THE FUNCTION OF THE
You pointed out a very important dimension of the land and the Pueblo people's relation to the land when you said it was as if the land was telling the stories in the novel. That is it exactly, but it is so difficult to convey this relationship without sounding like Margaret Fuller or some other Transcendentalist. When I was writing Ceremony I was so terribly devastated by being away from the Laguna country that the writing was my way of re-making that place, the Laguna country, for myself.
--Leslie Marmon Silko1
Critics of Silko's novel, like those treating House Made of
Dawn and The Death of Jim
Loney (and those who treat regionalist works in general), are quick to show how the
quality of thought--the "vision"--of a "satellite culture"2
operates to endow certain places
with specialness. My contention here is that, in the relationship between vision and place,
shaping can and does operate in the reciprocal direction as well: vision can, and in these
works demonstrably does, grow out of place, so that place, in the sense of a
landscape, provides a reader a referent that allows verification or confirmation of the
accuracy of the vision. This is the sort of verifiability that is, often rather disturbingly, missing
or unavailable in other major works of postwar American fiction in which vision seems to be
derived solely from "ideal," or philosophical, antecedents.
Whatever else the ceremony in Silko's novel Ceremony is about, it is clearly about the process of what Jung calls "constellation." I want to say quickly here that although I'm borrowing this term from Jung to refer to the idea of pattern-formation, I do not wish to claim that the referent of the pattern that evolves in this novel is "archetypal" material in the Jungian sense, nor do I intend a Jungian reading of the novel. Jung's term does, however, draw attention to the prototypal image of pattern-alignment that Silko uses in her novel, an image that gathers together elements of landscape, story, vision, and the world preceding vision. This is the pattern of stars seen first by old Betonie in his vision and then drawn in the dirt for Tayo to memorize (152), the pattern Tayo sees later both in the night sky to the north over Mount Taylor (178) and on the shield hanging on the wall of the hunting lodge at Mount Taylor (214), the pattern contained as well in the pouches hanging on the east and south walls of Kaup'a'ta's house in a traditional Keresan winter story (174-75), the pattern that, seen finally by Tayo in the night sky (247), functions as his signal to begin the final movement in his ceremony of redemption. In both Jung's sense of the term and in Silko's use of star imagery, "constellation" refers not merely to a quantity--a certain number of stars or other images all given a singular, categorizing label --but also, and more importantly, to an emerging event, the event or process of constellation. In the special case that is Tayo's, images of experience need to be ordered, and, further, the ordering process must bring those images into alignment or congruence with certain other patterns: not only "what" Tayo has seen and sees but also "how" Tayo comes to see these things must become constellated within Tayo's vision as well as brought into alignment with the way things ought to be, if the ceremony he participates in is to be completed successfully.
"The way things ought to be": to the postwar critic's ear, that term "ought" may sound suspiciously subjective, and justifiably so. As the novel unfolds, the elements of Tayo's experience that cry out for (re-) patterning, or constellating, become clear; what may not be so clear is just what pattern these elements "ought" to be aligned with. Since so much of postwar fiction and theory argues that all order is finally and fundamentally arbitrary,3 a contemporary reader might be tempted to assume that any patterning of these elements would suffice to complete the ceremony and bring order out of the chaos, the perceived fragmentariness, of Tayo's experience and identity.
In this context, the specialness of Silko's creative vision in Ceremony is that the process of constellation that is the ceremony of the novel proceeds on three equally important planes, and each plane is aligned finally with each of the other two.4 On the most obvious level of all, Tayo's personal experience constitutes one of these planes. In addition, much criticism points out and explicates the plane we might call the experience of the "satellite culture," encoded and preserved as it is in the Story of the People, which Story Tayo must re-enact if he is to feel once again culturally "at home." And while the alignment of these two constellated planes yields all by itself a satisfactory fiction by most aesthetic standards, it also leaves a reader with that disquieting sense of "subjectivity" I mentioned earlier, since the referent that validates Tayo's reordering of his personal experience is itself patently a fiction (a consensus vision of how things are or ought to be, to be sure, but still, a self-referential product of imagination). The third plane operating in this novel offers the reader--and Tayo--a way to ground these two planes, and the evolving congruence between them, in the world that precedes subjective versions of it, for the constellation of Tayo's consciousness unfolds to conform in pattern not only to the Story that precedes Tayo's personal quest, but also to the physical terrain, the fundamental geography of the place where this other process unfolds, allowing for a species of validation, or verification, of the process of internal constellation and re-alignment that most postwar fictions lack. We do not have to know, in advance of reading the novel, the special patterns of thought that characterize Laguna thinking; it is enough to know only how the land itself is configured in order to gain access into the world of the novel. Where Mount Taylor is in relationship to Pa'to'ch Butte, where the sandstone mesas lie in relationship to the red flatlands, where the setting of the opening of the novel lies in relationship to the setting of the ending of the novel: these landmarks in the novel operate to confirm that the subjective-looking pattern of Tayo's vision is constellating with reference to, and in congruence with, the lay of a real landscape. The existence and shape of this landscape, its text and texture, so to speak, is real in the sense that it can be said to exist outside the subjective consciousness of Tayo, outside the collective consciousness of the People his ceremony will finally redeem, outside the creative consciousness even of the author in charge of fabricating the fiction we read.
In sum, then, the novel offers the reader an experience in which three modes of reality come into constellated congruence so that each mode of reality functions as an exact metaphor for each of the others. The pattern, or "interior landscape," of Tayo's consciousness is, at last, accurately tuned not only to the pattern of the culture he needs to re-enter, but also--and very importantly, whenever the issue of "validation" comes up--it is congruent, finally, with the pattern and terrain of an external landscape, that relatively objective place in which these other two subjective patterns take form.
Generally speaking, the central ceremony in the novel is Tayo's, who, like the People in
general, needs "re-centering," re-grounding at the center of this new universe he and they
find themselves in when the novel opens. Their universe now includes such hitherto invisible
(immanent, perhaps, but not yet manifest) elements as fissionable uranium, World War II
with its Pacific Theater, long-range potentials for annihilation, and other elements that simply
did not exist earlier in human history, either in the world or in the minds of the People, and
hence their traditional ceremonies take no direct account of such specifically post-war
phenomena. The need for some ceremony that takes such phenomena directly into account is
indicated near end of novel, when Ts'eh points out that the sacred elk has not been renewed
(repainted) "since the war" (231); and, of course, the seven-year drought, which the people
and the land are experiencing as the novel opens, also indicates that the life of the People is
out of harmony with the place where they happen to be. It's the same place, and the same
People; but the relationship between them has fallen out of balance--is, to use the
koyaanisqatsi. Broadly speaking, what's called for (according to the voice on page 3
novel, according to old Ku'oosh, and according to Betonie) is a "ceremony" designed to
bring the misguided People back into harmony with the world they happen to be living in, a
process that will involve inter alia re-visiting (i.e., re-affirming the existence of, and
efficacy of) the traditional Spirit Helpers of the People. Just as importantly, these
helpers/healers must be visited at certain places--which is to say Tayo must re-visit
itself in order to reestablish contact with the power of healing that he may find there.
Within the context of this larger pattern of redemptive/regenerative re-discovery of the People's Power (when rightly and delicately aligned with the ways of certain spirit helpers) to Make Things Happen, we can see Tayo as functioning as a sort of eponymous representative of the People; his ceremony, if successfully completed, will bring the People, as well as himself as a delegate of the People, back into graceful balance with the external world.
As a delegate of the People, then, Tayo's function is to bring this force back into the lives of the People by bringing it back from the land that the People have, in some special sense, become separated from. To do so, Tayo must go and actively seek out the force, align his own identity with it, and then bring his own renewed identity back to the place that needs it. In the ceremony of this novel, it is not enough for Tayo merely to re-pattern his own internal landscape; he must also move literally outside and beyond the solipsistic confines of that small room where he lies at the beginning of the novel if he is ever to recover the speckled cattle, or the rain clouds, or any of the other avatars of that spirit of regeneration that has been lost or taken from him.
The question becomes, then, where will he have to go to find, and there recover, the regenerative spirit? That the spirit exists somewhere is implied very clearly in the opening structure of the novel, for even before Tayo appears we are given the figures of Thought Woman and her sisters, eternally present somewhere, weaving the world out of their collective generative impulse. In the structure of the novel, Tayo will find the spirit he seeks wherever he encounters an avatar of Ts'its'tsi'nako. Thus, another way of phrasing the question "where does Tayo have to go to find the power he seeks" is to ask "where does he have to go to find Ts'[eh]?"
All who study the novel agree that the figure of Ts'eh plays a crucial role in this ceremony. Further, the efficacy of this ceremony depends on the precise relationship that Tayo establishes with the figure Ts'eh. The entity whom Tayo encounters is, clearly, to be understood as a "spirit of place," a more-than-human being who represents the land's own life, who knows How Things Work and who is willing to share this knowledge with the People.5 The People must acknowledge her existence and find a way to see her for what she is, a way to make a place for her in their conceptual map of the world and the forces at work there.
