Orion Mythology

by Richard L. Dieterle


This is an incomplete work that accidentally found its way on to the internet. Much of this will be superceded by work in which I am presently engaged. However, since this work contains useful ideas, I intend to leave it up for others to "mine."


Contents

§1. Redhorn in the Context of Orion
§2. The Cognates of the Įčorúšika Myth
§3. The Battle against the Waterspirits
§4. The Hand, the Eye, and the Hole in the Sky
§5. The Grasping Eye and the Ear-Heads
§6. The Prosopic Ears and Reincarnation
§7. Red People, Hawks, and the Headless Monsters
§8. The Fire Sticks of Orion
§9. The Hand and the Fire Drill
§10. Arrows
§11. Foxes, Coyotes, and M42
§12. The Buffalo Stars
§13. 3-Deer
§14. The Mexican Origin of 3-Deer

Appendices

§15. The Sacred Turnip of the Sky
§16. The Hatchet The Stellagraphy of Orion


§1. Redhorn in the Context of Orion. Most scholars probably hold the widespread view that Redhorn, also known as "Wears Faces on His Ears" (Įčorúšika) is Morning Star. However, the story "Įčorúšika and His Brothers" states something very much at odds with this thesis:

(66) And these three were stars. The one star that is shining most greatly of the trio, it is he. The greatly shining white one, and the blue one, and the red one; (67) and Įčorúšika was the yellowish one. And the other ones, his older brothers, are also stars. They are the trio that are bunched together.1

That the stars are "bunched together" (stonąki) shows that none of the trio is a wandering planet like Morning Star. The star of Redhorn is a fixed star. For this and other reasons that can be adduced, Redhorn is not Venus in any of its aspects. An examination of stellar triads turns up a fairly small inventory, the most prominent among which is the Belt Stars of Orion (see "bunched together"). The central and brightest of these is Alnilam.2 The stellar code of "Įčorúšika and His Brothers" can be understood in terms of these Orion stars (see Commentary). This shows that the assumption that the stellar trio is in Orion is consistent with the story understood allegorically, which goes a very long way towards confirming the hypothesis, since the story is rich in details. Recently, I have been able to show that the Redhorn Panel in Picture Cave is a star map. It has a pictograph of what is surely Redhorn in his guise as Only One Horn and Herokaga in which he is shown lifting up another figure with an aigrette, who would seem to be Wears White Feather (White Plume). Both contain ocular symbols (ovals with dots in their center) into which the stars Alnilam and Sirius fall respectively. This shows that Redhorn is to be identified with Alnilam as I had hypothesized years ago. See "The Redhorn Panel of Picture Cave. An American Star Map." What follows brings together Orion mythology from other American Indian sources and places the Redhorn mythology into the same context.


§2. The Cognates of the Įčorúšika Myth. The essential core of the Hočąk story, "Įčorúšika and His Brothers," can be mapped onto certain astronomical stories of other Siouan tribes. There are extensive parallels between "Įčorúšika and His Brothers" and the Orion myths of the Hidatsa and Crow, who are very closely related to each other, but more remote in space, time, and language from the Hočągara. These cognates make no mention of Orion, but some of their variants state that the hand of the bad spirit Long Arms was transformed into certain stars of Orion. We can set a Crow variant collected by Lowie,3

  Paradigm Crow Hočąk
Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3
[1] A Bad Spirit Long Arms, a bad spirit, The disloyal Hena A bad spirit -
[2] rules (within) one of the cosmic domains rules an Above World is the leader (on earth) rules over an Underworld -
[3] over certain animals native to that domain. populated by birds, of the brothers of Įčorúšika, who are foxes and coyotes, and populated by Waterspirits, -
[4] His subjects (also) include a group of bad spirits and over certain bad spirits who are engaged in evil. specifically Bad Waterspirits. Also a witch -
[5] who live on earth. on earth They live on earth. living on earth -
[6] These terrestrial subjects were adopted into his family. who were adopted by them. They were adopted by the good brothers of Įčorúšika. was a sister of the Bad Waterspirits. The brothers propose that Įčorúšika also marry her. -
[7] The adoptees came into conflict with the Brothers. These latter had come into conflict with the Twins. These adoptees come into conflict with the three good brothers. She came into conflict with Įčorúšika. -
[8] The subjects of the Bad Spirit resent what (one of) the Brothers had done to the adoptees. The Sky Spirits are angry about what the Twins have done to the adoptees. The fact that Įčorúšika took the best woman as his own wife angered his brothers. - -
[9] The subjects of the Bad Spirit persuade him to capture and kill the offending Brother. The Sky Spirits persuade Long Arm to capture and kill one of the brothers. Hena persuades the other brothers to plot the captivity and death of Įčorúšika. The brothers persuade the woman to cause the capture and death of Įčorúšika. -
[10] The captors intend to eat their captive. The captors intend to eat Curtain Boy. - The captors intend to eat Įčorúšika. -
[11] The Brothers go out on a hunting trip. The Twins go out on a hunting trip. - The brothers go out on a hunting trip. Įčorúšika hunts for the woman who betrayed him.
[12] The Brothers lie down on the ground. The two brothers sleep outside. - Įčorúšika lies down in the woman's lodge. -
[13] The Bad Spirit causes one of the Brothers to pass through a hole leading to another cosmic domain. Long Arm reaches down and pulls Curtain Boy up through the hole in the sky, - The woman invites him to go to the back of the lodge where he falls through a hole in the earth Įčorúšika chases the woman down a hole in the ground,
[14] This hole is not readily visible. which is almost impossible to see. - which was concealed from view. which is concealed from view as a post hole.
[15] His other Brother(s) does not know where he has gone or what has happened to him. Spring Boy does not know where Curtain Boy went or what happened to him. - His other good brothers do not know where he has gone or what happened to him. -
[16] The Bad Spirit encircles the Brother with bonds. Long Arm binds Curtain Boy by surrounding him with his arms. - Įčorúšika is bound in irons. Įčorúšika chases her through the center of plants and trees.
[17] Someone sympathetic to the captive brother tries to persuade the Bad Spirit to free him. Spring Boy tries to persuade Long Arm to free Curtain Boy. - Otter tries to persuade the Waterspirit chief to free Įčorúšika. -
[18] The Bad Spirit refuses to let him go. He will not let him go. - He will not let him go. -
[19] Someone from the domain of water tries to persuade the Bad Spirit to free the captive. He asks a second time. - Loon asks the Waterspirit chief to let Įčorúšika go. -
[20] The Bad Spirit refuses a second time. Again Long Arm refuses to free Curtain Boy. - Again the chief refuses to free Įčorúšika. -
[21] One of the Brothers breaks the captive's bonds. Spring Boy cuts the bonds holding his brother Curtain Boy. - Įčorúšika breaks his own bonds. -
[22] One of the Brothers attacks those holding the captive, killing many of them (including the Bad Spirit). Spring Boy shoots Long Arms with an arrow, killing him. - Įčorúšika attacks the Waterspirits with firebrands, killing many of them. Įčorúšika kills the witch-Waterspirit.
[23] The subjects of the Bad Spirit flee. His subjects all flee. - The Waterspirits all flee. -
[24] The body of the captor(s) is burned with wood. The body of Long Arm is burned with wood. - The Waterspirits are burned with firebrands. -
[25] The Brothers return to earth from the Otherworld. The Twins descend through the hole in the sky back to earth. - Įčorúšika returns to earth. -
[26] The Brothers allow those subjects of the Bad Spirit who were birds, to live within the cosmic domain of the Middle World (earth). The Twins allow the birds, the subjects of Long Arm, to live on earth. - Įčorúšika allows Loon (and Otter), who were Waterspirits and nephews of the Chief of the Bad Waterspirits, to live on earth. -
[27] The Brothers are stars. The Twins are stars (Evening Star, and the last star of the Big Dipper). - Įčorúšika and his two loyal brothers are stars (the Belt Stars of Orion). -

The first thing to notice about this set of correlations is that the Hočąk story can be divided into isomorphic episodes. This fact, more than any other, has made it difficult to readily see how the Hočąk myth belonged with its Crow counterpart. Another characteristic obscuring the connection is the realignment of characters. The paradigm myth has a number of characters: the Bad Spirit, his subjects (including the adoptees), and the Brothers. Owing to its internal isomorphism, the Bad Spirit (the Crow Long Arms) is played by three characters in the Hočąk version: Hena the disloyal brother, the Chief of the Bad Waterspirits, and the witch who is the sister of the Bad Waterspirits. The role of the Brothers is played by the Twins in the Crow reflex, but in the Hočąk the protagonists are the three brothers, although often Įčorúšika plays their role alone. A third feature that estranges the Hočąk waiką from its proper Siouan context is its inversion. Instead of an obscure hole in the heavens, we have a hidden hole to the underworld. The Above World has been traded for the Below World. Yet the degree of divergence may not be as striking as it first appears. Other Cosmic Domains are most usually thought of on the model of the terrestrial world, so that both supra-celestial worlds have their own sky and their own ground. The ground is indeed the top side of the sky familiar to the terrestrial domain beneath it. Even underworlds are conceived as having their own sky and their own ground. This would mean that the hole in the terrestrial surface world would be a hole in the sky of the subterranean world beneath it. Therefore, a hole in the ground can, and likely is, also a hole in another world's sky. All the Siouan traditions and those that have borrowed from them, view this hole as bound up with the progress of the soul to and from the Above World. The trip back is reincarnation. Yet the Hočągara, its fair to say, are obsessed with this process, and their mythology of Įčorúšika-Redhorn is often devoted to this spirit's resurrection after a period of death or quasi-death. Esoterically, this resurrection is astronomically that of a star that has set with the sun into the underworld only to rise again in the fullness of time to its pristine glory in its lofty station in the Above World. This then becomes the model by which we may understand death and resurrection in human terms. This alternant, inverted, model may also have some antiquity.

There are a few points of divergence not shown on the table of correlations. The Crow contains a brief episode in which all the birds of the sky are interviewed by Old Man Coyote to see if they can shed light on what happened to Curtain Boy. However, they all prove ignorant of his whereabouts. In the Hočąk version, there is no search for Įčorúšika, so no such interview can take place. The Hočąk contains episodes about how the brothers found wives, and how Įčorúšika avenged himself upon his errant brothers. Since the Crow Twins do not marry and have no errant brothers, this episode does not occur in their story.

Setting these understandable divergences aside, the degree to which the two myths can be correlated is substantial. In the first episode, Hena, the leader of the disloyal brothers, is the counterpart to Long Arms, the chief of the Sky People, as indeed both are to the chief of the Waterspirits. They differ, of course, by each being from a different cosmic realm. Similarly, in the Crow, the subjects of Long Arms are birds, whereas in the Hočąk they are respectively canines (foxes and coyotes) and Waterspirits. All agree, however, that these subordinates are engaged in a nefarious project. The Waterspirits are even explicitly said to be Bad (Šišik) Waterspirits. In each version there is a conspiracy afoot. The sky people plot to capture and kill Curtain Boy, just as Hena and his brothers plot to have Įčorúšika captured and murdered. The Waterspirits operate through their agent, a beautiful witch, as they plot a grisly fate for their captive. The motivation behind this plot is rather different in each case. The Sky People are angry with Curtain Boy and his brother for having killed so many evil spirits living on earth. These terrestrial spirits, it turns out, had been adopted by the Sky People. In a striking correspondence, we learn at the end of the story that the disloyal brothers had all been adopted into the family of Įčorúšika and his two loyal brothers. The difference is that the adoptees and the Sky People are distinct, but in the Hočąk story, the disloyal brothers are the counterparts of both the Sky People and the terrestrial bad spirits simultaneously. The Hočąk brothers are divided into sky brothers, who are stars, and the adopted brothers who are terrestrial. Furthermore, the opposition between the birds and the humanoid terrestrial spirits in the Crow story is reflected in the Hočąk opposition between the humanoid stellar spirits who are the loyal brothers, and the terrestrial spirits who are animals (canines of the fox and coyote genera). Episode 2 of the Hočąk story is equally remote both from the Crow and the Episode 1 of the Hočąk story. The bewitching woman is humanoid, whereas the status of the Waterspirits might be presumed to be in their non-human form. It is not clear that she is adopted, as they call her "our woman" (hinųk-hičapwira), translated "sister," by which is meant in the Crow-Omaha type kinship system of the Hočągara, that she is a young female of the speaker's clan. She chooses to adopt a terrestrial existence in contradistinction to the other Waterspirits, who maintain a subterranean abode. Although it seems that she is not likely adopted, she is almost evil incarnate and is happy to participate and even engineer (quite literally as it turns out) the plot to undo Įčorúšika. There seems to be no common motive for the conspiracy in any of the episodes except anger and resentment in two of them. Hena and his brothers resent the fact that Įčorúšika was given precedence, specifically that he was given the best (šį, "fattest") woman and this made them jealous. The anger of the Sky Spirits in the Crow version derives simply from the fact that the Twins had slaughtered and eaten their adopted terrestrial kin. The brothers who correspond to both the Sky People and the adoptees, are predictably both the offended party and the victims. What is particularly interesting is the motivation of the Waterspirits, which seems to be nothing more than to make a meal out of Įčorúšika. This is the ultimate objective of the Sky People as well. They expect that Curtain Boy will make a fat and greasy meal since he ate their adopted relatives. The Bad Waterspirits are actually defined as such by their man eating proclivities, and are said not have been created by Earthmaker, implying that they were created by the demonic Herešgúnina. Although from opposite cosmic domains, the Sky People and the Bad Waterspirits share this striking correspondence. Another shared theme is that of persuasion. The Sky People persuade Long Arms to capture Curtain Boy, and in a Hidatsa version, Long Arms actually resists the suggestion making it necessary for the Sky People to be both persistent and argumentative. This is exactly what we see in the case of Hena and his brothers, although it is the leader who must convert his entourage. However, it takes very little effort for the brothers to induce the Waterspirit witch to join their cause. The theme of the hunting trip occurs in both the Crow and Hočąk, although in somewhat differing contexts. The hunting trip sends the brothers to the Outside, the wilderness beyond the pale of culture, a place symbolic of the Otherworld, in which the strange events of the supernatural become possible. It is in this situation that the heroes of the stories come to be the objects of a plot to undo them. It is there that they come into contact with the supernatural being who will cause them to fall (literally or figuratively) into captivity. In the Crow story the Twins lie down outside where they are exposed to danger as they sleep. Įčorúšika does the opposite: he enters into a lodge, but inside this lodge is a woman who represents the counterpart to Long Arms and is his special danger. He too lies down, just as a star does when it sets. He is then invited to lie on the other side of the lodge where he falls through the concealed hole into the underworld. Similarly, it is down a hole that Įčorúšika chases the witch when he returns topside to avenge himself. In the Hočąk the emphasis is on the heliacal setting of stars for a period into the underworld, after which they once again appear. For the Crow and Hidatsa, the emphasis is upon the ascendancy of the stars as they dwell in the night sky of the Above World. The hole itself, whether in the Above or the Below World is not readily visible. It is not something that ordinary people can see as they look at the heavens, even if they might know roughly where it is. This same obscurity is rendered by the hole into which Įčorúšika fall by being actually disguised. In one case the hole to the underworld is a covered trap, and in the other case, it is hidden at the base of a tent pole. When the protagonist disappears through the hole, no one on earth has any idea what happened to him. In the world into which he has been abducted, he is bound and held captive. This theme seems to be played out in an unusual way as Įčorúšika chases the witch through the underworld, where both of them pass through the center of various plants, until the witch becomes bound to one as a botanical tubercle.

After this, follows another persuasion episode, but unlike that of theme 9, this one ends in failure. Spring Boy, twice asks Long Arms to surrender his brother unharmed, and twice he is rebuffed. Occurring at roughly the same spot in the narrative in the Hočąk is an odd episode in which two creatures of the Water World step forward and petition for clemency on behalf of the condemned Įčorúšika. These are Otter and Loon, both of whom are said to be Waterspirits originally. They bear no ordinary relationship to their chief, as they are his hicųšge or nephews (sister's sons). As such they bear the Warbundle for him and have a joking relationship of the highest intimacy. There is no more devoted relationship between relatives than that of uncle and nephew. But living up to his wicked (šišik) nature, the chief denies them their request, despite the evocation of their bonds of kinship. Otter and Loon are the special subjects of the chief, just as the birds are the special subjects of Long Arms in Crow-Hidatsa. Of course Loon just is a bird himself, hinting at the possibility that the preform lying behind their corresponding themes was characterized by the subjects being birds. On the other hand, Spring Boy in the Crow-Hidatsa, like his counterpart among the Hočąk Twins, Little Ghost, is thrown into the waters immediately after his nativity, and becomes a wild creature of the Water World himself. This suggests that in the preform the defender of the captive Brother was also a creature of the Water World, and again it appears as if he could well have been the Twin who was thrown away into the waters. In a wider context, this Twin is most usually associated with the beaver — and we do see the Crow Twins acquire a beaver tail weapon — but among the Crow he is also associated with the otter, as it is said that he has "sharp teeth like an otter."4 So the choice of the otter is also consonant with a preform in which the role is played by the aquatic Twin. In between the Bad Spirit's two refusals, in the Crow-Hidatsa versions, is a display of force that has an obscure meaning. Spring Boy draws his bow and shoots a medicine stone that Long Arms keeps near him. When the arrow hits the stone, it bleeds. Does it represent the sun? Or is it a kind of Omphalos marking a Center? Perhaps, too, it is the same as the stone dropped on the head of the woman fleeing from the Above World back through the hole in the sky.

In the next episode, the other brother breaks the bonds holding the captive. In the Hočąk, since Įčorúšika is a lone brother in this situation he breaks his own bonds, prompting the question of why he did not do so earlier, or even why he submitted to being bound in the first place if he possessed such supernatural strength. It again suggests a preform in which there were two brothers involved in the episode. One of the brothers shoots either the Bad Spirit or his subjects. It is typical of Hočąk stories that the whole race is attacked and nearly annihilated. However, that the Hočąk has also a parallel episode in which there is just one opponent, the witch, suggests that it is the Bad Spirit who was slain in the preform. The result, as all the reflexes agree, is that the Bad Spirit's subjects all flee. Both agree that the Bad Spirit's body was burnt. It is not clear that this burning has the same esoteric significance in both reflexes. The burning of the Waterspirits in the Hočąk is the rise of Įčorúšika with the sun, which now becomes his torch to light the surface of the waters ("burn the Waterspirits"). Prima facie the burning of Long Arms might be the standard procedure in disposing of an evil spirit so that he does not return. Nevertheless, since it is an astronomy myth, the identity of the flames with the sun could not be simply dismissed. At this point the narratives of the two reflexes have a striking correspondence. The Brothers allow at least certain of the subjects of the Bad Spirit to live on earth. In the Crow these are birds; in the Hočąk, they are Loon and Otter. They are the paradigmatic subjects of the Chief of the Bad Waterspirits. What's interesting is that they are given the same reward: to live on earth. In the Crow case, this is a descent; in the Hočąk case, it is an ascent. This, of course, reflects the inverse relation of the Otherworld (Cosmic domain) that occurs in each tradition. Finally, both myths agree that the Brothers are or became stars, but they diverge substantially on what stars they are. Being a Divine Twins myth, the Crow version goes with the stars that have been preassigned to those two spirits. The Hočąk makes them the Belt Stars of Orion. At first this may seem like an irreconcilable divergence, but as we shall see in detail below, the Crow was well as the Hidatsa variants to our present story make out the hand of Long Arms, which was severed by the Twins, to be none other than Orion. So despite great separations in time and culture, there remains a clear stellar convergence in the astronomical codes of the two myths.

This myth with its two inverted reflexes, finds an interesting mediation in a story from a people who are themselves intermediate in kinship and language to the Crow-Hidatsa and the Hočągara. These people are the Oglala band of the Teton Lakota. The following myth bears significant similarities to both the Crow-Hidatsa and Hočąk stories.5

Iron Hawk and his wife transformed themselves into buffalo, and in this form his wife gave birth to a bull calf called "Red Calf." One day Iron Hawk went to swim in a creek and there encountered a woman on the opposite bank. She persuaded him to ferry her across, while she held onto his back.6 When he reached midway, she suddenly sprouted enormous wings, and taking flight, carried him through the hole in the sky.7 His wife showed up to join him in swimming, but could find him nowhere. Red Calf had his mother show him where they were to have met. Red Calf put on a gray cap that his father had given him, and was immediately transformed into a hawk. As he flew over the middle of the creek, he encountered a whirlwind, and following its path, he flew through the hole in the sky. There he passed through one village of birds after another. Finally, he came to a village at the fork of two creeks. There he was put up for the night by a woman who told him that a man in the shape of a buffalo was to be killed and eaten on the morrow. The next day the boy went with the old woman to watch the spectacle. When Red Calf appeared, his father recognized him. Iron Hawk was held in place by a Rock Woman (Uŋḣćéġila) who was attached to his hip. Red Calf fired an arrow at her, and the Rock Woman shattered into a myriad of pieces. Iron Hawk ran off as a buffalo, and Red Calf flew with him as a hawk. As they fled they came across a little man thought to be a Rock Man. This man Red Calf also shot dead. When they reached the bird village where they had started, the birds had devised a plan to rescue the pair: they made a great nest and lowered them in it through the hole in the sky to safety. Now in their absence, Yellow Iktomi had abused Red Calf's grandmother by pushing her. When the old woman told them what he had done, Red Calf beat Iktomi with a dirty teepee skin until he turned from yellow to black.8

Here again is another story of an involuntary ascent through a hole in the sky and an escape back through it after an ordeal in which the abductee is bound and put on the menu for dinner. Like the Crow-Hidatsa paradigm, there are two strongly related males who are the protagonists of the story, although in the Oglala it is not twins, but father and son.

