The Rise of Morning Star 

The Role of Theological Astronomy
in the Cultural Revolution of the XIᵀᴴ Century

by Richard L. Dieterle

Integral to understanding the "Big Bang" of Cahokia is the rise of the cult of the figure known to archaeologists as "Birdman." This figure is confidently identified with Morning Star. The widespread diffusion of this cult in the southeastern United States is as mysterious as the rise of Cahokia itself. Since Morning Star is not just a deity, but an astral figure, this investigation explores the supposition that celestial events taking place at the end of the XIᵀᴴ Century thrust Morning Star into sudden theological prominence. The evidence suggests that the rise of the cult of Morning Star and the ascension of Cahokia and its daughter cultures are intimately related.

Table of Contents

§1. The War of the Two Flints

§1.1. The Shattering of Flint.
§1.2. Flint, One Flint, and Four Flint.

§1.2.1. The Owl and the Butterfly.
§1.2.2. Four Flower.
§1.2.3. The Day Sign Vulture.
§1.2.4. Four Flint.
§1.2.5. Chimalman.

§1.3. Red Woman, Red Hair, and Flint-like Young Man.

§2. Hočąk Stories from Etowah

§2.1. The Georgian Buddha.

§2.1.1. Numbers.
§2.1.2. Of Left-handed Shells and Left-handed Gods.
§2.1.3. The Spider Web.
§2.1.4. The Raccoon.
§2.1.5. Wings.
§2.1.6. Facial Lines.

§2.2. The "Story Board" of Etowah and Hočąk Mythology.

§2.2.1. The Mortal Combat.
§2.2.2. The Headsman.
§2.2.3. Morning Star as Thunderbird, Evening Star as Waterspirit.
§2.2.4. The Waterspirit Combat.

§2.3. Mothra.
§2.4. The Bilobed Arrow.
§2.5. Morning Star and the Bilobed Plume.
§2.6. Where is Redhorn?

§3. Revolution from Above

§3.1. The Theological Mystery of Cahokia and Etowah.

§3.1.1. The Big Bang.
Morning Star’s Day in the Sun.
Morning Star in the House of the Obsidian Butterfly, Part I.
The Hyades Intrusion in Hočąk Myth.

§3.2. Attribute Transference: Morning Star, Itzpapalotl, and Mothra.
§3.3. Morning Star in the House (Calli) of the Obsidian Butterfly, Part II.

§3.3.1. Cup 202 from Spiro and Its Mexican Affinities.
§3.3.2. Cup 200, the Headsman Theme.
§3.3.3. Cup 201 and the Plumed Serpent of Ehécatl.
§3.3.4. The Astronomical Origins of the Relationship between Morning Star, Itzpapalotl, and Calli.

§3.4. Mothra Revisited.

§3.4.1. The Origin of Mothra.
§3.4.2. The Whirlwind Moth.
§3.4.3. The Plumed Serpent of Moundville.

§3.5. The Mace of One Reed.
§3.6. Class, War, and Rebirth.

§4. Appendix

§4.1. The Hočąk World Renewal Rite.
The Tree.
Redhorn, Morning Star, and the Identity of the Birdman.
§4.4. The Moundville Pendants.
§4.5. The Devil's Sun.

Prologue. This essay was detached from another devoted to exploring the connection between the Redhorn of the Hočągara and Mixcoatl of the Nahua of central Mexico. The preliminary results are summarized below.

The use of what here is called the "Hočąk model," properly began with Hall's realization that the "long nosed god" maskette earpieces of Mississippian archaeology corresponded in mythology to the living faces that graced the earlobes of the Hočąk (and Ioway) "culture hero" Redhorn.1 Unfortunately, archaeologists generally accepted Radin's conjecture that Redhorn was Morning Star (of Venus). This essay employs the Hočąk model while denying this identity, which makes matters at once more complicated and more productive. Using the Hočąk model gives us a clearer understanding of the "story board" suggested by the Morning Star mythology depicted in engravings, particularly those from Etowah.

Coincident to the emergence of Mississippian civilization beginning with Cahokia is the rise of a zealous cult of Morning Star expressed in the numerous remains of artworks dating from this period. It is hard to ignore the intuition that there is a connection between the naissance of this civilization and the birth of the Morning Star cult. Therefore, this essay will set out some of the background astronomy that seems to lie behind this cult and explore how it fits into the present understanding of its artistic expression.

Key to understanding the ancient theology underlying both mythology and the graphic arts, is what we might term the "Pauketat Conjecture." In seeking to explain the sudden explosion of cultural innovations at Cahokia — the "Big Bang" — the only plausible temporal correlate was the great supernova of 1054 (SN 1054), whose remnant is the Crab Nebula.2 Pauketat went on to propose that somehow, in ways difficult to demonstrate in detail, this event was the psychological "trigger" that set off what we may fairly describe as a "cultural revolution." The most conspicuous expression of this cultural revolution was the building of large numbers of giant, Huaxtec-like earthen pyramids.3* By pursuing the interconnections of astronomy and mythology, the present inquiry leads inexorably to the conclusion that there was a strong central Mexican influence at work in the native religious sphere. It is difficult to conceive how this could have come about. We usually imagine a Toltec trading community, but the obstacles to the existence of such a group are quite nearly prohibitive.4 It is not at all impossible that this influence took the form of a few individuals, or even a single man, whose flourits fell before or during the decade 1054-1064. All that will have been necessary to set this state of affairs in motion, is for someone to have gained a basic knowledge of the central Mexican calendar and the religion associated with it. In its new setting, this knowledge would have been highly esoteric, and its promulgation restricted to a few outstanding intellectuals holding status as "Medicine Men." The notion of a "seeding" event is substantially more plausible than an ongoing connection between Tula and what to them would have been a band of "hyperborean Chichimecs."5* As will be shown ( ), there is some reason to think that some of this very cream of esoterica survived among the Hočągara into the 1850's, and still tinctures some of their myths as well as those of other Siouan and neighboring peoples.


§1.1. The Shattering of Flint.

In the Redhorn Cycle, the Hočąk God of the Hunt, although one of the Great Ones, is killed by the Giants; and in "Redhorn's Sons," he is even captured and put to death by the Bad Waterspirits; but in "The Red Man," and its variant, "The Chief of the Heroka," the divine protagonist succumbs to the cruel machinations of a shadowy figure to whom he is related by marriage. Nevertheless, Redhorn is always rescued by his offspring, and in an episode of "The Red Man," we witness a severe retribution meted out to this sinister being by Redhorn's divine brothers.

"Now then, my friends, let me attend to him myself," said the Hare, as the two men were the Hare and the Trickster. "Now then, let us go over," they said. So they went there. And the old man said, "Ah, you have come," said he. "Yes, we have come," said they. "I knew that you were going to do this. If you have anything to say about my object to break embers on, it will do no good, as he has committed a crime, and I mean to keep him there until he dies," he said. "Now then, that is what we came for, and the Creator did not create you for this cause. You have gotten hold of a Great One and if you insist on doing it, you will die," said the Hare. "Ah, Hare, you have not changed my mind in the least." And then the Hare arose up and the first thing he killed [was] the alligators, and then he struck the old man and flint stone flew in every direction, and the old man ran out and he followed him up and every time he struck him the flint would fly. Thus he did to him and he scattered him all over the earth. That is why flint is all over the earth. Finally, he got him exhausted, and he began to walk to one side. "Oh my!" he said. There he struck him a hard blow and it rang out as of striking steel, as he was steel. He was the King [of] Steel, that was why he thought no one could kill him, but he did it to him.1

In a free-standing variant of this story from the Hare Cycle, we learn the identity of Redman's assassin.

Shortly after this Hare went to Flint and approached him in the same way as he had approached the first old man. He transformed himself into a tall being and sang as he came near the lodge of Flint. At the end of his song he would always exclaim, "Hiyi! Hiyi!" When he finished the song for the first time, Flint said: "Whatever spirit you are, I give you an arrow-point from my wrist, one that I value very much." The second time Flint said, "Whatever spirit you are, I give you a flint from my ankle, one that I value very much." The flints from his wrist and ankles were actually his poor ones. Finally after Hare had sung for the fourth time, he jumped toward him and chased him all over the earth, clubbing him and forcing him to scatter his flint arrow-points all over the earth. Then he killed him. Thereupon he picked up some of the flint arrow-points that he found. The best ones were blue. Those that came from his stomach were white, while still others were red and black.2*

So the man who killed Redman (Redhorn) is clearly Flint, whose name was probably Moíšega in Hočąk.3* This story of the shattering of Flint has quite a number of cognates, including parallels from Mesoamerica. These stories can be told in parallel —

Paradigm Aztec 1 Aztec 2 Hočąk Oglala 1 Oglala 2 Crow 1 Crow 2
[1] The God of the Hunt or his brother(s) is held captive by Flint. Itzpapalotl chases Mimich, but she gets caught Itzpapalotl eats all the Mimixcoa, then chases Mixcoatl who is cornered Flint possesses Redman's head. Iron Hawk is held captive by a Rock Woman (Uŋḣćéġila). The Four Brothers are held captive by Iya and his living rock master. Flint-like Young Man's brothers are held captive by Red Woman Curtain Boy is held captive by Long Arms.
[2] He is tied to a plant. in a biznaga cactus. in a biznaga cactus. Redman's head is underneath the wood of the fireplace. [He was held in place by a Rock Woman.] They have been flattened by the living stone and attached to a teepee. inside her teepee. Curtain Boy is tied to a tree.
[3] His brother(s) comes to the rescue. - The Mimixcoa reappear from the dead to rescue Mixcoatl. Hare and Trickster come to the rescue. Red Calf comes to the rescue of his father. Their nephew, Stone Boy, comes to their rescue. Flint-like Young Man comes to the rescue of his brothers. Spring Boy comes to the rescue of his brother.
[4] The God of the Hunt (or his brother), shoots an arrow at Mimich shoots arrows at One Flint and his Mimixcoa brothers shoot arrows at Hare [variant: Redhorn], clubs Red Calf shoots an arrow at With his warclub, Stone Boy struck With his sword, Flint-like Young Man struck Spring Boy shoots an arrow
[5] the Flint woman, Obsidian Butterfly, Obsidian Butterfly, Flint, the Rock Woman, the living stone, Red Woman, whose head was made of red stone, at a stone sitting beside Long Arms.
[6] and kills her. and kills her. and kills her. and kills him. and kills her. and kills him. and killed her. -
[7] The Flint woman is shattered, and flint is scattered everywhere. As her body burns, pieces of flint are ejected from the fire. [They burn her body to ashes.] He is shattered, and pieces of flint are scattered everywhere.6 The Rock Woman is shattered.8 The living stone is smashed.9 Her head is shattered, and pieces of red stone are scattered everywhere.10* [The stone bleeds.]11
[8] There are as many colors as quadrants (plus the center). They are of five different colors. - They are of four different colors. - - - -
[9] They keep the best one. Mixcoatl keeps the best one, which is white.4 They keep her ashes.5 Hare keeps the best one, which is blue.7 - - - -

The Hidatsa reflex12* has been omitted since it differs little from "Crow 2." "Paradigm" (deliberately vague) is used instead of "Preform" (reconstructed proto-myth). Reconstructing preforms is made harder by not knowing which of a set of cognate myths is the most conservative on any point of comparison. The Crow show two strikingly different versions, one in which Flint-like Young Man is matched against Red Woman, and another in which the brothers are the famous Hero Twins. In this episode, their antagonist is a quasi-inanimate object: a stone which can be made to bleed. This latter is probably based upon the Oglala Lakota, where the stone being is an Uŋḣćéġila, a word probably cognate to (or even borrowed from) the Hočąk Wakčexira, "Waterspirits." All Uŋḣćéġila are female; their male counterparts are called Uŋktéḣi. The ending of the Hočąk myth (§§8-9) is actually taken from a second variant. It belongs to a group of widely distributed folktales in which a male personification of flint is shattered into a myriad of pieces, thus accounting for the material used in making weapon points (q.v.). Otherwise this set of stories only borrows §7 from the folktale, the rest of its elements are unique to it. These stories contradict the related folktale by making the carrier of flint a female. Only the Hočągara hold to the folktale type by making Flint a male. Nevertheless, the Hočąk story may be the oldest among its Siouan cognates, since only it matches the Aztec story with respect to the rescuer securing the best piece of colored flint for himself. In the Nahuatl version, the number of different colored flints matches the number of the four quarters plus the center, and in the Hočąk version, the colors of his flint fragments match the color code of the four directions ().13*

West East

The arrows in the diagram reflect the ritual path, which is withershins, as if turning back time.