In the novel itself, the energy that Tayo reencounters in the latter half of the novel in the form of the one who names herself "Ts'eh" is a constant presence. In the opening words of the novel, she takes form as "Ts'its'tsi'nako, Thought-Woman," who we are told "is sitting in her room / thinking of a story now," which story takes textual form as the novel itself. To a reader unfamiliar with the Keresan language, "Ts'its'tsi'nako" looks like a mouthful, and perhaps this is why, when Tayo later indirectly inquires after her name, she tells him (and us) "You can call me Ts'eh. That's my nickname because my Indian name is so long" (223). Tayo recognizes Ts'eh as the woman he encountered some nine months previously on Tse-pi'na, Mount Taylor; but Tayo also encounters her (or at least the ensemble of generative powers of which she is a part) prior to the postwar chronological setting of the novel, both in the form of a grandmother spider and in the form of the woman people called the Night Swan.6 The pattern of these four successive encounters is the pattern of Ts'its'tsi'nako's transformation from the realm of traditional story into the Fifth World, from story form to human form, from potentiality into reality.
The Spring: Spider Grandmother
Tayo's first encounter (in the chronological order of the novel) with this regenerative force
occurs "that last summer before the war" (93). For this encounter, Tayo has to ride at sunrise
from the Pueblo "south to the spring in the narrow canyon" (93); here, perhaps because "the
things he did seemed right, as he imagined with his heart the rituals the cloud priests
performed during a drought," Tayo receives a provisional answer to his prayer for
regeneration as Ts'its'tsi'nako, in her story form, that of a spider ("Thought-Woman, the
spider" ), appears to him at the spring. As Tayo continues to pray for rain, other life forms
associated with water gradually appear--frogs, blue dragonflies, and eventually a
hummingbird. At the same time, rainclouds begin to form over Mount Taylor and to move in
his direction; later that afternoon, the People receive the blessing of rain.
At this point, Tayo associates the spider he sees at this place only with the figure of Ts'its'tsi'nako of the old stories: "He remembered stories about her. She waited in certain locations for people to come to her for help. She alone had known how to outsmart the malicious mountain Ka't'sina who imprisoned the rain clouds in the northwest room of his magical house" (94). Though Grandmother Spider's appearance (and knowledge) here anticipates the help Tayo will get from her Mount Taylor avatar as he re-enacts the story he is remembering prior to World War II, not until later in the ceremony that is his life will Tayo himself weave the memory of this encounter with Spider Grandmother and his subsequent encounter with the Night Swan into a vision of a single spirit helper--the life of the land itself.
Cubero: The Night Swan
The (re-)generative force Tayo seeks to recover both before and after the War reappears
later that day, at Lalo's place in Cubero village, in the form of the woman called the Night
Swan--again a grandmother (87), but in human form.
As the Night Swan, working into this world through Josiah but significantly touching Tayo as well, this genetrix figure reveals another one of the places where she can be found. At the end of her story of how she danced into being her desire for a bad man's death, the Night Swan tells Josiah why she left wandering around southern New Mexico:
"One day I got up and walked down the main street of Socorro. The wind was blowing dust down the little side streets and I felt like I was the only one living there any more. . . . I rode the bus this far. I saw the mountain, and I liked the view from here." She nodded in the direction of the mountain, Tse-pi'na, the woman veiled in clouds. (87)
While the Night Swan claims to remember only her dancing and not the sequence of towns in
which she danced prior to her arrival and settlement at Cubero (just off the northwest edge of
the main parcel of Laguna Reservation land), the places she does remember having lived in
on her way to Cubero (El Paso, Las Cruces, Socorro) align cartographically in a rather
straight line running from the border of Mexico north and a little west to Cubero; if this line
were extended a little, it would run straight to Mount Taylor. The trajectory of the Night
Swan's motion, it seems, has always been approaching the site of Mount Taylor, as though
that is what she has been becoming as well as where she has been going.
According to the nine-part framing story of the coming of the Ck'o'yo magician Pa'caya'nyi and the subsequent departure and recovery of the Corn Mother, when Nau'ts'ity'i left the people, "she took the / rainclouds with her" (49); the next time we hear about the rainclouds in the form of traditional story, they are being held captive by Kaup'a'ta, another Ck'o'yo magician, who lives "up North" (170). All this makes little sense at the time to Tayo: he is too young to carry the burden of a regenerative ceremony yet, and he has yet to participate in World War II and so has not yet experienced the need for this ceremony. Even so, the lady tells him (and us) that she, along with the "woman veiled in clouds" (87), understood as the place where her vision takes form and will later take form for Tayo, are integral elements of the ceremony that Josiah's purchase of the speckled cattle has already set in motion at Laguna: "You don't have to understand [yet] what is happening. But remember this day. You will recognize it later. You are part of it now" (100). In this sense, Tayo's pre-war encounter with the Night Swan prefigures his re-encounter ("You will recognize it later"7) with another avatar of the genetrix force, one shaped more clearly to the exigencies of Tayo's individual ceremony, on Mount Taylor.
North or South?: Returns to Cubero
Once Tayo has received from old Betonie an outline of a cognitive map of the ceremony that
awaits his participation, a map that includes four important elements awaiting constellation
(stars, cattle, mountain, woman ), and once Tayo himself has confirmed Betonie's vision
in his own dream (145), which incorporates three of the four elements Betonie says need
constellating, Tayo is ready to go to seek out whatever it is he, and the People, have become
Again the question "Where should he seek?" becomes crucial to an understanding of how the novel's ceremony works. When Tayo dreams of the speckled cattle immediately following Betonie's ritual, the cattle are moving south and southwest from the general site of Laguna village where Tayo locates his dreaming point of view: "They were gone, running southwest again, toward the high, lone-standing mesa the people called Pa'to'ch"; Tayo's immediate response to his dream is to want to be at the place he has dreamed: "He wanted to leave that night to find the cattle; there would be no peace until he did" (145). Following Betonie's story about his grandparents and their role in the continuing ceremony (145-52), we find Tayo moving towards the place in his dream where he last saw the speckled cattle, having hitchhiked from Gallup to San Fidel (at the western edge of Laguna land) and about to be picked up by Harley and Leroy, who are returning from Gallup with Helen Jean in tow (155). Apparently, then, Tayo is thinking of bringing himself to the place near Pa'to'ch Butte, as though to align himself in Fifth World time and space with the cattle he has seen in his dream moving in that direction. He goes along for the ride with Harley, Leroy, and Helen Jean, a ride that brings him to chaos at the Y Bar (at Los Lunas, just off the eastern edge of the Laguna reservation) and ends with Tayo in the driver's seat; the return ride ends at Mesita, where Tayo leaves Harley and Leroy passed out in the truck and continues on foot towards Laguna, "going by memory and the edges of old ruts" (169).
To explain how Tayo ends up, seven pages later, north of Laguna village rather than south near Pa'to'ch, we need to interpolate a memory of Tayo's at this point, one associated with the last time in the chronological pattern of the novel Tayo was at this place, into the pattern of the broader regenerative ceremony. At that time, after his encounter with old man Ku'oosh and before encountering old Betonie, Tayo is returning home from the drinking spree with Harley that takes him north from the sheep shack to the highway and west along the string of bars running from Budville through San Fidel and ending up at McCartys. There, at sunset, the bar closed and Harley gone somewhere, Tayo finds himself alone, tugged in one direction by reason and in another by "feeling": "He stood outside facing the south, but all his feelings were focused behind him, northeast, in the direction of Cubero" (102), where earlier in his life he once encountered the Night Swan. Tayo then walks to Cubero, following a natural path already laid out ("The yellow sandstone outcrop ran parallel to the big arroyo behind the bar. All he had to do was follow it" ), only to find Lalo's closed and the place deserted. He sits, then, and stares at the adobe walls of the place where the Night Swan had lived and notices how the exposed adobe squares are "beginning to lose their square shape, taking on the softer contours of the mesas and hills" (108); as the things he looks at begin to take on the contours of the land itself, Tayo finds himself feeling more peaceful and at rest: "In a world of crickets and wind and cottonwood trees he was almost alive again; he was visible. . . . The place felt good; he leaned back against the wall until its surface pushed against his backbone solidly" (104). The experience of feeling part of the land itself is thus constellated, in this episode, with the significance of the Night Swan in Tayo's consciousness; though she is not physically present, she seems to have left a trail of association for Tayo to experience and remember, and to follow, later. With the memory of the Night Swan in the forefront of his consciousness, Tayo stripes the backs of his hands with some of the white plaster dust from the place she once occupied, a gesture that ties Tayo at once to this place (and the pattern of the broader redemptive ceremony it figures in), to the image of the speckled cattle (as the dust makes a "spotted pattern" on his "light brown skin" ), and to the rituals of the ceremonial dancers of Laguna: "then he knew why it was done by the dancers: it connected them to the earth. He became aware of the place then, of where he was" (104). When he then gets up to explore that place, he finds what he knew would be the case all along: "The room was empty. His steps inside sounded hollow, like a sandstone cave in the cliffs" (104). The pattern of revelation that here becomes part of Tayo's constellated internal landscape both confirms the efficacy of the path he has taken so far and predicts the course that he must follow, in the external landscape, to recover fully the spirit he seeks. The experience suggests that, while something to the south certainly awaits Tayo's coming (and awaits him at a "sandstone cave in the cliffs"), the proper approach to it is through a route that will first carry him north of where he happens to be in time and space, more specifically north in the direction of Mount Taylor. This is how place is configured, prior to World War II, in the pattern of the redemptive ceremony encoded in the old Stories; it is also how place is configured in the most efficacious moments of Tayo's motion between the time he returns from the War and the time he returns to Laguna land with Betonie's counsel added to his awareness of what he seeks and where it must be sought. The pattern, then, if it is to continue to unfold in fractal fashion, invites Tayo to turn north, rather than south, at the moment he finds himself re-entering Laguna from his encounter with old Betonie. And that is where we find him, on the other side of what otherwise looks formally to be a leap of surprisingly arbitrary suddenness, on page 176 of his ceremony.8
Mount Taylor: The Woman of Tse-pi'na
In this next phase of the healing ceremony, the reconstellation of powerful feelings, powerful
memories, and imagery to which those feelings and memories are bonded in Tayo's
consciousness moves once more towards its completion. Here in the northwest corner of the
world as seen from Laguna village, Tayo moves an important step forward in the process
through which the shape and pattern of his conscious identity move into congruence with the
shape and pattern of the land itself.
