God of the Chichimecs
by Richard L. Dieterle
Table of Contents
[Father of Twins]
[God of the arrow ?]
[Spares a woman his people planned to kill, then marries her]
[Marries a man-eater ? "A special role is played in the legends by the two-headed deer that falls from the sky and is really a woman. It is shot by the star god Mixcoatl and again becoming a woman, is forced to cohabit. Their son is the culture hero Ce-acatl Quetzalcoatl." Seler, 5.218a.]
[Executed Prisoner of War. The pictograph of Mixcoatl and Itzp shows the former with a heart extrusion wound. RH is captured and put to death in one variant. In another, he loses in wrestling and is executed. Mixcoatl impersonator is put to death. Mixcoatl is leader of executed prisoners of war and those KIA, therefore he should be one of them.]
§1. The God of the Hunt
§2. The Stag God and His Deer Wife
§2a. The Lunar Wife
§3. God of War
§4. The Champion of the Ballcourt
§5. The Solar Connection
§6. The Dying God
§7. Human or Divine?
§8. The Red Man
§9. The Candy-Cane Striped God
§11. Herokaga and the Heroka, Mixcoatl and the Mimixcoa
§11. Masks of Life and Death
§11.1. Eyes and Ears
§11.2. The Ears of a Hunter
§11.3. Stellar Masks
§11.4. Souls and the Concept of Ni
§11.4.4. Eyes and Water
§11.4.5. Little Human Heads
§11.4.6. The Mask of Mixcoatl and the Souls of the Dead
§11.5. Comœdia non finit est
§12. Brothers, Good and Bad
§13. The God Who Fathered Himself
§14. The Morning Star Connection
§15. The War of the Two Flints
§16. Orion: Hunter, Arrow, Firedrill, Portal of Souls
§17. God of Fire and the Silver Xonecuilli
§18. The Long Arms of the Milky Way
§19. Three Deer
§20. The Center of the Cosmos
§21. The Five Sons of the Primordial God
§22. The Virgin Birth from a Swallowed Stone
§22.1. Origins: the Exodus from the Cave
§23. The Courtship of the God of the Hunt
§24. The Brothers of the God of the Hunt Try to Kill Him
§25. Attack of the Rejected Consort
§26. The Shattering of Flint
§26.2. The Warbundle of Burnt Human Remains
§26.3. The Two-Headed Being, the Talisman of Victory
§27. The Death, Removal, and Resurrection of the God of the Hunt
§28. The God of the Hunt is Avenged by His Son
§29. The Departure Scene and the Legacy of the God of the Hunt
§30. The Son of the God of the Hunt Recreates Humans from The Powdered Bones of Giants
§30a. The God of the Hunt's Child Commits Incest
§31. The Waterspirits Steal Food from the Son of the God of the Hunt
§32. The Slain Giant
The Fire Sticks of Orion
The Hand and the Fire Drill
§33. Conclusions and Reconstructions
§-. Other Mississippian Raptors.
§34. Astronomical-Calendrical Codes in Allegories about Quetzalcoatl
§34.1. Quetzalcoatl Finds His Father (852)
§34.2. Quetzalcoatl Builds a Bridge (871)
§34.3. The Toltecs Summon Quetzalcoatl (874)
§34.4. The Death of Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl (884)
§34.5. The Decline and Fall of Quetzalcoatl (896)
Redhorn (Hešučka) stands out as an almost unique god in el Norte, once apparently quite well-known in the Mississippian world, but with the passing of this culture, the god seems to have vanished except among the Hočągara and their nearest relatives, the Ioway. The thesis presented here is that much of Redhorn is likely an interpretatio septentrionalis of the widespread god of the "Chichimecs" called, Camaxtli or Mixcoatl.1 Many of the attributes and mythology surrounding Redhorn also belong to Mixcoatl. There is really only one argument offered in this essay: the similarities between Mixcoatl and Redhorn are so extensive that the connection between the two gods cannot be accidental. Some of what they share is a common heritage from hunting gods who underwent a theological transformation with the invention of the bow and arrow. Other connections appear to have been more direct, quite possibly radiating from Cahokia.
[Mixcoatl = Milky Way < path of the dead; but Mixcoatl = leader of the dead warriors. Psychopomp? But evolution is clear here. Thompson, Sky Bearers, Colors, and Directions ..., identifies the Otomi male version of Itzpapalot, Otontecuhtli. p. 7. He seems to be the counterpart of Mixcoatl.]
The God of the Hunt. [Who were the Chichimecs? Divergences original.] If we went by what we learn from the Redhorn Cycle, we would not be particularly disposed to describe Redhorn as a god of the hunt, although there is certainly a strong hint of it in the fact that he is able to turn himself into an arrow and shoot himself from his own bow. Later we learn that his sons also possess this same odd power. This marks Redhorn and his sons as spirits of the bow and arrow. The race of spirits to whom sacrifices were made under the emblem of the bow and arrow were the Heroka, the "Without Horns," who are lilliputian spirits of this weapon system. When a Heroka fires his arrow, it never misses its mark.0.1 Once the Heroka blessed the avatar of Morning Star with such an arrow, which he used to kill his first deer.0.2 In order to kill anything a Heroka need only draw his arrow back and forth while making the Heroka breathings, "Ahahe ahahe," and whatever he points at will die instantly.0.3 We learn in two unpublished stories, "The Chief of the Heroka," and "The Red Man," that Redhorn is Herokaga, the Chief of the Heroka. His sons have a similar status. Here we fully enter into the realm of spirits of the hunt. This is seen in striking imagery in an ancient pictograph, the famous Redhorn of Picture Cave near St. Louis, Missouri, portrayed in the figure below. Here he is pictured in the form appropriate to one of his other names, Hežąkiga, "Only One Horn." This is part of the theme of arrows and deer that make up the scheme of the panel as a whole, where a deer lies on its back with the fatal arrow in its chest, and a fawn scampers away to the far right. There are five arrows embedded in the horn, which rests on his forehead just as described in "The Baldheaded Warclub." In addition he holds as his weapon a bow with two arrows, and behind him are a bow and arrow stood upright. Such are his obvious associations that mark him as chief among the Heroka, and a spirit of the hunt, but most especially, a slayer of deer.
the Hunting God
with Mask and Stripes
Redhorn of Picture Cave,
the Hunting God
with Maskette and Stripes
Mixcoatl is explicitly a god of the chase.
He was called the Lord of the Chase because he was the inventor of ways and manners of hunting and because he was skillful and cunning in this art. He was also the first sovereign of the Chichimec hunters.1
He carries about a bundle of four arrows to symbolize his weapon of choice, and a matlauacalli or netted pouch, for holding small game,2 or the food that he is taking with him on the hunt,3 or equipment for dressing the animal.3.1 At Huexotzinco,
The image of this idol was of wood. If was made in the form of a man with very long hair, his forehead and eyes black. On his head he wore a crown of plumes, and his nose was pierced with a beryl stone. On his arms he wore silver bracelets, in the fashion of knotted cords, with arrows set into them, three on each arm. From his armpits hung rabbit skins similar to the stole of a priest. ... In his left he bore his bow and arrow. His breechcloth was highly adorned, and he wore shoes on his feet. His entire body was striped from top to bottom with white stripes.4
In all other accounts, and in the codices, his stripes are red against a background of white.5 Not mentioned by Durán is his S-shaped crooked staff, the xonecuilli, which he carries in one hand.6 His college of priests chiefly occupied themselves learning the art and science of hunting.7 During the celebrations devoted to the god Camaxtli during the veintena of Quecholli, those who excelled all others in the hunting that took place rose to the rank of senator, knight, or chieftain, and were called by the title, Amiztlatoque, "Lord of the Chase."8
At this juncture it should also be mentioned that there is a Quiché Mayan counterpart to Mixcoatl and Redhorn. He is called Hun Hunapu, a calendrical designation meaning "1-Hunter," giving him by name alone a connection to the hunt. As to his relation to the Aztec God of the Hunt, Michel Graulich contends, "It has been demonstrated that Mixcoatl is the Mexican equivalent of Hun Hunapu, the father of the Twins of the Popol Vuh ..."8.1
[Rites: divergent, but centered around deer. Herokaga: loss of horn a mutilation paradox: fecundity from arrow = horn.] Since Hočąk culture, by Mesoamerican standards a Chichimec culture, is fundamentally a hunting culture, it does not have a college of priest who devote themselves to studying the techniques of hunting. Among the Hočągara the whole body of male tribesmen devote themselves to this science as a matter of survival. Yet there is a definite counterpart to the devotées of the god found among the Aztecs. The Hočągara receive blessings from various spirits, and many of these blessings manifest themselves in enhanced skills and talents. Although not a college of priests, the Hočągara have something of a guild counterpart to them. This is the Society of Those Who have been Blessed by the Heroka. Those whom the Heroka have blessed must necessarily excel in hunting, or at least have unusually good luck in it. So in both cultures we have a hunting elite who formally devote themselves to the God of the Chase.
The Hočągara have a rite devoted to the Heroka that is performed by the Society. Radin gives the following account of this rite.
This society gives a feast whenever they wish and they are free to invite anyone. A group of Society members sponsor the feast, which is held in a long lodge. Every participant brings his bow and arrows and is responsible for supplying a deer. Each member paints his bow and arrows in the particular color with which the Heroka have blessed him. The bows are stuck in the ground in a row with the arrows behind them. They make these rows between the first two fireplaces. The leader of the Society paints his body the same color as his arrows and has a headdress with a single horn surmounted on it. Instead of using gourds for percussion instruments, they fashion strings of deer hooves which they rattle during songs and dances. The members have been blessed by the Heroka with certain songs which they sing at various times during the ceremony.
The ceremony, which precedes the feast, begins with a dance. The leader of the dance carries a flute from which he plays a song both before and after the dance. One of the members takes his bow in hand and the rest follow behind him carrying their arrows. The followers whoop while they pat their mouths with their hands. Only the men perform this dance, there being only a few dances in which women can participate at all, and those are restricted to post-menopausal women.
After the dancing, they begin the feast. They eat with forked sticks that have been whittled down at one end. When the feast is concluded, they take their plates in hand and dance out of the lodge.9
The rite involves the bow and arrow, the very emblem of the Heroka. Since it involves a feast, hunting must take place before the rite is performed, and the object of this hunt is restricted to deer. The leader of the rite assumes a form familiar to us from the depiction of Only One Horn at Picture Cave, with only a single horn in his headdress. Only One Horn is the same as Redhorn (Herokaga). The Chichimec god Camaxtli also had hunting rites devoted to him. The chief of these was held in the veintena of Quecholli on the solar calendar. Durán says that the Quecholli celebrations fell on Nov. 15. The date of 1-Quecholli would, of course, drift slightly with the calendar, which was 365 days long rather than the necessary 365 ⅟₄ days.20
The Stag God and His Deer Wife. [Itzcueye is said to be the wife of Mixcoatl, but no source. She is supposed to be a deer. She occurs in hyphenation with Itzpapalotl. Pictures of Iztac Mixcoatl with a deer head. See illustration from Seler's Comm on Codex F-M, "Iztac Mixcoatl w/Heron stick."] Both Redhorn and Mixcoatl have an identity with their chief prey, the deer. The identity of Mixcoatl's wife is shown in the poetic name given to the female deer. The doe was called mixcoa-cihuatl, which means "Mixcoatl-woman," that is, the woman who belongs to Mixcoatl, a linguistic encoding of Mixcoatl's preferred prey.1 The implication of being married to a doe is that he himself is a stag. Thus, as the first ruler of the Toltec nation, he is named as Mixcoamazatzin, "Mixcoatl-Deer."2 Krickeberg describes the deer as the nagual of Mixcoatl,3 and there is a well known pictograph of him with deer hoof earbobs.4 During the preparations for Quecholli and the great feast honoring Mixcoatl, an elderly priest is selected to impersonate him. When, after 80 days of fasting, he first appears in his ceremonial role,
When he arrived, all the young men and boys I have mentioned, dressed and adorned as hunters, each with bow and arrows in his hands, formed a squadron. Amid tremendous shouts and screams they [feigned] attack against the emaciated elder who represented the god, shooting many arrows innocently into the air so a not to offend the god.5*
The youths assail the substitute Mixcoatl as though he were the game rather than a fellow hunter. In the feast day of Tititl, the god Camaxtli was honored by having a slave assume his identity. This god-for-a-day was sacrificed by heart extrusion, then his body was eaten by those who had purchased him, just as if he had been a deer.6 In this way the god symbolically becomes the game animal. This symbolic identity with the deer is sealed in a story in which his son collects Mixcoatl's bones in order to bury them in a temple, but on the way stumbles and the bones crash to the ground. Immediately, out of these broken bones a magnificent deer arises and runs off. That Mixcoatl would reincarnate from his own bones into a deer clearly shows that this animal is his alloform.
It is harder to make a case for Redhorn being a cervid. The horn on the forehead of Herokaga mentioned in myth is shown in Picture Cave to be a deer antler. In the rite of the Society of the Heroka, deer hooves are used as rattles. In this rite, deer and only deer, are presented to the Heroka. In the Redhorn Cycle, the young Redhorn is called "He at whom They Throw Deer Lungs," since his oldest brother Kunuga gave him these organs to eat when he refused to fast. His sister-in-law as a ružíč, threw deer lungs that struck him in the chest, an expression of the identity of his lungs with those of the swift cervid.7* Normally, deer lungs would be expected to impart speed to whomever ate them, but the identity of Redhorn with the deer is expressed in another way as well. When Kunuga and his brothers went off to a race,
The people were saying, "Kunu has come and the one at whom Kunu used to throw deer lungs, his youngest brother, he has also come along." So Kunu looked behind him and, sure enough, there was his little brother following, wearing an untanned deerskin blanket turned inside out. The fur was on the outside.8
So Redhorn shows up in the outer form of a deer, which the narrator stresses is unusual. In another myth in which Redhorn appears under the guise "Redman," his wife shares in his cervid nature. Redman repeatedly finds his own wife caught in one of his deer traps, which expresses her own esoteric identity as a deer.
In some stories, Redhorn finds a counterpart in the Lakota Iron Hawk. His son, Red Calf, is so called because of his red hair. This father and son pair form an intergenerational duality similar to that of Redhorn and his identical eldest son. Red Calf was conceived when his parents cavorted in the form of buffaloes. The buffalo is known as ta-taŋka, the "great ta." In the other Central Siouan languages, the word ta answers to Dhegiha ta, Chiwere ta, and Hočąk ča. However, in the last three language groups, the word means not buffalo, but deer. The meaning of the Lakota ta has drifted from deer to its functional counterpart on the plains, whose primary game animal is the buffalo. So here, in any case, we find the cognate husband and wife are each in the form of a *ta, which was originally, in Central Siouan, the deer.
The Lunar Wife. [Chimalman. Itzpapalotl. = Moon. Itzpapalotl, Milbrath argues, is the dark moon. This happens to be the moon of the solar eclipse. This is when the Tzitzimime descend. Chm is a recumbent shield, which appears to be the same thing. The leader of the Southerners among the stars is Itzpapalotl. (North/South escort of the sun is the annual version of the diurnal escort of the sun east/west.) Chm is clearly chief of the Huiznac. Itzpapalotl is the complement among the stars to Mixcoatl. The Mapa Itzpapalotl is hard to tell from Chm. Both are Amazons. Chicomoztoc. Moon wife of Įčorúšika. White Beaverskin Wrap. Even if Chm is not Itzpapalotl, she seems to be some aspect of the moon. the woman who seduced Camaxtli and cost him his bicephalic deer, is also the mother of Quetzalcoatl.]
God of War. [Warriors, given role of bow and arrow. Redhorn's wars have to do with his identity as a star. Cures arrow wounds.] In American Indian warfare, where honors and captives were prized, it is not surprising that a deity of the hunt should also become a god of war. Among the Chichimecs, war is usually conducted in ambush raids, since this style of warfare is best at obtaining captives and reducing the number of casualties in the raiding force. Ambush warfare requires stealth and surprise, two features almost essential to hunting. Many of the talents and techniques of hunting are readily transferable to warfare.
In his youth, when Redhorn achieved the status of a prodigy, he joined his first warparty. Despite being a novice, he (along with Turtle and Otter) were given the "Champion's Portion" at the feast of the warparty. In the Fast Eating Contest, which symbolizes the "swallowing" of the enemy whom they will shortly meet, Redhorn had by far the largest plate, implying that he would kill or capture the largest number of the enemy. Despite the size of his plate, Redhorn was the winner of the Fast Eating Contest, indicating that none of the enemy promised him by the spirits would escape. He and the Thunderbird, Storms as He Walks, were given the honor of being chosen as scouts. When the fighting started, the latter won the first War Honor, and despite his youth, Redhorn won the second.1 In another version, it is Redhorn who is first.2 After this initial episode, Redhorn is usually shown as the warleader, and the most proficient warrior. His blessing of war powers even takes precedence over that of Turtle, the primary god of war, as we see when he blesses a human who will go with the spirits on a warpath.
Then Redhorn said, "Now then, the first time you go on the path you shall have a war honor, he said to him." Also Turtle said, "Now then, not repeating what my friend has just said in fun, but the second time you go on the path, you will have a war honor," he said also.3
Turtle tries to make himself the primary War Controller by suggesting that Redhorn was just joking when he arrogated this status to himself. In the great warpath of the spirits in which Redhorn ignites the Ocean Sea itself, it is Redhorn who is the Warleader, despite the fact that Turtle is present in the warparty.4 In at least one case, Redhorn defeats the warrior host of the bad spirits all by himself, as he sets their world on fire.4.1 In another raid against the Bad Waterspirits, he is joined by the almighty Twins, who recognize him as their Warleader.4.2 It is quite clear that although Turtle is the originator of war, among those spirits who have special war powers, those whom we call "War Controllers," Redhorn is probably the greatest among them, so it is hardly controversial to call him a "war god."
In one of the margin notes to the painting of Camaxtli in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis, it says that the god was portrayed holding weapons because it was he who introduced war among the people.5 He is also portrayed with the aztaxelli headdress of two eagle feathers, the standard headdress of warriors.6 His "candy-striped" red and white pinstripe body painting is that of sacrificial victims (ultimately acquired in war) as well as the war dead whose destiny it is to ascend into the heavens to join the blessed host of the Sun and the stars of Mixcoatl who inhabit the night sky of the north. Therefore, Mixcoatl is the leader of a warrior host. In euhemerized accounts, Mixcoatl-Camaxtli leads great armies to extensive conquests, a role befitting a god of war. As we shall see below, the mythology surrounding Camaxtli's conquests aligns with other reflexes of the God of the Hunt, revealing this aspect of the deity to be one of his fundamental characteristics.
The Champion of the Ballcourt. [Redhorn as champion of lacrosse. Ioway. Itzpapalotl and the trophy leg of the ball player. Hunahpu and the ball games. Opponents?] 1
Hunahpu's head is the ball, and he is the zenith passage sun. This implies that the ball is the (zenith) sun.20
The Solar Connection. [Ballcourt game and lacrosse involve a ball (Hočąk: painted red) that symbolizes the sun. Graulich and Mixcoatl as the sun; Redhorn possesses the light of the sun as a weapon; Hunahpu.]
Hunahpu is the sun in its zenith passage.20 Ahpu means "Hunter with a Blowgun" or "Blowgunner."21 The youthful sun carried a blowgun while on earth.22 The Ixil name for the day Ahau is Kirtix, "Sun God."23
The Dying God. [Redhorn assassinated by kinsman Flint. Redhorn sacrificed in "ball court." Four circles: sacrificial? Also sacrificed as prisoner of war. Mixcoatl assassinated by kinsmen. Pictograph shows Mixcoatl with heart excision wound. Painted as sacrifice. Leader of the sacrificed and warrior dead. Mixcoatl himself is assassinated. Hun Hunahpu dies in ball court. Ioway earbobs: souls. Deer as a medium of sacrifice: white deerskins, Quecholli. Being killed as captive (like Redhorn in "Redhorn's Sons") is equivalent to being sacrificed in Mesoamerica.] 1
Human or Divine? [Ioway: he was a man like us.] We have seen that among the Chichimecs of both the north and south, that their God of the Hunt is in a strange twilight zone in which he is sometimes said to be one of the five primordial gods, and sometimes not. There is another twilight zone that he inhabits that is even more puzzling: Is he a god, or is he a man? In the Ioway version, the narrator tells us explicitly, "Human-head-earrings was only a man like the rest of us."1 On the face of it, it might seem that the Hočągara are in agreement, since their Redhorn is actually put to death by the Giants. However, at the same time, Turtle was also slain. Turtle is without doubt a spirit, and not just a mortal man (or turtle). As a Son of Earthmaker, Turtle is a brother to Redhorn (by most accounts). Furthermore, both Turtle and Redhorn are brought back to life, which is hardly usual in the case of ordinary, or even extraordinary, men. In the West, the idea of the dying man-god is not unknown. Jesus was said to be in some sense Yahweh come to earth as a man, and having been killed, was resurrected. His death was not the death of Yahweh, however. A better example is Dionysos, who came to earth to live as a man, and who was torn to pieces by the maenads; yet with his earthly death, the god Dionysos did not disappear from the sacred realm by any means. The same can be said of the avatars of various east Indian gods, who could die without affecting the divine existence of whomever they were the avatar. Among the Hočągara, spirits could be born as men, in which case they lived the lives of mortals and were thus subject to death. Many times, however, having completed the mission for which they went to earth, they simply returned to their divine abode without having to die first. This is what happens to Redhorn and his friends. Having died, and afterwards brought back to life, they simply take leave to return to where they came from. Their human incarnation is just an episode in their divine history. To the Hočągara, Redhorn was clearly a deity who was to be identified with an immortal star (Alnilam), and who had in the past a standing in the heavens, where they called him "Wears Faces on His Ears." Even though there is a difference of opinion with the Ioway, it can be said that the Hočągara allowed that the Redhorn who lived on earth could be killed, although in the end he was one of the immortals of heaven. This is because the flesh is of this earth, the spirit is not.
Among the Chichimecs of the south and their descendants, the matter is rather more cloudy. Pohl describes Camaxtli-Mixcoatl as a "man-god" whom the Tlaxcalans worshipped as their patron deity, while simultaneously claiming to possess his ashes.2 The easiest way to explain the almost capricious swing back and forth from deity to human is to see it as a vestige of the older northern view of spirit avatars who come to earth on a mission, and who may die an earthly death, or who may simply return to their celestial abode when they have completed their mission. Pohl describes what happened to the earthly Quetzalcoatl:
The Anales de Cuauhtitlan, describe how the culture hero Quetzalcoatl was tricked by his rival, Tezcatlipoca, into drinking the forbidden fifth cup of octli, sleeping with his sister, and shaming himself, drunken before his people. Civil war broke out between the followers of the two man-gods. Driven from Tolan, Quetzalcoatl wandered throughout southern Mexico preaching his doctrine until he arrived at the Veracruz coast where he died. While his body was cremated upon a pyre, his spirit was transformed into the morning star, the arch Tzitzimitl, Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli.3
We never have to suppose that the ruler of Tula is anything other than the god Quetzalcoatl who has simply taken on human form in order to enact a sacred history among human beings in a way essential indistinguishable from his northern counterparts who are routinely seen in this way.
The Red Man. Redhorn's very name associates him with the color red. Once we are told that his entire body was of this color, which earned for himself the name "Redman" (Wągešučka). In one of his most important myths, where he goes by the name Įčorúšika ("Wears Faces on His Ears"), he is described as being the central star of a bunch of three. I have argued elsewhere (1, 2, 3) that this star is Alnilam, found in the center of the Belt of Orion. Most of the other Siouan tribes now to the northwest of the Hočągara conceive of Orion as exemplifying the form of a hand. This hand was torn from the arm of a chief in the sky world who tried to block the hole in the sky through which the Twins, and through which souls, transited between the levels of the cosmos and between life and death. The Crow are among those who have the standard version, but in addition they have another account in which a sinister woman, who killed the mother of the Twins, suffers retribution at their hands by being cut to ribbons. Her outstretched hand is said to be the Hand Constellation (Orion). She is the perfect inversion of Redman, except in one way — her name is Hísšištawia, "Red Woman."1 So part of Orion is Redman among the Hočągara, and part of Red Woman is Orion among the Crow. The similarity of names and their shared connection to Orion hardly seem to be coincidental. In many ways Red Woman is a kind of "anti-Redhorn," but these opposites have surely evolved from a single prototype. This may not be an isolated case. The Lakota Iron Hawk, whom I show elsewhere to have been a counterpart to Įčorúšika in one myth, was painted red all over his body shortly after birth.
Color is one of the peculiar features of Camaxtli that he shares with Redhorn, as it says here,
Of this god and goddess [the creator couple] were engendered four sons, the eldest was called Tlaclau queteztzatlipuca, whom the peoples of Quaxoçingo [Huexotzinco] and Tascala [Tlaxcala] reverenced as their chief divinity under the name of Camaxtle, and who was said to have been born of a ruddy color all over.8
We may add that when fire was first drilled, the god Tezcatlipoca transformed himself into Camaxtli to create it. Of the four versions of Tezcatlipoca that existed in the beginning of time, it is to the Red Tezcatlipoca that Camaxtli is to be identified.9 Redman is so-called because when he is born he is bathed in red light. Since Alnilam of Orion is not circumpolar, it disappears briefly during the height of summer as it sets with the sun. When it again rises with the sun, it is "reborn." As it has significant separation from the sun, it can be seen in the red light of the sky low on the horizon. This is the sense in which it is "red." This is also why the Hočągara call the Evening Star "the red star." Mixcoatl-Camaxtli is more a god of the night sky generally, yet it is equally true that when the night sky is born it too arises out of the reddened horizon. The red of the setting sun just is the birth of night, the event that allows the stars to emerge from the light that has suppressed them.
Mixcoatl from the Codex Telleriano-Remensis
As can be seen in the depictions shown here and below, Mixcoatl is typically portrayed with a red knotted headband. This should have the same meaning as the symbolism of his red body. Since the night begins and ends with the red band on the horizon, the "head" of the night, it is natural to portray this state of affairs with a redness at the top of the head. We find that the same is true of Redhorn. In Hočąk his name is He-šuč-ka, where he means "horn." This has a polyvalent denotation one valence of which makes reference to hair. Since among warriors the hair was made into a queue or scalp lock, its shape and length brought to mind a horn. Therefore, the scalp lock was metaphorically termed a he or "horn." Redhorn's red hair is one of his most salient features. This red hair is not any different in meaning than his red body. Since his "head" rises first from the underworld, it follows that it is the first to become red from the sun's diffused light at the horizon. There are several analogies that make this symbolism indisputable. In a variant of Įčorúšika's triumphant harrowing of the netherworld, Redhorn (called "One Horn") faces his enemies on a beach of the Ocean Sea (the horizontal counterpart of the vertical confrontation of Įčorúšika). He has (just as shown in the Picture Cave painting) one horn affixed to his forehead. He takes this off and strikes the sea with it. As soon as it touches the Ocean, the waters flame out, killing the evil spirits who dared to stand against him. This horn is an alloform of Redhorn's queue, which ex hypothesi is the red light of the sun at the horizon. It is, in fact, precisely this same light that turns the Ocean itself red, as any aficionado of Turner can attest. So the two "horns" can be understood the same way. Just as the Hočągara have their Redman, they also have a figure whom they call "Blueman" (Wągečoga). He is Evening Star. His body is blue all over because this star, once it is well separated from the sun, will appear in the blue sky, and thus being bathed in blue, as Redman is bathed in the red light of the horizon, he is said to be blue in body. Nor is this all. Like Redhorn, he also has the hair color that matches his body's hue. For this reason he bears a name that is the counterpart of Redhorn's — "Bluehorn" (Hečoga). That the hair of Bluehorn is the day sky is made clear enough in a story of the Samson and Delilah type in which one of his adopted sisters lulls him to sleep while she braids his blue hair into four queues. She ties these to the four quarters of the lodge, and thus secured, the Thunders descend upon him and take him captive (as the clouds occlude the blue sky). That the blue hair is anchored at the four quarters makes its valence clear enough. Therefore, both the blue body and the blue hair of Bluehorn are symbolic of the light of the day sky. So in parallel sense development, the red body, red horn, forehead horn, and even the fire brands with which Įčorúšika attacks the Waterspirits in their abode, are all the same thing: the diffused red light of the sun as it is seen at the horizon where this deity emerges. The same is also true of the red headband of Mixcoatl, which is of a piece with his own red body.
The Candy-Cane Striped God. Although Mixcoatl-Camaxtli is said to be red, in iconography his body is often painted completely white, with the proviso that over this white base are painted vertical red pinstripes. Since this resembles candy cane, he is often said to be "candy-cane striped."1 The only other god who is painted in this fashion is Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, Lord of Dawn, the Morning Star.2 This star, called the "Great Star" by the Aztecs and Hočągara alike, is said to be identical with the son of Mixcoatl, Quetzalcoatl.3 That those who are to be sacrificed are also painted this way is not as helpful a datum as it might seem, since they are meant to appear as (the followers of) Mixcoatl and not the other way around.4 As sacrificial victims, they join the dead war heroes as stars in the night sky under the governance of Mixcoatl.5 The red probably pertains to solar light in some way, perhaps because they "feed" the Sun with their blood, but there is no explicit statement as to its meaning. Mixcoatl is also associated with the color white. In Huezotzinco, according to Durán, those who impersonate the god, and even his idols, are painted white or are painting in white stripes (with no mention of alternating red stripes).5.0 In one of his incarnations, he is called Iztac Mixcoatl, "White Mixcoatl."5.1 When he triumphs over Itzpapalotl, he and his followers burn her body. Out of the fire jump pieces of flint, the mineral that formed the jagged edges of her wings. Many different colors of flint emerged from the flames, but only the white one was considered worthy of taking. Mixcoatl made this white flint the sole contents of his Warbundle. Some scholars have described this stone as Mixcoatl's "fetish."6 However we characterize it, the fact that it was valued for being white, in conjunction with the iconography of Mixcoatl having his body painted white, makes it abundantly clear that he is to be associated not only with the color red, but with the color white as well. The meaning of this has never been stated, but perhaps the color white serves to represent the stars over whom Mixcoatl rules, since most stars give the impression to the cursory observer of being white. This seems to be the view of Seler:
These souls of the dead are then the "revenants," the "white" men and women. Their appearance and their decoration harmonizes with that. They are described as white painted figures whose hair is plastered with white down feathers, the decoration of victims. For that reason white earth (tiçatl) and white down feathers (iuitl) were sent to an enemy to declare war. Captives who were to be sacrificed were also painted with white earth, down feathers were pasted on their hair, their lips were painted red, and their eyes were surrounded by a black field. The mummy bundle was made in this same fashion for the memorial service of warriors who had perished in a hostile country. In the same manner the sacrificed men are depicted in the pictorial documents, except that the body color is not simply white, but has thin red lengthwise stripes on a white background. ... These godly beings did not only live in the beliefs and imagination of the Mexicans, they thought they could in some way see them bodily and could recognize them, the spirits who had been transferred to the sky, in the stars that come up at night in the heavens.7
For this reason they have their bodies decorated like the Great Star and like Mixcoatl, whom Seler describes as "the deity of the northern starry sky, the circumpolar region."8
Redhorn also has associations with the whiteness of stars. As it says in "Įčorúšika and His Brothers," Redhorn is the "greatly shining one" (Alnilam) of the Belt Stars of Orion. Although it is conceded that in reality he is a bit "yellowish," he is said to be "the white one." Otherwise, in the large corpus of mythology that we have about Redhorn, nothing further is said of his being white. On this point, we see how fortunate we are to have what little we do have of Picture Cave. The Redhorn Panel there shows most of Redhorn's body painted white. Even his maskette is of this color. The ocular symbol, which I argue elsewhere denotes Alnilam, falls within this white area. So the white color may serve to display his star color as it has come down to us in myth. If Mixcoatl is white because of his stellar associations, then the two gods are white for the same reason. In any case, it cannot be doubted that they both have bodies that are painted white in iconography.
Surprisingly, perhaps, is the fact that the Redhorn of Picture Cave was painted with the same vertical pinstripes as Mixcoatl, only they were not made in color, but were painted with the same black paint used to make outlines. This may simply be due to a want of red paint, or to the fact that the orange background of the rock would make the color red barely discernable. It had been conjectured that pinstripes generally represent the sheen of light on a surface.9 As I tried to show in "The Redhorn Panel Star Map," the pictograph shows White Plume as Sirius being lifted above the horizon by Redhorn as Orion. Inasmuch as the sun is off to the left in this depiction, the stripes are consistent with the rays of sunlight coming from that direction and illuminating the bodies of the two stellar gods. These pinstripes match those of Mixcoatl in all but color. The reason why Redhorn's "horn" is red, and why he is Redman, is the fact that the sun's light bathes the background sky in red during the period when his star Alnilam is rising heliacally. So the stripes express this same red solar radiation. While we cannot be certain that Mixcoatl's red stripes have the same meaning, we must recognize that both red/white gods are depicted with the same style of pinstripes. Therefore, once again, Redhorn and Mixcoatl are found to share important attributes.
Herokaga and the Heroka, Mixcoatl and the Mimixcoa. The spirit whom we call "Redhorn" (Hešučka) is also known by other names. As it says in "The Baldheaded Warclub," after Redhorn has removed the single horn from his head and used it to set the waters afire:
(55) Then the leader said, "Now then, from henceforth you will no more call me "One Horn." Here the humans are being abused and here I have used my horn, therefore, the humans shall ever call me, "Without Horns," (56) because I have caused myself to be without any," he said. That is why they call them Heroka, meaning "Ones Without Horns."1
He is chief over this race. The Heroka over whom Herokaga rules are a race of lilliputian hunting spirits. They are most particularly the spirits of the arrow, as they are able to kill without actually using an arrow. All they do is pull back the bowstring and chant the "Heroka breathings,"ahahé ahahé. Their power is appealed to and honored by those who wish success in the hunt.1.1
The Iktomis (Spiders) of the Sioux seem clearly to be cognate to the Hočąk Heroka over whom Redhorn (Herokaga) rules. Their leader is the trickster figure Iktomi. This is what they say about the Iktomis:
Flint arrow points were made in the old days by the Iktomi. They supplied the Indians with arrows. They are little people, dwarfs, who turn into spiders when not busy at their labors. One can often see them running about among the leaves and grass. It brings bad luck to step on them. They do not wish to be seen so they transform themselves in this way. "At night, especially if the moon is bright, you can sometimes hear the light tap-tap-tap-ping of the dwarf's hammers chipping the flints into shape. There are regular quarries where these 'little men' work—usually in the side of a sandy hill."1.2* They do not like to be disturbed when they are at work. ["]Once a party of Indians were digging into a hill when they struck rock. To their surprise it sounded hollow. Breaking through the rock they found a cavity. It was filled with arrow heads.["]1.3* It was a workshop of the Iktomi or Spider Men. The Iktomi are still about but they no longer make arrows for the Indians. They have chiefs and a language of their own. They sometimes spin webs through the grass or from a bush to a bush to guide them in the daytime in going from place to place.1.4
In a Dakota story, Uŋktomi is making arrowheads while in the form of a spider.1.5* He shoots and kills a malevolent human with a miniature arrow.1.6 As spiders, these spirits are themselves hunters, although among the Sioux their nature as Arrow Spirits seems to have predominated. Spider (Uŋktomi) is said to have created the first arrowhead and the first warclub blade. He himself spends time in their manufacture. An offering of tobacco to Spider can lead to good fortune in hunting.1.7
The Crow, despite their present separation from the most of the Central Siouan tribes, have a class of spirits who are cognate to both the Heroka and Iktomi. These spirits appear in stories about the seven stars of the Big Dipper, who are portrayed as a family of brothers to whom is added a single sister. One of these stars has been blessed ("adopted") by a dwarf who gives his charge special arrows. The dwarf's adopted son is captured by Red Woman only because he forgot to take these medicine arrows with him when he went out.2 This dwarf belongs to a whole race of dwarves, called the Awakkulé or "Little People." They live inside caves in the mountains, and like to hunt during the day.2.1
The Awakkulé, or "Little People," which appear in [this] story, are small humanlike beings who are believed to inhabit mountainous, remote areas of the Crow Reservation. They are known to be both shy and mischievous. Generally helpful to the Crow, they still like to play tricks on unsuspecting humans.2.2
The diminutive spirits are certainly very close in nature to the Heroka. They are like the Iktomies, since they live inside Medicine Rock and spend much of their time fashioning arrowheads.2.3 In another version of the Crow myth of the "Seven Brothers," the spirit dwarf is counted as the foremost brother, a role usually played by Redhorn's cognate, Stone Boy. There we learn that the dwarf is called Ivakidhúš, which means "Greasy Breast." He protects his adopted sister (identified as a star near the Big Dipper) from a bad spirit called "Worm Face." Like Redhorn, he wrestles this relative giant, but rather than trying to defeat him in this contest, he has left instructions for his sister to throw wood over the two of them and light them up. Like Redman, he finds himself at the bottom of a blazing fireplace where, like Itzpapalotl, he burns to ashes. Things pop out of the flames as they do in the Aztec myth, but the sister throws them back into the fire. She feels around in the ashes and finds a "lump" (a stone?), which she cleans and paints red. He then springs back into existence, and declares himself the victor. Just like Redhorn and his charges the Heroka, he transports himself by arrow, either by throwing it (as if it were an atlatl dart),2.4 or by shooting it and flying wherever it takes him.2.5 There can be little doubt that Ivakidhúš is the leader of the Awakkulé just as Herokaga (Redhorn) is the leader of the Heroka.
