Ancient and modern sun worshipers of Phoenix

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Active sun gazer Wayne Purdin is the founder of The Sun Center of Phoenix, located in Phoenix, Arizona USA. In this article, Wayne traces the roots of sun worship as practiced in Arizona. Articles includes a photograph of Hira Ratan Manek (HRM) at the Hohokam ruins near Phoenix, Arizona.

Ancient and modern sun worshipers of Phoenix

On Summer Solstice 2005, I arose in the predawn darkness and drove to the Shaw Butte trailhead near Thunderbird and Central Avenue. My objective was the ruins of an ancient Hohokam solar observatory near the peak and I hoped to reach it before sunrise. I had read that archeologists had recently discovered a chamber whose doorway exactly aligned with the Summer Solstice rising sun. I wanted to meditate in that chamber and gaze upon the rising sun just as Hohokam initiates had done hundreds of years ago. But much to my chagrin, when I arrived at the ruins, I discovered three archeologists in the chamber with a video camera filming a documentary about the Hohokam. I had to settle on a spot adjacent to the chamber to do my sun gazing. The archeologists filmed me as an example of a modern-day sun worshiper.

HRM at Hohokam ruins.

HRM at Hohokam ruins.

With an average of 325 sunny days every year, Phoenix is a Mecca for sun worshipers who want to escape the cold and clouds of most other cities. But recently, a different kind of sun worshiper has been gazing at and basking in the rays of the Phoenician sun. Since 2004, sun yogi Hira Ratan Manek has been coming to Phoenix to lecture on the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of sungazing or looking at the sun either at sunrise or sunset. He also advises people to sunbathe during safe hours, drink sun-charged water and walk barefoot on sun-warmed sand. Although he would insist that sungazing is not a religion and requires no beliefs or guru, there are definite spiritual effects from sungazing. In fact, ancient sun worshipers who sungazed formed the foundations of monotheism, as can be seen in the religions of Akhenaton and Zoroaster.

It’s not surprising that the Hohokam Indians, who lived in and around Phoenix and who constructed the intricate canal system that criss-crosses the city, were sun worshipers. According to Charles Poston, the father of Arizona, the Pima Indians also were sun worshipers. Poston himself was a sun worshiping Zoroastrian who converted to that religion after visiting India in the late 1860’s. He even wrote a book about it, The Sun Worshipers of Asia. Poston was convinced that the Pima Indians once had a sun temple on the peak of Primrose Hill in Florence, south of Phoenix. He spent a fortune constructing a road to the top of the hill so he could rebuild the temple, but ran out of money. He died penniless in 1902 in Phoenix. He was later buried in a pyramid-shaped mausoleum on the peak of the hill, which was renamed Poston’s Butte.

I climbed Poston’s Butte on New Year’s Eve 2005 to meditate and gaze at the sunset, but instead of archeologists, I found three revelers getting an early start on the celebrations. I was angry that these locals were disturbing me and that they would show such disrespect for Poston’s final resting place and supposed ruins of an ancient sun temple. It made me wonder if the Hohokam somehow knew that the white man would be coming and didn’t want to be around for it. The name “Hohokam” means “those who have gone.” They disappeared mysteriously around 1450 AD. No one knows why or where they went. Some think that they all died due to drought or floods that destroyed their canals. But legend has it that the Hohokam were children of the sun and that they all ascended to the sun.

Wayne Purdin is the founder of The Sun Center of Phoenix.



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This entry was posted on Sunday, May 12th, 2024 at 11:30 pm and is filed under Articles.

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