That Tayo is on the right track seems confirmed, formally, by his two encounters with the same generative spirit that has manifested earlier in the forms of the Spider Grandmother and the Night Swan. These two encounters are best understood as a sort of single encounter that brackets and blesses Tayo's otherwise solo encounter with the Ck'o'yo medicine, or counterforce, of the overall ceremony. Within the context of his quest to recover the speckled cattle, this counterforce manifests itself as the spirit of possession (and hence deprivation), as spirit that in turn informs both the figure of the Ck'o'yo gambler Kaup'a'ta of the frame story and the figures of the two fence riders, agents of the white outsider Floyd Lee, who has separated the land from itself with his "high fence of heavy-gauge steel mesh with three strands of barbed wire across the top . . . a thousand dollars a mile to lock the mountain in steel wire, to make the land his" (187-88).
In the chronological sequence of her manifestations to Tayo, the genetrix figure appears to get "younger" with each successive appearance: in the avatar he encounters at the immediate onset of the Mount Taylor phase of the ceremony, "She wasn't much older than he was," though "she wore her hair long, like the old women did, pinned back in a knot" (177). Perhaps we are to understand, then, that the spirit Tayo seeks is increasingly tailoring herself physically to Tayo's form, just as, reciprocally, Tayo's vision of his own role in the greater ceremony of life is increasingly becoming tailored to suit the physical place of which she is the life-giving spirit. At any rate, this lady, who stands figuratively at both the entrance and the exit to the spirit mountain Tse-pi'na, is clearly at home here where she is: the challenge in her voice ("What are you doing here?" "Who sent you?") and the suggestion of Ka't'sina identity in the description we're given of her ("Her eyes slanted up with her cheekbones like the face of an antelope dancer's mask" [176-77]) both imply that she functions, here in the evolving ceremony, as a spirit belonging to this place in ways that Tayo does not yet belong. Because she is encountered where she is, and because she seems so "at home" in this place, she should probably be taken as the mountain avatar of the genetrix spirit--a version of Tse-pi'na, "the woman veiled in clouds," as well as a more youthful version of both Spider Grandmother and the Night Swan. Further, since she is assigned no name in this episode, and since physiognomically she appears, in retrospect, to be identical with the one who calls herself "Ts'eh" later in the novel, and since "Ts'eh" as a nickname could be taken to be a shortened form of either "Ts'its'tsi'nako" or "Tse-pi'na," we can hear at this stage of the ceremony of the novel a significant coming-together of heretofore uncomfortably separated aspects or avatars of the regenerative force Tayo seeks--and seeks to integrate into his own vision and experience.
The connection between the woman and the land becomes manifest in the account (filtered through Tayo's evolving awareness) of his lovemaking with her, an event during which her body takes shape in Tayo's consciousness as a landscape, while his sense of his own relationship to her takes shape in the language of geographical awareness: "He was afraid of being lost, so he repeated trail marks to himself. . . . He eased himself deeper within her and felt the warmth close around him like river sand, softly giving way under foot, then closing firmly around the ankle in cloudy warm water. But he did not get lost . . . when it came, it was the edge of a steep riverbank crumbling under the downpour . . ." (180-81). While these lines can, of course, be understood as sexual metaphor, they can also, very importantly, be taken to represent a gift of vision from the spirit whom Tayo is beginning to identify more and more correctly: these lines describe not only the body of the one he encounters on Mount Taylor, but also prefigure the place in the external world of the novel (as well as the external world in which the novel is set and which it replicates so precisely) where Tayo will receive his final spiritual briefing from her (221-22).
As though to confirm that Tayo's identification of the woman with the land itself is crucial to the efficacy of the broader ceremony, their lovemaking leads to a "continuous," "uninterrupted" dream about those cattle that Tayo takes, at this point in the pattern of his own motion, to be his immediate reason for coming to this particular place; just as, prior to their lovemaking, her words seem both to anticipate and to confirm his own thoughts,9 her voice here adds recognizable geographical contour to Tayo's otherwise spatially nonspecific dream: "and when he heard her whisper, he saw them scatter over the crest of a round bare hill" (181; compare 196-97). In the morning, in this state of heightened awareness of the messages the land holds for him, "He stood on the steps and looked at the morning stars in the west," but what he breathes in is "a distinct smell of snow from the north, of ponderosa pine on the rimrock above" (181). He will be guided northwards towards the cattle by this smell, and also by the directions communicated to him wordlessly by the woman in the pattern of the stones she lays out on the table for him to see: first "an ocher yellow sandstone with a powdery fine texture he had never seen before," then a "pinkish gray stone," and finally a "powder blue stone" (183)--trail markers, for Tayo, to help keep him from getting lost on the body of Tse-pi'na.10
Thus prepared by his reencounter with a form of the spirit he seeks to reestablish within himself, Tayo finds himself, following the trail marked out for him by the convergent patterns of the woman's stones and the physical terrain he moves through on Mount Taylor, entering not only a special place but also a special quality of time. It is presented to us as a sort of Sacred Time, the kind of time the kurena, kashare, and ka't'sinas live in:
The silence was inside, in his belly; there was no longer any hurry. The ride into the mountain had branched into all directions of time. He knew then why the oldtimers could only speak of yesterday and tomorrow in terms of the present moment: the only certainty; and this present sense of being was qualified with bare hints of yesterday or tomorrow, by saying, "I go up to the mountain yesterday or I go up to the mountain tomorrow." The ck'o'yo Kaup'a'ta somewhere is stacking his gambling sticks and waiting for a visitor; Rocky and I are walking across the ridge in the moonlight; Josiah and Robert are waiting for us. This night is a single night; and there never has been any other. (192)
Just as we are to understand Ts'its'tsi'nako, the Night Swan, Tse-pi'na, and Ts'eh as avatars
of some ultimately single entity, so Tayo here begins to re-experience remembered moments
of his existence as manifestations of a single moment.11
To complete this phase of the process
of constellation, Tayo must anchor this unified moment of consciousness in the land, thus
identifying time with place as but two aspects of this event. For this to happen, his special
sense of time must align with an equally special, qualitatively analogous sense of place.
Tayo experiences such a sense of place during his first night out on Mount Taylor. It comes to him in the wake of a "strange paralysis," an "overwhelming fatigue" (195) that accompanies some thoughts of failure that in turn derive from a reasonably "realistic" assessment of his chances of returning the cattle to his family's ranch: in a world where time can run out and where meaning and purpose are mere subjective fictions, the Power To Make Things Happen is by definition an illusion, and a dangerous one at that. Lost in his own ratiocinations and thus oblivious to the external world per se, Tayo is overwhelmed momentarily by that sense of alienation, futility, and "existential despair" so familiar to readers of most postwar fiction:
His stomach tensed up again. Whatever night this was, he still had a big hole cut in their fence, and he had to find the cattle and get them out before the fence riders found the break. They would be after him then, hunting him down as they had hunted the last few bears on the mountain. His chest was aching with anger. What ever made him think he could do this? The woman under the apricot tree meant nothing at all; it was all in his own head. When they caught him, they'd send him back to the crazy house for sure. . . . As the Army doctors had told him: it was all superstition, seeing Josiah when they shot those goddamn Japs; it was all superstition, believing that the rain had stopped coming because he had cursed it. (194-95)
Once again, as was the case during his stay at the Army hospital, Tayo's response to the enormous possibility of his life's irrelevance is to dissociate his felt self from the consciousness that threatens him, to become once again white smoke drifting into the walls of some abandoned white house. However, lacking at this moment and in this place a closed white room to hide in, he retreats into the only place available: the mountain itself, or at least the part of the mountain he finds himself on:
His face was in the pine needles where he could smell all the tree, from roots deep in the damp earth to the moonlight blue branches, the highest tips swaying in the wind. The odors wrapped around him in a clear layer that sucked away the substance of his muscle and bone; his body became insubstantial, so that even if the fence riders came looking for him with their .30-30s loaded and cocked, they would see him only as a shadow under the tree. (195)
While clearly Tayo's motion here is born of his sense of fear and despair, his motion also
brings him into touch, intimate contact, with the land.
By blending into place and surrendering himself to the land in this way, Tayo in effect achieves the state of identity with Mount Taylor that is, in the larger measures of the ceremony, the whole point of being at this place, at this time. As though to confirm that some such transformed vision of relationship to the land is the proper step to be taking here, the shadow-self that Tayo has become is visited by "Mountain lion, the hunter. Mountain lion, the hunter's helper" (196).
Within the framework of Laguna story (and, by extension, the framework of Laguna cultural literacy), the figure of the mountain lion is already constellated with the figure of Mount Taylor (185), and it is certainly important to recognize that Tayo's redemption and future efficacy as a delegate of the People depend, in part, on his ability and willingness to integrate his own identity with the energy attributed by the People to the mountain lion. Here, as elsewhere in the novel, however, Tayo's encounter with the land proves to be his access to cultural tradition: as Tayo moves into a state of relatively undifferentiated harmony with the place he is in, wherever that place happens to be, he moves also into relatively undifferentiated congruence with the life to be found there, whatever form it takes, and these representatives of life function in turn to confirm the value of such self-identification with place.
