According to Hopi tradition, there are to be a total of nine worlds, each one successively destroyed as punishment for human transgressions. The first world was consumed by fire; in the second, the globe fell from its axis and the earth was covered in ice; the third was destroyed by a flood. The fourth world is the one in which we currently live. According to prophecy in Frank Water’s Book of the Hopi, however, the evils of “disunity, corruption, and hatred” contaminating Hopi rituals and the rest of the world have put the fourth age on the edge of annihilation (Waters 408-409).
Written after World War II, the Book predicts that all of the United States will be destroyed by atomic bombs except for the Hopi homeland, which will be spared as a refuge toward which survivors will gravitate. Despite the universe’s cyclical past, according to David Leeming, the prophecy is distinctly millennial. The ancient village, Ordaibi, is the Hopi’s Israel, the center of the world, the last stronghold of our remaining spiritualism, and the site of the world’s rebirth. Like the ancient Hebrews, the Hopi see themselves as “surrounded by a world lost in spiritual darkness” (Leeming 84). Once the fourth world has completed its fall and the fifth world has emerged from the ashes, the remaining cycles must be completed before the Hopi reach the world of Taiowa, the Creator (Waters 409).