The Bow and Arrow Stars A White-Tailed Deer Flagging
Starry Night Software D. Gordon E. Robertson

Itzpapalotl, as I will show (⤋), is identified with the Hyades star cluster, and it is also possible to show that the Hočąk Flint is almost certainly the same. Given that Redhorn is identified with a star in Orion (q.v.), it becomes likely that Flint, who is at once both an opponent and a relative by marriage, is a nearby asterism, since love and war are generally the pursuits of neighbors. There is good circumstantial evidence that Flint is the neighboring Hyades cluster. One obvious reason why we would entertain such a thought is because this star cluster is shaped like an arrow-point (>). An examination of the Hočąk understanding of this region of the night sky reveals a pattern, a structure in which the Hyades is compelled to play a particular role. The stars running in a line from Sirius near the horizon, to the Pleiades form one coherent system. Indeed, among the kindred Sioux, this set of stars forms a single asterism called "Three Deer," the Pleiades being the head, and Sirius acting as the tail. It can be shown that the Hočąk Wears White Feather, the chief of the White Cranes, is the star Sirius (q.v., 1, 2). His name associates Sirius with feathers. The Arrow Spirit Redhorn is the central star of the Belt of Orion (Alnilam), which some cultures homologize to an arrow. Redhorn himself has the power to change into an arrow, and as Chief of the Heroka, he is a god of the hunt whose aim is unerring. The Cingulum of Orion, therefore, has an arrow as its counterpart, or at the very least, a spiritual identity with this weapon. In "Įčorúšika and His Brothers," his eldest brother, Kunuga, has four arms, symbolizing the bow (the two arms of the bowman plus the upper and lower ties of the string, both of which act as arms pulling on the bow). In "Wears White Feather," the grandfather who corresponds to Flint has the Forked Men for sons. These Forked Men have bodies that split at the waist so that they have two heads and four arms. They also represent the bow. Needless to say, one of them marries the younger sister of Redhorn, who as one of the Heroka, is identified with the arrow. We see her sagittary identity made explicit in another story, in which Wolf wins the daughter of Redhorn (q.v.). He takes her up and places her in his quiver as though she were one of his arrows. So the Forked Men, who are the sons of Flint, as well as Kunuga, the four-armed older brother of Redhorn, represent the bow. Since the arrowhead protrudes beyond the bow when it is fully drawn, any asterism that represents it in this series should follow after the bow stars; and, of course, this is where we do find the Hyades. The Pleiades lie just beyond the Hyades. The Hočągara call the Pleiades the "Deer-Rump" (Ča-šįč).14 The reason for this is that it resembles the bright white rump of a fleeing white-tailed deer. When approached by a predator, it raises its tail, whose underside is white, and exposes its rump, which is also bright white. This is called "flagging."15 So the Pleiades represent the fleeing target of a bowman. The astronomical allegory, the "Red Man," plays upon this identity. Redman's wife, pursuing her attempt to sabotage him, gets caught in one of his deer traps, where she hangs upside down. This causes her skirt to fall so that it exposes her rump, a fact that Redman lewdly comments upon to her embarrassment. These details suggest an identity with the Pleiades (see 1, 2). She is also said to be the sister of the figure otherwise known as "Flint," which makes it still more plausible to identify him with the neighboring Hyades. Thus we have first the arrow fletching in the feathers of Sirius, then the arrow in Orion, followed by the bow, and at the very end of this series, the fleeing target of the hunter, the deer. The basic pattern is that of a giant arrow pointing at its standard target. What's missing is the arrowhead that extends beyond the bow, and which in this scheme must be the Hyades, whose shape is precisely that of an arrowhead. Flint is the origin of all arrowheads, and given the overall scheme fulfilled by these stars, Flint must be the Hyades. We may also add that the grandfather (Flint) and his sons (the Forked Men) are called "Deer Eaters," Ča-ručge,16 a good metaphor for the bow and arrowhead, inasmuch as the latter "bites" into the deer. Flint's placement in this part of the sky receives some confirmation in another episode of the "Red Man." The daughter and son of Redman fled to a neighboring village. To keep them fed on their journey, Redman gave them a pail containing a deer tail that magically renewed itself after every meal. The deer tail, ča sįč, is a thinly disguised assonance of Ča-šįč, the Deer Rump or Pleiades. The pail containing the deer tail was intercepted by Flint from Redman's son and daughter (Orion), which is appropriate from an astronomical point of view, since the Hyades fall between ("intercept") Orion and the Pleiades. Therefore, as expected, Flint is precisely in the spatial position of the Hyades. When these asterisms set with the sun (the Pleiades first), they enter together into the underworld. The ča-sįč/Ča-šįč in the pail comes to be guarded by two alligators, who represent the attendants or "dogs" of the Waterspirits of the infernal regions (see 1, 2).

§1.2. Flint, One Flint, and Four Flint.

§1.2.1. The Owl and the Butterfly. In the Annals it is told that when Itzpapalotl was killed, they burned her to ashes. These ashes were made into a Tlaquimilolli, or Warbundle (as we call it in the north);1 but a variant from the Leyenda gives another account.

Then those spirits, the Xiuhteteuctin [Fire Lords] hear him, and they go to get the woman, Itzpapalotl. Mimich leads the way. And when they get her, they burn her. And then they all shined forth: first, the blue flint shined. Second, the white flint shined. They took the white one and wrapped it up. Third, the yellow flint shined. They didn't take it, they just looked at it. Fourth, the red flint shined. And again they didn't take it. Fifth, the black flint shined. Again they didn't take it. But Mixcoatl made the white flint his spirit power, and when they had wrapped it up, he backpacked it.2

Mixcoatl, the god who first made fire from flint,3 and who was born on 1-Flint,4 takes the white flint as his own to be used in a Warbundle. It may be noted that flint as the final product of fire is the temporal and causal reverse of making fire by striking flint. The flint is probably also a reference to the arrowhead-shaped Hyades, to which Itzpapalotl is to be identified (as we shall show). In the Hočąk myth of Redman, the grandfather who defeats him and takes his head, places it in a fire where it is constantly burned without being consumed. So here we have a reversal of the Aztec version, with the antagonist setting fire to the protagonist. Hare restores Redman (recalling the restoration of the Mimixcoa by Mixcoatl), then exacts revenge on the grandfather, shattering him with his club. He takes the flint piece that he considers to be the most valuable. So Hare acts in one case as a proxy for Redman, and in the other case, like Mixcoatl, takes for himself the most valuable piece of his enemy's lithic body. That this story attaches itself to Redman brings us back once again to the Aztec connection in the person of Mixcoatl and his flint/obsidian covered enemy.

In another version of this story as told in the "Chief of the Heroka," it is Redhorn himself who strikes Flint (there simply called "Grandfather"); but instead of fragmenting his body into a myriad of pieces, the effect of the blow is to transform Flint into an owl. Elsewhere, we discover exactly what sort of an owl this is. In the story "Wears White Feather," we are told, "And the old man, their grandfather [Flint], was an owl. He was one of the kind called Ai tt. Therefore, to all the things on earth, he was an enemy."7 The narrator wrote the name in the ambiguous Hočąk syllabic script. It is satisfied by Dorsey's hįčą́-na, which he translates as "the great owl"; and by Jipson's hin-jan (for hįją), "horned owl."8 The Ai tt (hįją) owl, therefore, is the Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus. That this owl should be an alloform of Flint is obvious at a glance, since its body appears to be covered in fragments of flint. Also his enormous ear tufts angle towards his beak, suggesting the outline of the Hyades.

The Hyades Superimposed over
the Face of the Great Horned Owl
  The Great Horned Owl
Bubo virginianus
  The Itzpapalotl Moth, the Window-Winged Saturnian
Rothschildia orizaba
Starry Night Software   © Paul Miller   Biodiversity Heritage Library9

Just as Flint is the mortal enemy of Redhorn, so among the Aztecs, as we have already seen, it is Itzpapalotl who confronts Mixcoatl, is slain by his confederates, and yields up a white flint from her body that Mixcoatl seizes upon as a source of mystical military power. This flint is actually the tecpatl, the sacrificial knife, which we see in Itzpapalotl's iconography represented over and over again as fringing her body. What does her sacrifice symbolize? She is the deity who rules over those women who have died in child birth. These are the female counterparts to warriors, and therefore occupy that half of the sky left open by the dead warriors and other men who have been offered in sacrifice. It is their special power that is placed inside Mixcoatl's Warbundle and which makes him unconquerable. The Hočągara have a similar idea. To them the most powerful female war power resides in menstrual blood, so they have a maiden who is undergoing her first menstruation make the cover of the Warbundle, thus imparting to it the invisible power to neutralize enemy weapons. So, given this fact, why is the goddess not known as Tecpapapalotl, the "Flint-knife Butterfly"?

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. It is quite possible that the concept of a clawed butterfly refers to the bat, and in fact, in a number of instances Itzpapalotl appears with bat wings.10

However, Itzpapalotl is identified with a particular lepidopteran which bears her name. Her zoomorphic identity is based upon the same principle as that of the Hočąk Flint. The name ītzpāpā́lōtl denotes a kind of moth, the Window-Winged Saturnian (Rothschildia orizaba), so-called because of four translucent patches found on its wings. The itzpapalotl moth is nocturnal, making it a night flyer like Flint's owl. The nocturnal character of moths is the key to understanding why the Hočągara considered an owl (hąpók) to be her natural counterpart. In Hočąk, the word for moth is hąpóg-nįk, "little owl," or hąpóg-mįmįké, "owl-butterfly,"11 essentially the same name given to it by the Osage (dsióⁿ-dsioⁿ wap̣oga).12 So any kind of moth is, in the very terms of the language, a kind of metaphorical owl. The itzpapalotl "owl" is a silk moth, and in Brazil, its cocoon threads were used to make silk cloth.13

To the Aztecs of central Mexico, these moths were identified with fire because of the gray, wedge shape wing spots that reminded them of obsidian or flint (with which fire is started) and called itzpapálotl (itzlis = flints + papálotl = moth). The moth's undulating flight and wavy lines in the wing pattern were also likened to the dancing flames. Evidence for this symbolism is found in numerous bas-reliefs and designs found in the architecture of these people.14

The triangular patterns found on the moth, white like the prized flint that Mixcoatl obtained from the cremation of Itzpapalotl, have the shape of arrow points as well as the tecpatl, the sacrificial flint knife with which the goddess has explicit associations in iconography. There are four of these triangular spots, reflecting her borrowed calendar name of "Four Flint." Clearly, the moth takes its name from itzlis, "obsidian," and not from a homonym meaning "claw." Therefore, the goddess of the same name, thus having an identity in this particular moth, must also share the meaning "Obsidian Butterfly." Obsidian comes in a relatively rare clear form just like the "windows" on the wings of the itzpapalotl moth, which would make this moth an obsidian "butterfly." This is probably the origin of the name, but we should not be mesmerized by the nominal obsidian, since the goddess herself is portrayed in terms of flint. She, like the Hočąk Flint, has flint embedded in her body. Like Flint, Itzpapalotl yields up four colors of that stone only one of which (the white one) is deemed the best to keep. When she is cremated, it is flint, not obsidian, that is ejected from her pyre, and in iconography, it is the tecpatl that is shown projecting from her body. The shift from flint to obsidian in name only is similar to shifting from a particularly exemplary moth to an owl,15* a divergence that does little to hide her affinity to the northern Flint, her kindred antagonist to the God of the Hunt. Tools made of flint are also capable of being fashioned out of the more brittle obsidian. Obsidian, like the arrowhead "windows" in the itzpapalotl's wings, is translucent in thin slices, although it is typically black. Obsidian rightly cut can be used to view an eclipse of the sun as through a glass darkly. It is during such an occasion that another aspect of the goddess comes into play. She is one of the tzitzimime demons who may descend during a solar eclipse to eat people. The tzitzimime may also descend in like manner should the priest fail to drill fire during the New Fire ceremony. Since it was Mixcoatl-Camaxtli who started the very first fire, as a tzitzimime Itzpapalotl is in striking opposition to this god and his successors. This reminds us of the fact that Flint's owl, the Great Horned Owl, is also a cannibal, since it eats other owls.16 Flint, and his kindred Head-Eaters,17* show a similar proclivity for human flesh, as when they ate the head of the red Giant (Morning Star) who appeared before them as a threat on the horizon.

The Hyades "Swallowing" the Full Moon,
Year 5-Flint, Day 2-Rabbit of 10-Toxcatl (VI)
Tula, Mexico, Sunrise, 7 November 808 (OS)
Redrawn from the
Mapa De Cuauhtinchan No. 2
The Moon and the Hyades,
Sunrise, 19 May 768,
Tula, Mexico
Starry Night Software 18 Starry Night Software

It seems reasonably certain that Flint can be identified with the Hyades, but nothing is said of this with respect to Itzpapalotl. Nevertheless, it can be shown with a high degree of certainty that Itzpapalotl has a stellar identity as the Hyades. Let us first review a number of superficial attributes that suggest that she is the spiritual embodiment of this star cluster. As we have already observed, Itzpapalotl is in our myth the counterpart of Flint, who is very likely the Hyades himself, which is appropriate to their arrowhead shape. Just as he represents the stone point of the arrow, so Itzpapalotl in the old incantations of bowmen, stands as a metaphor for the arrowhead.19* The Itzpapalotl of the Mapa De Cuauhtinchan No. 2 carries a strange "V" shaped emblem (as shown above) with which she nearly frames the sun. On her back is a dark target-shield which corresponds to the position of the moon as it approaches conjunction (or eclipse) with the sun. The "V" device has a less acute angle than the actual Hyades, and the stars are actually rising with the sun rather than approaching it, but otherwise the relationship of the sun, moon, and Hyades when it rises with the sun mirrors what we see in the pictorial representation. Itzpapalotl also has associations with flint and obsidian, including the triangular "windows" on the itzpapalotl moth which are "V" shaped like the Hyades. It is the white flint, the star-colored triangle, whose capture is a source of power for Mixcoatl. Not only moths, but other winged animals with which she is identified (bats, eagles) also form a "V" at the top of their power stroke. Since the "V" shape has two stems, she is also a quaxolotl, a bicephalic deer. She is depicted in iconography anomalously as a doe with antlers, every tine of them being of the same wedge shape as the antlers themselves. She is also a goddess of the earth, and as non-circumpolar stars, the Hyades pass from the sky into the earth whenever they set. She is a goddess of the stars of the south, and the Hyades are a southern star cluster. She has lunar associations reflected in the moon's occasional pass through the Hyades, as may be seen above for the year 808 a. D., when that star cluster, within a minute and a half of setting with the rising sun (06:45:40), captures the full moon within its "jaws." She is a goddess of fire, shown in the fact that the ecliptic passes very close to the Hyades, bringing them the greatest fire of the firmament.20* This set of shared attributes is only an indication of identity. It is in the interlocking of calendar and astronomy that we look to find proof.