Specifically, the mountain lion functions in this part of the novel (and, it would seem, in Tayo's vision) as a shadow-self in this shadow-place, an animal "helper" figure with which Tayo can be identified but which is also naturally at home in the special quality of time and place in the way that the woman of Tse-pi'na is.12 In recognizing and confirming the sacredness of the mountain lion (by sprinkling yellow pollen in its footprints), Tayo, by extension, then, recognizes and confirms the sacredness of his own existence: since they are, in this special time and place, two avatars or "shadows" of the life of Mount Taylor, to confirm the reality of the one is to confirm the reality of both.
Refreshed by his encounter with this animal spirit form of Mount Taylor, and having reframed his vision to allow the place itself to serve as the locus where all elements of constellating reality gather here and now, Tayo locates the speckled cattle. They, too, are functioning in this ceremony as images of what must be found and returned to the heart of the place where the People dwell. Every time the cattle have previously appeared in the novel, as remembered or dreamed by Tayo, they have been heading south, a direction that takes them out of the landscape that lies in the field of the People's lives and vision. From Mount Taylor, however, Tayo can count on their "instinct," as yet unchanged, to move them in the direction of re-entry into everyday life (197). What may not be obvious is that the direction of eventual recovery here is also the direction in which the mountain lion must have been moving for it to meet and then pass by Tayo: to get his first glimpse of the cattle, we are told, Tayo "rode the mare west again, in the direction the mountain lion had come from" (196), also aligning him once again with the "sound of the wind in the pine branches and the smell of snow from the mountain" (196). Such sounds and smells have been associated with Tayo's "goal" since the beginning of this phase of the ceremony: as Tayo arrives at the cabin at the base of Mount Taylor, "A cool wind blew down from the northwest rim of the mountain plateau above them and rattled the apricot leaves" (176); the next morning, when he follows the lady outside, "He breathed deeply, and each breath had a distinct smell of snow from the north, of ponderosa pine on the rimrock above" (181).
Just as Tayo cannot literally move Mount Taylor from where it is relative in space to Laguna village or any other place in space, so he cannot literally follow the path of the mountain lion beyond its point of re-entry into the Fifth World, the world in which humans are always living, wherever else they might also simultaneously exist during extended moments such as Tayo's on Mount Taylor. Re-entering the part of the world he has ventured out from and following the recovered speckled cattle to get there require that Tayo choose to re-enter, a choice tantamount to choosing to leave the state of absolute certainty and control that characterizes his existence in the spirit world for the uncertainties and shakier possibilities of control that characterize his, and any human being's, existence in the Fifth World. This choice is presented to Tayo when he is forced to choose his way out of the shadow-state he entered just prior to his encounter with mountain lion. (Compare this shadow-state with the state he remembers being in during his hospital stay immediately after World War II, a state he can exit either by turning into white smoke and dissipating into the white walls or else by getting better and going on living as a human being [14-15, 32-33]). It comes down to a choice of two possible "directions" with which he will now align his life: the direction of finality (= certainty), "sinking into the elemental arms of mountain silence," a state he knows would be "a returning rather than a separation" (201), to become absolutely undifferentiated from this place; or the direction of possibilities (= uncertainty), a direction that in passing will require him to discover or invent ways to order "the noise and pain in his head" and to settle for embraces less complete and final than the one he feels awaiting him, should he so choose, on Tse-pi'na. As Silko puts it, and as we are to understand Tayo recognizes is the case, "It was up to him" (202).
Tayo's choice, to continue as a human being, sets the plot (and, seemingly, the world) back into motion. Immediately, the figure of the mountain lion splits off from the figure of Tayo, its path to be picked up some miles away by men more interested in hunting a trophy puma than in shepherding a wounded Indian off to the Grants jail. With the fence riders off chasing Tayo's spirit doppelganger,13 Tayo is left to make his way, painfully, back into the part of the world that lies below.
Tayo's route from the shadow world back to the base of the mountain replicates, in several of its particulars, the path old Betonie laid out in the earlier recovery ceremony in the Chuska Mountains (see 128-45, and especially 141-44), a ceremony itself designed to bring human beings back from the shadow world of animal identity into the Fifth World and thence into identity with the People. Read one way, this earlier ceremony, in conjunction with the story and songs accompanying it, constitutes a teleological map of Tayo's Mount Taylor experience.14 Just as importantly, it provides a set of specific trail markers that function in two important ways: to assure us that Tayo's literal journey is congruent with his culture's Way, and to assure us in turn that his culture's Way is, still, aligned with the landscape that it must map accurately if it is to be efficacious in the first place. In this second respect, the "map" provided by the ceremony is accurate enough: to exit the shadow world of Mount Taylor and re-enter the Fifth World, Tayo moves sequentially through the pattern of vegetation laid out in Betonie's ceremony, from the scrub oak trees (which provide shelter from the snowstorm) (203) down through piñon trees (which provide food, as well as trail markers) (205) back to the cabin, where the cattle are penned in an arroyo behind a barricade made of "unskinned juniper poles" (211).
Presumably, then, the final hoop predicated in Betonie's ceremony through which Tayo must pass in order to return rehumanized to the People, the one made of "wild rose," is represented in Tayo's experiential version of the ceremony by the woman of Tse-pi'na herself, whom he finds awaiting his return just where he last encountered her. On this side of the Mount Taylor part of Tayo's ceremony, the woman continues to function as a more-than-human figure, possessing the sort of knowledge about how the pattern will take shape that makes Tayo uneasy:
"I wonder if they'll come looking for the cattle?"
She shrugged her shoulders, unconcerned.
"They won't come down here," she said.
She gave him a look that chilled him. She must have seen his fear because she smiled and said, "Because of the snow up there. What else?" She was teasing him again. He shook his head. (213)
Leaving Mount Taylor behind him also involves leaving the particular form of the genetrix
spirit that is part of that place, too. Once Tayo says "Good-bye" to the woman and turns his
attention south again, only the sound of her voice remains in the place: "`I'll be seeing you,'
she said. When he turned to wave at her, she was gone" (213).
What Tayo has recovered from Mount Taylor, and what he "takes away from" that place, is a fragile but powerful webwork of vision. In this vision, his revitalized relationship to the land on the one hand and to the spirit of that land on the other are constellated to function as metaphors for one another without distortion of either the natural shape of the land or the necessary patterns of the ceremonial stories attached to it by the People. Structurally, the pattern of Tayo's thinking replicates the pattern of the land as well as the teleological pattern of regenerative spirit abiding there. The virtual identification of these three constellated patterns makes it possible in the subsequent stages of his ceremony for Tayo to care for, and express his care for, the life he sees in all three patterns--makes it possible again for him to "love."
After returning to the foot of Mount Taylor with Robert to pick up the recovered cattle, Tayo returns to his family's home at Old Laguna village, where he stays until the end of May. During this period, he dreams. Perhaps dreams are always about unfinished business, about what remains to be integrated into one's constellated vision of the relationship between self and the world; at any rate, Tayo's dreams no longer seem to need to account for that ensemble of disconnected past voices that preoccupied him at the outset of the novel, let alone the speckled cattle that occupied him on the way up Mount Taylor. All of those elements have been reconstellated during the process of the ceremony, so that part of the business of this healing ceremony is complete, resolved by and in Tayo's experience and vision of Mount Taylor:
The dreams had been terror at loss, at something lost forever; but nothing was lost; all was retained between the sky and the earth, and within himself. He had lost nothing. The snow-covered mountain remained, without regard to titles of ownership or the white ranchers who thought they possessed it. They logged the trees, they killed the deer, bear, and mountain lions, they built their fences high; but the mountain was greater than any or all of these things. The mountain outdistanced their destruction, just as love had outdistanced death. The mountain could not be lost to them, because it was in their bones; Josiah and Rocky were not far away. They were close; they had always been close. And he loved them then as he had always loved them, the feeling pulsing over him as strong as it had ever been. . . . The damage that had been done had never reached this feeling. This feeling was their life, vitality locked deep in blood memory, and the people were strong, and the fifth world endured, and nothing was ever lost as long as the love remained. (219-20)
At the same time that Tayo's vision here functions to confirm that much of the ceremony of
regeneration is now completed, it functions also to identify and bracket the as-yet unfinished
business still awaiting constellation. On Mount Taylor, the "unfinished business" in Tayo's
mind was his memory of the speckled cattle and how to recover them; now, Tayo has in mind
to recover that "feeling which was their life," and Tayo's, too. Tayo dreams now of holding,
and of being held by, that regenerative spirit embodied most fully thus far in the evanescent
figures of Spider Grandmother, the Night Swan, and the woman of Tse-pi'na. Hence, at the
beginning of the penultimate movement of his quest to bring this spirit back to the land for all
the People, "He was dreaming of her arms around him strong" (217); waking from this dream
to "the smell of wet earth" and propelled by "the feeling he had, the love he felt from her" as
well as by "the love he felt for her," Tayo "ran down the hill to the river, through the light
rain until the pain faded like fog mist. He stood and watched the rainy dawn, and he knew he
would find her again" (218).