Oglala 1 Oglala 2 Crow 1 Crow 2
Iron Hawk ferries an Uŋḣćéġila across a creek. With the help of his mother, he finds the spot where his father had disappeared. - Spring Boy spots the hole through which his brother went.
Iron Hawk and his wife had transformed themselves into buffaloes. Red Calf transforms himself into a hawk. - Spring Boy transforms himself into an arrow. Later, Spring Boy transforms himself into a little child.
She sucks him up a whirlwind into the hole in the sky. Red Calf follows the whirlwind through the hole in the sky. Long Arms pulls Curtain Boy through the hole in the sky. Spring Boy shoots himself through hole.
Iron Hawk's wife shows up to swim with him, but she can't find him. - Spring Boy can't find where Curtain Boy went. -
- Red Calf comes upon one village after another of birds. - Spring Boy comes upon one village after another of birds.
- Red Calf was put up by an old woman at the last village. - Spring Boy was put up by an old woman at the last village.
- She told him that a man in the form of a buffalo was to be eaten on the morrow. - She told him that a mischievous boy was to be eaten on the morrow.
- He went with the woman to watch the spectacle. - He went with the woman to watch the spectacle.
- When Red Calf appeared, his father recognized him. - When Spring Boy appeared, his brother recognized him.
- Red Calf was held in place by a Rock Woman (Uŋḣćéġila) attached to his hip. - Curtain Boy was bound by the arms of Long Arms.
- Red Calf shot an arrow at the Rock Woman, which shattered her into pieces. - Spring Boy first shot an arrow at Long Arms' stone, and it bled; then Spring Boy shot Long Arms himself dead.
- Iron Hawk and Red Calf fled as a buffalo and a hawk respectively. - The two brothers fled.
- Birds lower the two in a nest through the hole in the sky. - The two of them escape by riding arrows back down through the hole in the sky.

Iron Hawk and Red Calf seem to be almost interchangeable. As a father and son combination, they are the counterparts of the Crow and Hidatsa Twins. Iron Hawk can transform himself at will into a buffalo, and Red Calf was actually born as a bison. By use of a magical gray cap, each is able to change into a hawk. Spring Boy in the Crow version also has the power of metamorphosis, being able to transform himself into an arrow and like the Hočąk Redhorn, to shoot himself quickly to another point in space. Superficially, there seems to be little connection between the buffalo alloforms of the Oglala heroes and the transformations of Spring Boy. However, if we turn our attention to the Crow's closest kindred tribe, the Hidatsa, we find an interesting link. In their version, Long Arms captures Spring Boy and crucifies him on a forked tree. After Spring Boy escapes and avenges himself upon Long Arms, he institutes the Sun Dance among the Hidatsa, a rite which they call "Hide Beating." This ceremony is done in remembrance of Spring Boy's adventures among the spirits of the Above World. In founding this rite, Spring Boy declared, "Since I have named the buffalo hide as my own body, the buffalo shall range where people are."9 So for the Hidatsa, the buffalo becomes an alloform for Spring Boy, putting him into better alignment with Iron Hawk and Red Calf.

In all the reflexes, the boy is in the company of a woman when he discovers the hole in the sky. Iron Hawk discovers it the hard way, as does Curtain Boy, who is pulled up by Long Arms. In both cases, the captive ascends by being pulled up. His rescuer launches himself through the hole by his own supernatural power, although the basic form of his ascent is the same, in some sense, as that of the captive. In the Crow story, Curtain Boy is taken aloft in the grip of a hand; Spring Boy shoots himself through the hole as an arrow. However, the shooting of an arrow is also done by hand, so Spring Boy can be said to ascend through the sky by means of a hand. Just as Iron Hawk ascended in conjunction with a whirlwind, so too does his rescuer Red Calf. The whirlwind is an exemplar (especially in this contest) of the V-shaped spinning cone of spiritual communication from one world to another. This cone of communication is what contemporary Oglala call a kapemni.10 After the captive is taken up, his whereabouts are unknown.

The two stories from this point follow each other very closely. The rescuer goes through four different villages, populated exclusively by birds. In the last he is given hospitality by an old woman. She learns that the captive was going to be eaten on the morrow. He then accompanies the old woman to the spectacle where the captive recognizes him. The captive is bound by the physical body of his captor. In the Oglala the captor and the stone have been merged into one being, a Rock Person or Uŋḣćéġila. In the Crow, Long Arms has a special relationship to the stone, which in some tellings is said to be "his medicine" (source of power).11 Spring Boy merely shoots the stone, which bleeds; then he shoots Long Arms himself, killing him. In the Oglala the stone and the captor, being one and the same, are shot at once and killed. The two kinsmen flee, but their means of escape are superficially different. In the Oglala the birds lower them in a nest to the earth; in Crow, the Twins descend by riding two arrows each. In other versions, birds are identified as souls.12 A nest is a house for neonate birds, most specifically eggs, which make birds "twice born," like souls who live in heaven and are born again on earth. The arrow is identified with the soul as well, as will be discussed in more detail below. So the seeming divergence between the accounts at the end may only be superficial.

What is particularly interesting is that Long Arm is replaced in the Oglala by the female Uŋḣćéġila, which Beckwith's translator rendered as "Rock Person," adding parenthetically, "Petrified Bones."13 This rendering looks like a translator's or narrator's gloss for Beckwith's benefit, inasmuch as the term is well known. The suffix -la is a diminutive, leaving the stem Uŋḣćéġi to answer almost exactly to the Dakota name, Uŋktéḣi. Riggs, who did his research between 1852 and 1882, tells us that Uŋktéḣi means, "the Dakota god of the waters; a fabled monster of the deep; the whale: an extinct animal, the bones of which are said to be sometimes found by the Indians, probably the mastodon (see uŋḣćéġila)." Under uŋḣćéġila he says, "probably the mastodon, or other large animal, whose petrified remains are found in Dakota Territory."14 In a tabulation of Lakota deities, Uŋḣćéġila is said to be a "Land monster[,] Female Uŋktéḣi"; and the Uŋktéḣi is described as, "One Who Kills[,] Water Monster."15 That the Uŋḣćéġila are female Uŋktéḣi reveals the connection between petrified bones and water monsters. The holy men of the Dakota told Walker, "the females [of the Uŋktéḣi] live on the dry land, and their bones are often found in the badlands."16 Both Uŋḣćéġila and Uŋktéḣi are quite close to Hočąk Wakčexi(ra), Uakčexi(ra), "Waterspirit." In the mythic account of "The Feast" given by Little Wound, the well known horns and tails of the Hočąk Wakčexi are seen as attributes of the Uŋḣćéġila as well:

Then others were invited. The Uŋktéḣi who are the Wakaŋ [Holy Ones] of the waters. The Unkćegila who are the Wakan of the lands. ... Then Woxpe asks Okaga to do some favor for each one of the guests, and he promises to do so. Okaga asked Ikćegila [Uŋḣćéġila] what he most desired, and he said to have power over everything. Okaga asked what part he would have this power in, and he answered that he wanted this power in his horns and his tail. So he received this power. But his horns were very soft and his tail was brittle. (Iktomi made them so.) (His women lived on the earth, and his home was in the waters.)17

And in Walker's Literary Cycle, a good description is given of an Uŋktéḣi, making it indubitable that such a creature is the Lakota counterpart to the Hočąk Waterspirit:

The second day they traveled thus and in the water, a great beast came toward them. Its body was like the body of a huge otter. Its head like that of a huge wolf, its tail like that of a huge beaver and it had horns which it could make long or short as it willed. As it came, it groaned and growled and gnashed its teeth and slashed the waters with its tail, making great waves. They knew this to be an Uŋktéḣi one of the monsters. When near it said to them, "Ho, sons of Tate, I will drag you under the waters and instead of serving the Gods, you shall serve me."18

Given the correspondences between Lakota Uŋḣćéġila and Hočąk Uakčexira, the basic plot of the Oglala story now can be seen to tilt towards the Hočąk version whose inverted topology thus finds a surprising reflection in the standard Above World model. We can see a good correspondence between the main events of the Oglala story and the central episode of the Hočąk Įčorúšika myth.

Oglala 1 Oglala 2 Hočąk
Iron Hawk and his wife transform themselves into a buffalo. Red Calf dons his father's gray cap and is transformed into a hawk. -
An Uŋḣćéġila ("Rock Woman") persuades Iron Hawk to ferry her across a creek. With the help of his mother, he finds the place where his father was supposed to be. A woman who is a witch and a Waterspirit (Wakčexira), persuades Įčorúšika to cross over from the front of the lodge to its back.
Having thus tricked him, she sprouted wings and carried him within a whirlwind through the hole in the sky. Red Calf encounters a whirlwind and follows it through the hole in the sky. Having thus tricked him, he fell into the Underworld through the hole in the false bottom.
  There he found villages of birds. Then he came to a village at the fork of two creeks. There he was among the Bad Waterspirits.
  He was told that the man was to be killed and eaten. He was told that he was to be killed and eaten.
  Iron Hawk was pinned in place by a Uŋḣćéġila. Įčorúšika was bound in irons by the Waterspirits.
  Red Calf shot the Uŋḣćéġila and broke her up. Įčorúšika broke his iron bonds. Then he attacked and killed Waterspirits with a firebrand.
  As he and his father fled, Red Calf shot dead another Uŋktéḣi. The Waterspirits fled as Įčorúšika killed many with his firebrand.
  The birds helped Iron Hawk and Red Calf by making a giant nest and lowering them through the hole to the world below. Loon (and Otter) tried to help free Įčorúšika.
  Red Calf killed the Uŋktéḣi who were killing the birds. After this the birds "were able to scatter out over the country."* Įčorúšika rewarded them by allowing them to live on earth.
  Yellow Iktomi abused Red Calf's grandmother by pushing her. Hena had abused Įčorúšika's wife and brothers by using force against them.
  Red Calf beat Iktomi with a dirty teepee skin. Įčorúšika hit Hena with a firebrand.
  This turned Iktomi black. Hena and his brothers had put charcoal on their faces in supplication. Being hit with a firebrand transformed Hena into a red fox.
*this appears as the last paragraph of the story after an intervening extraneous episode about Iron Hawk.

The occurrence of the buffalo in this story marks a strong divergence from its Hočąk parallel. However, on this point, it does recall the odd antipathy of the Twins to buffalo foetuses, which derives from the identity of one of the Twins with Sirius, as is conclusively shown by Lankford.19 Aborted foetuses are anathema to him because Sirius, called "Morning Star" for its well known competition with "the" Morning Star (of Venus), rises with the sun about the time buffaloes calve, thus presiding over this blessing of life for buffaloes and their predators alike. However, none of this exists in the Hočąk tradition. Red Calf in this story is the Oglala counterpart of Įčorúšika. The name "Įčorúšika" is just one of many born by the figure better known as "Redhorn." The "horn" in his name refers metaphorically to his braid or scalplock, which is said to be of a striking red hue. Judging by his name, we might be justified in concluding that the hair on Red Calf is of much the same color. Beyond mere color is the odd fact that Red Calf is in form, at any rate, a buffalo. Redhorn has less of an affinity to the buffalo, although as the hunting deity Herokaga ("Without Horns"), he is paired with the deer. As will be argued below, Orion is connected to the deer and in the Oglala tradition, to the buffalo in part. This merely reflects a change in the primary source of meat. The strange interchangeability of father and son is another distant echo of the cross generational identities for which Redhorn is particularly and perhaps uniquely known (see above). The alternance between hawk and buffalo is unknown in the Hočąk traditions concerning Redhorn, although it has been argued by James Brown that some Mississippian peoples had identified their counterpart to Redhorn with a hawk. This notion arises because the Mississippian deity is, at least on one occasion, portrayed with prosopic earrings (despite the fact that birds have no external ears).20 The sense of both the closeness (in structure) and divergence (in time ?) of the Oglala and Hočąk stories is particularly well illustrated in the concluding transformation episodes. The animals in question would seem to have no relationship: one is a spider (iktomi) the other is a fox with coyote associates. Although the zoological status of the species is totally at variance, their mythological roles are not too far apart. Iktomi is the exact counterpart to the Hočąk Wakjąkaga, "Trickster"; but most akin to Trickster is Coyote, whose species often plays the fool or the swindler, with the fox less prominant in this role. The color transformations are reversed: Hena blackens his face with charcoal, then is turned into a fox, an animal of reddish or orange hue; Iktomi is turned from yellow to black. Note, however, that Hena is black from charcoal, essentially the same carbonaceous matter that will turn the interior of a teepee black near the smoke hole. It is not mere exterior dirt that can turn things black, but only the soot of the inside surface of the skin. So both Hena and his counterpart Iktomi are blackened by the same substance, and the fire turns out to be the ultimate source of both colorations. Teepee skins are made of buffalo hide, the very stuff of Red Calf and his father, as the firebrand is esoterically of Įčorúšika — but to show how these are proper counterparts requires an additional treatise to be given later (see below).

[The episode in which Iron Hawk ferries the Uŋḣćéġila across the water does have some similarity to an episode about Redhorn's doppelgänger son, who also goes by the same name.]


§3. The Battle against the Waterspirits. Įčorúšika uses a firebrand to attack the Waterspirits as he escapes from his confinement in the underworld. Esoterically, this is a description of (Alnilam of) Orion Įčorúšika.

[Red Calf's grandfather is attacked by a rattlesnake. Red Calf calls the thunders to kill the snake.]

In the Arapaho stories about Little Star, the battle with the Waterspirits is transposed into the heavens. Old Woman Night who takes care of Little Star, lives in a lean-to that appears to be Orion (Belt Stars and Algiebba). Just beyond lives a two-horned monster whose body extends all the way to the water (Milky Way). The horns are doubtless the "V" shaped Hyades.

So Little Star went around the lean-back, and to his surprise, saw an animal with two horns and blazing eyes, eating or chewing away at the food given him by Old Woman Night. "Well! This is the creature that eats all the food that my grandmother puts away for me. If that is the way this creature does, I cannot allow it," said Little Star, angrily. So, taking his bow and painted arrows, he shot the monster between the neck and shoulder, sending his arrow out of sight; another one he shot at the other place, sending it out of sight, too, killing the animal instantly. This gave a red appearance to the river; because this monster extended into this tipi fom the river. He then took up a stone club and beat the horns off from the monster and let it go.20.1

The food that the gaping jaws of the Hyades eat are the various planets that Old Woman Night sends his way. As in the Sirius myths, Orion becomes the bow with which he shoot the monster, evidently a kind of Waterspirit, since it's body extends from out of the water. Orion as a club is also well attested. Around May 24, the Hyades set with the sun, the ecliptic being nearby. By June 15, the sun has reached the Milky Way, which is here as almost everywhere else, portrayed as a river. The setting of the sun in the "river" causes it to turn red. In this period Little Star "let it go," and the Hyades disappeared for a couple of months, which in astronomy myths is routinely portrayed as death. The difference between the Arapaho battle and that of the Hočąk Orion, is that Little Star is the planet Morning Star, and as the Hyades water monster sinks below the horizon in stellar death, Little Star lives on in the sky. His battle is with stellar Waterspirits, not their prototypes in the underworld. All this, however, strongly suggests that the Arapaho model is based on the Siouan, but adapted to replacing Sirius as the protagonist with his arch rival Morning Star.

The Arikara, a Caddoan people who neighbor on Siouan tribes, see the Hyades as a monster with a giant mouth and one eye (the full moon). As among the Arapaho, he is the husband of Old Woman. The Twins kill him by dropping a red hot stone down his gaping mouth, an allegorical portrayal of the Hyades setting ("dying") with the sun (red hot stone). (For more, see this.)

[Waterspirits are now stars. Lankford.]


§4. The Hand, the Eye, and the Hole in the Sky. [Deloria has a story that is intermediate between the Crow-Hidatsa and this version from the Oglala. Ella Deloria, Dakota Texts (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006) 133-137.] A number of Siouan tribes and their neighbors see the central stars of Orion as making up a hand.21 The Oglala Lakota concept of this asterism is seen below. The Hand (Nape) is made up of the Belt Stars of Orion (wrist), the Sword Stars (thumb), with the addition of Rigel (index finger), and Cursa (little finger), a star from the neighboring constellation of Eridanus. Goodman says that a story about a chief's lost arm is the origin myth of the Hand Constellation.22 The Oglala story goes like this. The Thunders rip off the (left) arm of one of the chiefs among the Star People, and the chief, who is understandably anxious to get it back, offers his daughter in marriage to any warrior who can retrieve it. Fallen Star recaptures the arm from the Thunders and their ally, the trickster Iktomi, as it lies on a mantel above a boiling kettle of water. By use of various magical artifacts, Fallen Star escapes his pursuers and arrives at his grandmother's teepee. She grabs an ax and swings it wildly in the air, breaking up the storm clouds. Fallen Star presents the arm and wins the chief's daughter in marriage. They soon have a son who is destined to carry on his father's adventures.23 This chief is said to rule over all the Star People. He could be Polaris, Morning Star, Evening Star, or even Sirius; but the position of the Thunderbird constellation at least suggests that the arm in question is the Milky Way. The Lakota Thunderbird asterism, which is essentially Draco plus two stars in Canis Minor (Little Dipper), is offset from the Milky Way to the same extent as the hand (Orion) constellation. This means that they are 180° in opposition (azimuth 270° vs. azimuth 90°). That the Thunderbirds should appropriate the Milky Way as their own seems fitting, since it has that same misty quality that characterizes clouds. In this context the Thunderbirds can play the same oppositional role played elsewhere by the Great Serpent and its variants (see 1 and 2). Whether the Hand sets or rises, the Thunderbirds constellation does the exact opposite, save that as a circumpolar asterism, it only approaches the horizon without actually setting. It is the same tug-of-war at opposite quadrants that we have seen played out between Orion and Scorpius. During mid-May nearly the whole southern half of the Milky Way, including the chief's Hand, heliacally sets. At this time the Thunderbird rises high at the opposite side of the sky. With the Thunderbird's dominance, the chief's arm disappears from the sky for a brief period. Thus, the Thunderbirds have "stolen" the arm. Fallen Star wins the tug-of-war for the chief right at the place and time that the arm is suspended above the kettle and fire (for this image and symbolism among the Hočągara, see "Bluehorn Rescues His Sister"). The scene is one in which the Hand asterism is rising with the sun, suspended over both the Ocean Sea (the kettle) and the red of the dawn (the fire). This is, astronomically speaking, the point at which Orion is suspended above the boiling kettle and fire, and the time at which Fallen Star begins taking it back to the chief (at the opposite end of the celestial sphere). In the course of the journey, the Hand rises and the Thunderbird

It is among the Hidatsa that we begin to see some interesting connections to the Hočąk counterpart of Orion.24 In the Hidatsa story the chief of the stars is a spirit called "Long Arm." His name also suggests the Milky Way. The Divine Twins, Lodge Boy and Spring Boy, had killed a number of evil spirits that lived on the surface of the earth. The sky people became alarmed for their own safety and petitioned Long Arm to capture Spring Boy, the more aggressive of the two boys, and bring him to the sky to be executed. Long Arm reluctantly complied. They took Spring Boy and crucified him on a forked tree. Lodge Boy noticed a streak of light where the hole in the sky was where Long Arm had snatched up Spring Boy. He flew through, changed himself into a little boy, and got himself adopted by an old grandmother. Lodge Boy soon found his brother. Disguising himself as a spider while everyone was asleep or inattentive, he climbed up and cut his brother free.

They went out as spiders and the holy man knew all about it but could do nothing because the two together were too powerful for him. Long Arm went and placed his hand over the hole by which they passed through so as to catch them. Spring Boy made a motion with the hatchet as if to cut it off at the wrist and said, "This second time your hand has committed a crime, and it shall be a sign to the people on earth." So it is today that we see the hand in the heavens. The white people call it Orion. The belt is where they cut across the wrist, the thumb and fingers also show; they are hanging down like a hand. "The hand star" it is called.25

The Hidatsa model is a Hand asterism created when Long Arm attempted to manually block the hole in heaven. His hand was thrust over the hole to prevent the Twins from going back to earth through it. We learn that the souls of the righteous go through that same hole when they ascend to heaven, and those souls in the world above who wish to return to earth, also use the same hole to descend. Since this hole is found in the center of Long Arm's hand, it must actually go right through his hand. Just as Long Arm initially lost his hand trying unsuccessfully to stop the Twins from using the hole, so even now his hand is a vain attempt at obstruction.

