Lizard King
Jim Morrison
Copyright © 2019 Raymond Cannefax

Being addicted to music is considerably different than an addiction to heroin, opioids, sex or booze, but it is still an addiction.  I can honestly say that I am hopelessly addicted to music. 

Driving toward Montezuma Creek, my subconscious suggested The Doors – the group fronted by the late Jim Morrison; music I have not listened to in years. I consented, and The Doors provided my auditory distraction and entertainment from those wonderful endless white lines that forever roll down the road; white lines on that black snake that slithers on forever.  Between Montezuma Creek and Hovenweep my truck's speakers generated enough sound to let me imagine being in the front row in any concert hall; loud and stimulating. The biggest difference being that I am the only person at this concert in the middle of the Colorado Plateau.

In a song recorded at the Hollywood Bowl, Jim belts out, “I am the Lizard King, I can do anything.” Memory tells me that Morrison himself, as well as the media of the day, often referred to him as the Lizard King. The media picked up on Morrison's alter ego and DJs pumped the Lizard King persona to the masses. Radio had given a spiritual value to a singer whose lyrics filled the consciousness of those tuned to the airwaves that delivered to us, the Lizard King's songs accompanied by instrumental contribution by his co-conspirators, The Doors.

Listening to the lyrics that comprise 'Celebration of the Lizard King' reminded me of trying to understand the lyrics that the Lizard King delivered to the minds of my generation, minds altered at times but working diligently on comprehending the message. I smiled as I continued rolling down the traffic-free two-lane black ribbon, this back road. Hovenweep was close, but the signage poor. Perhaps the signage was good, and my attention to the signage, poor. 

Hovenweep, off the beaten track and 35 miles from any town, is a group of relatively well-preserved ruins of six villages of the ancient Americans, Ancestral Puebloans, aka Anasazi. Hovenweep's Villages and their phenomenal structures were abandoned abruptly between A.D. 1,280 and A.D. 1,280, when the entire ancient civilization that inhabited the Four-Corners region of America, approximately 35,000 individuals, left behind all but what they could carry.  Virtually all the remaining buildings, remain unrestored.  Some buildings and perhaps villages are yet to be undiscovered. 

The Ancients built wonderful Hovenweep's structures, some up to three-stories tall, of natural stone on the rims and within small canyons of the Colorado Plateau. These unique depressions, canyons, were created by water seepage and eventually became canyons or grandiose depressions on the high and flat Colorado Plateau. The plains of the Colorado Plateau have no mountains, yet there exist canyons such as those comprising Hovenweep, which in Hopi is a word meaning "Deserted Valley".

It is known ancient beings inhabited this region. A vast amount of belongings were left behindwhen they vanished; pottery, stone tools, sandals and bowls woven from grasses. Though they had no written language, records or messages, known as petroglyphs, were etched into rock walls and pictographs were painted onto canyon walls. Beautifully decorated clay pots were abundant in and near the ruins.  One reason for abandoning so many personal belongings is that the ancients, the Anasazi, did not have the wheel or animals of burden.  Hence, all they took with them had to be carried. 

Research has validated that an advanced ancient civilization was present at Hovenweep for 300 to 800 years, circa A.D. 500  to A.D. 1,300.  No one has a clear answer from where they may have come other than the presumption that the hunters and gatherers stopped their practice of roaming and hunting and settled, creating the Anasazi culture. There is speculation as to why they left and why their departure seemed so abrupt, and opinions of where they went. The truth is that no one knows.  Overpopulation of the region, a 23-year drought, lack of food, insufficient water, and potential conflicts with outside groups could have been reasons for their departure.  An article in the ECHO newspaper regarding a 2016 earthquake in that region states that there is evidence of the last earthquake tied to these same tectonic plates took place approximately one-thousand years earlier, or around the time the Anasazi departed.  I am continuing to research my theory and believe the earthquake may have been the final message from the "spirits" to move out of the region.

Mysteries remain associated with the Ancients. Some speculate they became the Hopi, Utes, Pueblo, and possibly other Native American tribes. Still, why the abrupt abandonment of the solid, sound and wonderful stone structures they had built, and their abandonment of personal belongings. Archaeologists claim human inhabitants being in this region up to 20,000 years ago, but archaeologist speculation is only tied to remains they find, and none have concrete answers regarding Hovenweep inhabitants' abrupt departure. There is only speculation delivered in numerous academic papers.  The Anasazi did not leave a written record.  As today's native American belief leads us to believe, everything has a spirit.  Perhaps the spirit of the earth shaking under them and taking down the top levels off their towers overpowered the other adversities they had dealt with and was taken as the final signal to depart the region.