§1.2.2. Four Flower. The calendar names of deities, like those of ordinary people, are designed to display the day of their birth. This is significant, since stars were thought to have an astrological significance for mortals, and among the immortals, were often deemed to be an expression of their sacred nature. The calendar name of a deity singles out a day on the calendar when that deity was born. In the case of Itzpapalotl, that day was 4-Flower.21 Unfortunately, such a datum is not particularly helpful, since a day sign over the course of history will repeat itself thousands of times. To find a particular date as the time at which the deity was born is rather like looking for a needle in a haystack. However, since calendars arise most particularly out of astronomy, it is to the heavens that we should look for the original inspiration behind the name. Unique events happen in the heavens whose time can be fixed to a particular day, and therefore to a day sign. If these events happen to the astronomy with which the deity is especially identified, then the event surely can be connected to that deity. To an astrologically inclined culture, events in the sky that involve the astronomical bodies of a deity are expressions of that deity. There are in fact only a relatively small number of astronomical events of note, since most of what takes place in the heavens is quite regular, a fact well appreciated by Mesoamerican astronomers. Unusual events may include such things as eclipses, occultations, transits, rising or setting with or against the sun or some other body. Such events associated with both a particular day sign and the astronomy bound up with the deity will be rare.

When they had begun their calendar count, the priests of Tula must have searched the heavens for signs that would reflect the manifestation of the various deities in their Year One. To discover a calendar name like "Four Flower," priests must have looked for something taking place in the heavens that involved her unique attributes, a revelation that might let them know what her calendar name is in their foundational calendar. Since this calendar would be expected to be divinely inspired, evidence for the goddess' participation in it must be sought in some form of divination. Astronomy, in this instance, is the most obvious form of divination, of searching for a sign that will show that the goddess is revealing her name to them. We know, for instance, that Itzpapalotl had strong lunar associations. In the Codex Borgia, Itzpapalotl-Tlazoltéotl is portrayed facing the rabbit in the moon.22 Milbrath argues that Itzpapalotl is the earth-moon, the moon that lies on the earth in conjunction with the sun,23 recalling the dark, round, target shield that she carries in the Mapa (). This is appropriate to her role as a tzitzimime and eclipse demon, since it is this moon in particular that is involved in solar eclipses. Itzpapalotl's dual sexuality is typical of the whole set of earth-moon goddesses.24 Her eagle attributes may owe to her intimate association with the sun (portrayed as an eagle) at conjunction. However, we should not forget that in the Mapa Itzpapalotl also carries a bright target shield, which in this context should represent the full moon. Our hypothesis is that she is also a goddess of the Hyades, which are often found coupled with both the sun and the moon. As we see elsewhere (, ), the Hyades will occasionally capture the full moon, and this conjunction may explain Itzpapalotl's association with this phase of the moon.

For present day investigators, searching for a calendar name is rather like looking for a fossil. A fossil hunter does not search for dinosaurs in Pleistocene rocks. Since the deities are foundational, they can be expected to have emerged in what Eliade was fond of calling illo tempore,25 "at that time" outside the history of the profane world, in the time of beginnings. The time of beginnings would naturally be the beginnings of time. The calendar, being a human contrivance, has itself a beginning in time. We know what that was for the Toltecs. The Toltec calendar count began on 11 August 726 a. D. (OS) with the date 7 Water of the year 1-Rabbit. This Year One concluded on 5 August 727 (1-Rabbit of 1-Rabbit). We are told that Itzpapalotl bore the calendar name "Four Flower." This means that she was taken to have been born on a day having the sign 4-Flower. Each 4-Flower day is separated from its next occurrence by 260 days, the length of the tonalpohualli ritual calendar whence it was taken. It happens that in the year 1-Rabbit the day 4-Flower occurs twice, once on the solar calendar date of 12-Izcalli (21 August 726) and again on 12-Tepeilhuitl (9 May 727).26* The first of these dates shows no interesting astronomical occurrences. The other 4-Flower of Year One does show a striking coincidence involving the sun, the moon, and the Hyades. The sun set on day 4-Flower2 in Year One at exactly 18:02:17. At the latitude of Tula the Hyades set with the sun for only a couple of days, disappearing from the sky at sunset 9 May 727, and reëmerging at sunrise on 11 May. As it happened, Aldebaran, the last star of the Hyades to sink below the horizon, set with the sun at 18:00:53, as shown on this table.

Date 8 May 727 9 May 727 10 May 727 11 May 727 12 May 727  
3-Rain 4-Flower 5-Cayman 6-Wind 7-House  
Time Time Δt Time Δt Time Δt Time Δt Time Δt  
Moon Phase Gibbous 13.76 dd. Full 14.79 dd. Gibbous 15.80 dd. Gibbous 16.78 dd. Gibbous 17.74 dd.  
Moon Rises 18:02:32 -59' 23" 19:01:45 -32" 19:59:35 +56' 57" 20:54:41 +1h 52' 41" 21:45:55 +2h 42' 33"  
Sun Sets 19:01:55 19:02:17 19:02:38 19:03:00 19:03:22  
+2' 54" -1' 24" -5' 41" -9' 59" -15 17"  
Aldebaran Sets 19:04:49 19:00:53 18:56:57 18:53:01 18:49:05  
Sun Rises 05:00:26 +8' 46" 04:59:57 +5' 19" 04:59:28 +1' 52" 04:59:01 -1' 38" 04:58:35 -5' 7"  
δ-1 Tauri Rises 05:09:12 05:05:16 05:01:20 04:57:24 04:53:28  

So the whole of the Hyades set a mere 1 minute and 24 seconds before the sun, and two days later, led by δ-1 Tauri, rose one minute and 38 seconds after the sun. At this very time on 4-Flower2, another element of Itzpapalotl's make-up, the Moon, became full and rose with the sun on the opposite side of the horizon at exactly 18:01:45, 32 seconds before. This was a mere 52 seconds after the Hyades had set. Clearly, the designation "Four Flower" for Itzpapalotl arose when, during the first year of Toltec time, the sun passed through the Hyades at the very same moment that the full moon rose.

The hypothesis advanced was that prima facie Itzpapalotl seemed to have a connection to the Hyades. By examining the first 4-Flower dates in Toltec history, we discover that on one of these days the Hyades set with the sun for the year at the very same time that the moon, precisely when it was exactly full, rose achronically with the sun. The Hyades-as-Itzpapalotl is born on earth, escorted there by the sun, at the same moment that the full moon is born into the sky. Such an event is rare to the point of being almost unique. Since it is safe to say that the name "Four Flower" was not selected at random, it is hard to see how the unique events tied to the Hyades and moon that took place on 4-Flower2 in Year One would not have served as the inspiration for Itzpapalotl's calendar name. When the priests looked to the sky for the divine charters required for their newly instituted calendar, they could not but see the striking events in the firmament on 4-Flower2 as anything but a divine sign. We, of course, see it all as a striking coincidence. Indeed, there may be some who feel that the correlation of the name "Four Flowers" with these events on 4-Flower2 is itself a coincidence, but the force of probability becomes decisive when we come to realize, as will be shown, that all the calendar associations of Itzpapalotl are tied to the primeval astronomy of the Hyades.

More of a speculative nature can be said about the appeal of this astronomical pattern as a sign of how Itzpapalotl should be identified in terms of the calendar. The scene happens by good fortune to bear a resemblance to the most important episode in her mythological life. A fortune, it must be said, which we must take as a pure coincidence, but which the Toltecs would certainly not have dismissed as such. When Itzpapalotl chased after Mixcoatl, who himself has a strong association with the sun and fire, she met her end in a hail of arrows (the rays of the sun?). Her body was cast into the fire, and at a distance, cast out of the fire, was the valuable pure white flint which Mixcoatl kept as his own. The events of 4-Flower2 of 1-Rabbit mirror this to a significant degree. Solar conjunction is often represented as the death of the being who undergoes it, since they disappear from the sky altogether and reside as in an earthly grave. The sun on earth is naturally homologized to a great fire of immolation. The moon itself was once in that fire, but on the day in question, had leapt out to land at a distance on the opposite horizon, where it entered into the domain of Mixcoatl, the night sky. Being a full moon, it is pure white like the flint claimed by Mixcoatl. Since the sun is setting, Itzpapalotl is found in her proper place in the west, and the white moon is found in the east (q.v.), the province of Mixcoatl. The priests of Tula must have considered this sufficient proof that this day was to be sacred to Itzpapalotl, the day of her birth, ironically, being a reflection of the day of her death. Therefore, the initial hypothesis that Itzpapalotl was to be identified with the Hyades gives us a means for showing how and why she acquired the name "Four Flower." The name "Four Flower" is only one of twenty day sign designations, and occurs only once every 260 days; this year 1-Rabbit1 is a unique year among thousands; the heliacal setting of the Hyades occurs only once a year, and the probability of its occurrence at the same time as the full moon rising is too remote for a non-expert to calculate. Therefore, I leave it to the reader to contemplate just how improbable such a great concordance between deity, calendar, and astronomy is. This argument should be sufficient to demonstrate the esoteric identity of Itzpapalotl with the Hyades. This identity will be confirmed by further proofs to follow. The modern use of computer programs that allow reconstruction of time and space for a remote age allow us to get behind the primary sources and to discover incidentally some of the astronomy that is not explicitly expressed in the surviving records of these now vanished civilizations.

The King Vulture
Sarcoramphus papa
Eric Kilby

§1.2.3. The Day Sign Vulture. Itzpapalotl is also patroness of the day sign Vulture (Cozcacuauhtli).27 Here the proof of a Hyades connection to this sign runs into a complication, although it fits well enough the model we have used thus far. The first Vulture day of the Toltec Year I does not yield the hoped for result, there being no astronomical events of interest involving the Hyades. This day was 13-Vulture which fell on the solar date of 8-Izcalli (18 August 726), just seven days after the year 1-Rabbit1 began. However, there are two 13-Vulture days in the year 1-Rabbit, 13-Vulture2 falling on 5 May 727 (8-Tepeilhuitl [XIV]). Just as in the case of the name "Four Flower," it is on the second occurrence of the day that the astronomically defining event occurs. In fact it is just four days before Itzpapalotl's namesake day of 4-Flower2: 13-Vulture ➢ 1-Motion ➢ 2-Flint ➢ 3-Rain ➢ 4-Flower.

4 May 727
5 May 727
6 May 727
Time Time Δt Time Δt Time Δt
Sun Sets 07:00:31 +3' 33" 07:00:52 -1' 44" 07:01:13 -6' 1"
γ Tauri Sets 07:03:04 06:59:08 06:55:12

So on 13-Vulture2, the Hyades synchronically set with the sun. We see that the same method by which they obtained her calendar name of "Four Flower" was used four days earlier to help determine the day sign over which she would be the patroness.28*

The oddity of this particular day is its coefficient (13). It would have worked out better had a 1-Vulture day been found, although it interferes with the astronomical identity of the trecena Vulture, which begins on that day. However, there is a 1-Vulture day that is connected to Hyades events. It's a bit of an outlier, occurring on November 15, 728. On 1-Vulture4, the Hyades transited at midnight.

14 November 728
15 November 728
16 November 728
Time Time Δt Time Δt Time Δt
ε Tauri Transits 00:05:46 +5' 46" 00:01:50 +1' 50" 23:57:54 -2' 6"

However much this incident may have served as a confirmation, we should be reluctant to use as as an element in our argument that the Hyades played a role in establishing the day sign Vulture as Itzpapalotl's special day.

Clearly, Itzpapalotl's association with this day sign goes beyond astronomy. Itzpapalotl is said to descend from the sky during a solar eclipse and to devour human beings who happen to find themselves at crossroads. An eclipse represents a crossing of the road of the moon with the road of the sun. The very ancient view that the sun is being eaten during an eclipse was replaced with the view that the sun's light is being "eaten" by the full black disc of the Earth Moon, with which Itzpapalotl is identified. So Itzpapalotl eats humans at the crossroads of space at the same time that she eats the sun at the crossroads of time. A vulture also descends from the sky to eat an animal that finds itself at the crossroads of life and death. Vultures circle over the earth until this temporal crossroads is reached, then descend to eat the victim. In like manner, the moon circles the earth until it reaches that crossroad in celestial time when it begins to devour the sun's light. It can be seen, therefore, that it is also the similarity of these birds to Itzpapalotl that leads to her identification with them.

§1.2.4. Four Flint. By the use of the same method, we can show that there exist three more proofs of Itzpapalotl's identity with the Hyades. Two shall be given here, the other in a more appropriate context (). By using the same hypothesis that Itzpapalotl is the Hyades, we can demonstrate the origins of another one of her (borrowed) calendar names, "Four Flint."29 As it happens, the goddess of purity, Tlazoltéotl, once transformed into Itzpapalotl, just as Tezcatlipoca had morphed into Mixcoatl in order to start the first fire. Despite the fact that her calendar name is said to be "borrowed" from Tlazoltéotl, in many respects it is an even more striking match than "Four Flower." Her name "Four Flower" derives from the second occurrence of the day 4-Flower in the first year of the Toltec calendar (1-Rabbit). There are also two occurrences of 4-Flint in the Toltec Year I. On 8 November 726, which is 4-Flint1 of 1-Rabbit1, the Hyades (led by the star δ-1 Tauri) rose as the sun set, exhibiting the same solar opposition found in her name day of 4-Flower2 of 1-Rabbit1. At that moment, the Hyades are almost on the opposite side of the celestial sphere from the sun, 176° 6.617' apart (the azimuth of δ-1 Tauri was 75° 8.190'; that of the sun was 251° 14.807'). This table shows that the achronical rising of the Hyades occurred on the first 4-Flint day of history.

7 November 726
8 November 726
9 November 726
Time Time Δt Time Δt Time Δt
Sun Sets 18:00:01 +4' 44" 17:59:44 +1' 5" 17:59:28 -2' 34"
δ-1 Tauri Rises 18:04:45 18:00:49 17:56:54

So by using exactly the same method employed to derive her calendar name "Four Flower," we are also able to derive her secondary name, "Four Flint."