The Crow, who are very closely related to the Hidatsa, have a version of the Long Arm myth nearly identical to that of their Hidatsa cousins.26

In the Arapaho story, Moon and Sun, who are brothers, go out hunting for wives. In a serious lapse in judgement, Sun settles upon a toad for a mate, but Moon finds favor in a human woman. Moon takes the form of a porcupine and induces the woman to climb after him on an ever-growing tree. Finally, Moon changes into human form and the woman, who is impressed by his splendid garb, willingly follows him. They enter into the world above by emerging through a trap door in the sky. There they live for some time, and she gives birth to a baby boy know as "Little Star" (or "Lone Star").27 One day her husband tells her to go after potatoes, but never to pull up any withered plant found nearby. Out of curiosity, she pulls up the withered plant and finds a hole in the heavens from where she can see her old village on the earth below. She descends with her child through the hole using a rawhide lariat. However, her rope comes up short and she dangles suspended in midair. Moon sees her, and decides to bring her back to him in death (as apparently some of the dead go to the moon). Moon takes a flat, circular, heating stone, and drops it on her head, taking care to avoid hitting his son. The stone kills the mother, but the child survives the fall. On earth Little Star is adopted by Old Woman Night. In time she makes arrows and a special bow, called the "Coyote Bow." Old Woman Night would always put a little food behind her lean-back, and told Little Star that it was being saved for lunch. When Old Woman Night went to check her traps, Little Star looked behind the lean-back where he found a monster eating all the food. The monster, whose body extended all the way from the river, had blazing eyes and two horns. Little Star promptly shot him dead, then knocked off his horns. When Old Woman Night found out, she was appalled, since the monster was her husband. Later on, Old Woman Night made Little Star a lance out of his Coyote Bow. Little Star resolved to make a journey to see Sun. However, when he arrived, Sun said, "It is best for you to return, since your lance, which is poisonous, is lawless." So he went back to Old Woman Night, where he hung his lance above the door of her teepee. He became the Morning Star, also called "the Cross." "That small group of stars early at night, with a row of stars along the side represent the hand of Little Star with his lance."28

The Arikara have a number of versions of the story of the hole in the sky and the star husband. While everyone else was traveling in a religious procession into a sacred lodge, two women decided to break the rules and lay on top of a drying scaffold. One of them said, "I really admire that star above. I wish I could marry him." "Don't say that," said the other, "it is sacred." After they had gone to bed, a long arm reached down and pulled both women up into the sky. He was one of the larger stars in the sky, and he took the first to marry her. In time she bore her star husband a child. Then the other woman also bore a child. Then the star said to his wife, "Don't dig any turnips, for you will discover where you came from." Then he hid her digging sticks. However, when an opportunity presented itself, she stole a digging stick and cut a hole in the ground. The stick itself disappeared into the hole, and when she looked for it, she saw a hole in the sky. There she saw the earth below. Her companion said, "Don't do that, it is not safe." Later, she consulted Old Woman Spider, who advised her to make a rope out of buffalo sinew. She took the sinew and lowered herself and her child down through the hole, but she dangled high above the ground.29 Then her husband said to three stones, "You shall help me." He heated them in the fire. They dropped a stone down upon the head of the woman and killed her, but they spared the star's son. In time the other woman descended in like fashion, and she too was killed in the same way, but her son was spared. The first boy, Drinks Brain Soup, was captured and lived with an old woman. Drinks Brains brought his mother back to life by shooting arrows into the air over her scaffold. He himself was the white arrow. In time they captured the other boy, Long Teeth. He lived in a spring and ate shells, which he called 'parched corn'. Eventually they caught him and placed him in a sweat bath, after which he vomited up the shells and other things of the water. He tried to run away, but they had put an buffalo bladder behind his neck, and he could not stay under the water. Even though they were warned that it was dangerous, they went out and killed a man who had hot coals tied to his ankles, and another being who had a gigantic mouth. He is said to have killed their mother. When the boys and their mother were laying down, the long arm of a being named "Long Arm" (Wihčés) extended down from the sky. Long Teeth saw it, and first he chopped off the hand, then the arm. After this, Drinks Brains cut off another arm at the urging of his brother. Soon there was a pile of arms there. Long Arm vowed, "It won't be long before I make slaves out of you!" Later in the night the arm came down again, and when it touched Long Teeth, it put him to sleep. The arm snatched him up into the sky, into the very village whence his mother had gone. Long Teeth was hung spread eagle on a tree where they built a fire. Drinks Brains shot himself into the sky with four arrows, a yellow one, a black one, a red one, and a white one. He himself became an arrow. He crawled up to Long Teeth in the form of an ant and spoke into his ear: "My brother, I have arrived." Then, when everyone was asleep, they escaped. They came to where Old Woman Spider lived in the sky world. They asked for her help. She lowered them easily to the earth below. Then she said to Long Teeth, "This brother of yours is holy, he who transforms himself into an arrow. This one is an arrow, and you will be like me, a spider." That is why today arrows are fierce and can kill people, and it is why when a black spider bites someone they can die.30

Lankford uses the Hidatsa model to make sense of the rather extensive iconography from the Mississippian southeast.31 There are graphics in various media showing a image.HandMississipian.jpgdownward pointed hand with an ocular-like slit in the middle of it. The inset at left from Moundville shows such a hand inscribed on a piece of pottery.32 Lankford argues convincingly that these images are of the Hand asterism with its hole or slot for the passage of souls to (and perhaps from) Spiritland in the upper world. This is reinforced considerably by the numerous examples of the belief in the Milky Way as the path of souls.33 [...] The hole in Orion is very near this path (which crosses Gemini). It seems reasonable to conclude that the concept of the Hand constellation and the hole in the sky which it covers, was once more widely distributed than the few cultures that now remain acquainted with it. The apparent eye that often appears inside the hand's slit might be understood in one of at least two ways. It may be a genuine eye, which in the present astral context should possess its common valence as a star symbol. This is rather paradoxical, since the center of the square formed by M42-Alnitak-Mintaka-Algiebba is vacant to the naked eye, leaving no candidate for a star in the center of the Hand. This very stellar void is what suggests the center of the square as a celestial hole in the first place. However, there is a widespread belief that the souls of the dead transform themselves into stars. This concept of the dead is, for instance, very important among the Aztecs and other Mesoamerican peoples. The Lankford thesis asserts that it is through the slit in the Hand asterism that the departed enter onto the path of souls (the Milky Way), and given the Hidatsa model, also return this way to earth for reincarnation. To make it clear that the slit is a portal and passageway for souls, a symbol of the soul might be expected in its center. Therefore, the eye may indicate the soul of the deceased in the form of a star. Another widespread connection between the eye and the soul is expressed in the belief that a person's soul can be seen in the pupil of his eye. [...] Another possibility suggests itself. The "eye" figure in the center of the slit may not be ocular at all. It may instead be a "target" design of concentric circles. Lankford has also analyzed this in terms of [see Hawk and Hand volume ...].34 I arrived at the same conclusion independently (see Gottschall, a New Interpretation), seeing the design as another version of the swirling lines of a "cosmic column" of communication between the upper and lower worlds. Clearly, nothing can so well exemplify such a pathway as the portal through which souls travel from one world to the other. Nevertheless, to express these two concepts — the cosmic column and the progress of the stellar soul — as exclusive alternatives may be unsubtle. The intention may have been to render them in a unified concept, the soul's journey through the portal as the exemplar of the process of inter-world transduction, here captured as a target-eye icon.

The coupling of the open hand and eye is even found in the folklore of the Old World.35 However, when we look into the function of the eye it is not too difficult to see the connection it has to the celestial Hand of the plains. The Hand belonged to a bad spirit who attempted to use it to bar the escape of the Twins from the Above World. The Hand is the organ of agency, the executive organ, which more than any other body part enacts the will of the agent. Thus we see in plains pictography of more recent vintage, that the presentation of the Hand (as shown below) symbolized agency itself, expressed descriptively as "I did it." The hand as an instrument of grasping is used to express capture as we see in the two examples below, the third of which shows a Lakota warrior who has captured a Crow man and woman.

 :Pictographs & Pictograms:image.picto.IDidIt.jpg  :Pictographs & Pictograms:image.picto.Prisoner.jpg  :Pictographs & Pictograms:image.picto.Captives.jpg

It is this function that Long Arm's actions exemplify. His hand is the organ of agency by which he attempts to grasp and hold the fleeing Twins. For this he loses his arm and the power symbolized by his hand, which can no longer block the hole in the sky that now runs right through the center of his palm. Souls that come from the Sky World have to pass through this hole, so it should follow that they got there originally by passing through it the other way (as it is the one and only portal to the celestial realm of souls). So why does the Mississippian version (on the Lankford model) have an eye subsisting in this hole? The eye and hand have an important shared function: they both apprehend the objects of their attention. But the celestial Hand gathers the souls of the departed through its central hole, making it strikingly similar to an eye. An eye metaphorically grasps the light through its central hole, the pupil. It is this light, in the form of an image, that the person "grasps" in perception. Why is the capture of an image of any pertinence to the transmigration of souls? We find among the Hočągara for instance, that the soul, the nąǧirak, is seen essentially as an insubstantial image itself. This image can be conceived negatively as a shadow (cf. the ancient Greek concept of the departed as "shades"); or as a positive image such as can be seen in a reflection on the face of still waters. Naturally as the surviving counterpart of a person, the life soul should be in that person's image. Furthermore, keeping to the Hočąk exemplar, especially within the Medicine Rite, the essence of a person's being is called hąp, which means "light," a term which Radin translates properly as "Light-and-Life," inasmuch as it is used to refer to someone's life while retaining its primary meaning as "light." So the insubstantiality of the soul is understood as an image of light, the essence of life departed. So when it passes through a celestial hole, it is much like an image of light that is apprehended by the eye. It is the eye that captures the image of living light the way a hand captures a solid object. However, the perforated Hand captures an insubstantial counterpart to the body, and does so necessarily on the model of the eye, the organ that captures images of light. Far from refuting Lankford's model of the Hand being a representation of the celestial portal for the transmigration of souls, the presence of the eye in its center is a symbolic affirmation of this model.


§5. The Grasping Eye and the Ear-Heads. The Chiwere-Winnebago branch of Siouan culture seems entirely devoid of the mythology of the Hand-Portal. They have an alternant image and mythology which is actually found coexisting obscurely within the Hidatsa Hand-Portal concept. The Hidatsa story of the Twins (see above) ends on a rather unexpected note:

The boys went back to the place where they had left the arrows sticking in the ground, pulled out the arrows and went home to their mother. She told them that the people in the sky were like birds, they could fly about as they pleased. Since the opening was made in the heavens they may come down to earth. If a person lives well on earth his spirit takes flight to the skies and is able to come back again and be reborn, but if he does evil he will wander about on earth and never leave it for the skies. A baby born with a slit in the ear at the place where earrings are hung is such a reborn child from the people in the skies.36

Perhaps the most striking thing about the Hidatsa story is the charming account of the rebirth of the sky people on earth, where we are told that babies born with earring slits give away their celestial origins. And where do these renovated souls enter into our lower world? The story makes it clear that it is through the hole in the sky in the center of the Hand, a hand lopped off when Long Arm tried to cover the perforation in the heavenly vault. The conclusion of the story says that those souls coming from the Sky World to be reborn on earth have a sign that identifies their provenance. This sign is a pair of slits or holes designed to accommodate earrings, although the earrings themselves are absent.37 The earring holes recall the hole in the Hand through which these returning people had to have passed in order to depart from their spirit hole in the Sky World. The correlation is typical of myths, which repeat themselves in a series of themes and variations. So what do these holes signify esoterically, and what do they have to do with the perforated Hand of Orion?

We get an important hint in a gloss at the end of what appears to be an unrelated myth. This is an Ioway story about a man noted more than all others for earrings, indeed his name is "Human Head Earrings" (Wąkx!istowi). Of him it is said,

Human-head-earrings was only a man like the rest of us, but he said that when he died his little heads should live always. So now when we die the little person invisible to us that dwells in us (the soul) goes to the other world.38

So the head worn on the ear is, or is at least symbolic of, the soul. As we have seen in the Mississippian version, the Hand is augmented by an isomorphic and complementary image — the eye inside that hole. This identifies the hole as a portal into which the insubstantial, light-image that is the life soul is captured by the world beyond, just as an eye captures an image of light through its pupil. The earring model of the soul sees it as an appendage of the ear. So if this is indeed a model of its Mississippian counterpart, we have the following analogy:

Head(-Earring) : Ear :: Soul : Eye

It is easy to draw the correspondences between head and soul, not only in North America, but even throughout the Old World. [Head = soul]

What of the correspondence between ear and eye? This relationship is also based upon an analogy:

Eye : Ear :: Light : Sound

Among the Hočągara, sound is a well known symbol of light. Therefore, the organ of sound apprehension is analogous to the organ of light apprehension. The eye, as we have concluded, corresponds to the hole in heaven — the portal of souls — because it too takes within its hole the insubstantial images of light just as the sky-portal takes in the insubstantial images of light that are the afterlife of the departed. So the ear on the Ioway model is like an alternative image to the eye, but with a head-soul parked right on it. We see something of this symbolic interplay in far off India where direct influence can be summarily excluded. In the epic Mahābhārata (), the good spirits (the Danava) have become incarnated to pursue on a human plane a cosmic struggle with the evil spirits (the Asura). In this fight, the god Sūrya (the Sun), as one of the Asura, has become incarnate in the form of the champion Karṇa. Karṇa betrays his divine origin in his birth. He comes into this world wearing a breast plate of gold, and upon his ears hang golden earrings. His very name means "Ear." So the light of the world is born as "Ear," adorned from the beginning in gold, including the orb-shaped earrings. Yet Sūrya himself is most strongly identified with the eye:

The affinity of the eye and the sun is indicated in a passage where the eye of the dead man is conceived as going to Sūrya ([Ṛg Veda] 10.16.3; cp. 90.3, 158.3, 4). In the A[tharva] V[eda] he is called the "lord of eyes" (AV. 5.24.9) and is said to be the one eye of created being and to see beyond the sky, the earth, and the waters (AV. 13.1.45). He is far-seeing ([Ṛg Veda] 7.35.8; 10.37.1), all-seeing ([Ṛg Veda] 1.502), is the spy (spash) of the whole world ([Ṛg Veda] 4.13.3), beholds all beings and the good and bad deeds of mortals ([Ṛg Veda] 1.50.7; 6.51.2; 7.60.2; 7.61.1; 7.63.4).39

The eye of the gods can be reborn on earth as Ear because light is strongly analogous to sound. So in the Ioway story, we have Wąkx!istowi with ears that have human head-souls as earrings. The ear symbolizes more indirectly the eye that we found to symbolize the hole in the sky in the middle of the stellar Hand. This is the place where the light-soul is grasped as by perception. In the hand/eye model the soul is itself not symbolized, but is understood to be an image. In the ear and prosopic earring image, the earring is the explicit symbol of the soul. The soul as a head is affixed to the flesh, which as an earlobe is essentially fat, a substance analogous to marrow. [Onians.] In death these heads live on, but it would not be in this world. The ear, being analogous to the eye, should stand for the portal into and out of which the souls proceed. However, although the Ioway heads are explicitly connected to souls and fit in with the Mississippian version of the Hand Orion, there is nothing that connects them to the stars, let alone Orion.

It is when we turn to the Hočąk version of the myth that the prosopic earring model makes contact with Orion. The Hočągara also have the spirit Wears Faces on His Ears (Įčorúšika), and his adventures bear close resemblance to his Ioway counterpart. They appear to be the "same" personage as he exists in related peoples. Although in the Hočąk we do not get any sense of the earring heads being souls, we do find that he is explicitly identified with stars, and in particular given the allegorical story of "Įčorúšika and His Brothers," we are led to conclude that he is the star Alnilam of Orion. Redhorn comes into the world like the Hidatsa sky child, reborn from the sky world. The Hidatsa sky child has already had his ears supernaturally prepared for earrings; Redhorn, on the other hand, will have his ears supernaturally prepared in his future when he rubs them with his own saliva and faces magically sprout on his earlobes. It is interesting that it's saliva that produces the faces on his earlobes. In another story from the Redhorn Cycle, a number of Redhorn's friends attempt to remove an arrow from a wounded man. Only Redhorn succeeds (he is a spirit of the arrow). Then he heals the puncture wound itself by the application of his holy saliva. So it is the same substance by which a puncture wound is healed that is used to produce the faces on his earlobes. It is as if his earlobes had punctures, as in the Hidatsa model, that are now cured and replaced by living faces. So the hole or blank spot is "cured" by having faces emerge on it. Here we are reminded of the Ioway model, where the faces are souls. In the Ioway symbolism, these are living earrings that are put on, though we may infer the existence of the usual holes that will have been drilled in his ears. The emergence of the soul out of a hole can only recall the Hidatsa model — argued as general in some respects by Lankford40 — of the hole in the sky whence souls come and go in the cycle of death and rebirth.

And what is the significance of these heads to the shared figure of the Ioway and Hočągara? They are said to do three things in particular: to laugh, wink, and stick out their tongues. We can understand these as Hočąk symbols. In astronomy codes, sound is used to symbolize light. Usually it is crying, the "opposite" of laughter, that is used to symbolize a figure's light. Laughter serves the purpose better here because of its on-again, off-again, staccato pattern of sound. What would this pattern be in terms of light? Clearly, it would be blinking, or in stellar terms, twinkling, which is what most stars do. Stars are also homologized to eyes, partly because of the bright whites of the eyes, but also because the eyes blink. This is represented in the winking of the eyes in the miniature faces. In many American cultures, the stars are not only eyes,41 but are the souls of the departed. As we might expect from the Hidatsa model, this may be, or once have been, the inspiration for making the faces express both their status as stars through the actions of their eyes, and their status as souls (as explicitly stated by the Ioway). This brings us to the final symbol of the triad: the protrusion of the tongues. The tongue is roughly cylindrical, and is of a reddish hue. This is an image isomorphic with the red "horn" of hair from which Redhorn derives one of his names. Redhorn's red hair seems to be the red clouds of the horizon in which he is immersed when his star (Alnilam of Orion) helically rises or sets. As a "horn" or queue, it may also have a stellar value as the Sword Stars, whose central star is M42, a reddish "hairy" nebula (see above). It is isomorphic to a cloud, so it is no accident that the name nebula, "cloud," so readily suggests itself for such an object. The cloud form of his hair is particularly appropriate to render into the image of the tongue. Clouds are wet, and those near the horizon, associated as they are with the Ocean Sea (Te Ją́), recall not only the saliva on tongues, but their reddish hue. This "tongue" of clouds comes to stick out only when the sun begins to rise, and is pulled back in once the sun is fully up. The tongue, although not the author of speech like the voice, controls its form and content. As sound represents light, so the "tongue" of clouds on the horizon that make up the "hair" of Redhorn are not the source and author of their own luminance, but control its form and shape after their own actions. We see, therefore, that each attribute of the ear-faces can be brought into correlation with Įčorúšika's stellar attributes. So the little faces or heads are an image of the stellar Redhorn. One of the meanings of naǧirak in Hočąk is a "man's reflection in the water."42 This was once its primary meaning, but in time came to mean "soul" or "ghost" before all else. This matches the Ioway earring model perfectly, but with the addition that the faces are both stellar and spiritual at the same time.


§6. The Prosopic Ears and Reincarnation. Thawwathinintarihisi, "Resurrected Woman." The piercing of the ears was viewed as being the same as being struck with a thunderbolt and rendered the child protected from being killed by an arrow. Háwkan describes the powers bestowed on the child who has his ears pierced:

In order that the child may be welcome at strange places by different tribes; that he, though young, may show his good will toward brethren; that he may anticipate going through a battle and receiving a wound, his ears are pierced; thus the whole tribe sees him in pain, and hence the remainder of his life shall be in peace and joy. Instead of the enemy inflicting a deadly blow, this piercing of the ears answers the child's fate.42.1

Like Little Star, the rock (arrowhead) that falls from the sky shall not claim him for the Moon even if he is hit.

Ear piercing in Ioway mythology is more explicitly connected to resurrection. Since we are told that even though the Ioway Human Head Earrings was mortal, that his earring heads would live on as his souls, it follows that they are lost at death, leaving the body behind without earrings. The Hidatsa reference to earring holes and the Ioway gloss actually have some interesting things in common, as can be seen from the table below.

Paradigm Hidatsa Ioway
[1] When When When
[2] person P is leaving/returning to life, a sky person returns to life, Human Head Earrings left life,
[3] P's earlobes are supernaturally prepared (perforated) for earrings that they do not now possess, his earlobes are supernaturally prepared with perforations for earrings that the child does not then possess, his earlobes were supernaturally affected with respect to his earring, which he then lacked,
[4] showing that (the soul of) P has left for/come from the Otherworld of the sky. which shows that the child has come from the Otherworld of the sky. showing that the soul had left for the Otherworld of the sky.

Here again we have the theme of the journey of the soul tied to this corpus of myth. However, there is some apparent inconsistency in the idea that the little heads are "the" soul. This would make better sense for the son of Human Head Earrings, who has but one of these heads in the center of his chest. However, there is a widespread belief in dual souls. [Dual soul doctrine] The other possibility is that they represent the duality of ghost and flesh, which may explain why in other Siouan myths, the two prosopic earrings disappear and the story is set in the mythology of the Twins. The Hidatsa and Ioway episodes deal with the opposite poles of life, which are both characterized by an absence of the earrings for which their ears had been supernaturally prepared. In the Hidatsa, causation is not discussed explicitly, but the appearance of earring holes in the earlobes nevertheless implies that the child has come from the Above world. For the Ioway the temporal sequence is from death to the sky. What is being described is two halves of a cycle.

[ A description of heaven--by Wampasha, an Iowa Indian--was found in the diary of the Reverend S. M. Irvin, a devoted missionary among the Iowas and Sacs. It reads:

"The Big Village (heaven) is situated near the great water, toward the sunrise, and not far from the heads of the Mississippi River. None go there until after they die. A swift person can make the journey in three or four days; if, however, his heart be not right at death, the journey will be prolonged and attended with difficulties and stormy weather till he reaches the land of rest. Infants, dying, are carried by messengers sent for them; the old or infirm are borne upon horses — they have horses, plenty, and fine grass, and infirmities will all be healed in that village. The blind will receive new eyes; they have plenty of good eyes and ears there. Good people will never die again, but the bad may die three or four times and then turn into some bird." Carrie De Voe, Legends of the Kaw (Kansas City, Missouri: Franklin Hudson Publishing Co., 1904) Chapter 1.]

[illustration]

The Hidatsa are clearly expressing the idea of reincarnation, since the sky people to whom they refer are the righteous dead who have gone to the Above world to lead their afterlife. They are then reborn but carry the mark of the earring with them into this world. The Ioway concentrate on the prototypic individual who put these living soul-heads on his earlobes, which then became the locus of his soul(s). When he died, they lived on. As his soul(s) they represent his identity, and therefore his self as it exists in the world above. In some symbolic way, he comes into existence as Wakistowi when he takes these earpieces to himself. Yet it is when we turn to the Hočągara that we find the whole cyclical scheme richly portrayed.