To find her this time, Tayo will have to move approximately the same cartographical distance to the south of Laguna village as previously he moved to the north to find her. The move takes Tayo once again to the very edge of Laguna land, out into the "red clay flats" lying southeast of Acoma village, to the sheep ranch that lies practically in the shadow of Pa'to'ch Butte. There, as removed from the village as he was at the base of Mount Taylor, Tayo is closer, apparently, to the source of what he dreams of: "The terror of the dreaming he had done on the bed [earlier in the novel] was gone, uprooted from his belly; and the woman had filled the hollow spaces with new dreams" (219). In the process of reconstellating all of his life's possibilities, Tayo comes to this place at the south corner of his life's space to test his own re-acquired capacity to love life into being.
Significantly, the image of Tayo as he gets up and goes outside on the morning of his re-encounter with the spirit he seeks is enclosed formally by the image of Mount Taylor on one side and the image of Pa'to'ch on the other. The dream and thought about the dream quoted at length above precedes this movement, while the movement itself is described this way:
He got up [from these thoughts] and went outside. The sun was behind the clouds, and the air was cool. There were blue-bellied clouds hanging low over the mountain peaks, and he could hear thunder faintly in the distance. He walked north along the road. A year before he had ridden the blind mule, and Harley rode the burro. Pa'to'ch was standing high and clear; months and years had no relation to the colors of gray slate and yellow sandstone circling it. (220)
The color imagery in the passage recalls the stones (blue, gray, yellow) shown to Tayo earlier
by the woman he seeks; where previously those stones functioned limitedly to encode the
geology of the landscape that at once separated Tayo from and connected him to the cattle,
here they encode a much broader geography as well as the vastly expanded range of Tayo's
own vision, which now encompasses all of the Laguna land (and presumably by extension all
the life emerging from it) lying between Mount Taylor to the north and Pa'to'ch to the south.
Further, if indeed we assume that the woman's stones (rather like Pilate's in Song of
Solomon) represent places that are homes to her spirit, then we have the suggestion (in the
form of the yellow sandstone) that the woman is tied to this place, at the foot of Pa'to'ch, in
much the same way she is tied by the blue stone to Mount Taylor. Here, the ceremony finally
begins clearly to spiral inward on itself: what Tayo seeks turns out to lie not at the sequential
end of this pattern of blue, gray, and yellow rock, but rather within the pattern. This
direction is analogous to the psychological "direction" Tayo must sooner or later take if he is
to become a source of what he seeks: if Tayo is to live in the Fifth World with love, he must
find a "source" of that love within the land defined and bounded by the two spirit mountains,
as well as within himself. Perhaps this helps to explain why Tayo's path, then, moves north,
relative to Pa'to'ch, back towards the heart of the world bracketed by those two mountains.
Tayo's path in this part of his ceremony should, if this reading is correct, lead him to some point between Mount Taylor to the north and Pa'to'ch to the south, and within that pattern to a point somewhere in between his isolated room at the edge of Laguna land and the village at its humanized heart. In fact, the route Tayo seems to be taking towards his last encounter with the lady of his dream does have its counterpart in the physical landscape lying outside the novel (as well as in it): to get to the Marmon Ranch (as it is labeled on Geological Survey maps15) from Old Laguna, one would do best to go west from Laguna about eight miles to Rt. 23, the Acoma Road, which runs generally south from Casa Blanca (at the western edge of Laguna land), following that road six or seven miles to County Road 49, which branches off Rt. 23 east into the mesas near a formation called Engine Rock (cf. 236); the road quickly bears south again, running for about seven miles through mesa country and ending at the northern edge of the flat red clay country used by the Laguna people for sheep and cattle ranching. At that point, dirt paths run off in three directions ranging from southwest to east; the middle one runs about four miles south to the Marmon Ranch. We are told in the novel that Tayo "walked north along the road" from the sheep ranchhouse; curiously enough, the perspective along this section of the road is such that one's field of frontal vision is quite literally framed by the view of Pa'to'ch Butte on the left and the view of Mount Taylor, clearly (and bluely) visible on the right; the road itself, until it joins up with County Road 49, appears to lead one along a line running almost exactly in between these two landmarks. Along this stretch of road, we are told, Tayo pauses to gather "yellow pollen gently with a small blue feather from Josiah's pouch" (220), thus bringing together in one act the color associated with the Night Swan and Mount Taylor on the one hand and the color associated with Pa'to'ch and the one he seeks near there on the other. Tayo then "continued north, looking to the yellows and the orange of the sandrock cliffs ahead, and to the narrow sandrock canyons that cut deep into the mesas, exposing the springs" (220); such a view is precisely the view one would have at a point about halfway along County Road 49, heading towards the Acoma Road juncture. At this point on that road today, a trail has been laid down by the Marmon family trucks to the place called "Dripping Springs" on GS maps; the springs themselves, perhaps half a mile from the road, seep from the face of the mesa there into two parallel arroyos running off the southeast face of the mesa. In the novel, Tayo
left the road and took a trail that cut directly to the cliffs, winding up the chalky gray hill where the mesa plateau ended in crumbling shale above the red clay flats. The sun felt good; he could smell the juniper and piñon still damp from the rain. . . . The trail dipped into a shallow wash. The sand was washed pale and smooth by rainwater and wind. He knelt and touched it. He pulled off his boots and socks and dug his toes deep into the damp sand; then he started walking again. (220-21)
Earlier in the ceremony, we should recall, the image of
feet sinking into sand functioned
to give a form to the feeling of entering the woman on Tse-pi'na and to foreshadow the
critical experience of feeling physically one with the mountain itself; here, Tayo's gesture not
only recalls those events but also foreshadows his physical re-encounter with the spirit of the
Laguna land, this time in its southern avatar. Just as his merging into the place on Mount
Taylor was preceded by his encounter with mountain lion, a sort of test to see whether Tayo
was prepared to love rather than destroy this representative spirit of the place, so here Tayo's
path is crossed by "a light yellow snake, covered with bright copper spots" (221), and his
ceremonial response ("He knelt over the arching tracks the snake left in the sand and filled
the delicate imprints with yellow pollen": compare 196) is once again rewarded with a
suffusion of the spirit he seeks ("As far as he could see, in all directions, the world was alive.
He could feel the motion pushing out of the damp earth into the sunshine--the yellow spotted
snake the first to emerge, carrying his message on his back to the people" ) as well as a
physically human avatar of that spirit, who "emerges"16
in the next line of the novel to greet
his coming. Like her prefiguration on Mount Taylor, the lady springs very suddenly into
Tayo's (and our) field of vision, almost as though she is realized by Tayo's mind moving into
alignment with the life message of the earth all around him--the yellow flowers, the yellow
snake, and of course the presence of Pa'to'ch, to whose existence "months and years had no
relation" (220). As though to confirm that this stretch of land between the Marmon Ranch
and Laguna village is as completely a part of Tayo's experience as the woman is a
manifestation of its life-sustaining spirit, she offers this time no challenge to Tayo's coming;
rather, "she turned to him as soon as he saw her, as if she had been waiting" (221; see also
224), and her first words offer welcome not challenge ("`I'm camped up by the spring,' she
said, pointing at the canyon ahead of them. `Here, this way. I'll show you'" ). Y
Ts'eh's identification with the spring she points to,17 and thus with both water and the motif of emergence (this is, after all, a "spring" rather than a river or a lake), has been much discussed. This identification, in conjunction with Tayo's need to re-confirm his own ability to merge with the land and thus with the regenerative spirit immanent in the land, is enough to explain the apparent synesthesia Tayo next experiences. He "lay down beside the pool, across from her, and closed his eyes," and immediately "dreamed he made love with her there. He felt the warm sand on his toes and knees; he felt her body, and it was as warm as the sand, and he couldn't feel where her body ended and the sand began" (222). Again we see and hear in these lines the echo of Tayo's dreamlike experience of his encounter with the lady at the base of Tse-pi'na; but whereas on Tse-pi'na such a description must be read as a metaphor (if only because Mount Taylor's terrain is rock and lava, not sand), at this place the textures of geology and feeling finally move into exact congruence (the ground around these springs is, both in the novel and in fact, quite literally sandy). When Tayo later, having awakened to find himself lying in this sand alone, is momentarily gripped by the fear that this spirit is only a creature of his imagination, the land itself again confirms and validates the accuracy of his vision: "The imprints were there; he traced his finger lightly along them. He had not [only] dreamed her; she was there as certainly as the sparrows were here, leaving spindly scratches in the sand" (222).
Tayo then follows her to the top of the mesa, up where "the canyon and the rock of the cliff seemed suddenly gone as if he had stepped from the earth into the sky; where they were, the sky was more than half the world; it enclosed the mesa top where they stood" (223). Here in a place of special, broader perspective on the land,and in response to Tayo's implied questions, the woman provides Tayo with the sound ("Ts'eh") that serves to name her and at the same time to link this form of her with other avatars Tayo has encountered in story form, in place name, and in person. Here also Ts'eh maps with names her relationship to the land "enclosed" by the sky at this place: "I'm a Montaño," she says, and, although the capitalization of the word in the text of the novel denotes this as a surname, the word (Spanish for "mountain") confirms also her identification with both Mount Taylor and Pa'to'ch. Further, the word labels the family she identifies herself with: "We are all very close, a very close family" (223). Pointing to the south, she tells Tayo she has "a sister who lives way down that way" (who is "married to a Navajo man from Red Lake" [Arizona, far to the west]); she tells him that another sister "lives near Flagstaff," way to the west, and that "My brother's in Jemez" off to the east. Presumably we have already been introduced to her kinsman of the here-unmentioned fourth direction;19 at any rate we have already seen how "at home" Ts'eh seems to be in such places. More important, I think, about this revelation of her "family" relationship to some (perhaps all) other mountain spirits of the Southwest is that she is also as much at home in the place Tayo calls home as she is in the places the Hopi, the Jemez, the Apache, and the Navajo call home--at home and waiting to be recognized and loved, in any or all of her forms.