The Aztecs have a race of such beings who follow the God of the Hunt and even bear his name, almost exactly like the Heroka do with respect to Herokaga. Mixcoatl fathered the Centzon (400) Mimixcoa or Mixcoa, the latter pair of names being plurals of the word mix-coatl.3 So just as the hunting god Herokaga rules over the Heroka, so Mixcoatl is the father of the Mimixcoa spirits, who were born on 1-Flint.4 They were created for a purpose. The Sun explicitly ordained that they supply him with drink, which is to say, blood. As the blood was originally to be that of animals, they could achieve their purpose by hunting. It was the essence of virtue to thus devote oneself to the sustenance of the Sun, for whom wars were later waged to supply the beating hearts and blood by which this sacred mission could be accomplished. However, these Chichimec Mimixcoa fell into moral dissolution, and forgot their sacred duty to the Sun. They womanized, got drunk on pulque, and engaged in play and sport to while away the days. Now there were another set of Mimixcoa, a mere five in number, whose birth was unknown to the Centzon Mimixcoa. They were by name, Cuauhtlicouauh ("Who has the Eagle as Wife") [east], Mixcoatl ("Cloud Serpent") [north], Tlotepe ("Hawk Mountain") [west], Apanteuctli ("Lord in Water") [south], and a sister, Cuetlachcihuatl ("Little Kinkajou Wife") [center].5 They would find it their mission to curb the Centzon Mimixcoa.
Among the Hočągara we also encounter the strange duplication of the tribe of followers of the God of the Hunt. This second tribe is known by various names: Little Children Spirits, Childish People, Those who Make Themselves Children, the Ones who Make Themselves Babies, Those who Cry Like Babies. These come to be ruled over by the second son of Redhorn, the one whose living heads are found either on his shoulders, or on his nipples, as it says here,
His son is the chief of the Little Children Spirits who have the same power as the Heroka. The Heroka never miss anything with their arrows, yet the Little Children Spirits are a bit holier than the Heroka.10
The story of how the Redhorns (plural) came to rule over the Little Children Spirits is not too far removed from the Aztec story of the dissolute Mimixcoa. The Little Children Spirits were not exactly virtuous. Their women made obscene gestures of insult to Herokaga;11 in the village where they ruled, they had made the people their slaves, and whenever they felt like it, they would grab one and eat him.12 Their village consists of transvestite berdaches, a fact which Turtle comments upon with disapprobation. The old woman, who was rather like their matriarch, was arrogant and presumptuous according to the testimony of her own closest kinsmen. She had a husband and three sons, and a number of daughters. The men were not in evidence. The old woman challenged Herokaga and his friends to a game of regodiwa (a foreign word). They would sit on a cliff, and the Little Children Spirits would try to raise a wind that would blow them off. If they failed, they themselves would die. The four invisible men created strong winds, but were not able to sweep them from the cliffs. They then appeared, and allowed the Heroka spirits to kill them with their invisible arrows.13 When we pick up the corresponding Aztec story, it is the four men and one woman who are the protagonists, and the Chichimec-Mimixcoa who are the antagonists, the opposite of the Hočąk case. Still it is striking that the one set of spirits is primarily four men and one woman, and that they are almost indistinguishable from the opposing spirits. The five Mimixcoa created second, conceal themselves as the Chichimec (Centzon) Mimixcoa try to find and kill them. Then all of a sudden, they emerge, and shoot down all of the Chichimecs save for three: Ximbel [Xiuhnel], Mimichil [Mimich], and Camasale [Camaxtli = Mixcoatl].14 In a variant, the second set of Mimixcoa are replaced by Itzpapalotl.
And then they fell into the hands of Itzpapalotl, who ate the four hundred Mixcoa, finished them off. White Mixcoatl, called Mixcoatl the younger, was the only one who escaped, who ran away. He jumped inside a barrel cactus. And when Itzpapalotl seized the cactus, Mixcoatl rushed out and shot her, calling to the four hundred Mixcoa, who had died. They appeared. They shot her.15
So in the end, in this version, Mixcoatl brings the miscreant Mimixcoa back to life, and it is their opponent who is brought down. This means that in this version, the Chichimec-Mimixcoa now become the protagonists. In this Hočąk-like reversal, Itzpapalotl becomes the counterpart of the five alternant Mimixcoa, only like the old woman and her four men in "The Chief of the Heroka," it is she who perishes. She, the substitute for the five Mimixcoa, is shot to death just as the Heroka shoot to death the five (and the daughters?) who represent the Little Children Spirits. It is interesting that it is said in the "Chief of the Heroka" that all those suitors who had courted the daughters in the past had been eaten by them, just as Itzpapalotl had eaten the Centzon Mimixcoa. The only one to survive this serial cannibalism in both cases is the younger version of the God of the Hunt. Associated with the Little Children Spirits is the figure who is elsewhere called "Flint." Somehow it is he who ends up with the strange regenerating bucket of food in the possession of one of the sons of Herokaga. Flint is associated in turn with the Forked Men, just as Itzpapalotl is similarly forked herself as a two-headed horned doe. She too is made in part of flint, and just as when Flint is killed by the friends of Redman, when the friends of Mixcoatl kill and burn her, the product is valuable flint. (One could probably make a good case for identifying both with the arrowhead-shaped asterism, the Hyades.) Just as Mixcoatl summons back to life the Chichimec-Mimixcoa, so at the end of the same story, Herokaga brings all the Little Children Spirits back to life: "And the Ones that Make Themselves Babies, the chief [of the Heroka] caused them to live again. Therefore, he is a little the holier."16 So both traditions allow that the deity of the hunt is able to revive those of his charges who have gone astray of virtue.
The Little Children Spirits may be found in the Aztec mythology in an unexpected place. In the history of the various suns that were created and destroyed, and the humans who were swept away with them, it is said of the Third Sun,
This sun is 4 Rain. These people lived in the third one, in the time of the sun 4 Rain. And the way they were destroyed is that they were rained on by fire. They were changed into turkeys. ... And it was 312 years that they lived. ... And when they died they were children. Therefore, today they are called the "baby children."17
Among the Hočągara turkey feathers are used for the fletching of the arrow. The Baby Children race, although they lived for 312 years, never seem to have matured. This implies that they were always children by nature, and therefore present an interesting counterpart to the Little Children Spirits.
Masks of Life and Death
§11.1. Eyes and Ears. When we pick up the story of the Annals (from above), we find that the remains of Itzpapalotl are put to an unusual end.
And when she was dead, they burned her. Then they rubbed themselves with her ashes, blackening their eye sockets.1
The ashes were made into the well known "Lone Ranger" mask of Mixcoatl that we see below. This is also typically worn as part of the livery of the god's devotées. The story from the Annals shows the origins of this symbolic mask. The Aztec god Mixcoatl is a stellar god, and his black mask is often studded with stars. The mask is called mixcitlathuiticac, "star face painting," and "the mixcitlathuiticac that is called night."2* Since the mask represents the stars against the black background of the firmament, we may identify the ashes of Itzpapalotl with the night sky. Among the Hočągara, the use of charcoal to blacken the face is a form of dishevelment like cutting the hair; but it also symbolizes loss and destruction, as ashes are always the product of such a process. In Hočąk, light (hąp) is identified with life, so black, the almost universal symbol of death, is the dark antithesis of hąp. So when people blacken their faces, they participate in loss, and replicate the night, a symbolic antithesis of Light-&-Life. Since all of the actors in the Aztec and Hočąk stories are stars, it is natural for them to associate with the dark sky. Nevertheless, there is nothing said or shown of Redhorn under any name or description that corresponds to a black mask or any other representation of the night sky. Consequently, it has never occurred to anyone that Mixcoatl-Camaxtli was a proper match for Redhorn in this respect.
Does Redhorn have any association at all with masks? In reviewing both myth and iconography, we must say, "No." This is under the strict definition of "mask." However, led by Robert Hall, not everyone is willing to confine themselves to so narrow a concept.3 If we re-think the concept of Mask such that its denotata do not satisfy a single description, but have to one another what Wittgenstein called "a family resemblance,"4 an interesting new world opens up to us. Williams and Goggin defined a set of Mississippian artifacts which they called "long-nosed god (LNG) maskettes."5 It was highly presumptuous of them to call them "gods," as we do not know precisely what they represent. Even at the time, it was also evident that calling them "long-nosed" was a distortion, since many of these maskettes have short noses. However, the use of "maskettes" ("little masks") is interesting, even though it pushes out beyond the strict definition of "mask." When these maskettes are found in burials, in some cases it is clear that they had been worn on the deceased's ears. They appear in iconography, where they are seen as earpieces. I have called them "prosopic earpieces," but they can be thought of as maskettes, since they are to the ear what the mask is to the face (or more specifically, to the eyes). These prosopic maskettes are highly stylized. They have a notch at the top center of their forehead, below which is a horizontal groove. These reflect the means by which the maskette is attached to the ear. The whole maskette is consistently shield-shaped. The eyes are always the same, being large and perfectly circular with a single dot representing the pupil, or the pupil and iris together. The mouth, however, is always just a small slit below the base of the nose. The nose is the one component of the face that has considerable variation. However, a long nose never seems to turn down like an insect proboscis. They are either straight, slightly upward in curvature, or sinuous like the body of a snake in motion.
Before the revelations from Picture Cave, an important discovery was made by Robert Hall. He recalled that one of the extraordinary features of Redhorn as he is found among both the Hočągara and Ioway, are the living faces that grow on his earlobes.12 So it is said of Redhorn 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. ... Now his brothers became fonder than ever of him and gathered around him laughing.13
Among the Ioway, this strange feature gives rise to the name Waⁿkístowi, "Human Head Earrings,"14 which is very similar in meaning to the Hočąk Wągišjorušika (< Wągíšjahorùšika < Wąk-hišja-horušik-ka), "Wears Human Faces on His Ears."15 The Hočągara also call him Įčorúšika (< Įčo-horúšika), "Wears Faces on His Ears." The name in both Ioway and Hočąk appears to be very old. In Hočąk we do find the front formation įč, meaning "face," but įčo is not attested at all. The closest we find to the Ioway -isto-, is the Ioway isdá, which means only "eye." We do find a Hočąk isto, histo in two sources, where in both cases, like the Ioway, it means "eye." Like hišja in Hočąk, which means both "eye" and "face," the old isto seems to have had the same duality of meaning. Hall realized that the maskettes of archaeology made a fair match to the living faces on the mythical Redhorn's earlobes. It was not a perfect match, however, since no maskette is shown winking an eye or sticking out its tongue; nor is it said in mythology that the little faces had odd noses or eyes. What really confirmed Hall's discovery was the publication by Diaz-Granados and Duncan of the most striking painting found in Missouri's famous Picture Cave.16 This shows a figure with only one horn mounted on his forehead (as described in "The Baldheaded Warclub," where Redhorn is called "Only One Horn"). He is strongly associated with arrows, and most significantly, he lives up to the name "Wears Faces on His Ears." I have shown elsewhere that the whole panel is a star map with the ocular symbol planted on the chest of this figure coinciding with the star Alnilam of Orion, the star that I had identified with Įčorúšika many years before. There can be little doubt that the central figure in Picture Cave is none other than Redhorn (see the picture above).
The prosopic ear maskette worn by this ancient Redhorn is exactly of the LNG maskette type. Therefore, the maskettes of archaeology are the same as those shown to be worn by Redhorn, and the inspiration for their mythic reflexes in the Redhorn Cycles of the Hočąk and Ioway nations. This now puts us in a position to say that contrary to what we might have thought, like Mixcoatl, Redhorn also has masks. For the Chichimecs of the south, the mask fits over the eyes; for the Chichimecs of the north, it fits over the ears. Among the Hočągara, sound is widely used in astronomy codes to represent light. This holds for obvious reasons. Light and sound, both being waves (with certain highly sophisticated provisos), are extensively isomorphic. The fact that both light and sound are waves makes them radiate from a center outward in every direction. They vary in amplitude and wave length, so a loud noise is like a bright light, and the pitch of a sound is its color. Wears White Feather, for instance, who is the star Sirius, has a living loon for his headdress, a bird that makes a loud call that expresses the brightness of the star. Therefore, in switching the mask from eye to ear or vice-versa, is to change into a highly analogous counterpart.
Do we have any mythological exemplars of the equivalence of eye and ear? In world mythology, in terms of organs, the sun is most usually associated with the eye, not just because it normally enables sight, but because the sun itself is thought to be all-seeing. This is seen particularly in the Indian god Sūrya (the Sun), who is the great eye of the sky. Macdonell sums up what the Vedas say on the matter:17
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.18 In the AV he is called the "lord of eyes,"19 and is said to be the one eye of created being and to see beyond the sky, the earth, and the waters.20 He is far-seeing,21 all-seeing,22 is the spy (spash) of the whole world,23 beholds all beings and the good and bad deeds of mortals.24
Yet the eye and sun both have a strange connection to the ear as well. In the great epic of India, the Mahābhārata, the good spirits (the Danava) have become incarnate to pursue on a human plane a cosmic struggle with the evil spirits (the Asura). In this fight, the god Sūrya as one of the Asura, has become incarnate in the form of the champion Karṇa. Karṇa reveals 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 कणॅ means "Ear."25 So the eye of the world is born as "Ear," adorned from the beginning in gold, including the orb-shaped earrings. The celestial Eye can be reborn on earth as Ear because light is strongly analogous to sound. This well appreciated isomorphism allows the ear to stand as a symbol not only for the reception of sound, but of light. Thus, the offspring of the solar Eye of the World is Ear (Karṇa). This shows that the eye-masks of Mixcoatl are not fundamentally discordant with the ear-maskettes of Redhorn, since eye and ear naturally suggest themselves to the mythological mind, wherever it is found, as being fundamentally analogous.
§11.2. The Ears of a Hunter. We have seen how the similarities between the mask of Mixcoatl and the ear maskettes of Redhorn have been overlooked due to their placement on different parts of the head. We know from the rendering of Redhorn at Picture Cave as Only One Horn, and as Herokaga, that the mythological ear-faces were once identical to the prosopic ear maskettes of archaeology. However, we must now appreciate how the ear-faces of Redhorn, as they have come down to us in more recent mythology, differ from the maskettes. The ear-faces of myth laugh, wink, and stick out their tongues. No maskette, real or pictured, has ever been found that even hints of such actions. The stylized maskettes even seem inimical to such activities. Indeed their only shared attribute seems to be their overall comic appearance. It is actually the ear-faces of myth that best answer to the mask of Mixcoatl — the maskettes of archaeology and iconography are quite another matter.
A promising new approach can explain all the attributes of the maskettes (although not the living faces of myth) in terms of the essential role of the spirit that Picture Cave shows wearing them. Both Redhorn and Mixcoatl are, in their fundamental stratum, gods of the chase; and what does a hunter particularly need? The hunting of deer, the primary game associated with both gods, requires stealth, which is before all else a stalking in silence. It is most often necessary to be mute, or as the Hočągara say, to have "a little mouth" (inįgįžą). Just as mutes are described as having ira nį́k, "little mouths," so blind people are said to have hišjanįk, "little eyes," and the deaf to have nųǧenį́k, "little ears." This set of linguistically institutionalized metaphors, fits rather neatly the attributes of the maskettes and their meaning. So the little mouth of the maskette, as an instantiation of the Hočąk metaphor, can serve to symbolize the vocal silence required to stalk prey. The best hunter is silent and has, just like the maskette, a little mouth. Apart from having a "little mouth," another important virtue of a hunter is to have great acuity of sight. Near-sightedness is an insurmountable difficulty for any predator, so a successful hunter must be the opposite of one who, as the Hočągara say, has "small eyes." A great hunter, therefore, must have "big eyes." The maskettes have the biggest eyes imaginable: it is hard to conceive how such eyes could take up more space on the maskette without crowding out the nose and mouth altogether. These eyes look like the unblinking eyes of fish, or perhaps the night penetrating eyes of the owl. In Hočąk metaphor, "big eyes" automatically carry with them the implication of powerful vision. The artwork therefore brings to life the metaphor that symbolizes the great visual acuity required of the supreme hunter. Most hunting animals also seek out game by scent, often exceeding human abilities at this task by orders of magnitude. In Hočąk terms, we would be inclined to say of any beings of such talent that they have "big noses," although humans typically lack power in this particular sense, and by comparison have "small noses." So we often see giant noses attached to the maskette faces symbolic of the power of tracking by scent, although this is not a consistent feature. Finally, although hearing is a sense that is extremely useful to hunters, our maskettes display not a trace of an ear. Nevertheless, inasmuch as they are fastened over the earlobe and not the whole ear, it may be said that unlike the deaf who have "little ears," each maskette is equipped with a giant ear by virtue of its situation. The ears to which the maskettes are attached symbolize in proportion to the scale of the maskettes, the enormous powers of hearing that the supreme hunter must possess. Therefore, the maskettes seem to express all the sensory virtues required of a hunter, especially as they would be expressed in the built-in metaphors of the Hočąk language. These attributes — a quiet voice, strong sight, acute hearing, and the (super-human and infra-human) power to pick up scent — are essential to the God of the Hunt.
Another stylized feature of the maskettes is their overall form, which is always described as "shield shaped." This description may have made it difficult to see the true inspiration for their design. The basic form is an equilateral triangle, perhaps tending just a little towards the isosceles due to its vertical dimension. One of the most fundamental powers of Redhorn qua Herokaga is his command over the arrow. Not only can he kill without actually launching an arrow, but he has the power to transform himself into one. The deer slayer not only needs the powers of sense, but the powers of weaponry supplied by the sharply tipped big game arrow. The arrow points in use at the time of the Picture Cave Redhorn were triangular. They are of two types, the Cahokian and the Madison, the latter coexisting with, then finally displacing the former. The Cahokian point is an isosceles triangle, modified with double, triple, or multiple notches. The base frequently has a notch made in the same fashion as the side notches.26 The Cahokian style dates from about 900 a. D. to 1050 a. D.27 It was later superseded by the Madison type, which was common from 800 a. D. to 1400 a. D.28 The Madison point, which was most commonly used as an arrowhead, is also triangular. Most examples are isosceles (80%), almost twice as long as they are wide; but a significant proportion are equilateral (20%). Some are excurvate or incurvate, but 75% have straight blade edges, and 47% have straight bases. It is quite common for them to have a single small notch in their bases.29 Generally cobbles of flint, quartzite, rhyolite, and quartz were taken from streambeds and knapped with an antler, with pressure flaking to finalize the point. It became the most common triangular arrowhead type, found almost everywhere east of the Mississippi.30 The equilateral version of the Madison point has the same overall triangular shape as the maskettes. Here we must observe that the maskette is not only shaped like a European shield, but like an American arrow point. In this it succeeds in representing the output power needed by the hunter, rather than just his (sensory) input power. Needless to say, the arrow point shape is rounded off for safety and proportioned so that it may carry the features of a face. Although it bears good resemblance to the base-notched, equilateral Madison point, further examination shows that it has more interesting similarities to the Cahokian point.
A Cahokia Gem Point
A Cahokia Gem Point
A Prosopic Maskette
A Notched Madison Point
An Equilateral Madison Point
The band across the maskette's forehead in conjunction with the notch at the top of his head, gives the impression that it is wearing a hat of some kind. This forehead band extends to notches on the left and right side of the maskette. Presumably, the band and the terminal notches were for a cord to secure the maskette to the ear. However, this tri-notched triangular form particularly recalls the tri-notched triangular Cahokian point design, except that the maskette is always rather more equilateral like many Madison points. We may also see that the Cahokian points have a base that in form is exactly like the "hat" of the maskette, with a notch precisely in the middle of the base, with a flat or slightly excurvate baseline. When viewed in parallel, as seen above, the maskette and the Cahokian point display the same "hat," and even the same side notches.
The God of the Hunt needs not only the power to detect game, but the power to kill it. This power too is expressed in the maskette through its overall shape. Not only is the whole maskette a kind of rounded off arrow point, but we frequently see noses that bear an even more striking resemblance to the isosceles Cahokian point. The maskette shown above from Pike County is a case in point, with a nose that looks, in proportion and almost sharpness, to be an image of the Cahokian point. The word for nose in Hočąk is pa, which comes from the verb form of pa meaning "to be pointed." In Hočąk, arrowheads are called mąpára, "arrow noses," or "arrow points," as the word pa meaning "nose" more fundamentally means "point." As long, upward sloping, sharp, tapering objects, the long nose maskettes most naturally call to mind the tine of an antler (see "The Redhorn Panel of Picture Cave: An American Star Map"). The Cahokian points are not only knapped with antlers, but are frequently made of horn or bone. It is not surprising therefore that in Hočąk an arrow is referred to as a "projecting horn" (he pųjoke). It makes perfect sense for Redhorn to wear a maskette that displays graphically all the sensory powers needed by the supreme hunter, but it is even more fitting that it exemplifies the very horn that is in his name, the weapon whose red horned tip closes the chase.
Virtually none of these features of detection and apprehension are found in the ear-faces of myth. The maskettes clearly diverge from the mythical faces in this respect. Diaz-Granados and Duncan believe that the Redhorn of Picture Cave, with his prosopic earlobes in the form of the standard maskette artifact, may actually date as much as two centuries before the "Big Bang" of Cahokia.31 This rather suggests that the ear-faces as described in our mythology post-date the maskettes, and represent an attempt to capture, in the preëxisting prosopic earlobes that devotées imagined Redhorn to wear, the stellar attributes of the mask of Mixcoatl. It may well have been that in earlier versions of the myth that the maskette-styled faces were thought to come alive when they were put on, just as they are said to do in the Ioway version, and their powerful hunting attributes may have been imagined as adding to the god's prowess in the chase, rather more than on the playing field of the story tellers.
When Mixcoatl and his Mimixcoa take the ashes of Itzpapalotl and surround their eyes with the blackness of the stellar background, they all assume the same outward identity. At another level, their collective identity shares something of itself with that of the maskettes of Redhorn and his sons, the rulers of the Heroka and the Little Children Spirits. One version states that a Warbundle was made from the ashes of Itzpapalotl; in another, it is said that as the body lie burning, flint points after which she took her name, ejected from the fire one after another, until a brilliant white flint landed at their feet. This they took and made the power of their Warbundle. Therefore, the white flint was an alloform of the black ashes, one like the stars, the other like the sunless sky. So out of the ashen substance from which the Mimixcoa masks are made is ejected flint points. The maskettes of Redhorn-Herokaga are heads (pa) that are made in the form of points (pa), as befits a hunting god. As flint arrow points/heads, they too are an alloform of the black masks of the Mimixcoa. At Picture Cave, this pa-maskette is painted a brilliant white. Like the Heroka and the Little Children Spirits, these faces as expressed in both artifact and myth, are faces of miniature beings. Such are those over whom Redhorn and his sons rule, beings that can make themselves so small that they can hide under leaves. In the pa-maskettes, the counterparts of the white point of Itzpapalotl, may we not wonder whether we are not also seeing the faces of the diminutive Heroka spirits?
§11.3. Stellar Masks. [Lankford: circle with dot = star. Star Man is white.] It turns out that Redhorn is not the only one with strange living earbobs. The Pole Star, Polaris, called "The Star that Does Not Move" by the Hočągara and many other tribes, is sometimes represented in myth as a hummingbird, since he hovers in the northern sky while all the other stars swirl around him. The two stars nearest him are the Cepheid star still best known by its Flamsteed designation, 2 Ursæ Minoris;32 and Yildun (δ Ursæ Minoris).33 The former has a visual magnitude of 4.24, and the latter 4.35. The other stars nearby are of magnitude 5.00 or higher, where 6.00 comes close to the boundary of visibility. These two stars rotate around the "head" of Polaris like hummingbirds around a flower. Being close to the pole star, they rotate around it very slowly, with Yildun being something of a competitor with Polaris as the true indicator of the celestial pole. The three stars form a triad with Polaris as the head and the two stars on either side of him as the slightly higher earbobs. Thus, Polaris has living earlobes which are clearly stars. The orientation and alignment of the two stars adjacent to Alnilam, the star of Redhorn, are exactly like the satellites of the North Star. So if the Redhorn maskettes follow the only other known exemplar of a being with living earlobes, then the living faces on his ears should likewise be the two adjacent satellite stars of Alnilam.
This means that the prosopic maskettes correspond to the stars Alnitak and Mintaka.
There are, of course, two other beings who have living faces on their bodies. These are the two sons of Redhorn. Many analysts think that these two sons of Redhorn are the counterparts of the Twins found almost universally in America, however Redhorn's sons are not identical, and are in fact only half-brothers. The real twinning is inter-generational. The eldest son of Redhorn, born him by Wears White Beaverskin Wrap (Moon ?), is exactly like his father, and even possesses the living ear-faces. The second son, born him by the red haired Giantess (Dawn ?), has heads either on his nipples or on his shoulders. The eldest son of Redhorn is just Redhorn himself, just as Kore the daughter of the Greek Demeter is said to be just Demeter herself; or to take what may amount to another Greek example, the son of God is just God himself. So the elder son of Redhorn can be identified as the same set of three Orion Belt Stars. But what about the younger son? His stars should have the same pattern as Polaris and its satellites, the slightly incurvate line such as we also find in the Belt Stars. We are never told what stars they might be, but the obvious candidate would be the Sword Stars of Orion, which are also a bunched trio with the center "star" (actually a nebula) slightly below the line formed by the flanking stars. Since the sons of Redhorn have the powers of their father (so much so that he can give them no parting gift), we must expect that they too are stellar, and that their living auxiliary faces correspond to stars.
So the parallel case with Polaris and its stellar satellites suggests that one of the values of the maskettes is that they are stars; and the Big Boy sculpture can be seen to be consistent with this interpretation. We see a new line to this same conclusion when we turn to what is actually said of the behavior of these earlobe faces in the mythology of Redhorn. They are said to do three things in particular: to stick out their tongues (rezínąp), to laugh (hikšá), and to wink (hišjánągìwiš). We can understand the significance of these in terms of Hočąk symbolism. 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 light of the horizon in which he is immersed when his star (Alnilam of Orion) helically rises or sets. 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) at the edge of the world, 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. When sound is used to symbolize light in astronomy codes, it is usually expressed in crying, the "opposite" of laughter. In the case of Redhorn's aural faces, laughter serves the purpose better because of its more rapid 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. 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, being as we have seen, stars themselves. As stars, they metaphorically stick out their tongues, wink their eyes, and laugh.
Stellar identity is perfectly consistent with the large, round eyes of the prosopic maskettes. Those "stars" (planets) large enough to see clearly are perfectly round. The pupil of the maskette is reduced to a dot, since this dark organ is not evident in stars. We find in the Redhorn Panel star map of Picture Cave, that stars are marked with ocular symbols, and the pupil of the eye of the maskette worn by Redhorn, corresponds perfectly with the red star Betelgeuse. It is common to identify stars with eyes.34 In Mexican iconography, stars are almost always represented by eyes. In particular, the mask of Mixcoatl-Camaxtli occasionally has stars painted onto the black background depicting the night sky, but more commonly, the visible eyes behind the mask are sufficient to the same end. Although the maskettes of Redhorn are attached to the ears, their stellar value is partly expressed in the Mexican fashion by the use of eyes, in this case, very prominent ones. The maskettes are also characterized by very small mouths, a great virtue in a hunter. As we have seen the small mouth has an automatic meaning through the Hočąk language: mutes are described as having ira nį́k, "little mouths." A small mouth indicates a weak voice, perhaps so weak as to be nonexistent. In Hočąk symbolism, sound corresponds to light, so that a strong sound represents a bright light, and inversely, a weak sound is a symbol of dim light. Among the celestial wira or "luminaries," the stars have the weakest light of all. Therefore, they may be said, in Hočąk idiom, to have "small mouths" (inįgera). Consequently, the small mouths on the prosopic maskettes of Redhorn are in keeping with their stellar valence. The noses, on the other hand, may have no value in a stellar code. The only "noses" that are particularly appropriate to stars would be those of birds. Two early sources record the use of the word pa, "nose," being used to denote bird beaks. There are examples of maskettes that have noses that look like beaks, but allusions to birds are not especially common. Pa, in origin, meant "pointed," which relates the nose to horns. The horns of stars represent the light in which they are bathed. It seems on the whole, however, that the nose is inspired by other symbolism associated with the maskettes. Indeed, noses receive no mention at all in the mythology of the living faces on Redhorn's ears.
§11.4. Souls and the Concept of Ni
[Implied: souls = stars. Nose = horn = arrow = soul; ni emanates from the nose, and ni is birth, therefore seed. Nose ≈ phallus. Little faces are like Wąkpanį́gera. Redhorn wore heads, which is to say points on his earlobes. Tongues from skulls and bones are lightning, therefore, lightning = soul stuff. Explains weather orientation of other Twins. Are Ghost and Flesh once the same as the two sons of Redhorn? But they are children of the Sun. Get list of the Ghost/Flesh oppositions and use that as a template for the role of the ear pieces. Onians.]
§11.4.1. Ears. Outside Hočąk culture there are traditions that link the ear to the soul and its progress. One of the most important and unusual aspects of Redhorn's ear-faces is expressed in a short gloss in the Ioway:
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.35
In the Ioway account Man Faces as Earbobs actually had maskettes which, once he put them on his ears, became living heads. We are told in this gloss that these earbobs are in fact souls, or at least may be taken to represent the same. Nothing like this is said about the ear-heads of Redhorn. However, this is not to say that the Hočągara do not have a concept similar to the Ioway in this respect. There is a generally overlooked episode in "Bluehorn's Nephews" which connects the soul with the ears.
(57) There was a very large village [of Thunderbirds]. (58) There they [the Twins] went under the earth. Where their uncle [Bluehorn] was sitting, there they came up from the earth and in each of his ears they entered. "Uncle, we have come," they said. "Oh my nephews, I said they were clever," he said. In the middle of a long lodge, (59) he was bound. He was bound with iron, and the long lodge was seated fully. They were in the midst of the smoke made by their smoking. And the attendants were putting on the kettles as they were about to boil him. Then there they arose and stood. "Now then, we shall fight as you have caused our uncle much pain. And you have done it to us," they said. (60) And they scattered in every direction and the doors were overcrowded. "Try and save yourselves," they said to one another. Then they broke up his iron fetters and they carried him and started home.35.1
This has a striking resemblance to the episode in which Redhorn breaks his iron bonds and frees himself, not from the Thunderbirds, but from their opposites, the Waterspirits. The two nephews who have come to rescue Bluehorn (Evening Star) are none other than Ghost and Flesh. So one of them, who represents the wanąǧi, the soul of the dead, has become small enough to sit in Bluehorn's ear. This must remind us of the soul-heads found on the ears of Redhorn and the Ioway Man Faces as Earbobs. There is an echo of the ghost in the ear among the Ioway's remote Siouan cousins, the Hidatsa. In the Hidatsa Twin myths, the cycle concludes with the Twins shooting themselves back down to earth through the hole (in Orion) that they made permanent in the sky, as it says here:
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
So when souls descend from the Above World through the hole in the sky to be born in the flesh on earth, they leave an earbob hole in the earlobe as though they had become invisible maskettes themselves. It also turns out that the Oglala Lakota (more closely related to the Ioway than to the Hidatsa), have this same belief.
While cleansing the baby for the first time, the midwife and her helpers carefully examined the child for any marks. For example, ear lobes already pierced or Sun Dance scars on the chest. If these were found, they knew that this was an old soul reincarnating.37
All of these Siouan traditions firmly connect certain earpieces with the soul. [Why?]
§11.4.2. Noses. Diaz-Granados and Duncan hypothesize that long noses represent a wild state in which a candidate for adoption (usually a captive) has not yet been naturalized into the tribe. They note that in Caddo mythology, the long-nosed, wild Twin has his nose magically shortened by a medicine man. When the Osage adopt someone into the nation, the tip of his nose is slit, and the blood is quickly wiped off. This blood symbolizes the blood of his former tribe, which is thus expelled from him.38 The attention to the nose seems to have the same valence in each tribe: non-domesticity requires attention to the nose first and foremost.
The Nu’xe or "ice" leader anointed the captive's body with buffalo fat and the O’pxon or elk leader painted two black stripes diagonally on the face, in recognition of "Thunder," the god of war. This done, the Tzi-sho leader announced the captive as "Ni’wathe" — "made to live." It is revealing, we believe, that the Osage singled out the war captive's nose. Why not the chin, forehead, or even a finger?39
The role of the Ice leader is made obvious by a look at his title. In Osage, "ice" is nóⁿxe, but this very same word is a homonym meaning "spirit, sanity." So the Ice/Spirit leader is a de facto psychopomp, leading the soul of the candidate through a process of rebirth. The Ṭsí-zhu chief pronounces the title, Ní-wathe, "Giver of Life," signifying that the captive has been granted his life. The word ni means "alive," and "to live."40 An expansion of this stem gives us ni-óⁿ, "breath."41 Similarly, in Dakota we have ni-yá, "to breathe; breath, life";42 and ni, "to live."43 In Hočąk, ni means "breath, to breathe," and metaphorically, "to live." So in Central Siouan, *ni meant "to live," and probably derived from the more basic sense of "to breathe." It should be obvious at this point why the nose is the point of focus: it is more than any other the organ of breath and breathing, and this is the essence of life. In Central Siouan, the notions of life and breath coincide nicely with nose and head. As will be developed below, the head was conceived as the seat of the soul. So we find that in Osage, p̣̣̣a means both "snout, the projecting nose of an animal," and "head, the whole of the head."44 In Dakota the word pa means, "the head, the nose,"45 and in Hočąk the same word has this exact same double meaning. So the head and the nose are denoted indifferently by the same word, *pa. It probably once meant "apex," as the word still means "point, pointed" in Hočąk. The *pa understood either way, contains the *ni, understood either way.
The Osage were, in relatively recent times, favorite enemies for the Hočągara. This means that through captives, including abducted women, there will have been a good exchange of mythology and intra-tribal knowledge. It does not appear that the Hočągara had any elaborate rite of adoption, but in our mythology, we do find a very pertinent parody of the Osage adoption rite. It may be recalled, that Redhorn captured a red-haired Giantess ("Pretty Woman") whose life he spared so that he might marry her. Unfortunately, all Giants, as their generic name Wąge-Ruč-ge tells us, are "Man-Eaters." Therefore, Redhorn ("Young Man") had to rid his wife of this wild and savage practice.
Young Man took two bowls of bear meat and set them on the table in front of Pretty Woman. "You have become accustomed to eating human flesh," said Young Man, "and if you do not eat all the food set before you, I will strike you with this club." He stuck the club in the ground beside him and watched her carefully so that she would not go outside. She ate everything, but suddenly jumped up and bolted for the door. She was a swift runner and ran as fast as she could, but unexpectedly, she found herself still in front of the lodge. She began vomiting. This went on for a long time, until finally she vomited up a piece of ice. It was this piece of ice that had caused her to eat people. From that time on, she was perfectly normal and ate what other people ate. Sometime later she gave birth to a son who was called "Redhorn."46
Pretty Woman too is reborn, not by embracing Ice (Nóⁿxe), but by forcibly ejecting it from the center of her being. She physically rejects the Osage ice-soul (nóⁿxe-nóⁿxe), and now will no longer eat human beings. In Hočąk symbolism, to be captured is to be eaten. In the Fast Eating Contest held just before a warparty goes out, the food served in the feast represents the souls of the enemy whom the spirits have granted them. Failure to gobbled them up means that some of them are destined to escape. Conversely, the enemy, therefore, are symbolic cannibals, since they eat the Hočągara, who are human beings. Captives are therefore viewed as having been ingested by their victorious enemies. Any Hočąk captured by an Osage and spared, will be conducted into the stomach of the tribe ("swallowed up"), where its Ice will preserve him physically, although he will be dead to the nation of his birth. They become as venison hanging frozen on the meat-racks of winter (the time of war), living in the frozen version of the aquatic medium in which the soul resides. They are as dead as anyone who has gone to the Otherworld, save that their bodies are preserved as if frozen in ice.
Given the connection of souls, and by association the ear-maskettes, with water, it is of some interest that Pauketat has advanced the idea that the maskettes may have some connection to the Aztec (and pre-Aztec) water god Tlaloc.46.1 He is the chief of a race of spirits whom the Aztecs called the Tlaloques, who combine the powers of the Thunderbirds and Waterspirits of the northern tribes. The Tlaloques are not only spirits of underground waters, but inhabit the waters of the Above World from whose clouds they cast down thunderbolts. They are diminutive beings, recalling the Heroka who follow Redhorn. Tlaloc usually has the fangs of a serpent, but in our picture, he has more than two fangs placed where serpents lack any. The teeth probably represent lightning, which bites into the object upon which it falls. The Hočągara have a similar concept of lightning, which they describe as "eating" whatever it strikes (q.v.). More to the point, we see in our illustration that a snake forms Tlaloc's nose. Throughout the world, we frequently find lightning homologized to a serpent because of its meandering course through the air. Therefore, it is tempting to see the nasal serpent shown on Tlaloc's face as a reiterated expression of his power to cast lightning. However, his serpentine nose has another valence that brings it into alignment with the Central Siouan concept of *Ni. We see this particularly in thank-offerings made to mountains, where the Tlaloques particularly dwell.
|Knowing the Tlalocs who were involved, the individual in his home would then pat up masses of amaranth dough into squat forms, inserting squash seeds or corn kernels to represent the eyes and teeth. This crude image might also recall a kinsman who had been struck by lightning or had died of dropsy or drowning — all of them endings that marked their victim as one beloved by the Tlaloque and claimed by them. If the spirit in question, however had been one of the dragon winds that howled around the peaks of the mountain and brought fierce cold and wasting diseases, then the dough was molded around a twisted root or bough and given a serpent's head. The images were the ehecatotontin ("the little winds") and could also be considered as Tlaloque.46.2|
So the serpents represent the wind (ehécatl) whose particular deity is otherwise Ehécatl, a form of Quetzalcoatl. Clearly the nose is chosen to carry the symbol of the wind-serpent, since it is from the nose that the winds of the lungs are exhaled. The idea that winds could be expressed by a serpent probably has little to do with the "hiss" of certain snakes, nor is it especially an expression of a mountain wind's biting cold; rather it has to do with the fact that fabrics flap in the breeze. This flapping motion is intrinsically sinuous, moving in a serpentine pattern, making the fabric form an image of its unseen propellant. On these grounds, the wind can be viewed as an invisible serpent exhaled from Tlaloc's nose. As a polyvalent symbol of a water god, the motion of the serpent also replicates the meandering course that water so often takes. The wind-serpent nose of the god of the waters aligns well with the Central Siouan concept of Ni, "breath, life; water." Ni conceived as serpent could explain the accordion-like (or "serpentine") nose patterns that are found in some of the maskettes, which resemble a snake in meandering motion.46.2.1 What particularly gives this thesis plausibility is the fanciful maskette found within a drawing, where the artist felt free to move from the restricted conventions of the carved maskettes to an interpretation more agreeable to mythology. This maskette depiction shows it to have a nose made of cloth or thin leather that is billowing in the wind. It is so long that we do not see the end of it, the nose extending off the field of composition. The length and sinuousness of the nose express the force of the ni, which itself exemplifies the vapidity of the spiritual essence. The soul or ghost, as a spiritual being, is waką́, "holy, sacred." The same word and concept exist in Ioway (wakáⁿ),46.3 and in Dakota wakáŋ means, "spiritual, sacred, consecrated, wonderful, incomprehensible, mysterious," but since it applies to women who are menstruating, it also has connotations of danger.46.4 Wakáŋ also means "a spirit." In Dakota, wakáŋda means, "to reckon as holy or sacred; to worship";46.5 but in Ioway-Oto, Wakáⁿda means, "God, Thunderbird,"46.6 similar in meaning to its Hočąk cognate Wakąjá, "Thunderbird." In Osage, Waḳóⁿda means, "God; the mysterious, invisible, creative power which brings into existence all living things of whatever kind."46.7 Waḳoⁿdagi means not only, "holy, sacred," but "one who communicates with the dead; necromancer."46.8 As can be seen in the inset, in Plains pictography, the wavy, serpentine line, called a "power line," is used to represent the invisible radiation of power from someone or something that is holy (wakáⁿ). However, only in Winnebago-Chiwere does the word waką́ (= wakáⁿ) mean "snake."46.9 Only for them is the serpent-like expression of *ni at once spiritual and of the nature of a serpent. Just as serpents shed their skins to be born anew, so it is said of those who have gained Life through the Hočąk Medicine Rite that they have become "Skin Shedders."46.10* These allied ideas — second birth, holiness, soul, and life-breath (ni) — can all be expressed in making the organ of ni of great proportion, or by giving it the sinuous design that is the very embodiment of the spiritual.