Like the Ioway, the Hočąk exploration of the cycle of death and rebirth focuses upon an individual who has the very similar name, Wągíščahorùšika, "Wears Man Faces on His Ears," or Įčorúšika, "Wears Faces on His Ears." He is also known as "Redhorn" (Hešučka). Įčorúšika is Redhorn's sacred name, the name the spirits use for him. He established the grounds for this name on earth by applying his own saliva to his ears, causing living faces to appear there. The name Įčo-horúšika is a compound expression. Įčo (and išja) means "face." It is an old word, as can be seen from its cognates: Biloxi, ité, "forehead, face"; Dakota, ite, "face"; it'e, "forehead"; Osage, iⁿdse, "face." Now it often means "face to face" as in 'įjera, and as in the compound į́jokipáhi, which means, "butt to butt, end to end; face to face, opposing." The more common word for face is hišja, išja. So Įčo-horúšika is also known in one story as Wągíščahorùšika, "Wears Man Faces on His Ears."43 The second part of the compound in Įčo-horúšika's name is horušík (-ka being the definite article used to indicate a personal name). Both Radin-Marino and Miner agree that this word means, "to wear in the ears (as earrings)." This sense is illustrated in the story about Hog, where it says, Kirigi, Xguxgúšega ǧ'eǧ'éra haną́č horušíkše ("When he got back, Hog was wearing all the earbobs in his ears").44 The stem meaning "to wear" (where the part of the body is unspecified) is -kax-, -kix-; however, most terms pertaining to wearing things are body specific: hajé, "to wear as a skirt"; hakere, "to wear on a scalp lock"; hoją́, hočą́, hokiją́, "to wear on the foot"; hok'ąk, "to wear on the head"; honąkišig, "to wear leggings"; į́, honązį́, "to wear over the shoulder." So the word horušík means specifically "to wear on the ears." Considering that the faces are alive and animated, it is a bit strange to say that they are "worn" at all. In the Hočąk story, despite the spirit's name, the faces seem rather to grow on the earlobes. Yet the closely related Ioway have these same little faces worn:

There were once ten brothers, six of whom were good hunters, three poor hunters, while the last was the hero of this tale. The eldest boys all killed big game, and the other three killed only turkeys, raccoons, and skunks respectively. One day it was announced that there was to be a great race around the world, and the tenth boy told the three poor hunters to get boughs and make a sweat lodge. The boys did this, while the six who were good hunters jeered and laughed at them and made their own lodge. However, after they had sweated, and the youngest brother had pulled at their hair till it was very long, then he too sweated and became handsome. He put on his best clothes, placed his human head earbobs in his ears, and came out. When the elder brothers saw how fine the younger ones looked, they became very jealous.45

In this tale, the little faces have an independent existence as earbobs. The youngest brother actually places them in his ears. We later learn that they had the power to become animate, just like the more intimately incarnated faces of the Hočąk Įčorúšika. This has led Hall and others, this time I think correctly, to connect these earpieces with actual artifacts dating from the Early Mississippian culture.46 Groggin originally called these artifacts "long nosed god maskettes," a rather odd designation.47 It must be observed that a great many of them have short noses. The idea that they represent gods is a supposition for which there is no evidence at all. "Maskette" was an unfortunate choice of words, since it is already employed to denote a kind of headdress worn among the Indians of the American Southwest. If it is to mean "little masks," it deviates from the primary sense, inasmuch as the article is not designed to hide anything. All we can say is that they are prosopic ornaments. So there once were such little comic faces that men actually wore on the ears and in some cases elsewhere. That their mythological counterparts are not necessarily ear pieces is clear enough from what is said of Redhorn's sons:

At this time, Red Horn's first wife was pregnant and, finally, the old woman's granddaughter gave birth to a male child who was the very likeness of his father, Red Horn, having long red hair and having human heads hanging from his ears. Not long after this, the giantess also gave birth to a male child whose hair was likewise just like his father's. Instead of having human heads hanging from his ears, he had them attached to his nipples.48

Redhorn had two sons who were just beginning to walk, when this [Redhorn's death] happened. One of them was just like his father and the other one had the man faces on his shoulders.49

So these faces were also found on the breasts and on the shoulders. However, they remain paradigmatically ear ornaments. The word horušík comes from ru-šik, "to hang or suspend by hand." This would most often apply to earrings and earbobs, and so the word became specialized. The Mississippian prosopic earpieces were apparently much sought after and are widely distributed over the midwest. Archaeologists have uncovered as many as 37 of these artifacts, made of bone, shell, and copper.50 They were certainly considered items of some value. At least in later times strings of shells or even attractive loose shells (especially white ones) were valued above most other things. They could function to some degree as a medium of exchange, as wampum. The Hočąk word for wampum is worušik, from wa-ho-ru-šik, "something which is hung or suspended by hand." This is our familiar word horušík with the object prefix wa- ("something") attached to it. There is one instance in Hočąk literature where the noun form of the word is found, that is, horušikra, where -ra is something of a definite article meaning, "the one such that (it is)." It is of great interest that the translation given to it is wampum.51 So some earpieces are wampum. The Hočąk culture may have traces of a time when Įčo-horušik-ra, "the faces hung by hand from the ears," were a prized form of wampum. So it seems likely from the philological argument coupled with the archaeological artifacts, that the mythic prosopic earpieces were inspired by actual earrings such as those dating from the Mississippian period. Despite its great historical interest, it tells us nothing about the esoteric meaning of the living ear-faces of Redhorn.

At the end of the first story in one version of the Redhorn Cycle, the hero himself clarifies the import of his several names. He finds this necessary because his older brother Kunu's wife has thrown deer lungs at him on account of one of his names.

Now the little brother stood up and said, "Those in the heavens who created me did not call me by this name, He-who-is-hit-with-deer-lungs. They called me He-who-wears-human-heads-as-earrings." With that he spat upon his hands and began fingering his ears. And as he did this, little faces suddenly appeared on his ears, laughing, winking and sticking out their tongues. Then he spoke again, "Those on earth, when they speak of me, call me Red Horn." With this he spat upon his hands, and drew them over his hair which then became very long and red. Now his brothers became fonder than ever of him and gathered around him laughing. The next oldest brother said to him, "What a wonderful thing you possess." "Come sit next to me," the little brother said to him. Then he spat upon his hands again and passed them over the head of his older bother and the latter's hair became yellow on one side. Then the third brother told his little brother how much he admired him and the latter said, "Come sit next to me." Then he again spat upon his hands and passed them over his brother's head and his hair became very long. Then the little brother said, "This is no ordinary power and I will use no more of it for you."52

We may term this passage the "Proof Episode," since it is here that Redhorn demonstrates his extraordinary identity. What precisely has Redhorn proven? Without doubt, he has demonstrated that he is not just a human being who has been given powers by the spirits, but that he has preëxisted in the spirit world where they had known him by another name. Now he, like a great many other spirits, had chosen to be reborn as a human. This extraordinary status was seen in other ways. That he is also a spirit incarnate is more subtly shown by the fact that he does not fast. This is because, being a spirit himself, he does not really need the blessings of other spirits to exercise his supernatural powers. We later learn, as others assert, that he was created by Earthmaker's own hands, charged to rescue humanity from its supernatural enemies.

One of the many extraordinary and strange qualities of Redhorn is seen in his progeny. In "Redhorn's Father," we are told at the end that Wears Faces on His Ears is the father of Redhorn. [nt] However, as we (and the contemporary Hočąk audience) know, Wears Faces on His Ears is identical with Redhorn. To say that one is the father of the other would seem to suggest the impossible. However, this is not the only place where this paradox is to be found. In the Redhorn Cycle, one of the two sons of Redhorn is exactly like his father. This is not mere twining: in a later episode he is called "Redhorn" and treated uniformly as if he were indeed one and the same person as his father. One might object that belief in the proposition is as impossible as the proposition itself. Yet it gets even more radical. Redhorn also exemplifies what we might term "spatial reincarnation" — not only does Redhorn succeed himself in his progeny, but multiple Redhorns have existed simultaneously. Young Man did not perish when his "son" Redhorn was born. So they both existed simultaneously as the same person. The same is true of Redhorn and his own doppelgänger "son." As odd as this is, we do not have to go far to find other such coeval trinities. The members of the Trinity of the Hindus — Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva — certainly coexist, although they may also be temporally ordered. The Christian Trinity is no different —

(1:9) And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. (10) And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: (11) And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.53

It is obvious that the Son (Jesus), the Father (the source of the voice), and the Holy Spirit (the dove) all were coextant at the moment described in Mark. This idea finds its proper inspiration among the Greeks. There we not only have Demeter and her daughter coexisting as identical goddesses, but we find what appears to be an actual Trinity made of three coexisting forms of the god of the solar disk:

In the mother of Helios [the Sun] we can recognize the moon-goddess, just as in his father Hyperion we can recognize the sun-god himself. This last name means "he above," "the one overhead" — in other words, the Sun, to whom Homer gives the same name, calling him not only Helios, but in other passages Hyperion,54 or by the double name of Hyperion Helios .55 Our ancestors seem to have regarded him as a self-begotten divinity, similar to the many-named husband and son of the Great Mother, a Daktylos or a Kabeiros.56

The other son [of Helios], Phaethon, "the brilliant," was called by this surname of his father, who was also called Helios Phaethon,57 just as his father was called Hyperion Helios.58

So trinities of gods who are spatio-temporally distinct in body, but are in a deeper reality a single being, are not unheard of.

In the Hočąk versions, the little heads seem to have more to do with Orion than they do with reincarnation, although the bearers of these heads are the foremost exemplars of reincarnation in the Hočąk tradition. In the story of "Įčorúšika and His Brothers," we are told explicitly that Įčorúšika and his two loyal brothers are fixed stars which we concluded to be the Belt Stars (Cingulum) of Orion. The pattern of these stars are very much like the pattern of the little faces on Redhorn and his sons, as can be seen in the inset diagram. It may be noted that Alnilam, which is Redhorn himself, is set apart just slightly from the other two stars (Alnitak and Mintaka). Two stars are on a line, and one is a little different. The Cingulum has three important attributes reflected in the mythology of Redhorn:

1. the "two plus one" pattern, 2. near identity, and 3. sequential order in time (while rising).

(1) The "two plus one" pattern of the stars is rendered exactly by the stellar brothers of Įčorúšika. They are three of a kind, the other brothers were adopted and were in essence foxes and coyotes. Yet Įčorúšika is the brightest and most holy and powerful and therefore is set a little apart. The pattern is then repeated in Redhorn and his two wives, Redhorn and his two friends, Redhorn and his two sons, and Redhorn and his two ear-faces. (2) The stars of the Cingulum are also nearly identical in appearance. This is particularly well expressed in the story of Redhorn and his two friends, who stand together before the grandmother of one of them and she cannot tell them apart. Redhorn's two sons are such that one is essentially his doppelgänger, while the other is only slightly different, having his miniature faces placed elsewhere on his body. (3) The sequence in which these stars rise, which is straight up and down from Mintaka to Alnilam to Alnitak, is reflected in the three generations of Redhorn. Wears Man Faces on His Ears is the father of Redhorn, and Redhorn is the father of a doppelgänger who is known by the same name. They are in fact all the same person even though they are ordered sequentially in time. So the physical patterns in space and time of the Cingulum are reflected by various patterns pertaining to the sequencing of three people, their near identity, and their "two plus one" character.

The Hočąk model in someways is more like the Hidatsa. A person who dwells in heaven as a spirit or at least as a ghost, is reincarnated on earth bearing the preëxisting faculty to wear earrings. Furthermore, this faculty is used as proof of the celestial and spiritual origins of the person who possesses it. Redhorn seems to be reincarnated in every way conceivable, and in some ways that are perhaps, properly speaking, inconceivable.


§7. Red People, Hawks, and Headless Monsters. The association of the Hočąk Orion figure with the color red is an important constituent of many of the myths that surround him. In one of these, which largely parallels "The Chief of the Heroka," he is called "Redman" (Wąkšučka). This is because he is red from head to foot. In our Lakota parallel, we have Red Calf (Ptehincala Luta), whose body is presumed to be red on the evidence of his name. This could be dismissed as a coincidence were it not for an interesting episode involving his father, Iron Hawk. In one variant the infant Iron Hawk is found in the sacred red grass (pez’i-śaśa) with his umbilical cord still attached.59 The child was restless, so his new grandfather soothed him.

It was evening, the sun was now set, and the infant cried. So his grandfather mixed red paint and fat together, and with it he went all over the little body, anointing it and rubbing it ...60

 
Red-tailed Hawk

So Iron Hawk, like Redman, at one time was red over his entire body. This is a good context in which to raise the matter of his name. Our comparative exercise is designed to show what connection the figures Iron Hawk (and Red Calf) may have born to Redhorn in antiquity. The name "Red Calf" is not too much out of line, the original rich associations of Redhorn with deer have been replaced by the new hunter's staple of the prairie, the buffalo (pte, tataŋka). Clearly the name "Iron Hawk" (Ćetaŋ Maza) cannot be of any great antiquity, since knowledge of iron was a recent acquisition. The word ćetaŋ, according to Riggs, denotes the pigeon hawk (Falco columbarius) or the chicken hawk, more commonly called the "red-tailed hawk" (Buteo jamaicensis). The latter identity gives him at least a touch of red. The word denoting iron is maza, but "iron" is a kind of default meaning; technically the word maza is more general, and is often translated appropriately as simply "metal." Riggs defines má-za as "metal of any kind." We see this broader meaning in such words as, mázaćeśkika, "metal buttons"; mázahuhu, "armband, bracelets"; mázanapćupe, "finger rings"; mázaska, "silver (white metal)"; mázaskazi, "gold (yellow silver)"; mázasu, "lead"; mazaśa, "copper (red metal)"; mázazi, "brass (yellow metal)."61 Before knowledge of iron, when reference to metal was made in a personal name at all, the default reference for máza was in all likelihood copper.62 So the more ancient meaning of Ćetaŋ Maza is "Metal Hawk," where the metal would be understood to be copper unless indicated otherwise. All this brings to mind the Mississippian "Birdman," who among many images, is also known from an engraving on a copper plate. The Birdman blends characteristics of a hawk, or at least some kind of raptor, with those of humans. There has been little resistance to the idea that Birdman just is Redhorn. As we have shown already, the mythology of Metal Hawk is isomorphic to that of Redhorn to an interesting extent, at least strongly hinting at common origins. Explicit identity of Ćetaŋ Maza with stars seems to have been lost, yet his antecedence places him within the bounds of the Orion mythology of Redhorn. Redhorn has completely lost his connection to hawks, but his antecedence places him with the hawk of the red tail and the red metal.

The Red Man of the Hočągara also finds a counterpart among the arch-enemies of the Lakota. The Crow have a version of the story in which Long Arm is replaced by someone called "Red Woman" (Hísšištawia), although it omits all reference to the Sky People being reborn on earth. It also identifies the adopting grandmother as the Moon. She kills the mother of the Twins very much like the sinister figures in both the Hidatsa and Hočąk versions (q.v. 1, 2). The Crow Twins on one of their adventures kill a monstrous beaver whose tail is a razor-sharp weapon. They keep the tail and decide to look up the killer of their mother. When they catch up to Red Woman, they cut her to ribbons with the beaver tail, and as she reaches in desperation for the sky, they sever her hand, which remains suspended in the firmament as the Hand constellation.88 So Orion is the last vestige of Red Woman. Red Woman is not without her Hočąk parallels. Her name is exactly paralleled by "Redman" save for gender. So part of Orion is Redman among the Hočągara, and part of Red Woman is Orion among the Crow. The similarity of names may not be coincidental.

There are other strange and distant echoes from these remote corners of the Siouan Orion-mythology. In the episode in which Red Woman kills the mother of the Twins, in the Hidatsa version her role is taken by what appears to be a radically different being, a being, however, that lacks none of Red Woman's malevolence. Since Red Woman is associated with Orion, there is some chance that her Hidatsa counterpart in the same episode has the same esoteric value. The Hidatsa say that instead of a malevolent woman dropping a hot stone on the Twins' mother's chest, that a headless monster killed her. She had let him in the door while her brother was out hunting.

There entered a headless monster. He said, "Place me on the west side between the pillows." She said, "Grandfather, what will you have to eat?" He said, "The best is the fat of the stomach. When I eat this fat I must have a pregnant woman lying on her back and then I place the hot fat upon her and eat in this way." The woman was frightened and only half cooked it. He held it himself to the fire and the flames wrapped his hands but he did not seem to feel it. He made her lie down on the floor and placed the hot fat upon her. The woman screamed and twins were born as the woman died.89

The fact that he situates himself in the west comports well with Orion, as that constellation sets almost due west. The fact that he is headless recalls Redman and the Chief of the Heroka, whose heads had been removed and placed in the fire. The fire ought to be the sun in a stellar myth. The white omentum would almost have to be the Milky Way, and its being cooked is its setting with the sun. When she "cooks" it, it is only half done — this should mean that when she sets, the Milky Way is still too far from the sun. When the headless monster cooks it in his own hand — the hand being an alloform of Orion itself — it is fully cooked. After Orion sets (loses its head), the sun enters into the midst of the Milky Way. It is precisely then (ca. June 11) that the fat (Milky Way) is in the fire. After that, the sun moves under the constellation Gemini, Castor and Pollux, who may be the Hidatsa Twins as well. Further on, we are introduced to additional characteristics of this monster. "[He] was a monster with no head but a big mouth from shoulder to shoulder who lives around the bend of the creek."90 The creek is likely again to be the Milky Way. As one looks up from the southern horizon, the Milky Way bends, first following the horizon, then making a turn near Canis Major for the circumpolar region. Orion is just around that bend just up from Canis Major. The mouth running from shoulder to shoulder could be a reflex of the faces of the sons of Redhorn. One of the second sons was said to have face (and therefore mouths) on his nipples, and in a variant story, was said to have them on his shoulders. Among the Ioway the son has a face in the very center of his chest. Later on we are told, "Its body was black, it had two tails and claws like a tiger's."91 The black body is consistent with an asterism. The two tails are less obvious. One could be the Sword Stars, the other might be formed by Mintaka-Algiebba-Cursa. His death proves to be a kind of mirror image of the resurrection of the Hočąk Redman, who had his head rejoined to his body in a sweat bath. The Twins make the monster swallow a small, red-hot, sweat bath stone, which they cause to enlarge within his belly. He then drinks from the bladder only to have the water boil inside his stomach, causing him to explode. Disintegration is the exact opposite of the Hočąk process of reintegrating the headless Redman. Yet in the end it remains just a variant allegorical description of an asterism setting with the sun at the Ocean Sea. For good measure, the Twins burn down his lodge, an image of the same thing. Despite the correlations, though, in the end we simply have too little information to be confident that the headless monster is an alloform of the Hidatsa Orion.

There is another red man who belongs in the set, as will be easier to show in the next section. He is a deity of distant Mexico, but a personage that shows great kinship to Redhorn/Redman. He is known most commonly as Mixcoatl, but also as Camaxtli. In Historia de los Mexicanos por sus pinturas, it says,

Of this god and goddess [the creator couple] were engendered four sons, the eldest was called Tlaclau queteztzatlipuca, whom the peoples of Quaxoçingo and Tascala reverenced as their chief divinity under the name of Camaxtle, and who was said to have been born of a ruddy color all over.92

The redness of Mixcoatl and Redman both have to do with fire, including fire in the form of the sun.


§8. The Fire Sticks of Orion. The association of Orion with fire is found at surprisingly distant places. The Maya have a triangle formed by Alnitak, Rigel, and Saiph as its apices which they call the "Hearth Stones."95 Hearth stones are used to surround a fireplace and act to confine the fire within. So what "fire" could there be within these stellar Hearth Stones? The Orion Nebula (M42) is located almost exactly in the center of this triangle. This is the object that the Blackfeet call the "Smoking Star,"96 and in this case, where there's smoke there's also fire, as the nebula has a distinct reddish hue. It has been argued that the Popul Vuh's Hearth of Creation is one and the same as the Hearth Stones, and that the Orion Nebula is its smoke and fire.97

The cosmic Hearth is not without its parallels in distant reaches of North America. In the Hočąk myth "Įčorúšika and His Brothers," the brothers make use of the hearth to draw to them their (lunar) wives.

Again at night they performed the doing of wanąčere. ... Again they did it until daylight. They did this way for ten nights. They did wanąčére. In the morning, one of them would come. They married all of the women. Įčorúšika married the one who came the very last. This one alone excelled in beauty.98

Įčorúšika and his brothers, who make up the Hočąk version of Orion, have a strong identity with the performance of the rite of wanąčere. This unusual rite is well described by Paul Radin:

Before a man started on a bear hunt he went through the following ceremony, known as wanąčére, literally "concentration of the mind." He either built a special lodge or used his own for the ceremony. A kettle containing food was placed on the fireplace; this was intended for the particular bear the man wished to kill. The food generally consisted of corn or dried fruit; tobacco and red feathers also were offered, the former in small bark vessels. All these offerings were made not only as sacrifices to the bear but in order to make the feast as tempting as possible. When everything was in readiness, the host rubbed two sticks having rough surfaces against each other, called naį́šarax or naįwaijók'ere. The host never ate. He continued his singing and rubbing until he attracted the attention of the bear, as indicated by the appearance of a little streak of flame passing from the fire toward the gifts he brought for him. The same ceremony was performed before starting on a deer or a raccoon hunt.99

image.OrionBelt&Sword.jpg
This is a rite of hunters, and like the Orion of the Greeks, Įčorúšika and his brothers are hunters par excellance. Įčorúšika, as Redhorn, is Chief of the Heroka, a diminutive race of hunting spirits. It is in their nature to attract their wives to them just the way that a hunter uses his magic to seduce other living things to his will. Besides the fire in the hearth, the other important agent in seduction is the pair of naį́šarax sticks. Ostensibly the noise of the sticks coupled with his singing is what attracts the bear to his gifts. What are these sticks in reality? They are the accompanying music to the song that the brothers sing. The singing is of a group of stellar spirits, the sound of the stars. In Hočąk symbolism, sound is light, so the music of the mute stars is their light. The sticks themselves are therefore a source of light. In the rite itself, it is easy to see that rubbing two rough sticks together, since it is an ancient way to start a fire, is a kind of sympathetic magic designed to create a particular kind of flame, the flame that leaps towards the gifts set before the hearth. The naįšarax are rubbing sticks in origin. These converted fire sticks are now used to make music, the symbolic equivalent of the light of the fire; but this music is also the "sound" made by the stellar brothers of the Hočąk Orion. It is a symbolic image of themselves, and it is the starlight of Orion that seduces each moon as it passes before its celestial glory each night (see the Commentary to "Įčorúšika and His Brothers"). Like the ax that Įčorúšika painted red, and the strap hanging from the wall, the naįšarax sticks are the very image of the brothers, the image of the Hočąk Orion [see inset]. Notice that the two naįšarax sticks cross at Alnilam, the star of Įčorúšika, the brightest and therefore the point at which the "sound" of the sticks is most pronounced.