There can be no date on the calendar more emphatically identified with the name "Four Flint," than history's first 4-Flint day of its first 4-Flint year. We find, for instance, that the Sun (Tonatiuh) who bears the calendar name "Thirteen Reed," is said to have been born on 13-Reed of 13-Reed.30* Normally, calendar names refer to a particular day on which the deity was said to have been born. In this case we may be encountering the birth of an avatar in the form of her literal descent to earth (the realm of Tlazoltéotl). Since the tonalpohualli calendar is only 260 days, in a 4-Flint year on the solar calendar, there are two occurrences of the day 4-Flint, one on 20 Hueitozoztli and the other on 20 Tititl (the last day of the year). It is the former date that is the first 4-Flint day of the first 4-Flint year (see note). In the 14 dates bearing the designation 4-Flint of 4-Flint between the years 612 and 925 a. D., only this one is correlated with any astronomical event of note, an event that fell on our calendar on the date 7 November 768 a. D. (OS), the date of the very first 4-Flint of 4-Flint since the inauguration of the Toltec calendar in the year 1-Rabbit (726).31*

The Hyades Rising at Sunset,
4-Flint of 1-Rabbit on 10 - Hueitozoztli (V)
Tula, Mexico, 8 November 726.
The Hyades Touching the Earth Point First,
4-Flint of 4-Flint on 20-Hueitozoztli (V)
Tula, Mexico, Sunrise, 7 November 768

On this date, at the city of Tula (Tollan), the sun rose at exactly 06:45:35 hours, and the "point" of the Hyades, the star γ Tauri, achronically set, which is to say, touched the horizon, at exactly 06:46:06, 31 seconds later.

6 November 768
7 November 768
8 November 768
Time Time Δt Time Δt Time Δt
Sun Rises 06:44:59
+5' 3"
γ Tauri Sets 06:50:02 06:46:06 06:42:10

So the name "4-Flint" commemorates the time at which Itzpapalotl achronically touched down on earth (Tlazoltéotl). Therefore, there are two 4-Flint dates that correlate with astronomical events tied to the Hyades. The odds against this being purely coincidental is, forgive the play on words, astronomical. Therefore, it is as near a certainty as possible that Itzpapalotl as Four Flint is to be identified with the Hyades.

This second 4-Flint1 date proves to be significant in other ways. By isolating this second date, we learn that Itzpapalotl descended from the night sky to earth in the year 768. This falls within the period when the euhemerized Mixcoatl ruled at Tula as the first king of the Toltecs. The calendar name of Mixcoatl is "One Flint." The Annals tell us,

In the year 1-Flint [752] the Toltecs got themselves a ruler. They took Mixcoamazatzin as their ruler, and he initiated the Toltec rule.20*

Mixcoamazatzin means "Mixcoatl Deer." The year 1-Flint in question ran from 4 August 752 (6-Rain) to 8 August 753 (6-House), and was the first 1-Flint year in history (see note). There are two occurrences of the day 1-Flint during this year 1-Flint: one on 20 Hueitozoztli (11 November 752), and the other on the yearbearer day of 20 Tititl (29 July 753). On the first of these, the highest part of the Hyades "V," which in this case proves to be Aldebaran, set at sunrise.33* Not only that, but on 10 November, the moon was in conjunction with the sun at sunset and remained so at sunrise the next day. It is the dark, earth-moon that is particularly associated with Itzpapalotl.34* So by an extraordinary coincidence, exactly 16 (4 x 4) solar years later to the day (20 Hueitozoztli 768) from Mixcoatl's inaugural year of 1-Flint in 752, Itzpapalotl as the Hyades descended completely to earth on her name day of 4-Flint. To a modern, scientifically inclined person, this set of concomitant events is a testimonial to the reality of remote random coincidences; but a Toltec priest charged with the governance of the worship of Itzpapalotl could never view it this way.

In this context we may discover again that astronomy is not the only consideration in play when determining a calendar name. We have seen that on 7 November 726 and 8 November 768, the rising or setting of the Hyades correlates achronically with the sun. As it happens, on 8 November 726 (3-Motion) and on 8 November 768 (5-Rain), the Hyades rise at sunset. Neither of these days was chosen, because Itzpapalotl has obvious connections to flint (knives), but no connection to rain, the realm of Tlaloc.35* So the choice of the Flint calendar name owes something to the goddess' connection to the sacrificial flint knife. This knife is her ultimate expression at her (earthly) death: as her body burns, she ejects flints, one of which becomes the sole object within Mixcoatl's Warbundle. Yet this name, "Four Flint," which is doubly reinforced in astronomy, is not her primary calendar name. The reason may be similar. In one of her primary myths, a myth of origins, Itzpapalotl is the goddess who picked the forbidden flower from the tree of Tamoanchan, and who caused the exile of the gods from paradise. So it is that she should carry a floral name that brings to mind this seminal episode in her life.

§1.2.5. Chimalman. Since Mixcoatl is a god of the chase intimately associated with arrows, it follows that he has a close relationship to flint, commonly used to tip arrows. This is reinforced by the fact that he is also said to have been the first one to have used flint to start a fire. This means that his opposition to the Hyades figure is not in anyway absolute, as they have a common identity in the black stone used in the creation of points. Itzpapalotl, whose moth wings are fringed with the stone tecpatl knives, is a counterpart to Mixcoatl in another way. Just as Mixcoatl is the leader of the dead warriors as sacrificial victims who have become stars in the north, so Itzpapalotl is the leader of the stellar souls of those women who have made themselves the equivalent of warriors by dying in child birth. These are the ciuapipiltin or cihuateteo who are also the tzitzimime, star demons who descend during solar eclipses to feast as cannibals upon the living. In contradistinction to the host of Mixcoatl, the ciuapipiltin reside in the south. After the death of Itzpapalotl, Mixcoatl leads his men on an itinerary of conquest in a sunwise course which ends in the south. There he meets the women called the Huitznahua, "the Southerners," and tries to kill a certain Chimalman, who skillfully evades his every attempt to shoot her. She flees to a cave in a valley, but her sisters induce her to return. Mixcoatl repeats his performance with the same results, except this time he mates with Chimalman and fathers Quetzalcoatl upon her. In the story, Mixcoatl kills some of the Huitznahua, and the sorority appears before Chimalman's hideout to petition her to face Mixcoatl for the sake of their collective salvation. She is not ordered to do so by the head of the Huitznahua, nor does the sorority do anything but ask it of her, which suggests the obvious: Chimalman is the head of the Huitznahua. Mixcoatl is the captain of the stars of the north, the stars that are the souls of the departed warriors and sacrificial victims. His counterpart, complement, and opposite, is Itzpapalotl, who is the warrior chieftainess over the southern stars, the Huitznahua, her retinue composed of those who died in childbirth.36 Prima facie, Chimalman appears to play the exact role of Itzpapalotl, albeit somewhat euhemerized. Chimalman is a warrior's name meaning, "Recumbent Shield" (but probably not, as some suggest, "Shield Hand").37* Just as Mixcoatl (and the Mimixcoa) shoot at Itzpapalotl, so too does the God of the Hunt fire his darts at Chimalman. Primarily on the basis of this parallel, Yoneda and others have found it plausible to see Chimalman as a form of Itzpapalotl.38* This is reinforced, if not proven, by the image in the Mapa Cuauhtinchan No. 2 () of her broken tree of Tamoanchan which she wears as a dorsal emblem. However, the tree is broken by an arrow or dart from the direction of the solar disk, not as in the surviving myths of Tamoanchan, but as in the arrow dodging tale of Chimalman.

The Hyades with Its "Shield"in Hand, 0414,
20 Nov. 785, Tula, Mexico
Starry Night Software

Itzpapalotl's identity with the Hyades should also be shared by Chimalman. As we see in the inset, the periodic situation of the full moon at the end of one of the two arms of the "V" shaped Hyades makes it clear why the stem of her name, chimal-, is "shield," since the shield of Itzpapalotl, as we see in the Mapa, is a circular target shield shaped like the full moon. As a lunar deity (like Itzpapalotl), Chimalman can be seen giving birth to Quetzalcoatl in astronomical terms. In addition to having his well known calendar name of One Reed, we learn that he also bears another:

And they said that the one they called their god made them, created them, out of ashes. This they attributed to Quetzalcoatl. 7 Wind is the day sign of the one who made them, created them.39

This entry was made under the year 1-Rabbit (726-727), the Year I of the Toltec calendar. In the first 7-Wind day of history, Quetzalcoatl is born as Venus (in Evening Star phase), inasmuch as when he created this race, he did so in the company of his nahualli, Xolotl or Evening Star. Since "7-Wind" is a calendar name, it is supposed to be the birth date of its bearer. As the sun sets on 7-Wind of 1-Rabbit, we can see Venus emerging from the almost dark moon (3.7 days old), as though the moon herself was giving birth to him.

 The Birth of Seven Wind
0530-0730 hours
7-Wind of 1-Rabbit
3 October 726
Starry Night Pro Plus Software

In the Cuauhtinchan picture, Itzpapalotl can be seen with another shield on her back, one which is colored in a dark shade (the colors of this and the clothing of the goddess are the same as the color of the itzpapalotl moth). This is the moon that has gone all but completely dark. In a glyph from an Aztec polyptych, Chimalman, found in the role of the progenitor of the nation, is represented by this same dark target-shield.40 Unlike their Chichimec ancestors, the Aztecs no longer believed that at the end of the month the moon was literally reduced to a sliver destined soon to disappear altogether. Their advance knowledge of solar eclipses made it clear to them that the moon was always a disc, even when it went dark. When Itzpapalotl/Chimalman rises as the Hyades, she sets this dark shield down so that it lies recumbent upon the ground. It is from this shield that she (as Itzpapalotl) is connected to solar eclipses as one of the Tzitzimime. An arrow emanating from the fiery, flower-like sun to her front, cuts her dorsal standard (the broken tree of Tamoanchan),41* having passed just over her head, not as in the myth of her destruction by the Mimixcoa, but as in the myth of Chimalman. Below her is that very biznaga cactus (not shown in my rendering). This represents Mixcoatl, and the shooting is done by the sun over which he exerts control. The biznaga cactus likely represents the Milky Way, the very referent of Cloud-Serpent's name, which at this time forms an arch or dome over the southern horizon, in the shape of a pot, the "sacred pot" or teocomitl, the name by which the biznaga cactus was known in Nahuatl. Itzpapalotl needs to be disguised as Chimalman because the latter's life does not comport well with the time frame of the euhemerized Mixcoatl-Deer who ruled over Tula. We can reconstruct the reign of the mythical Mixcoatl as the euhemerized first King of the Toltecs, as having spanned the period from 11 November 752 to 9 May 818. As Four Flint, Itzpapalotl will have descended to earth during this reign on 7 November 768, which is 4-Flint of the year 4-Flint (see note). Nothing is said in the Annals to distinguish this 4-Flint date, but in the narrative for the year 1-Flint of 804, exactly one calendar round from the inauguration of Mixcoatl Deer as the first King of Tula, Itzpapalotl suddenly appears to tell the Chichimecs that Huactli is destined to be their first ruler in Cuauhtitlan. This demonstrates that her presence on earth had come about sometime prior to 29 October 804 (1-Flint of 1-Flint). Therefore, Itzpapalotl was on earth at the time that Mixcoatl begot his son Quetzalcoatl on Chimalman. Combined with the other considerations adduced, we have good grounds for thinking that Chimalman is a euhemerized Itzpapalotl.

So in both myth and ritual, a case can be made that Mixcoatl marries (or at least mates with) his opposite, his opponent. Where the sexes are changed, as among the Hočągara, Redhorn's corresponding opponent is Flint, a male. However, Redhorn (as Redman and as Herokaga) marries Flint's sister, just as his son marries Flint's daughter and his own daughter marries Flint's son.42* So the old God of the Hunt may be closely related by marriage to his enemy (Four) Flint.

§1.3. Red Woman, Red Hair, and Flint-like Young Man.

For some of the most interesting correspondences, we have to travel to the most remote corner of this hyperborean Chichimec world, where we find cognate stories among the Crow. Here we find two opposing characters: Flint-like Young Man ("Stone Boy") and Red Woman. The first thought is that Red Woman is cognate to Redhorn in his guise as Redman. Their names certainly appear cognate, as "Redman" answers as nearly as possible to "Red Woman." Her enemy is even named "Flint-like Young Man," not very different from Redman's enemy Flint. In a well known story, the Twins attacked Red Woman, and as she fled, they cut her to pieces. She reached for the sky, but all that remained of her was her hand, which suspended in the air, became the Hand Constellation.1 This is essentially our Orion. So part of Red Woman becomes Orion, while on the other hand, part of Orion becomes Redhorn. This suggests some affinity, yet things are not as they might appear.

As soon as we examine Flint-like Young Man we discover that he is nothing like the Hočąk Flint. He is a prot-agonist whose antagonist is none other than Red Woman. In one mythical incident, he charges Red Woman's teepee, liberating his uncles. In so doing he flies through the air, recalling Redhorn's like ability. None of Red Woman's weapons are effective against him. We even see a reënactment of the smashing of the Hočąk Flint, as "He then took his sword and struck her on the head, and red stones fell in all directions."2 Here Flint-like Young Man plays the same role as Mixcoatl and Redhorn's avenger, Hare. He is more like One Flint (Mixcoatl) than Flint: his place in the war of stones is that of victor rather than victim. Even his origin links him to the family of Mixcoatl. The Crow Flint is born like Mixcoatl's son Quetzalcoatl: his mother ingests a beautiful stone and becomes pregnant;3 but this stone is white, like Mixcoatl's Warbundle stone. It also expresses the color of his body, "This boy was white like the stone swallowed by his mother."4 Just like Mixcoatl and Redman, he is simultaneously associated with the color red, as he asks his mother to make him leggings, shirt, and breechcloth out of red flannel. He even paints his face red.5 Mixcoatl often carries an emblem in his hand, known as a xonecuilli, which is curled on one or both ends.6 It is explicitly identified with an asterism: although some believe that it represents the Big Dipper (Ursa Major),7 the evidence suggests instead that it depicts the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor).8* Flint-like Young Man shows affinity to Mixcoatl and his Star-Xonecuilli since he becomes Polaris (α Ursæ Minoris) and his uncles become the Seven Stars, the Big Dipper.9 His emblem, which recalls one of the valences of Mixcoatl's xonecuilli,10* is a black lightning mark painted on the side of his horse.

