Saturday, December 13, 2008
Daughter of the Sun
It's the perfect day to read, and, of course, knit. It's overcast, threatening rain, the wind is blustering and since I have a cold, I am sticking to a regimen of plenty of fluids (hot herb tea) and rest. While rest has meant a few naps, I also had the perfect book.
A few weeks ago at church, I shared my love of northern New Mexico and Arizona, their landscapes and juxtaposition of peoples. Our book store manager came up to me after the service, telling me that she would bring me a book that I might like. Thank you, Sallie! Because Daughter of the Sun by Barbara Wood, is a book that I might not pick out for myself, since I tend more toward metaphysical, history, psychology and away from novels. But this one has me rethinking my ways.
Daughter of the Sun is set in the place known today as Chaco Canyon. When Barbara Wood, the author, visited there, she was taken not only by the landscape, but also by the mystery and the stories. Chaco Canyon is known as a site of Abandonment, one of several sites in the southwest that were mysteriously abandoned by Puebloan people. The definitive answer as to why a seemingly thriving culture would suddenly leave has not been found, although theories abound. Wood decided that she needed to come up with an answer of her own, and Daughter of the Sun was born.
Wood has done her research, and her use of the history and geography of the place is a firm structure within which the plot unfolds. Daughter of the Sun is a love story, the traditional attraction of two people, Hoshi'tiwa, a member of the Tortoise clan and Jakal, a Toltec who worships Quetzalcoatl, who are separated by ethnicity, caste and responsibility. Now, we all know where that leads to in love stories, but credit Wood's development of these two characters, I kept rooting for their love to triumph all the way through. Daughter of the Sun is also a story of everyday people making their way in difficult times, people like Yellow Feather, stolen from her clan and using her body and wits as a way to survive. It's a story of irresponsible, ego-ridden leadership and petty bureaucrats only interested in themselves who live through the selling of political favors (hmmm, this is sounding way too familiar.) It's a story of belief in something greater
than themselves,whether kachinas, Quetzalcoatl or family and, an appearance of a new, for these people, idea of Oneness. But mostly, it is a story of change that is not without pain but does also offer hope.
Given my own predilection towards the philosophy that we are all connected and One, and my passion for making as praying, I was especially taken by the heroine's role as a potter in the unveiling of this Truth. It is through her dedication to and belief in the practice of making sacred rain jars, that she finds direction, meaning and purpose.
Daughter of the Sun is entertaining and an enjoyable read. It fits all of my needs for metaphysics and history, yet offers a rich story too. The history that it rests in is an added bonus that adds to its richness. It's a perfect read for an indoor sort of day.