The Hočąk picture of Orion as a pair of rubbing sticks seems to be unique among the Siouan tribes. However, it is not quite without parallel. In Sahagún's great work on the Aztecs, General History of the Things of New Spain, there is a set of illustrations of the Aztec constellations.100 One of these [see inset] is known as Mamalhuaztli. An examination of any planesphere shows that there is no star group exactly like it. In fact it is just a crude illustration designed to show a "bunch of stars" in a line intersecting another such bunch at an acute angle.101 The name of this constellation in Nahuatl means "Fire Drill." Sahagún referred to this constellation as the "Little Sticks" (mastelexos) or "Little Stars" (astillejos).102 The term astilejos is defined by the Nebrija Dictionary as "Orion."103 The name Mamalhuaztli identifies the "Little Sticks" as those employed with the fire drill, the spinning of which creates the friction needed to start a fire. It seems reasonably certain that the Fire Sticks are the Belt (Cingulum) and Sword Stars, which form two straight lines intersecting at an acute angle. Most scholars have seen the Sword Stars as the drill and the Cingulum as the hearth board, so that the drill is upside down.104 Despite this, they have naturally taken the Orion Nebula (M42) as the smoke that results from the drilling.105 It should be emphasized that the asterism is not called the "Board and Drill," but "the Little Sticks." As a pair of intersecting sticks, it would be identical to the Hočąk naįšarax image of Orion. So if the constellation is a drill, then what is the other stick? The only possibility left is that it is the bow stick used to twirl the drill. This puts the whole apparatus right side up. It also allows the drill to almost terminate in M42, the reddish, fuzzy nebula that is so readily homologized to fire and smoke (the Blackfoot "Smoking Star"). So where is the hearth board? The only time that the fire drill is upright is just when it is setting on the western horizon, as we see in the inset. It becomes readily apparent that the horizon itself is the hearth board, and the red clouds of sunset serve nicely as another form of the fire and smoke.

image.OrionDrill.jpg
A Bow Drill Firestarter
Orion at Sunset as a Bow Drill

Nevertheless, the two Aztec "Little Sticks" remind us more of their evolutionary precursors, the rubbing sticks, which in the Hočąk story, the stars of Orion use in the seductive fire rite of wanąčére, where two rough sticks are rubbed together to influence the flames. These same stars are also homologized to the bow and arrow which was often used as a set of fire sticks.

The patron of the fire drill, the mamalhuaztli, is the old fire god of the "Chichimecs," Mixcoatl. As a god of fire, he can be expected to rule over lightning as well. Thus Seler takes his S-shaped staff, the xonecuilli ("crooked foot" or "crooked at the bottom (foot)"), as a representation of lightning. "That is where presumably his name originates, which is otherwise difficult to explain. For this god was called Mixcoatl, 'Cloud Serpent'."106 However, the Milky Way is also of this same shape with a pronounced crook at its base, just like the xonecuilli. This better explains an expanded version of his name, Itzac Mixcoatl, "White Cloud-Serpent." Lightning is not usually characterized as white nor does it issue from white clouds, but if we understand the cloud in his name to refer to the Milky Way, as it did with the stellar Thunderbirds of the Lakota above, then his name makes perfect sense. Since Mixcoatl is indubitably a star god, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that he, among other things, must personify the Milky Way. The Mimixcoa, "Cloud Serpents," a race of spirits that bear a reduplicated form of Mixcoatl's name, are gods of the stars.107 Mixcoatl is also lord over those who are killed in battle.108 The Aztecs believed that the fallen and those who were sacrificed, actually became stars. The reason that Mixcoatl (also known as Camaxtli) is the god of the fire drill, Seler contends, is that he is first the god of the circumpolar stars that rotate eternally around the pole in a circle.109 The North Star is where he plants his reed fire drill, and the stars reflect its rotation. However, it would be hard to believe that the very god of the fire drill has no special connection to the celestial Fire Drill constellation. Even at the very least, as the stellar god of the fire drill he is master of its stellar counterpart. Quite unexpectedly, the Annals of Cuauhtitlan tells us that Mixcoatl's consort, Itzpapalotl, teaches the "Chichimecs" that the three guardians of the old god of the fire, the three stones of the hearth, are called Miscoatl, Tozpan and Ihuitl.110 Clearly the first name is only an altered form of Mixcoatl. One might well expect these three stones to be identical to the three Hearth Stones of the Maya (see above), which are Alnitak, Rigel, and Saiph. The first of these is the star right next to Alnilam (Įčorúšika). Both the Hearth Stones and the Fire Drill are consistent with the conclusion that M42 is the smoke and fire around which these variants of Orion are organized. In not too distant antiquity when the Aztecs lived north of Mexico, a god of both the fire drill and the Milky Way, a god who governed the souls of dead warriors especially, would have been of a piece with the ideas organized around the image of the celestial Hand constellation. Among the northern tribes, the Milky Way is almost universally taken to be a pathway trod by the souls of the dead (see above). The access-way to this stellar highway is found through a hole in the sky at Orion. It was this hole that was blocked by a hostile chief of the upper world, an effort that went in vain, since his hand was severed by a good spirit (usually one of the Twins), and cast into the sky as a constellation. It is in the center of this Hand asterism that the portal for the souls of the departed is located.111 So Orion acts as the gateway into Spiritland. It is therefore of some interest that the Aztec god of the fire drill, Mixcoatl, is also this very pathway personified, as well as the ultimate controlling force behind the Fire Drill constellation. Not only that, but he is the god of those dead who are transformed into stars once their souls ascend into the sky. The only thing missing in the Aztec model is the connection between the hole in the hand and Orion.


§9. The Hand and the Fire Drill. The Aztec Mamalhuaztli, the Fire Sticks asterism identified with Orion, seems to have nothing at all in common with the northern Hand constellation until we are made aware of a very

And therefore [the constellation] is called the Drill (Mamalhuaztli), because the fire stick equipment resembles it. Because if one starts the fire stick equipment, really the fire sticks bore themselves into one another, so that the fire flares up, so that it breaks out, so that it kindles itself. And thus originated as well the custom that one burned oneself on the hand, our men burning themselves on the hand to prove reverence to him [Mamalhuaztli]. They were afraid, the men frightened themselves and said and meant that anyone who does not burn himself on the hand would have to drill fire in his hand in Mictlan (Spiritland), once he had died. Thus, everyone of our men burned himself on the hand, bringing this brand to both sides in his hand according to order and rule. Thus, they copied Mamalhuaztli. In this way the thing came into an arranged and regulated condition, so thus regulated and arranged, their hand burn was in their hand.112

One translation used by Aveni and by Hall, has "wrist" in place of "hand," but the Nahuatl text does not seem to support that. The word used for "to burn on the hand" is ma-tlatia, where ma- means "hand, arm" and tlatia means "to burn."113 Since the word ma is so general, it cannot exclude the wrists, but it also does not specify that part of the arm either. Sahagún seems to suggest that the Fire Sticks are "copied" into both sides of the (left?) hand. Since there are at least six stars in the two converging "sticks," this would involve burning at least six star marks. In honoring the Fire Sticks, the devotée is also honoring the god of that instrument, Mixcoatl. Here we have closed the gap between the Fire Drill and the Hand. The hand is now that of any evil-doer who does not honor the god who serves Mixcoatl. Now in Mictlan, the Otherworld, it is his hand that will have the hole in it. The old fire god governs the fire sticks, both stellar and mundane; but he also governs those righteous dead destined to become stars themselves, and to tread upon the stellar path of which Mixcoatl is the personification.

The Aztec rite corresponds point by point with what is said in the Hidatsa myth, although many correlations are by opposition:

  Hidatsa Aztec Comparative
(1) Those with a bore mark Those without a bore mark Those with(out) a bore mark
(2) on their earlobes on their hand on their earlobe/hand
(3) when they are born, when they die in their nativity/death
(4) came from and go to came from / go to
(5) the Sky People, Spiritland (Mictlan), the Spiritland above/below,
(6) having gone there having gone there having gone there
(7) after death after death after death
(8) in a state of grace (righteousness). in a state of unrighteousness, in a state of (un)righteousness.
(9) They passed through a hole must bore into They must penetrate through
(10) in an astral hand their hand a hand
(11) placed in the stars. to ignite a fire. transformed into stars/fire.
(12) This is because the stars of Orion are the hand of Long Arm. This is because the hands of the unrighteous do not contain an image of Orion. This is because the hand does (not) constitute a stellar image of Orion.
(13) The Hand asterism has its role because Long Arm attempted to block the hole in the sky, preventing the Twins from returning to earth. Because they did not honor the god Fire Drill, they had to drill fire in their own hands. The hand with the hole assumes its role because of the iniquity of its owner, who dishonored a stellar god.

The Hidatsa believe that only the righteous can become Sky People, and these people are born with bore holes, as it happens, in their ears. So if they have a bore hole (b), then they had led righteous lives on earth (r). Among the Aztecs, if they do not have a symbolic bore hole (~b), then they had not lead righteous lives on earth (~r). These are inverses of one another: "b ⊃ r" versus "~b ⊃ ~r"; or the latter's equivalent "r ⊃ b," which is the converse. The converse is stated in the enjoinment that the Aztecs use fire brands like the drill stick in order to burn marks that form an image of Orion the Fire Drill on their hands. This would also make the marks symbolic fire drill marks, all of which is part of honoring the god Mamalhauztli. The reversed direction of the converse implication is matched by the reversed directions in time and space: for the Hidatsa those with the bore holes come to earth from a past life in Spiritland; but for the Aztecs, those with (or without) bore holes go to Spiritland from a past life on earth. They both agree, however, that the person with a hole in his hand is an unrighteous being who resides in the land of spirits. The Hidatsa make reference to this unrighteous being in their myth of Long Arm, which matches the basic actions of the Aztec rite in an interesting way:

Hidatsa Aztec Comparative
The Twins transform Long Arm's hand into the Orion stars The rite commends righteous men to transform their hands into images of the Orion stars They transform a hand into the Orion stars
by manually pulling off his hand and throwing it into the sky. by using a fire stick, the instrument exemplified by those very stars. by using the executive instrument exemplified in the Orion stars.

The Twin uses his own hands, as Beowulf did to Grendel in the Anglo-Saxon epic, to rip off the hand of Long Arm and transform it into the Orion Hand constellation. The Aztecs use fire sticks to transform their own hands into an image of the god Fire Drill, the Aztec Orion. Whether in this world or the next, the hand is the object on which the actions of the Fire Drill, or its symbolic equivalent, are made to honor Mamalhuaztli, the constellation of Orion. That the appropriate object onto which to mirror Orion is a hand could hardly be a coincidence. Among the Hidatsa, it is precisely a stellar hand in which a hole in the sky subsists. This hand debars the unrighteous who must wander on the earth, but it fails to debar the righteous, who go through its hole to the Above world.

Now when we turn to the Hočąk version of the Orion mythology, we find a surprising resonance to the ideas of distant Mexico, even though Redhorn has little to do with the symbolism surrounding the hand. What is said about the Aztec rite of Mamalhuaztli can be broken into two parts: (1) the rite itself: What the righteous do to observe the rite in this world, and (2) the myth about the rite: What happens to the unrighteous in the underworld (of Mictlan) for having dishonored the god by neglecting his rite. These two parts of the Aztec account correspond to two different but related Redhorn myths. The first of these is the "Proof Episode" from the Redhorn Cycle (see above), and the second is the story of Įčorúšika's captivity in the underworld. A full translation of this latter episode is given elsewhere, but it can be adequately summarized for the present purposes. A Waterspirit woman in league with his own brothers, tricks Įčorúšika (Redhorn) and causes him to fall into the underworld of the Bad Waterspirits. They are intent upon eating him. They bind him in irons and reject pleas from Loon and Otter that he be spared. As the Bad Waterspirits harden their resolve, Įčorúšika suddenly bursts his bonds, which were really never any match for his spiritual powers. Grabbing fire brands, he makes havoc with the Waterspirits, putting their grand estate to the torch and igniting even the Waterspirits themselves. When he returned to the surface, he struck one of his disloyal brothers with a fire brand which caused him to turn into a fox. This merely revealed his hidden vulpine nature as well as serving as a punishment for dishonoring Įčorúšika and his two faithful brothers.114

The parallels between these rites and stories can be mapped onto one another with eight major points of correspondence as shown in the table below.

Master Paradigm   Paradigm I Mamalhuaztli Rite Redhorn Cycle Myth   Paradigm II Mamalhuaztli Myth Įčorúšika Myth
[1] On the surface of, vs. below, the earth, On the surface of the earth, Here on earth, Here on earth, In the underworld, In the underworld (Mictlan), In the underworld,
[2] those who (dis)honored those who honored those who honored those who honored those who dishonored those who dishonored those who dishonored
[3] the Orion god the Orion god the Fire Drill god Redhorn [= Alnilam] the Orion god the Fire Drill god Įčorúšika [= Alnilam]
[4] were rewarded vs. punished were rewarded were recognized were rewarded were punished were punished were punished
[5] by being given (burn) marks by being given marks by giving themselves marks by being given marks by him by being burned by being condemned to drill a fire by being burned by him
[6] on the body (specifically the hand) on the hand (vs. earlobes or hair) on the hand on the earlobes and hair on the hand vs. the body on their own hands on their bodies
[7] made by fire sticks (drill vs. brand) made by fire sticks (vs. water) made by fire brands made by saliva by fire sticks (brand vs. drill), by using the fire drill using a fire brand
[8] which were, or effected, a manifestation (image) of the god's most noted attributes. in the image of the god's most noted attributes. of the god's most noted attributes (stellar fire drill pattern). of the god's most noted attributes (Redhorn's hair length and color). which were a manifestation of the god's most noted attributes. (the manifestation of the god's most noted attributes). (the horn of the spirit, one of the god's most noted attributes).

The first thing to observe is that the Aztec-Hočąk parallels unfold from a single paradigm which in both cases breaks into two variant halves, each of which runs parallel to its foreign cognate. Given internal as well as external isomorphisms, we can say,

Mamalhuaztli Rite : Mamalhuaztli Myth :: Redhorn Cycle Myth : Įčorúšika Myth (Internal/Internal)
Mamalhuaztli Rite : Redhorn Cycle Myth :: Mamalhuaztli Myth : Įčorúšika Myth (External/External)

The second relationship defines the two halves of the action (Paradigm I and II), the first reflects the fact that the two halves are themselves isomorphic. The basic difference between these two halves, both internally and externally, is that the first pertains to what happens to those who honor the Orion god, and the second to what happens to those who dishonor him. Let us investigate the second set first.

We have already seen how the Aztec Orion-as-fire-drill corresponds to the Hočąk rite of wanąčére. Now we see correspondences between the Hočąk Orion mythology and an Aztec rite. In the case of Orion in its capacity as fire drill, we have seen that its natural hearth board is the red horizon itself, the red clouds being its smoke and fire. It is this same red cloud bank that forms the hair of Redhorn. The clouds are associated with fire inasmuch as they obtain their hue and light from the great Fire of the sun. However, the clouds themselves are more essentially water. So it is, then, that Redhorn takes his saliva — called "mouth water" (i-nį) by the Hočągara115 — and creates the length and color of his hair from that. He does much the same with his two brothers, who again represent the two flanking stars in the Cingulum of Orion (Alnitak and Mintaka). Nevertheless, as we see from the second set of correspondences, the water-made hair of Redhorn is also itself a fire stick. We discover this by correspondences among Hočąk Redhorn myths. The name "Redhorn" is a reference to his red hair, which was typically arranged in a queue or "horn" (he). In the story "The Baldheaded Warclub," Redhorn, there called "Only One Horn," has this horn in the center of his forehead. During a crucial battle, he took off this horn and thrust it into the waters of the Ocean Sea, and immediately the face of the waters burnt like fuel oil. After that, he was known as "Without Horns" (Herokaga). Here we cannot be certain that the "horn" in question was not imagined as a literal one, although in Mississippian culture, queues were worn hanging down from the forehead and often terminated in a horn or hornlike sleeve. What turns the waters red like fire is the sun itself when it rises, and given the value of the "horn" of hair as the reddened clouds of the horizon, this is an appropriate image. As Orion progresses after parting from the sun, it loses its coincidence with the sunrise and the red clouds on the horizon, and therefore the spirit also loses his "horn." This is the symbolic image of Redhorn triumphant, the depiction of Orion emerging again to rise with the sun, whose light the warleader uses to turn the waters red. In contradistinction, the episode of Įčorúšika's harrowing of the underworld, represents Orion's heliacal setting, and the constellation's two month period of absence from the sky. In his fight to reascend, he breaks his bonds and lights up the chthonian water world with a flaming brand. His breaking out in that myth is the same as his victory as Only One Horn on the shores of the Ocean Sea, but Įčorúšika sets the waters on fire using a flaming brand of wood. The flame is the symbol of the sun, and the wooden brand is the counterpart to his "horn." It's not surprising for a woodland tribe that the forested horizon could also be symbolized as wooden. These correlations show that the wooden fire stick with its flaming tip is another image — a semiotic synonym — for the red "horn" of hair. So for both the Hočągara and the Aztecs, it is a fire stick, a stick whose tip is ignited, that punishes the god's enemies in the underworld. And it is indeed the underworld where the enemies of Orion are to be found, those who would not only dishonor the stellar god, but consign him to oblivion. So those who dishonored the god are made to burn using a fire brand, an image that is also of a piece with that of the wanąčére sticks, whose friction causes the fire to bend to the will of their user. In the Aztec rite, those who dishonored the god by refusing his painful homage, will also taste of the fire. They must use a fire stick, the fire drill, to drill a flame using their own hand as a hearth board. This bringing of unity to the hand and the fire drill, must recall the striking fact of the external unity of the northern Hand constellation with the Aztec Fire Drill constellation. The igniting of their own flesh is the rite's internal counterpart of using a fire brand to superficially burn their flesh to symbolize the same process. So too the Hočąk Redhorn uses a fire brand of greater size and power to burn the flesh of those who have dishonored him. The Aztecs tell how those who dishonored the Fire Sticks must have fire sticks burn their own flesh; the Hočągara tell us how those who dishonored Redhorn had a "red horn" burn their own flesh. Thus, both the "red horn" and the fire drill are manifestations of the gods' essential attributes which in this case leave their mark on their detractors' bodies.

This act brings us back to the first part of the Aztec-Hočąk correspondence. The devotees of the god, who in both cases live on earth, were given certain marks which set them apart as righteous. In both cases the marks of the god reflect his central attributes. For the Aztecs, this is a burn mark in the image of the stars of the Fire Sticks constellation whose instrument is the very means by which fires are ignited in the first place. Among the Hočągara, those who complimented the god, those who represent his two brother stars, are rewarded by being given some of his attributes: solar color and a great length of hair out of which a formidable "horn" (queue) could be fashioned. Thus, both sets of devotees are images, however imperfect, of their spiritual leader. Where they seem to differ radically is that the Hočąk version portrays the divine image in terms of hair and its color, and effects it with "mouth water." Yet the hair and its color, as we have seen, are exact counterparts within Hočąk symbolism, to the celestial fire brand by which the waters are set aflame. The long and red (or yellow) hair just is a fire brand, and is not really incompatible at all with the Aztec image. What does seem difficult to reconcile is that Redhorn himself creates with the same saliva the small heads on his earlobes; whereas the Aztecs use fire to create a stellar image on the hands. Yet even this gap is bridged by the Hidatsa, whose hole in the sky is really a hole in a stellar spirit's hand, and the journey of souls back through this hand is marked by empty earring holes left in their earlobes.

In addition to the clouds as a manifestations of the red horn, we have their stellar counterpart in the Sword Stars. As we have seen, the disloyal bother is struck by a brand and thereby transformed into a fox. He appears to be an image of M42, the nebulous "fuzzy" star in the center of the Sword. It is obvious that the red fox, especially with respect to his tail, makes a nice counterpart to the red hair or "horn" of Redhorn. The coincidence of the Sword Stars as a stellar "horn" (queue) and the red fox as coinciding with the asterism could hardly be an accident. In this incident with the fox brother, we see the whole harrowing of the underworld recapitulated in miniature. The blackened face fox, who allied himself in perfidy and treason with the underworld powers embodied in the Waterspirits, has dishonored his brother, who now punishes him by using a fire brand on his body. However, instead of setting him afire in accord with Paradigm II.5, the blow causes the young man to transmute into a fox. This is more like Paradigm I.5 in which the fire brand leaves a mark; but in this case the "mark" is the reformulation of the whole body, which is mainly the generation of the reddish hair that graces the head of Redhorn himself, making the fox into an image of one of the god's central attributes (I.8). And like the saliva that transformed the earlobes into faces, the opposite of water transforms the object of this coup into another kind of being, one which satisfies rather obliquely Paradigm II by being a kind of embodiment of fire itself. Certainly, esoterically, the fox brother as M42 is stellar and as an originator of light, however "fuzzy," it is itself a kind of living "fire." The Sword Stars of which the fox is the centerpiece, form one of the naįšarax sticks of the stellagram of Orion pictured in the wanąčére rite. It is these sticks that correspond to the fire sticks — the Mamalhuaztli Fire Drill — that is expressed in the Aztec stellagram of these same stars of Orion. The stellar horn made up of the Sword Stars is an alloform of a fire stick (brand). So the Drill of Mamalhuaztli corresponds to the fire brand of Redhorn and the red fox which Redhorn created with it. So the Įčorúšika myth continues on with an episode that integrates parts of Paradigm I and II.