Who is Red Woman? In the story about the demise of Flint, we see Red Woman clearly aligned with Itzpapalotl. Her name, Híšištawiá, is ordinarily translated as "Red Woman," but Lowie tells us in a footnote that his translator said the name actually meant "Red Stone Woman."11 This stony identity would certainly bring her closer to the Obsidian Butterfly. It's true that when her head was shattered, it produced only red stones, and that none were kept as objects of power, nor were they described as the source of flint arrowheads. However, to leave it at this is highly misleading. In fact, there is another story about her that is practically a blend of the Mexican and Hočąk myths of the destruction of (Four) Flint.

"Who made the stone arrow-points?" I asked, as I have always done whenever opportunity offered. "There are two stories," she said. "I suppose that you know them both. But I believe the stone arrow-points that are everywhere came from Red-woman, the first woman, who was a very bad person. Her bones were stone. Long, long before the horse came to us, our people caught Red-woman and tried to burn her. But when the fire had burned away her flesh and her stone bones were very hot, a rain came. This rain, falling upon the hot stone bones made chips fly in all directions over the world. These chips are the stone arrow-points that are everywhere. Some of our old men say that these arrow-points were made by The-little-people who live in Medicine-rock; and they may be right. I do not know which story is the true one. One of them must be a lie," she finished, thoughtfully.12

The little people are the Awakkulé, the Crow counterparts to the Dakotan Iktomis and the Hočąk Heroka. The Red Woman version is very close to the Hočąk tale of the shattering of Flint. That she was a malefactor, captured, burned, and caused to disintegrate into flint weapon points, is very close to the Mexican version. As the first woman, she also looms large as a determinative figure in the creation of the Crow way of life, rather like Itzpapalotl. However, in both the Hočąk and Mexican versions, one of the flint points is kept as a special instrument of power. If this Crow myth is indeed cognate to the others, then we are left to wonder what happened to this arrowhead-like weapon, itself the very image of the Hyades.

For Red Woman, the vestige of the arrowhead-like weapon is a pointed stick. All Red Woman has to do is point this stick at someone and they will fall over dead. This is a clear counterpart to the "red horn" of Herokaga, or the red cedar arrow that he need only pull back and forth in his bow, and whatever it is pointed at will fall over dead. Like the other horn that Herokaga wore on his forehead, her magical weapon was also mounted on her forehead. Like Redhorn, she could launch her weapon-stick and end up wherever it landed.13 However, this stick has an efficacy similar to Itzpapalotl's flint. In a rather stray comment, it is said that

Red-woman had a sharp-pointed tool for her principal weapon. Some Crow Indians claim to have been adopted by her and used such sticks as medicines.14

Such medicines (sources of power) are kept in bundles, just as Mixcoatl did with the sharp tecpatl of the Obsidian Butterfly. Since Red Woman is a bad spirit, we should expect that such a Medicine Bundle could be used to lethal effect. So when her head was shattered, certainly one of the items among the scattered stones was her "stick." In another one of the many deaths of Red Woman (she seems to die a thousand deaths), the Twins kill her and seize this object of power, which they nonchalantly give to their mother to use as a digging stick.15

The stick can give us a window into Red Woman's stellar identity. We do know that one of her identities seems to imply that she is stellar in character: we are told that she is the grandmother of Old Woman's Grandson (Morning Star = Sirius).16 She is the counterpart of Itzpapalotl (the Hyades), her hand is Orion, and her grandson is Sirius. A further clue as to her identity is given in a story about the Seven Stars (the Big Dipper):

This woman has a hook on the forehead, not a hook but a spearlike thing on her head, īwíaxittua. Īwíaxittua means like this [he draws a picture of an arrow point]. This is īwíaxittua, that's what they refer to as īwíaxittua. She uses that to destroy things.17

This "hook" or "spear[-point-]like thing" that looks like an arrowhead, is the Hyades, which uniquely has that appearance. This can only remind us of the Hyades-shaped device that Itzpapalotl holds in her hand pointed at the sun in the Mapa painting (). This is no doubt also a source of power for Itzpapalotl. That a "V" shaped stick rests on Red Woman's forehead implies only one conclusion: Red Woman is the star Aldebaran (magnitude 0.84), a bright red star at the upper left of the "V" formed by the Hyades cluster. If Aldebaran is viewed as a head, since it is the first star in the left limb of the Hyades "V," the rest of the cluster forms a "V" on Aldebaran's "forehead." Red Woman, as we can now see, is so-called because of the vivid red color of the brightest star in the Hyades. It is to be expected that since the Hyades are adjacent to Orion that they would have an intimate relationship. We can't say that she is Orion any more than we can say the same about Long Arms, since only the hands of each are said to be this conspicuous and important asterism. It may be recalled that she extended her hand to the sky and that it was the last part of her body to be chopped up. We can now understand this in terms of the relationship between the setting of the Hyades and Orion. Her dismemberment while on earth is an allegorical description of the star by star dismemberment of the star cluster as it disappears piecemeal into the ground as it sets with the sun ("dies"). The Hyades are totally chopped up in this fashion leaving Orion alone in the sky as her extended, dismembered hand. All this occurs at sunset with a great deal of "blood" in the sky. So Orion is then seen as the hand of the woman who wears the Hyades emblem on her forehead. An affirmation of her identity is found in one of the stories told of the Seven Brothers, who represent the stars of the Big Dipper. There a dwarf called Ivakidhúš, "Greasy Breast," a counterpart of Herokaga, kills Red Woman. His brothers all fail to kill her because her life resides outside her body in the form of a little piece of eagle down tied to her head by an almost invisible string. The dwarf (cf. the Heroka), who has a special tie to arrows, severs this string with a single shot from his bow. This kills Red Woman, who promptly falls to the ground. It is easy to decipher this episode. The little white feather is the Pleiades which hover just above the Hyades; but as they are all fixed stars, they move in lockstep. When these stars set, it is the Pleiades that descend into the earth first. Therefore, the death and burial of the Pleiades is the doom of Aldebaran and the Hyades, which promptly die in succession. Unlike the Hočąk version from "The Chief of the Heroka," it is not the Hyades figure that is transformed into an owl, but the diminutive Crow counterpart of Herokaga who morphs himself into a screech owl and exits the story by flying away into the night.18 We can now appreciate that the opposition between Redman and Flint, Mixcoatl and Itzpapalotl (Obsidian Butterfly), is preserved in the conflict between Red Woman and Flint-like Young Man. Among the Crow, many of the attributes of the red spirit and the flint spirit have been reshuffled and reconfigured, but few indeed have been actually lost.

In addition to Flint-like Young Man, there exists another very different counterpart to Redhorn. Red Woman has a son called in translation "Red Hair," but the exact meaning of his name is rather more complicated. In Crow his name is Isšīōšé. He is an obscure character who appears in a story in which Yellow Leggings is sent on a mission across a body of water (the Milky Way) where he is ferried across by a dog (Sirius ?). He is to bring back the head of Red Woman. Like Flint, Red Woman is said to live on an island. This is the stretch of sky on the other side of the Milky Way from the Big Dipper. The narrator informs McCleary, "Now, White Owl tells him he wants him to get the head of Isšīōšé [Red Hair]. Isšīōšé means kind of like burned hair, red hair."19 Isšī-ōšé is from hisši, "red," and ṓsši, "cooked, ready (of food), burnt, dyed."20 So the name Isšīōšé really means "Dyed Red," or "Burnt Red." What lies between the dog (Sirius) and Red Woman (the Hyades) is Orion. It's not out of the question that Isšīōšé is a reflex of Redhorn, now made the son of the Hyades figure rather than the son-in-law. His only known myth is actually isomorphic to a myth in the Hočąk Hare Cycle. Isšīōšé is a dead-end reflex, the Crow having moved the Milky Way's portal to the Big Dipper opposite Orion. This caused the importance of Orion, the former portal of souls as among their kindred Hidatsa, to decline considerably. However, Redhorn as a "culture hero" finds a more substantial reflex in a personage widely known as "Stone Boy," and among the Crow, as "Flint-like Young Man." Redhorn himself, even though he is an Arrow Spirit, will have lost any connection to flint, since the Hočągara innovated into a more advanced arrowhead made from the straightened claw of the snapping turtle, an arrow tip that is essentially a version of the more aerodynamically sound bullet.


§2.1. The Georgian Buddha.

§2.1.1. Numbers. At Etowah, Georgia, during the Hightower phase of the Mississippian (1250-1400 a.D.), archaeologists have uncovered gorgets with engravings of what appear to be mythological episodes. One of these figures seems to be Morning Star, and another is an otherworldly moth which archaeologists have nicknamed "Mothra." A number of these gorgets show the presumed Morning Star figure in a display pose.1

Seated in Display (Buddha)

Do we have sufficient grounds for thinking that this figure is indeed Morning Star (of Venus)?

Morning Star and Evening Star seem like cosmic spirits that ignore the divine order of the firmament, and exert their own will to travel where they will. To the ancient Hebrews, Morning Star was Lucifer, the fallen angel who defied the order of Creation, and dared to walk in front of the Sun. However, those who make a serious study of Morning Star are soon rewarded with insights about its secret order, an order expressed in numbers. These numbers make up the numerology of the star in its theological astronomy. We know that the American tribes of the far north (the Mexican Hyperborea) knew of Morning Star's cycles. While ordinary stars are conventionally depicted with four points (✧), the Hočągara, like most tribes, have a five-pointed Morning Star (✩). The Osage numerology of Evening Star, which has the same number of cycles as Morning Star, makes an iconographic expression of the number 8.2 Its colors of blue (representing the blue sky), and red (the color of the star near the horizon), recall the Hočąk names for it, "Bluehorn" in reference to the sky, and the "Red Star" in reference to its color metamorphosis at the rim of the sky.

The Osage Evening Star

The numbers 5 and 8 are the most important numbers associated with Morning Star (and equally with Evening Star). Venus rises with the sun, spends a period in the sky, then returns to solar conjunction. As we now know, Venus either disappears behind the sun (superior conjunction) or passes in front of it (inferior conjunction). The period from when it first comes into view after conjunction to when it disappears in the sun's light just before returning to conjunction will be termed an "apparition" of the planet,3* and its periodicity with respect to its relative position to the sun is referred to as a "synodic cycle." There are five synodic cycles of Morning Star (as well as of Evening Star) — see The Five Apparitions of Morning Star. These are easily discovered by anyone who tracks Morning Star's progress across the sky for a sufficient period of time. These five apparitions of the star take place over a period of eight years, which gives us the complementary Venus number. It also follows that for any position of Venus in the sky, it will return to that same position after the span of eight years. In inferior conjunction, from the disappearance of Evening Star to the appearance of Morning Star is usually a period of eight days, which creates a diurnal counterpart to the octennial cycle.

Since numerology is an important element in the representation of Venus in recent Native American iconography, we might expect some measure of it in the sophisticated iconography of Mississippian times. So in the Etowah gorgets we should look for elements found in sets of 5 and 8. In the "Seated in Display," we find the number 8 expressed by the circles containing dots in their centers. On each wing, there are 4 + 4 such dots; and on his garment below the waist there are 2 + 4 + 2 dots.4 The dots here would represent the years of the octennial Venus Cycle, and therefore each dot is a solar cycle/circle. This last configuration of dots is also seen in the "Mothra Combat" scene (), as well as in "Mortal Combat" (). The "Seated in Display" exhibits two halves of a spider web. At first this seems like a puzzling reference to arachnids, as it is hard to see their connection to Morning Star; but when we reflect on the fact that arachnids are universally equipped with precisely eight legs, we realize that metaphorically, Morning Star also has eight legs. Its locomotion through time is made by eight solar steps. For the Hočągara, the spider doubly exemplifies the number eight, since Earthmaker gave her eight eyes with which to watch over the world in every direction (q.v.). In two other scenes we get a rather strange and even forced exemplification of the number 8. In "Waterspirit Combat" (), and in "The Headsman" (), his right hand is a raptor's foot, while his left hand is human. This makes for eight digits. However, this should not be the case. In all of the examples given by Reilly and Garber without exception, the raptor's foot on Morning Star's body has only three toes, that is, it is tridactyl. All raptors whatever are consistently tetradactyl. There are birds that are actually tridactyl, although

The Tridactyl Foot of
a Sanderling
The Foot of a
Cooper's Hawk

In the vast majority of cases, birds have three toes in front and one behind. Occasionally, either the hind toe, or the outermost front toe, is versatile, that is, susceptible of being turned either way. ... We have no case of true versatility of the hind toe among North American birds ... North American three-toed birds are these only: the woodpeckers of the genus Picoïdes; all auks (Alcidæ), and albatrosses (Diomedeinæ; in these, however, there is a rudiment of the hind toe); all plovers (Charadriidæ, excepting one, Squatarola); the oyster catchers (Hæmatopus); the sanderling (Calidris); the stilt (Himantopus). ... In nearly every three-toed bird, all three toes are anterior; our single exception is in the genus Picoïdes, where the true hind toe is wanting, the outer anterior one being reversed as usual in zygodactyles.5

The universal configuration of digiti in the podium of raptors is the hallux (t1) posterior, and the remaining digiti (t2, t3, t4) anterior. This is an anisodactyl podium.6 Morning Star's podium is neither anisodactyl nor zygodactyl; in fact there is no tridactyl bird whatever that has such a configuration of digiti. Therefore, the tridactyly of Morning Star's podium is a deliberate contrivance. This same convention of depicting raptor podia as tridactyl is followed in Mexico, as a perusal of any set of codices will show. The effect of this unnatural modification was to give Morning Star six digits, the meaning of which we will explore directly.