There are mysteries tied to this region. For me personally, there is an eerie sense of something in the air other than oxygen, butterflies and birds. It is as though a spiritual mantel cloaks the region. Though personally, not a very spiritual person, I tend to enter a state of greater awareness, relaxation and calm, accompanied by increased inquisitiveness and focus when at Hovenweep. Perhaps some Ancients vaporized into spiritual beings that remained through time, watching over their former villages. No one knows. 

The National Park Services' Hovenweep website states: Hovenweep units are isolated, and GPS unit readings may lead you astray. Why would GPS at Hovenweep not work as it does in other parts of the world, in other parts of the Colorado Plateau?  No one knows.

Upon arriving at Hovenweep, I chatted with a ranger to get weather projections, learn of new finds, etc., small talk.  Then I did something I do not do. Rather than my claiming a spot as part of my campground ritual, I left my truck in the visitor center parking lot, grabbed my camera, a bottle of water and headed immediately for the near-by ruins of the Square Tower Group. The thought of securing a spot in the campground did not enter my mind until I was a considerable distance down the trail, almost to the Twin Towers ruin.  It’s not busy, I thought as I hiked.  The risk of not getting a camping place is marginal.

Hovenweep trails are well marked, and small wildlife abounds. The ranger warned of rattlesnakes. Lizards seemed excessively prevalent, but as soon as they saw or heard me coming, they scampered into the brush or under rocks or down into the canyon. Most were small to medium, but I did see a couple of big guys with multi-colored bodies, yellowish heads obvious as their bodies faded to green, some ending in brown tails. The big guys usually took time to size up the situation tied to my approaching before blasting into brush, giving me a chance to get a momentary glance at their beauty. Lizards scurrying everywhere.

Overhead, hundreds of feet above the trail on which I hiked, vultures soared on the updrafts looking for dead or dying creatures to feast upon.  

Finishing my hike around the ruins without violating the 'Do Not Go Off-trail' rule, I managed to get acceptable photos to use in a class I teach at the University of Utah. There was a sense that the Universe was in order. No reason why things should be out of order. Yet, the prevalent afternoon winds accompanied by puffy, white, cotton-ball clouds had not  appeared yet, and the afternoon was waning; that did seem odd, out of order.  

As with earlier visits, what these early ancient inhabitants created continues to amaze me.  It is almost unbelievable what the Ancients built so many centuries ago without the wheel, animals of burden, machinery, or knowledge of metallurgy to fashion metal tools. It was all done by hand.  True craftsmen! Stone by stone selected and moved to the site of each building, then shaped, with wood and rock, to fit atop or beside the stones already there, and mortared in place as they continued the building's construction. One stone after another, and another, and another until the walls was completed.  While three- or four-stories in height for some of Hovenweep's structures, the buildings in Chaco Canyon, built during this same period, 70 miles south of Hovenweep, are up to five stories in height. 

One of the many interesting elements of the Hovenweep structures is that most buildings are double walled; twice the work necessary for the buildings they inhabited. It is now common knowledge that an air pocket between an outside wall and an inside wall provides insulation, preventing the heat or cold of the outside wall's stones from radiating into the interior of a structure. Temperatures in the four-corners region of south-east Utah get very hot in summer and below freezing in winter. Today we use fiberglass insulation to achieve what the Ancients achieved by building that second wall. How did they know about the insulating qualities of dead space between outside and inside walls, and was that the purpose of the second wall? No one knows. Though their tools were rudimentary, their knowledge of structures seems considerably advanced. Where they gained that knowledge, along with their exceptional masonry skills remains an unanswered question.

Granted, in Europe during that period of history, civilization and technology had advance to where the great cathedrals and castles were built.  European civilizations had metallurgy and machinery to facilitate the construction of massive structures. Romans built lengthy stone aqueducts in Spain, England and Italy, bridging canyons over one-hundred feet deep, with massive archways to support the canals and allow water to flow into towns from inland cisterns. Today, two- to three-thousand years later, many of these aqueducts still stand, causing us to marvel at their beauty and continued functionality. 