The nose-serpent also could have a phallic valence. A snake, especially one associated with *ni, "breath, life, water," is by its form naturally akin to the phallus. The nose, too, is in some cultures associated with the phallus since it is a tubular organ that contains a fluid resembling semen.46.11 The maskettes have a couple of phallic features. Like a phallus, most noses on the maskettes bend slightly upward; a few are straight, but none bend downwards. In addition, they are much more conical than a nose, and often come to a point. This latter feature takes us beyond the obviously phallic. As I have shown elsewhere, the maskette worn by the Picture Cave Redhorn has a nose over which a photograph of a deer's tine can be perfectly superimposed. This shows that some of the noses have the curvature and tapering characteristics of horns. Horns can be related to the hydrous aspects of the concept of Ni. The best way to do this is to see such concepts in action in "parallel sense development," in this case among the Greeks, half a world away. The case of Acheloos is particularly instructive. Acheloos, like other river gods, of which he was the primary, can hardly be distinguished from the New World Waterspirit or Underwater Panther. His body was that of a serpent, or serpent-fish amalgam, and his head was perfectly human save for a set of horns. These horns link him to procreation. Just as among the Hočągara, the ancient Greeks thought that the brain was of the same stuff as the marrow, and was the seat of the life soul. This substance was also associated with semen. Horns were thought to be an extension of the brain, and to be of a procreative nature themselves.46.12 When Herakles broke off one of the horns of Acheloos, it became the Horn of Amaltheia, the cornucopia or "horn of plenty."14.13 This horn was sometimes represented as containing phalli, and not only was it the generator of new life, but it had the power to cause the fall of fertilizing rain.14.14 As to the maskettes, the nose-as-horn loses nothing of its phallic valence. Waterspirits are universally represented with horns, no doubt as in the Greek exemplars, because of the association of the horn with fertility. Waterspirits with serpent bodies are common, and among the Hočągara, the tail of the Waterspirit plays this role, being said to have an extraordinary length, sometimes wrapping itself around a hill.
[Tie to phallus and spirit.]
The Osage adoption rite focuses on the nose as the symbol of ni. The ancient depiction of the God of the Hunt (Herokaga) at Picture Cave shows him wearing a maskette with an incredibly long nose. As we have seen, the nose represents the essence of life, the breath-soul. So we would predict, given the Hočąk metaphor of expressing functional efficacy in terms of size, that the pure, independent soul, free of the flesh, could be graphically represented with a very large nose. [small nose.]
§11.4.3. Mouths. For the Ioway, the maskettes preëxisted and became animated when Wears Heads on His Ears affixed them to his earlobes. In the case of Redhorn, they are not mere additives, but are actual components of his body. They came into existence when Redhorn took some saliva from his mouth and rubbed it into his earlobes. Immediately, these living faces emerged. This is just another way of representing the faces as souls, as stated explicitly by the Ioway. Among the Hočągara the saliva used to make these faces is called "mouth water" (i-ni). The word ni, nį, means at once both "breath, to breathe; life"; and "water."47 This is matched by Ioway ni, ñi, "water," and ni, "breath, to breathe"; and by Osage ni, "water," and "alive, to live."48 A secondary sense of ni means "to be born," that is, "to breathe." This stem gives rise to ni’ąp, the standard word meaning "life." So by pun įni would mean, "to be born from the mouth," and that which is born from the mouth (sound) therefore comes to dwell in the ear. Not surprisingly, ni from the mouth of a holy man is inimical to the forces of organic destruction. So when Redhorn attempts to cure a man wounded by an arrow, he uses saliva to heal him,49 not a particularly strange idea, since we are told that when Jesus applied his saliva to the eyes of a blind man, his sight was restored.50 When Redhorn applies ni to his earlobes, he creates life (ni) in the form of little heads.
That Redhorn creates a spirit on his earlobe with water is in keeping with what we know of Hočąk ideas about the wanąǧi, the spirit that lives on after the death of the flesh. The theory of spirit and flesh is developed in the mythology of the famous Twins (Warečáwera), who are called none other than "Little Ghost" (Wanąǧinika) and "Flesh" (Waroka). That the spirit and the flesh are twins is plain, since they must be images of one another, and are surely born at the same time. Spirits generally, the nąǧirak or wanąǧi, are images of their flesh, as nąǧirak also means, "shadow, a man's reflection in the water."51 Ghosts have a profound connection to water. When Ghost is born, he is thrown into the water, and there he makes his home. By a certain trail of evidence, Flesh's father (the Sun) discovers the existence of Ghost and attempts to capture him that he might restore his family. Although he eventually captures ghost, he cannot socialize him, as the little boy keeps running back to live in the wild abode of the water world. To unite Ghost and Flesh, and to overcome this difference in their natures, the father hits upon a solution. He fills a turkey bladder (the counterpart of the womb) with his breath (Hočąk ni), paints it red (the color of life), and ties it so that it will not expire. Having emptied out the ni (water) from the bladder, he now fills it instead with ni (breath). He then fastens one each to his twin sons. This bladder is tied to his head, for as we shall see below, the head is particularly associated with the soul (ghost). All this is mediated by his father the Sun, whose red orb of hąp (light = life) is mirrored in the round red bladder that surmounts Ghost's head. Every time Ghost tries stay within the water (semen), he keeps bobbing up. His father's ni or breath in the bladder is what then unites him with his brother Flesh. Just as the father of the Twins unites with mouth-ni (breath) a spirit with its flesh, so Redhorn creates with mouth-ni (saliva) a spirit united with his earlobe.
§11.4.4. Eyes and Water. [EM creates from the eye with tears.] Tlaloc himself is almost always represented as having "goggle eyes" as we see in the illustration above. Pauketat also sees the eyes of the prosopic maskettes to be essentially like the goggle eyes of Tlaloc, but it must be countered that the "goggles" of Tlaloc are always donut or torus shaped, with thick rims like glasses or goggles, leaving a small space in the donut hole for the eye itself. The eyes of the maskettes are without rims of any kind, and are therefore in no way "goggle-eyed."
The concept of Ni in Winnebago-Chiwere-Dhegiha, meaning both "breath, life," and "water," no doubt has strongly stimulated the association of souls with the world of water. However, this can't be the basic reason for the association, since in the Old World we have abundant examples of the soul residing in water.52 In one rather obscure Hočąk story, it seems that at least some souls become fish. Both the Ojibwe and the Choctaw believe that those souls that fall while crossing a certain stream on the way to Spiritland, are transformed into fish or toads.53 The fact that the ghost-soul has an affinity for an aquatic environment naturally leads to the idea that the eye on the maskette might be that of a fish.
The front-facing Underwater Spirit portrayed at Picture Cave ... does have the dot-in-circle eyes that mimic those of the long-nosed maskette seen in a panel on an opposing wall in the cave. This "dot-in-circle" eye or "fish eye" is common to both the long-nosed maskette and the Underwater Spirit at Picture Cave.54
It should be pointed out that Waterspirits and their kindred are not usually shown with such eyes as those seen in Picture Cave. As to the maskettes, certainly nothing else about them is piscine or even aquatic. Fish are not noted for long noses, or noses at all, although the sturgeon's snout projects forward in a way that resembles a nose. The mouth of the maskette is quite small and lacking any thickness, being rendered by a single thin, short line. Such a mouth is atypical of fish.
Pictogram for "Spirit"
However, given the old concept of Ni, the eyes of a fish would match the aquatic affinities of the soul to complement the ni expressed by the nose. The water-loving Ghost could have a long nose, and could have fish eyes, but neither is actually attributed to him. So what can we actually say about the "fish eyes" of the maskettes? They certainly resemble the star-eyes, except that the stellar symbols are often ovaloid, or made to resemble human eyes. There is, however, from the XIXᵀᴴ century, a symbol that is identical in form to the maskette eye, and that is the picture-writing glyph meaning "spirit." The glyph meaning Life is simply a circle. To indicate the death of anything, a black dot was placed within its picture, shorthand for completely blackening the image. So to place a black dot inside the sign for Life is to generate the meaning Death, or Dead One. So the "fish eye" came to denote the dead, ghosts, spirits. Needless to say, such a glyph perfectly fits the Ioway account of the nature of the living maskettes that Man Faces as Earbobs placed upon his ears. More to the point, the glyph is a perfect match for the eyes of the maskette artifacts, thus bridging the gap between the earbobs of myth and those of archaeology. So, therefore, in the present context, since it has been argued that the maskette is in any case a representation of the soul, as suggested in the Ioway gloss, it is obvious that the symbol for Spirit could serve nicely as an eye, especially since it happens (by accident) to resemble that of a fish, whose aquatic associations are appropriate to the like affinities of the spirit. This particular valence — and we do not know how old this meaning for it is — is not incompatible with other valences, most especially Star or even Axis Mundi. Its polyvalence, should it have any, would only require a match to the mythology or theology surrounding the figures so portrayed.
§11.4.5. Little Human Heads. That little human heads should be souls is very much in keeping with Siouan ideas, and indeed the thinking of American Indians generally. Before scalping became more widely fashionable, most tribes took whole heads from the enemy dead. This was certainly true of the Hočągara in olden times. The value of the head lies in the widespread belief that the life-soul resides in marrow, what the Greeks called muelos (μυελός), and that the brain represents the greatest concentration of marrow in the body, therefore making it the primary site of the in-dwelling soul.56 As La Barre observes,
It is not so surprising, therefore, to find the old Eurasiatic concept of muelos also prevalent among American Indians. It is recently reported by Anne Straus for the Northern Cheyenne that 'the final locus of the life principle is the marrow-filled bones of the skeleton after the flesh has fallen away'57 — a belief probably representative of all American Indians, North and South."58
The Iroquois generally believe that the animating soul resides in the marrow of the bones,59 the Hurons in particular call the bones of the dead Atsiken, "the Souls."60 We find these ideas shared by the Hočągara whose word for marrow is horugóp, a descriptive term meaning, "that which is scraped out." This refers to the fact that the marrow in the center of animal bones has to be scraped out in order to be eaten. That the brain is considered just a form of marrow is shown in the word nąsurugóp, which is derived by internal sandhi from nąsu-horugóp, "head marrow." The taking of an enemy's head insured that the soul contained within would be in the service of the victor.61 At a funeral, for instance, a veteran could command the soul over whom he had power, to be a guide to the deceased in his journey to Spiritland. When a head is taken, its ghost may follow after the warparty and shove stragglers so that they stumble. This shows that the ghost is more drawn to the head than to any other part of his body.62 The idea that personal identity is strongly identified with the head is well attested elsewhere.63
There are spirit beings who go by the appellation "Little Human Heads" (Wąkpanį́gera). The Wąkpanį́gera are bad spirits that Hare must curb in order to make the earth safe for human beings. Their problem is that they like to eat people. Hare went to visit them.
Inside were people whose bodies consisted only of their heads. They greeted Hare and said, "Grandson, you must be very hungry." So they fixed him bear ribs and corn, but as he bit into the meat and started to cut it off with the knife they gave him, it slipped and he split his nose. ... Hare had a really good meal. All this eating was beginning to fatten him up, so the heads said, "Let's eat Hare, he looks delicious!" They rushed to block all the exits, but Hare found a small opening in the wall and ran out that way.64
The Little Human Heads represent enemy aliens who want to internalize him (eat him). Here we see another image of the Osage cutting of the nose, which usually represents being inducted into their tribe. In this case, however, Hare slits his own nose, and escapes before they can eat him, that is, take him within themselves. Hare turns his own nose into one appropriate to the lagomorphic founder of the Hočąk order. Hare later causes the Little Human Heads to drown. After he grinds their bones up, he throws them into the creek, where they become harmless fish. So the Little Human Heads end up being ghosts who live in the medium of water as fish.
So it is perfectly in keeping with the little heads on Redhorn's ears that they be symbolic of souls, as they are among the Ioway. What of the maskettes? To the Ioway, the little heads on the ears just are maskettes that have come alive once they were affixed to the ears. It has been suggested above that the maskettes of archaeology, which are seen on the Redhorn of Picture Cave, are modeled on arrow points as part of the overall scheme of expressing the powers of the God of the Hunt. The normal word for head is nąsu, but there is no mą-nąsu, "arrow-head." Nąsu is strictly an anatomical word not used metaphorically in this case. There is another word, pa, which means, "pointed, to point" (Marino-Radin), "to strike, hit" (Marino-Radin), and "the front end of anything" (Miner). It is this word, pa, that means both "head" and "nose." We do have mą-pa, "arrow-point, -head, -nose" (Foster, Dorsey). So a common word for head and nose is used for the point of an arrow. In the 1850's, Thomas Foster recorded masúra (< mąsu) for "arrowhead," with the literal meaning, "arrow seed." This is more commonly rendered, mąįsura, where mąį is a contraction for mąhį, the standard word for knife, but which more generally means "blade." According to Radin, mąįsura denotes a war arrow whose head is made from a piece of flint or cut from an antler. Jipson describes it as a "stone arrowhead." That the blade of the arrow is its "seed" fits in nicely with the idea that the head contains the same stuff as marrow and semen, and is the place where the spirit-ghost most particularly abides. The affinity of the point of the arrow to the soul is hardly where it stops. The whole arrow can symbolize the soul. When Ghost comes to play with Flesh, they spend the day shooting arrows, but at the end of the day, Ghost takes all of Flesh's arrows and steals them away to his watery abode. Before he submerges, he tells Flesh that he will forget everything that has happened. The arrows are an alloform of the soul, so the arrows of the flesh are really Ghost's to possess. The flesh without the soul is deprived of its intellectual powers, so the loss of the arrows is tantamount to the loss of his memory of that span of life. His father the Sun vests in Flesh new arrows and the cycle begins anew. In the iconography of the Mississippians of Spiro (probably Caddoan speakers), the arrow is almost certainly a symbol of the soul.
A survey of the SECC imagery reveals two icons in particular that suggest the dead — the skull and bone. Some of the skulls are characterized by a "tongue" or an arrow which protrudes from the mouth, and that same tongue appears a few times in Spiro images as emanating from the center of a broken bone. The importance of the mortuary complexes in Native American culture makes it a reasonable leap from the dead bones to the identity of the tongue and arrow as icons of the soul. It seems likely that the tongue shape at Spiro represents soul-stuff, because it is believed by some of the Eastern Woodlands peoples that the life-soul, and perhaps the free-soul in some cases, resides in bones. ... If the tongue shape represents soul-stuff in the broken-bone image, then it may be assumed to mean the same when it emerges from the mouth of the skull, and the arrow point appears to be an allomorph of the same thing.65
Redhorn is particularly a god of arrows. He himself, as well as his two sons, can transform themselves into arrows, and even (as the Heroka) launch them invisibly. Yet the sons of Redhorn are not to be confused with the Ghost/Flesh twins — they are not twins, and in fact are only half-brothers, and attract to themselves none of the allegorical mythology of the union of soul and flesh. Nor is Redhorn the Sun that they might, like Ghost and Flesh, be called "the Children of the Sun." Nevertheless, Redhorn is a god of the arrow-as-time (mą meaning both "arrow" and "time"), and in this capacity governs life and death. As the key star of Orion, it is he who reaches back to the very ancient theology of Orion as the entryway to the Path of Souls in the Milky Way. Concerning the Milky Way, Schoolcraft was told that the Hočągara, "... call the Milky Way death's road, or the road of the dead."66 The ear-faces, as the kindred Ioway remind us, are the souls as they stand before that opening. So the idea that the maskette heads represent the soul is consistent with their being modeled on the arrow point.
§11.4.6. The Mask of Mixcoatl and the Souls of the Dead. The Aztecs create a mask around their eyes with the ashes of death and the black color of death. However, its primary purpose is to display the night sky around the eyes. For the Aztecs the stars not only subsist against the background of the death color, but the stars themselves are the souls of the departed. It is Mixcoatl, as god of the stars, who governs the souls of the dead warriors who were privileged to have ascended into the sky.12.11 The stars in the night sky are also depicted as eyes, which makes eyes into souls as well. So the soul in the earlobe corresponds nicely with the Aztec black mask of the firmament studded with stars, including eyes-as-stars, since these stars are also souls. That the Ioway head-maskettes are souls is in keeping with this view. In many American cultures, the stars are not only eyes, but are the souls of the departed. 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). [the Twins are stars of uncertain identity. Wąkpanį́gera and Itzpapalotl.]
[Improve and present as summary. The basics of Redhorn, and additions of Mixcoatl.] The living faces represent the soul in life. Nevertheless, as we have seen, these souls of the living also correspond to the stars of the two loyal brothers of Redhorn, and Mixcoatl himself was said, like Redman, to be completely red. The symbolism dovetails, but with differing accents. The black mask around the eyes of Mixcoatl, therefore, corresponds to the maskettes on the ears of Redhorn. Indeed, the eyes and ears are analogues to one another, as they take in light or sound which emanates from sources at a distance to converge upon a sensory center. In the old scheme of things, where the hole in the sky at Orion was the gateway of the souls to the Path, the Milky Way, the orifice was like an eye or an ear, grasping like a hand what comes to life on earth from the heavens, or what leaves this mortal realm for the sky. So the masks of Mixcoatl and the maskettes of Redhorn are just mirror images of one another, transpositions from the medium of sight to the isomorphic medium of hearing.
§11.5. Comœdia non finit est. No one has properly addressed the comic character of Redhorn's ear-faces (and the Cahokian maskettes), perhaps the most obvious thing about them. The humor of the ear-faces is much commented upon in the mythology of Redhorn.
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. ... Now his brothers became fonder than ever of him and gathered around him laughing.13
The fourth time the Giant princess took off with it at a run, but Man Faces as Earbobs took after and caught up with the princess who looked back and saw Man Faces as Earbobs. (113) The earbobs were laughing, sticking their tongues out, and winking at her. It struck the princess as so funny that she couldn't run. He took the ball from her and ran, but she caught up. But when she looked back they winked and stuck out their tongues, and she could not run, it being so funny.13.1
Then the chieftainess said, "Who is your friend that it takes him so long to come?" "Wait till he comes! You certainly will laugh when you see him." "Why, what is there funny about him that I should laugh?" said the giantess. "Just wait till he comes," said Turtle, "just wait till he comes, and then you will see." Soon after that he came and Turtle said to him, "My friend, let us go over there and look at the sticks of the ball players." "Very well," said he. They went and found the giantess there and, when she saw him, she most certainly laughed and bowed her head. "There you are," said Turtle. "I thought you said you would not laugh at him." "Well," said Turtle, "look at him again." The giantess looked again and the small heads he was wearing in his ears stuck their tongues out at her. Again she laughed and bowed her head. Then Turtle made fun of her.13.2
Red Horn got the ball and ran with it, the giantess after him. Turtle, as usual, began poking fun at her and shouting. Just as she caught up to Red Horn the latter turned about and the little faces in his ears stuck out their tongues at her and the eyes winked at her. She was running with upraised stick but, when she saw the faces, she laughed and let down her stick.14
Then Earthmaker (Mą’ųna) sent down another son, He who Wears Human Heads as Earrings. He went around talking to people, but they would always fix on his earrings which were actual, living, miniature human heads. When these little heads saw someone looking at them, they would wink and make funny faces. In the end, He who Wears Human Heads as Earrings could not accomplish the mission either.15
Surely, no one can look at the Mississippian ear maskettes and not see their comic appearance: their noses are often preposterously long, their eyes are huge and round, but their mouths, on the other hand, are ridiculously small. Sometimes the nose looks like a beak or horn, and one case shown in an engraving is compressed into waves like an accordion. These discongruities give the maskettes a funny appearance. Sometimes the nose is reduced to normal size, perhaps to make the earbobs easier to wear, or even to give them a bit more dignity — but the incongruous eyes and mouth lose none of their humor in these variants. The nose is of some interest, since we find at least one example of a clown portrayed on a Mayan vase with a long phallic-like nose. Comic masks must bring to mind clowns, who had an important role in Mesoamerica.
But along with being amusing social commentators, the native ritual clowns tend to be endowed with considerable supernatural power. During their performances, the clowns are frequently believed to become particular gods, demons, and other supernatural entities. In addition, through role reversal and inversion, they often seem to embody the chaotic timeless powers from before creation. In Mesoamerica, sacred clowns commonly appear at critical junctures during rites of passage, such as accession to office, or new year celebrations and other calendrical events.16
One wonders if clowns do not impersonate ghosts? Is the transit between worlds like the sudden incongruous shift in context that inspires laughter? At Spiro we may see a parody of such a maskette, although it is attached to the hair rather than the ear. It has a singularly clownish face with a gaping mouth.17 It is certainly fair to say that Redhorn's little ear-faces behave like clowns, just as they must look like them. The contemporary Hočąk word for clown is wakjąká. This is the same as the name Wakjąká-ga, whom we know as "Trickster." He and his brother Hare appear in the myth "The Red Man." They come to avenge the hurt done to Redman, and to direct his son on how to rescue Redman's head from the fire and reunite it with his nearly expired body that wanders aimlessly on Red Hill. These two Sons of Earthmaker succeed in restoring the third; but present at this rebirth is Clown (Wakjąká-ga), the necessity of whose presence, like the inherent comedy of the little ear-faces, is clouded in obscurity and presents us with one of the major unsolved riddles attached to Redhorn and the Mississippian maskettes.
However, there remains one unexplored connection. The Dakotan branch of the Central Siouans has a well known trickster figure, Iktomi, "Spider." As we have seen, the Iktomis are the Dakotan counterparts to the Heroka. We should expect that the eponymous Iktomi would be their leader. Yet the mythology of Iktomi is not that of Redhorn, but overlaps greatly with that of Wakjąkága, the Hočąk Trickster. Iktomi is certainly a clown, what the Lakota call Heyóka. The Heyoka are most particularly noted for being contrary, of doing everything backwards: riding horses facing the wrong way, saying the opposite of what they mean, wearing a blanket in the heat of summer, and nothing at all in the dead of winter. A person became a Heyoka by having a vision of a Thunderbird.18* The supernatural Heyoka are small beings like the Heroka and the Iktomis, and like them they are armed with bows and arrows. Like the Heroka, they have deer hoof rattles, and can bless people with luck in the chase.19* Heyoka, a little old man armed with bow and arrows,20 himself presides over dreams, giving them their unreal character.21 Once a human Heyoka found a buffalo carcass, and sitting nearby was a supernatural Heyoka. He said to the human, "Take the buffalo, I didn't shoot it," but he was "speaking backward," and meant the opposite of what he had said. After taking the buffalo's heart, the man subsequently fell into a fit of insanity during a thunderstorm, and found himself covered in black iktomis. He was only able to overcome them by the aid of a phantom white Heyoka.22 The spiders bring us back to the Iktomis. It must seem that the Heyoka and the Iktomis were a complementary set of dwarf spirits rather on the model of the Heroka and the Little Children Spirits. Were the maskettes of Redhorn more akin to the Little Children Spirits and the Heyoka?23* Are the maskettes an expression of the Trickster spirit of the Heyoka? Since the Ioway say that the maskette is an expression of the soul, we must take note of the Hočąk belief that the ghost of the slain warrior will often run after those who have taken his head and play tricks on them. For that matter, is not hunting itself often a form of trickery?
Brothers, Good and Bad. [Two sets of brothers, the good and the bad. The good are few in number, the bad are much more numerous. Hočąk: inconsistent with Redhorn being made by EM. Second set?: the Heroka and the Little Children Spirits (berdaches). Bad brothers try to kill him.]
brother and sister. exiles - sexual sin. father murdered by kinsmen. Sister's incest. temptation to incest.
The God Who Fathered Himself. We are told that under the name Camaxtli (corrupted to Camasale), Mixcoatl fathered the five Mimixcoa who slaughtered the Centzon Mimixcoa, as it says here:
Camasale, one of the four gods, went to the eighth heaven, and created four men and one woman for a daughter, so that they should go to war, that there should be hearts for the sun and blood for it to drink.1
Now these five were called, Cuetlachcihuatl, Cuauhtliicoauh, Tlotepe, Apanteuctli, and none other than Mixcoatl. So by an obvious line of inference, it would seem that Mixcoatl had fathered himself. In the Historia this is actually made explicit, but with an interesting twist:
He did this penance [pierced his tongue and ears] so that his four sons and daughter that he had created in the eighth heaven should descend and slay the Chichimecas, so that the sun should have hearts to eat; and in the eleventh year of the third thirteenth, down came the four sons and the daughter, and placed themselves in some trees whence they fed eagles. ... so they descended from the trees, and slew all the Chichimecas, only three escaping; one was called Ximbel, another Mimichil, and the third was the Camasale, the god who had created them, and who transformed himself into a Chichimeca.2
So Camaxtli-Mixcoatl has himself as his own son, but in this case he is one of the surviving Centzon Mimixcoa. We see something very similar with respect to Quetzalcoatl, the son of Camaxtli. Umberger notes,
... the larger sculpture in Tlaxcala ... was a colossal figure (three estados, ca. 6 M. tall) and represented the Tlaxcalans' main god Camaxtli/Mixcoatl, who was the father of Topilzin Quetzalcoatl. ... On occasion of the god's main festival, the vestments of Quetzalcoatl were brought to Tlaxcala from Cholula, the center of Quetzalcoatl's worship in Aztec times. After they were put on the statue of Camaxtli with the mask from Tula, it was said, "Today Camaxtli goes out as his son."3
This certainly seems to suggest a ritual expression of the underlying identity of Camaxtli with his son. Las Casas says, in affirmation of this idea, that the Quetzalcoatl of Cholula is the same god as the Camaxtli worshiped in Tlaxcala and Huexotzinco.3.1 It should be added that the only other god who has the mask and candy-cane stripes of Mixcoatl is Tlahuizcalpantecuhli, the Morning Star. Quetzalcoatl, the son of Mixcoatl, is identified with the same star. Although Mixcoatl is not the Morning Star, the identity of body paint hints at a time when the two were viewed as doppelgängers.
Surprisingly, this very odd genealogical reflexivity is found in precisely in Redhorn's line of descent. In one story the protagonist is called "Young Man," about whom we later learn that he is also called "Human Heads for Earrings." This is, as we have seen, just another name for Redhorn. At the very end of the story we are told that his wife "sometime later gave birth to a son who was called 'Redhorn'."4 Then in the Redhorn Cycle we learn that the son who looks just like Redhorn, with living faces on his ears, is also called "Redhorn," and even becomes the elder Redhorn while he is courting a woman.5 Such inter-generational identity, while known elsewhere, is still very uncommon; so to find it in the God of the Hunt in both these cultures is particularly interesting.
Something of the twinning of father and son can still be detected in the Crow version. At the end of a Twins tale, we are told the identity of the main characters: Curtain Boy is the last star in the Big Dipper (Dubhe ?); Spring Boy is the Evening Star; the mother is the Moon; the father is the Morning Star.6 A problem arises in Crow with the identity of what is translated into English as "Morning Star," as there are various stars that answer to the description "morning star." The principal one of these is otherwise called Ihka-Léaxe, "Bright Star," which we call "Sirius."7 In myth he is Kā́rijbāpítuač, of whom it is said, "The boy became the Morningstar. He does not come in the summer-time, but in the winter he comes in the morning."8 The Morning Star married to the Moon is not Sirius, but matutine Venus, Ihka-Wālā́xe, the "Crazy-Star." Of course the Morning Star of Venus and the Evening Star of Venus are more than twins, they're doppelgängers. So here, as to appearance, the father (Morning Star) is the twin of his son (Evening Star).
The Morning Star Connection. [Mixcoatl's near identity of appearance with Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli. "The entire Venus Almanac covers sixty-five Venus Rounds, which are completed in exactly 146 cycles of the 260-day Sacred Almanac (SA). As a result, the Venus Almanac can be reused over and over, with each use beginning on a day with the same name in the Sacred Almanc, namely 1 Ahau, a day which is sacred to Venus." S. C. McCluskey, "Maya Observations of Very Long Periods of Venus," Journal of the History of Astronomy, V.14:2, #40 (1983): 93.] In the shared mythology of the God of the Hunt, the dictum "like father, like son," applies to an extreme degree. As we saw in the previous section, in some sense, the son simply was the father. Yet in practice the cross-generational identity does not extend to every attribute. Quetzalcoatl, for instance, was syncretized with the god of the wind, Ehecatl. This seems to go along with his identity as the Morning Star, as we also find in Hočąk the idea that the Morning Star is attended by a great force of wind. When he runs, he is so swift that he needs to grip trees in order to come to a halt, and on one occasion pulls an oak tree out by the roots.0 In nature the wind makes its mark most profoundly on trees, which act as a break for the wind or become its victims, losing branches or even being uprooted altogether. Since wind is a natural explanation for the motion of objects that are above the ground, the fact that Morning Star moves past stars makes it reasonable to conclude that it is propelled by fiercer winds than those that move most other celestial objects. Mixcoatl himself, through his strong affinities to Quetzalcoatl, is certainly a candidate for having some identity with Morning Star, and most scholars have found this idea attractive.1 However, it is very difficult to find any explicit reference to any such identity in primary sources. The notion that Mixcoatl has some affinity to Morning Star cannot be denied by virtue of the fact that the otherwise unique mask of the god is shared by only one other deity, Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, "Lord of the Dawn," the title by which the Morning Star is known.2 So Mixcoatl has two important associations with Morning Star: his son with whom he has a special identity is also the Morning Star, and the unusual mask worn by Mixcoatl is also worn by Morning Star and no other deity. The temple of Mixcoatl was rebuilt every eight years,2.1 the same span of time that it takes Morning Star to complete a synodic cycle. The contention that Mixcoatl actually is the Morning Star, however, requires further evidence.
Hunahpu is identified with the Morning Star. [D. Tedlock, 344 sv HUNAHPU.]
The idea that the Hočąk Redhorn is Morning Star is an almost universal belief among archaeologists,3 although it is easy to show that it is patently false. In Morning Star and His Friend, Redhorn and Morning Star coexist in the same story. In The Origins of the Milky Way, it is said that Earthmaker "dispatched Morning Star, Thunderbird, Wolf, Otter, Sun, Turtle, and Hérok'a" to aid the humans.4 Given that Herokaga is Redhorn, here he is found coexisting with Morning Star. Along the same lines, but more circumstantial, is the evidence from the list of the eight Great Ones. In The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, Bluehorn (Evening Star = Red Star) is beheaded by a man who is exactly like him in every respect, so that even his sister cannot tell them apart. The only star that can be considered identical in every way to the Evening Star is the Morning Star (since, as we now know, they are one and the same planet, Venus). As the conqueror of Bluehorn, Great Star (as Morning Star is called), must be a more powerful spirit. In fact he is so powerful that the Twins have to be created in order to subdue him. So in a list of eight Great Ones, he must be among those mentioned. Yet the list given is: Trickster, Bladder, Turtle, Redhorn, Hare, Sun, and Grandmother Earth.5 The waiką says that the opponent, whom we deduced to be Morning Star, was in fact the satanic Herešgúnina. As an opponent of the Good Spirits, he is always omitted from the list of the Great Ones, even though some have claimed that he is as powerful as Earthmaker. As I have argued elsewhere, Herešgúnina is here identified with Morning Star on the grounds supplied by contact with the whites, where Satan is identical to Lucifer, the Morning Star.6 This is why he is missing from the list of the eight Great Ones, a list that contains Redhorn as one of those who was to help Red Star against his doppelgänger. This means that Redhorn was helping Evening Star in his struggle against Morning Star. So this story too, seems to imply that Redhorn and Morning Star coexist as distinct spirits. Finally, in the Redhorn Cycle we are told that the Giants were able to defeat Redhorn and his friends in wrestling, although they found Turtle difficult to throw. In Morning Star and His Friend, Morning Star pulls an oak tree out by the roots in order to warm up for a wrestling match against the Giant, who upon seeing his prowess, turned and fled. So Morning Star is greatly superior to the Giants in wrestling, whereas Redhorn could not beat them when his life depended on it. This would seem to finish the thesis that Redhorn is Morning Star were it not for one awkward characteristic of Redhorn: he seems to exist across generations. This allows Duncan, for instance, to see in Picture Cave a representation of Redhorn resurrecting himself in the form of Morning Star. This would not work well in the context of "The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head," as one of the spirits helping Evening Star is Redhorn. That would entail Redhorn helping to destroy the power of Morning Star, that is, of himself. Furthermore, there are, besides the convergent aspects of their respective mythologies, some divergent aspects. For instance, the Great Star has much to do with clouds. His brothers are said to be clouds (in the form of bladders), and he himself bears the unique title, "Girded in Blankets." This is never a title of Redhorn, Įčorúšika, or Herokaga. Furthermore, in the story The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, the Twins never address Redhorn as their uncle, despite the fact that Morning Star is said to be Red Star's (Bluehorn's) brother in "Grandfather's Two Families"; nor do they carry his Warbundle as nephews would be expected to do. How indeed could they even be on good terms with someone whom they tried to kill in other stories? What seems truly fatal to the thesis is that while Įčorúšika has been identified with a star, it is not said to be the Great Star (Wiragošge Xetera). Quite to the contrary, Įčorúšika (Redhorn) is explicitly identified, along with two of his brothers, with fixed stars. Although a spirit can be a star and much else besides, it would be difficult to argue that a spirit could be two different stars that do not form a cluster or constellation. Therefore, Redhorn (Įčorúšika, etc.) is not one and the same as the Great Star (Morning Star).
Yet there is some connection between Redhorn and Morning Star. In one story Morning Star awakens on earth as a total amnesiac. He finds that he has a bow and arrow, although it takes him some effort to discover how to use it. As he wanders around shooting his bow, he comes upon a lodge in the middle of nowhere. Inside are four men. These are four of the Heroka, over whom Redhorn is chief (as Hérokaga). They bless him with an arrow like their own, one that never misses its mark.7 So we find that the Heroka bless the earthly avatar of Morning Star with their essential power, the inerrant arrow. These are the only spirits who offer a blessing to Morning Star, marking him as specially favored by the tribe of Redhorn. This certainly draws Morning Star and Redhorn together, although they never occur together in the corpus of one another's mythology as kinsmen in any way. In another story, Morning Star finds his best friend in one of the Little Children Spirits.8 These spirits, who are closely akin to the Heroka, are ruled over by Redhorn's second son.9 Here again we find Morning Star closely tied to the world of Redhorn without any suggestion that the two deities are identical. Could it be that at one time Morning Star, like Quetzalcoatl for Mixcoatl, was a son or brother of Redhorn? If the rules of the propositional calculus were applicable, we could actually prove it. Earthmaker created five brothers with his own hands: Trickster, Bladder, Turtle, Redhorn, and Hare. In the story, "Bladder and His Brothers," Bladder lives alone with 10 brothers, the youngest of whom is Morning Star. Since Morning Star is a brother of Bladder, and Bladder is a brother of Redhorn, it would ordinarily follow by hypothetical syllogism (syllogism barbara) that Morning Star is Redhorn's brother. But this is an opaque or intensional context, and the transitivity of this syllogism does not work.10 One can know that p is the case, and p could imply q, but it does not follow that one knows that q (otherwise we would know every theorem of geometry). Nevertheless, for those who knew the right myths, the inference is not difficult to draw.
The War of the Two Flints. See the independent essay.
Orion: Hunter, Arrow, Fire drill, Portal of Souls. [Invention and diffusion of the bow and arrow. Bow and arrow is also fire drill. Spread of the theology of the new hunting god. Hand constellation and Aztec rite. Hand drilling. New Year's fires are done on a human body. Scorpion-hand = Big Dipper? More likely, it is Milky Way at Antares, which = Mixcoatl. Mixcoatl as one of the Hearth Stones. "'And when you have done your shooting, lay them [the arrows] in the hand of Xiuteuctli, the Old Spirit, whom these three are to guard: Mixcoatl, Tozpan, and Ihuitl. These are the names of the three hearthstones.' Thus Itzpapalotl taught the Chichimecs." Annals of C. 1:5-9. He then is a star in Orion or near it. Redhorn as Alnilam. The Hearth Stones. The Fire Drill and Mixcoatl's command of it. Drilling of the hand = Scorpius, as Scorpius has heat as its sting, and its motions control the Fire Drill. Its hieroglyph is the hand.]
Manuel Orozco y Berra, Historia antigua y de la conquista de México (Tip. de G. A. Esteva, 1880) 1:32 — Las tres estrellas del cinturon de Orion eran conocidas bajo la denominacion de Yoaltecutli y Yacahuiztli, las tomaban por agüero, y les ofrecían incienso á la prima noche, á la hora de las tres y al alba: las distinguían por mamalhuaztli, nombre de los palos que servían para encender el fuego nuevo. A honra de estas estrellas se hacía una quemadura á los hombres en la muñeca, pues si morían sin la señal en el infierno les barrenarían con un palo como acá en la tierra para sacar la lumbre. El mamalhuaztli colocado en la esfera, divinizaba el instrumento de la ceremonia cíclica.