In the various depictions of Morning Star, the number 5 is less common. Apart from his "Buddha" pose, it is found on some of the necklaces worn by Birdman on other shell gorgets. Each of these has 4 columella beads and a pendant shell. The Cahokian Birdmen also wear this necklace with a larger pendant shell, but instead of exemplifying the number of synodic Venus cycles, they commemorate the octennial cycle whose count is made in solar years.7* Here the replacement of one Venus number with another strengthens the case that Birdman is Morning Star. Yet when it comes to exemplifying the number 5, the scene "Seated in Display," has not one single instance of this number, not even its shell necklace. Where we would expect the number 5, we find in its place the number 6 widely exemplified in the iconography of the Etowah Morning Star. The feet, as we have noted, are always portrayed as tridactyl, so when they rendered Morning Star with otherwise raptorial feet, the digiti numbered only six. This sextupled configuration is also replicated at the opposite end of the body. In every representation of the Morning Star figure, there are three tines on his profiled antler, for a total of six tines if we include the antler from the opposite side (not shown). There are six wedges formed by the terminal spider web design on both sides. The same is true of the segments leading up to the web design. Where the type specimen of "Seated in Display" has eight circles arrayed on each wing of 4 segments each, another variant from Tennessee has three dots on each wing, with wings having six segments each.8 Nowhere is six recognized as a Venus number, so its extensive appearance presents a serious problem to interpreting the figure as either phase of Venus. Nevertheless, reflecting a touch of native originality, six can be shown to be a Venus number in a way that actually better matches the calculation of the eight year cycle.

Synodic Cycle Number
Heliacal Rising to Heliacal Setting
(with Its Characteristic Local Pattern
through the Sky — see Morning Star Apparitions.)
Number of Morning Star Apparitions
    2 3
Clockwise () vs. Counter-clockwise ()
Octennial Venus Cycle
8 Years

The patterns shown are those that Morning Star traces over the course of its apparition in relation to the local horizon. There are five such patterns, but if we count the heliacal risings of Morning Star from the beginning of the eight year period to its conclusion, we count six such events. So for Morning Star to rise with the sun at the exact same place, there have to be five additional risings, for a total of six. If we chose heliacal settings instead, the same would be true. However, in eight years there are not six full synodic cycles, but only five. All the aforesaid is true as well for the Evening Star. We may now see why the arachnid of eight legs (the eight solar steps of Morning Star's cycle), has a web consisting of six wedge-shaped sectors. As the eight steps are taken, the spider spins six web segments, one for each of Morning Star's apparitions. This analysis also clarifies the singular string of beads worn in this depiction of Morning Star. The strand crosses itself: the lower half, including the crossing bead, number five, the number of the synodic cycles; the upper half consists of six beads, one for each of the heliacal risings of Morning Star that occur in its full eight year cycle. When we count both heliacal rising and settings, in an eight year period, we get a total of 11.

Synodic Cycles 1 2 3 4 5 1
Risings & Settings 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Octennial Venus Cycle
8 Years

The beads represent all the heliacal risings and settings of Morning Star in the octennial Venus Cycle while at the same time cleverly exemplifying the numbers 5 and 6 that are components of this series. It may also be seen that in counting inclusively an octennial period beginning with the heliacal rising of Morning Star, it follows that within this period there will also be five heliacal risings of Evening Star, making a total of 11 heliacal rising of Venus. In the display scene, it now becomes clear that what is important is not the number of cycles, but the number of risings. It is not the life cycle of Morning Star that is being symbolized and accentuated, but its cyclical rebirth through the reinauguration of its initial ("infant") apparition.

§2.1.2. Of Left-handed Shells and Left-handed Gods. In all except the Display, the Etowah Morning Star is seen wearing a necklace of columella shell beads, centered on a large whelk pendant. In every single case, the set of visible shells numbers five. So prima facie, the necklace might be at least a numerological expression of the figure's identity as Morning Star. This receives some support from the fact that a similar necklace is worn by the Mexican Morning Star, Quetzalcoatl. Quetzalcoatl is also Ehécatl, god of the wind. Brundage tells us,

The conch-shell (teucciztli), also spanned cults, and it too had a venerable history in Mesoamerica. It was a talisman of mighty power for it was the living voice of Ehecatl, the god of the wind.9 As such it also was a god in its own right. The priest in Teotihuacan wore it as a pectoral dangling about his neck as a mark of association with Quetzalcoatl.10

The Sound of a 3,000 Year Old Peruvian Conch Trumpet

Measurement Recording of One of the Chavín Strombus galeatus Pututus, 2008. By the Chavín de Huántar Archaeological Acoustics Project, part of Stanford Archaeology, under the auspices of the Ministerio de Cultura, Perú. Any use of this recording must attribute its source. For more information, visit:

The uncut shell that we see in the Etowan gorgets can reach sizes rivaling a conch shell,11* and could have made a suitable trumpet like the seashell horn worn by the priest of Quetzalcoatl-Ehécatl.12* When placing an ear to it, one can at least "hear the ocean," whose mild hissing sound can be interpreted equally well as the sound of the wind. However, no whelks have been found that have been modified to function as shell trumpets. Furthermore, the pendant worn by Quetzalcoatl in his iconography was a gastropod shell cut lengthwise, exposing its intricate inner chambers. This columella-exposed shell was called an ehecacoxcatl, an "Ehécatl collar," more commonly referred to today as a "wind jewel."13* So in this respect, the pendant shell of Quetzalcoatl differs significantly from that of the Cahokian and Etowan examples which consist of the entire uncut shell.

The Etowan depictions replace the priest's conch with a similar shell. As can be readily seen, this shell has a very distinctive property, and is easily identified.

The Lightning Whelk,
Busycon contrarium
Various Whelk Pendants from Etowah Birdmen,
Vertical Orientation with the Anterior Placed at the Bottom
A Dextral Shell
(Pear Whelk ?)
From the Collection of Michael Barruel

When the shells depicted on the Etowah gorgets (as well as the Rogan Plates), are set in standard orientation, they can be seen to open on the left. Most shells open on the right, so this shell is quite unusual. The left opening shells are called "sinistral," and those which open on the right are called "dextral." There are a couple of cases in which Morning Star is wearing a dextral shell, but the ratio of sinistral to dextral is 5 : 1.15* This shell can be identified, since there are only three varieties of sinistral whelks: the lightning whelk (Busycon contrarium), the prickly whelk (Busycon pulleyi), and the rare snow whelk (Busycon laeostomum).16* The three were differentiated as allopatric species, that is, they differed largely by geographical separation, but recent DNA work has shown that all three varieties in fact form a single species.17 Lightning whelks are fairly common, and can be found along the Georgia and Carolina coasts,18 although most of the ones used in the manufacture of artifacts seem to have come from the western Florida coast.19

Not only is the lightning whelk shell preferred as the pendant for Morning Star's necklace, but quite surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of all shell artifacts are fashioned out of lightning whelks.20 There is no utilitarian reason why a sinistral whelk should be preferred over larger and more numerous dextral shells. Clearly, a deliberate preference is being shown to this shell over all other alternatives.21* Why would a left-handed shell be sought out in preference to its more common opposite? So far, investigators have not be able to supply an answer except to observe that it must have something to do with ideology. In standard orientation, neglecting the spire, it forms a cone whose whorl is exactly like that of a tornado (cyclonic = sinistral). This might help explain how a sinistral shell pendant was preferred by a god of the winds like Morning Star. However, it explains nothing when trying to determining why almost all shell artifacts were constructed from this sinistral whelk. It is quite nearly universal that left is equated to bad, hence our own word "sinister." On the other hand, there are gods who are left-handed. Tezcatlipoca is such a god, and even in animal form, he is known as "the left-handed jaguar," but Tezcatlipoca without doubt has sinister attributes. Huitzilopochtli is also left-handed, but his standing as the primary god of war makes him somewhat sinister as well. The left is also the female side. Therefore, in making cups and sacred gorgets, the right or "correct" shell ought to be dextral. How do we solve such a paradox?

The answer is surprisingly simple. If the shell is inverted from the standard position used by scientists to assess the direction of its spiral, the direction shifts to its opposite. If we turn the shell the way it hangs on the Morning Star of the gorgets, we see that the shell opens on the right. When we look at the actual snail that inhabits and generates this shell, we discover that its head emerges from what scientists call the "base" of the shell, and his foot terminates near the spire. Normally, given the vertical order of the human body, the head is identified with "up" and the foot with "down." The scientific convention turns the snail upside down, standing it on its head. There is no reason why the ancients would have used such an inverted criterion for assessing the handedness of a shell. Their standards ought to make the pointed end of the cone its top, as expressed in the Hočąk word hisawa.22 When the cone of the shell is placed head up — when its hisawa is up — what we call "sinistral" becomes dextral, and conversely. Since artifacts that may bear sacred images ought to be "correct" and "right," it follows that some trouble might be taken to get a shell which itself has these characteristics. About the only shell that is just right, when correctly oriented, is the lightning whelk. Therefore, it is, as we see born out in inventory, sought out as the correct and preferred shell. This is entirely in keeping with the universal and standard notions of propriety, or as we still say in our own languages today — what is "right." When oriented in the opposite way, with its head on top, the shell is dextral and spirals to the right, opens on the right, and grows to the right. The lightning whelk is preferred to all other shells precisely because it is not sinistral.

The simple and elegant theory that by standing the shell snail head up we discover that it is not sinistral at all, encounters a significant problem: the top of the engraved pictures on the Spiro cups is invariably found at the spire end. If this correspondence defines "up" and "top," then the shell would have to be considered sinistral. In compositions on gorgets, it is the top of the body that takes up the most amount of space, since it is the portion of the greatest interest. The legs are sacrificed to the head and torso. In order to fit onto the circular gorget, the legs are usually bent, as if the subject were running or dancing or even kneeling. So the widest part of the shell is going to be devoted to the upper part of the body, which is in any case, wider than the legs. Where the reverse is true, as on Cup 236 which portrays a tree whose basal branches are necessarily wider than those near its pinnacle, the shell is oriented with its narrow end at the top. So reorienting the shell for the expedient of engraving a picture on it hardly compels us to say that the spire represents what was thought to be the top of the shell.

Nevertheless, the matter of left-handedness arises again in another way. Morning Star is often portrayed as wielding a sword against his enemy. In almost every case, he grips this sword in his left hand. As actual examples show, it is an easy matter to portray the Birdman facing the other direction. When flipped horizontally, Morning Star's leading arm is his left, and his trailing arm, the right, now wields the sword. So why do the overwhelming number of cases show him facing left and holding his sword left-handed? Do the artists see him as "sinister"? This does not seem very plausible. What is it about Morning Star that would incline artists to make him face to his right (our left)? Ordinary fixed stars rise in the east and set at the opposite side of the horizon in the west. Morning Star seems to hover in the sky while the other stars whirl by him. Night by night he shifts subtly in a pattern which can be recorded without too much difficulty. The pattern of Morning Star's apparition, while it moves him some measure to the left or right, always keeps him in the same eastern sector of the sky. The same can be said of Evening Star, for which everything is transposed into the west. Once we reflect upon this situation, it is easy to see why Morning Star would be conventionally portrayed as facing to his right. This is where the sun is usually found in relation to Morning Star. As Morning Star rises out of the sun, it moves to the sun's right, then wends it way back to its starting point. Only for a relatively few days does the planet slip a couple of degrees to the left of the sun's azimuth.23* The ratio of days spent to the right of the sun as opposed to slightly to its left, is 4.5 : 1. Since Morning Star is essentially confined to the right side of the sun, he is obliged to face left (from our perspective), the direction of his journey back to the solar lodge. So the need to have Morning Star face left forces the artist to place the sword in his trailing hand, which in this case is his left. As I shall show in detail (), on the Hočąk model the doppelgänger Birdman with whom he fights is Evening Star. Evening Star is his enantiomorph, and must face to his own left, which dictates that his sword be placed in his right hand. Some of the figures facing to our right, which ought to make them depictions of the Evening Star, also have whelks that are dextral ().24 However, the artists picturing the duel between Morning Star and Evening Star have always portrayed the latter as having a sinistral lightning whelk. Since on the one hand, Evening Star is so perfectly identical to Morning Star that Morning Star's sister cannot tell them apart, and on the other, since he is also his mirror image, substituting left for right, the artist could portray him with either a sinistral or dextral shell.

The problem of sinistral vs. dextral does not arise in Mexico, where the dextral conch shell is used uniformly. The corresponding conch of Quetzalcoatl signifies the resurrection of the human race, since he acquired it from the Lord of the Underworld when he went to get the bones of the prior extinct race of men (giants). By blowing the conch, he acquired the right to bring them back to the light of the world above. The Cahokian and Etowan Morning Star, who wears the necklace of the priests of Teotihuacán, appears to have his own connection to resurrection (). The existence of the lightning whelk pendant, and its religious context, hints at an indirect influence from Mexico, an influence which we find focused strongly on the northwestern Siouan tribes, some of whom still live in the Missouri area.