A high order of thematic syncretism is also seen in the Arapaho version. In the Arapaho version, we find mention of a striking artifact that combines both the drill and its bow into a single entity. While Little Star (Morning Star) is living with his grandmother Old Woman Night, she makes a special bow for him:

The old woman brought in the sticks and began to make a bow and arrows (origin of the so-called 'lance', or 'coyote-bow'). The stick for the bow was not a choice one, for it had a knot near one end that gave the bow an awkward appearance, throwing the "belly" to one side of the center. The arrows were not exceptionally good either.116

The knot that is near one end (but not at the very end) is clearly M42, as the fuzzy disc of the nebula is like a knot of wood compared to the uniform substance of the other stars. This bow, which is comprised of the Sword Stars, is then remade:

For some time Little Star remained with his grandmother and grew up to be quite a young man. During that time she made his bow into a beautiful lance, using the feathers that she had carefully preserved in her tipi.117

George Dorsey comments in a footnote,

The bow was reversed for a lance, the end with the knot being next to the ground: in this position it had owl feathers at the lower end, then just above them magpie feathers, then at the knot bluebird feathers, while near the top was a hawk feather, and at the top an eagle-wing feather.118

The natural interpretation would be that the owl represents the darkness below the horizon, the magpie the black and white of the horizon, the bluebird the day sky, the hawk the sun, and the eagle the vault of the sky. However, what is important is that the knot is next to the bottom just as M42 would be when Orion sets on the horizon and the Sword Stars stand upright (see inset above). So for the Arapaho, the Sword Stars are at once both a bow and a lance, the two components needed for a fire drill kit. What is more, the knot, which represents M42, is at the very place where Mamalhuaztli's drill would be generating fire. Part of the reason for collapsing the bow and drill-lance is to make some space for the hand, which is also an important component in the Orion imagery. Thus, we are told,

That small group of stars early at night with a row of stars along the side represents the hand of Little Star with his lance.119

And George Dorsey says in a footnote,

The bow was also called lance (kaaxayenā) by the narrator. It forms a constellation of several stars in a long row. Near it are a group of stars called bäečet, hand.120

So among the Arapaho we find the Hand of the Siouan Orion integrated with what appears to be a vestige of the Aztec Fire Drill, the bow and drill-lance.

The actual drilling in the hand might seem utterly unique, but something rather like this can be found among the Maya. In the Dresden Codex 5-6, there are four panels each showing a seated god operating a fire drill [see inset]. This is not exceptional in itself, but what is unusual is what is being used as the hearth board. What the gods are drilling into is none other than a day symbol called manik. It represents one of twenty signs repeated in 13 day "weeks" (now called trecenas) in  a 260 day tzolkin (tonalpohualli) calendar. Each of the gods in the Dresden Codex is drilling into a symbol, in particular, a calendrical glyph shaped like a cupped hand, which certainly recalls the symbolic hand drilling of the Aztecs. It was once thought that this glyph was just a representation of a hand with its thumb and forefinger nearly touching, the posture of the hand used when eating.121 However, the understanding of manik by contemporary scholars seems to weaken this conclusion. It is now believed that the manik glyph is a representation of a scorpion, as it was discovered that the word actually denotes this animal. Nevertheless, the sign represents a very odd depiction of a scorpion, one that is missing a view of half its legs, its signature pincers, and its head. It certainly looks like nothing so much as a hand. What seems probable is that it is meant to be both a scorpion (as by name) and a hand (as by design). This is confirmed in a complementary way on a Mayan vase, where Pauahtun gods are shown making the manik sign with their hands.122 The association of the hand and in this case the constellation Scorpius was preserved among some tribes of the Apache, who used to live in closer proximity to the Siouan tribes. Both the Northern Tonto and the San Carlos Apaches have an asterism which they call Ila, "Hand," and which contains a red star which rises in the early morning in the winter. This star would seem to be Antares.123

In Mayan iconography, we often see the scorpion as a killer. Interestingly, he is a killer of deer. In the Madrid Codex 44B and C, a scorpion is shown holding a deer by its right leg with a rope. It is interesting that the rope is held by a human hand that replaces the stinger that would ordinarily terminate its tail. In 48C, the scorpion's tail terminates not in a stinger, but in a pincer (the scorpion's "hand"), and it is with this appendage that it holds a deer on a rope. Madrid 39B is of particular interest [see inset]. Here a deer is killed by another deer that floats above it. The tail of the upper deer has been replaced by a scorpion tail, but it too terminates in a hand. The hand holds a weapon resembling a dirk, which it thrusts through the back of the lower deer. The tip of this weapon is shaped like the actual stinger of a scorpion. It also shows, with the other examples, that it is commonplace to substitute a human hand for the scorpion's stinger. Here too, therefore, it seems plausible that the manik sign was viewed as representing both a hand and a scorpion. The picture of the superior deer in Madrid 39B is actually a composite which expresses an equation: deer = scorpion = hand. The identity of the scorpion and the hand is clear enough from the duality of the manik sign, which is at once a scorpion and a hand. The deer is also correlated with manik. The Cakchiquel Maya call the day denoted by the manik glyph, ceh or queh, "deer,"124 as do the Quiché Maya.125 The Central Mexicans simply replaced the manik glyph with a mazatl ("deer") glyph in the form of a deer head, or some other synecdoche for a deer, such as antlers or hooves.126 So the deer is also correlated with the manik sign. The opposite curvature of the left and right components of the hand guard on the dirk suggests a twisting motion just like that given to a drill. That the terminus of the dirk is an actual stinger to a scorpion is not only consistent with this conception, but reinforces it. As Seler remarks, "The scorpion, the sting of which occasions a burning smart, is the animal of the fire god and is therefore placed with the fire god."127 The spinning drill then, as a stinger, "burns," and as the instrument of the Fire God, it is best symbolized by his special creature the scorpion.

The manik day sign understood this way seems to have both mythological and astronomical counterparts. That a representation of a day sign should be used to mark the inauguration of the deer season is puzzling to say the least, since the day sign belongs to a 260 day calendar that drifts with the seasons in a very pronounced way. The only way to restore the manik temporal marker so that it remains congruent with the seasons is for the day sign to also have an astronomical value. In the case of the manik sign, this is easy to adduce. Inasmuch as manik means "scorpion," its astronomical counterpart would be a scorpion constellation. At least some of the ancient Maya did have such an asterism and it happened to correspond to the Old World's Scorpius. That the scorpion and the deer in the Madrid Codex are connected by a rope need not mean that they are in proximity to one another, as Milbrath remarks in another context, "Although Scorpius appears next to a turtle [Orion] in the sky band, it is actually at the other side of the sky ..."128 As celestial opposites, the ascendancy of one means the fall of the other. Thus, on Dec. 8, 755 AD, when Orion set at dawn, Scorpius rose at the same time;129 and when Orion was setting with the sun at the opposite time of the year (May 9, 755 AD), Scorpius was rising.130 This is the familiar tug of war between Orion and Scorpius that we have seen in detail elsewhere (see above and below). How does this astronomy pertain to deer? The window to the connection can be seen in the Central Mexican god Mixcoatl whose name, "Cloud Serpent," is universally believed to refer to the Milky Way. His consort is a two-headed (quaxolotl) deer who fell from heaven. In a wall painting of the Sky Band, which depicts the Milky Way, both ends have cervid head parts. The bicephalic deer is dual-headed for the same reason that the heraldric eagles of Russia, Austria, Albania, and Poland have their heads facing in opposite directions: they are involved with both compass directions simultaneously. That bicephalic deer, the mate of the Milky Way, has heads on both ends, facing opposite directions. This would imply that there are deer asterisms at both ends of the Milky Way. We know that the ancient Maya had a scorpion asterism at the same site as our Scorpius constellation. This would be sufficient to identify the stellar scorpion with the deer, or at least to pair them as neighbors. This would give us the manik sign save for the odd but indisputable association of manik with a hand. If we look to the other side of the Milky Way, we find an equally interesting duplication. Several major tribes today have their stellar scorpions on this side of the Milky Way, the opposite of the ancient systems with which we are familiar. The Yalcobá of the Yucatán have their scorpion constellation running from Orion to Sirius, and in the Yucatec area it runs from Gemini to Sirius 131 These scorpion constellations are on the "wrong" side of the Milky Way. A non-Mayan tribe, the Huichols, have a scorpion constellation so large that it stretches from one horizon to the other,132 and the neighboring Cora tribe calls the Tres Marías (Orion), Tzicuricat, from tzicùri, "scorpion."133 So for the Cora, the scorpion constellation is the same at least in part as our Orion, as it is indeed for the Mayan Yalcobá. We do not known how far back those competing schemes — indeed opposite layouts — have maintained their identities among Mayan tribes.

The deer does not seem to have been Orion in the ancient Mayan sources with which we are familiar, which divide Orion between hearth stones and a turtle asterism. However, there does seem to be a deer asterism on this side of the Milky Way, as we have already seen. Milbrath speculates that this deer constellation may be the Hyades, since that cluster is "V" shaped like a pair of horns. In fact, in world ethnoastronomy, the Hyades are very often homologized to deer or antelopes (but also to crocodilians, because it looks like a pair of gaping jaws). This deer should be associated with one or both of the heads of the quaxolotl deer. On this end of the Milky Way, we not only have the deer and in some cases the scorpion, but the hand. As we have seen, the Central Mexican rite devoted to Mamalhuaztli involves an imitation fire drilling of the hand by burning it for the sake of honoring the god Mamalhuaztli, "Fire Drill." He corresponds well with Orion, and as we have seen, Orion is actually homologized to a hand (with a hole in it) among certain Siouan tribes and probably the earlier Mississippian civilizations. If this is also astronomical, we have to wonder on which side of the Milky Way is the scorpion into which he is drilling? In this case, the manik sign may be more essentially a hand, which would place it on the Orion-Hyades side. The supposition that it is on the Scorpius side would suggest that a complete symmetry had developed on either side of the Milky Way.

If we return our attention to the deer-scorpion-hand that kills the deer beneath it (Madrid 39B), we can get a better idea of the astronomical correlates involved. Others have already suggested that the deer hunting almanac of the Madrid Codex represents the opening of the deer season with the achronical rising of Scorpius, but can we be certain on which side of the Milky Way this deer-scorpion-hand is located?134 Regardless, the achronical rising of Scorpius is almost materially equivalent to the heliacal setting of Orion-Hyades; and the heliacal rising of Scorpius is almost materially equivalent to the achronical setting of Orion. So the rising of the deer on the scorpion side of the Milky Way is the death and setting of the deer on the other side. The two sides of the Milky Way move in lock step, so each side is equally a participant, but inasmuch as the deer (according to the Sky Band) terminates that end of the galaxy, it is first to "die" (set with the sun).

[Scorpion - burning - hand. Scorpion ≈ to the Hand. Scorpion ≈ the Drill. Scorpion's rising is the setting of Orion, which is its drilling (or vice-versa). Mixcoatl in control of  both.]


§10. Arrows. [Fire drill and bow & arrow. Arrow Spirits: Hidatsa, Hočąk. Arrow = soul; Mississippian. Coyote Bow; Herokaga; Redhorn's race, his identity with the arrow; Red Calf and Rattling Hooves; Mamalhuaztli = Mixcoatl (arrow, hunter). Arrow material from "Cave of Heroka." Mixcoatl, arrow, reed, fire sticks, souls of the &Alnilam. Alnitak rises with the sun on the solstice, 1550, Jn 18. Controls sun's turning point. June 17, Alnilam rose at 90° 4.922', due east the day before the solstice. In 1054 Alnilam set with the sun on May 1. The ideal planting time for corn is April 20-May 10. No one needs to know when the solstice is, that's too late. Arapaho: ear piercing is proof against lethal strike by an arrow, Dorsey 180-181. The Hidatsa Charred Body is = the (flint) arrowhead. Beckwith, Myths and Ceremonies of the Mandan and Hidatsa, 135-136.]

In a Crow myth, Spring Boy turns into an arrow and shoots himself through the hole in heaven.135

In this cognate Arikara myth, an arrow is explicitly identified with the soul. "The first arrow that he shot was black. It was black. Now again when he shot an arrow, it was yellow. Now again when he shot an arrow, it was yellow. And there again when he shot an arrow, it was bright red. Now this one was white. And here the white one was a spirit. He said, 'Mother, get up!' The arrow flew. Then the corpse of his mother moved. Then she put her legs over the edge. Then she got down. It was a scaffold."136

When Long Teeth was captured by Long Arm, he was hanged on a forked tree. "But Drinks Brains went there too. When he shot himself a yellow one, and a black one, and a red one, and a white one, he too was an arrow. Then they took him there where Long Teeth was. Then he said, 'Now I have come here Long Teeth, here I have come.'137

"The Old Woman Spider (SuxtiikIsís) said, 'Now here it is thus, here it's nice! Here you are tough! Now it'll be that way. Watch over your brother. Here he is a holy one, your brother who transforms himself into an arrow. Now your mother, when you two brought her back to life, here this one was an arrow, and you yourself are the spider. You are going to imitate me too.' And that is the reason now today that an arrow is fierce enough to kill us. Also this spider when it bites someone, then the spiders, the black ones, kill him. When it bites him, then it kills him."138

One night while the boy was walking around, he came across a bow and some arrows. The boy jumped at the bow and arrows and picked them up. 139

He told the people that the bow he had was not like other people's bows; that it really was the rainbow up in the heavens. The four arrows he carried were also from the heavens, for they were stars, and they had come to destroy the wild animals.140

It is said of the Arapaho Little Star, "With the aid of his bow, he could travel very fast."141

The bow of Little Star is the origin and paradigm for all future bows. "He went out of the tent, and started to go to his bow. It was dark. He met a young man. He said to him: 'Come with me! I will show what I possess.' The young man followed him, and they came to where he had left the bow. Then he unwrapped it, and let the young man see all what was tied to it, and explained the meaning of everything. Then he said: 'This I shall leave with you, for you and for all men. It will guide you. It contains the gift of the father, of the earth, the animals, mankind, rivers, woods, of what is on and under ground, of breath (life). There will be a change (wars) in the future. This will be your weapon. All weapons will be made from this one'."142

Little Star speaks, saying, "'Now I will show you that it is true. Thus I shall go up, by this bow.' Then he motioned with the bow in his right hand; then took it in his left and made the same motion; again he took it in his right, and again in his left hand. Then the fifth time he swung it in the middle, while all the feathers on it moved. Then he gave it to the young man, and he himself rose to the sky and became a star."143 This comes close to suggesting that it is by the motion of the bow that Little Star ascends into the sky.

"After the Wheel was nicely shaped, this man in the usual method, painted it, and placed the Four-Old-Men at the four cardinal points. Not only were these Old-Men being located on the Wheel, but also the morning star (cross); a collection of stars sitting together, perhaps the Pleiades, the evening star (Lone Star); chain of stars, seven buffalo bulls; five stars called a "hand," and a chain of stars, which is the lance; a circular group of seven stars overhead, called the "old camp"; the sun, moon, and Milky Way." [Dorsey, 205]

For the Yana of Northern California, the Belt Stars are Coyote's arrow.144


§11. Foxes, Coyotes, and M42. Not only are flora used to express the fuzziness of Orion's M42, but fauna as well. The Hočąk story has an important episode in which we learn something about the animal identity of the rebellious brothers of Įčorúšika. When Įčorúšika unexpectedly turns up alive, the brothers who tried to kill him put charcoal on their faces and begin to cry in mourning.

(63) Just the same, he had a piece of firewood and went toward them. The first one he clobbered a good one. Then a little fox went out of him. "Thus I had meant to destroy you utterly. (64) I thought, What will people call a 'fox'? So I have not killed you." ... (65) Out of mercy the people had tried to live with all the kinds of foxes and coyotes, but they were not worthy of compassion. They were bad.145

That Įčorúšika has returned at a time when the foxes and coyotes have their faces blackened shows that they are still below the horizon and not seen (black) when Alnilam has risen with the sun (flaming brand). When foxes are born their faces are black, so that blackened faces also shows them to be newborns. This means that they trail Alnilam, as they follow him in time, being symbolically newly born. They then begin to cry as fasters do when they seek a blessing. The crying is the well attested symbolism of sound for light, and indicates that not long after Įčorúšika has risen, they too are emitting light. Since the three primary brothers are the Cingulum, it is clear that the closely trailing stars who are the fox and coyote brothers are in fact the Sword Stars and others found below the Belt Stars. When Įčorúšika hits one of the brothers with a flaming brand, this indicates that the star in question is rising with the sun. This particular star emerges as a fox. Foxes are furry and of a reddish hue. One of the Sword Stars is the fuzzy Orion Nebula (M42) which also has a reddish color. Furthermore, the myth tells us that Įčorúšika commanded that "a portion of [the fox's] flesh will be taken away forever." This refers to another story in which Fox has almost all the fat squeezed out of his body as a punishment for greed (the same vice he shows in the present myth). So the fox is viewed as emaciated, a proper metaphor for the pale and fuzzy — in a word nebulous — M42. There can be little doubt that the fox is an animal image and counterpart to the Orion Nebula.

In the Crow versions of McCleary and Plenty Hawk, which are surprisingly like the Twin stories of the Hočągara, Red Woman visits the mother-to-be of the Twins.146 The pregnant woman offers Red Woman food on various kinds of dishes and trays, but Red Woman refuses to use any of them. Finally, the expectant mother says, "Well, what do you eat from with food on?" So, Red Woman says, "Bíascilape. Bíascilape is my style of eating food."147 It turns out that bíascilape has a homonym. The word bíascilape means "pregnant woman," but with a shift of accent, bíascílape means "Red Fox Woman." Some raconteurs of this story say that it means the latter.148 As Red Woman is eating off the stomach of Red Fox Woman, she reaches into the fire and pulls out a red hot stone. She drops it on the woman and it burns through her heart, killing her. In an astronomical context the hot stone of the fire symbolizes the sun. Death by the sun is typically — and perhaps necessarily in this context — the heliacal setting of an astronomical body. We do have an episode in our Hočąk story that may shed light on the matter of the esoteric identity of Red Fox Woman. In the Hočąk story, it was concluded that the flaming brand of Įčorúšika was the sun, and the leaping fox represented the heliacal rising of the "furry" Sword Star, M42, the Orion Nebula. The flaming brand and the hot stone represent the same thing. In the "Red Man" we saw the hot stone used in the sweat bath with the same valence and in the same context: the heliacal rising of Orion, where the star (the head) once again finds its legs (locomotor power). In the reversed process, the heliacal setting of Orion, the Sword Stars sink first below a "reclining" set of Belt Stars. Predictably, Red Fox Woman, on the supposition that she is cognate to the fox brother of Įčorúšika, disappears below the horizon first, before the rest of Orion. This is her death, her disappearance and burial in the earth. After she is killed, the rest of Orion (Red Woman) also disappears, leaving for parts untold. Therefore, Red Fox Woman and the fox brother of Įčorúšika could well be cognate (as too are Red Woman and Red Man (Redhorn)). Over the great expanse of time and space, all the valences for the Crow have flipped: good to evil, male to female, rising to setting, perpetrator to victim; but changes of these sorts are not unknown in the history of religion.149

Perhaps the strangest analogy is found in the Crow myth of Kúricbapìtuac, whose Hidatsa mother is taken up into the sky. She finds the hole in the sky under a buffalo chip.150 These tend to be flat and round, and can serve as an analogue to M42 as well. The choice reflects the strong identity that Kúricbapìtuac has to the buffalo.

The Arapaho version makes reference to an obscure weapon that is also bound up with M42. This is the "coyote bow," which also doubled as a lance. Here again is a connection to coyotes, which we found in the Hočąk story, when the rebellious brothers were turned into foxes and coyotes by Įčorúšika. There is some difficulty understanding the significance of the name. Is it a bow designed to shoot coyotes? No coyote is shot in the story. Is it a bow that has the nature of a coyote? It is said to be rather shabby in its wood quality, so perhaps it is to remind us of a mangy coyote. The reasonable conclusion is that in the stellar code of the myth, the coyote bow consists of the Sword Stars of Orion. "That small group of stars early at night with a row of stars along the side represents the hand of Little Star with his lance."151 This appears to be the Arapaho version of the Hand constellation, but with the Sword Stars acting as the lance. We are told that the lance is the coyote bow remade, with a knot found near the bottom. The knot, of course, is M42. So the Arapaho version unites the faunal images of M42 (the coyote) with the floral images (the knot of wood). That the lance has some connection to coyotes, however obscure, brings it into some alignment with the Hočąk, part of whose Orion contains stars that represent both foxes and coyotes. Furthermore, it is parallel to the flaming brand wielded by Įčorúšika, which is also made of wood, and which is used as a weapon not only to strike his Waterspirit enemies in the underworld, but his errant fox brother.

The Hočągara do not preserve a notion of a hole in the sky at all, so their representation of M42 is fashioned in terms of the fox whose "fuzzy" red fur recalls the hue and texture of the Orion Nebula. In the Crow-Hidatsa Hand constellation, M42 is found in the thumb, yet we are told that Long Arm put his hand over the hole in the sky, not his thumb. The hole ought therefore to be in the center of the Hand constellation's palm, in the middle of what I have termed the "Square of Orion." The fuzziness of the prairie turnip coextentional with the hole may suggest that it was once located at M42. This would mean that at some point its location was shifted to the palm. Therefore, the hole's postulated location at M42 would seem to predate the concept of the Hand constellation. In the Arapaho the Hand is differently configured and even belongs to a good spirit, Little Star. The swirling knot in Little Star's coyote bow-lance not only imputes the attributes of a Center to M42, but brings to mind the fact that such pieces of wood often form knot holes. The lance-bow also ties into the fire drill concept of Orion (see above), where M42 is more central to the process. The drill, of course, is an implement that is ordinarily used to create a hole. It may well be, although we are reduced to mere speculation, that M42 by itself was the original hole in the sky predating both the Hand and Drill Constellations.


