efforts to help the in its progression across the heavens” (Fowles 139).

As earthquakes, fires, wind, and water roil the world, experience confirms scientific notions of human interference and alienation of the earth’s atmosphere: the climate changes and the Globe warms. The empirical evidence of fact confirms the symbolic truth of myth.

The passage from Job above remains enigmatic and subject to interpretation, the Lord is answerable to no one: Just obey! Pray for us. But Taos Pueblo, according to informers told anthropologists, “When there is a solar eclipse, the [Taos] pueblo “must pray, fast, and dance and race for five days” (Fowles 140). The ancient and contemporary Taos Pueblo natives apparently understand the political and economic connections between human beings, nature and the cosmos.

Now the D.C. believers Nancy, Chuck, and deniers Trump, Mitch, Paul, and their factions must contend with communities designed without basic P&Z regs or building codes in the wetlands of Houston. In Florida, due to lessons learned, codes are tighter and buildings more hurricane resistant though Miami suffers consistently from sea rise.

Surely emergency funds must be sent to victims and survivors as this temporary (?) apocalypse. Extreme weather brings out the best and most compassionate qualities of human beings (except for the House Freedom Caucus of Deniers who voted no!).

But will the USofA learn a lesson as illustrated by Taos Pueblo’s observations of the connections between human beings, Mother Nature and the Cosmos. Is the cure buried by the curse?

Taos Pueblo provides the founding story of Taos Valley. The descendants of T’aitona moved away from the Pot Creek area on the little Rio Grande and left a great Kiva unfinished for speculative reasons but probably due to a disagreement by the leaders of the “Doings.” Today Taos Pueblo and Picuris Pueblo provide artifacts that tend to align with the oral histories. The Taos Pueblo Doings and architecture orients itself southeast, toward the Sun when it is weakest and needs the most help. Call this gesture a sign of respect, honor, acknowledgement of reality and community consensus and justice.

The Mayor and the Pied Piper

Now comes the Town of Taos and Kit Carson Electric Coop with a deal much ballyhooed by both about their “thirty-year solar Power Purchase Agreement,” which is meant to be a simultaneously affordable and self-sufficient source of energy, according to a press release. KCEC, as noted in this column, survives on borrowing money, much like the Federal Government. The Town now supports the Coop in this “new debt economy.”

This means the Town and KCEC can jointly exploit KCEC members and taxpayers in order to fund solar energy that costs 5 to 10 times as much as the available technology, aimed at solarizing individual homes. Privatize the sunshine for the sake of politicos.

The prudent practices of Taos Pueblo, ceremony, not taxation but frugality seems a better guide. Taos Pueblo’s people, after their ancestors moved several times, according to the archaeologists, have remained in place now, come hell or high-water, the Conquest or the Occupation, and survived a thousand years in place and more, depending on how you count and name the ancestors who have been in the valley since “time immemorial.”

Barrone (above) and Reyes (right) would bury the economy in debt, like the deniers of science and balanced budgets in D.C. The beat of the drum, the dance, the foot races, and the careful observation of connections to the journey of the Sun might provide a more peaceful consensus. And remember that the Coop beats down its own trustees, who disagree. See Virgil’s bruises below.


Barrone’s deal with Reyes sounds a lot like the Lord’s bet with the Devil: the one who suffered was Job, a representative of us all, like the members of the Coop or taxpayers in the Town. We pay for our leaders’ hubris. Sure the mythic imagination requires too much thinking for empiricists enamored of facts but when the facts are misinterpreted both truth and facts lose.

Today’s politicians in general believe that they can create their own worlds with their funny little facts. So we, the descendants of Job wait for the Eclipse while the Taos Pueblo Natives dance. During the recent eclipse Taos Pueblo called on its members to spend a quiet day inside, while the mostly white mainstreamers were out bowing and kowtowing at a pop spectacle, reminiscent of Burning Man.

Given the subsequent suffering in Houston et al, I’m not sure the moderns understand the significance represented by the non moderns’ “Doings,” whose traditions include empirical and imaginative concepts in terms of the spiritual and real connections between the economy, politics, nature and the Cosmos.

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