In Europe water was plentiful. In the south-west deserts of north America, water was a precious resource and continues to remain a scarce and precious commodity.  South-West Utah is an arid desert and is believed to have been as arid when the Ancients were present as it is today.  There is evidence that the region suffered from a 23-year drought during the time it was inhabited by the Anasazi.  To assure maximum capture of water, the Ancients built check dams on the paths where water flowed off the plateau and into the canyons, capturing the water for immediate use, but also understanding that the water would slowly percolate through the porous sandstone into the aquafer.

Aside the size of the structures, up to five stories high, and the precise placement of shaped stones in the buildings the Ancients constructed at Hovenweep, their construction of these structures was nearly as precise as the medieval structures being constructed in Europe – tight joints, curved walls, door and window openings with massive wood or stone lintels. There are similarities, but the rudimentary fashion of the structures of the Ancients sets their buildings apart from the architecturally refined European buildings of that time. 

Concrete was commonly used in Europe during that period. In America during that period, the floors were dirt or stone and the paths linking the structures were stone. The most likely reason for concrete in Europe was the abundance of water available to European builders. Concrete requires considerable amounts of water and minerals. The lack of water in the desert regions of north America did not allow concrete, even if knowledge of concrete had existed. The Ancients did make mortar. There was sufficient water to make the mortar which the Ancients employed in the construction of the numerous structures that comprise Hovenweep. In this desert region of the Ancients, water was one of the most valuable commodities and to this date, remains such.  For the Anasazi and other ancient tribes in that region, drinkable water seeped out of the canyon walls, like the springs at Hovenweep which still flow.

As I mentally reviewed and analyzed the ruins that afternoon, thoughts of what the Ancients endured to create their villages roamed through my head.  Summer temperatures generally exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit causing surface water to evaporate quickly.  There are periods in winter where the temperatures are far below freezing. 

Because of my addiction, the music continued, but moved from The Doors to the soothing and more calming tunes of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.   As perhaps drugs sooth the torment of drug addicts, music sooths my mind and allows me to set aside matters of insignificance. 

At the campground that evening, my thoughts remained entrenched in how these ancient desert canyon dwellers of the Colorado Plateau were capable of the precision reflected by the ruins that remain. To divert my focus and calm the mind I pulled out Edward Abbey’s book about his experiences in this part of America some fifty years ago, Desert Solitaire. The sky slowly turned from the afternoon’s pale blue to a deep purple as the day wound down.  The summer solstice had taken place two days earlier and the waning moon rose brightly over the mountains to the east, The light show put on by the stars at Hovenweep is beyond explanation.    

The light show put on by the billions of stars in the night sky was more soothing and mind expanding than any man-made substance could ever deliver, sparkling, most white, some bright amber, one a shade of red, and others with a bluish hue to them, most of them, billions of light years from this little spot on planet Earth. With the passage of time, more stars joined the light show in the skies above. They danced about, avoided being hit by a shooting star, passed in front of or behind one another, and helped activate my serotonin. Falling asleep early is not unusual when camping alone, but the entertainment provided by the heavens prolonged my slipping into slumber. Considering the light show above, I decided to sleep in the bed of my truck, rather than in my tent, allowing the stars to lull me to sleep.

When you fall asleep early, you generally wake early. With the beginning of dawn, Venus to the south-west and a few other stars still visible, I prepared for the day. The songs of the birds, swallows and wrens, and an occasional raven's screech filled the air, no vultures visible yet.  As the azure sky gradually gained a lighter hue of blue, it stole the remaining stars and took the dark of night.

My phone was recharged. Hovenweep's visitor center offers limited cellular service.  It wasn't telephone service that mattered. What mattered was of greater importance.  My phone is my music source. With earbuds in, I assembled my stuff for the hike during which I would photographically capture the buildings the ancients had created, while bathed in the early morning sun light. 

Is everyone in? Is everybody in?? Is everybody in?!?! The ceremony is about to begin….”, the Lizard King's soft cry as he began singing Backdoor Man, which flows directly into Five to One – “Five to one, one to five, nobody here gets out alive…”. There was something unique, perhaps mysterious, of how Jim Morrison put lyrics together and mesmerized his followers. I can’t describe what he did to pull us in, but pull us in he did, an entire generation was pulled in.  He may have simply given many of us a reason to escape the norm of that time with lyrics that were unique and complex.  Many speculate.  No one knows.  