The three belt stars of Orion were known under the names of Yacahuiztli and Yoaltecutli, they took omens from them, and they offered incense in the early evening, at the third hour, and at dawn: by mamalhuaztli, they distinguished the names of the sticks which served to light the new fire. In honor of these stars, burns were made by the men on the wrist, for if they died without the mark, in hell they [bored] them with a stick the way they do here on earth to get the fire. The mamalhuaztli placed in the sphere (or clock), deified the instrument of the cyclical ceremony.
"Of these one was square sticks of soft wood with a notch on one side, the other was a cylindrical, hard wood, which placed vertically on the notch of that, and giving continuous turns between the palms of the hands, by rubbing a petite powder was plucked into combustion. The mamalhuaztli is called, Tletlaxoni, that which gives or throws fire; Tlecuahuitl, fire stick." Orozco y Berra, Historia antigua y de la conquista de México, 1:118, nt. 1.
Orozco y Berra, Historia antigua y de la conquista de México, 1:499 — "Mammal-huaz-tepe-c on the hill where you take the mamalhuaztli. This word also means the constellation of Orion."
Orozco y Berra, Historia antigua y de la conquista de México, 1:33 — "As a god, he presided over this constellation (Scorpion = Scorpius) in the thirteenth trecena of the Tonalamatl, under the name Teoiztactlachpanqui." This name means, 'the White God who Sweeps'."
The control that Orion and Scorpius have over each other is mutual. The drilling of fire on the manik symbol of Scorpius is a symbol of Orion's control over that constellation.
The Crow have beliefs that are similar to the Aztecs when it comes to the destiny of the departed soul. The stars form the Lodges on the Other Side (Kukéht Asū́k), the Crow Spiritland.10* The Brulé Lakota speak of the souls of the dead walking the Milky Way as a path.20
God of Fire and the Silver Xonecuilli. [xonecuilli ≈ baldheaded warclub ≈ Thunderbird Warclub. This last was given to the son of Redhorn (= Redhorn himself). Therefore, the xonecuilli of Mixcoatl ≈ the Thunderbird Warclub of Redhorn's son. Both ≈ to lightning.]
Most depictions of Mixcoatl show him holding a baton called a xonecuilli. In ordinary experience a xonecuilli was a kind of bread or cake that was always made in the form of an S. Xonecuilli means "twisted foot," which is to say, twisted base, since it curves at one or both ends.1 Paradigmatically, a xonecuilli is in the shape of an S, facing either forward or backward. Very frequently, however, when a xonecuilli emblem is seen in the hand of a god, it is curved at the top but cut off at the bottom so that it looks rather more like the old style ſ. However, despite its paradigm, the xonecuilli of Mixcoatl has nothing to do with food.
Unlike other Nahua peoples and their forebears, the Chichimecs, Camaxtli-Mixcoatl is not the tribal god of the Aztecs. It is said that Mixcoatl, "was then displaced by the introduction among the Aztecs of Huitzilopochtli. Whereas Huitzilopochtli is identified with the sun, however, Mixcoatl is clearly associated with the stars."10 Huitzilopochtli and Camaxtli have the same calendar name ("1-Flint").11 Even their kindred opponents have been flipped. As Krickeberg remarks, "the stars of the northern sky (mimixcoa) have transformed themselves into the stars of the southern sky (huitznahua)."12 In many ways Huitzilopochtli has taken over roles and attributes formerly held by Camaxtli. He is, for instance, one of the few gods who has the "Lone Ranger" mask so strongly identified with Camaxtli. His mother is Coatlicue, but in another myth, this same Coatlicue takes the place of Chimalman as Camaxtli's wife. This hints at his evolution as Camaxtli's doppelgänger son, but Huitzilopochtli achieved his independence through the same myth that secured Quetzalcoatl's: virgin birth by his mother ingesting a symbolic object. Huitzilopochtli no longer carries Mixcoatl's xonecuilli, but something that looks very similar, a xiuhcoatl, or "fire serpent." When Huitzilopochtli uses this xiuhcoatl weapon to avenge his mother, the offending goddess is shattered like an oak tree struck by lightning.
with a Xiuhcoatl
of a Fire God
In this process of displacement, the xonecuilli of Mixcoatl now becomes the xiuhcoatl of Huitzilopochtli. Are these two similar emblems in anyway connected? The xiuhcoatl looks very much like the xonecuilli, except at the distal end it usually has a snake head. In that respect it resembles the serpent weapons of the cloud and rain spirits, the tlaloques, who wield the serpentine lightning. As Ehecatl, the god of the wind, Quetzalcoatl also possesses the powers of weather. Quetzalcoatl holds an ecauictli, "wind ax," but also the chicoacolli, "curved on one side," which is just another name for the xonecuilli of his father.17 There is a stone sculpture that displays a xonecuilli in each hand, the left arm is labeled "Tlaloc," the right "Quetzalcoatl." Since Tlaloc's S-shaped staff is unquestionably lightning, it strongly suggests that in this case Quetzalcoatl's xonecuilli is also the same.18 In keeping with this valence, it's not surprising that the Huichol make xonecuilli cakes as offerings for rain.19 In the cakes that are offered to the goddess Cihuapipiltin among the Aztecs, Sahagún tells us that in addition to those in the form of butterflies, there are "others of the figure of the beams that fall from the sky," a reference to lightning.20 Thus Seler says,
This weapon [xiuhcoatl] is also hurled as a spear by the lightning demon Xolotl ... and represents the spears, the arrows, emitted by the sun, moon, and fire, i.e. the tongues of fire, the sun and fire beams themselves.20.1
Mixcoatl carries the xonecuilli, the S-shaped crooked staff, the symbol of lightning, similar to the Tlaloquê, the rain gods. Also the souls of the female dead, the Ciuapipiltin, carry it, or the serpent staff, and the sacrificial gifts for them were the bread in the form of xonecuilli, symbols of lightning, and also in the form of butterflies, symbols of fire. These blessed were the Tzitzimimê, "... the gods of the air who hang onto the heavens, who carry air, rain, thunderstorms, thunder, and lightning in their hands,"21 whose pictures were placed in the great temple immediately around the idol of Uitzilopochtli.22
It may be that xonecuilli had a wider meaning. In some cases, the sole discernable difference between a xonecuilli and a xiuhcoatl is that the latter has a serpent's head. Yet the serpent is almost always in the pose shaped like the typical xonecuilli. This probably reflects an overlap in their significance as lightning symbols, but the xiuhcoatl is no more restricted to that significance than is the xonecuilli. The xiuhcoatl draws its significance in part to its range as a homonym, as xiuh also denotes the solar year, grass, and turquoise.
The association of Xiuhcoatl with turquoise, grass and the solar year relates to its essential meaning of fire and solar heat. Turquoise, dry grass, and the vague year were all identified with fire in Postclassic Central Mexico. The Xiuhcoatl is emblematic of the Central Mexican god of fire, Xiuhtecuhtli, the Turquoise Lord. The Xiuhcoatl wielded by the newly born Huitzilopochtli represents the fiery rays of the sun dispelling the forces of darkness.23
So the xiuhcoatl held in the hand of Huitzilopochtli is not in essence a thunderbolt, but the heat of the solar fire. So Sahagún says,
of him it is related that he throws the xiuhcoatl and the fire borer [mamalhuaztli], i.e., war, water [spear-throwing], and fire, at people. ca itechpa mitvaya tepan quitlaça in xiuhcoatl, in mamalhuaztli, quitoznequi yaoyotl, teoatl tlachinolli.24
So Olmos says, "Dios [God] throws the xiuhcoatl mamalhuaztli at people."25 The xiuhcoatl and the mamalhuaztli are the two missiles of the fire god, Xiuhtecuhtli. Thus Seler says,
This fire god for his part also has a special relation to the polar region—the "north and its wheel"—for this was the hole in which the drill rod was inserted, which led the whole firmament in a circle, a cosmic event that has undoubtedly been connected from primeval time with the fire driller or is explained from this—although the Mexican star that bore the special name "fire driller" (mamalhuaztli) should be sought elsewhere perhaps, since, according to the concurring statements of writers, it was said to have its place in the vicinity of the constellation of the Gemini and not far from the Pleiades. The mythic personification of the polar region, the star god Mixcoatl, however, is the one who always appears in the myths as the fire driller κατ’ ἐξοχήν. ... And the first thing to do [at the beginning of the Fifth Sun] was recreate fire, and with this aim Tezcatlipoca transformed himself into Mixcoatl and as such drilled fire with two sticks.26
Mamalhuaztli we have identified as Orion. Nevertheless, at the creation of the world, the fire to be drilled will have been done by the drill of Polaris around which the whole cosmos turns like a fire borer.
Here we find an interesting point of convergence. Sahagún tells us of an asterism of some importance called Citlalxonecuilli, the "xonecuilli stars."
And for this reason were they called "star xonecuilli" — that they were similar and very much like a tortilla which was made, or an amaranth seed tortilla. [These] were, at both ends, twisted and rounded over.27
Sahagún says, "The stars which are in the mouth of the horn (en la boca de la bezina) these people call Citlalxonecuilli," and that they are seven bright stars that are set apart in the shape of a backward S. La Becina is the Spanish name for Ursa Minor (the Little Dipper).29
This creates a problem, as Hall points out, since Sahagún says that the xonecuilli stars are in the mouth of the Horn.31 Sahagún defines Citlalxonecuilli as La boca de la bezina del norte,32 yet says that there are seven stars, whereas there are only four in the mouth or boca. Furthermore, these stars as a group are not especially bright, and worse yet, they are a forward S, not a backward S. This has led some to suggest that what he had in mind was Ursa Major (the Big Dipper), which is both bright and has a similar shape, but which forms a backward S.32.0 However, the Historia tells us, "... Ursa Major came down to the water because he is Tezcatlipuca ...".32.0.1 Also, Sahagún explicitly identifies Ursa Major, which he calls el Carro, as the Scorpion.32.1 The problem no doubt stemmed from Sahagún relying upon his memory while he was writing the description of the Horn, and perhaps even thinking that the whole constellation was called the "Mouth of the Horn." In any case, it is all straightened out in the illustration,33 which shows a very good likeness of Ursa Minor, even to the point of contradicting his own text by showing it as a forward-facing S, so that the illustration alone excludes its identity as Ursa Major. What is botched is the non-empirical description of Ursa Minor, not necessarily its identity as the Xonecuilli asterism.
The idea that the Star-Xonecuilli is Ursa Minor has been contested. Tezozómoc (b. 1520), says, "the Star-Xonecuilli, which is the cross of St. Jacob, is in the region of the South, in the direction of the Indies and the chinas."34 The Cross of St. Jacob is the Southern Cross, which Aveni shows to be a veritable mirror image of Ursa Minor.35 With considerable reservation, Aveni favors this identity for Xonecuilli since "it is realistic to assume that the ancient Mexicans would place their key constellations at the cardinal points ..."36 This was a position taken by Seler. Nuttall, in a now obscure work, objects:
I cannot but think that Professor Seler and his follower Dr Preuss will find it difficult to persuade American scholars to accept as authentic the Mexican priest's allusion to "the direction of the Indies and Chinas;" to interpret this direction as that occupied by a southern constellation; and to prefer Tezozomoc's evidence so clearly tinged with European influence, to that preserved in the notes written by Friar Sahagun under the dictation of the aged and most learned of native chieftains whom he gathered around him in Texcoco and questioned about their ancient beliefs, etc.37
A more significant problem lies in the fact that the xonecuilli emblem and its constellation belong to Mixcoatl-Camaxtli, whom Seler himself emphatically recognizes as a god of the north. His white blade that formed the content of his Warbundle, exemplifies the color of the north.38 In the mythology of the first drilling of fire, as the god of stars with particular association with the Milky Way, it seems inescapable, as Seler suggests, that his drill should spin fixed at the point of Polaris. In light of these considerations, it would seem impossible that the very emblem of the god of the north should symbolize the stars that fix the cardinal point of the south.
As Ursa Minor, the xonecuilli also acts as a xiuhcoatl, the source of solar fire. Mixcoatl holds the image of Ursa Minor in his hand because it is with that hand that he first used the primordial fire drill. Just as the rotation of the heavens at the end of the Citlalxonecuilli is what creates the rising of the Sun, the ultimate Fire, so the god of stars and the fire drill engendered the first fire ever created. Mixcoatl, therefore, holds a device that represents at once the star group that is the spinning axis, and its inherent power of fire. In the latter aspect, it shares much with the xiuhcoatl.
Among the Hočągara, the hunting god who corresponds to Mixcoatl is Herokaga. He is not seen at Picture Cave, or spoken of in myth, as carrying an emblem of any kind in his hand. However, the pictograph and the story "The Baldheaded Warclub" both agree that he possesses a magical item that is functionally very similar to both the xonecuilli and the xiuhcoatl. It's the horn by which he bears the name He-žą-ki-ga ("Only One Horn"), a name still extant in the Hawk Clan, as well as in other clans.39 In this story the Clown, Wakjąkága, whom we know as Trickster, made the first baldheaded warclub (nąmąče pešara) out of maple. He took it along on the warpath with other good spirits, but before it could be used in war, the baldheaded warclub's power manifested itself by making the earth shake violently. It is precisely this kind of club that Hall and others have compared to the xonecuilli.40 The baldheaded warclub is the exclusive property of the Upper Moiety (the Bird Clans). It originally belonged to the Thunderbirds themselves. From them the human race obtained a mere copy.40.1 In an allegory about hierarchy, the Thunderbirds strike the earth with the Thunderbird Warclub and trample it underfoot, creating hills and valleys where once the whole earth was as smooth as a frozen lake.40.2 The word mąče denotes the warclub, but it seems also to mean "earth-divider."40.3 It most likely comes from mąčé, which means, "to break, crack, or tear a soft substance by cutting."40.4 However, the fact that it seems to mean "earth-divider" is no doubt a stimulus to a story in which the warclub actually divides the earth into hills and valleys. The Thunders themselves were baldheaded like their club.40.5 Their use of this club to strike the earth reflects its role as an alloform of lightning, a conclusion already reached concerning the xonecuilli. The baldheaded warclub, which is associated with lightning as a sacred possession of the Thunders and their clan here on earth, bears a striking resemblance to the xonecuilli of Mixcoatl.
In the story, "The Baldheaded Warclub," the spirits decided that this paradigm of the baldheaded warclub was too powerful to use in their raid, as it might disequilibriate the universe. Instead, the Warleader, Herokaga (Redhorn), took command using a different weapon. As the bad spirits counterattacked across the waters of the Ocean Sea, Redhorn removed the single horn situated on his forehead, and struck the waters with it. Thereupon, the waters burst into flame, killing his enemies. It is clear from the story that it was possession of the baldheaded warclub that was the grounds for making Trickster the Warleader. This weapon is the counterpart of lightning, and the baldheaded warclubs extant today are said to have been copies of an original given to mankind by the Thunders. But this lightning weapon was too powerful either for Trickster or the man to whom it was given, and the Thunders recalled it, and gave instead a copy appropriate to the power that human beings should wield. When the baldheaded warclub was withdraw, the old Warleader, was restored. This was Redhorn. Redhorn's weapon is the replacement for the baldheaded warclub, and was used in its stead. This shows it to be the counterpart of that weapon, and like it, it too was withdrawn, or at least used up, when Redhorn took it from his head. As a weapon of fire, which like Greek fire, sets even the waters aflame, it too cannot be passed down. Thus Only One Horn, Redhorn, then becomes Herokaga, "Without Horns." It is not difficult to understand the esoteric meaning of this weapon. When Redhorn's star Alnilam appears at the Ocean Sea, it is rising with the sun, and as the sun rises, it creates a red sheen upon the surface of the water, as if the sea had burst into flame. This horn is vividly portrayed in Picture Cave as a deer antler mounted on Redhorn's forehead, mounted just where the myth says it should be. This coincides with his name "Redhorn." In Mississippian times, it was the style to wear a braided forelock which usually terminated in a "horn," a kind of pointed bob of bone or antler worn as a frontlet. In Hočąk, the queue or scalp lock is called a "horn" (he), and gives rise to the spirit's name, since his hair is red. The rising of Alnilam out of the Ocean Sea is why Redhorn's hair is red. The connection to water is made explicit: he takes saliva, called "mouth water" (i-ni) in Hočąk, and runs it through his hair, turning it red. This is made even more explicit, and more like "The Baldheaded Warclub," in the myth of Įčorúšika. There the heliacal setting and rising of Alnilam is portrayed allegorically as the capture and liberation of Redhorn (Įčorúšika). The Bad Waterspirits hold him captive in the underworld, intending to eat him, but the hero bursts his iron bonds, grabs a firebrand, and turns the Waterspirits and their palace into a raging conflagration, whereupon he makes good his escape to the world above. Just as in the other myths, the Waterspirits, who are the spiritual essence of water itself, are set aflame by a torch. This torch is the great Fire, the Sun, with whom Alnilam makes good his escape from the sea world of the Waterspirits. In all these tales, the "horn" of Redhorn, whether an antler, a scalp lock, or a torch, represents the same thing: the light of the sun, specifically as it lights the sea and the sky when Alnilam heliacally rises at the edge of the world. In "The Brown Squirrel," the cedar arrow is "the protruding red horn" (Ae lo tto Ke doAo tt = he-pųjoge-šuč). It turns out that the red cedar arrow is the very weapon of Hąp (Day, Light) himself, the beam of solar light which he fires from his bow (q.v.).
In this fiery horn, we are reminded of what Miller and Taube said of the xiuhcoatl, that it "represents the fiery rays of the sun." There is in essence no difference between the horn of Redhorn (Herokaga, Įčorúšika) and the xiuhcoatl. What's more, it converges upon the xonecuilli as well. The xonecuilli is bound up with Mixcoatl's rotation of the sky which inevitably draws up the fire of the sun. In myth, this is reënacted as Mixcoatl creating the first fire by using the spinning fire drill to engender the flames. The bow and arrow is itself a perfectly suitable fire drill, and is the common weapon of both Mixcoatl and Redhorn. As Seler remarks, "... when we find a pictorial representation of the fire borer in the picture writings, the borer proper is always drawn in the form of an arrow shaft."50 Among the Hočągara, the cedar arrow is explicitly said to be "the protruding red horn." As a fire drill, the "red horn" plays the same role that the other weapons play in the cognate myths in which Redhorn creates fire or its color. Thus, the red horn arrow plays the role of Mixcoatl's xonecuilli as the spinning stellar implement by which the first and great Fire, the Sun, is made to appear; and the implement by which all mundane fires find their origin. The largely forgotten thesis of Nuttall comes into play here.50.1 She shows in a series of illustrations the remarkable similarity between certain atlatl handles and the xonecuilli. The atlatl was the predacessor to the bow and arrow. It launched a "dart," a projectile perhaps better described as a javelin, but which looked rather like a giant arrow. The "cup" in which this javelin rested curls over like the xonecuilli, and some atlatls have hand grips which do the same at the other end, thus forming an S. We may appreciate what Nuttall did not touch upon: that the atlatl in xonecuilli form was the weapon of the God of the Hunt before the bow and arrow were invented. The stone point of the atlatl javelin made it like a thunderbolt launched by a lightning-shaped handle. Once the bow and arrow was invented, the projectile itself became a de facto fire drill. At this point we must also appreciate that the Fire God (Ixcozauhqui) of the Mexica has a strong counterpart to the fire-horn kept by Herokaga on his forehead. They are two projecting arrow shafts that represent the fire sticks (tlequauitl), the means for kindling fire,51 which is why Sahagún refers to them as quammamalitli, "wooden borers." They too were characterized as "horns" (cuacuahuitl).52 Selers says, "they are rarely wanting in the crown of the fire god and form one of the most reliable of his distinguishing marks."53 The corresponding horn (deer antler) on the forehead of Herokaga, in both myth and iconography, is exactly analogous. It too finds a counterpart in the "red horn" that is the arrow, and functions as the means by which to touch off a fire of cosmic proportions. Thus too, the Hočąk deity Day, the god of the sun, also shoots the red cedar arrow, an expression of his beams of red light.53.1
Herokaga's red horn arrow, in myth a fire-horn and counterpart to the baldheaded warclub, is like lightning when the arrow is affixed with a stone point. This is because lightning was believed in essence to be a stone heated red-hot and shot from the clouds by the Thunderbirds. Although he used his horn as a club, he himself is in essence an arrow, as Redhorn is able to transmute into an arrow at will. So Herokaga and his fire-horn, concieved in more than one way, is clearly a counterpart to the xiuhcoatl.
Hojįnąžįga (He Stands to Strike)
In 1828, the government welcomed a delegation from the Hočąk nation whom they hoped to impress with the virtues of peace after the war of the previous year.54 One of them was a chief by the name of Hojįnąžįga (He Stands to Strike). He holds in his hand what in Mesoamerica would be without hesitation called a xonecuilli. As far as is known, the Hočągara did not work in silver, so the staff and its matching armlet, which shows a series of concentric ovals with radiant lines circling their outer perimeter, was apparently cast for him, most likely as a gift from the United States government.55 However, these were of value precisely because they were cast to specifications, and not some random design. Unlike wood or bone, out of which the original would have been carved, the silver version strongly reflects the bright light of the sun. It's cut flat at the bottom like the xonecuilli, and it curls in tightly at the top like so many Mexican xonecuilli cakes. Its head is very similar to that of the baldheaded warclub — yet it's not a club at all. He does not hold it as a club, but grasps it in the middle, as one would hold an emblem of authority. As a chief, this would be the emblem of sovereignty. Just like the baldheaded warclub, which it strongly resembles, it is an exclusive possession of the Upper Moiety, the Bird Clan. The chief is drawn from the Thunderbird Clan of that moiety. The sacred, spiritual possession of the Thunderbird Clan is fire. It is their primordial predecessors, the Thunderbirds, whom Earthmaker sent to establish their clan, who created the very first fire, just as did Mixcoatl, and by the same means: by the use of a fire drill. It is because of their license from primordial times as the engenderers of fire, that they are recognized by all the other clans as being the Chief Clan. It seems fantastic to believe, but in this faithful image from 1828, we have a man who traces his descent from those who created the very first fire by use of the fire drill, but who also holds the xonecuilli, the emblem of the ancient Chichimec god Mixcoatl who created the very first fire by use of the fire drill. By holding the silvery Citlal-xonecuilli of the ancient god, Chief Hojįnąžįga displays his right to sovereignty, based on a myth of which he may have known nothing, but whose material expression conveys that very same right to primacy inherent in the creation of light, of hąp, a word in Hočąk that also means "life." And although the xonecuilli, like the baldheaded warclub, also has the destructive power of lightning within it, yet its Light-and-Life is what makes the Thunderbird Chief a chief of peace, giver of life.
In conclusion, a xiuhcoatl seems to be a special case of a xonecuilli, one in which the lightning shaped symbol represents fire and the light of the sun. These two valences coalesce in the star-xonecuilli of Mixcoatl, which as Ursa Minor contains the hole in which the cosmic fire drill is inserted to spin the night sky. As starter of the first fire, the star-xonecuilli is a de facto xiuhcoatl. Esoterically, the fire started by the spinning sky is that of the rising sun, compelled to the horizon by the revolution of the celestial sphere. Among the Hočągara, the counterpart of Mixcoatl, Herokaga, sets the Ocean Sea aflame with a horn that he removes from his forehead. This is an allegory expressing the state of affairs that occurs when Redhorn's star Alnilam rises with the sun, turning Redhorn's "hair" red. Redhorn's hair is a metaphorical horn, a term that also applies to the cedar arrow, which is an alloform of Redhorn himself. The bow and arrow is also a fire drill. Furthermore, if Nuttall is right, the xonecuilli evolved from an atlatl handle, which launched the ancient predecessor of the arrow, the former thunderbolt-like weapon of the God of the Hunt. The horn of Herokaga esoterically is a stellar fire-stick that ignites a solar fire at the horizon, just as is the star-xonecuilli of his counterpart Mixcoatl. The baldheaded warclub of the northern Chichimecs, the counterpart of Herokaga's horn fire-stick, is itself shaped like a xonecuilli. It is the exclusive possession of the Upper Moeity. That the xonecuilli lived on among the Hočągara, can be seen in the protrait of the Upper Moiety chief Hojįnąžįga, who holds one cast for him in silver in 1828.
The Long Arms of the Milky Way. [This is the old substratum. Long Arms is the old Milky Way, Mixcoatl is superimposed in the form of Stone Boy.]
One of the puzzling things in that very distant echo of the southern Orion mythology that is found among the Crow, is that the Hand constellation is said to be the hand of two very different spirits. One account says that the Twins cut off the hand of Red Woman as "she reached for the roots of the sky," and that this was the hand became the famous constellation.1 We have identified her as a remote counterpart of Redman (Redhorn), who also has a stellar stake in Orion. The other account, which agrees with their close relatives the Hidatsa, is that the great chief of the night sky, Long Arm, got into an extended struggle with the Twins, and when he tried to stop up the hole with his hand, they dismembered it and transformed it into an impotent set of stars.2 Even under close scrutiny, it seems clear that Long Arm and Red Woman have nothing in common, save that their hands are both candidates for the Hand asterism. Since they have nothing else in common, how is it that they are counterparts at all? To solve this problem, we must look back to one of the hitherto unsuspected cognates of Siouan Orion mythology, the Chichimec god Mixcoatl.
Seler was greatly puzzled by the name Mix-coatl, a name straightforwardly translated as "Cloud Serpent," but whose esoteric significance was not at all clear. Given that he carried the xonecuilli, which in some contexts is clearly identified with lightning, Seler concluded that the name must refer to the serpentine lightning that emanated from the clouds.3 However, Mixcoatl is above all else a star god, and his xonecuilli is identified with Ursa Minor. Furthermore, in keeping with this role, he is also known by a more expansive name, Iztac Mixcoalt, "White Cloud Serpent." White clouds do not eject lightning, nor is lightning itself represented as typically white. The most obvious inference is that the white has to do with the stars over which Mixcoatl rules. If so, then we should expect the name to express his relationship to a serpentine cloud of stars, which could only be the Milky Way. Consequently, it is now almost universally accepted by scholars that the name Mixcoatl makes reference to the Milky Way. This would lead us to also conclude that the Centzon Mi(mi)xcoa, "the myriad Mixcoatls," originally represented the countless stars of the Galaxy. If we take this identity seriously and draw out its implications, it has interesting consequences for our own investigation.
As we have seen, the Siouan Orion mythology has an echo in what is said of the Fire Drill constellation, which is the Aztec version of Orion. This Fire Drill is only indirectly connected to Mixcoatl inasmuch as he is the god of the stars, and is the first to have made fire from a fire drill. We were able to draw some significant correlations, however, between the rituals associated with the Fire Drill, and the mythology of Redhorn and the Siouan Hand-Orion generally. Both see this same asterism as being bound up with the world of the dead, Spiritland. Lankford's thesis that Orion contained the hole in the sky that led to the Path of Souls, the Milky Way, has the interesting side effect of reattaching Mixcoatl to Orion. These pieces of the puzzle fit because it should be role of the Hunter (and tracker) to find the Pathway to Spiritland. That Orion once played this role as a portal shows us why half of our solid correlation, Redhorn, is found in Orion, and the other half, Mixcoatl, represents the complementary Milky Way. The southern Chichimecs drifted away from Orion and the Milky Way as the gateway to Spiritland, and embraced an idea that deceased warriors in particular were stars in the north under the command of Mixcoatl, and that as Mimixcoa, they actually made up the Milky Way in the north near the Star-Xonecuilli of Mixcoatl.
This brings us to the question of Long Arm,4 who has the same identity among both the Crow and Hidatsa. He was likely so called, at least in his mythological context, because he had the unusual capability to reach all the way from the sky down to earth. He once reached down and grabbed one of the sleeping Twins and hauled him through the hole in the sky into the nocturnal heavens. His arm, as an asterism, therefore must be exceedingly long. When at last the other Twin rescued his brother, Long Arm placed his hand over the hole in the sky to debar their escape. They ripped off his hand and made it the Hand constellation in Orion. It seems logical that his hand cannot be far from the rest of his arm. As we have seen, Orion was the ancient gateway to the Milky Way in part because it is not very far away. The Milky Way, in addition, arches over Polaris like a great arm bent at the elbow. This arm dominates the sky and consists of thousands of stars. Just like Long Arms, the Milky Way touches the ground, and the hand to this arm is found not far away. The Orion hand is in the appropriate proportion to the arm from which it was dissociated. Since he is, in some sense, and by virtue of his name, his own arm, who but Long Arm would be more appropriate to control the hole in the sky leading to the Path of Souls? That very path is his arm, and the hole in the sky that attaches to it runs through his hand. Given the size of the Milky Way, it is fitting that the Hidatsa should consider Long Arm as the chief of the Above World village (the night sky),5 although the Crow seem to conceive of him as primus inter paribus, and say that the council of the stars appointed him to abduct Spring Boy by reaching all the way down to earth and pulling him up to the sky world.6 As it happens, there may be a precedent for conceiving the Milky Way as a set of two serpents (recalling Mix-coatl), associated with the arms of a deity. In a Mayan relief carving, the sun is shown holding two serpents,
... these serpents seem to be images of the Milky Way held by the Sun God.6.1 He wears a skeletal snake headdress that indicates his position in Scorpius, where the ecliptic crosses the underworld branch of the Milky Way known as xibalba be among the contemporary Quiché. ... The serpent's front head has a skeletal death god riding on its snout.6.2 The death associations of this serpent are appropriate to the underworld branch of the Milky Way in the southern sky, the left hand of the Sun in modern Maya cosmology. The other serpent, in the sun's right hand, symbolizes the saki be or rainy-season half of the Milky Way. With this serpent, we see a turtle depicting the stars in Orion.6.3
So it is at least plausible that the long arm of Long Arm is the Milky Way. This leads to an initially counter-intuitive conclusion that Long Arm is a counterpart to Mixcoatl.
Among the Hočągara, the God of the Hunt has two half-brothers for sons. These are completely distinct from the Twins, Little Ghost and Flesh. The eldest, who is never called anything other than "Redhorn" or "Herokaga," is a twin not of his brother, but of his father. The younger is like his father, but his living faces are differently situated. His name is never given in any source. Among the Western Siouan branch (Hidatsa, Crow), these two sets of brothers have been collapsed into a single set, the Twins, the proper counterparts of the Hočąk Ghost and Flesh. The Western Siouan Twins have the same capability possessed by Redhorn and his sons of being able to change themselves into arrows. The Hidatsa Twins are the sons of an Above World being, Charred Body, who can assume the form of an arrow at will.7 Both of his sons inherited this power.8 The Crow say that wherever the Twins shot their arrows, there they would land.9 They say of one of the Twins, "This arrow was himself,"10 and "... the arrow was his body."11 If these arrows represent the ghost, this would make the Crow Twins more conformable to the Ghost and Flesh of the Hočągara than they might otherwise appear.
The Crow appear to have a radical theological difference with the Hidatsa. The latter believe that souls go through the hole in Orion, the hole in the hand of Long Arm; the Crow, who also have the Red Woman version, seem to believe (like the Lakota) that souls go through the Big Dipper, the Seven Stars.12 In opposition to the Hidatsa, the Crow say that the (presumed Orion) hole in the sky, was "closed up" by the Twins,13 which would mean that it could not function as a passageway for souls. The Dipper is symmetrical with Orion, about the same distance from the Milky Way, but on its left side. The defect of Orion as the gateway to the Path of Souls, is that once through Orion, the deceased must turn to the left to get onto the pathway. Left would ordinarily be reserved for the wrong direction.14 This is corrected with a hole in the Dipper, since from there the souls would turn right. Since the Path ought to be connected with those skilled in hunting and tracking, the hunting deities of the Crow have been reconnected to the Seven Stars. These stars include the dwarf, the patron of the Awakkulé, the Crow "little people." These beings do at least have more than a passing resemblance to the Heroka, but instead of being associated with Orion, they are now shifted to the Dipper. The Twins also show a similar drift. Curtain Boy is the "last" star of the Dipper. One would think that this would be Dubhe (α Ursæ Majoris) with a magnitude of 1.78, but it could be the star at the end of the handle, Alkaid (η Ursæ Majoris), magnitude 1.84. Spring Boy is the Evening Star.
The mythology of the mortal enemies of the Crow, the Lakota, also exhibits this shift. They too have the Hand constellation, and they believe that the hole in the sky through which the souls ascend into the heavens is located in the trapezium of the Big Dipper rather than in the Hand.18 The Lakota Hand asterism commemorates the lost arm of the chief of the third village of the Star People, whose arm was carried off by the Thunderbirds. His star is one of those in the Big Dipper, but his detached hand is Orion. The connecting link, of course, is the Milky Way, an arm of stars between the Dipper and Orion. It is Fallen Star who steals back the arm for the chief, and is rewarded by being given the chief's daughter in marriage.19 The Thunders steal the arm no doubt because they are spirits of the clouds, and the arm is, as with the Cloud Serpent of the Chichimecs, a cloud of stars.
Long Arm and his cognates, whatever their particular stellar identities, each seems to have the Milky Way for his arms. Some have innovated by imagining the hole in the sky to be located in the Dipper while retaining the connection of Long Arm's hand with Orion. Mixcoatl, the god of the bow and the fire drill, who was the first to create fire by this means, has the Fire Drill constellation in the very Orion that is Long Arm's stellar hand. As we have seen, Mamalhuaztli, the Fire Drill, has connections with the hand, a hole in the hand, and the Other World, just like Long Arm. The Fire Drill is remembered in the Orion god of the Hočągara, whose red horn is removed from his forehead, and like the arrow-reed of the Aztec fire drill, sets whatever it touches on fire, including even the waters of the Ocean Sea itself. It is the Orion fire drill that is encoded in the name "Redhorn," but the cloud serpent that is the Milky Way has faded from his godhood. So for both the Chichimecs of Mesoamerica and the Hočągara of the north, there has been a disconnection between the Milky Way and Orion. Oddly enough, the original unity is found in the most distant Siouan tribes, where Long Arm has his upper limbs as the Milky Way, and his hand as Orion. The Crow, however, preserve a tradition akin to that of the Hočągara, with a conflict between a red deity and Flint, with the former assuming the physical identity of Orion in part. However, among the Crow the attributes of these opposing deities appear to have been shuffled when compared to their counterparts among the Hočągara. We see a faint reflection of Redhorn himself in the obscure son of Red Woman, who is called Isšīōšé, which we are told "means kind of like burned hair, red hair."20 We also learn that she is the adopting grandmother of Kā́rijbāpítuač, who is the star Sirius.21 Kā́rijbāpítuač is sometimes substituted as the complement of Curtain Boy in the conflict with Long Arm, which comes closer to the half-brother sons of Redhorn. Despite the shuffling of attributes and the divergent evolution of the Crow pantheon who make up the principals in these stories, it is increasingly clear that they have a systematic relationship to the characters of the Redhorn mythology of the Hočągara. What is missing among the Hočągara is both the Milky Way component in the form of Long Arm, and the Hand constellation.
Was Long Arm a reflex of Mixcoatl superimposed upon a native Siouan Redman mythological corpus? Or is he an independent invention designed to express theologically the astronomical role of the Milky Way? Parallel evolution seems unlikely, since the Aztecs preserve many of the essential elements of the Orion-as-Hand paradigm. It is certainly possible that a southern Chichimec God of the Hunt, not much different from Mixcoatl, introduced a deity who was also a god of the Milky Way, and whose hand formed Orion, the portal through which souls traversed the boundary between this world and the next. The Crow preserve the Long-Arm/Hand-constellation story, while simultaneously preserving the preëxisting Siouan tradition a reflex of which is the Hočąk account of Redhorn and Redman. In the end, the Hočągara themselves simply dropped Milky Way element from their Redman mythology. The highly evolved Crow mythology paradoxically is the only one that preserves both the "Orion component" and the "Milky Way component" that must have comprised the earliest Chichimec God of the Hunt (Redman) mythology, presumably dating from the time when the bow and arrow were invented and rapidly diffused. It is easy to see that these two components must have once belonged together, since Orion has its hole only to serve as a portal to the Milky Way, which is the pathway for the exchange of souls from the Above and Below worlds. Predictably, the other highly evolved member of these cognate God of the Hunt myths is Mixcoatl. We are barely able to discern the Orion component, which survives only in a ritual and its mythological explanation. There, even the Milky Way component has evolved so that it is differently integrated with the fire drill, and the dead are not using the Galaxy as a path so much as actually constituting its stars as well as stars beyond it.
So now we can answer the question that we initially posed: Long Arm and Red Woman are true counterparts because both derive from the single ancient God of the Hunt, one emphasizing the Red Man of the Orion fire drill horn (Red Woman et alia), and the other emphasizing the hole in the sky connected to the Milky Way, the Cloud Serpent (Long Arm). It is ironic that it is to the very farthest reaches of the Siouan world that the long arm of Mixcoatl reaches, exceeding the grasp of his detached hand.
The Center of the Cosmos. [Mixcoatl and Polaris: fire drill; directions from North Star; Redhorn and deer lungs. Centrality. Hand = five in Mesoamerica. Five is Centre. Orion-Hand as Centre. Deer horn, 3 tines = Orion, 3-Deer, with 5 arrows = Centre ≈ Hand as Five. Spitting into hand of Blood Girl to impregnate ≈ spit to create twin ear-faces. hand = portal for souls, arrows = souls ≈ time, centrality; arrows = red horns, stuck in horn. significance of the antler as One Horn; Orion as starter of fire, as Centre. For what else could he be a Centre than the portal of souls? Dipper version among Lakota: "The Wanagi comes up into the spirit world through this hole which was made when Fallen Star's mother dug out the first wild turnip. ... Prayed to by Lakota midwives, Ṫo Wiŋ, "Blue Woman," is a spirit who inhabits the area around the hole in the Big Dipper. Ṫo Wiŋ (or Ṫoŋ Wiŋ, "Birth Woman") is called on to aid women in labor, easing the pain of childbirth. "Blue Woman" also assists the spirits of newly deceased humans in being born back through the hole into the spirit world." Goodman, 22. Hand painted across the face of the god Five Lizard, one of the Ahuiateteo: p. 45 Codex Borgia (Miller and Taube, 41b.) A black hand can be painted across the face among the Hočągara if he has obtained all four war honors. r-WT 114. "If the warrior has taken a captive, he has a human hand as large as life, painted either on his face, or on some part of his body, or on his blanket. Some individuals have several such hands painted on them." Atwater, Tour of Prairie du Chien, 275.]