As fall approaches, Tayo continues to heal, a process that depends on re-anchoring his own spirit in the land and in the love he brings to, and receives from, Ts'eh: "Their days together had a gravity emanating from the mesas and arroyos, and it replaced the rhythm that had been interrupted so long ago" (227). That this "gravity" derives not so much from the temporary form of Ts'eh as from Pa'to'ch Butte, the source of her power to heal Tayo, is finally made clear: "She was looking at Pa'to'ch, and the hair was blowing around her face. He could feel where she had come from, and he understood where she would always be" (230). Tayo's recognition of Ts'eh's identification with Pa'to'ch echoes Josiah's earlier recognition of the Night Swan's affinity with Mount Taylor: "`I saw the mountains, and I liked the view from here.' She nodded in the direction of the mountain, Tse-pi'na, the woman veiled in clouds. . . . Josiah pulled her close, promising himself he would never ask her what it was about the mountain that caused her to stop here" (87).
This healing process, during which Tayo becomes almost as much a part of the "Montaño family" as Ts'eh, is not an end in itself. Like all his previous encounters with the spirit forms of the land, this one, too, is preparation for the next phase of the ceremony. The signals that Tayo is ready to participate in this next phase include not only his recovered ability to locate the She-Elk petroglyph (230-31: compare, earlier, the significance of his being able to locate the speckled cattle) but also his recovered ability to feel enough a part of the land, even without Ts'eh's corporeal presence to sustain him, to act on the land's (and, by extension, his own and Ts'eh's) behalf. By the end of the summer, Tayo's "connection with the ground [is] solid" (231) enough to enable him to see what moves on the land besides the spirit Ts'eh embodies, to imagine clearly which of those presences are only apparent threats to the generative spirit of the land and which are truly bent on bringing about "the end of the story" (231). In concert with Ts'eh, Tayo comes to understand how the ceremony is moving him towards an encounter with the spirit that drove her into exile in the first place, the manipulative spirit of the Gunnadeyahs, the followers of the Ck'o'yo Way last encountered in the form of the fence riders on Mount Taylor and waiting, now, to be confronted in the form of Emo, Tayo's contemporary counterpart and old antagonist. Here, the issue becomes reduced to which of two versions of the single story of life, lived out on the land, will take form in the Fifth World history of this place: the version in which life goes on, growing out of the land and itself the way it always heretofore has, or the version in which life "ends here, the way all their stories end, . . . right here, with you fighting to your death alone in these hills" (231-32).
Jackpile Mine: Emo
Up to this point, ceremony functions to bring Tayo into identity with the land and thereby
into intimate relationship with the spirit that awaits rediscovery and reintegration into Tayo's
consciously felt self and into the vision that expresses that self. By the time he parts ways
with Ts'eh in the vicinity of Pa'to'ch, Tayo has acquired such vision. It remains for him now
to test his vision, to sustain it even in the context of all that remains in the world once this
regenerative force has been factored out; it remains for Tayo to come to terms with the
powerful forces of "manipulation" and "witchery" at work in the universe of the novel, forces
that threaten to annihilate the fragile web of Ts'its'tsi'nako's weaving.20
This is a post-WWII fiction, and so it makes sense that in this renovated ceremony the spirit of the Destroyers should be invested in the fact of the atomic bomb.21 Just as the land contains within itself the stuff of potential regeneration (including Ts'its'tsi'nako and her avatars), so it also contains the potential for annihilation (along with people willing to use it that way). The test of the regenerative spirit, and of the spirit of Tayo who carries it now, is whether it can continue to exist (or even co-exist) in the presence of its antithesis, or even in the place where that potential can be seen clearly for what it is.
To get to the place where the ceremony will realize its potential for either annihilation or regeneration, Tayo moves out in the direction that Ts'eh seems to point out to him as she leaves him, at the juncture of the trail to the springs and the road she takes back to the Acoma Road: "The road curved through the red clay and junipers to the northeast" (234). To get to the place he must be in order to complete the ceremony, Tayo moves from the cave at the spring up to the mesa top, then due north to "the ridge south of Engine Rock" (236), and from there down the west face of the ridge to a culvert under the Acoma Road where he sleeps that night. Walking north along the Acoma Road the next morning, he is picked up by Harley and Leroy and transported with them up "into the hills northwest of Cañoncito" (241), presumably off Laguna land.22 From this place, Tayo must walk west, back onto Laguna land (as well as back into the direction of his own disturbing history of life lived in the wake of WWII's destruction) to the Jackpile Mine, which is located on the north-central edge of Laguna land. To the east lies a barren saltweed wasteland of lava hills, ranging to a point just northwest of Cañoncito (on a pocket of Navajo reservation land), and to the west lies Mount Taylor (whose peak is just off the northwest corner of Laguna land), while the mine itself lies about halfway between these two places. Thus situated geographically, things could indeed go either way here.
The way things have been going here, since around 1940 (about the time of the onset of drought in the novel; about the time WWII became inevitable; about the time the Manhattan Project was authorized, thus bringing even this remote patch of land into the pattern of nuclear holocaust), is unequivocally in the direction of annihilation. The uranium mined here during the early years of the Manhattan Project23 was fed into the stream of uranium supplied to scientists at Chicago, Oak Ridge, and (later) Hanford for conversion into enough fissionable uranium to fashion into an artificial New Mexico sun, one designed to blind rather than illuminate (245), to destroy rather than to nurture: "He knelt and found an ore rock. The gray stone was streaked with powdery yellow uranium, bright and alive as pollen; veins of sooty black formed lines with the yellow, making mountain ranges and rivers across the stone" (246). "Bright and alive as pollen," "mountain ranges and rivers": one can harness the power of the land to the ends of regeneration or final annihilation. With this insight, Tayo's vision of the pattern of the ceremony takes a quantum leap of perspective, from Pan-Indian to Pan-human:
There was no end to it; it knew no boundaries; and he had arrived at the point of convergence where the fate of all living things, and even the earth, had been laid. From the jungles of his dreaming he recognized why the Japanese voices had merged with Laguna voices, with Josiah's voice and Rocky's voice; the lines of culture and worlds were drawn in flat dark lines on fine light sand, converging in the middle of witchery's final ceremonial sand painting. From that time on, human beings were one clan again, united by the fate the destroyers had planned for all of them, for all living things; united by a circle of death that devoured people in cities twelve thousand miles away, victims who had never known these mesas, who had never seen the delicate colors of the rocks which boiled up their slaughter. (246)
The easier course to take, we are told, is the course of
annihilation. Even bolstered by his
recent encounter and quarter-year stay with Ts'eh, Tayo's own commitment to regenerative
action is strained almost to breaking by witnessing Emo and the others work their Ck'o'yo
medicine in the night: "This ceremony was draining his endurance. He could not feel
anything, then, not for Josiah or Rocky and not for the woman" (250). The power he draws
from his relationship to the land itself is vitiated in this place; here, where even the water
tastes bitter (244-45), Tayo is on ground that has too long been held in the service of the
Gunnadeyahs and their design, scarred so completely and violated so thoroughly that the land
itself seems irredeemable, irrecoverable, lost forever: "He knew why he had felt weak and
sick; he knew why he had lost the feeling Ts'eh had given him, and why he had doubted the
ceremony: this was their place, and he was vulnerable" (242-43).
Clearly, the source of Tayo's powerful feeling of loss is this particular part of the body of Laguna, where the land has been most deeply and visibly wounded by the mining operation. Within the larger context of the ceremony he understands himself to be involved in, however, this is but one of many sites that need to be brought into realignment--not changed, but only reconstellated:
But he saw the constellation in the north sky, and the fourth star was directly above him; the pattern of the ceremony was in the stars, and the constellation formed a map of the mountains in the directions he had gone for the ceremony. For each star there was a night and a place; this was the last night and the last place. . . . He had only to complete this night, to keep the story out of the reach of the destroyers for a few more hours, and their witchery would turn, upon itself, upon them. (247)
Insofar as the emerging pattern of the ceremony is also the emerging pattern of Tayo's own
"internal landscape," Tayo's reconfrontation here with the figure of Emo can be understood
to be at the same time Tayo's confrontation with his own heart's capacity for violence. In this
place, Tayo is perfectly capable of acting out his own life into a destructive form--perfectly
capable of "jamm[ing] the screwdriver into Emo's skull the way the witchery had wanted,
savoring the yielding bone and membrane as the steel ruptured the brain" (253). In such a
place, Tayo's only nondestructive course of action is to learn how to rely on the love he has
drawn from the land, how to use this love to control his own powerfully felt impulse to bury
the screwdriver in Emo's skull. In order to remain regenerative, the power to live must not be
used to destroy, ever; the question is (and was always) only whether it can survive the reality
of the destructive potential invested here in the form of Emo and in the form of the ruined
landscape where Emo feels so at home.
At the Jackpile Mine, then, Tayo completes his ceremony of self-regeneration. The capacity for love that he has drawn from the land outlives his reconfrontation with the capacity for annihilation that also inheres there. The last words Ts'eh speaks, as she turns to head in the direction of Tayo's final encounter with the land, are "I'll see you" (235); moving in the direction her spirit steers for him, Tayo acts in accord with the spirit she represents. All that remains is for Tayo to make his way back to the Pueblo and report his story to the People, thus completing the process of transforming the life he has recovered from the landscape into renewed cultural energy.