Daylight, a gulp of OJ to get my vitamins down. Half a precooked cold Bratwurst for breakfast. A full bottle of water for what would be a longer tour of the ruins than the previous day.  I was timing my trek to assure I would have the light for the photos I had planned to take, as close to perfect as possible when I reached the Square Tower ruin in thirty to forty minutes. I was now ready to attack the ruins once again. Instead of weapons of destruction, I would attack with camera and lenses to capture that millisecond of light required to transport the image to the camera’s memory card.  Like warriors of old captured enemies, photographers capture light and imprison it in digital memory penitentiaries.

It was not many years ago that light sensitive chemicals on silver oxide coated celluloid film captured the light which would then be developed and transformed into photos. Today, light is captured and held within a flat plastic electronic memory device that, when plugged into a computer, transfers the digital data to the photos that appear on a monitor. The silver oxide on celluloid film and photo printing paper continues to remain superior in quality to electronic printed images, particularly for black and white photos, but is no longer the norm and dark rooms are difficult to find.

For the first times in years, instead of using the small backpack I use to carry my camera, I decide to use only my camera strap on this hike. A small water bottle carrier that straps around my waist limited me to taking only one bottle, causing me to ration water during this trek.  Because I intentionally intended to stray off the path on which visitors are asked to stay, I wore my hiking boots instead of Nike runners. 

The campground trail merges with the Ruins Trail that leads to numerous structures built around the perimeter of the Square Tower Group canyon.  The canyon head is from which the water originates and is the most westerly part of this gash in the vast plateau which spreads endlessly in all directions from Hovenweep, covered in sagebrush, pinion pine, cactus of different varieties, and other vegetation common to this arid desert region. Memory from prior visits remind me of where I can break the rules and descend into the canyon from the shallower east end. Yes, the small springs at the head of the canyon which attracted the Ancients, continues to seep. The springs continue to be the force of nature that carved this small canyon out of the Colorado Plateau.  For hundreds of centuries the water from these springs slowly eroded and continues to erode the Colorado Plateau’s surface.

Lizards run rampant in the desert's cool mornings, eating insects that vanish when the sun's heat raises the ground temperature over 80 degrees. The higher the sun, the hotter the ground and ambient temperatures, hence a lot of morning activity.  Without forests or mountains to provide shade, Hovenweep was most likely was as hot during the presence of the Anasazi in this part of the south-west. This brings to question, what were the Ancients doing in such an intolerable place? Was it as harsh then as this desert it is now? What or who brought them to this part of the world? What caused the abandonment of their prior communities in order to inhabit and survive in what today is such an inhospitable environment? No one knows. 

What we do know is that the abandonment of Hovenweep, along with Mesa Verde and other settlements in this region, took place between A.D. 1,280 to A.D. 1,320  Archaeologists declare settlements were established as early as 700 A.D, but they are also aware that ancient man was present in the area as long as 23,000 years ago.  Speculation is that a massive drought caused crop cultivation, farming, to be virtually eliminated.  Of interest is that more than hundred miles to the north, in Nine Mile Canyon, the ancient inhabitants of that area also abandoned their homes during the same period of time A.D. 1,280 to A.D. 1,320.  The big difference is that Nine Mile Canyon is fed by a constant water source, Nine Mile Creek, that has never been known to stop flowing and the fields they farmed then, are still farmed today, with today's water source being the same as it was during the time of the Ancients.  Other settlements near the Hovenweep villages appear to have lost their inhabitants at about the same time in history.  Why did they leave?  Many theories exist, but no one knows.  I continue to postulate the earthquake possibility.

As I walked along the trail, lizards scampered in all directions. I watch for rattlesnakes, but after all my time in the desert, I have only ever encountered one: In New Mexico's Organ Mountains, a startled rattler struck the foot peg of the dirt-bike I was riding on a remote trail. Snakes feel the vibrations of our steps long before we near them and seek shelter. Ninety-nine percent of the time they slither off long before we reach them. 

The trail I am on falls and rises through slight depressions of this almost completely flat landscape. About a quarter mile into my hike, I arrive at a three-foot rise with a large boulder to my left.  Laying atop of the boulder was a big and beautiful lizard, prone and relaxed, colorful yellowish head with its colors darkening toward the tip of its tail. Rather than scamper off, it watches my approach. I had hoped to photograph one of these lizards since I had begun my trip, but none stayed still long enough. There it sat, posing, providing me an exceptional opportunity to take its picture. Why did it not scamper off?  No one, except perhaps the lizard, knows.    