Redhorn is the youngest of ten brothers, and hints at his holiness by always staying at home while his brothers bear the burden of hunting for food. One day the chief declares that there will be a race, and the winner will be awarded his daughter. Much to everyone's surprise, the youngest of the brothers wins the race and is awarded the princess (yųgiwi). The young man decides to give the woman to his oldest brother Kunuga. One day Kunuga came back from hunting and
put his deer-pack down and dressed it. The lungs he laid aside and went on with his task. Then his wife picked them up and threw them at Kunu's little brother, striking him in the breast. She laughed.22 But Kunu got angry and said, "Why did you do that?" "Well," she answered, "I understand that this is what you always do to him and that is the reason why they called him by that name. That is why I am doing it." "No one ever did that to him before," said Kunu. "Once I told him to fast and he refused, so I threw a deer lung at him and that is the reason why they call him by that name but no one ever hit him with a deer lung." ... 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-earrngs." 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.23
Much to-do has been made of the name "Hit With Deer Lungs."24 In fact, Redhorn (under the name "Redman") was revived the way incarnate spirits always are in Hočąk literature, by the sweat bath.26 The variant of the Redhorn Cycle, given the inappropriate title, "The Nephews of Redhorn," presents an alternate version to the arrow episode that is found in the Ioway story. The sons of Redhorn gather the bodies of their father and his friends and plan to revive them so that they can join them on the warpath.
"Here let us have our fathers accompany us," they said. Then there on the ground they put them in a row. Then the youngest one gave a loud shout, "Oh, my fathers! An arrow is about to drop on us, so run," he said. When thus he said, their bones became joined to one another. Again the second time he said it, "Young men, a point of a hill is about to fall on us and over here only is there a space to run," he said, and their sinews appeared on their bones. The third time he said it, "Young men the heavens are falling on us; over this way only is there an open space to run," he said; and they seemed to move even just a little. Again the fourth time they said it. "Oh young men, a war party is upon us so run," he said, and they said, "All right! All right!" they said, and started up, they opened their eyes very wide and looked about.27
For the Hočągara, the arrow is but the least of the alarms needed to quicken the dead. The theme of alarms to induce the soul to return to the dead is found in a number of Hočąk stories, perhaps from the similarity between nąǧire, "to be afraid," and nąǧi(rak), "soul." 28 The other stories of this type make no reference to arrows.
When the woman throws the lungs at Redhorn, they strike him in the breast. This is where his own lungs are found, so it seems like a reasonable hint that the deer lungs belong to his chest, that he is the sort who has deer lungs. However, Kunu explains that he had thrown a deer lung to him because he refused to fast. (Omission of fasting is usually a sign that a person is really an incarnate spirit and therefore does not need the blessings from the spirits that might be obtained from such deprivation.) So Kunu is giving him the lungs to eat, since he has refused to go without food. Far from being a poor cut of meat, it is something special. In one story, the dogs decide that if their master gives them the deer lung hanging in his lodge, they will make him prosper in game. 29 The reason for the gourmet value of deer lungs is explained in connection with an episode in The Fleetfooted Man:
There a Hočąk village was. To a great warrior was born a baby boy. It was very good. He grew larger, and when he was old enough to eat, whenever his father could, he would feed him only deer lungs. He wanted him to be able to run fast, that is why he did it.30
It should come as no great surprise that a diet of deer lungs might be thought to empower a person to have lungs like those of a deer, and the capacity for speed that this endowment would bequeath. So when the woman struck him in the breast with deer lungs, she was unwittingly repeating the same message (as myths usually repeat their esoteric content), the message that Redhorn is someone who will have deer lungs and the fleetness of foot that goes with them. Indeed, his victory in the foot race, the major event of this episode, is a mere confirmation of this achievement. So the name that is presented as a misnomer, turns out on an esoteric level to be an understated description for the spirit who travels as fast as an arrow.
However, in the ideology of the Hočąk Deer Clan, deer lungs have a more important role to play. In the origin myth of the clan, the first deer emerged from the earth, made a circuit of it, then came back to where they started, which it transpired, was the center of the world. There they found a chief's medallion. This, from a Thunderbird Clan point of view, sounds rather like insubordination, since the Deer Clan is saying that they occupied the center from the earliest times, and that they were, by the agency of unseen mystery, given the emblem of sovereignty. Yet it is the Thunderbird Clan that holds the chiefdom and possesses the fire of sovereignty. The Deer Clan backs off their claim by saying they helped start the first fire, and that they therefore are entitled to "partial sovereignty." This share of the ultimate power still leaves them situated in the center. Whoever controls the center, controls all, which is to say, the four quarters as well. Indeed, if a Deer clansman were to move one of his limbs suddenly, inasmuch as they are counterparts to the four quarters, the disequilibrium in the cosmic balance of things would be enough to cause someone to die. However, it is usual to count the "quarters" as five: the cardinal directions plus the center. This centrality is symbolized by sound, which radiates out to the four quarters from a center which is its source. Sound is intimately associated with air/wind, and the pre-modern mind may be excused from making an unclear identity between them. Because they control the center and the four quarters, the Deer clansmen also control the wind. In this they have great powers. If a day is good, and "a voice is heard," then the day will turn bad; and, it is said, the inverse is also true. If a Deer clansman were to cry loudly, it could cause someone to die. This is because, as the Deer clansmen sing in their clan song,
This song must always be chanted in a hushed voice, for to do otherwise puts the order of things in jeopardy. To be possessed of deer lungs is to own the center of the animal symbolic of centrality itself.31 To have deer lungs is to have a voice strong enough to upset the world order. To say of Redhorn that he is hit with deer lungs (in the breast), is to say that he is a spirit of directions, which are symbolized by the arrows of which he is the animating spirit.
In pre-modern mythological thought the world over, the centrality that we have seen expressed in the deer's lungs is even more strongly focused on the sun. In terms of organs, the sun is most usually associated with the eye, not just because it normally enables sight, but because the sun itself is thought to be all-seeing. The Vedic Sūrya himself is most strongly identified with the eye.32 Yet the eye and sun both have a strange connection to the ear as well, as we have already seen in the case of Karṇa whose very name means "Ear."33 The eye of the gods can be reborn on earth as Ear because light is strongly analogous to sound. In Hočąk symbolism sound stands for light. Wears White Feather, for instance, who is the star Sirius, has a living loon for his headdress, a bird that makes a loud call that expresses the brightness of the star. The fact that both light and sound are waves makes them radiate from a center outward in every direction. They vary in amplitude and wave length, and just as light is seen in colors, so sound is heard in pitch. This well appreciated isomorphism allows the ear to stand as a symbol not only for sound, but for light. Thus the offspring of the solar Eye of the World is Ear (Karṇa).
The ear is a sound-Centre, a place at which sound from every direction finds its way into a single place. As such it is the complement of the lungs, a sound-Centre where sound originates and is disseminated outward in every direction. In Hočąk, the lungs exhale the breath, nį, a homonym also meaning "to be born." However, there is no linguistic connection to motion in the other direction which matches the role of the ear as the complement of the lungs. Nevertheless, this is achieved mythologically by the way in which Redhorn created his animate earlobes. When he took his own saliva and rubbed it onto his earlobes, they came alive with human faces. In Hočąk saliva is į-ni, "mouth water." So by pun įni would mean, "to be born from the mouth." "That which is born from the mouth" (sound) therefore comes to dwell in the ear. The little heads symbolize sound itself with all its symbolic implications, as they are born from both mouth and ear. Outside Hočąk culture there are traditions that link the ear to the soul and its progress. The people most closely related to the Hočągara are the Ioway. Just as the Hočągara have Wears Human Heads on His Ears (Wągíšča-horúšika),36 so the Ioway have a cognate personage, "Human Head Earrings" (Waⁿkístowi). 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.37
So the head worn on the ear is, or is at least symbolic of, the soul. That heads should be identified with souls is almost universal in scope and is widely found in both the Old and New Worlds. 38 The ear-heads, that have a stellar identity in Hočąk, are representative of the soul in Ioway. The connection of the earring with the soul is found in a very distant Western Siouan people, the Hidatsa. In the Hidatsa Twin myths, the cycle concludes with the Twins shooting themselves back down to earth through the hole that they made permanent in the sky, as it says here:
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.39
White Cloud, Head Chief of the Ioway, by George Catlin
In this charming account of the rebirth of the sky people on earth, we are told that babies born with earring slits give away their celestial origins. The hole in the ear symbolizes the hole in the sky. When the earring is in the hole, it corresponds to the soul that is in the sky; so when it is absent from the symbol of the sky, it is on earth. Therefore, when a baby of this nature is born, it is born with the symbol of the soul in the sky missing from the hole because it now has a terrestrial incarnation. The image-soul, now converted into symbolism by trading sound for light, is something that enters the ear. The soul has been "spoken" through the mouth of the sky, and "heard" on earth. The breath has been collected by the newborn as if it were a sound heard by the ear. The ruler of the sky, of course, did not want to loose any of his cohort, and attempted to stop their exhalation through this hole, but the Twins tore off his hand and left it in place with a hole through it. This reminds us of the victory emblem of a hand painted across the face of the warrior so that the palm covers his mouth. Its meaning in this context is clear enough. It is through this mouth that his breath, which is in some sense his life, comes in and out. The hand is the executive instrument, and symbolizes the enemy's attempt to seize the warrior's life, symbolized by sealing the hole through which his breath-soul sustains itself. The warrior's victory is a punching of a hole through this hand, the lethal frustration of his opponent's soul-graspng aim. So the Twins defeat Long Arm, ruler of heaven, and rip off his arm. He who would seal off the hole through which souls migrate back and forth from heaven and earth, has his hand "painted" in the light of the stars across this mouth-like soul-hole. And what is particularly interesting is the fact that the Hidatsa (and Crow) constellation which is the hand of Long Arm is none other than Orion. The palm of the hand through which this hole is made is framed by what we might call "the Square of Orion," circumscribed by the stars Alnitak, Alnilam (Redhorn), and Mintaka (Kunu) at the wrist, Algiebba at the base of the little finger, and 42 Orionis of the Sword Stars at the base of the thumb.
The Hand Constellation
So it is through Orion that the souls ascend to heaven, and a chosen few descend back to earth. This is the hole over which Redhorn-Alnilam stands. Among the Crow, the hand is said to belong to Red Woman (Hísšištawia).40 A faint reflex of the Hand Myth is probably to be found in the four hands of Kunu (Mintaka), two of which (Rigel and Cursa) form fingers in the standard Hand Constellation. Among the Central Siouan Oglala Lakota, we find the same basic myth. There the Chief of the Stars has his arm stolen by the Thunderbirds, but it is stolen back. The same Hand Constellation commemorates the event.41 However, there is a difference among the Oglala in that they place the hole in the sky in the Trapezium of the Big Dipper, which occupies the corresponding spot to Orion on the opposite side of the Milky Way. Yet they too believe that souls enter the Spirit World through the hole in the sky.42 The Arapaho (Algonquian)43 and the Arikara (Caddoan)44 who neighbor on Siouan peoples, also have versions of the hand myth. In the Arikara myth, and in others, one of the Twins at least is able, like Redhorn, to turn himself into an arrow. In this sagittary image of the soul, he shoots himself through the hole in the sky.
The Five Sons of the Primordial God. Redhorn is one of the five great soteriological spirits fashioned by the Creator’s own hands, sent down to earth to make the world safe for the human race. The first spirit to be sent down to earth to help mankind was Trickster (Wakjąkága), whose foolishness made it necessary to recall him. Earthmaker next sent down Bladder (Watexuga), whose arrogance led to the loss of all but one of his 20 brothers, so he too was recalled. Then Earthmaker made Turtle (Kečągega) and charged him to teach the humans how to live, but Turtle brought them war, and was in his turn recalled. The last of these heroes dispatched by Earthmaker was Hare (Wašjįgega), who conquered all the bad spirits who had preyed on humanity. By accident, however, he introduced death, but compensated by creating the Medicine Lodge, by whose discipline members could achieve immortality. Earthmaker made Hare in charge of this earth, and to each of the other three spirits he gave an otherworldly paradise to govern. The penultimate savior figure in this series was Redhorn, who had quite nearly succeeded, but was killed in a wrestling match with the Giants. Although later revived, he too was recalled, although the reasons for his failure are obscure. One source suggests that it was a lack of gravitas.
Then Earthmaker (Mą‘ųna) sent down another son, He who Wears Human Heads as Earrings. He went around talking to people, but they would always fix on his earrings which were actual, living, miniature human heads. When these little heads saw someone looking at them, they would wink and make funny faces. In the end, He who Wears Human Heads as Earrings could not accomplish the mission either.4
Unlike all the other soteriological spirits, Redhorn was not assigned a paradise over which to rule; and the Medicine Rite omits any mention of Redhorn from its account of the sons of Earthmaker.5 These facts suggest that Redhorn may have been a recent addition to the role. The white supremacist Meeker even suggested the rather crazy idea that a certain notable Piegan contemporary of his, who happened to be named "Red Horn," may have been elevated to divine status to become the Redhorn of myth.6 More recently, Lankford tepidly followed him in this: "... Redhorn was a recent addition to the Winnebago pantheon diffused possibly from the Blackfoot tribe."7
There is another more intriguing explanation for the anomaly of Redhorn: he was in part introduced from without, and adapted to a preëxisting god of much more modest scale to form a syncretic deity who was once of great importance, but whose cult and body of myth rapidly faded with the decline of the culture that inspired him. The fact that he was assigned no spiritual domain over which to rule strongly suggests that he was grafted on to the preexisting set of Earthmaker's sons. There is little or no discussion of his recall, or any sense in which his failure was properly speaking a moral failure. In his own cycle and other myths, his sons bring him back to life, and therefore negate his death. To the extent that he failed merely because of a temporary death, his shortcoming was short-lived. His standing as a particular star sets him apart from figures like Trickster and Turtle, and even Bladder who may represent clouds, but is no particular cloud. In time, Hare either obtained or regained his position as the last of the Sons of Earthmaker, being the one responsible for instituting the Creator's plan into actuality. In contemporary mythology, Redhorn is awkwardly squeezed in between Bladder and Hare. It will prove more likely that Redhorn once represented a New World Order that superseded even that of Hare.
That the source of this should be found in Mexico seems prima facie preposterous; yet as the data will show, Redhorn has a very strong affinity to one god above all others, a god prominent in the past of the less civilized tribes to the north of Mexico, and a god who though often superseded by other deities, retained his place in several culturally advanced Mexican cities. This god is primarily known by two names: Mixcoatl and Camaxtli. Like his counterpart Redhorn, he sometimes appears as one of the primordially created deities, although he too may be replaced or omitted in other accounts. For the Aztecs the world began when two deities arose sui generis in the 13ᵀᴴ heaven. The Historia tells us that Tonacatecli took to wife Tonacaçiguatl (Cachequacalt), and they had four sons: Camaxtli, Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl, and Huitzilopochtli (corrupted by the Spanish into Uchilobi).8 Camaxtli and Redhorn have interesting resemblances, although the other brothers of Camaxtli have little in common with the remaining sons of Earthmaker. Since the similarities of Redhorn to Camaxtli-Mixcoatl are the subject of this whole thesis, they will not be summarized here; but it is important to note that at least in some versions, both Redhorn and Camaxtli are listed among the five divine offspring of the primordial creation. To the Aztecs, the sons of the primordial god(s) were created together, but the world itself went through a series of five great ages each with its own characteristic sentient beings who lived and died as a race. When an age closed, even the sun and moon and the very sky itself fell in a catastrophic Götterdamerung. The sky had to be uplifted again, the sun and moon recreated by the gods. According to the Annals, the first sun was created in a year called "4-Water." The age of this sun came to an end when all the people were swept away by flood, and they were transformed into fish and dragonfly larvae. The second sun was created on 4-Jaguar and was called the "Jaguar Sun." One day at noon the sky collapsed, and all the people who lived at that time were eaten. The third sun, having been created in the year 4-Rain, was called the "Rain Sun." It came to an end in a rain of fire. The fourth sun, the Wind Sun, was created on 4-Wind. The people of that time were blown away by the wind, and those who survived became the monkeys that are scattered throughout the jungle. The final and fifth sun was created on 4-Movement and is called the "Movement Sun." Its age shall end in famine and earthquakes.9 The Leyenda is in agreement, except that its suns were in a different order: Jaguar Sun, Wind Sun, Rain Sun, Water Sun, and our own sun, the fifth in the line of succession. The sky of our age was established in the year 1-Rabbit, and in 2-Reed the first fire was drilled.10
In the Hočąk account of the early cosmos, once Earthmaker had finished his work, he soon discovered that his weakest creations, human beings (wąkšigera), were sore afflicted by evil spirits, and even giant animals of every sort. They themselves hardly knew how to live and needed to be taught the basics of good social order that they might flourish. To this end, Earthmaker created his five sons. However, he did not create them all at once. It was Trickster who was Kunuga, the First Born. Only after devoting much time to his mission with no good result, did Earthmaker recall him. This was true of each of his sons. A new son was created only after the first one had failed. Despite Trickster's failures, he did nonetheless leave behind a number of changes that marked his tenure on earth. Although the Hočągara do not speak of his time as the "Age of Trickster," nevertheless, it remains true that each of the sons of Earthmaker had his own day upon the stage of ancient history. Each of these periods ended with the project of human renewal falling short of Earthmaker's goal until we reach the very last with Hare. Among the Hočągara, it is the failure of one apostle that leads to the sending of his successor; but among the Aztecs it is the catastrophic failure of the world itself that obliges another god to step forward and try to re-instantiate the entire cosmos. In the life-oriented perspective of the Hočągara, various saviours appear and fail in their mission to perfect man, but among the death-oriented Aztecs whole races of men or near-men are annihilated and their worlds wiped away. Yet for each a time of evolution is defined, comes to an imperfect conclusion, and is succeeded by a renewed effort with similar results. Somewhere in this scheme may fit Redhorn or Camaxtli, depending on who tells the story. For the Hočągara it ends in life affirmation and the triumph of Hare; for the Aztecs it ends in death affirmation and the desperate attempt to ever renew the world less its own logic of inertia causes it to plunge into the same oblivion as its predecessors. Among the Hočągara, and apparently among Mississippian cultures generally, the major religious revelation to emerge is the possibility of individual salvation, a theme seemingly lost in the grand Mesoamerican cosmic struggle in which human life supplies the fulcrum for turning the world.
The Virgin Birth from a Swallowed Stone. [7-Reed birth given in the CTR. Seler, Collected Works 3.97.] The Hočągara and the Aztecs also converge in interesting ways in the swallowing of Morning Star by the Hyades. Morning Star has become rather disarticulated from Redhorn, although traces of a path of connection still remain. In "Morning Star and His Friend," the Great Star awakens like Earthmaker, finding himself in a new life without any idea who he is or where he came from. It is the Heroka, the subjects of Redhorn (Herokaga), who enlighten him and give him the magical arrow of their race so that he might hunt with supernatural ease. Redhorn is not the father of Morning Star, but he is, behind the scenes, rather like his sponsor. This affiliates Morning Star with the arrow, as he is among the Aztecs inasmuch as they give him (Quetzalcoatl) the calendrical name "One Reed" (Ce Acatl). The reed is the material out of which the arrow is made throughout Mesoamerica. Quetzalcoatl's name "One Reed" derives from the fact that he was born in a year 1-Reed, which ran from 7/13/843 to 7/11/844 a. D. (O.S.). A 1-Reed year recurs every 52 years. Bierhorst has this 1-Reed as the year 843, a year in which Morning Star is not in the sky; the calendar converter based on the Alfonso Caso correlation, gives the year 844 as being 1-Reed. On the Julian calendar, day 1-Acatl of the year 1-Acatl is July 6, 844. This date was chosen purely for calendrical reasons, as nothing of note happens on that date astronomically — Morning Star passes a little over the top of the Hyades, but so early in the morning and at such a low altitude that neither is clearly visible before the sun washes them out completely. The next year we do have something of interest in the sky. On 7 May 845, Venus leaves conjunction with the sun and rises into the sky. At the same time, the Hyades, in which the sun had risen on April 25, began to rise higher and higher into the sky. Venus passes by the Hyades and above them, but stops in its course on June 3 and reverses itself in retrograde motion. On June 21, it enters into the "mouth" of the Hyades and is "swallowed." By June 25, it passes out of the Hyades between its two "legs."
The Path of the Morning Star through the Hyades, May 10 - July 4, 845
Thus, it is said in The Annals of Cuauhtitlan,
1 Reed . According to what they tell and what they say, this was when Quetzalcoatl was born, called Topiltzin Priest Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl, and his mother they say was named Chimalman. And from what they say about him, Quetzalcoatl was placed in his mother's belly when she swallowed a piece of jade.1
Day 1-Reed of year 1-Reed of 20-Tititl, falls on July 6, 844. The Hyades are shaped both like jaws and like a crotch. Morning Star enters into the gaping mouth of the Hyades, and then is born though the crotch of the same asterism. The astronomical birth takes place in 845 a. D., but the temptation of the extraordinary calendrical coincidence of the previous year, made it the obvious choice as Quetzalcoatl's birth date. The Aztec account is an astronomical allegory of the progress of the Morning Star through the Hyades. This is exactly what we have when Flint, as the Hočąk Hyades, eats the red giant version of the Morning Star (q.v.). This obscure correlation of Flint with Chimalman is more interesting than it appears. It has been suggested above that Chimalman is just another name for Itzpapalotl, whose own name means "Obsidian Butterfly." Obsidian and flint are both used in the making of arrowheads. However, like Flint, the Twins, and the Evening and Morning Stars of the Hočągara, she has flint knives up and down her wings. This prompts Miller and Taube to say,
The term Itzpapalotl can signify either obsidian butterfly or clawed butterfly, but it is likely that the second meaning is intended. Rather than obsidian, the wing blades are clearly rendered as flint, or tecpatl.2
So it is in one version, when Mixcoatl kills Itzpapalotl, he makes a medicine bundle from a single white piece of flint from her body.
The white flint reappears most unexpectedly in a very remote cognate myth found among the Crow. As will be shown in detail below, the hero Flint-like Young Man corresponds to Redhorn and to Mixcoatl (One Flint). His birth story is essentially the same as that of Quetzalcoatl. His mother grieves over the disappearance of her seven brothers (the stars of the Big Dipper).
In the morning she went to the mountains. She happened to see a white stone, put it into her mouth, and kept on crying. She went to the foot of the mountains, met a pine, leaned against it, and fell asleep, swallowing the little stone. She came back to camp and was pregnant. It took only four days before the child was born. It was a boy.3
Four days is also the time it took for Quetzalcoatl to be born.4 The boy is born white all over just like the stone that she swallowed, which as we now appreciate, is the stone of Mixcoatl's power.
The Lakota have a version of this same story. Here too the sister is mourning her missing brothers.
When the youngest Brother had been gone one moon, the young woman went to the top of a high hill to mourn, and to seek a vision. While she was mourning she saw a pebble which she looked at for a long time, for it was very smooth and white and then she put it in her mouth to keep from being thirsty. She fell asleep with the pebble in her mouth and swallowed it. While she slept the vision came to her in the form of the great beast, which told her that the Four Brothers were kept by a stone and that a stone would find them and bring them back to her. ... Soon she grew big with child and gave birth to a boy baby.5
So in the Oglala account, Stone Boy is also white. He goes on after the fashion of the other stories, to confront someone with a stone name, for the Lakota it is Iŋyaŋ, "Stone."
In the Hočąk version, there is no one called "Stone." Rather more like the Aztec, the Hočąk story of the lithogenesis is transferred to the God of the Hunt's blood relative. For the Aztecs this is Quetzalcoatl. The Hočągara have in place of Stone Boy the brother of Redhorn, Hare. Hare is in a way very much like Mixcoatl, since he is the tribal god of the nation, the one who set down the basic principles by which the Hočągara live. As will be shown later, Hare does go on to shatter the God of the Hunt's assassin, Flint, whose name preserves the overall lithic identity of this god's primary opponent. Similarly, it is a brother of Mixcoatl, Mimich, who destroys Itzpapalotl, Mixcoatl's lithic arch-enemy. The birth story of Hare doesn't fit perfectly into this set, because nowhere does it say that he was ever a stone. The version of Oliver LaMère accepts that Earthmaker first created him, then he went to earth where, as in other Siouan versions, he was swallowed by a virgin.
The fourth one [created by Earthmaker] was the Hare who came and sat at a spring of water where one of the daughter of the earth was wont to go and get water. Here he waited and the woman conceived him. While yet in his mother's womb he heard the cries of his people and for that reason he was born in seven months, and at his birth his mother was injured to such an extend that she died, leaving him an orphan with his great mother the Earth, who reared him.6
Gone are the connections both to a lithic nature and to the color white, however, his later adventures in avenging Redman, show that he was used as a stand in for Redhorn in some contexts. [See also Gros Ventres7, Arapaho8, Oglala9, ...
|A virgin||A virgin||A virgin||A virgin||A virgin|
|who lives alone||who lives alone||who lives with her mother||who lives alone||who lives alone|
|becomes pregnant by||becomes pregnant by||becomes pregnant by||becomes pregnant by||becomes pregnant by|
|a white||[white ?]||a white||a white|
|stone.||a piece of jade.||[Hare].||stone.||stone.|
|The child is born prematurely (in 4 days).||The child was born in 4 days.||The child is born in 7 months.||-||The child was born in 4 days.|
|She dies days later.||She dies days later.||She dies days later.||-||-|
|The boy is white||-||-||The boy is white||The boy is white|
|and bears a stone name.||-||-||and is called "Stone Boy."||and is called "Flint-like Young Man."|
It may be recalled that Mixcoatl bore the calendar name "One Flint" and that his source of power was a piece of white flint. He is sometimes called Iztac Mixcoatl, "White Mixcoatl." Given these facts, the last two rows are not as divergent as they may appear. Virtually all of these figures who have been swallowed by a virgin whom they thus impregnated, go on to rescue their brother by smashing to pieces their arch-enemy, who in all cases except one, is an evil stone being (Obsidian Butterfly, Red Woman, Stone, Flint). That story is told below. In each of these cases there is at least one variant in which the avenger is the God of the Hunt (Mixcoatl, Flint-like Young Man, Stone Boy, Redman). So the virgin birth probably belonged at one time to the God of the Hunt.
Origins: the Exodus from the Cave. [The history of the origins of the Lakota nation has them emerging from a cave under the leadership of Iktomi. In its details it may be isomorphic to the Camaxtli exodus from the Seven Caves.]
The Courtship of the God of the Hunt. [Pretty Woman opponent in celestial game: enemy marries Redhorn; Itzpapalotl opponent in celestial game: enemy marries Mixcoatl.] In the Historia we are told,
They say, and the paintings likewise show it, that in the first year of the sixth thirteen the Chichimecas waged war against Camasale, and took away his deer, through which he was enabled to be victorious; and the reason why he lost it was that while wandering about the field he fell in with a female relation of Tezcatlipuca, a descendant of the five women whom he had made at the time when he created the 400 men which later died, but the females remained alive, and this one was descended from them, and bore a son who was known as Ceacalt [Quetzalcoatl] ...1*
In the Historia, Tezcatlipoca becomes Mixcoatl, and he creates the Centzon (400) Mimixcoa, who are the Aztec counterparts to the Little Children Spirits. The Historia adds that he also created at this time five women who survived the massacre of the 400.2 Since Tezcatlipoca became Mixcoatl when he created the 400 along with the five women, it follows that they are his offspring. Later he marries a daughter of one of these offspring, which is to say his own granddaughter, which implies incest. Given that the 400 who were slain by the five are the counterparts of the Little Children Spirits, the five surviving women are the counterparts of the women associated with the Little Children Spirits. One of these women, the youngest, became wife of Herokaga's son, who is also called Herokaga. It was this son of Herokaga who became chief over the village of the Little Children Spirits. In the telling of "The Red Man," the son of Redman (Herokaga = Redhorn), without realizing what he has done, marries his sister's daughter, a union considered incestuous by the Hočągara. So in both stories, the Aztec and Hočąk, the God of the Hunt (or his identical son) makes an incestuous marriage. This story is considered under its own heading (below).
There is another story so brief we can't really call it an account of courtship, but the characters involved are unexpected. According to the historian of Tlaxcala, Muñoz Camargo, after Mimich killed Itzpapalotl with his arrows, the Chichimecs went on to Comayan, which they sacked. From there they went to Huitznahuac where they were going to shoot its Seigneuress with arrows. She was Cohuatlicue [Coatlicue], otherwise said to be the mother of Huitzilopochtli. However, they spared her the arrows, as Camaxtli Mixcohuatl was looking for a woman. Their offspring was Quetzalcohuatl, who was really from this western province rather than the north as he himself had claimed.2.1 In the Leyenda this woman is said to be Chimalman.3 In this version, Mixcoatl has no qualms about shooting her. After Mixcoatl's attempt to shoot her fails, she runs away and hides in a cave within a gorge. The Huitznahua are her sisters. The Huitznahua, "the Southerners," are the female counterparts of the Mimixcoa, and probably refers to the same women who survived the massacre of the 400 Mimixcoa. Mixcoatl begins to shoot the Huitznahua, so her sisters seek her out in her cave and tell her that he will kill them all unless she appears before him. Therefore she relents, and comes out of her cave to meet him. Given the equivalences already set out, the woman courted by Herokaga, the counterpart of Mixcoatl, will be one of the sisters of the Little Children Spirits, and this is what we find in "The Chief of the Heroka." In this story, the bride disappears in another way: she transforms herself into an old woman, and her sisters try to lead the suitor astray, although he has been told by his brothers that she would be thus concealed. The mother of the sisters sends Herokaga on a Bellerophonic mission based on a set of false dreams. He is to go kill four animals at the ends of the world. These are in fact the sisters' dogs, and despite their ferocity, he kills all of them. This makes the sisters weep. These "dogs" are made into a sickness offering on behalf of the mother. In sick offerings, a dog is sent to Disease Giver to placate his desire to claim a human life, and therefore becomes a substitute for that life. Dogs in Hočąk culture are stand-ins for human sacrifice, and represent the counterparts to the mother and sisters. So in killing the dogs of the sisters, he is killing their own counterparts, which is a vicarious killing of the sisters themselves. So in the Hočąk the killing of the God of the Hunt's future sisters-in-law is put at one remove. The bride-to-be comes out of concealment of her own will in both cases.
The story in the Leyenda continues:
And Mixcoatl went again and met her, and again she stands there, exposing her crotch. And he lays down his shield and his darts. And again he shoots at her. Again a dart went over her, and one passed by her side, and she caught one in her hand, and one went between her legs. After that he took hold of her, and he lay beside this woman from Huitznahuac, this Chimalman. And with that she became pregnant.4
This strange story has no counterpart in the mythology of Redhorn. However, a decent parallel to it is found among other Hočąk myths. In "The Dipper," two women chase after the young man who plays Polaris in the allegory. One of these women is the Big Dipper (Ursa Major), and she will become his bride. Polaris' grandfather (the Sun) pretends that he has had a dream in which he must cast giant arrow points at him or he, Polaris, will die. The two woman are to steady Polaris while grandfather throws these huge spears at him. However, the women are secretly in league with the young man. When grandfather throws the first spear, the women tell Polaris to throw himself to the ground, and when he does so, the spear flies overhead. The women again instruct the young man, and when the grandfather throws the spear low, the women help him jump up so the spear passes beneath him. So the grandfather gives up and goes back to bed.5 Later the young man marries one of these women whom the narrator identifies as the Big Dipper. Mixcoatl holds a xonecuilli that has been identified with the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor), with the distal end being the dipper's ladle. This means that Polaris is in the grip of Mixcoatl's hand. Seler argues that because Mixcoatl is the god of stars and is located in the north, his status as the first to use the fire drill reflects the turning of the whole nocturnal cosmos about the North Star, Polaris. It is the turning, in the end, that revolves the sun around to its dawn, and so such a god is the cause of the appearance of the Fire. The special relationship between Mixcoatl and Polaris might explain how such a transfer took place. However, in the Hočąk version, a great deal has changed. Now Polaris (who corresponds to Mixcoatl) dodges the spears of Sun with help of two women, one of whom is his wife, whereas in the Aztec version it is the hero's future wife that dodges spears launch by the god who is anchored on Polaris. On the other hand, the picture from the Mapa shown above, suggests a variant in which the "spear" (atlatl dart) emanates from the sun, and passes over the head of Itzpapalotl (Chimalman). Such a variant would close much of the gap with the Hočąk version.
The two traditions in the story of the God of the Hunt's courtship are extremely divergent, and may well converge only by chance. However, there are some interesting common elements that we should not lightly dismiss. In both stories the males are essentially absent, as the God of the Hunt encounters a group of sisters (plus a mother in the Hočąk). In both stories, he kills some of these sisters (or their counterparts). The suitor's future bride conceals herself, either by hiding in a cave, or by disguise. After some of her sisters are killed, she reveals herself to the suitor. Shortly afterwards, they marry. Unknown to the participants, the marriage is incestuous. Camaxtli marries his own granddaughter, and in "The Red Man," Herokaga the younger marries his own niece. In Hočąk, some nieces are called hičųžą́k, but this term has a wide range of application: "daughter of a brother or sister; daughter of a paternal sister; daughter of a son or daughter; daughter of a son of a paternal sister or a maternal brother" (Radin). In the "Chief of the Heroka" variant, the Forked Man marries the daughter of Herokaga the younger, which is to say the mother's brother's daughter, which Miner says is also a hičųžą́k. What's important to the Hočągara is that the marriage in the story is to the man's hičųžą́k. So, since Camaxtli married his daughter's daughter, from a Hočąk point of view, Camaxtli therefore also married his hičųžą́k. From the Hočąk perspective, the Aztec match represents exactly the same kind of incest. We may also recall that Tezcatlipoca got Quetzalcoatl drunk on pulque, then summoned Quetzalcoatl's sister and made her drunk as well. The received opinion is that they had incestual sex, after which Quetzalcoatl separated not only from her, but from his own kingdom as a penance. In the "Chief of the Heroka," the Forked Man and his wife, the granddaughter of Herokaga, also separate once they realize what they have done. So despite the substantial divergences, there remains an interesting set of similarities.
The Brothers of the God of the Hunt Try to Kill Him. There is another strange episode that collects around the figure of the God of the Hunt in both the "Chichimec" and Hočąk traditions, and this is the story of how the god's brothers plot to murder him. This is a story reminiscent of the Hebrew tale of Joseph and his brothers, as I have observed elsewhere, but which is especially so in the Aztec version, where the brothers resent the affection their father bestows upon their brother Quetzalcoatl. Quetzalcoatl, as the story relates, is the son of the God of the Hunt, Comaxtli-Mixcoatl, so the story assigned to the God of the Hunt himself among the Hočągara, is here attributed to his son. This is less important than one might think, since Redhorn and his identical son seem to actually be the same person. Here is the Aztec story found uniquely in the Histoyre du Mechiques:
(34) In the histories of these savage people, one finds that there is a god called Comachtli who took to wife a goddess named Chimalma, who had from him a child given the name Queçalcoatl, who was born at Nichatlanco [Michatlauco ?] and went to his grandfather and grandmother who took care of him, inasmuch as his mother died in childbirth. The same, after having been brought up, went to where his father lived, but because of the great love his father had for him, his other brothers hated him, going so far as to propose his death, and to do this they went to him with fraud to a great rock named Chalchonoltepetl which was a rock where they were going to make him burn, and left him there, and they themselves descended to its base, and made fire around the rock; but Queçalcoatl was himself within a crevice which the rock had, and his brothers themselves left thinking to have killed him; but, they having gone, he came off the rock with a bow and arrows, and took aim at a doe and killed it; and putting it on his shoulders, he took it to where his father lived and arrived just before his brothers, and gave the doe to his father; and his brothers, having arrived, were surprised to see him, and thought (35) on how to kill him some other way: and afterwards they took him under a tree, telling him that they would kill birds there, being under the tree with him they began to shoot their arrows; but as he was clever, he made himself fall to the ground, pretending to be dead. Having seen this, his brothers went into the house; and they, being gone, Queçalcoatl raised himself and killed a crow [coneill], and carried it to his father, before his brothers arrived. The father, who himself doubted what the brothers wanted to do with him, demanded to know of him where his brothers were; about which he responded to him that they had left him, and he went with his father to another house. In the meantime, his brothers came, from whom the father demanded to know where their brother was; they responded that he left. So, he concluded from this that they wished to kill their brother; from that, being made angry, they proposed also killing their father; having done this, they took him to a mountain. After having killed him, they went to fetch Queçalcoatl, and they cried to him that his father had turned to stone, at the same time, they persuaded him that he sacrifice and offer something to this rock, such as lions, tigers, deer and butterflies, in order to have a chance to murder him, since he was not likely to obtain these beasts; to which he, not wishing to obey, as they wished to kill him, escaped from them, and went himself to a tree, where, which is much [veresemblable], under the same rock, and with strikes of his arrows, they all died; having done this, his vassals, who loved him greatly, came to fetch him honorably, and took the heads of his brothers and removed from them their brains, to be making from them cups out of which to drink, and they immediately became drunk, and after that they came to the land of Mexica, and resided for some days in a village named Tulancingo [Tullantzinco], and from there they went to Tula, where no one knew anything of sacrifice; and afterwards, as he brought the usage of sacrifice, he was taken for god, from which he received many good things, temples for him and other things, and he was 160 years a god in this place.1
The "rock" (roche) where Quetzalcoatl was left must be viewed as a crag, but not a rock spire so large at its base that starting a fire there would not result in the death of someone at the highest point of its elevation. In this story Quetzalcoatl reveals himself as a stand-in for Camaxtli, since he shows himself to be a most astounding prodigy when it comes to hunting, killing an animal with an arrow and packing it home before his brothers, who have had a head start, can arrive there themselves. In the Aztec story, the brothers actually do kill the God of the Hunt, but fail to kill their own brother, who does them in instead. In the Hočąk tradition, much the same plot is acted out in "Įčorúšika and His Brothers." In their story, there is neither father nor mother. The head of the family of brothers is Kunu, the first born male. Įčorúšika has the good fortune to obtain a nice fat (šį) bride, and this makes his other brothers jealous, all save Kunu and the very youngest brother, both of whom remain loyal to him and know nothing of the plot. The brothers find a Bad Waterspirit woman who is willing to trick him into falling into a hidden pit-trap, one so deep that it finds its bottom in the subterranean palace of the Bad Waterspirits. These spirits hope to roast him for dinner, but despite the fact that they bound him in irons, he simply breaks free and deals to them the same fiery end that they had intended for him. After killing the woman who tricked him, he returns to deal with his disloyal brothers, who in his absence had abused Kunu and his youngest brother. He strikes them much as he had the Waterspirits, but the result is that they are not killed, but transformed them into coyotes and foxes.