§12. Buffalo Stars. We have seen that the Crow portray, on an esoteric and allegorical level, the setting of a star in the "womb" of the earth as akin to the gestation of a buffalo foetus. The buffalo are most readily identified with the earth, since they dominate the grass sea of the prairie in their multitudes. Because the buffalo traverse the land in great herds, the Hočągara for instance, make the village crier who traverses the camp from one end to the other, a member of the Buffalo Clan.169 They also hold that the earth itself is, spiritually, a buffalo.170 For the Crow, the astral and the terrestrial are united in the spirit of the buffalo. The Hočąk see things the same way, saying at least implicitly that the stars are buffalo. They say of Bluehorn, who is the Evening Star (the red star), "He was a Buffalo Spirit. He was the chief of the buffaloes ..."171 He himself is a buffalo and his subjects are the other stars, since he is the biggest and brightest among them. The celestial vault is a vast smooth surface upon which the stars in their thousands travel in herds just like the buffalo on the prairies of the world below. Indeed, on the flip side of its visible surface there exists a vast Above World prairie, where the heroine of many an Indian tale uproots a prairie turnip to discover that the stratum upon which the grasslands of that world rests is the sky itself. Both sides of the sky are a prairie on which the buffalo teem. Thus, we find a star like Įčorúšika in his guise as Redhorn playing the astronomical sport of lacrosse on the same side as Curly Hair, a Buffalo Spirit. It is in the lodge of this Buffalo Spirit that Redhorn is invited to dwell.172 This is because, esoterically, he too is such a spirit.

We also find this kind of identity outside the Siouan world. In the Skidi Pawnee version of the Star Husband, the wife observes the sky people preparing for a nocturnal activity:

The girl noticed that every evening, just before sunset, the people where they were living brought out a wooden bowl of water and washed their faces and heads, then put buffalo ointment over their heads and bodies. Then the man [the star husband] returned and told the girl to stay at home, since he was going on a long journey and the people would disappear, but by morning the people would return. And they all seemed to be asleep. The girl asked the man why he took these journeys, and the man began to tell her that the people who were living with them were a certain group of stars, and that they had to go out every evening to show themselves.173

By anointing themselves with buffalo ointment, the stellar beings have made themselves bison-like, suggesting that the Pawnee have the same concept of stars-as-buffalo as the Hočągara. This impression is strongly reinforced by the name that the Pawnee give to the Milky Way, "Dust Raised by Buffalo Racing."174 The racing buffalo are, of course, the stars as they wheel across the night sky. Even escaping from the stellar abode must make an obligatory reference to the buffalo — the star's human wife digs a hole through the sky by uprooting a wild turnip with a hoe made of a buffalo shoulder blade.175 Among the distant and unrelated Gros Ventres the identity of stars with buffaloes is made explicit in a myth of the familiar Star Husband type.

The other woman, who had wished for a star, was approached by a buffalo-bull when she was getting water. He said to her, "I am the one you wished for." She denied it. Then he asked her, "What did you say at night?" Then she remembered that she had wished for the faintest star. He said, "I am he." Then he took her away 176

Here the star exists overtly in the form of a buffalo.

Some star groups are conceptualized as a single buffalo. We have seen in the Dakota myth cognate to the Kúricbapìtuac myth of the Crow, that the Pleiades were represented as an appropriately white buffalo. This buffalo is the opponent of Old Woman's Grandson, the object of his hunt, and the creature that turns on him to knock him through the hole in the sky. The Dakota Old Woman's Grandson is one of the hunters and not, as his Crow counterpart, someone identified with the buffaloes who is himself persecuted by hunters. In both cases, however, the star groups are at least close, as it says here in the Crow:

So one night his brother, mother, and dogs all stood up in the tipi. He sent arrows up to the sky from there. His mother, brother, and the dogs followed, he himself went last. They went up to the sky. Ever since they have been stars and would appear during two moons in the spring, then not any more for two months and then they would appear again.177

The whole family ascends into the sky along with their dogs, and all become stars. Lowie's translator suggested that these stars are the Pleiades.178 The Pleiades are the very stars explicitly said to be a white buffalo among the Dakota. The Crow word for buffalo is bishe,179 the -she ending being cognate to Hočąk če, "buffalo" [etc.] However, the Sioux speaking peoples have another term for the buffalo, which on the face of it is rather strange. It is called ta-taŋka, "the great ta." What is a ta? This turns out to be difficult to answer. The conundrum deepens when we encounter a ta cast in the heavens as a very pertinent Oglala Lakota asterism, one identified by the lexicographer Buechel as Ta-yamni. He identified the second member of the compound as the familiar word for "three."180 Here the word ta must have given him some puzzlement. One sense of the word, which is actually a prefix, means "his, hers, its, theirs."181 The asterism was supposed to represent a single individual, so Buechel concluded that it meant something like, "His Three (Relatives)," as he says concerning its derivation, "fr ta his + yamni three."182 It may seem odd that he could think this, as the constellation has to be an animal of some kind given that it is subdivided into its proper body parts including a tail — the Pleiades are called Ta-yamni-pa, "the head of the ta"; the Cingulum of Orion is called Ta-yamni-ćankahu, "the backbone of Ta-yamni"; "the two flanking stars, Betelgeuse and Rigel, each on the opposite side of the studded girdle in Orion," are Ta-yamni-tućuhu, "the ribs of Ta-yamni." The two sources for this information were Clarence W. Bull Ring and Big Turkey. They went on to say that the Ta-yamni-siŋte, "the tail of Ta-yamni," was made up of "the last of the other large stars of Orion lying off from the tip of Orion's sword,"183 but Buechel in his unpublished Ethnographic Notes, clarifies this by pointing to Sirius as (the tip of) its tail: "Tayamni sinte, n. the star Sirius (? of the constellation Canus major), the most brilliant star in the heavens."184 At the opposite end of the beast, the name of its head was known to Riggs in the late XIX century, who gives the Teton (Lakota) word Ta-yá-mni-pa the definition, "the seven stars in Taurus"; and gives us the Dakota version Ta-wá-mni-pa as, "the seven stars in the constellation Taurus."185 These are, of course, the Pleiades, just as Buechel has it. This shows that the Ta-wá-mni-pa of the Dakota, "the Head of Tawámni," coexists with a mythic conception of the Pleiades as a whole white buffalo.

Buechel elsewhere in his dictionary attempts to answer our seminal question concerning the identity of the ta:

1ta \ta\ pref[ix] to n[ouns] signify members of the body, limiting them to the corresponding parts in ruminating animals; thus: ćeji the tongue taćéji a buffalo tongue. Hence ta may properly be considered as the generic term for all ruminating animals, since it enters into comp[ounds] of the names of most of them, tatáŋka the bull buffalo, taḣcá the deer.186

Riggs says that the meaning of ta standing alone is "moose,"187 but it has clearly been generalized from the meaning preserved in the other Siouan languages where ta means "deer." Among the Sioux the term has come to mean "ruminant." Nevertheless, it is clear from what Buechel himself says that among the Lakota the default meaning of ta- is "buffalo." He himself has given us the example of ta-ćéji, "buffalo tongue," and others are easily found: ta-ajunktka, "buffalo kidney"; ta-ćaka, "the roof of a buffalo's mouth"; ta-ćanhahake, "the first bones of the forward end of the buffalo's spinal column"; ect.188 So we should expect that ta(yamni)pa, ta(yamni)ćankahu, ta(yamni)tućuhu, and ta(yamni)siñte would refer to the head, backbone, ribs, and tail of a buffalo. Since we also have ta-ḣća, "the common deer"; and ta-bloka, "buck";189 we cannot say that the ta- in a compound will always refer to a buffalo rather than some other ruminant. Among the Dakota the tendancy is equally strong to make the default animal the deer.190 However, the cervid examples also show us that ta- need not refer to a body part. The idea that ta- would have to mean "his" because yamni is not a body part, is refuted by this consideration. Therefore, given that ta- affixed to the name of a body part will by default denote part of a buffalo, and that there are compounds of ta- which do not exclude the buffalo, we are justified in concluding that the ta- mentioned in the constellation Ta-Yamni refers to a buffalo. That the Ta-wamni-pa of this constellation, the Pleiades, is portrayed in Dakota myth as a white buffalo offers some support for this thesis. A contemporary scholar from the Lakota nation, Ronald Goodman, is familiar with Tayamni which he describes as an "animal, perhaps the buffalo, symbolizing all life, [as it] appears to be emerging (or being born) out of the hoop of stars."191 This also reinforces the identity of Tayamni with the buffalo.192

Regardless of the meaning of ta, the name presents a problem. Since Ta-Yamni (with no special plural markers), denotes not three ta, but just one, its name could not be "Three Buffaloes" (plural), but would have to be a grammatical oxymoron, "Three Buffalo" (singular). Nevertheless, as we shall see in the succeeding sections, the paradox occasioned by this name does have an unexpected solution.


§13. 3-Deer. We have noted that the very backbone of Tayamni is the Cingulum of Orion. It may offer us a clue into the significance of the number three in its name. Many Indian nations and even people in Central Asia see the Belt Stars as three individuals, usually game animals. For the Yuma, the three stars are not the same kind of animal, but are respectively, a deer, a mountain sheep, and an antelope.193 The Cahuilla see the Sword Stars as an arrow which is being shot at the three mountain sheep of the Cingulum. For the Gros Ventre, the two Sword Stars (other than M42) are hunters chasing three buffalo bulls.194 These ideas and similar ones adduced below, are found in Central Asia. Among the Buryat, the story is told of a hunter who pursued three deer who fled into the sky and became the Cingulum. The hunter shot his arrow, which became the Sword Stars. The Altai have a similar story in which the three stars are does that have escaped to the sky.195 It is therefore commonplace in both Central Asia and North America to view the three stars of the Cingulum as three game animals.

Although in most places, including Central Asia, the three stars of the Cingulum are three individual game animals, there are cases in America where the three stars of Orion are just a single animal.196 In the southwest, the Northern Tonto Apache, and the San Carlos Apache as well, call the three Cingulum stars, Tibechu, "the Mountain Sheep." Other Apache tribes tell a popular myth about a hunter (Sirius ?) stalking a single mountain sheep who traverses the heavens as the three stars of the Cingulum. The hunter shoots his arrow, the Sword Stars (the bow is not depicted), passing so dangerously close to Betelgeuse that he becomes red with fury.197 The Walapai of California have this same myth, as do the Cocopa, who make the Cingulum a single mountain sheep called amuh.198 The Southern Ute also identify the same set of stars as a mountain sheep (nagau),199 as may have the Seri.200 So among these Indian nations, the original three sheep of Central Asia have coalesced into a single sheep, yet this animal still retains its identity as the three stars of Orion's Belt. It would appear that Tayamni started out in essence as the three stars of the Cingulum that had coalesced into a single animal, as in the Apache example. This process of agglutination then extended to other star groups. On this model, it would seem to be an easy matter to see from where the reference to the "three" in the name comes. However, as it turns out, the matter is in fact immensely complicated.

Amazingly, we have an asterism among the related Osage, a Dhegiha speaking Siouan people, which is an exact cognate to Tayamni. The Osage are closely related to the Omaha, Quapah, Ponca, and Kansa, who together form the Dhegiha group. The Dhegiha are believed to have split from the Winnebago-Chiwere around 1000 AD. The Dhegiha-Chiwere-Winnebago lineage separated from the Sioux branch around 700 AD.201 The Osage have an asterism called a Thábthiⁿ, "Three Deer."202 He is one of the important ten Deities of the Sky recognized in rites.203 The Osage word thabthiⁿ is cognate to Lakota yamni, deriving from a Common Central Siouan word meaning "three."204 The first syllable in both Lakota and Osage is ṭa. The Osage ṭa is cognate to Omaha ta, Hočąk ča, all meaning "deer"; and to Lakota ta, "buffalo, moose, ruminant animal generally." In Lakota the default meaning of ta is usually "buffalo," but that this is derivative can be seen from the word for the common deer, ta-ḣiŋća or the contracted ta-ḣća; to which compare the archaic Osage word ṭaxtsi, "deer."205 The suffix ḣiŋća is cognate to the Hočąk suffix xjį, both of which are often translated as "very," but which are actually emphatic particles. The deer to the Sioux was once emphatically a ta, which means that it was the paradigmatic ta. Since the buffalo of the prairies had displaced the deer as the primary game animal among the Lakota, ta tended to refer by default to the buffalo; but clearly the oldest meaning in Common Central Siouan for *ta was "deer." The degree of general correspondence is even more striking than that of the linguistics. The asterism said by the Osage to be Three Deer (Ṭa Thábthiⁿ) is none other than the Cingulum of Orion.206 The striking correspondences do not stop at this. Both the Omaha and Osage have a star cluster that they call "Deer's Head," which in both languages is rendered Ta-Pá. It is immediately evident that this matches the Ta-(Yamni)-Pa by which the head of Ta-Yamni is known to the Lakota.207 Then we learn furthermore that in both sets of traditions the Pleiades are a ta's head. What is particularly interesting is that the Osage Ṭa Thabthiⁿ  is distinct from Ṭa-Pá, and as far as is known, there is no Three-Deer at all among the Omaha. This suggests an original of Three-Deer constellation whose head was, as it is among the Oglala still, the Pleiades star cluster. Recently, I discovered that the Redhorn Panel of Picture Cave was a rather digitized star map (q. v.). Sirius is drawn out as his mythological spirit, White Plume, and the position of Sirius in space is indicated by an ocular symbol on his cheek. He is followed by a representation of Redhorn-Herokaga in his guise as both Only One Horn and as Wears Faces on His Ears. His position in space is marked by the same kind of ocular symbol. The star that fits near the dot is Alnilam, the central star of the Cingulum. What was not anticipated was that the Pleiades, Deer Head, would fall on the head of a fawn at the extreme right of the painting. And although the painting has broken the Three Deer constellation into its constituent asterisms, it has not failed to include *Ta-Pa. The painting dates from about the early XIth century, and so falls into the period near the end of Dhegiha-Winnebago-Chiwere unity. This lends some credance to the idea that the Three Deer asterism extending from Sirius to the Pleiades, may have been extant in Common Central Siouan times (about three centuries earlier).

When we turn to the Hočąk, where there is not a trace of Three-Deer to our knowledge, we find an interesting concept of the Pleiades. To the Hočągara the Pleiades are not the head of a deer, but are Čašįč, the "Deer Rump,"208 switching it from front to back. Nevertheless, the way the animal is facing is not arbitrary. Three-Deer rises with the Pleiades first, and it is they who lead the whole star group across the sky. So it is not as if in the history of the Hočąk branch of the Siouan peoples that the deer constellation was reversed and that now we have the name of the Pleiades as a vestige of this process. Rather, the whole concept had nearly disappeared. This is probably because *Three-Deer was a secondary constellation known to such elites who bought astronomy myths and instruction. Among the Lakota, the only known people among whom the Three-Deer constellation still exists in its presumed original form, it coexists with other coextensional asterisms. The Oglala Hand Constellation, as we have already seen, takes up the central portion of Ta-Yamni, and the Pleiades are also known as the "Seven Sisters." Clearly, different systems of astronomy were coexisting. If one set is esoteric (and perhaps of foreign origins), it stands a greater chance of being lost altogether or at least distorted. For those in the pre-Hočąk traditions, some knowledge of the Pleiades as a deer head may have survived even when the whole *Three-Deer did not, as apparently among the Omaha and partly among the Osage. Then the matter of veracity can arise, and people begin to doubt whether they have gotten it right. So why would the Hočągara switch to calling the Pleiades, formerly *Deer-Head, "Deer-Rump"? The most obvious reason is that the Pleiades have a vaguely triangular shape, and being a cluster, they form a rather solid white appearance. When the white deer flees under attack, it raises its triangular tail, the underside of which is white, and in so doing it exposes its rump, which is also white. This is called "flagging." Its evolutionary "purpose" is to direct a trailing fawn that it might have a clearly visible object to follow as its mother takes flight through the forest foliage. Why might a deer flee before the stars trailing it? We know that the central star of the Cingulum is Alnilam, the star of Įčorúšika. Įčorúšika as Redhorn, and as Herokaga, is the spirit of the arrow and the deer hunter par excellance. So given the nature of the trailing stars and the appearance of the asterism itself, revisionism must have seemed the proper course of action to those who had ceased to know why it had ever been called "Deer-Head." There is yet another interesting connection between the head and the deer rump. One of the most prized head roaches was the čašįč´wakére, "the deer rump head roach."209 So the deer rump was also something worn on the head. Beyond this remote connection to the Hočągara, we know of no other Siouan reflex of the *Three-Deer constellation or its parts.

However, there may be some interesting fragments surviving among the Apaches. The Mescalero and Lipan Apache not only see the Cingulum of Orion as a single animal, but identify the three stars as a deer, calling the asterism Biyuka, "Deer Going."210 The Apache Biyuka would be in the center of *Three Deer, where the vertebrae of the spine are located. So it is quite interesting to discover that among the Jicarilla Apaches, these very same stars are called the "Vertebrae Stars."211 [proximity of Siouan and Apache]

Something like this constellation may have existed among the Pawnee, for whom most of Orion was Rahurahki, "The Deer." Williamson remarks,

The stars called the Deer present an interesting puzzle. They are said to be three stars in a line, following one another, which rise late in autumn in the southeast. Although this description fits the belt of Orion quite well, they were identified on the star chart by an informant as a group of seven stars. The seven stars resemble Taurus more than they do Orion. With the data available today, it is impossible to be sure which fits the original Pawnee conception more closely."212

However, Murie, a much older source, describes the constellation as the sword and belt of Orion plus Betelgeuse.213 This would be seven stars. 

Something very similar to the *Three-Deer asterism seems to exist among the Navajo, as shown in a creation story.

According to legend, Black God placed Dilyéhé [the Pleiades] in the sky close to First Slim One [Orion], then rested. At this time, Coyote was allowed to place one star in the south, but Coyote was a trickster. He seized the pouch or blanket containing the rest of the stars and flung them across the sky. This is why most of the stars are chaotic.214

Under the circumstances, it is very tempting to speculate that the southern star that Coyote was told to place was Sirius. In another variant of this tale, we are told that

Black God (also known as "Fire") placed all the named constellations in the sky, but as he rested, Coyote came up to him and said, "What are you doing? You haven't said a word to me." Then he grabbed Black God's pouch, dumped out its contents, and blew them across the sky. These made a myriad of stars, all of which are nameless. However, in the bottom of the pouch there remained just one star. Coyote placed it very carefully in the south, and called it, Sq'tóntízį-di, the "Monthless Star." This is the star that people now call the "Coyote Star" [Mą'i Biz?'].215

The star is called "monthless" because it is above the horizon for less than a month. This would rule out Sirius as the hunter. Haile speculates that the Monthless Star might be Canopus.216 Nevertheless, its interest is that it establishes the existence of an asterism formed by the Pleiades, Orion, and a bright star directly below them. We know this because Orion, the First Slim One, was the first constellation that the Black God put up, and it was followed by the Pleiades. Coyote was suppose to add one star in the south to this set, but flung the whole pouch full into the sky instead. It may also be the case that the last star or "tail" of the asterism was once Sirius, and the star was again identified with a member of the canine family. The transference to a star that comes up and then, in less than a month, sets for the year, is more in keeping with Coyote's trickster nature than is Sirius.


§14. The Mexican Origin of 3-Deer. [Basic thesis: 3-Deer can be reconstructed for Common Central Valley Siouan. 3-Deer seems to be a Mesoamerican calendar name. Calendar name belongs to deity. Mesoamerican deity that corresponds to the Siouan prototype is Mixcoatl. He is 8-Deer (?), as that time on the calendars is his feast date. He stands behind Mamalhuaztli, so 8-Deer is associated with Orion. Existing Three Deer(s) (Pawnee). Substitution of a single deity for the three deer. Folk etymology: 8-Deer, whose name ceased to be understood calendrically, is transformed into 3-Deer under the influence of the older Three Deer(s). Two headed deer like two faces on Įčorúšika (Quaxolotl + Mixcoatl, 1 + 2 pattern), stars also correspond to a deer. Unified into one being. Redhorn = Herokaga; Heroka Rite. Sound of deer hooves = star lights. Only One Horn ≈ one horn deer of rite ≈ one queue of Redhorn ≈ one horn on forehead in Baldheaded Warclub myth. Red Calf (a buffalo) and Ta-Yamni. Deer with three stones on its back: three Hearth Stones? Hall — invisible hand. Mixcoatl as drill (Orion).]

The preform *Three-Deer looks as if it began as a coalescence of the three distinct deer stars of the Cingulum into a single deer, a process that has unfolded elsewhere. The Osage name Ṭa Thabthiⁿ, and its Oglala cognate Ta-Yamni, denote a single being whose name is not explicitly in the plural despite containing the word for "three." The name and identity of Three-Deer is therefore something of a paradox. For the Osage he is a stellar spirit with a name appropriate to the old concept of his stars as three stags or does. Yet this is not what he is, and his Oglala cognate, while an animal (apparently a buffalo), is but a single animal and not a triad. The existence of isolated body parts of the ta in other Siouan traditions points to an original very much like the Lakota, but a deer, in conformity with the meaning of the Common Central Siouan *ta. Complicating the matter is the ambiguity common in Siouan languages between singular and plural. Even if we allow that the name is "Three Deers" (to adopt an unconventional English plural), we have not escaped the paradox —how is it that one deer or one spirit being can be called "Three-Deers"?