I grasped my camera, removed the lens cap, focused on the lizard and pushed the shutter release button. Nothing happened. Not the usual shutter click. I pushed it again. Nothing. Once more, nothing.  Through the viewfinder I continue to see the lizard. I checked to see if the camera is turned on. Affirmative. Because there was no shutter opening to capture the light that would become photos, my next thought was that perhaps I had inserted the fully recharged battery incorrectly. Opening battery compartment closure, I was astonished to discover that there was no battery at all. Damn it! I had forgotten to return the battery to the camera after charging it in my truck while I slept; something I had never done before. I had left it either on the picnic table or on the seat of my truck.  Because time was of the essence to capture the morning light, I was considerably angry with myself. Though my phone takes pictures, iPhone photo quality is undesirable for a photo of such a beautiful creature, and the iPhone was definitely unimaginable to employ when photographing the ruins. 

Shit,” was the only utterance I was capable of. I wanted the photo of that lizard, the only one that had given me the opportunity to take its picture and was unable to take it.  I began a rapid trek back to the campground to find the battery in order to accomplish my original objective of photographing the ruins in the early morning light but was losing time. That meant I was losing the lighting I felt necessary for the morning photos I had intended to take and there may not come another time when I would have a lizard from this species pose for me, assuming it was still on top of that rock.

Backtracking to the campground, I recognized that if it had not been for that lizard, I would have hiked another mile-and-a-half to the first ruin before realizing I did not have a battery in my camera.  Rather than remain angry I was thankful for the the lizard encounter.  That gorgeous little guy saved me from an extensive hike before being able to take the first photo of the ruins. Four-and-a-half miles equates to a little more than an hour, at a brisk pace.  The morning light necessary for my photos would have passed because the sun would be more than an hour or more higher in the sky.

Reaching camp, I spotted my battery on the picnic table.  Justification for such an idiotic and careless mistake was unacceptable.  I had screwed up and was thankful for that lizard basking in the sun's morning rays; a new Lizard King.

Campers in trailers were up, and the smell fresh coffee, along with bacon and I presume eggs, permeated the campground air. 

Battery in place and assuring all was in order with a test photo, I returned to the trail. The probability of that lizard still on that boulder I deemed impossible.  Knowing that a lizard helped me avoid a four-and-one-half mile hike, and losing the soft morning light was sufficient consolation to put a smile on my face.  I took a moment to switched the music to the mellower and cowboy themed Sagebrush Symphony CD recorded by Michael Murphy.

Approaching the dip in the trail where I had encountered that lizard on the boulder, I initially thought my vision was playing tricks on me. The lizard had remained precisely where it was when I returned to camp to retrieve my battery.  Because I felt it would scamper as soon as I neared it, I left the camera strap on my shoulder. The lizard did not move. It continued to look at me with its large dark eyes, perhaps studying me in a similar fashion as I studied it. Maybe? I got the camera ready, turned it on, removed the lens cap, raised the camera to my eye and prepared to begin photographing the lizard. 

 “Stay put, okay? I just want a couple of shots,” I pleaded softly of the lizard whose eyes remained focused on me. The lizard did not move. Softly I continued my soft chant as I got closer and closer, and it stayed put. With the lizard the desired image size in my viewfinder, I focused and took the first photo. We maintained our focus on each other. It moved a little but stayed put. I moved closer and took more photos from different angles. To my amazement, the lizard stayed on the boulder, moving slightly on occasion, as if posing for me. I squeezed off nine or sixteen shots, and it stayed on top of the boulder, watching me.

Thank you,” I finally said as I stepped back, replaced the lens cap and gazed at the lizard which had raised its head off the rock, still staring at me. Had it been a big lizard, like an iguana or a Gila Monster, I think I might have worried about being considered for breakfast. “Thanks, man,” I said again, softly. “That was so nice of you.”  Being alone in the desert for days at a time, can bring out odd behavior, like talking to lizards.  I don't think I'll worry about that unless they start talking back.

Aside from providing me the photo opportunity that had escaped me throughout this trip, that lizard saved me from a long hike. Along with helping me out, the lizard seemed to sense my desire to photograph it and waited for my return. Perhaps this lizard was as anxious to be photographed as I was to photograph it – symbiotic.  With my last offering of thanks, the lizard bobbed its head up and down, did a few four-legged push-ups, and slowly moved toward the edge of the rock, stopping once more and turned its head toward me as if to say good-by.  As our eyes locked, there appeared a clear connection. Then it ambled off, into the brush. I stood momentarily in amazement of what had transpired before hurrying off toward the ruins.  