Although these stories diverge extensively, there are a fair number of common elements.
"Įčorúšika and His Brothers"
Histoyre du Mechiques
|The brothers of the god are jealous of the affection the god receives.||The brothers are jealous of Įčorúšika for having the prettiest wife.||Because their father shows the greatest affection towards Quetzalcoatl, his brothers become jealous of him.||-|
|The brothers lead the god away from the head of the family.||The brothers take Įčorúšika out into the countryside away from Kunu, his older brother.||The brothers take Quetzalcoatl out into the countryside away from his father.||The brothers take Quetzalcoatl out into the countryside away from his father a second time.|
|The brothers plot to kill the god.||The brothers plot to kill the god.||The brothers plot to kill Quetzalcoatl.||The brothers intend to kill Quetzalcoatl.|
|They cause him to fall into a crevasse.||A Bad Waterspirit woman at the behest of his brothers causes Įčorúšika to fall into a hole extending into the underworld.||The brothers cause Quetzalcoatl to fall into a crevasse atop a high rock.||They shoot at him, but he tumbles to the ground only pretending to die.|
|There, his enemies intend to burn him.||The Bad Waterspirits wish to (cook him and) eat him. They bind him with bonds of iron.||They attempt to kill him by surrounding the base of the rock with fire.||-|
|However, he gets free.||He breaks his bonds, and||He gets out of the crevasse, and||He gets back up after they have left, and|
|With the weapon he has, he kills something.||kills most of the Bad Waterspirits.||on the way back, kills a doe.||on the way back, kills a crow.|
|The brothers are deceitful with the head of the family about how they feel about their brother.||His brothers create the false impression that they are mourning for Įčorúšika.||They lie to their father about what happened to their brother.||They lie to their father about what happened to their brother.|
|They abused the head of the family.||They abused Kunu.||-||They kill Camaxtli.|
|The god strikes them with his weapon and changes their identity.||Įčorúšika strikes them, changing them into coyotes and foxes.||-||Quetzalcoatl shoots all his brothers dead, and they make cups from their skull caps.|
The Aztec version seems clearly to innovate when it has Camaxtli killed by his sons. Elsewhere, he is indeed killed by his brothers, Quetzalcoatl's uncles. In that version, it is still Quetzalcoatl who takes revenge upon Camaxtli's brothers, just as it is Redhorn's sons who take revenge upon those who kill their father. In our present story, Redhorn (as Įčorúšika) is not killed at all; but there is a Hočąk story in which Redman is (sort of) killed by his brothers-in-law. Having killed his wife for her numerous sins, Redman then had to fight her brothers, killing three of them, but being overcome by the fourth. His head is cut off like those of the brothers of the Aztec myth, but instead of a liquid-bearing fate, his head, which still lives, is made to linger on in a fireplace. His son finds him, and with the aid of certain Great Spirits, rejoins his head to his body so that he is made to live whole again. So some of the divergences we find in the present two stories are reconciled in other variants.
Įčorúšika is the star Alnilam of Orion's belt, whereas Quetzalcoatl is the planet Venus. Since Alnilam is not circumpolar, it shares the fate of planets of falling from the sky into the underworld where it vanishes from sight for a period of time. Thus, in both cases we can have underworld falls and scenes set in the subterranean netherworld.
Tree is Milky Way. What is crevasse?
Attack of the Rejected Consort. [Marriage Race: race for the chief's daughter, Redhorn's son = Redhorn is chased by would be wife. Pursuit first of the brides, then by the brides. drinking of his blood ≈ Redhorn leeches. Her rejection of Redhorn ≈ quaxolotl eating older brother. The pursuit. fire = underworld (setting with sun). Rejection of her ≈ to Mimich's rejection. Xiuhnel ("True Turquoise") takes the place of Mixcoatl in Hearth Stones (Annals 1:7, 3:27); Mixcoatl and quaxolotl (2d time around). Mixcoatl ≈ Mimich ("Fish") in parallel version. Forked men. Mimich version — Leyenda de los Soles, 79:34-80:5 in John Bierhorst, History and Mythology of the Aztecs: the Codex Chimalpopoca (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1992) 151-152.] 1
Įčorúšika and His Brothers
|Two [sets of] brothers go on a hunting trip.||A band of brothers go on a hunting trip.||Two brothers, Xiuhnel and Mimich, go on a hunting trip.||-|
|They are kinsman of the God of the Hunt.||They are the brothers of Įčorúšika (who is Chief of the Heroka, spirits of the hunt).||They are Mimixcoa, akin to Mixcoatl, God of the Hunt.||-|
|A dangerous spirit woman comes to earth.||A Waterspirit woman ascends to earth and makes a lodge there.||Two deer descend from the heavens, each having two heads.||-|
|The brothers spend the whole day seeking after spirits during their hunting trip.||The brothers seek the spirits all day, and finally come to a solitary lodge.||Xiuhnel and Mimich chase after them all day.||-|
|At a lodge in the wilderness, they find the spirit woman.||It is a lodge of a beautiful woman.||The deer change into women.||-|
|The first brother and the woman enter into the lodge together.||They enter into her lodge.||They invite the brothers to come to them, but Xiuhnel asked one of the women to come to his shelter instead.||-|
|The woman plots against one of the brothers.||They plot against Įčorúšika with her.||The women are plotting against the brothers.||-|
|The woman seduces one of the brothers into lying with her.||She tricks Įčorúšika into lying beside her.||One of the women lies with Xiuhnel in order to trick him.||-|
|She intends to eat the brother.||As Įčorúšika goes to lie at the back of the lodge, he falls through into the underworld, where he is bound and held by the Bad Waterspirits to be eaten.||The woman bites into Xiuhnel's chest, then eats him. [The other woman intends the same for Mimich.]||Itzpapalotl eats all the Mimixcoa except Mixcoatl alone.|
|The woman takes an offering from the first brother.||The woman takes the nąbiruǧáč offerings from the brothers.||The woman eats [the heart of] Xiuhnel.|
|She physically attacks the first brother causing him to disappear [die], leaving the second brother alone with her.||She kicks the brothers of Įčorúšika and drives them away, leaving Įčorúšika alone with her.||She kills Xiuhnel, leaving Mimich alone.|
|The second brother is faced with the woman (the mate of the first brother). An attempted seduction (by force ?) is rejected.||Henaga (Second Born) seizes Įčorúšika's wife, but she flees to where she had come from.||The other woman, Itzpapalotl, tries to seduce Mimich, but he rejects her.||-|
|The second brother creates a fire right before the spirits through which he escapes.||Įčorúšika grabs a firebrand and sets the world of the Bad Waterspirits on fire. He then escapes.||Mimich drills fire, then leaps into it.||-|
|The woman and the second brother chase each other through the world that he had set aflame.||She pulls up one of her lodge poles, and flees underground. Įčorúšika runs after her.||Itzpapalotl leaps into the fire and chases after him.||Itzpapalotl chases after Mixcoatl.|
|The woman lodges herself into an undesirable plant.||In her flight she passes through grass leaves and tree trunks, but finally hides inside a weed, and becomes the cause of tubercles that are now found on weeds.||She fell into a pot cactus and became stuck.||Mixcoatl hides inside a barrel cactus.|
|The second brother meets up with the woman in the plant, and kills her.||Įčorúšika caught up to the woman and killed her.||Mimich found Itzpapalotl and shot her to death.||When Itzpapalotl arrives at the cactus, Mixcoatl jumps out, recalls the Mimixcoa, and they shoot her to death.|
|He burns her body.||Įčorúšika had burned the Waterspirits.||They burned Itzpapalotl's body.||They burned Itzpapalotl's body.|
Both traditions seem to have innovated from what we might infer as to the form of a hypothetical prototype. This prototype would seem to have been a story about two brothers and just one woman. The Hočągara have made it about two sets of brothers, and the Aztecs have introduced two women, although one of them mysteriously drops out of the story.
|Paradigm||Aztec 1||Aztec 2||Hočąk 1||Hočąk 2||Hočąk 3||Oglala||Crow 1||Crow 2|
|||Two [sets of] brothers go on a hunting trip.||Two brothers, Xiuhnel and Mimich, go on a hunting trip.||A band of brothers go on a hunting trip.||Redman sets out effective deer traps.||The father sets out traps||The Twins go on a huntng trip.|
|||They are brothers of the God of the Hunt.||They are Mimixcoa, brothers of Mixcoatl, God of the Hunt.||They are the brothers of Įčorúšika (who is Chief of the Heroka, spirits of the hunt).||They are the elder brothers of Flint.|
|||A dangerous spirit woman comes to earth.||Two female deer descend from the heavens, each having two heads.||A Waterspirit woman ascends to earth and makes a lodge there.||IH is hailed by a (spirit) woman from the other bank of the river.||A dangerous spirit, Red Woman, appears before each brother.|
|||The brothers spend the whole day seeking after spirits during their hunting trip.||Xiuhnel and Mimich chase after them all day.||The brothers seek the spirits all day, and finally come to a solitary lodge.|
|||They encounter two two-headed deer.||for deer.||He transforms himself into a buffalo.||They each encounter a buffalo and soon afterwards, Red Woman.|
|||At a lodge in the wilderness, they find the spirit woman.||The deer change into women.||It is a lodge of a beautiful woman.||He encounters a Rock Woman in disguise.||They encounter Red Woman who has a teepee in the area.|
|||The first brother and the woman enter into the lodge together.||They invite the brothers to come to them, but Xiuhnel asked one of the women to come to his shelter instead.||They enter into her lodge.||She asks Iron Hawk to ferry her across the stream.||She asks him to drag the kill to her teepee.|
|||The woman plots against one of the brothers.||The women are plotting against the brothers.||They plot against Įčorúšika with her.||She has ulterior purposes.||She has ulterior purposes.|
|||He goes over to the other woman where he was told not to.||She goes where he told her not to.|
|||The woman seduces one of the brothers into lying with her.||One of the women lies with Xiuhnel in order to trick him.||She tricks Įčorúšika into lying beside her.||Redman's wife has a liason with a bear.||Iron Hawk meets another woman.|
x—She intends to eat the brother.
break in two
|The woman bites into Xiuhnel's chest, then eats him. [The other woman intends the same for Mimich.]||Itzpapalotl eats all the Mimixcoa except Mixcoatl alone.||As Įčorúšika goes to lie at the back of the lodge, he falls through into the underworld, where he is bound and held by the Bad Waterspirits to be eaten.||As she travels west, she gets caught in his deer trap and is hoisted up in the air.||She takes him through the hole in the sky by creating a whirlwind.|
|||The woman takes an offering from the first brother.||The woman eats [the heart of] Xiuhnel.||Itzpapalotl eats all the Mimixcoa except Mixcoatl alone.||The woman takes the nąbiruǧáč offerings from the brothers.||She gets something to eat from him, including bear fat.|
|||She physically attacks the first brother causing him to disappear [die], leaving the second brother alone with her.||She kills Xiuhnel, leaving Mimich alone.||Itzpapalotl eats all the Mimixcoa except Mixcoatl alone.||She kicks the brothers of Įčorúšika and drives them away, leaving Įčorúšika alone with her.||Iron Hawk disappears, leading Red Calf to go out looking for him.|
|||The second brother is faced with the woman (the mate of the first brother). An attempted seduction (by force ?) is rejected.||The other woman, Itzpapalotl, tries to seduce Mimich, but he rejects her.||Henaga (Second Born) seizes Įčorúšika's wife, but she flees to where she had come from.|
|||Right in front of the spirits, the second brother creates a fire through which he escapes.||Mimich drills fire, then leaps into it.||Įčorúšika grabs a firebrand and sets the world of the Bad Waterspirits on fire. He then escapes.|
|||The woman and the second brother chase each other through the world that he had set aflame.||Itzpapalotl leaps into the fire and chases after him.||Itzpapalotl chases after Mixcoatl.||She pulls up one of her lodge poles, and flees underground. Įčorúšika runs after her.|
|||The woman lodges herself into an undesirable plant.||She fell into a pot cactus and became stuck.||Mixcoatl hides inside a barrel cactus.||In her flight she passes through grass leaves and tree trunks, but finally hides inside a weed, and becomes the cause of tubercles that are now found on weeds.|
|||The second brother meets up with the woman in the plant, and kills her.||Mimich found Itzpapalotl and shot her to death.||When Itzpapalotl arrives at the cactus, Mixcoatl jumps out, recalls the Mimixcoa, and they shoot her to death.||Įčorúšika caught up to the woman and killed her.|
|||He burns her body.||They burned Itzpapalotl's body.||They burned Itzpapalotl's body.||Įčorúšika had burned the Waterspirits.|
The Shattering of Flint. See §1. The Shattering of Flint, in The Rise of Morning Star.
The Warbundle of Burnt Human Remains. There is another Hočąk story in which a powerful Warbundle is made by the Thunders. The eldest son of Redhorn, who is actually just another form of Redhorn himself, was promised a special weapon by Storms as He Walks. However, when the Thunders descended with the weapon, they demanded that a case be presented for it less it be defiled by touching the ground, so a friend of the Redhorns stepped up and volunteered to immolate himself that he might be the weapon case. However, instead of his body or skin making up the case, the Thunders fell upon him and "devoured" him, which is to say, burned him up with their lightning weapons. Then Storms as He Walks called for a deerskin, and the sacrificed boy's bones, all that was left of him, were placed within along with the weapon to form a powerful Warbundle. With this in tow, they were victorious over the forces of two Iron Spirits.1
This calls to mind the Aztec accounts of the fate of Itzpapalotl, whom they capture and burn. In one version, it is from her ashes that they make their Warbundle. In the version of the Leyenda, as she burns, various pieces of colored flint appear. These become the equivalent of her bones, and so it is that the white one is selected for the potent element of a new Warbundle. In another variant, it is her ashes that are contained in the bundle. Carrying this Warbundle, Mixcoatl is able to conquer all. The two stories differ in that Itzpapalotl is a captured enemy, whereas the boy in the Hočąk story is a volunteering friend. Yet in both cases a powerful Warbundle is made from the burnt remains of a human sacrifice that enables the God of the Hunt to vanquish the enemies who threaten his human followers.
The Two-Headed Being, the Talisman of Victory. [cp. Two Faces of Oglala - does she correspond to Red Woman? Is she in Twins myth?] In an altogether different account of the successful conquests of Camaxtli, the potent article is more like the Ark of the Covenant than a Warbundle.
In the eighth year of the fourth thirteen after the deluge there was a great noise in the heaven from whence there fell a deer with two heads, and Camasale caused it to be caught, and ordered the men who then inhabited Cuitlalavaca, three leagues distant from Mexico, that they should capture that deer and regard it as a god, and they did so, and they gave it for four years to eat of rabbits and vipers and butterflies; and in the eighth year of the fourth thirteen Camasale had a war with some of his adjoining neighbors, and in order to conquer them he took the aforesaid stag and carrying it to them overcame them; and in the second year of the fifth thirteen did this same god Camasale celebrate a festival in heaven, making many fires; and until there was completed the fifth thirteen after the deluge did Camasale keep on continuously making war, and with it he gave nutriment to the sun.10
His victories owe to a living deity. The dualism of this deity does not stop with the bicephaly. This cervid has antlers and is called a "stag" although we know from other sources that it is Itzpapalotl, a goddess. This bicephalid, or Quaxolotl as it is called, has a dualism of heads, horns, and sex. Bicephalism appears in the corpus of mythology pertaining to Redhorn. As Redman and Herokaga, he has sons-in-laws who are bicephalic. Indeed, they are more than that. They are called the "Forked Men" and not only have two heads, but two bodies joined at the waist. However, in the present context, we should not lose sight of the fact that Redhorn himself was tricephalic. In addition to his own head, he had living faces on his earlobes. Just like the bicephalic deer, these two heads were the key to his victories. In the Redhorn Cycle the chief form of war is against the Giants who engage in athletical contests with Redhorn and his allied spirits, with the losers being executed by the winners. The key struggle is a game of lacrosse, which is also related in a number of stories that are independent of the Cycle. In this contest it is his bicephalic ears that are the true source of victory.
In the morning they went to encounter the giants. The one who was helping the giants most was a giantess with red hair, just like Red Horn's hair. Turtle said to Red Horn, "My friend, the giantess has hair just like yours and she is the one that is securing victory for her people because she is a very fast runner. ... Red Horn got the ball and ran with it, the giantess after him. Turtle, as usual, began poking fun at her and shouting. Just as she caught up to Red Horn the latter turned about and the little faces in his ears stuck out their tongues at her and the eyes winked at her. She was running with upraised stick but, when she saw the faces, she laughed and let down her stick. This made Turtle shout all the more. "My friend, look back at her; my friend, look back at her!" Then he gave whoops. The mother of the giantess was talking very excitedly, "That good-for-nothing woman, she is smitten with him! She will make the whole village suffer on her account!" And so Red Horn ran through the goal, winning the point. The giants were thus beaten in all four points.11
The Ioway have the same story, but the Giants are replaced by bears.
Human-head-earrings left this place and went on to another place where the people were tormented by a race of low built bears called Mątaswíjé who played lacrosse on the ice with the people betting their lives and killing the losers. The bears were always accompanied by their females who were so swift that the young men could not get away from them. Old Turtle was the one who played in the center, throwing the ball for the game to start. Human-head-earrings and Blackhawk hid until the former got the ball and fled, though a she bear almost caught him. One of his earbobs looked back, stuck out its tongue and made faces until the she-bear laughed and blushed and finally gave up. The other bears accused her of liking Human-head-earrings so that she let him make a goal. The bears finally lost the game and were accordingly killed.12
So clearly it is the bicephalic ears of Redhorn that allow him to be victorious over the Giants, just as it is the bicephalic deer that allows Camaxtli-Mixcoatl to be victorious over his foes. What we may take to have been the original context of war in the Mesoamerican myth has been transferred to a similar context that allows the humorous character of the northern version's masks to have the same triumphant effect that the quaxolotl had in the original. If this seems far fetched, it is easy to prove that they are precise counterparts to one another. The quaxolotl is the alloform of Mixcoatl's Warbundle, the one which contained the white flint or the ashes of Itzpapalotl (or both). In the Historia, it is the quaxolotl that overcomes his enemies; in the Leyenda, it is the Warbundle containing the remains of Itzpapalotl that is responsible.13 It may be recalled that it was these same ashes that those who immolated Itzpapalotl spread about their eyes to create the mask that Mixcoatl and his followers wore ever after. So Mixcoatl is in a very real sense, wearing the counterpart of the quaxolotl on his head. As we saw above, this mask is the counterpart to the maskettes associated with Redhorn, of which the living forms are the faces on Redhorn's earlobes. Thus, by this line of associations (hypothetical syllogism), we are led back to the two-headed deer as the counterpart to Redhorn's bicephalic earlobes.
There is an interesting correlation between the defeat of the second wife of Redhorn, the Giantess with red hair, and Camaxtli's defeat at the hands of his enemies in battle. It may be recalled that the little faces on Redhorn's earlobes, his own quaxolotl, cause the key Giant to become distracted and to lose the ball game in which lives are at stake. In the Aztec we have a role reversal. It is now Camaxtli who loses in battle because his enemies were able to seize his two-headed deer, as it says in the Historia,
They say, and the paintings likewise show it, that in the first year of the sixth thirteen the Chichimecas waged war against Camasale, and took away his deer, through which he was enabled to be victorious; and the reason why he lost it was that while wandering about the field he fell in with a female relation of Tezcatlipuca, a descendant of the five women whom he had made at the time when he created the 400 men which latter died, but the females remained alive, and this one was descended from them, and bore a son who was known as Ceacalt [Quetzalcoatl] ...14
So in this version, probably at the urging of the trouble-making god Tezcatlipoca, the woman that we otherwise know as Chimalman, seduces him while he is in the field, and thus distracted, he does not secure his standard or the outcome of the battle. So Camaxtli's defeat and loss of his standard was due to sexual distraction. This is the same reason why the Giants lose in their lethal game against Redhorn and his friends — the double-heads on his ears cause Pretty Woman to become distracted and fail at her game. That this is a sexual distraction is made clear.
The mother of the giantess was talking very excitedly, "That good-for-nothing woman, she is smitten with him!" ... The giant chieftainess was whipped by her people because she lost the game on account of her falling in love with Red Horn.15
The same is even true in the Ioway version, where bears replace the Giants.
One of his earbobs looked back, stuck out its tongue and made faces so the she bear laughed and blushed and finally gave up. The other bears accused her of liking Human-head-earrings so that she let him make a goal.16
When Redhorn's side won, they elected not to kill the Giantess, and Redhorn decided to take her to wife instead. Later Redhorn is killed after losing to the same Giants in wrestling, where his bicephalic earlobes have no influence on the outcome.
In Mexico the deer is associated with the Sun and the fire gods. The deer can therefore correspond to the flint, a stone whose "heart" contains fire. Thus we have Itzpapalotl in the form of a Warbundle containing her flint, but also as a strange kind of deer. As Graulich argues, the fire inherent in these two kinds of Warbundle, represent the metaphorical fire in the heart of the warrior, his energy and drive that empowers him to overcome all obstacles and to conquer. [Graulich, 178-180.] [Cuchulainn ...] This fire can be subdued by sexual means, as we saw acted out in the story of how a seduction caused the loss of the bicephalic deer, the talisman of victory; and with the sexes reversed, how the Amazon Giantess was seduced to distraction by the two-headed earlobes of Redhorn. The Hočągara work this theme in another way as well. In the "Chief of the Heroka," Redhorn is a great hunter, but depends heavily upon his deer traps to obtain game. Even though he had instructed his wife to stay away from the places where his traps were set, she deliberately went out and got herself caught in one. As she hung upside down, her skirt exposed her body, a fact commented upon by her husband when he found her. Thereafter, though, the trap never succeeded in catching deer. She did this to all his traps, until finally, he completely lost his ability to obtain venison. Facing starvation, he shot his own wife. [CofH] In the variant story of Redman, his wife mixed menstrual blood in with his food, which so weakened him that he could not effectively hunt. She obtained food by having a secret love affair with a bear who supplied all her wants. When Redman caught them, he shot them both. [RM] Here again, the hunter-warrior loses his powers due to a woman, and in the end, loses the deer symbolic of those powers. There are many ways in which women can "kill the war weapon."
The Death, Removal, and Resurrection of the God of the Hunt. [Pattern of game cycle: death, departure of soul, resurrection of game. Quetzalcoatl retrieves bones and makes temple. Mixcoatl was given back, but false substitute. Annals, 50:31-50:52. Hall ... Spitting into the hand: Hand constellation? David H. Kelley, "Quetzalcoatl and his Coyote Origins," El México antiguo, 8 (1955): 397-417. For the theme of blood and the birth of the Twins, see "Birth of the Twins," Comparative Material (Natchez, for instance).]
The Cazonci, the King of Michoacán, had received two messengers from Montezuma, the Emperor of the Aztecs, who told him of a strange people [the Spanish] who had invaded the land from beyond the eastern sea. The Cazonci was skeptical, thinking this might be an Aztec trick, so he caused to be captured some Otomis who verified the story. They also told him of the strange kind of animal that these people possessed, a deer with a mane and a long tail. When next he granted the Aztec messengers an audience, the Cazonci asked them about these "deer" (horses), and they told him a story of some interest to our own investigations.
Sire, those deer must be something like a story we know in which the God Cupanzieri [Mixcoatl] played ball with another God, Achurihirepe [Mictlantecuhtli ?], [who] won over him and sacrificed him in a village called Xacona. He also left the latter's wife pregnant with his son Siratatapeci [Quetzalcoatl]. When the son was born, he was taken to another village to be raised, as if he were a foundling. As a youth he went bird hunting with a bow and on one of those hunts he came upon an yvaña [iguana] which said to him, "Don't shoot me and I'll tell you something. The one you now think is your father is not because your real father went to the house of the God Achurihirepe to conquer, and he was sacrificed there." When Siratatapeci heard this he went to the village of Xacona to get vengeance on his father's murderer. He excavated the place where his father was buried, exhumed him, and carried him on his back. Along the way there was a weed patch full of quail which took to flight. In order to shoot the quail he dropped his father, who turned into a deer with a mane on his neck and a long tail like those that come with the strange people. He went east for he had come with those newcomers to this land.1
Part of the story of Siratatapeci is made up of two stories about Quetzalcoatl. The first is the account of how Quetzalcoatl dug up his father's bones that he might bury them in a suitable temple, and the second story (qv) is about how Quetzalcoatl went to Mictlan to secure the bones of the previous race of humans who had been made extinct.2 With these bones he was to create a new race of people, but on his way out of the underword he was startled by quail, and dropped the bones, breaking them. As a result, the race that he created was not of the degree of perfection that it might have been. This explains why he failed to resurrect his father except in his alloform as a deer. Since it is clear that Siratatapeci is Quetzalcoatl, working backwards, we can say that Cupanzieri, being his father, must be Mixcoatl. Xacona was a frontier town,3 and as such represents the interstice between two worlds, a "betwixt and between" of the boundary where the normal rules and expectations may break down. So in some ways, Xacona can act as a counterpart to the Underworld of Mictlan, which gives some credance to the idea that Achurihirepe may be Mictlantecuhtli, from whom Quetzalcoatl retrieved the ancient bones of the dead. The story as it pertains to Mixcoatl, recalls his defeat as related in the Historia, where it is said that he lost his quaxolotl standard by which he was victorious because he encountered a woman whose seduction caused him to neglect the battle. This woman then bore his son, Quetzalcoatl, but Mixcoatl died not long afterwards. That Mixcoatl had a special connection with deer seemed obvious enough from the rites enacted in the veintena of Quecholli, but this story demonstrates that relationship conclusively by physical metamorphosis. Here the deer slayer becomes his prey, perhaps a way of expressing the technique of every good hunter who tries to put himself in the mind of his prey so that he might anticipate its every move.
... The following table of isomorphic versions of the story are basically founded on the work of Robert Hall,10 although new reflexes and points of comparison have been adduced. I had independently noticed the affinity of the story in the Chronicles of Michoacán with the material in Hall, although its affinity to the version of the Popul Vuh has been appreciated for some time.11
|North and West||
South and East
Chronicles of Michoacán
|Supernatural opponents (from beyond or below) challenge the God of the Hunt to a ball game.||A race of bipedal bears challenges Human Head Earrings and his friends to a game of lacrosse.||The cannibal Giants challenge Redhorn and his allies to a games, including lacrosse.||The cannibal Giants challenge Redhorn and his allies to a games, including lacrosse.||Cupanzieri [Mixcoatl] went to conquer Achurihirepe, but they engaged in a ball game instead.||1-Hunter and his brother 7-Hunter agree to play ball against the Lords of Xibalba.|
|They stake their lives on the outcome.||They stake their lives on the outcome.||They stake their lives on the outcome.||They stake their lives on the outcome.||They stake their lives on the outcome.||They stake their lives on the outcome.|
|The God of the Hunt is defeated.||After beating the bears, Human Head Earrings and his friends are defeated by Giants in wrestling.||After initial success, Redhorn and his friends are defeated in wrestling.||Redhorn's village is attacked by Bad Waterspirits, who defeat them.||He is defeated.||They are defeated.|
|The winners kill the loosers.||The Giants kill Human Head Earrings and his friends.||The Giants kill Redhorn and his friends.||The Waterspirits kill Redhorn and his friends.||Achurihirepe sacrifices Cupanzieri in the town of Xacona.||The Lords of Xibalba sacrifice 1-Hunter and 7-Hunter.|
|The head of the God of the Hunt is hung on a tree branch.||Their heads were kept in a sacred place.||Their heads are hung on a flag pole.||Their heads are hung on a flag pole.||[He was buried there.]||1-Hunter's head was hung from a branch of a gourd tree.|
|The God of the Hunt has two wives.||-||Redhorn has two wives.||Redhorn has two wives.||[He committed adultery ?]||1-Hunter had two wives.|
|One of his wives, who is a co-national of the supernatural enemies,||-||One of his wives is a Giantess||One of his wives is a Giantess||Cupanzieri had seduced the wife of Achurihirepe.||Blood Chief, one of the Lords of Xibalba, has a daughter that would be impregnated by 1-Hunter.|
|shares his association with the color red (through blood).||The son of Human Head Earrings causes a Giant to spit blood by causing blood to fall on the ground||who shares with him the same red hair.||who shares with him the same red hair.||-||Her name is "Blood Girl."|
|The God of the Hunt spits into the hand of someone having associations with the color red,||in the form of his own spit.||Redhorn spits onto his own hand, rubs the spittle on his earlobes,||-||-||The head of 1-Hunter spits into the hand of Blood Girl,|
|||which causes||-||and causes||-||-||causing her|
|two sons to be born,||[Human Head Earrings and Blackawk each have a son. The two grow up together as friends.]||two living (twin ?) faces to be born on his earlobes. He also has two sons,||He has two sons,||[She bore him a son, Siratatapeci. He was sent away from the village and raised as if he were a foundling.]||to become pregnant. She gave birth to the twins, Hunter and Jaguar Deer.
His first wife had given birth to two sons,
|||one by each of his wives.||[There are two mothers.]||one by each of his wives.||one by each of his wives.||before his second wife gave birth to twins.|
|When the sons grow up, they learn (from their mother) of their father's fate and where his remains are to be found.||They learn from their mothers where their fathers are.||When the sons grow up, they learn of their father's fate and where his remains are to be found.||When the sons grow up, they learn of their father's fate and where his remains are to be found.||When Siratatapeci grows up, he learns of his father's fate and where his remains are to be found.||?|
|||They avenge their father||They avenge their fathers||They avenge their father||They avenge their father||-||The boys announce that they were there to avenge their father and uncle.|
|by slaying some of his killers, and||by killing some of the Giants, and||by killing some of the Giants, and||by killing some of the Waterspirits, and||He sets out to Xacona to avenge his father.||They kill the leading Lords of Xibalba.|
|seizing his remains,||seize the skulls of Human Head Earrings and his friends.||seize the skulls of Redhorn and his friends.||seized the skulls of Redhorn and his friends.||He exhumed the bones of his father.||They retrieve the bones of their father and uncle,|
|they use a method that involves shooting their arrows into the air,||By shooting four arrows into the air,||In part by shooting their arrows into the air,||He stumbles upon a flock of quails, and as he tries to shoot them, he drops the bones of his father.|
| to bring him back to life.
||they bring them back to life.12.2
||They bring them back to life.12.3||they bring them back to life.12.4
||His bones spring to life in the form of an unusual deer.12.5||which they reassemble (but do not bring back to life). They declare that the names of 1-Hunter and 7-Hunter would not be forgotten.12.6|
... Achurihirepe means, "Enveloped in Night," or "Lord Night."15
In an astute piece of scholarship, Hall observes,
The skull of One Hunter impregnated Blood Girl by spitting into her hand. To understand this one must know that the human hand cupped upward was the glyph of the day Manik in the Mayan sacred almanac. This day corresponds to the day Mazatl in the Aztec Calendar, and Mazatl translates as "deer." The word mazatl entered the language of the Quiche Mayas as the loanword mazat, with two meanings. The primary meaning was "deer." The secondary meaning was "woman's genitals."20 I interpret this semantic set to mean that in Mayan thought spitting into the hand equated with intercourse.21
[Redhorn spit: creates two beings. Hand asterism. This is also the Deer asterism. It is also the fire drill (like intercourse).]
The God of the Hunt is Avenged by His Son. The previous story has two supplementary versions that deal with the revenge exacted by the God of the Hunt's sons on those who killed their father. The "standard" Hočąk version has Redhorn and his friends killed, execution style, as the outcome of being defeated in a wrestling bout. The other version, presented here, has Redhorn and his friends captured in battle by the Bad Waterspirits, who kill them, presumably after torturing them. The sons recover the bodies, or rather skulls, much the same way in each version, but this latter tale then recounts a revenge expedition against the Bad Waterspirits that has a number of points in common with another Aztec story on the same topic. In the Aztec tradition, Mixcoatl-Camaxtli is actually murdered by his brothers, whereas in the Hočąk the brothers merely make a failed attempt to murder him. The variant premise of the Aztec version necessitates that the action revolve around what are now internal enemies. The murderers are therefore the uncles of Quetzalcoatl, the son of Mixcoatl. Otherwise, the actions have very interesting parallels that make it at least plausible that they both stem from a common preform. We can align these stories in parallel.
|||The God of the Hunt is murdered by enemies.||Redhorn and his friends are captured and killed by the Bad Waterspirits.||Mixcoatl is murdered by his brothers.|
|||The (son or) sons recover the remains of their father.||The boys recover the heads and the bones of their fathers.||Quetzalcoatl recovers the bones of his father.|
|||-||Those who had killed the father of the boys flee.||Quetzalcoatl invites the killers of his father to dedicate his temple.They accept his invitation.|
|||The sons give back the lives of those who were (to have been) ritually killed, one of whom was Wolf.||The sons resurrect those (one of whom was Wolf) who had been ritually killed by the Bad Waterspirits,||Quetzalcoatl spares the sacrificial animals (one of whom was a wolf) selected by his uncles,|
|||They plot revenge against those who had killed the God of the Hunt.||and together they plot revenge against the killers of Redhorn.||and conspires with them to kill the uncles instead.|
|||The sons cause underworld beings to excavate a hole upwards and through the earth.||Out of fear of the sons and their allies, the Bad Waterspirits flee through the center of a tree and come out one of its branches. They next dig a hole down to the infernal regions.||At Quetzalcoatl's request, Gophers dig a hole through the temple mount and reach the top.|
|||The sons travel through the hole to where it comes out.||The boys, et alia, led by Turtle, drop through this hole to the bottom.||Quetzalcoatl reaches the top through this hole.|
|||Where the hole comes out, the killers (intend to) build a fire.||The Bad Waterspirits build a fire at the bottom of this hole.||The uncles say, "We're the ones who will drill the fire on top."|
|||The killers reach the exit of the hole.||The Bad Waterspirits had descended through their hole.||The uncles rush up the hill.|
|||At the exit of the hole, the sons are able to cause a conflagration of their own in the place of the one that the killers intended.||When Turtle and the boys land, "in the center of the fire they fell and the fire they scattered in every direction."||However, Quetzalcoatl is able to drill the fire first.|
|||-||-||The first uncle, Apanecatl, is killed with a burnished pot.|
|||After they captured the killers, they burned them alive.||"The [fire] fell on the attendants and burnt them. The attendants at the fire were four alligators."||"Then he seizes [his uncles] Zolton and Cuilton. Then the animals blow [on the fire]. Then they sacrifice them. They cover them with hot pepper, cut up their flesh a little. And after they've tortured them, they cut open their breasts."|
|||The sons and their men go over a wide region conquering the enemy.||"There, unexpectedly, was a large village that they came to. There they were living in a village when they reached them. There they attacked the village and on they slaughtered them and the others took flight and leaving tracks. When one track they would run down and end them, then another they would trail. Thus they did until they ended. They all not one did they leave. Then when they had thus done they went home."4||"And then Ce Acatl [Quetzalcoatl] makes more conquests" — Ayotlan, Chalco, Xicco, Cuixoc, Zacanco, Tzonmolco, Mazatzonco, Tzapotlan, Acallan, and Tlapallan where he died.5|
Since both these stories are highly evolved within their own cultural contexts, some remarks should be made on the parallels and divergences of each section.
§1. In the story "Įčorúšika and His Brothers," the Hočągara represent Redhorn as triumphant over his brothers, who are unable to kill him. In the Aztec tradition, by contrast, the brothers fare better and succeed in assassinating him. Yet both traditions have stories in which the God of the Hunt is killed by his enemies. For the Hočągara, the assassins are usually Giants, but the Waterspirits over whom he triumphs in "Įčorúšika and His Brothers," are temporarily victorious over him in a variant in which they replace the Giants.
§2. In the Aztec version, Quetzalcoatl recovers the bones of his father, but in the Hočąk, the matter is more complicated. The heads of Redhorn and his friends are being used as flags, which implies that their hair is still attached to their skulls to wave in the wind like a flag. Nothing is said about their retrieving their bones, but somehow they managed to get them as well, since when they have escaped the pursuit of their enemies, they say, "'Here let us have our fathers accompany us,' they said. Then there on the ground they put them in a row. Then the youngest one gave a loud shout, 'Oh, my fathers! An arrow is about to drop on us, so run,' he said. When thus he said, their bones became joined to one another."5.1 Therefore, the match with the Aztec is better than what would have been suggested by the other variant of the Redhorn Cycle.
§3. Although in both cases the offspring recover the remains of their father, the response of the killers is diametrically opposed in the two traditions. In the Hočąk, with the father and his friend resurrected from the dead, the enemies who killed them flee in terror. Since Mixcoatl is not brought back from the dead, Quetzalcoatl must rest content with collecting his bones and burying them in a fitting temple. His uncles approach him and suggest that he consecrate the temple with a sacrifice of animals, but they hope themselves to be the one who first drill the fire. So it is the plan that the enemies who killed his father join him rather than separate from him. As we shall see, this odd relationship reflects a difference in esoteric content.
§4. It is the uncles who pick the sacrificial animals, although it is Quetzalcoatl who actually goes out and gets them. Instead of being killed, then resurrected by Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec story shortcuts the process by having Quetzalcoatl simply spare the lives of the sacrificial animals. We may infer that Redhorn and his friends were killed by ritual torture, as that is the standard fate of captives. They become both the counterparts of the sacrificial animals of the Aztec account, and the counterparts of Mixcoatl. That one of these was Wolf is probably a coincidence, but it is hard to be certain.