Nevertheless, it is possible to make sense of the name exactly as it appears. Robert Hall made an astute observation:

The Osage see the nebula in the sword as female and the three stars of the belt as a male named Three Deer. While it is common for the three stars of the belt to be seen as three deer (plural) or other beings (e.g., Tres Marías), seeing the three stars as a single person named Three Deer looks Mesoamerican. At least, Three Deer is a calendar-based name in Mesoamerica ...217

In Nahuatl, the word for deer is mazatl, and the Aztecs knew the name of the day "Three-Deer" as 3 (Yei) Mazatl. The name 3-Mazatl arises in a complex calendar which is really two interlocking calendars in one. In the sacred Aztec tonalpohualli calendar of 260 days, there are 20 day-signs which are paired with 13 numerals each of which represents a day in a "week" or trecena (as it is now called). The 20 day signs are, in order, (1) Cipactli (Alligator), (2) Ehecatl (Wind), (3) Calli (House), (4) Cuetzpalin (Lizard), (5) Coatl (Serpent), (6) Miquiztli (Death), (7) Mazatl (Deer), (8) Tochtli (Rabbit), (9) Atl (Water), (10) Itzcuintli (Dog), (11) Ozomahtli (Monkey), (12) Malinalli (Grass), (13) Acatl (Reed), (14) Ocelotl (Jaguar), (15) Cuauhtli (Eagle), (16) Cozcacuauhtli (Buzzard), (17) Ollin (Movement), (18) Tecpatl (Flint Knife), (19) Quiahuitl (Rain), (20) Xochitl (Flower). There are 20 trecenas of 13 days each in a 260 day tonalpohualli year, one for each day-sign. The first day of a trecena is assigned the number "1" and is paired with the first of the 20 day signs that occur in that trecena. If the first of the day signs begins the trecena, then its first day would be designated "1-Cipactli" ("One-Alligator"). The second day of the trecena is paired with the second day sign, "2-Ehecatl" ("Two-Wind"), and so forth. The trecena terminates with the thirteenth day, which is paired with the thirteenth day sign, "13-Acatl" ("Thirteen-Reed"). As can be seen, the days of a trecena run out at 13 before exhausing all 20 of the day signs. However, the progression of day signs continues on nonetheless. This means that the first day of the second trecena is "1-Ocelotl" ("One-Jaguar"). It is almost in the middle of the second trecena that the day signs run out with "7-Xochitl" ("Seven-Flower"). The next day the day signs begin anew with "8-Cipatli" ("Eight-Alligator"). So, the first two trecenas proceed through the following days, (I) 1 Cipactli, 2 Ehecatl, 3 Calli, 4 Cuetzpalin, 5 Coatl, 6 Miquiztli, 7 Mazatl, 8 Tochtli, 9 Atl, 10 Itzcuintli, 11 Ozomahtli, 12 Malinalli, 13 Acatl, (II) 1 Ocelotl, 2 Cuauhtli, 3 Cozcacuauhtli, 4 Ollin, 5 Tecpatl, 6 Quiahuitl, 7 Xochitl, 8 Cipactli, 9 Ehecatl, 10 Calli, 11 Cuetzpalin, 12 Coatl, 13 Miquiztli. Each trecena bears the name of one of the day-signs, determined by what day begins that trecena. If a trecena begins with 1 Cipactli, then the whole trecena bears the name Cipactli. Since the first day in the system is Cipactli, it follows that the first trecena is also known as Cipactli. All of the days and the trecenas are tabulated below.218 The numbers of the vertical axis indicate the thirteen days of each trecena, the numbers of the horizontal axis indicate the twenty trecenas that make up the 260 day tonalpohualli year. The name of each trecena is the same as the day-sign on line 1 and is written in bold font. The day 8-Mazatl (the feast day of Mixcoatl) is in blue, and the day 3-Mazatl is indicated in red.

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
1 Cipactli Ocelotl Mazatl Xochitl Acatl Miquiztli Quiahuitl Malinalli Coatl Tecpatl Ozomahtli Cuetzpalin Ollin Itzcuintli Calli Cozcacuauhtli Atl Ehecatl Cuauhtli Tochtli
2 Ehecatl Cuauhtli Tochtli Cipactli Ocelotl Mazatl Xochitl Acatl Miquiztli Quiahuitl Malinalli Coatl Tecpatl Ozomahtli Cuetzpalin Ollin Itzcuintli Calli Cozcacuauhtli Atl
3 Calli Cozcacuauhtli Atl Ehecatl Cuauhtli Tochtli Cipactli Ocelotl Mazatl Xochitl Acatl Miquiztli Quiahuitl Malinalli Coatl Tecpatl Ozomahtli Cuetzpalin Ollin Itzcuintli
4 Cuetzpalin Ollin Itzcuintli Calli Cozcacuauhtli Atl Ehecatl Cuauhtli Tochtli Cipactli Ocelotl Mazatl Xochitl Acatl Miquiztli Quiahuitl Malinalli Coatl Tecpatl Ozomahtli
5 Coatl Tecpatl Ozomahtli Cuetzpalin Ollin Itzcuintli Calli Cozcacuauhtli Atl Ehecatl Cuauhtli Tochtli Cipactli Ocelotl Mazatl Xochitl Acatl Miquiztli Quiahuitl Malinalli
6 Miquiztli Quiahuitl Malinalli Coatl Tecpatl Ozomahtli Cuetzpalin Ollin Itzcuintli Calli Cozcacuauhtli Atl Ehecatl Cuauhtli Tochtli Cipactli Ocelotl Mazatl Xochitl Acatl
7 Mazatl Xochitl Acatl Miquiztli Quiahuitl Malinalli Coatl Tecpatl Ozomahtli Cuetzpalin Ollin Itzcuintli Calli Cozcacuauhtli Atl Ehecatl Cuauhtli Tochtli Cipactli Ocelotl
8 Tochtli Cipactli Ocelotl Mazatl Xochitl Acatl Miquiztli Quiahuitl Malinalli Coatl Tecpatl Ozomahtli Cuetzpalin Ollin Itzcuintli Calli Cozcacuauhtli Atl Ehecatl Cuauhtli
9 Atl Ehecatl Cuauhtli Tochtli Cipactli Ocelotl Mazatl Xochitl Acatl Miquiztli Quiahuitl Malinalli Coatl Tecpatl Ozomahtli Cuetzpalin Ollin Itzcuintli Calli Cozcacuauhtli
10 Itzcuintli Calli Cozcacuauhtli Atl Ehecatl Cuauhtli Tochtli Cipactli Ocelotl Mazatl Xochitl Acatl Miquiztli Quiahuitl Malinalli Coatl Tecpatl Ozomahtli Cuetzpalin Ollin
11 Ozomahtli Cuetzpalin Ollin Itzcuintli Calli Cozcacuauhtli Atl Ehecatl Cuauhtli Tochtli Cipactli Ocelotl Mazatl Xochitl* Acatl Miquiztli Quiahuitl Malinalli Coatl Tecpatl
12 Malinalli Coatl Tecpatl Ozomahtli Cuetzpalin Ollin Itzcuintli Calli Cozcacuauhtli Atl Ehecatl Cuauhtli Tochtli Cipactli Ocelotl Mazatl Xochitl Acatl Miquiztli Quiahuitl
13 Acatl Miquiztli Quiahuitl Malinalli Coatl Tecpatl Ozomahtli Cuetzpalin Ollin Itzcuintli Calli Cozcacuauhtli Atl Ehecatl Cuauhtli Tochtli Cipactli Ocelotl Mazatl Xochitl

So 3-Mazatl is the third day of the ninth trecena, which works out to be day 107 of the tonalpohualli.219 Every day sign is separated from its next occurence by exactly one 20-day "month," there being 18 such months in the 360 day year. In a base 20 counting system, each month is like our decimal, especially in light of the fact that the Mesoamericans possessed the concept of zero and had a numeral to denote it. So each day having the same name is a vigesimal "month" away from the next day bearing the same name. Each of the Mazatl days are this same base number interval apart, in the following order: 7-Mazatl > 1-Mazatl > 8-Mazatl > 2-Mazatl > 9-Mazatl > 3-Mazatl > 10-Mazatl > 4-Mazatl > 11-Mazatl > 5-Mazatl > 12-Mazatl > 6-Mazatl > 13-Mazatl > 7-Mazatl. If we put this on a table in the order of the day signs and with the numbered cells ...

Cipactli
Ehecatl
Calli
Cuetzpalin
Coatl
Miquiztli
Mazatl
Tochtli
Atl
Itzcuintli
Ozomahtli
Malinalli
Acatl
Ocelotl
Cuauhtli
Cozcacuauhtli
Ollin
Tecpatl
Quiahuitl
Xochitl
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10 11 12 13 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 12 13 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 1 2 3 4 5
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
2
3
4
5
6
7
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
4
5
6
7
8
9
11 12 13 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 11 12 13 1 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 13 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6
8 9 10 11 12 13 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 11 12 13 1 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 13 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
1
2
3
4
5
6
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
3
4
5
6
7
8
10
11
12
13
1
2
3 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 13 1 2 3 4 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10 11 12 13 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 12 13 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 1 2 3 4 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

This is really a circle, since after the day 13-Xochitl comes 1-Cipactli, the renewal of the cycle. From 1-Cipactli to 8-Compactli is 20 days, so the period from one named day to its next occurrence is a "month"; and 1-Cipactli to 2-Cipactli is 40 days, so the progression from one numbered day to its numerical successor is every 40 days. On this grid the progression of one day to the next is traced by trecena (1-Cipactli > 2-Ehectal > 3-Calli ...); then it moves to the second day listed in each trecena (8-Cipactli > 9-Ehecatl > 10-Calli ...); and so on until it passes through the thirteenth slot in each trecena. There are many mathematical structures that subsist within this system, making the Mesoamerican calendar one of the true wonders of the world.

As we can see, a name with a singular referent like "Three Deer" most naturally fits a Mesoamerican calendar name, specifically, 3-Mazatl. How could a calendar name like 3-Mazatl be transliterated to the stars? Since Mesoamerican gods have particular relationships to the calendar, they can acquire for themselves a calendrical byname. Quetzalcoatl was said to have been born on 1-Acatl (One-Reed), and is therefore known by the name "One Reed." However, the god most closely associated with Orion and deer, as well as the drilling of the hand by the mechanical counterpart of Orion, is Mixcoatl. His calendrical name is 8-Mazatl, "Eight Deer." The trecena portion of his name matches, but the day number does not.

[Drill and mazatl (common element: Orion). Also: drilling of deer in Madrid Codex. Hand & Deer, Deer as Consort; Part of 3-Deer. Egret plumed banner. Deer banner from other side of Orion. Hyades included inside Deer asterism at PC. Birth of Hare and of Quetzalcoatl. Does Quetzalcoatl kill his own mother (= Flint)? Hare kills Flint with a club.]

...

Can we get from 8-Mazatl to 3-Mazatl? In some sense we are already there, except for the numeral "8." There is one exotic theory: the Mazatl days on the tonalpohualli calendar occur in this order: 7-Mazatl, 1-Mazatl, 8-Mazatl, etc. This would make 8-Mazatl, the day of Mixcoatl, the Third Deer, an interesting way to disguise it mythologically. However, the asterism is not known as "Third-Deer," but "Three-Deer." On the whole, this thesis seems improbable.220


Appendices

§15. The Sacred Turnip of the Sky. The logical place for the hole in the sky would be the blank space in the Square of Orion which is devoid of stars. This void is a natural hole. The Mississippian illustrations of the perforated hand seem to suggest just this. However, it may not always have been thought of as residing in precisely that spot. The mythology of the sky-hole seems to suggest another concept. In the Hidatsa version, which serves as something of a paradigm, it is the prairie turnip that is pulled out of the soil of the sky-world to open a hole to the earth below.59 This is the hole in Orion that Long Arm's hand vainly attempted to block. The prairie turnip (Pediomelum esculenta) is known by a wide variety of names: "Indian breadroot, breadroot scurfpea, prairie potato," pomme de terre, and tipsin or tipsinna. The latter two are borrowed from some of the Sioux dialects. Tipsin and tipsna are Dakota, but the Teton Lakota call it tipsinla. The Omaha and Ponca call it nugthe; the Pawnee, patsuroka. The Hočąk word for this plant, tokéwehi, actually means "hunger." This plant is the same as the "contrayerba," which the Canadian voyageurs called the pomme blanche.60 Although the plant is a member of the bean family (Fabaceae), the edible parts are found in its tubers. The tough brown husk is peeled off exposing the white edible portion of the tuber. It is said to taste like a sweet turnip, its composition being 70% starch, 9% protein and 5% sugars. It was a staple of Native American diets, where it was eaten raw, cooked, or powdered and made into a porridge. The plant flourishes precisely when Orion disappears from the sky, erupting with 20-30 bluish-purple flowers from May-July. Just as the mythic hole in the sky is concealed by the plant, so the plant itself conceals its own roots, as Gilmore states, "The top of the plant breaks off soon after ripening, and is blown away, scattering the seed, so the root is then almost impossible to find."61 The standard way of finding the plant is highly unusual:

The top usually has three or four branches. When the women and children go to the prairie to gather the roots, on finding a plant the mother tells the children to note the directions in which the several branches point and a child is sent in the general direction of each branch to look for another plant, for they say the plants "point to each other."62

However, what is particularly interesting about this plant in the present mythological context is the strange "hairs" that seem to cover its every exterior surface, even its flowers. The whole plant presents a fuzzy appearance. This strongly suggests that it was chosen as the plant of the sky-hole because that hole was originally M42, the Orion Nebula. The nebula is itself "fuzzy" in appearance, giving rise to homologues that replicate this feature.

Besides the Hidatsa, there are many other cultures who use this plant to symbolize the hole in the sky. In an Oto variant, the woman escapes her star husband by uprooting a turnip, then striking once more in the hole with her adze. Through the perforation in the sky, she can see her village.63 In the Crow story of Kúricbapìtuac, his mother discovers the hole in the sky when she uproots a "wild turnip."64 In another variant of the same story, she digs up a forbidden "bushy stemmed" turnip and sees the earth below.65 In the Arikara version, the star husband who has a long arm, tells his wife, "It is not a good thing to dig turnips (WIsuúka)." Just to make certain that she did not harvest turnips, he hid her digging stick. Nevertheless, she found the stick and when she dug into the ground, she was able to see the earth below.66 The kindred Pawnee say that the star wife dug a hole in the sky when she used a buffalo shoulder blade to uproot a wild turnip.67 In the Lakota versions of the sky-hole myth, the plant that plugs this hole is said to be a "male turnip."68 This might be a disguised reference to the prairie turnip, since its tubers have a decidedly phallic appearance — it is one of the plants that the Hočągara say was made out of part of Trickster's severed penis.69 However, among the Sioux the hole in the sky is located in the trapezium of the Big Dipper,70 so the botanical plug among the Sioux need not be the tipsin, and could certainly be the actual turnip, although given the coincidence of the English versions of the name, this seems unlikely. Reinforcing this conclusion is the great difficulty that the woman in the story has of uprooting the plant. Gilmore says, "Growing as this plant [prairie turnip] does, on the dry prairie in hard ground, with the enlargement of the root several inches below the surface, it is no easy task to harvest it."71 In one version of the myth, it is so hard to extract that the woman has to call on the aid of two white cranes, who are enemies of the Star People. The Lakota version of Medicine Wolf makes the Sun the jealous guardian of the "great turnip" that conceals the hole in the heavens. The prairie turnip is very much a solar plant, as it demands sunshine and cannot grow in the shade. Also relevant to the sun is a dangerous side effect in this plant if the wrong portions are eaten. Some people (and animals) react with photosensitization, a process resembling sunburn that afflicts lightly pigmented areas of the skin. It arises from liver deficiencies under the presence of ultraviolet radiation.

The Arapaho say that while the woman prepares to dig for various potatoes, her husband the Moon warns her not to uproot any withered plant that she may encounter in the fields. He does not, of course, tell her what the consequences might be. So, predictably, she finds just such a plant and cannot resist her impulse to pull it up. Once she does, she discovers the hole in the heavens through which she can see the earth below.72 The outwards signs of withered plants are that they have turned brown and have lost their vitality. This image fits quite well the condition of a nebula like M42, which has a reddish hue; but another striking feature of the nebula is the fact that unlike the stars around it, it has a hazy and dim light, a loss of its stellar vitality, as though it had, in astral terms, "withered." So the Arapaho story too is consistent with the idea that M42 was at least the original hole in the sky.

Stories of a hole in the sky that is sealed with a plug or stopper are also found in the Siberian homeland of the Indian nations.73


§16. The Hatchet. In myth Orion is homologized to many objects. One of these is the (originally stone) hatchet or ax (see inset). This proves to be a widespread pattern seen in the basic stars of Orion. When it has a function in the myth, it is usually as a weapon to ward off whatever "attacks" Orion (neighboring star groups, or those on the opposite side of the Celestial Sphere), but it seems to be a once popular image of Orion that is worked in one way or the other into the story line. The Hočąk case is best described as "minimalist." We are told in "Įčorúšika and His Brothers" that "in the morning he painted an ax red." This evokes the ax image in the context of Orion rising with the sun.

The Hidatsa story also features a hatchet of a very unusual nature and a more important role. When Lodge Boy climbed up the forked tree on which his brother had been crucified, "he found a stone hatchet with eyes, the very one used to cut the pole, and they carried this out with them."83 Just as in the Hočąk, we seem to have an image of Orion-as-ax. If flint is the stone out of which this non-ceremonial ax is made, then it is appropriate to the background of the stars. The description of it as having eyes reinforces the suspicion that it too is a version of Orion, as eyes are almost universally used as symbols of the stars. The Hidatsa story concludes with the Twins sending the older generation back to the sky people and having them "take back the hatchet and give it to the owner."84 So the hatchet ends up in the sky.

The Lakota hatchet was used to break up the storm clouds of the pursuing Thunderbirds. It was suggested above that the Milky Way served as the clouds of the Thunderbird constellation on the analogy,

Thunderbirds : storm clouds :: the stellar Thunderbird : the Milky Way

It seems reasonable to think of the Milky Way as a cloud of stars. Orion-as-an-ax is located not in or at the edge of the Milky Way, but a few degrees to the right, with a relative blank space between the two. This is where the hatchet stopped and drove back the pursuing "clouds" of the stellar Thunderbirds.

In an Arapaho story, Little Star (Morning Star) is living in a teepee with his grandmother Old Woman Night. The teepee is probably Orion as a triangle formed by Alnitak-Alnilam-Mintaka as one leg, and Mintaka-Algiebba as the other. In the back of the teepee, Old Woman Night had stored food for Little Star to eat, but one night, when she was out, he went out back and discovered that a water monster was eating his food, so he shot it dead with two medicine arrows. Then he knocked the horns off the monster with a stone club. The head of the monster was behind the teepee (Orion) and he extended there all the way from the river (the Milky Way).85 This makes his horns easy to identify. Just behind Orion (where the Milky Way "river" is to its front) are the Hyades, which have a "V" shape like two horns, which is why they are so often identified with deer and antelope. The stone hammer is just another form of the Hyades' neighbor, Orion, the only "hammer" within range. Little Star, who is Morning Star, passes right by the Hyades just behind the "teepee" of Orion in perfect agreement with the myth as allegory.

The Crow replace the hatchet with something even more exotic. One day, "the boys went about and came to a beaver, who cut anything in two with his tail. They asked for his tail, and the beaver gave it to them. They went home and cut wood for their mother with it."86 When Curtain Boy tracked down his brother, he took with him, "the knife the beaver had given them."87 It is with this weapon that he decapitated Long Arm and then cut off both of his arms. "Before going back to the earth they gave her [the Moon] the other arm cut off and she placed it in the sky. It is now called Hand Star."88 The Hatchet-Orion shown above can easily be seen as a beaver tail whose tip is Mintaka, and which flares out at Alnitak and Algiebba. The axis from Saiph through Na'ir al Saif and on to Mintaka is the spine of the tail. This insinuates into the story the widespread attribute of one of the Twins as having special associations to the beaver (Greek Kastor; for which see Gottschall: A New Interpretation). Yet it still retains its presumed original function as a hatchet, as it is used to chop at those who would intrude upon the sovereign space of Orion.


§17. The Stellagraphy of Orion. I have coined the mixed term "stellagraphy" to denote ways of organizing collections of celestial objects into representations. The classical constellation of Orion constitutes such a set of celestial objects. Here the term "Orion" is used to denote a set of asterisms, including the classical Orion, which have a certain "family resemblance" to one another.88.1 The following "stellagraph" (from Starry Night Software, www.starrynight.com) divides the stars of Orion into convenient descriptive sub-groups:

The central structure of Orion I have termed the "Square of Orion" since it approximates that shape. This is a design that is in contemporary times most often compared to a kite, with the Sword Stars making up the tail. In the versions of Orion that picture it as a hand, the Square forms the palm (see above). Since there are few visible stars inside the Square, it is here that the hole in the sky is so often placed. The three most important stars (whose lables are shown in white) form the belt of the classical Orion, and are sometimes called by the Latin for "belt," Cingulum. Similarly, the Sword Stars formed the sword carried by the classical Orion. The center "star" of this group is M42, the Orion Nebula, which to the unaided eye appears "fuzzy." The terminal star of the group can be seen by those with acute eyesight as a double star (Na'ir al Saif and HIP26199), not in the astronomer's sense of the phrase, but merely as a pair of stars that appear so close together in the line of our sight that they are almost impossible to disarticulate. The Osage refer to the pair by the name of a single deity, "Double Star" (Mikák'e Ukithats'iⁿ).88.2 The blue set in the stellagraph represents the Outlying Stars. They include Cursa, which by Old World reckoning belongs to the constellation Eridanus. In North American versions of Orion, the remainder of these stars are sometimes used to form part of an Orion asterism and sometimes not. The core pattern used in North America is the intersection of the line of Sword Stars with the Belt Stars, a configuration that is termed the "backward seven" pattern.88.3 This can be seen in a stellagraph above.


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