Sun worshiper: heathen, pagan, idolater, idolatress, heretic, agnostic, atheist, nihilist, apostate, freethinker, nonconformist, paynim.

August 14th, 2013, 7am

While working at a tribal college in New Mexico, I developed a close relationship with a Tsalagi man, Lloyd Kiva New, one of the founders of the college. He was in his eighties, I in my sixties. Although the friendship was informal, founded over morning cups of coffee, I took his mentoring very seriously, especially when we spoke of spiritual matters in relation to Native American art and culture. For some reason I was careful not to tell him of my nearly life-long atheism until one day I blurted it out. He was silent for some time before he smiled and (as if out of the blue) said to me: “I am a sun worshiper”. A few months later, as I sat by his bed in a Santa Fe hospital, he leaned forward and in great earnest asked me to find him a sun to cover the ghastly crucifix that hung on the wall in his direct line of vision. I left straight away to search for a sun, which I finally found in clay in a garden shop. I went straight to the hospital finding him in a deep sleep; so without asking anyone’s permission I hung the great smiling sun face directly over the offending Christian artifact.

He died the next day.

Some years later, I developed a meditation exercise which involved worshiping the sun through a camera lens at its moment of rising. I have done this virtually every morning since that time, posting the results, to the dismay apparently of several of my Facebook friends who understandably feel that if you have seen one sunrise you have seen them all. Looking through the hundreds of images, pagan I may be, but sure that I have not yet seen them all.

Laurelyn and Peter said thanks.

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David Wade Chambers

Born in Oklahoma: 30 years in US. 6 years in Canada, 40 years in Australia. Academic field: history and philosophy of science. Currently, teach indigenous studies online at Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe, NM) and Brandon University (Manitoba). Come visit our B&B on Australia's Great Ocean Road. Mate's Rates for Hi community! (

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