§5. In the Aztec version, Mixcoatl is not resurrected. His place is taken by the solar sacrificial animals, who now plot with Quetzalcoatl to avenge the death of the God of the Hunt. Since Redhorn is resurrected by his sons in the Hočąk tale, they can now plot revenge against those who killed them, rather than merely planned to kill them, as in the case of the sacrificial animals. Both stories agree that the God of the Hunt had been killed, and that those allied to him, having had their lives given back to them by his son(s), now set out to avenge him.
§§6-7. The central point of agreement is that a tunnel is excavated upward, but in one case it is a tree, and in the other it is a mound. The Hočągara still keep to the idea of an earthen hole when they depict the fleeing killers next digging a hole in the ground deep enough to reach the underworld where they would normally reside. They both agree that underworld animals do the excavating. Quetzalcoatl secretly goes up the tunnel reaching the summit before his uncles, whereas the sons of Redhorn and their allies follow their path up, then go in the reverse direction.
§8. In both stories a fire has been built where the tunnel comes out. In both stories it is the killers who at least intend to build this fire, but in the end they do not control it.
§9. This theme is out of sequence, as the killers are the same who excavated the hole in the Hočąk version, but in the Aztec the killers must rush the hill rather than go through the secret tunnel.
§10. In both stories the sons gain control of the fire, although in the Aztec, the son actually creates it by use of the fire drill. In both cases, the basic point is that the avengers have control over the fire and ultimately use it against their enemies, the ones who slew the God of the Hunt.
§§11-12. Esoterically, the fire in both stories seems to represent the sun.
§13. Both stories are in good agreement that the avengers go on to make conquests over a wide region. In the Hočąk they track the enemy to the many places that they fled, whereas in the Aztec a host of cities are sacked.
What the two accounts have in common is a story in which the son of the God of the Hunt recovers the remains of his father who had been murdered by his enemies. The sons save/restore the lives of the (other) captives, and they plot revenge. They induce underworld beings to excavate a hole in an upward direction, and through the earth. The sons follow the underworld creatures through their hole. At the exit to the hole a great fire has been made, which the enemy intended to be under their control, but which comes under the control of the sons and his allies. They use this fire to burn the enemies. The warparty then goes on to successfully attack many enemy villages.
At an esoteric level, the Hočąk myth has been placed on a new footing, but it still retains affinities to the Aztec version. Quetzalcoatl, of course, is Morning Star, whereas the sons of Redhorn are almost certainly not to be identified with Venus. However, Venus comes into play in an unexpected way. The enemies of Redhorn are the Bad Waterspirits, who are counterparts to the Tlaloques of Aztec myth. Because we are told that the Heroka, over whom Redhorn rules, helped Morning Star, we can be confident that Redhorn and Morning Star are not enemies. The arch-enemy of Morning Star is Evening Star. Evening Star, known to the Hočągara as "Bluehorn" (Hečoga), is chief over all Waterspirits (q.v.), although he is never said to be specifically a Bad Waterspirit. The retreat of the Waterspirits seems to follow the route of Venus. Evening Star goes through the same section of the Milky Way that Morning Star (Quetzalcoatl) had in the Aztec allegory. Evening Star often passes through the Scorpius section of the Milky Way. In Hočąk symbolism, there are many instances in which the Milky Way is characterized as a tree (q.v., 1, 2, 3). This is the ascending track up the "tree" and out its branch described in the myth. Evening Star proceeds on a vast flight crossing in front of the Pleiades. Then it begins a retrograde motion, and within a month, it returns to the Pleiades and both achieve conjunction with the sun and disappear out of the sky and into the earth. This functions nicely as a hole as well, and at its bottom is, of course, the sun, the ultimate fire. Following next into conjunction is the "V" shaped Hyades, often compared to crocodilians. The four Alligators who now stand by the fire while the rest of the Waterspirits move on, are counterparts to the four Waterspirits who sit at the four cardinal points as Island Anchors. Hot in pursuit is Orion, which contains Alnilam, the star of Redhorn. As Orion next jumps into the very same hole as the Pleiades and the Hyades before it, Redhorn's gang lands in the fire below the earth. There they repeat the standard myth of "Įčorúšika and His Brothers," in which Redhorn sets fire to the Waterspirits, then "goes home" (back into the sky). This fire, of course, is the sun, which occupies the center in relation to the four alligators, who represent the four cardinal points at the extreme ends of the world. The fire in the Aztec version is also the sun.
The Aztec version of this basic story is highly evolved in its esoteric astronomical code. A hint of the identity of the temple mount in the Aztec story can be gleaned from its Hočąk counterpart, where the image of bad spirits fleeing through a tree that also happens to be homologous to a hole in the ground can be seen in more than one story. This is the section of the Milky Way in Scorpius by the star Antares, where the galaxy looks like a tree or a mound, and since it has a vertical streak of dark dust running up its center, it is as if it had been hollowed out. As it happens, much of the mythological allegories of Quetzalcoatl are based on the astronomical itinerary of the Morning Star, the star of Quetzalcoatl. This can be seen in the present story of Quetzalcoatl's revenge (his birth is treated in the Appendix below). In mid-November of 845 a. D. (OS), Morning Star (Quetzalcoatl) begins to approach the Milky Way in Scorpius. In the morning it is seen lying on its side, but it is known that during the day, a couple of hours before sunset, this part of the Milky Way is perfectly upright, and the positions of all the astronomical bodies around it are known. The sun moves precisely into the highest "hole" in this mound-like section of the Milky Way. In the allegory, this section of the Milky Way is where Mixcoatl's bones are buried. Since Mixcoatl, as the (White) Cloud-Serpent just is the Milky Way, it should be uncontroversial to say that his bones are found there. The black cloud of dust that makes the center of the Milky Way mound appears to have a vertical tunnel, and it is this that defines the excavation done by the gophers. At the top of the hole is found the sun, which is to say, the fire. Morning Star approaches this from bottom to top. On the very day that the sun lights the top of this tunnel, occurs the feast day of Mamalhuaztli (Fire Drill). This day is 8-Deer. As we have seen, Eight Deer is Orion as fire drill, and therefore is a counterpart to Redhorn. Just as Quetzalcoatl (Morning Star) is drilling the fire, the very god of the Fire Drill is being honored. This fire is also by extension, an honoring of Mixcoatl, who drilled the very first fire in the age of the Fifth Sun. The convergence is impressive, and the odds of this occurring by accident — that is to say, the day 8-Deer occurring randomly when the sun is in the top of the "hole" in the Scorpius Milky Way — is precisely 260:1, since the tonalpohualli calendar in which this day occurred has 260 (13 x 20) different days. The three uncles are "played" in this allegory by three astronomical bodies that are akin to the Morning Star. The Morning Star is not a fixed star, so its most immediate relatives are also of this character. There happen on this date to be three such "stars" in the vicinity of the Scorpius Milky Way: two planets (Mercury and Venus), and Halley's Comet which also travels against the background stars. The spatio-temporal situation of these celestial actors is set out in the illustrations below.
November 19, 845 = Year 3-House, Day 8-Jaguar
December 2, 845 = Year 3-House, Day 8-Deer
December 21, 845 = Year 3-House, Day 1-Death
By a happy coincidence, the Lord of the Night on this day of 8-Deer is Itztli, "Obsidian." Along with flint, obsidian can be struck against itself to start a fire. It is said that Mixcoatl was the first to ignite a fire this way.6 The allegory progresses as Quetzalcoatl establishes three animals as being the purported sacrifice, but in fact they will be replaced by the three uncles. The three sacrificial animals are all symbolic of the sun, the Leyenda naming four of them as solar symbols: Eagle, Jaguar, Falcon, and Wolf.7 The fact that the uncles are the substitutes for the solar animal sacrifices, makes it clear that they are to be sacrifices to the Sun. The uncles are furious that they have not succeeded in being the first to make the fire. The first uncle, Apanecatl, rushes forward in the lead, but is killed by a burnished pot. This pot is probably an alloform of the Milky Way "mound" at Scorpius, which looks like an inverted pot, burnished because it shines from its constituent stars. As we have already seen, Mixcoatl is associated with the biznaga cactus called in Nahuatl, teocomitl, "sacred pot." It is in a teocomitl that Mixcoatl hid when chased by Itzpapalotl. This imagery is reduplicated here, as the bones of Mixcoatl now reside in the same place. When Halley's comet sallies forth through Scorpius, it collides with this "pot" and the uncle whom it represents, finds his end.7.1 At this time, the planet Mercury which makes its retrograde motion around December 8, and crashes against the edge of the Milky Way on December 22 (as shown). This day, appropriately, is 1-Death, and the Lord of the Night for that date is Pilzintecuhtli, "Youthful Lord," a solar deity that many scholars have identified with the planet Mercury. It is just at this time that Morning Star is positioned at the hole at the top of the Milky Way mound. What is said next strongly suggests that the remaining two were burned: "Then he seizes Zolton and Cuilton. Then the animals blow [on the fire]. Then they sacrifice them."8 This seems to say that they were burned up in the fire stoked by the solar animals, and therefore were a de facto offering to the sun, a state of affairs matched astronomically by the fact that both Jupiter and eventually Halley's Comet come into conjunction with the sun. However, as an addendum, the narrator continues: "They cover them with hot pepper, cut up their flesh a little. And after they've tortured them, they cut open their breasts."9 This turns out to be the same thing re-clothed in a different symbolism. The pepper causes burning, and is therefore like having flame applied to the flesh, and it is by heart extrusion that a drink is offered to the Sun. So this merely repeats with a new mini-allegory the same sacrifice to the Sun. All this takes place on the day 1-Death, the most appropriate day, obviously, for death. The day of this sacrifice occurs very close to the winter solstice, the beginning of the ascent of the sun. The allegory, while highly evolved in its astronomical and calendrical codes, still retains a connection to Orion, the rising Fire Drill whose ascent forces the fall of the three bodies clustered about the Scorpius Milky Way. This relationship is the contrapositive-like expression (Ro ⊃ Ss) of the old world allegory in which the rise (sting) of Scorpius is the setting (death) of Orion (Rs ⊃ So). In Mesoamerica, it is now the Scorpion that suffers the burning sting of the Orion Fire Drill.
The further adventures of Quetzalcoatl are related in the Appendix (below).
The preform partly defined by the common elements of the Aztec and Hočąk myths does not seem to have come from an Aztec source nor even a Hočąk version, as each tradition presents a highly evolved reflex of the preform. It would seem, rather, to have been part of the common heritage of the Chichimecs of both the north and south when their geographical distribution was less extreme in latitude. The original may have been a Twins myth. Quetzalcoatl has a twin in Evening Star, and although the sons of Redhorn are only half-brothers, they were born about the same time, and have a strong resemblance to one another. That it is the Heroka, over whom Redhorn or one of his sons rule, who had helped Morning Star, makes it more plausible that in the very distant past, Morning Star and Evening Star were the twin sons of the God of the Hunt. Redhorn's first wife, She Who Wears a Beaverskin Wrap, is likely identified with the Moon. Ghost, one of the Hočąk Twins, is said to have teeth like a beaver. The Beaver subclan is a sept of the Waterspirit Clan, and Ghost, of course, is intimately connected with water. If Evening Star were Ghost, then the enemies who killed the God of the Hunt would have been his relatives. These considerations can never be anything more than suggestions as to what might once have been. Rather more like the Aztec version, the preform seems to have been an allegory about the sun where the enemies are burned up through conjunction, with the sons of the God of the Hunt having some command over the sun, which power, being like that of their father, allows them to make widespread conquests.
The Departure Scene and the Legacy of the God of the Hunt. ["Hawk marks his cheeks, diagonally, with his two finger tips dipped in black. Püükoñhoya [a Twin] marks his cheeks vertically with his two finger tips dipped in white." Stephens, Hopi Tales, 16.] There is an episode in the Redhorn Cycle which we might call the "Departure Scene," in which resurrected Redhorn and his friends give the sons of Redhorn their peculiar gifts.
Then said Turtle to the younger brother, "You have made me very happy because I was in a shameful condition. I Therefore give you my war weapons with which I never failed to conquer." Then said Storms-as-he-walks to the older brothers, "My son, I also give you my weapon, one of the best that exists." The boy rose and thanked him. Then Red Horn said, "My sons, I have nothing to give you, for I am not your equal and, besides, you are already just like me." And indeed they were.1
This is something of a replay of the "Denouement Scene" in which Redhorn gives his brothers something of himself expressed in the appearance of their hair. As each of the friends of Redhorn depart to assume their theological stations, they leave behind gear that Hočąk warriors have used ever after. In the case of Redhorn, however, he leaves them something of himself, presumably meaning primarily his prosopic earpieces, but more than this, a general identity of appearance. In the mythology of the Nahua, there is also a scene in which Mixcoatl takes his leave. As he does so, he bequeaths to his warriors the gear that makes them look just like him.
This was during the era of the devil Mixcoatl, who was still with them at that time. And it was then that Xiuhneltzin set up his boundary markers. Afterward [Mixcoatl] sent the Chichimecs away, and they went from town to town. He took leave of them, giving them his gear and apparel.2
[Quecholli hunters: dress like Mix.] It was the standard practice of Cuauhtitlan Chichimec warriors and ritualists to dress in the garb of Mixcoatl as a kind of divine livery.3
And finally, as for those Chichimecs who had no temples, what they had were just arrows that they set up in beds of hay. They would make an earth altar and set up white plume-banners there, and each one would dress himself as Mixcoatl.4
When the Cuauhtitlancalque were noticed, Axayacatzin was skeptical. He did not think they were real warriors. As he looked them over, he grew discontent, etc. After that, the Cuauhtitlancalque were adorned: they were given insignia, and in this way they were arrayed as Mixcoatl.5
So the legacy of Mixcoatl to the Chichimecs is very much like that of Redhorn to his followers: that they should look just like him and be equipped with the "gear" that will make them appear in the form of real warriors. Most of all, it was to wear the mask of Mixcoatl, as we see with the Tlaxcalan bowman in the picture above. This kind of painted mask may have been adopted at least by some. Perhaps the only known picture of Redhorn from Mississippian material shows the outlines of what might be such a mask.
As we have seen, the prosopic ear maskettes of Redhorn are also counterparts of the mask of Mixcoatl. To go forth in the likeness of Redhorn was to have most particularly his earpieces, since those parts of himself that he passed on to both sons were the little heads that he wore on his ears (and that his youngest son wore on other parts of his body). The comparative evidence makes a couple of things clear: the myth of Redhorn is not a reflection of the practice of wearing prosopic earpieces, but the other way around; and what he bequeathed to his metaphorical "sons" is the wearing of these maskettes as a military livery. The convergence of Redhorn with the Nahuatl god Mixcoatl-Camaxtli gave rise to a body of Redhorn mythology that chartered an elite warrior class who dressed like their god, and who passed this standing and livery down to their sons in turn. This is surely what is meant when Redhorn says to his sons that he gave them of himself. This is exactly what Mixcoatl gave to his followers and descendants. The soldiers of Axayacatzin were barbarian auxiliaries — "Chichimecs" — fighting under his standard, and as such it became necessary that they too reflect the divine charter under which his conquests were sanctified. Thus, in order for auxiliaries to be true soldiers under an elite and expansive regime, they must have the right insignia that reflected the charter by which they were inducted to participate.
We are probably seeing exactly this in the famous "Big Boy" pipe bowl carving, which was uncovered from the Great Mortuary of Craig Mound at Spiro.6 It is a large effigy pipe weighing 11 lbs., 8 oz., probably made of bauxite7 although it is likely that it was originally a sculpture that was only later adapted to a pipe.8 Here we have a young man stripped except for his necessary insignia, equipment expressive of the great wealth of a young man of noble standing. His necklace displays no less than three strands of wampum beads, an impressive amount of wealth in itself.9* His attire, or the lack of it, reminds us of the ancient Teuton warrior who for battle stripped nude save for a cape. The cape is also a costly work of art, made of feathers after the fashion of a number of such capes that have survived as archaeological artifacts. These are stylistically represented to look rather like arrowheads. The cape has a "spade" or feather design, leading most archaeologists to conclude that it was a feather cape, a mantle well known from many Native American cultures in historical times.10* However, it seems unlikely that it actually is a feather cape.
The blanket ... is decorated with a "spade" design, which, considering the accuracy of detail and faithfulness of depiction in the rest of the pipe, is a detail that should be interpreted literally rather than figuratively. In this light, the "spade" design elements should be regarded as part of the blanket itself.11
The "spades" may be stylized arrows. However, if it is a feather cape, it may mark him not only as committed to Redhorn, a god of the Above World identified with a "flying" star of Orion, but as a member of the Upper Moiety, the Bird "Clan," whose members identify most particularly with that celestial world, and whose social standing outranks those of the Lower or Earth Moiety. Indeed, this moiety was even internally stratified as late as the mid-XIXᵀᴴ century. Big Boy also has the single "horn" or queue by which Redhorn, known also as "Only One Horn," got his names. The diamond shape on the top of his flat cap, in conjunction with the left-sided queue, may have been meant to suggest Orion when seen from above.12* Despite the fact that the figure is made from the naturally red stone of the red banks of Cahokia, it shows traces of having been painted in another ochre, some of which is still visible.13 This, needless to say, recalls the names "Redman" and "Redhorn." Is "Big Boy" the god himself?14* It hardly seems likely, as he is not even wearing a loin cloth. His pose is of a young subordinate whose gaze is fixed on the ground while he listens to the elders plot the projected course of military events. He is most likely a young noble, a warrior, or perhaps we should say "soldier." He is wearing livery, which is not unlike that of the warriors of the recent Hočąk nation, who were known to have stripped down to their loin cloths and painted their whole body vermillion (an alternate color for Mixcoatl),15 daubing white spots over this foundation.16 Their uniformity in this respect is merely the livery of those who are not rich.
This brings us to the most important component of all his livery: the maskettes. The Received Opinion is that the prosopic maskettes played a role in adoption rituals. The paradigm is that of prisoners of war who have been spared and allowed to enter their captor's tribe. In the Osage ceremony, a light cut is made on the nose and the blood wiped away to symbolize wiping away the blood connection to the captive's former tribe. Duncan and Diaz-Granados attempt to connect this to the Hero Twins, one of whom is wild and the other of whom is domesticated. In a single example from the Caddo tribe, the wild Twin has a long nose which is trimmed down when he is taken into the lodge of his domesticated brother.17 The model that they propose is that the candidate for adoption is given maskettes with long noses to symbolize their undomesticated status as outsiders. When they are ritually adopted and thus reborn, they trim their maskettes' noses. All this is a rather odd picture. We have to suppose that the artisans were employed in making an expensive pair of maskettes only later to have to trim their noses off. Making such masks out of shell and copper were difficult undertakings that represented a great financial burden. Such an expense would be odd to lavish on someone who might just as easily be put to a tortuous death. Why would they even wear maskettes? The period of decision on the fate of prisoners is not something that is particularly long and drawn out. It becomes almost humorous to think that giving an adoptee such expensive accouterments served only the purpose of a sandwich board that reads, "Alien." If the long nose maskettes indicate someone who has not yet been officially assimilated into the tribe, how, then, are we to understand the presence of the long nosed variety in graves? Was the poor devil so short-lived that he died before he could be adopted? What of those who merely married into the tribe? Were they subjected to the insult of being made to wear a "barbarian's" earbobs? It gets worse: the famous Redhorn Panel of Picture Cave which everyone agrees depicts some form of Redhorn, shows him with the long nosed style maskette. Are we to understand that the very god who is the model for the wearing of the maskettes in the first place is to be rendered as a wild, outside, unassimilated, out of control, barbarian? Is he akin to Ghost? His mythology is certainly not that of Ghost — far from being a complete contrarian, Redhorn is a rescuer, supporter of the public good, physician, fighter for the people, and a wonder worker who was sent to earth for the express purpose of showing people how they should live. Is the initiate whose maskette noses are shortened then symbolically alienated from Redhorn? This would be the opposite of the thesis offered, since the shortening was suppose to recognize that the adoptee had achieved integration into society, which ought to mean that he was now in conformity with the program of Redhorn, the national god of the initiators. Therefore, if we accept this model, we are left with a paradox. This model also forces us to conclude that the only people who wore such masks were adoptees, otherwise we have to come up with a new model to explain what their function was for those who were not adopted.
The intensive investigation of this topic above, now allows us a clearer perspective on the meaning of this essential component of Redhorn's legacy. The young warrior is shown with the most common maskette, the one with a short nose.18 Given that the nose or "point" (*pa) expresses the life force (*ni), it would stand to reason that the longer the nose, the stronger the life force which it conveyed. (Sometimes a cigar is not just a cigar.) This suggests that the length of the nose may have reflected rank. Just as the absurdly pointed shoes of XIVᵀᴴ century Western Europe showed noble status (they didn't have to walk far because they were carried on litters), so the absurdly long noses of some maskettes showed the strong *ni expressed in the personal power wielded by the high ranking wearer. It has been suggested that the Osage adoption ritual is a model for understanding the differences in nose sizes on the maskettes. The practice in this ritual of lightly slitting the tip of the nose and quickly wiping away the blood, doesn't serve as a model for chopping long maskette noses short as a rite de passage; it merely meant that the blood that connected them to their former tribe or station, the blood at the source of the life force itself at the tip of the "point" (*pa), was now wiped away, or "rubbed out," as they used to say. For this same reason, the Caddoan wild Twin had his long nose trimmed: his life force as an independent spirit (outside his bond with the flesh) was too strong for domestication. It is this force of nature that must be suppressed in order to inculcate the discipline needed for the life of culture. It is far more likely that young warriors were simply given short-nose prosopic maskettes to begin with. We should expect that those who were adopted received them according to their rank. Ordinary auxiliary troops may have been equipped with them as was done in Mexico with the livery of Mixcoatl. Many may have been manufactured out of perishable wood.19 Those who were promoted, or who entered into the lists with high rank, instead of receiving a star to pin on their shoulder as we do today, were given a maskette with a greater nose, one which could not help but stand out — one which makes a point. Philology shows us that the nose could also stand for weaponry, another expression of potency. "Weapon" in Hočąk is wapahi, "something (wa-) made (-hi) pointed (pa)," the stem being a reflex of the familiar Common Central Siouan *pa. Here, set out in its oral mnemonic form, such as we also find in the Bible20 and the Iliad,21 is the Hočąk myth of the arrival of the Manąpe, "Soldier," at the first convocation of the clans,
So the original soldiers evolved from all those things in nature that had sharply pointed body parts. The maskette integral to the livery of the soldier often exemplifies the force of weaponry which also lies at the root of his personal power. It is from the God of the Hunt, from his arrow, that the soldier must first carry the fight to the enemy. The mask itself, as we have seen, recalls the Cahokian arrow point, and many of the long noses resemble antler tines or even sharp daggers. The serpentine noses show that the point or *pa was not the principal idea, since the serpentine pattern reflects both the wind that causes the flapping of cloth in the breeze, and the sinuous course of water as it flows upon the ground, both of which are expressions of the concept of Ni.
Although the prosopic maskettes of Redhorn's younger son were also found on the breasts or on the shoulders, they remain paradigmatically ear ornaments. This is not only seen in Redhorn's name Įčo-horušik-ka, "Wears Faces on His Ears," but in the archaeological settings of their material counterparts. In Redhorn's alternate name, įčo means "face," and -ka is merely the definite article most particularly used in proper names. The central concept is expressed by the word horušík. This word, which means, "to wear as earrings; to wear in the ears,"23* can be analyzed into the compound ho-ru-šik. The compound ru-šik comes from ru-, an instrumental prefix meaning, "by hand, pulling towards the body";24 and šik, "to hang, to suspend."25 This gives rušik the meaning, "to hang by hand, pulling towards the body." The prefix ho- is an inessive applicative that usually translates as "in(to) something."26* This gives horušík the more precise meaning, "to hang something into the ear by hand, moving it towards the body." When this is converted into a noun by the suffix -ra ("the one such that ..."), we would expect to get the meaning, "the one such that, by moving the hand towards the body, is hung in the ear," which is to say, an "ear-bob, earring"; but the only meaning actually attested for this word, oddly enough, is wampum.27* When the indefinite direct object pronoun wa- ("something, them") is added to the verb and converted into a noun, the resultant word, wōrúšik (< wa-horušik), gives the predictable meaning, "earring,"28* but in the past, it has been the standard Hočąk word for wampum. For instance, in a story a century old, a necklace of wampum beads is referred to as having been broken: Wanąp’į́našge howárera hoerákše. Worúšik wanąp’į́ airegíži, [ésge] wagi’ų́že. ("His neckware was scattered about. They said that thus he had wampum neckware.")29 According to Dorsey, wórušíke-wanápį denoted "a necklace of short shells."30 These are obviously not necklaces of earrings, but of standard wampum, showing that in time people had lost their consciousness of the derivation of the word. In one of the earliest word list that we have, compiled in the 1830's by the fur trader Henry Merrell, worushigera means "beads."31* Dorsey records the same word as meaning, "short shells."32 The use of wōrúšik for the sole purpose of denoting wampum is very widely attested in the literature (q.v., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).33* All this demonstrates that in Hočąk at one time whatever was worn on the ear was synonymous with wampum. The Hočąk culture has traces of a time when įčo-horušik-ra, "the faces hung by hand from the ears," were a prized form of wampum.
[Mississippian — role of wampum in gifts. Contents of heads called "shells." Original function: mark off soldiers, or priests of Redhorn ~ Mixcoatl. Twins on Gottschall do not have long noses.] Sometimes wampum beads were put together to form an earbob,34* and in other cases ear pendants having the shape of living things were accounted wampum.35* However, these were exceptional. So it is not altogether unusual for earbobs made of precious materials like shell or copper to have the status of wampum. Wampum has many functions, including a medium of exchange. This sort of wampum is denoted by zu in Hočąk, a term that now means "money." However, what we are dealing with here is not anything like money. Some have noted that "Big Boy" wears three strands of wampum necklaces, which are seen as a testament to his wealth. Among the Hočągara, a necklace of shell beads has another significance as well.
There are four war honors. ... The war prizes generally consisted of necklaces of wampum which were given to those who had obtained the first war honors. The victor also would be given the privilege of first smoking the pipe on his return to his home. The prize of the wampum necklace was always given by the victor to his elder sisters.36
This latter practice may be a more recent innovation. The Big Boy pipe suggests a time when the young warrior retained these prizes. Among their forebears in Mississippian times, we don't know what constituted a war honor, but more recent practices suggests that shell necklaces were associated with the winning of them. These necklaces would today be called wōrúšik, "what is worn on the ears." The necklaces of wampum were awards, and it is this concept that wōrúšik came to express. We must, therefore, think that the original earbobs in question were awards. Inasmuch as they are equivalent to shell necklaces, they must have been awards of similar status and meaning to the necklaces. Given the philological evidence, we should expect that the ear-heads that were known to have been worn by actual men, and which are portrayed as being worn by Big Boy, are the prosopic maskettes associated with the deity Redhorn. As a deity of the hunt and war, his earpieces were wōrúšik, the exact equivalent to the shell "wampum" necklaces of honor, awarded in the native context of this god. Therefore, the prosopic earpieces must have been awards given for the winning of war honors. Since the nose of the maskette, more than anything, represented the *ni of its possessor, his life force, its size must have reflected the measure of his war achievements. One who had achieved many first war honors will have had a maskette whose nose was like that of the god himself. Since those who consistently won first war honors would rise to the status of Točąwąk, "Warleader," the commanders of military squadrons would all possess the long nosed variety of maskette. Many others will have possessed the short nosed varieties. In any case, these maskettes, like the "Lone Ranger" masks of his Mexican counterpart, will have been the mark of the highest class of soldiers, and therefore were also part of the divinely inspired livery of the properly attired men of rank. However, just as shell-bead necklaces could also be given for other ends, we cannot exclude the idea that the prosopic maskettes would also be awarded for other purposes. Nevertheless, considering their primary function, chartered by the god of the hunt and war, we can expect that for whatever other purpose they may have been given, it cannot have been for a mere pecuniary end.
We have seen that atavistically in modern Hočąk, what was once worn on the ears can be equated with the wampum necklace. We are now led from the equation "earpieces = wampum," to the equation "heads = shell beads," since the earpieces that have rise to the first equation happen to be in the form of tiny human heads. Do we have a Hočąk reflex of this equation? As it happens the war victors are strongly associated with decapitated heads. This is not confined to the head of a conquered enemy, which was taken as a trophy (and much else) by the victor, but in other rituals associated with the triumphal celebrations attendant upon the return of a warparty. [cooked heads served to victors; head pots — head = shells.]
The question remains, Did the Hočągara call earbobs wampum because they were its recipients as a peripheral people, or were they the ones who typically distributed it? This seems easy enough to answer: the deity whose earbobs were produced as wampum was their god. It was their Redhorn who inspired the maskettes, so it follows that they were not outsiders who acquired the earbob-wampum from foreign sources, but the very people who created it in the first place. They created it with such care and in such quantity that the very idea of Wampum soon came to be expressed by wōrúšik, "earbob." For this to occur, it would have to have been either very plentiful or very highly prized. Given its meaning as an emblem of a warrior, it was certainly the latter, and given how many such artifacts have survived, it may have been the former as well. Given its symbolism, it could be conferred on those whom the leadership wished to honor, whether they were citizens or foreigners whose good favor was being courted.
The Son of the God of the Hunt Recreates Humans from The Powdered Bones of Giants. [Sahagún 1950-69, vol. 3:21-31; Mendieta (1945, vol. 1:83-84 = 2:1 (76-79) and Torquemada (1969 :37-38.] The Aztec story of the recreation of the human race from the bones of the Giant race that was exterminated with the end of the First Sun finds a good parallel with the two versions of the revival of the fathers of the sons of Redhorn and the resurrection of the village from the bones of the Giants.0 These isomorphisms can be set out on a table.
Histoyre du Mechiques
Leyenda de los Soles
The Redhorn Cycle
"The Sons of Redhorn"
|||The previous world had been destroyed by water.||The previous world had been destroyed by water.||-||The Bad Waterspirits had killed the fathers of the sons of Redhorn.|
|||Tezcatlipoca and Ehecatl [Quetzalcoatl] discuss the recreation of the human race. Ehecatl resolves to get the bones||Quetzalcoatl, resolves to get the bones||The sons of Redhorn resolve to get the bones||The sons of Redhorn resolve to get the bones|
|||from Mictlantecutli, the god of the underworld. He is given a single bone, an ell in length, belonging to the race of Giants that lived under the First Sun.||in the underworld, of the deceased former human race.||of their fathers from the Giants, and to get the bones of the Giants.||of their fathers from the Bad Waterspirits.|
|||-||Quetzalcoatl is told to blow on a conch, but it had to be repaired first. Then he blew a note which was heard,||When the brothers sang wailing songs, the Giants jump into the fire when they hear it.||They want the Waterspirits to sleep, but since two of them are talking to one another,|
|||Mictlantecutli immediately repented of having told Ehecatl that he could have the bone.||but the lord of the dead, while he told Quetzalcoatl to take the bones, told his servants that they were not to leave his realm.||The elders of the Giants deduce that it is sons of Redhorn who are doing this, and post guards around the heads of their fathers.||those two remain awake.|
|||-||Quetzalcoatl uses deception, telling them he will not take the bones, but then does so anyway.||The boys use deception, descend from above as feathers, kill the guards, and run off with the heads.||-|
|||Ehecatl flees with Mictlantecutli chasing after him.||Quetzalcoatl quickly ascends, escaping the servants of the dead land lord. He sorts the bones by sex, then carries them off.||The Giants come after them,||They kill the two guards, but the Waterspirits come after them. They outrun the waves by shooting themselves as arrows.||They kill the guards, who are alligators. The rest flee, but Turtle and the boys give chase.|
|||-||-||but the boys turn the tables and kill them instead. They let a couple live, since they were created by Earthmaker.||-||They kill everyone of the Bad Waterspirits, since they were not created by Earthmaker.|
|||-||The underworld spirits dig a pit trap,||-||The Turtle and the boys go on a revenge raid. When the Waterspirits hear of it, they flee. They dig a hole deep into the earth, and there build a fire.||-|
|||and Quetzalcoatl falls into it.||-||Turtle grabs the boys, and they jump into the hole.|
|||-||He is frightened by a quail, and faints.||-||-|
|||Ehecatl drops the bone, causing it to break.||The quail nibbled on the bones, ruining them.||-|
|||The bone is broken in pieces.||The woman Quilaztli grinds the bones into powder.||The boys burn the bodies of the Giants, then pound their bones into a power.|
|||Ehecatl puts the pieces in a jar.||She puts the powder in a jade jar.1||They filled their tanned buckskins with them.|
|||Ehecatl summons other gods, and they bleed their tongues into the jar.||Quetzalcoatl bled his penis on the powdered bones.||The boys ask their mothers to sleep with the skulls, but they refuse.|
|||Thus humans were created from the bone of a Giant. Because the bone was broken, humans are not as large as the Giants.2||Humans are thus created from the bones of an earlier race.3||The boys revive their fathers, and cause the villagers to come back to life from the bones of the Giants.4||The boys had revived their fathers.5|
[Quilaztli is called "the deer of Mixcoatl"5.1 Hunaphu and Xbalanque are burnt up in an oven, their bones ground up and poured into a stream. They resurrect as were-fish (catfish). (Tedlock, 130-141). Parallel adduced by Grofe, Recipe for Rebirth, 13.s] The quail of the Leyenda doesn't have any counterpart in the other stories. Quails (Dendrortyx), Nahuatl zolin, probably because they have white spotted feathers against a dark background like the stars of the night sky, are the sacrificial animal par excellance. It is the emblem of Xipe Totec and the goddess of the moon and night sky, Tlazoltéotl.6 Why Quetzalcoatl should fear this bird and why it would eat human bones remains obscure.
The pit trap into which Quetzalcoatl falls recalls the lodge pit trap into which Įčorúšika fell when he was tricked by the Waterspirit woman. This same theme reappears in the saga of the sons of Redhorn, but the descent into the hole is voluntary here. The Aztecs beliefs about the underworld are very different from those of the Hočągara, who do not have a concept analogous to Hell or Mictlan, and conceive of the underworld as being inhabited primarily by the Waterspirits. So there is no descent into a realm of the dead below the surface of the earth; rather there is a descent into the realm of the Waterspirits, who tend to be the enemies of those who live in the celestial abode. So a Hočąk "translation" of the Mexican myth would involve instead a descent into the realm of the Bad Waterspirits, who are then attacked. In this respect, the sons of Redhorn replicate their father's adventure in his guise as Įčorúšika. The human race in the Hočąk context has been reduced in its universe of discourse to Redhorn's village, and the creation is not of humanity as a whole, but of Redhorn, his friends, and his village, which like the human race in the Aztec myths of the Five Suns, had been completely rubbed out. However, since the Giants are not underworld beings, the version which holds to the theme that the bones are those of the Giants, can only do so by eliminating the episode of the descent into the underworld and the fall into the pit. However, the Giants, representing the distant Outlanders, correspond nicely to the denizens of the underworld, as both represent the Periphery.
The falling of Quetzalcoatl into the hole dug for him by the spirits of the underworld (the spirits of the dead), is found in Hočąk in the story of how mortality entered the world. It is there transferred to Hare, who like Quetzalcoatl was born of a woman who swallowed his essence.
The God of the Hunt's Child Commits Incest. In another Hočąk-Nahuatl shared account, the God of the Hunt has just two children, a brother and a sister. As related in other stories, the father is murdered, so they go off to live elsewhere. The basic plots run in parallel, although not in perfect conformity.
|(1)||The son of the God of the Hunt removed with his sister to a foreign land.||Quetzalcoatl and his sister Quetzalpetlatl, live in Tula, which is not the land of their birth.||The son of Redman flees with his sister after his father's death.||Light Stone, accompanied by his sister and six brothers, leaves for a new camp.|
|(2)||A relative makes a suggestion to the Son that he hopes will lead to incest.||Tezcatlipoca (his brother) tempts Quetzalcoatl into drinking too much pulque in hopes that he can induce him to commit incest while he is drunk.||The (maternal) Grandfather tells the son he should go to the next village and wed the chief's daughter.||Her identity unknown to Light Stone, his sister nudges him to move over (a sign that she wants to sleep with him).|
|(3)||He makes certain that the Son is in a state of ignorance about his sister.||Tezcatlipoca gets Quetzalcoatl drunk with a fifth helping of pulque.||The Grandfather does not tell the Son that the chief's wife is his sister.||She does not reveal her identity.|
|(4)||The Son has sexual intercourse with his sister('s daughter).||Quetzalcoatl seduces his own sister.||The Son marries is own sister's daughter.||Light Stone has sexual intercourse with his own sister.|
|(5)||He learns of his incest.||He learns of his incest the next day.||Eventually, the Son is told that his marriage is incestuous.||Because he had left a mark on her shouder, he learns of his incest.|
|(6)||Because this is wrong, they separate.||In shame, Quetzalcoatl leaves Tula with the intention of dying in a distant land.||Because it is incestuous, the marriage is dissolved.||He feels ashamed, and leaves for a distant hill.|
|(7)||The Son commits suicide by transforming himself.||Quetzalcoatl commits suicide by transforming himself.||-||Not wishing to be human any more, he turns himself into a rock.|
|(8)||The Son is elevated to a position of great power.||Quetzalcoatl rises out of his funeral pyre as Morning Star.1||The Son is made Chief of the Heroka.2||This rock is located on a hill, and|
|(9)||He becomes radiant.||He is the brightest star.||-||is so bright that it can be seen in the distance.3|
One divergence worth noting is that Tez corresponds more to One Legged One (Herešgúnina), the Hočąk Devil; whereas the Grandfather is Flint, whose counterpart is Itzpapalotl. Nevertheless, both of these figures are kinsmen, which makes their actions all the more perfidious.