Laguna: The People
The path Tayo takes to return from his showdown with Emo to the Pueblo is apparently
designed to accommodate the further transformation of Tayo's individual life into a fuller
representation of the life of the People. As he moves south in the night, "his body . . . lost in
exhaustion, his bones and skin staggering behind him" (254), Tayo is sustained in motion by
the spirit of love in several recollected forms. We are told that he "dream[s] with his eyes
open," first of his relationship to the genetrix figure whose shared powers have helped him
survive this night, which power he foresees himself translating back to the land itself ("He
would gather the seeds for her and plant them with great care in places near sandy hills"
). He then dreams of his spirit relation to some of those mortals--literally relatives--he
has loved and still loves (Josiah, old Grandmother, Rocky) and whom he knows have loved
and still love him; he dreams "They were taking him home" (254).
The consciousness that returns to the Pueblo, then, is a shared one: not only Tayo but also Ts'eh, Josiah, Rocky, and others are in a sense coming "home," and it is precisely the shared quality of this consciousness that sustains Tayo's movement across the "sandy flat below Paguate Hill" and on south to the railroad tracks running east and west parallel to the river below the village, where "the creosote and tar smell of the railroad tracks woke him from his dreaming" just before sunrise. We are told that "when he felt the dampness of the river, he started running" through the "broken shadows of tamaric and river willow" (255), presumably to position himself near the "big cottonwood tree" that, I suspect, marks the river crossing southeast of the village where the Ka't'sinas traditionally come into the Pueblo in late November (182). There, as the sun rises, Tayo finds himself knowing, as he has been coming throughout his ceremony to know, that "They had always been loved. He thought of her then; she had always loved him, she had never left him; she had always been there" (255).24 The "she" Tayo has in mind, I believe, is the genetrix figure in any and all of her several avatars: Ts'its'tsi'nako, the Night Swan, the Lady Tse-pi'na, Ts'eh, and, finally, becoming part of that constellation at this moment, Tayo's own biological mother. Earlier, we may recall, Aunt Thelma tells Tayo the single story he has been given about his mother, Laura, typically referred to as Little Sister or Sis ("Ts'its"? [33-34]), whom Auntie encountered one morning at sunrise, standing naked save for her high-heeled shoes, at precisely this place (70). At least one new Ka't'sina, it seems, has been in the process of joining the ranks of the Old Ones; and while it is perhaps ironic that Catholicized Auntie should have been the first to witness her emergence, it is not surprising that Auntie would not welcome her to the village, that this spirit has waited years for one who has acquired the quality of vision prerequisite to bringing her back to the heart of the People and making a place for her there. On this first morning following the Fall equinox, finally, "the transition [is] completed": as Tayo "crosse[s] the river at sunrise" (255), he brings them all, loved and loving extensions of himself, into the village and into the kiva at the spiritual heart of the village.
There in the kiva, Tayo tells to old Ku'oosh and to other Pueblo elders the story of the genetrix spirit he has encountered in the land. "It took a long time to tell the story" (257), in part because the old men understand the necessity of grounding such stories realistically in the land if they are to work ("they stopped him frequently with questions about the location and the time of day; they asked about the direction she had come from . . ." ) and in part because Tayo's story of his encounter must be woven carefully into the webwork of all the other kiva lore that the old men take to be its proper context:
They started crying
the old men started crying
You have seen her
We will be blessed
Part of the appeal of Tayo's story to the kiva elders is that it re-establishes the Pueblo as the geographical (and hence spiritual) center of a visible world, a particular landscape that contains, within itself, the power to heal and make whole and sustain life in the face of those destructive forces (both internal and external to human consciousness) that cohabit the universe. The world Tayo has probed in all directions relative to the Pueblo is a world of places, places that offer up and confirm their power to revitalize the human spirit and the life of the People. To be sure, cultural identity, for the individual as for the People, depends on keeping the stories alive--by re-telling them, by re-living them, and even by revising or adding to their ensemble to accommodate the new realities and "shape" of the world as it changes. To be equally sure, though, such revitalization depends intimately on those stories' being constellated, and if necessary re-constellated, to the shape and pattern of the landscape itself, "because, after all, the stories grow out of this land as much as we see ourselves as having emerged from the land there" (Silko, Delicacy 24).
1In The Delicacy and Strength of Lace 27-28. [back]
2For a fuller discussion of this term (coined originally by T. S. Eliot) as it is used in the context of literary regionalism, see Watkins, esp. 8-11. [back]
3I have in mind here, for instance, Todd Andrews' dictum in the "piano-tuning" section of The Floating Opera about "versions of the case," or Borges' "games with infinity," or Robbe-Grillet's amusement in The Voyeur with Mathias' absurdly futile programs for selling his watches and his equally futile attempts to fix a "point of reference" outside his own imagination, or Skipper's several versions of his heart's experience in Hawkes' Second Skin. The proposition that all pattern is a figment of imagination is, I think, the essential proposition underlying postwar "postmodernist" thinking and literary creative vision. [back]
4Several critics have noted the three-level structure of the novel. Allen's analysis of the novel as a healing ceremony ("The Psychological Landscape of Ceremony") talks of "sickness in individuals, societies and landscapes" (10); however, her analysis of how those three elements of the novel are brought into healing alignment treats "landscape" as a feminizing spirit of place rather than treating place in any specificity. Sands also alludes to the three-level structure of the ceremony of this novel ("untangling painful memories, understanding ancient rituals, and participating in the present must merge the ongoing myth of the people" ["Preface" 3]) and further suggests that this "participation in the present," which in this novel she sees as healing "the breach between Tayo and the land and its creatures," may constitute a characteristic of Native American literature: "Land and nature, myth and ritual, cyclic patterns and continuum, ceremony and the sacredness of storytelling are all basic elements that distinguish the Indian mode of literature from any other" (4). Mitchell, too, says the novel "can be viewed as three simultaneous planes that interweave throughout" (27), though her three planes ("human plane," "socio/cultural plane," and "myth/ritual plane") make no special place for the function of the landscape in the novel. [back]
5Wiget, for instance, groups Ts'eh with the Night Swan and Descheeny's wife as "Earth Woman/Yellow Woman figures" and later says of the Ts'eh of Mount Taylor that "she may in fact be a mountain spirit" (Native American Literature 88); Copeland (who makes no distinction between the Ts'eh of Mount Taylor and the Ts'eh of Dripping Springs) speaks of Tayo's "sense of her identity as a nature spirit, a mountain spirit or ka'tsina" ("Black Elk Speaks and Leslie Silko's Ceremony" 166). Allen sees Ts'eh as a version of "Reed Woman, Spider Woman, Yellow Woman, on and on" (Sands and Rouff 67), and Mitchell seems to concur (33). Lincoln identifies the Ts'eh Tayo encounters at "the novel's center" as a "spirit sister of Yellow Woman [Kotsinininako], whom the Laguna call `the mother of all of us,'" and further identifies this figure with the kurena spirits who are associated with sunrise, said to live in the northeast (Native American Renaissance 234). I think Lincoln's identification is too precise, though: Tayo's Ts'eh never once in the novel enters Tayo's vision from the northeast, nor is he ever moving northeast when he meets her; and the only time Tayo's ceremony takes him northeast of Laguna village is when he moves that way at the end of the novel to witness Emo's witchery up in "the hills northwest of Cañoncito" (241); there, "The headlights appeared suddenly from the northeast" (248). [back]
6The relationship of the figure of the Night Swan to the figure of Ts'eh, and of both to Ts'its'tsi'nako of the frame story, is treated very convincingly by both Allen (The Sacred Hoop 121-22) and Lincoln (Native American Renaissance 240-41). Both Allen and Lincoln point out the recurrence of blue imagery in the depictions of both figures. To their lines of argument I would add that we have at least one other formal reason to connect the figures of Ts'eh and the Night Swan to the figures of the generative sisters in the frame story: their names. I have already suggested that "Ts'eh" can be read (and heard) as a shortened form of "Ts'its'tsi'nako"; perhaps we can hear, in the name "Night Swan," an Anglicized version of Thought-Woman's sister, "Nau'ts'ity'i." (In the version of the "Laguna Thought Woman Story" Allen cites, these two names are spelled, respectively, "Tse che nako" and "Naotsete.") [back]
7One of the elements that floats unconnected in Tayo's fevered consciousness as the novel opens is "the singing, . . . two words again and again, `Y volveré'" (6). This memory fragment presumably derives from the time Tayo visits the Night Swan on Josiah's behalf: as he ascends the staircase to her room, he hears "A scratchy Victrola . . . playing guitars and trumpets; a man sang sad Spanish words. `Y volveré' were the only words Tayo could understand" (97). The words are a promise ("and I will return") delivered upon leaving. That the power of regeneration lying behind the figure of the Night Swan does keep this promise is, in part, the contention of this study. [back]
8Arguably, the sequence of Tayo's motion is also predicated by the pattern of Betonie's ceremony, because the route of recovery (as Silko paints it on pages 141-42) involves moving succesively from the "dark mountain" to the blue, yellow, and finally white mountains. In the novel, the Chuska Mountains (where Betonie performs his ceremony) are characterized as "a thick powdery black" (145), while Mount Taylor is characteristically blue (100, 128); the yellow mountain of the ceremony then has its Fifth World analog in the form of Pa'to'ch Butte, a formation of primarily yellow sandstone (220), while the white mountain would seem to be the villages of Laguna (both Cubero and Old Laguna), constructed out of white gypsum sandstone (104, 256). The traditional Keres name for where the People live (and have lived) is Kush Kutret, "the white village," and one of the seven present-day Laguna settlements, the one located closest to Acoma land to the west, is called Casa Blanca, "white house." [back]