There was a lot to process in respect to what transpired between that lizard and me. Continuing my hike to the ruins, I gave considerable thought to what taken place.  Native Americans today, as the Ancients that inhabited this region centuries earlier, believe in most everything having a spirit.  It appears that my spirit may have communed with the lizard's spirit that morning. My thoughts returned to the music I had listened to while driving to Hovenweep the day before – The Doors, the Lizard King.   

Crazy as it may sound, maybe there is something beyond our comprehension tied to the spiritual side of our existence in the Universe? Could it be remotely possible that the spirit of a long-gone individual, Jim Morrison, for example, could exists in the ethereal realm and perhaps be with the Ancients, here at Hovenweep?  Jim was known to have enjoyed considerable time with Native Americans.  Jim Morrison believed a dying Pueblo Indian's soul slid into his soul when he was four years old, when his father stopped at an accident while driving through a Pueblo reservation in Arizona and a Pueblo had died.  Is it possible that the spirits of these Ancients, who some continue to wonder why they vanished, along with other spirits are still with us, here at Hovenweep and other places once inhabited by earlier civilizations?  Could such a thing happen? No one knows. 

As I initially sensed when I accidentally stumbled onto Hovenweep, fifteen-years or so earlier, there seemed to be something special, something unique, something beyond my comprehension in the air in this place where GPS goes wacky.  There seemed to be something beyond, or greater than what is known to the scientists and archaeologists studying this wonderful and mysterious place.  Were the ruins left for us to study in order for us to understand something perhaps other worldly?  Why such mysteries?  No one knows.

Several days later, as I drove toward the Hatch Trading Post on a barely paved road, the words of Jim Morrison continue to ring in my head, and I pulled him back up on my truck's stereo. Listening to the lyrics I gave consideration to the spiritual component I had never bothered to explore before: “Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin. I am the Lizard King. I can do anything.” 

Do spirits of those passing from this world to the next world occasionally enter the souls of those still in this world to guide them?  No one knows. 

Clearly the lizard incident provoked considerable thought, allowing me to imagine things that may or may not be real. Is it possible?  As insane as it may sound, could I have encountered the spirit of Jim Morrison, the Lizard King, in the form of the lizard among the ruins and spirits of the Ancients?  What reasons could there be for that lizard helping me recognize I had forgotten my battery, and then waiting for me to return and photograph it? It seemed as though the lizard knew and made helping me a part of its day's mission?  What prompted me to dial up The Doors outside of Montezuma Creek after not having listened to The Doors in ages.  What could have been the reasons for all these coincidences?  No one knows.

I was in the high-plains desert of a West where much wild still remains and ancient mystery exists. Why not Willy or Emmylou? Why not the great song writer, John Prine, or Pink Floyd?  Why not music I regularly listen to, music by Cohen, CSNY, Beach Boys, The Band? Why The Doors? Perhaps the best answer to these questions and the questions I have not yet stumbled upon is quite simple: No one knows.

I am addicted to music. That I do know.

I achieved the objective of photographing the Hovenweep ruins in the early morning light and was able to capture the images of a lizard I had wanted to photograph for ages.  Of tjpse facts, I am certain.  That I do know.



In my research for this essay, I learned material about Jim Morrison I had not heard before.    

In the family car outside of Albuquerque, Jim Morrison's father stopped at a horrific automobile accident involving a truck that had been occupied by nine Pueblo Indians. Jim's father arranged for another passing car to send help and, along with Jim, remained on the scene until help arrived. Some of the Pueblo in the accident were alive, some were dead, and others were dying. Morrison’s mother is claimed to have said that as he stood near one of the injured Puebloans, Jim screamed,  "I want to help, I want to help! He's dying, they're dying!"  Jim was only four years old.

While his mother held Jim in her arms, his father, trying to sooth him, told Jim, "It is a dream," and what he was seeing had not happen. Morrison, later in life described the event as "the most important moment of my life." He believed then and continued to firmly believe that as his father's car pulled away, a Pueblo Indian died, and that Puebloan’s soul passed into Jim's body. Could it be possible that the soul of the Puebloan who died had been previously occupied by a soul of one of the Ancients? No one knows.