With respect to the Aztec of §4, the received opinion is that they had incestuous sex, after which Quetzalcoatl separated not only from her, but from his own kingdom as a penance.6 In Hočąk, the exact form of incest is that Redman's son married his own hičųžą́k, a term with a wide range of application: "daughter of a brother or sister; daughter of a paternal sister; daughter of a son or daughter; daughter of a son of a paternal sister or a maternal brother."7 By making the incest not with his own sister, but his sister's daughter, the Hočąk version greatly mitigates the offense; yet it is still sufficient to nullify the marriage. Nevertheless, the concentration is on the sister or her equivalent. The whole theme of incest in the son may duplicate a similar incest committed by his father (see above). The theme of incest in connection with gods of the hunt may reflect its common incidence among game animals. Because they have command over such animals, they share in their promiscuous nature.
In the end, despite their incest, the Son figures are elevated in rank: Quetzalcoatl becomes Morning Star, and Redman's son becomes Chief of the Heroka. It is a very widespread idea in traditional societies that violations of taboos is a prerequisite for augmentation of power. Redhorn is also said to be Chief of the Heroka, and both he and the son of Redman go by the name Herokaga. They are also both known as "Redhorn," facts which reveal the inter-generational identity of Redhorn and his eldest son (Redman's only son). Since Redhorn is not Morning Star, we can confidently say the same about his eldest son. However, Morning Star has some obscure and mysterious relationship to Redhorn — perhaps he is a son or a brother to the elder Redhorn. So, although Quetzalcoatl is transformed into a different deity, it is a deity not at a far remove from Redhorn or his sons.
The Waterspirits Steal Food from the Son of the God of the Hunt. There are two stories about food that appear to be unrelated except that they involve characters that we now know are indeed related and the stories appear to have similar esoteric content. In the Aztec myth, the protagonist is the son of Camaxtli, Quetzalcoatl.
Again, they said, "Gods, what will they eat? Let food be looked for." Then the ant went and got a kernel of corn out of Food Mountain [Tonacatepetl], and Quetzalcoatl met the ant and said, "Where did you get it? Tell me." But it won't tell him. He insists. Then it says, "Over there," and it shows him the way. Then Quetzalcoatl changed into a black ant. It shows him the way, and he goes inside. Then they carry it out together. The red ant, it seems, showed Quetzalcoatl the way. Outside he lays down the kernels, then he carries them to Tamoanchan. Then the gods chew them and put them on our lips. That's how we grew strong. Then they said, "What will we do with Food Mountain?" Then Quetzalcoatl went an tried to carry it, tied it with ropes, but he couldn't lift it. Then Oxomoco counted it out, and Oxomoco's wife, Cipactonal, also counted its fate. The woman is Cipactonal. Then Oxomoco and Cipactonal said, "Nanahuatl will strike Food Mountain," for they had counted it out. Then all the tlalocs are summoned, blue tlalocs, white tlalocs, yellow tlalocs, red tlalocs. Then Nanahuatl strikes it, and the foods are stolen by the tlalocs. The white, black, and yellow [corn], the red corn, the beans, the amaranth, the chia, the fish amaranth, all the foods were stolen.1
Quetzalcoatl must get the food to the humans. People, of course, distribute the food via the market place. As it happens, the star cluster known as the "Pleiades" is called "the Market Place" by the Aztecs. This is of some interest, since Quetzalcoatl is identified with Morning Star, which travels along the ecliptic, which passes between the Pleiades and the next asterism down, the Hyades. The Hyades are "Λ" shaped and as a consequence could be viewed as a mountain. The task of Quetzalcoatl is to move the food from Food Mountain to the Market Place. At a certain time in the past, the Morning Star traveled into the Hyades and back out again during its retrograde motion. The red ant that moves against the background stars should be Mars, and Mars also passes by the Hyades. This state of affairs is exemplified in the years 625-626 a.D. (OS). On 16 May 625, Mars (the red ant) passes by the Hyades (Food Mountain), then 15 days later comes into near conjunction with Morning Star (Morning Star Apparition II). Therefore, Quetzalcoatl and the red ant meet on 31 May, 625. Exactly a year later, Morning Star goes right through the Hyades during its retrograde motion (Morning Star Apparition III). So Quetzalcoatl enters into the larder of the "mountain" and comes back out with some of its contents. However, the attempt to drag the mountain must fail, since Morning Star cannot drag the fixed stars of the Hyades along his own path. After the Morning Star comes out of the Hyades, it spends months traveling until it disappears into the sun and the earth. When next it appears (Morning Star Apparition IV), 6 December 627, the Hyades had long ago set with the sun (8 May 627), plunging into the Ocean of the west, where they set with Nanahuatl. As the Hyades pass into the water, they fall into the control of the tlalocs, the masters of the waters. Thus, the tlalocs steal the food meant for the market place before Morning Star can make it to the Pleiades. Quetzalcoatl does not enter the Market Place until April 27, 634, at which time time Morning Star and the Pleiades are not only in perfect conjunction, but they are both rising with the sun. This is long after the tlalocs have intercepted the Hyades. This retrograde path through the Hyades began in the year 578 and ceased around the year 786.
Mars Passing by the Hyades
16 May 625
Mars Meeting Morning Star
31 May 625
The Retrograde Path of
Morning Star through the Hyades,
1 May - 4 July 626
In the "Chief of the Heroka," the proper counterpart of Quetzalcoatl, the son of Herokaga, is traveling to see his brothers, the Heroka. His father gave him a bucket with a magically endowed deer tail in it which possessed the virtue of regenerating itself after it had been eaten. On the way, he is captured by the Little Children Spirits, and his magical deer tail disappears. These spirits, like the tlalocs, are lilliputian beings. Much later in the story, we discover that the bucket with the deer tail is in the possession of two alligators who are the "dogs" of Flint.2 Except in its most basic form, the Hočąk version doesn't look much like the Aztec myth at all. In both the stories the son of the God of the Hunt has his food stolen from him and found to be in the possession of spirits of the water. Scraping below the surface shows more convergences. Flint is almost certainly to be identified with the Hyades. The Pleiades are called Ča Šįč in Hočąk, which means "Deer Rump." This piece of the anatomy includes the deer's tail (ča sįč). Consequently, in translating a story similar to the Aztec into the symbolism of the Hočągara, the Pleiades must become the food. As an asterism, they set with the sun, and therefore disappear for a time, only to return again at their appointed time. Thus, the Pleiades are a deer tail which when completely consumed, will regenerate itself over and over again. Very near to the Pleiades is Orion, and the sons of Redhorn are associated stars in Orion. However, intervening between them is the Hyades. It may be worth mentioning that in some South American cultures, the Hyades are seen as a cayman or other crocodilian bent on attacking Orion.3 Given the identity of Flint with the Hyades, his spatial "interception" between Orion and the Pleiades has been translated into temporal terms. Flint's crocodilians are the alligators. When these stars sink below the horizon in setting with the sun, they fall into the world of the Waterspirits. In the allegory of Įčorúšika, it is he who falls captive to them. In the present story, it is both his son and his magical regenerating deer tail (the Pleiades) who necessarily share his fate. In the variant Redhorn Cycle, the sons of Redhorn accompanied the resurrected Turtle on a revenge raid against the Bad Waterspirits. They descend like Įčorúšika into a deep hole leading to the enemy's subterranean realm. At the bottom is a fire (the sun) guarded by two alligators. In both stories the alligators, the "dogs" of the Bad Waterspirits, or of Flint, are duly dispatched. With the Morning Star changing to Orion, and the Pleiades changing from a market place to the counterpart of Food Mountain, the role of the allegory in explaining the distribution in primordial times of food to the human race drops from the equation. The food distribution goes in reverse: instead of Hyades to Pleiades, it goes from Pleiades to Hyades (by theft). The changed circumstances, which can't be altered, still allow for a myth, but one of limited scope and on the scale of an episode. On the level of astronomy, however, the symmetries can still be seen.
Setting aside the tentative analysis of the deep structures of these two myths, we are left with the indisputable convergence of two stories in which the son of the God of the Hunt has his magical and seemingly limitless store of food stolen from him by the spirits of the waters. Even this minimalist view is sufficient to make an interesting connection between the two cultures.
The Slain Giant. In the Hočąk story, when the Čaručge ("Head- or Deer-Eaters") eat the head of the Giant that they've killed, the figure having the role of the Sun grumbles to his wife (the Moon), "You have joined in their bad affairs, and now you must have made the kettle bad."1 Flint, like Obsidian Butterfly, eats Morning Star. However, among the Aztecs this is a birth story, not a story of destruction and pollution; but in the Leyenda de los Soles, we soon come upon such a story.
Now then, an omen came to him [the ruler of Tollan]: he saw an ash-bundle man, a giant. And it was the very one who was eating people. Then the Toltecs say, "O Toltecs, who is it that's eating people?" Then they snared it, they captured it. And what they captured was a beardless boy. Then they kill it. And when they've killed it, they look inside it: it has no heart, no innards, no blood. Then it stinks. And whoever smells it dies from it, as well a whoever does not smell it, who [simply] passes by. And so a great many people are dying. Then they try to drag it away, but it cannot be moved. And when the rope breaks, those who fall down die on the spot. And when it moves, all those who come in contact with it die. It eats them all. ... They tied it with eight ropes. Then they dragged it off.2
The giant here seems to be a counterpart to Mixcoatl: he carries a bundle of ashes, as Mixcoatl carries as a sacred bundle the ashes of Itzpapalotl. Instead of dragging him to them to eat, they drag him away from them in order to avoid being eaten. They apparently try to offer him to the gods, but when they open him up, there is no heart to present, and no blood for the Sun to drink. His decay is a miasma, but it is the opposite miasma from cannibalism: he is fit as food for neither gods no men, and those who come into contact with his pollution, die. This is because he is Mixcoatl-Sun. The sun eats everything, and needs hearts and blood to sustain him since he lacks these in his own body. He is also the source of physical decay, of rotting. When he dies, he does not stay dead. The Hočągara replace the celestial giant Sun with the lesser giant Morning Star, leaving the Sun in the odd role as the one who shuns excesses of eating and rebels against ritual pollution.
|A giant threatens the people.||A giant threatens the people.||A giant threatens the people.|
|Danger of fire (ash) vs. water.||He is an ash-bundle giant.||He stands in the water ready to inundate the island.|
|Perpetrator, vs. victim, of cannibalism.||He has been eating the people.||The Čaručge eat his head.|
|Perpetrator, vs. victim, of ritual pollution (miasma).||He has no innards or even blood; he eats people.He begins to stink in such a way as to kill people.||To the revulsion of the resident grandfather, the Čaručge practice cannibalism and pollute his kettle.|
|They acquire, vs. dispose, of him||They dispose of him||They acquire him|
|by attaching ropes to him and towing him.||by attaching 8 ropes and pulling him away.||by hooking him (Pleiades) and dragging him in.|
|While attached to the ropes, he kills them, vs. they kill him.||He revives, and kills many of the people towing him.||The Čaručge kill him.|
[the throwing of the reed dart.]
CLOUD SERPENT — the stellar evolution of the god in relation to Orion and the Milky Way. Redhorn belongs in this evolution. Orion to Milky Way — Little Children Spirits are probably the Milky Way. Mixcoatl is one of them as their chief.
These two sections are transferred from "Orion Mythology" and focus on the relationship between Siouan concepts of Orion in relation to those of Mesoamerica with respect to its being pictured as a fire drill.
The Fire Sticks of Orion. [Mixcoatl as a hearth stone. The scorpion is a WS woman in Hočąk. She is chased and killed like the Old World 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
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 smoke and fire that the drill inaugurates.
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 mamahuaztli, 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 is a staff — walking, see Hare] 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 ...
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 odd ritual done in his honor:
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:
|(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||come 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:
|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|
| 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,|
| those who (dis)honored||those who honored||those who honored||those who honored||those who dishonored||those who dishonored||those who dishonored|
| the Orion god||the Orion god||the Fire Drill god||Redhorn [= Alnilam]||the Orion god||the Fire Drill god||Įčorúšika [= Alnilam]|
| were rewarded vs. punished||were rewarded||were recognized||were rewarded||were punished||were punished||were punished|
| 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|
| 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|
| 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|
| 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.
["Little Sticks," "Little Star." Travel of these ideas.] 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. [Scorpius "operates" the fire-drill (Orion), which is its stinger. Its stinger is a hand. This hand may have a hole in it. The hand = Orion. This is why the hand is burned, in part.]
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).
The rest of this Aztec myth recalls the ending of a story we have met with before.
|Itzpapalotl eats the Mimixcoa, the brothers of Mixcoatl.||Hena abuses Įčorúšika's wife and his two loyal brothers.||Yellow Iktomi shoves Iron Hawk's grandmother.|
|Mixcoatl and the revived Mimixcoa shoot Itzpapalotl.||Įčorúšika clubs Hena.||Iron Hawk beats Iktomi with a dirty tent hide.|
|They burn her to ashes.||The disloyal brothers take charcoal||[The dirt on the tent is soot.]|
|They spread the ashes so that they form a mask around their eyes.3||and apply it to their face in mock mourning for Įčorúšika.||The impact of the soot turns Iktomi black.4|
Conclusions and Reconstructions. [summary of the attributes and mythical history of the God of the Hunt and his son. Cahokia and earlier correspondences. There is enough here to warrant serious consideration of the basic thesis that Mixcoatl and Redhorn are in some sense "cognate."]
§-. Other Mississippian Raptors. Ill-Pe-X1 shows a raptor from Peoria, Illinois, which has cognates at Etowah.113
The bird of Ill-Pe-X1 is of interest because it seems to have numerical symbolism. The bird is shown in a falcon upright threat display, but it lacks the characteristic "tooth" of falcons in its upper beak,114* and its feet are tridactyl. More as we would expect of Evening Star, it faces to its own left. The bird is of an imaginary or mythological type. Does it represent Evening Star? There are strong reasons for thinking not. A count of the circles shown on its six large wing feathers shows 14 to the left, and 16 to the right, yielding a sum of 30 such circles. This is a lunar number derived from dividing the usual number of moons in a solar year into 360, the Mesoamerican solar year minus the 5 intercalary days. The bird is vocalizing, as its mouth is open and its tongue is visible. In Hočąk symbolism, sound represents light. We might think, therefore, that it's a Thunderbird, since it also has wavy lines descending from its eye, as if optically shooting lightning. However, an examination of Osage material leads to another interpretation. Wavy lines pointing downwards exactly in this fashion, symbolize rays of light.115 Given the lunar number, and two features which can be symbols of light, the context would suggest that these symbols express the luminance of the moon (represented here by the eye). The full moon occurs on the fourteenth or fifteenth day of the moon, a temporal place represented by the spatial division of the wing circles into groups of 14 and 16 on either side of the target symbol of the Centre. Apart from the number nine, exemplified by the tail feather stripes,116* the other numbers are also known from the Osage. The number six is seen in the large wing feathers, the ovaloid circles on the bird's breast, and the digiti of the two tridactyl feet. There are seven short wing feathers on each wing below the "shoulders," which may have a second meaning in addition to symbolizing the 14 days that make up the full moon. There is a target design at the end of the six breast circles which falls between the two tridactyl feet. This is found where the genitals would be located, suggesting a hidden "pole" (penis) within a seventh circle and forming a seventh digitus. The 6 ~ 7 alternance is important in connection with basic oppositions exemplified in the Osage cosmos.
... the Osage defined the four major divisions of the universe: sky and earth, day and night. The direction of the sky was up, and it formed the symbolic "left side" of the universe. The sky was also a masculine force that for some unexplained reason was associated with the sacred number six. The direction of the earth was down, and it formed the symbolic 'right side" of the universe. The earth was a feminine force that for some unexplained reason was associated with the sacred number seven. The light of day and the sun were seen as the most powerful of life-giving forces. The light of day was associated with the east, the direction of the sunrise, and with red, the color of the rising sun. The night and the moon were seen as the most powerful of the forces of death. The night was associated with the west, the direction of the setting sun, and with black, the color of the night.117
The alternance of the cosmic numbers 6 ~ 7 can be explained. Among the Central Siouan people, both the Hočągara and the Lakota have six as the number of directions: the four cardinal directions, plus up and down.118* The seventh direction, symbolized on the raptor by the target, is the center.119 The reason why the Osage would have given the seven directions to the earth in particular, is that the ritual pole, which is located on Middle Earth, is an axis mundi, and counts as a Centre in Eliade's sense. Therefore, the earth possesses the center even more than the sky, and since night is akin to earth as day is to sky, the night Centre of Polaris has an identity with the Centre formed on earth by the sacred pole which points to that same star.120 In the ceremony, Releasing the Arrows, an initiate (for the priesthood) undergoes a ritual in which a priest shoots two arrows, one red, symbolizing the day, and one black, symbolizing the night.121 The priest, when he shoots the red arrow becomes Red Hawk, and when he shoots the black arrow, he becomes Black Hawk.122 These are mythical birds and do not correspond to naturally occurring species of hawks.123* These arrows represent the perpetuity of day and night, and therefore represent the perpetuity of the initiate's line of descent. Hawks are symbols of warriors on account of their aggressive courage.124 The priest wears the Sacred Hawk on his back, recalling the fact that, "When about to attack the foe, the Sacred Warrior of a war party puts upon the back of each of his eight commanders a hawk, then gives the signal for the attack."125 The Sacred Hawk came from one of the clan bundles, each one of which contained one.126 When the priest shot the arrows, inasmuch as they represented the warriors of the tribe, they were dangerous, and care had to be taken that people avoided falling under their flight path.127 The Sacred Hawk reminds us of the founder of the Hočąk Hawk Clan, "Man of War," Chief of the Bad Thunderbirds, who cause the rain.128 The hawk in Ill-Pe-X1, with its associations with the moon and the 6 ~ 7 alternance, should represent a preform of the Black Hawk of the night. At Etowah we have a pair of hawks arranged in court card symmetry.129 One of them has seven tail feathers with 7 stripes on them. The six digiti of its podia are supplemented by a single ovaloid circle on its breast. These birds are probably preforms of the Osage Red and Black Hawk arranged to show the succession of day and night.
Although these birds do not show Venus associations, there does exist a raptor from Etowah that does.130 It has two sets of 5 long wing feathers, 5 stripes on its tail; six shoulder feathers; three ovaloid circles on its breasts followed by a fringe of 5 elements, for a total of 8, and two tetradactyl (!) podia, with a total of 8 digiti. Given that he faces to his own right, he would be Morning Star rather than Evening Star. Since the anthropomorphic Morning Star at Etowah has raptor podia, we should not be too surprised to find him there in a pure avian form as well. In the Hočąk mythology of Venus, both Bluehorn (Evening Star) and his doppelgänger opponent have flint knives running down their arms. As we have seen, such a pattern is found in the feathers of a number of raptors, hawks and owls especially. So the Hočąk versions of Venus are certainly compatible with birds of prey; but since Evening Star associates with Waterspirits and Morning Star with Thunderbirds, it is Morning Star who would be most appropriately portrayed as a raptor.
Astronomical-Calendrical Codes in Allegories about Quetzalcoatl
Here a stab is taken at interpreting some of the mythological material about Quetzalcoatl in terms of astronomy and calendrics. In this we are greatly aided by the ability of computers to calculate the appearance of the sky on a given date, and to calculate the equivalent of that date in the Aztec calendar.
Quetzalcoatl Finds His Father (852). In the Annals we are told how Quetzalcoatl inquired of his father when he was nine years old.
9 Reed. It was in 9 Reed that Quetzalcoatl looked for his father. When he was nine years old and had some awareness, he said, "What is my father like? May I see him? May I look at his face?" "He's dead, he's buried over there," was the answer. "Take a look." So Quetzalcoatl went there. And he looked for the bones. He dug them up. And when he had removed the bones, he went and buried them in the temple mound of [the spirit] known as Quilaztli.1
The variant in the Leyenda, which identifies Quetzalcoatl's father as Mixcoatl, belongs together with that of the Annals.
And when they had killed him, they [his brothers] put him in the sand. So Ce Acatl looks for his father asking, "Where's my father?" Then the king vulture says to him, "They've killed your father. It's over yonder that he lies, that they've buried him." So he went and dug him up and put him in his temple, Mixcoatepetl.2
There are a number of clues that enable us to decipher the astronomical code. We know that the year 9-Reed ran from 7/11/851 (1-Jaguar) to 7/9/852 (1-Flint). Quetzalcoatl, as we know, is Morning Star. His father Mixcoatl, judging from his name, has some identity with the Milky Way. His bones were buried in the sand, where Quetzalcoatl digs them up — the only feature of the night sky that can be homologized to sand is the Milky Way, whose small stars make up a granular beach in the sky. There is one section of the Milky Way, known as the "Great Rift,"2.0 where an opening is found that resembles a trench, and this is in the center of the Scorpius Milky Way. When Morning Star is close to his father's burial site, a vulture directs him by telling him "its over yonder." This means that Morning Star is close to the sands in which Mixcoatl is buried. This would put him near his father's grave. We see that in the year 9-Reed, Morning Star journeys to the Scorpius Milky Way. He is quite near the trench in early January, 852. By Jan. 15, 852, he has arrived at the hole near the top of the structure, as shown below.
Year 9-Reed, Day 1-Vulture of 3 Tlaxochimaco = January 9, 852
Year 9-Reed, Day 7-Wind of 9 Tlaxochimaco = January 15, 852
On the 9ᵀᴴ of January, when Morning Star is poised on the edge of the Scorpius Milky Way, the day happens to be 1-Vulture. Therefore, it is hardly likely to be a coincidence that a vulture shows Quetzalcoatl the way, since this is "where" the vulture's day is found. It should also be noted that Itzpapalotl is the mistress of the day sign Vulture,2.1 and if Chimalman is a form of Itzpapalotl, then Quetzalcoatl has been covertly informed of his father's grave by his own mother. On the 15ᵀᴴ of January, Morning Star is in the "hole" where it looks as if the "sands" have been dug up. This too is reflected in time, as the calendar reads 7-Ehecatl at that point in Morning Star's travels. Ehecatl, the god of wind, is just another form of Quetzalcoatl himself. As it turns out, Mixcoatepel is just this same section of the Milky Way turned upright. So Quetzalcoatl has buried the bones essentially where he dug them up: the only place where they have ever belonged, the Milky Way.
Quetzalcoatl Builds a Bridge (871). [The bridge allegory also works for 845.] Quetzalcoatl's next adventure is set in the year 2-Rabbit. The year 2-Rabbit ran from 7/10/870 (7-Water) to 7/9/871 (7-Reed). The Annals say,
In 2-Rabbit Quetzalcoatl arrived in Tollantzinco. He spent four years there and built his house of fasting, his turquoise house of beams. From there he came out towards Cuextlan, and in order to cross a certain river he built a bridge of stone that stands to this day, so it is said.3
Around Dec. 16th, Morning Star emerges from its conjunction with the sun. There it emerges just where we left it in his last adventure: in the "hole" in the Scorpius Milky Way, as shown below.
Year 1-Rabbit, Day 1-Grass of 4 Hueitecuilhuitl = December 16, 870
Year 2-Rabbit, Day 1-Jaguar of 6 Tititl = June 16, 871
From thence he begins a long journey until on June 9 (7-Reed), he arrives at the Milky Way by Gemini. By then all four quarters of the year have past which occasions the remark that he had spent "four years" there. The Milky Way, especially in the region of Gemini where the ecliptic passes, looks rather like a stream, to which it is homologized the world over. It happens that just there is to be found a dimmer strip passing at right angles to the general direction of the Milky Way. This corridor is flanked by a set of stars that form an outline of a bridge, as can be seen above. In the succeeding days, after the bridge is built, and in the next year of 3-Reed, Quetzalcoatl actually crosses this bridge, as Morning Star passes through this corridor in pursuit of the sun.
The Toltecs Summon Quetzalcoatl (874). The events of this episode take place in a year 5-House which ran from July 5, 873 (10-Lizard) to July 4, 874 (10-Rabbit). The Annals simply state, "5-House. This was the year the Toltecs went to get Quetzalcoatl to make him their ruler in Tollan, and in addition he was their priest. The story of it has been written elsewhere."3.1 The date is aptly chosen, since the number 5 can symbolize the "fifth quarter" that constitutes the Centre, and this politico-religious Centre is the House of Tollan, the capital of the Toltecs. This fetching of Quetzalcoatl can also be understood in astronomical terms.
Retrograde Motions of Morning Star
and Mercury, 874 (5-House)
The Sun symbolizes Tula (Tollan), where he is to rule over the Toltec nation. In terms of astronomy, how do the Toltecs, located in the position of the sun, go out and fetch Quetzalcoatl? The events of that year make it easy to see. As Morning Star approaches the sun to eventually achieve conjunction with it, the Sun does send out a messenger whose status as such was well appreciated in Classical Europe. This is the planet Mercury. On March 11, Mercury is with the sun. By the 13ᵀᴴ it is clearing the sun and moving towards Morning Star. It was only recently, around February 20, 874, that Morning Star was "born," having emerged from solar conjunction. On March 13, Morning Star is moving away from the sun. However, as he is hailed by the messenger, the approaching Mercury, Morning Star starts to go into retrograde motion. On March 15, Morning Star is moving towards the messenger. This is the day 12-Reed, which falls in the trecena of 1-Ehecatl, the name given to Quetzalcoatl as the Wind God. By March 20, the messenger begins leading Morning Star back to the Sun. The star of Quetzalcoatl does not complete his long journey to the Sun until late November in the year 6-Rabbit.
The Death of Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl (884). Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl was the ruler and priest of Tollan (Tula), the capital of the Toltecs. The Annals say, "2-Reed. According to stories from Tetzcoco [Texcoco], Quetzalcoatl Topiltzin of Tollan Colhuacan died at this time."4 The Annals speak of him as though he were different from the Quetzalcoatl whom they later report to have died in the year a. D. 896 (O.S.), which is the year 1-Reed. Both Quetzalcoatls are euhemerized versions of the god, but analysis shows that they differ only by being placed into disparate astronomical schemata. In "the stories from Tetzcoco," he is said to have died in the year 2-Reed, which ran from July 3, 883 (7-Jaguar) to July 1, 884 (7-Flint). So Quetzalcoatl lived from 1-Reed to 2-Reed, just 40 years. This chiasmus of reeds would be quite a coincidence in itself for a human, and clearly suggests that the biography of this Quetzalcoatl has been carefully fabricated. What makes the year 884 so extraordinary is the bizarre astronomical coincidences that occur with respect to Morning Star, Quetzalcoatl's stellar identity. Normally, we think of conjunction either in terms of sex (closeness of bodies), or especially in the case of the sun, in terms of death by incineration. When Morning Star achieves conjunction with the sun, we may think of it as having died, since it disappears from the sky and seems to have been swallowed up by both the sun and the earth. So it is, then, that Quetzalcoatl is consumed by the greatest of fires, one into which he chooses to commit himself as a resignation to destiny.
Year 2-Reed, Day 5-Flint of 5 Quecholli = April 12, 884
Year 2-Reed, Day 2-Reed of 20 Tititl = June 26, 884
What's fascinating about the Texcoco model is that it so well accounts for the story that we find in the Annals assigned to the year 895. Further ingenuity in this system is seen in the fact that the day 2-Reed of the year 2-Reed, which is the last day of the solar year 884 before the five "useless days" of the intercalary period, is the name day of Tezcatlipoca, the great adversary of Quetzalcoatl. "Two-Reed" is the name by which this god is known, the day on which he is said to have been born. It is typical of the see-saw contention between Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca that the birth day of the latter is the death day of the former. And so it is in myth that we find Tezcatlipoca hatching the idea of destabilizing the regime of Quetzalcoatl in Tula. As a god with special associations with mirrors, he shows Quetzalcoatl his own form in reflection, an unpleasant self-revelation which causes him to go into seclusion. However, the deity Coyotlinahual makes for him a mask of turquoise and other accouterments which revitalize his aesthetic virtues. The word for turquoise in Nahuatl is xihuitl, the same word that also denotes both the year, fire, and grass.4.1 His mask hides less than it reveals, since it is in that year, on the yearbearer's name day, that Quetzalcoatl will close the year 2-Reed with fire. Such was his fate, because his nemesis Two-Reed conspired to get him drunk on pulque, he who rigorously practiced penances and other ascetic virtues to the benefit of the Toltecs. They gave him four cups, which is conventionally judged to be the limit of sobriety. Yet Tezcatlipoca persuaded him to take a fifth cup. In his drunkenness, Quetzalcoatl called for his sister, Quetzalpetlatl, to join him in his excess. Most scholars have concluded that brother and sister slept together. The text itself is not very strong support for this (see footnote6), although the context makes such an inference natural. When we turn to calendrical astronomy we discover an interesting event not too long before Morning Star's self-imolation in the fire of the sun. On the day 5-Flint (April 12, 884), Morning Star comes into conjunction with Jupiter without occluding it entirely. The two planets make a mating pair. Morning Star's sister planet now becomes Quetzalcoatl's sister. Days with the number five (Mahcuilli) are governed by the goddess Tlazoltéotl, probably because five is considered the number of excess.5
In Nahuatl, the term tlazolli can refer to both vices and diseases. As the goddess of tlazolli, Tlazoltéotl was a goddess of purification and curing, particularly of diseases caused by sexual misdeeds or excess.6
This coincidence of the day 5-Flint with the goddess concerned with sexual excess, and a mating-like conjunction of Morning Star and Jupiter, is followed by what appears to be a reference to the flint half of the day name. When Tezcatlipoca tried to get Quetzalcoatl drunk, he resisted the temptation, but Tezcatlipoca said, "Taste it with your finger." When he did so, Quetzalcoatl said in Bierhorst's translation, "It's piquant."7 What he said, literally, is, "Indeed it's a sharp stone (?), indeed it's a thorn," the latter a reference to a tool of penance to induce bleeding, and a pun on huitztli, a homonym denoting both thorns and pulque.8 The reference to a sharp stone certainly brings to mind the day 5-Flint.
Next the Annals relate how Quetzalcoatl fell into melancholia over his failure of discipline, and the strange thing that he did to cope with it.
Then quickly a stone chest was carved. And when they had carved it and it was finished, they laid Quetzalcoatl in it. But he lay only four days in the stone chest. When he felt discomfort, he said to his pages, "Enough, grandfather page! Let's go. Everywhere conceal and hide what we once discovered, the joy, the riches, all our property, our possessions. And his pages did so. They hid it where Quetzalcoatl's bathing place was, at the place called Water Shrine, At-the-Water-Weed.9
The stone box may also refer to the day name Flint on which the conjunction with Jupiter falls. However, this is not the only possibility. In the itinerary of Venus across the night sky, the planet crosses that celestial body of water called the "Milky Way." This is the Water Shrine where he liked to immerse himself. Morning Star reaches the Milky Way near Gemini around June 6. This day is 8-Reed, the number eight being governed by Tlaloc, the god of water. It may be recalled from the discussion of the Stone Bridge (above), that where the ecliptic crosses the Gemini Milky Way there is a dimmer corridor flanked by two rows of stars that create the appearance of a bridge. This is the only stone structure associated with water crossed by Morning Star. There are four stars near the head of the bridge which form a box: ζ Tauri, 132 Tauri, 1 Geminorum, χ1 Orionis. Morning Star passes in and out of this box in four days (8-Reed ⇒ 9-Jaguar ⇒ 10-Eagle ⇒ 11-Vulture). After these four days, Quetzalcoatl moves on towards his destiny.
On the very day of 2-Reed, our June 26, 884, Morning Star is initiating conjunction. On the day 2-Reed, when Quetzalcoatl as Morning Star is metaphorically incinerated, the sun rises at 0658 hours, but not without incident. At 0921, a mere two hours and 23 minutes later, the sun is eclipsed by the moon. In Central Mexico this was a partial eclipse, but covered about 79% of the sun at Texcoco, as the eclipse table and eclipse obscuration diagram show.10
The Partial Eclipse of the Sun on June 26, 884 (Day 2-Reed of Year 2-Reed of 20 Tititl)
|Location||Texcoco||Tula (Tollan)||Tenochtitlan||Eclipse Magnitude & Obscuration at Texcoco|
|Latitude||19° 30' 20" N||19° 58' 26" N||19° 45' 09" N|
|Longitude||99° 52' 55" W||99° 10' 26" W||99° 55' 51" W|
|Altitude||2250 m||7818 m||2240 m|
June 26, 884 a. D.
|Partial Eclipse Begins||09:21:12||15:22:40||09:21:32|
|Partial Eclipse Ends||12:10:50||18:12:55||12:10:41|
|Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak and Chris O'Byrne (NASA's GSFC)|
The diagram to the far right shows a very good approximation to the eclipse magnitude (diameter) and eclipse obscuration (area) as seen from Texcoco.11 It may not have dimmed the light of the sun much at all, but for those in the know, even ex post facto, it is an event of extraordinary import in the theology of the Morning Star. Something of the eclipse of the sun is probably represented Quetzalcoatl's funeral scene as given in the Annals where it says, "And they say as he burned, his ashes arose."11.1 The ashes are the dark of the moon and the fire is the sun.
The correlation of sky and calendar can also give us insights into the provenance of the Texcoco model of Quetzalcoatl's astronomical-calendrical adventures. The Annals again tell us, "1-Rabbit  is when the Toltecs began. Their year count started in 1-Rabbit."12 This 1-Rabbit year ran from August 11, 726 (6-Water) to August 10, 727 (6-Reed). The Aztecs start their count on 2-Reed, the name day of Tezcatlipoca. A look at the sky in the year 1-Rabbit shows that Morning Star was "born" around the 22nd of January of the year 727 a. D. (O.S.). This is the day 1-Reed on the calendar, and since "1-Reed" is Quetzalcoatl's day name, its a very fortuitous coincidence.
January 22, 727 = Year 1-Rabbit, Day 1-Reed of 20 Tititl
October 9, 727 = Year 2-Reed, Day 1-Reed of 20 Tlacaxipetualiztli
If we follow the course of Morning Star to its end in conjunction with the sun, we find that it comes reasonably close on October 9, 727. The "death" of Morning Star therefore falls in year 2-Reed on day 1-Reed, the former date being the day name of Tezcatlipoca and the latter that of Quetzalcoatl. So Quetzalcoatl as Morning Star begins and ends on a 1-Reed day. This is a very unusual circumstance, and no doubt suggested the year 1-Rabbit as the beginning of the Toltecs. This would seem to imply that, since Quetzalcoatl is particularly a Toltec god, and that 1-Rabbit starts their year count, that it was the Toltecs who noticed this correlation and made that year of 727 their inaugural.
The Decline and Fall of Quetzalcoatl (896). The Annals introduce us to what they also seem to think is another Quetzalcoatl, one who died not in 884 (2-Reed), but 896 (1-Reed). 1-Reed runs from June 30, 895 (6-Jaguar) to June 28, 896 (6-Flint). The events of the year 896 are not isomorphic with those of 884, and represent a disastrous disjunction with the astronomical component of the theology. When the year opens, Morning Star is poised to end its sojourn in the sky, and by ca. August 16 (6-Caiman), Morning Star simply disappears from the sky not to return for the remainder of the year 1-Reed. What is gained is that since 896 is a 1-Reed year, Quetzalcoatl's life is a temporal chiasmus running from 1-Reed to 1-Reed, a span of 52 years, an exact calendar round. The calendrics are excellent, but the handling of the astronomy which should have been skillfully intermeshed with the calendar, is handled in a way that falls short of even being called "ham handed." The elegance and sophistication of the Texcoco (Toltec) model has been tossed away, although the myth that is properly attached to that model (for the year 884) has been preserved. However, there is one part of this myth which matches the Aztec model, and may be an innovation introduced by them. The year 1-Reed ends with Venus in conjunction with the sun. This can be understood as Morning Star being in the fire. The coda of the myth says,
And as soon as his ashes had been consumed, they saw the heart of a quetzal rising upward. And so they knew he had gone to the sky, had entered the sky. The old people said he was changed into the star that appears at dawn. Therefore they say it came forth when Quetzalcoatl died, and they called him Lord of the Dawn [Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli].13
So shortly after the end of the year 1-Reed, Quetzalcoatl does indeed rise into the sky as the Morning Star. This is a rather paltry piece of astronomy. The rest of the coda says that all kinds of colorful birds ascended the sky at Quetzalcoatl's death, and that he spent four years in the underworld, and another four years making darts. This is eight years, which represents the time for the cycle of 884 to restore itself, with Morning Star appearing in 892 just where it had in 884.
Furthermore, Sahagún offers literary support in the Song of Teteo innan (1981, 2: 226) :
The goddess on the barrel cactus is our mother
The obsidian butterfly [itzpapalotl].
Let us find her in the ninefold steppes
She'll be feeding on deer hearts
She our mother
She the goddess of the earth [tlaltecuhtli].
This passage basically equates the deities Itzpapalotl and Tlaltecuhtli.
Kelley, Astronomical Identities, S24-S25, identifies Mixcoatl with a long-nosed god (M). See Yaca-tecuhtli, etc.
Olivier identifies Yacatecuhtli with Tezcatlipoca, but admits that he is generally identified with Quetzalcoatl (337a nt 19). If the maskettes are counterparts to Redhorn's sons, then they would also correspond to Quetzalcoatl.
The merchants, or pochtecas, had Yacatecuhtli as their god. They were long distance traders, so some may have been in Cahokia. The maskettes may be a representation of their god. Charles Hudson, Southeastern Indians (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1978) 88-90. Cites James B. Griffin, "Eastern North American Archaeology: A Summary," Science, 156, #3772 (14 April 1967): 175-191.190
"Some of the religious symbolism was probably derived from Mexico, during the Post Classic maximum northward expansion of Mesoamerican culture, but it is extremely difficult to be more precise in terms of the specific source area, or of the way in which the Mexican concepts arrived, or of the area in the Southeast where they were first adopted. ... The earliest appearance of this pan-Southeastern Ceremonial Complex is around A.D. 1000, when the long-nosed-god masks cut from sheet copper appear with burials in Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Missouri, and at the Aztalan site in Wisconsin (Fig. 7j). Michael Coe suggested to me that these representations of a "long-nosed god" may be the result of Mexican influences introduced into the Southeast by pochteca or traveling merchants, whose extensive activities in Middle America are well known. The God of the Aztec pochteca was Yacatecuhtli, who is sometimes portrayed with a prominent nose. He is sometimes shown with a group of arrows and a disk, which suggest the bilobed arrow, and with a barred staff, suggestive of a serpent, which resembles a possible serpent staff, held by priests, on shell engraving from the Spiro site in Oklahoma." James B. Griffin, "Eastern North American Archaeology — A Summary," Science, 156 (1967) 157-191 [190c].