9For instance, on page 178: "`The sky is clear. You can see the stars tonight.' She spoke without turning around. He felt a chill bristle across his neck, and it was difficult to swallow the mouthful of stew. He had watched the sky every night, looking for the pattern of stars the old man drew on the ground that night. Late in September he saw them in the north." Here, the lady's ability to speak Tayo's own mind spooks him because it implies that she is somehow in league with Betonie. [back]
10To get to the cattle, it turns out, Tayo follows "the trail [that] was parallel to the top of the orange sandrock mesa" (184), a trail that becomes so narrow that his mare cannot possibly turn around, much less stray off the configured path; at the place where this trail debouches, Tayo proceeds "west . . . toward the cerros, gently rounded hills of dark lava rock which were covered with a thin crust of topsoil and grass" (185), finally gaining direct access to the "blue" summitry of Mount Taylor as he moves onto "the land [that] ascended into a solid pine forest" (185), the place referred to as "North Top." Whatever other significance Ts'eh's stones have, they also help to orient Tayo in, and on, the land itself. [back]
11One way to account for this special sense of time that Tayo experiences in these lines is to call his experience a moment of deconstructive awareness, during which the consciously held fiction that differentiates subject from object, self from other, is suspended, allowing him a holistic rather than sequential vision of the relationship between moments of experience (or more precisely between the separable memories of those experiences). In effect, this new quality of vision re-frames all of Tayo's experience, both remembered and immediate, as a single event rather than as a sequence of (time-differentiated) events. [back]
12Understanding how mountain lion and the woman of Tse-pi'na are both, in this sense, avatars of the spirit of this mountain can do much to refresh, by reframing, one's rereading of that loveliest of Silko's poems, "Survival: Indian Song" (Storyteller 35-37)--the last line of which, "Running on the edge of the rainbow," provides the title for a videotape of Silko's readings ("Running on the Edge of Rainbow: Laguna Stories and Poems. With Leslie Marmon Silko," a videotape in the series Words and Place: Native Literature from the American Southwest, Larry Evers, Project Director [New York: Clearwater, 1978]). [back]
13The fence riders will catch up with neither the lion nor, once they have lost sight of him, the lion's human doppel. Mount Taylor, in the form of the lady Tse-pi'na working her storm blanket medicine, has taken care of all that:
The snow was covering everything, burying the mountain lion's tracks and obliterating his scent. The white men and their lion hounds could never track the lion now. . . . He smiled. Inside, his belly was smooth and soft, following the contours of the hills and holding the silence of the snow. He looked back at the way he had come: the snowflakes were swirling in tall chimneys of wind, filling his tracks like pollen sprinkled in the mountain lion's footprints. (205) [back]
14Bell, I think, provides the best single analysis of Betonie's ceremony, both in terms of its ritual antecedent (identified as the Navajo "Coyote Transformation rite in the Myth of Red Antway, Male Evilway") and in terms of its relationship to Tayo's experience on Mount Taylor. An excellent study of how individual consciousness and mythic patterning come into constellated congruence, Bell's essay takes no particular account, however, of the geographical realism that, I contend, is crucial to the healing efficacy of Tayo's Mount Taylor experience. [back]
15For maps detailed enough to locate the specific geological and topographical details mentioned in this paragraph and in other parts of this chapter, see the U.S. Department of the Interior Geographical Survey's quadrangle (7.5 minute) series of topographical maps for Valencia County, New Mexico. The plats "Acoma Pueblo Quadrangle," "Marmon Ranch Quadrangle," and "South Butte Quadrangle" cover the area treated in this paragraph. [back]
16Emergence motifs are, of course, vital elements of the cultural myths of many peoples. However (and unlike, say, the Eden of the Judeo-Christian origin myth), people in most of the Pueblo cultures can point very exactly to the spot where the People are said to have emerged from the Fourth World into this one. Given the structure of Ceremony, one may be tempted to assume that in Laguna tradition the Emerging Place would fall either on Mount Taylor (as, for instance, Lincoln does [Native American Renaissance 234]) or in the immediate vicinity of Pa'to'ch, where Tayo comes "closest" to Ts'eh. Silko states that in Laguna tradition the Emergence Place (sipapu) is "located slightly north of the Paguate village" ("Landscape, History, and the Pueblo Imagination" 91) --i.e., in the vicinity of the village of Seboyeta (where, incidentally, state highway 237 simply ends in the front yard of the "Cebolleta" Post Office building), a site a good 30 miles from the Mount Taylor (northwest) corner of Laguna land and at nearly the dead center of the northern boundary of the Laguna Reservation lands. She also adds a caution about identifying Emergence Places too rigidly:
. . . the Pueblo stories about the Emergence and Migration are not to be taken as literally as the anthropologists might wish. Prominent geographical features and landmarks which are mentioned in the narratives exist for ritual purposes, not because the Laguna people actually journeyed south for hundreds of years from Chaco Canyon or Mesa Verde, as the archaeologists say, or eight miles from the site of the natural springs at Paguate to the sandstone hilltop at Laguna. (91)
Consistent with Silko's words about the function of Emergence motifs, and Lincoln's claim notwithstanding, I think it is best to read the novel as a post-WWII version of an older ceremony and to concede that, in this version of the Story, the "Emerging Place" of what Tayo seeks--the place where the form of regeneration calling itself "Ts'eh" appears to him--is to be found precisely where Tayo finds it, and her, at the place called Dripping Springs. [back]
17For what it's worth, the place Silko has selected to be the setting of this part of the novel, designated "Dripping Springs" on GS maps, features not just one but four "springs." It is a doubled canyon running off the south face of the mesa; the west side canyon contains one very active spring, while the east side canyon contains three, one of which is particularly active. Silko seems to have had in mind the spring of the west-side canyon as the "Emerging Place" of Tayo's ceremony: no willow grows immediately beside any of the east-side springs, and "swallows inside their round mud nests, making high pitched noises" (221) are to be found only around the cliff face of the west-side spring. [back]
18Compare the analogous moments of panoramic vision Tayo experiences twice previously: in the Chuska Mountains just prior to Betonie's ceremony (139), and then on the "blue" mountain when he is situated geographically right above the spot where he encounters the humanized avatar of Mount Taylor (184-85). Both of these moments, in turn, recall the special pre-WW II feeling of limitless identity with the land and its possibilities that Tayo remembers having experienced "when he and Rocky had climbed Bone Mesa, high above the valley southwest of Mesita" (19). This feeling, which can be acquired only from such a panoramic view of the land, is one of the crucial components of healing vision--not only in Ceremony but also in House Made of Dawn and The Death of Jim Loney. [back]
19I have in mind, of course, the hunter (who is identified with the spirit of the mountain lion by the hat he wears) Tayo meets on his way back down Mount Taylor. Like Ts'eh, he has that pan-Indian, or at least a pan-Southwest Indian, cast of character: Tayo recognizes the chant he sings on page 206 as a Laguna deer song, like the hunter's rifle an "old one" that "works real good. That's the main thing"; his second song, though, "sounded like a Jemez song, or maybe one from Zuni"  (or maybe one so fundamentally "good" it would work at Jemez and Zuni, and anywhere in between). [back]
20In a 1976 Sun Tracks interview, Silko characterized these forces this way:
In the novel, I've tried to go beyond any specific kind of Laguna witchery or Navajo witchery. . . . I try to begin to see witchery as a sort of metaphor for the destroyers or the counter force, that force which counters vitality and birth. That counter force is destruction and death. . . . Another name for the counter forces are the manipulators. (Copeland and Carr 32) [back]
21In a 1980 interview published in the University of Arizona's student literary magazine Persona, Silko reiterates the sense of the bomb's significance that she attributes to Tayo in the novel:
SILKO: The day after the first bomb was detonated, if you want to try to look for a single instance, seems to me the big dividing point for human beings.
PERSONA: Is that why you chose the post World War II era as the setting for Ceremony and not, say, the Korean War, or Viet Nam?
SILKO: Right. Because after that day all human beings, whether you were a Hopi who believed in traditional ways or whether you were a Madison Avenue Lutheran, all human beings faced the same possible destruction. . . . When you can destroy the entire planet and make it uninhabitable for life for thousands and thousands of years, that's a big change. That's a change like never ever before. (Fitzgerald 34-35) [back]
22We are told that Tayo wakes up "at the foot of a rocky little hill covered with cholla" and that all around "the hills were covered with dark lava rock" (241)--terrain that recalls the setting of Betonie's story of witchery's origins, "up in the lava rock hills / north of Cañoncito" (133). Such a formation, labelled Mesa del Lobo ("wolf mesa") on GS maps, lies about 10 miles both east of Paguate village and north of the Jackpile fence. [back]
23This is how Silko tells it in the novel. In fact, Jackpile mining operations didn't commence until after WWII had ended: see Silko, "The Fourth World." [back]
24Compare the passage, already cited, on pages 219-20, as well as Ts'eh's words on page 231. I take the "they" in this passage to refer specifically to those relatives we have just seen co-occupying Tayo's mind (Josiah, Grandmother, and Rocky) and to refer more generally, by this moment in the evolution of Tayo's sense of his identity, to the People collectively; I take the true subject of this passive voice construction (that is, the "agent" of the love referred to) to be Tayo, as well as Josiah/ Grandmother/Rocky, as well as the People, as well as the "she" of the second sentence of the passage (vide infra). [back]