It is interesting to read the lyrics to Celebration of the Lizard King. The songs seem filled with numerous messages about things other than what we normally encounter in life.

Jim Morrison was known to have spent considerable time with native Americans, Pueblo and Navajo, who reside in, or near southern California.  He was also known to have spent considerable time in the Joshua Tree National Forest,.

In one of The Doors albums, “Waiting for the Sun”, Jim had wanted “Celebration of the Lizard” to take up most of the second side. Valuable studio time was spent on doing that on the initial recording of side two. While the lyrics were printed on the inner sleeve, very little of the initially long studio recording of side two made it to the album.

"Celebration of the Lizard," is where the well-known Jim Morrison quote comes from:  "I am the Lizard King.  I can do anything."

Below are the lyrics to that series of songs:

                                                                                                                     Celebration of the Lizard King.

Lions in the street roaming
Dogs in heat rabid, foaming
A beast caged in the heart of a city
The body of his mother
Rotting in the summer ground
He fled town
He went down South and crossed the border
Left chaos and disorder
Back there over his shoulder.

One morning he awoke in a green hotel
With a strange creature groaning beside him
Sweat oozed from its shining skin
Is everybody in?
The ceremony is about to begin

Wake up!
You can't remember where it was
Had this dream stopped?

The snake was pale gold
Glazed and shrunken
We were afraid to touch it
The sheets were hot dead prisons
And she was beside me
Old, she's now, young
Her dark red hair
The white soft skin

Now, run to the mirror in the bathroom
She’s coming in here
I can't live through each slow century of her moving
I let my cheek slide down
Oh the cool smooth tile
Feel the good cold stinging blood
The smooth hissing snakes of rain

Once I had, a little game
I liked to crawl, back in my brain
I think you know, the game I mean
I mean the game, called 'go insane'

No, you should try, this little game
Just close your eyes, forget your name
Forget the world, forget the people
And we'll erect, a different steeple

This little game, is fun to do
Just close your eyes, no way to lose
And I'm right here, I'm going too
Release control, we're breaking through

Way back deep into the brain
Way back past the realm of pain
Back where there’s never any rain
And the rain falls gently on the town
And over the heads of all of us
And in the labyrinth of streams beneath
the quiet unearthly presence of
nervous hill dwellers, in the gentle hills around
Reptiles abounding
Fossils, caves, cool air heights

Each house repeats a mold
Windows rolled
A beast car locked in against morning
All now sleeping
Rugs silent, mirrors vacant
Dust flying under the beds of lawful couples
Wound in sheets
And daughters,
smug with semen eyes in their nipples

Wait - There's been a slaughter here

(Don't stop to speak or look around
Your gloves and fan are on the ground
We're getting out of town
We're going on the run
And you're the one I want to come.

Not to touch the earth
Not to see the sun
Nothing left to do, but
Run, run, run
Let's run
Let’s run

House upon the hill
Moon is lying still
Shadows of the trees
Witnessing the wild breeze
C'mon baby run with me
Let's run

Run with me
Run with me
Run with me
Let's run

The mansion is warm, at the top of the hill
Rich are the rooms and the comforts there
Red are the arms of luxuriant chairs
And you won't know a thing till you get inside

Dead president’s corpse in the driver’s car 
The engine runs on glue and tar
C'mon along, we're not going very far
To the East to meet the Czar

Run with me
Run with me
Run with me
Let's run

Some outlaws lived by the side of the lake
The minister's daughter's in love with the snake
Who lives in a well by the side of the road
Wake up, girl! We're almost home

We should see the gates by mornin'
We should be inside by evening

Sun sun sun
Burn burn burn
I will get you
Soon soon soon
I am the Lizard King.
I can do anything.

We came down
The rivers and highways
We came down from
Forests and falls

We came down from
Carson and Springfield
We came down from
Phoenix enthralled
And I can tell you
The names of the Kingdom
I can tell you
The things that you know
Listening for a fistful of silence
Climbing valleys into the shade

For seven years, I dwelt
In the loose palace of exile
Playing strange games with the girls of the island
Now, I have come again
To the land of the fair, and the strong, and the wise
Brothers and sisters of the pale forest
Children of night
Who among you will run with the hunt?
Now night arrives with her purple legion
Retire now to your tents and to your dreams
Tomorrow we enter the town of my birth
I want to be ready.’