§2.1.3. The Spider Web. Another feature of the "Seated in Display" is the presence of something that resembles a split insect tail, each half of which has six segments, and each of which terminates in half a spider web. Many lepidoptera have segmented abdomens, but it is worth pointing out that the scorpion tail is composed of precisely six segments, and occasionally mutant scorpions have two such tails.25 In Mexico, the scorpion of burning sting is associated with the Fire Drill, whose stellar identity resides with Orion. In the seated Morning Star, instead of a stinger projecting out of the sixth segment, we have half the web of another eight legged, poisonous predator, an arachnid. In the scorpion, the tail is the means for launching the poisonous attack, for the latter it is the web (which is its "tail" or "queue"); so the two form a complementary pair, perhaps even with shared associations with Orion. The web as the ultimate element of a tail is reflected in the very name by which the spider is known in Hočąk — wikirihókeré, "the creeping thing with a queue." Wakiri, wikiri, translates the Bible's "creeping thing," and refers not only to insects and arachnids, but even to crocodilians.26 As a verb, hokere means "to fasten, to put on, to place"; as a noun it is the standard word for the queue, but denotes banners and nets as well. The spider is wakírihokére’ų́na, "the one who makes the queue,"27 showing that the Hočągara conceptualize the web as the object that trails behind the spider. Otherwise, however, there is no known connection between the spider and Morning Star among the Hočągara.

The distant Blackfeet, oddly enough, have a spider who performs what seems to be the role undertaken by the Etowah spider in connection with Morning Star. In this story Feather Woman (Soatsaki) falls in love with Morning Star, who decides to elevate her to the heavens where he resides. He brings a juniper (red cedar) branch covered with cobwebs. When she steps on the cobwebs as instructed, they lift her through the hole in the sky to the Above World. The plot follows the usual pattern of Star Boy stories. Feather Woman, the mother of Morning Star's son, Star Boy (Jupiter), uproots the sacred turnip and opens the hole in the sky, through which she descends by the aid of Spider Man's web strand. The turnip was Polaris. The Blackfeet may have reconfigured the old Siouan Hand Constellation, making it the five fingers of the (anthropomorphic) Spider Man.

The half circle of stars to the east (Northern Crown) is the lodge of the Spider Man, and the five bright stars just beyond (in the constellation of Hercules) are his five fingers, with which he spun the web, upon which So-at-sa-ki was let down from the sky.28*

The Two Half
Webs Conjoined

Here the spider controls ascent and descent via the axis mundi, which seems consistent with the role of the Hightower spider. The same role is found in a story from the Western Siouan Hidatsa.29 When the mother pulls out the turnip, she and her son are lowered by Spider, who imparts to them his skills in descending a line. The boy is identified with "Morning Star" (which may actually be Sirius, as among the Crow). Unlike the Crow, the Hidatsa hold to the old idea that the hole in the sky is to be found in Orion, the Hand Constellation.30 Central Siouan versions of the "Star Husband Tale" tend to be abbreviated, the Hočąk version (q.v.) being the most so, prompting Dundes to take it as the original of the type.31 The question remains, however, as to why a web would be attached to Morning Star, and why it would have such a form. In our Seated Display, the web has six strands on each side, although there exists an almost identical Seated Display whose drawing shows the hemi-web by Morning Star's left talons to have the same six spokes, but the one by his right talons to have only five. However, comparison to the photograph of the same gorget shows this reconstruction to be in error.32* Using Photoshop software, the two hemi-webs can be pieced back together [inset]. They yield a web of 12 spokes with a hole at its center. This web has 25 compartments in it, which is 5 x 5, the Venus Cycle number squared. The most obvious thing about the web when it is pieced back together is that its center is deliberately and counterfactually left as an open hole.33* This certainly recalls the hole in the sky with which Spider is so closely associated. The significance of this hole, which, judging from iconography, is located in the Hand Constellation (of Orion), is that it is the opening between worlds where the transmigration of souls takes place. On the Hidatsa model, Spider is a collaborator with Morning Star in creating this hole and pathway. This is the pathway of resurrection, the resurrection exemplified in the life cycle of Morning Star himself (as well as Orion and its deity).

Yet Morning Star seems to be forcefully tearing apart what amounts to his own tail. The role of the spider among the Osage may give us a clue as to why this is the case.

Verily, at that time and place, it has been said, in this house, he [Isolated Earth] set up a house, and then he said: "I have not set up this house without a purpose. I have set it up so that within it the necks of living creatures shall be broken. I have not set up this house without a purpose. I have made it to represent and to be a symbol of the spider. Verily, this house, like a snare, draws to itself all living creatures, whomsoever they may be. Into it they shall throw themselves and become ensnared.34* ()

To the Osage the spider's web is an invisible snare (hóega) which holds all mortal creatures in place on earth until they die. It has the same function as Long Arm's hand, which stops up the hole in the sky, ensnaring the mortal creatures of the world below, preventing their living ascent into the immortal world above. The hole in the web is therefore the same as the hole in the hand. An interesting correlation is found among the Western Siouans here. According to the Hidatsa, one of the Hero Twins, Lodge Boy, entered through the hole in the sky to rescue his brother who had been crucified on a tree. Assuming the form of a spider, he climbed up and cut his brother free.

They went out as spiders and the holy man knew all about it but could do nothing because the two together were too powerful for him. Long Arm went and placed his hand over the hole by which they passed through so as to catch them. Spring Boy made a motion with the hatchet as if to cut it off at the wrist and said, "This second time your hand has committed a crime, and it shall be a sign to the people on earth." So it is today that we see the hand in the heavens. The white people call it Orion. The belt is where they cut across the wrist, the thumb and fingers also show; they are hanging down like a hand. "The hand star" it is called.35

The Hidatsa model is a Hand asterism created when Long Arm attempted to manually block the hole in heaven. His hand was thrust over the hole to prevent the Twins from going back to earth through it. We learn that the souls of the righteous go through that same hole when they ascend to heaven, and those souls in the world above who wish to return to earth, also use the same hole to descend. So the Hidatsa Twins have perforated the hand that acts as a snare, but in the course of these events, have assumed the arachnid form of the most supreme creator of snares in essentially the same context as we find the Osage spider. Morning Star, as a god of resurrection and renewal, tears apart this snare, the way the Twins (who among the Hočągara should have been his nephews), tear off the arm of Long Arm, and render its blockage of the celestial hole inert. So the split web is another image of resurrection, the destruction of the mortalizing snare altogether.

The association of Morning Star with the spider is also seen in Mexico. There, the spider (Nahuatl tocatl) is particularly associated with the Tzitzimime, the dangerous stellar spirits who descend during an eclipse to devour people. In their descent, they are often portrayed as spiders. Their leader, the familiar Itzpapalotl, is shown with a spider in the Codex Borbonicus.36 The dangerous form of Morning Star, Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli ("Lord of Dawn"), is portrayed in the company of a spider,37* mirroring the same association that we find at Etowah. Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli is also a Skybearer, in particular the one of the east associated with the yearbearer sign Reed.38 All of the Skybearers, located at the four quarters of the world, were Tzitzimime.39 Their Mayan counterpart, the Skybearer Pauahtun, often appears wearing a spider web.40 Consistent with this valence, we frequently find spiders in Mississippian iconography depicted with crosses on their thoraxes (representing the center and the four quarters) [inset].41 The spider's association with the dead is not only seen in the stellar Tzitzimime, but in its pairing with gods of death.42* So in like fashion, the Etowah Morning Star, as a god of resurrection, is an opponent of the spider whose web he tears asunder. Quetzalcoatl, the son of the God of the Hunt (Mixcoatl), was said to have been reborn as Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli (Morning Star). Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli wears the same ashen mask as Mixcoatl, but his white spots, located on the nose, brow, cheeks, and chin, exemplify the Venus Cycle number 5.43 Spiders were one of the components of another magical ash-paint. A sacred pitch, called the "Food of the Gods," was created by burning spiders, scorpions, poisoned-haired caterpillars, and other venomous creatures. Once it was applied to the bodies of priests, it had the salutary effect of banishing all their fears. It was also efficacious as a mundane medicine, where it was used in suppressing pain and in curing certain childhood diseases.44

Before disentangling ourselves from the web, we should note that orb-web spiders are skillful predators of moths, a fact to be kept in mind when considering one of Morning Star's enemies, Mothra.45 As we will see later, Mothra itself has an intimate connection to spiders, via its Mexican associations. However, the existence of a web-snare with a hole in its center creates an iconographic oxymoron. Is Spider a sympathetic enabler who facilitates passage through the hole in the sky, or is he an obstacle that ensnares all creatures within the confines of the Lower World? Or is he both at once, playing the trickster role of the Sioux's Iktomi ("Spider")? The Spiders of the Dakota seem clearly to be cognate to the Hočąk Heroka over whom Redhorn (Herokaga) rules. 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."46* 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.["]47* 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.48

The arachnid nature of the Dakotan versions of the Heroka draws the spider closer to Redhorn, who is also concerned with the Orion asterism which the Hidatsa say contains the hole in the sky and represents a detached hand, rather like what we see in Mississippian iconography. As a star near the hole through Orion, did Redhorn once have an alloform as a spider?

§2.1.4. The Raccoon. There is no known myth in which the Sioux Spider (Iktomi) plays the role of the guardian of the hole in the sky. However, the strange ambivalence of the guardian spider, who drifts between facilitator and prohibitor, suggests that there is an element of trickery involved, a trickery inherent in the spider's nature as a clever ambush artist. The Hočąk paradigm has drifted to another animal. The Hočąk Trickster, Wakjąkága, is often portrayed as wearing a raccoon wrap of some kind, thus identifying himself with the deviousness of this animal.49* In Mississippian iconography, the raccoon is associated with the axis mundi, either positioned somewhere on a swirling Cosmic Column (which resembles his striped tail), or situated in the branches of a World Tree.50 A bit of this idea may have persisted in the Hočąk story in which angry villagers killed a raccoon who had misled blind men, and tacked his pelt to the base of a tree.51 The raccoon and tree appear in another story. A giant raccoon once led each of Bladder's brothers to a tree growing out of a cliff, or to a hollow tree in which the raccoon had concealed himself. Once one of the brothers had been lured there, the evil spirit, One Legged One (Wareksąnįkiga), would descend and kill him.52 The raccoon was completely white, and as large as a bear. Endowed with the powers of speech, he seduced each brother in turn into One Legged One's trap. Morning Star, the youngest of Bladder's brothers, went out to track the raccoon and find his brothers. Only Morning Star succeeded in wounding One Legged One, who retaliated by beating him back to his lodge with a nettle branch.53* This is mild treatment compared to what he had done to the other brothers, who were converted into bladders. In the end, Bladder himself killed the raccoon and One Legged One both. The raccoon was the "dog" of the great evil sprit, One Legged One, an avatar of Herešgúnina, and a counterpart of Tezcatlipoca. In Hočąk mythology, this raccoon in particular, and raccoons generally, have Venus associations. As I have shown in the commentary to this story, White Raccoon appears to be Evening Star. One Legged One's head, we are told, is the solar disk. Inasmuch as Evening Star trails after the sun like a dog trailing his master, it is not surprising to find him in a role which must remind us of the literal canine attributes of the Mexican Evening Star, Xolotl. So it is the Sun who whips Morning Star back to where he started,54* an allegorical description of the star's progression to conjunction. This is "rephrased" in other symbolism when it is said in a variant myth that One Legged One used Morning Star as a wall plug to keep the cold out of his lodge. Morning Star embedded within the lodge of the Sun is just another description of conjunction. Bladder is the sky-vault, and Morning Star's other brothers are clouds.55 When Bladder captures the great white raccoon, he wears it (dead or alive) by stuffing it into his belt, associating the raccoon with the omphalos or navel of the sky vault.56*

At the end of another myth, "Grandfather's Two Families," their mission accomplished, each brother turns into the animal that he had always hunted, with the sole exception of the penultimate brother. He turns into Red Star (Bluehorn = Evening Star).57 The animal that he always hunted was the raccoon, which would have been the animal into which he would have metamorphosed had he not assumed his place among the stars. So the raccoon is the animal of Evening Star. The raccoon, like Evening Star, spans the Beneath World of the Waterspirits and the Above World of the trees which reach into the sky.

The Milky Way Passing through the Zenith
Sunset, 3 November 1055 at Cahokia

In the reconstructed sky seen above, Evening Star as White Raccoon can be seen hiding in the hollow of the Milky Way "tree" not far from the sun (One Legged One). Evening Star is often found in this positon.58 Mississippian iconography shows the raccoon associated with cosmic columns and trees, both of which are most naturally taken as axes mundi. "The" axis mundi is usually thought of as the imaginary pole or axis around which the whole celestial sphere rotates, its pole is the Pole Star (Polaris) around which all the other stars swirl. However, this is not the only kind of axis mundi. All "centers" play such a role. "... the Centre and Axis of the World, [is] the point of communication between the three cosmic regions; it is only at a 'centre' that a break-through can occur, a passing from one cosmic zone to another."59 For the Central Siouan people, the Milky Way is such a center. It is the pathway of souls among the Hočągara, Ioway, Omaha, and Sioux. This pathway extends in a giant circle dipping below the earth, and spanning the vault of the sky. It therefore connects all the worlds, and is at the same time a "point (or continuum) of communication," since it is along its course that souls travel to Spiritland. Directly above Evening Star in the Great Rift formed by dark dust clouds, is a split in the Milky Way path. In traveling from east to west, the soul comes upon this fork, the left branch of which is a dead end. The sun, as One Legged One, terminates its northward journey very near there. The short path to nowhere therefore belongs to Herešgúnina, as it say here,

Grandson, on the ground that I marked, I had a second road that I had marked. The big road that branches off, the one that goes to the left, that is Herešgúnira's. It is evil, pains, regret, death. If you live doing what you like without breaching rules, it is this very Road. ... You will go on the road which is long.60*

To the Hočągara, the Road is not the only image of this axis mundi. Axes mundi are regularly homologized as Cosmic or World Trees,61 the Milky Way being frequently represented this way by the Hočągara. The Hočągara used the red cedar tree, the tree most particularly sacred to the Thunders, to represent the Cosmic Tree and to function as a center.62 In their Medicine Rite, the last leg of the journey, which also correlates with the Milky Way soul-path, was described this way:

And here will be that ladder possessed by those who are in charge of the Medicine Rite.63 The right side will be a twisted frog's leg, dappled with Light-and-Life. At the [other] side it will be red cedar blackened by handling and made very smooth. You must grab hold of each one of these. You will come to where Earthmaker is sitting.64

You'll get hold of the Medicine Road staff. On the right side is the frog's leg blackened by handling, there you will stand. And on the left, the chief-tree, the red cedar of smoothened bark, will be standing there blackened by handling. And when you take hold of this, the frog leg, the staff of our ancestors, it is going to be imprinted with Light and Life (Hąp).65

So the sojourning soul on the Milky Way path ends up ascending (the wood of) the Cosmic Tree to reach the zenith of creation. In the XIᵀᴴ century, at sunset in early November, the Milky Way "tree" whose base is in Scorpius stood straight up and passed perfectly through the zenith, while simultaneously the Gemini section formed a near mirror image on the exact opposite side of the celestial sphere. This gives us insight into the meaning of "One Legged One." As may be seen, even as early as the XIᵀᴴ century, the solstitial points lie right on the edge of the Milky Way, and moved ever closer to its center as time progressed. It is at the solstitial point that the sun (the head of One Legged One) changes direction on the horizon, as the winter solstice represents the farthest south that the sun progresses, and the summer solstice is its farthest northern reach. So it is the Milky Way at these solstitial points that correlates with the sun's propulsion to the opposite side of its horizontal range. Therefore, the Milky Way here can be homologized as a single, flat leg. Evening Star, as White Raccoon, diurnally follows after the sun (One Legged One), and is therefore his servant or "dog." Although Morning Star makes a gallant effort, he is dominated by One Legged One, allowing the raccoon to emerge unvanquished. In the modern mythological corpus, it is Bladder as the Sky Vault who conquers One Legged One and all his servants, including White Raccoon. He stuffs this animal (and others) into his belt, either dead or alive depending on the variant being told. We see in the ancient iconography numerous pelts of raccoons being worn by Morning Star. This may have symbolized his dominance over Evening Star, just as the severed head of the other Birdman must surely be another image of the same thing. The ancient Morning Star seems to be a god of resurrection, and therefore must have some power over the Path of Souls. To have control over the axis mundi implies that he must also have control over the denizen of that structure, the raccoon. Just as Morning Star is shown having split in two the web of the Above World lord of the axis mundi, Spider Man (or more abstractly, the hóega), the Etowah iconography suggests that Morning Star is the conqueror of the raccoon, which may reflect an older proto-Hočąk myth in which the role of Bladder in this particular incident was once taken by Morning Star, who ex hypothesi, was slightly demoted in later versions to the status of Bladder's greatest brother. On the Mexican model, it is Quetzalcoatl who defeats One Legged One (Tezcatlipoca) by pushing his body to the side, which ends rather than begins his tenure as the sun. For more on this, see "The Devil's Sun" ().

However, even this sketchy conclusion does not do justice to the obscurity of the matter. In a relationship to be explored more fully later (), Evening Star is associated with Waterspirits. In one myth, two hunters chase after a raccoon who flees to a water-filled, hollow tree stump. When the hunters go to dispatch him, they find a fish in his stead. The one who cooked and ate this fish became a Spirit Fish himself.66 Spirit Fish belong to the realm over which the Waterspirits rule. Evening Star himself is said not only to be a Great Spirit, but one of the major Waterspirits.67 This may explain some of the odd composite creatures encountered in the ancient iconography. Several cups are inscribed sphinx-like, agglutinated creatures with rattlesnake tails, horns, raccoon heads, spider mouths, and forked tongues.68 In another cup we see whole raccoons lying across the rattlesnake tail of a Waterspirit ("piasa").69 However, the strange zoomorphic agglomerations may not only suggest varieties of Waterspirits, but may reflect a more profound process of syncretism: an identity of the phases of Venus, the unity of the Venus deity with the spider, the rattlesnake, and the raccoon. This may also express the fact that Spiro exemplifies some measure of divergent evolution from the theology expressed at Etowah and elsewhere.

Finally, just to complicate matters more, it should be noted that Mixcoatl, whose "lone ranger" black mask looks very much like what a raccoon wears by nature, is associated with the rotating axis mundi of the stars around Polaris. According to Seler, it is the rotation of this axis that inspired his connection to the primordial fire drill.70* Yet at the same time, the very name of Mix-coatl, "Cloud Serpent," shows that he is identified with the other axis mundi, the Milky Way. These are two different kinds of axes, although from a religious point of view they may naturally group together. The Polaris axis is an axle, and conforms to the definition, "an imaginary line about which a body rotates"; the Milky Way axis conforms to the definition, "an imaginary line that divides something into equal or roughly equal halves, especially in the direction of its greatest length." This occurs when, at the solstices, the Milky Way passes through the zenith, dividing the sky into two equal halves. Does the raccoon have a Mixcoatl-like association with both of these axes? The raccoon at Spiro, at least, shows a connection to what appear to be representations of the World Pillar and the World Tree. Is it that of Polaris, or the Milky Way, or both? At Spiro, raccoon wrappings are found on the spider, who elsewhere appears as the guardian and facilitator of the hole in the sky, itself the access point to the Path of Souls (Milky Way).71 A cognate theme seems to be the whole raccoon wrapping around the wrist of the hand with an eye in its palm.72 This hand is to be confidently identified with the Hand Constellation where the hole in the sky is to be found (the eye being that of the mother of Star Boy who peered at the earth below before descending through the hole). If the raccoon had the valence of the Milky Way itself, then its portal is better indicated as such by the inclusion of a raccoon motif above the hand's hole. If the raccoon were the embodiment of the Milky Way axis, then its status as a Waterspirit would be appropriate, at least on the Hočąk model, since the Milky Way is in origin the result of water droplets splashing the sky.73

However, what stands in the way of making the raccoon the embodiment of the Milky Way in Spiro is the existence of an engraving that seems to show both phases of Venus arranged as raccoons on a World Tree.74 The tree is divided into two vertical halves. The branches are in one-one correspondence, except that those on the right side are a half-step higher. There are five raccoons each on its own branch on the right side, and five raccoons on the left arranged in the same manner. Since there are five apparitions each of the Morning Star and the Evening Star, it is hard not to conclude that the right side represents the Morning Star, and the left, Evening Star. This would, of course, make it impossible to identify the raccoon with the Evening Star alone. It would suggest instead that the Evening Star raccoon, under the unified Venus concept, is necessarily doubled, finding a mirror image in Morning Star. Here the World Tree is inhabited by each apparition of Venus for the simple reason that every apparition crosses over one or another part of the Milky Way. This concept brings us back closer to what seems to be suggested by the Hočąk model: that the enantiomorphic Morning Star raccoon has either been lost to contemporary mythology, or has retreated into the deepest recesses of esoterica.

§2.1.5. Wings. Another feature of the Display Scene Morning Star is that he possesses wings. They are most often attached to his arms, but some segments of the wings seem to attach to the side or back as well. The wings have an inverse scalloped edge seen in bats and in some lepidoptera. Like the wings of moths and butterflies, they exhibit circle and dot patterns. However, bats also have inverse scalloped edges to their wings, and like the heavily stylized etching of the seated Morning Star, the bats have four membranous wing segments which stretch between their bodies and their four wing fingers. The eight dotted circles on each wing are purely symbolic, designed to make reference to the octennial Venus cycle. That Morning Star has wings merely expresses the fact that he flies; that he would have bat wings indicates that he is a night flier. So it is said of Morning Star in a Hočąk myth, Hoišíp t’ąs’áškúni, "Always he flew, always."75 Since Morning Star's enemy at Etowah is a moth, it would be appropriate that Morning Star be identified with a bat, since bats are strong predators of mouths, just like orb web spiders.76

§2.1.6. Facial Lines. Reilly and Garber think that the line running from Morning Star's nose to his ear represents the bottom edge of a mask that covers the top part of his head.77 If it is a mask, we would be remiss if we did not bring to mind that of Mixcoatl. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to represent a black mask on a white shell. However, contrary to this thesis, it clearly lacks any dots indicating the stars that we find on Mixcoatl's mask. Actually, a number of things can be said against the idea that it's a mask at all. In "Waterspirit Combat" (), Morning Star is very clearly portrayed with many horizontal lines across his face. In the combat scene immediately below (), there are no lines at all, and therefore no delineation of a mask. Since the line that should mark the bottom edge of the mask is drawn just below the nostrils, the mask would have the very odd property of covering the nose completely, making breathing rather awkward. In the area that should be covered by the mask, we see eyes but not the holes that would have to have been cut for them. Also, in the cases of the curved lines going below the jaw (on the severed head, and in the Mothra Combat), there is no line indicating the bottom limit of the mask.78* These considerations make it unlikely that it is a mask.

If seen from the front, the "mask" line would surround the mouth and jaw, thus making the mouth (whence life-breath and speech), a Centre. The forked surround () appears to be just another kind of mouth surround, although King thinks that it is enough to establish an entirely new character.79* Seen from the front, it would have four points with the mouth in the center. This may be a way of making a representation of the four quarters with the mouth situated in the center. It might be relevant to mention in this context that in Hočąk symbolism sound stands for light. Making the mouth central could be a way of indicating that the star itself is a Centre (although geographically, it ought to be associated with the east). Since the mouth is the transit point of somatic wind, making it the center is of a piece with the widespread use of the cross as a symbol of Morning Star as a wind-center.

In the Display scene, the line runs from the base of the nose to the ear. This is very much like what we see with Morning Star's nephews, the Twins, as they are portrayed at Gottschall (q.v.). This particular line running from the base of the nose to the ear is seen in Nahuatl iconography, where it is displayed by Chichimecs of high status.80*

§2.2. The "Story Board" of Etowah and Hočąk Mythology.

§2.2.1. The Mortal Combat. Surprisingly, perhaps, as we learn from an obscure Hočąk myth, Morning Star and Evening Star are Children of the Sun, just like the famous Twins, Ghost and Flesh.1* Yet unlike Ghost and Flesh, these Twins are exactly alike in every respect, so much so that their sister cannot tell them apart. However, the predominant paradigm among the Hočągara is that Evening Star (Bluehorn) is the uncle of the Twins. In one version, Bluehorn bullied Brave (the Sun) into marrying his two sisters, and it was they who eventually gave birth to half-brother "twins."2 These Children of the Sun went on to rescue their uncle Bluehorn from the Thunderbirds and later from Bluehorn's evil twin. Both sets of these Children of the Sun share a bizarre feature: they all have a row of flint knives running down their arms all the way to the wrist,3 rather like a Mexican warclub, and almost exactly like the flint knives running down the side of Itzpapalotl's wings. Unlike Ghost and Flesh, Morning Star and Evening Star are not destined for a happy reunion. Their relationship is one of implacable hostility. When they finally meet up, they have a smoking contest around the fire. Like Quetzalcoatl-Ehécatl, they are associated with the wind. Consequently, as they draw in a breath, they nearly unseat their opponent with the wind that they create. Finally, in the case where Bluehorn wins, he sucks his doppelgänger right into the fire, where he is burned up. His remains are then buried under the fireplace (q.v.). This is a clear and straightforward allegory of superior conjunction, a time and place around the fire of the sun where Morning Star and Evening Star meet. After a period of absence from the sky, only one of them emerges "alive." When Morning Star wins, which portrays the shorter inferior conjunction, he lops off the head of Bluehorn with his flint inlaid arm, and runs through the lodge of the sun with it. However, Bluehorn's body is still alive, and in time the Twins seek to retrieve his head from his twin brother. They succeed, kill the evil twin, and restore Bluehorn's head to his body (thus bringing the Morning Star phase of Venus to a close). "Mortal Combat" portrays this conflict, showing two doppelgängers in mirror conflict with one another.4*

Mortal Combat Theme

Ex hypothesi, in each pair of combatants, the one on the right is Morning Star, who in other contexts as well, is always shown facing to his right. The only star that is a perfect doppelgänger to Morning Star is, of course, Evening Star. The only time they (seem to) meet is during conjunction with the sun. This is when they come into conflict so that only one of them emerges from the other side. When Morning Star wins, he emerges from the right side of the sun; when Evening Star wins, he emerges from the left side. When they meet, Evening Star enters from the left, and Morning Star from the right, so in their collision, Evening Star is seen on the left, and Morning Star on the right. Among many tribes, Morning Star and Evening Star are of opposite sex; but here we see that, as among the Hočągara, they are both males and in a state of mutual antagonism. More striking is the fact that they are fighting with swords made (impractically) of pure flint, and in their other hands, they are using a hooked weapon, exemplars of which have been recovered in Tennessee.5* These, and the strange hooked knives,6 are counterparts to the inlaid flint knives that are used as swords by the (four) Children of the Sun. Just as the white flint retrieved from the funeral pyre of Itzpapalotl was the talisman of victory, so the flints of the Morning Star and Evening Star are the means to their own victories. Flint is of particular propriety here, because it shines in the sunlight, a defining feature of both Morning Star and Evening Star. Sometimes the one (during superior conjunction) and sometimes the other (during inferior conjunction) wins this lethal contest, but the death of the loser is not final, for both these stars are beings of resurrection. The victor gains possession of the head of the loser, the head being the essence of his stellar presence in the night sky.

§2.2.2. The Headsman. It is this cyclical beheading motif that we are probably seeing in the story board element, "The Headsman."7

The Headsman Theme

What occurred when the Twins brought the head of Bluehorn's archenemy back with them is worth presenting in full:

Then the younger brother produced the head of the malefactor and said, "Here is the one who injured you!" The uncle took the head and danced with it. When he was done he gave a loud victory whoop, and all the spirits of the upper world, the lower world, and all those on earth heard it and rejoiced. Then he took an iron and heated it until it was red hot. Then he killed the head by shoving the hot iron up its throat and into its brain.8

So Evening Star danced with the head of Morning Star; but at Etowah the roles are reversed, since it is evident that they considered Morning Star to be the protagonist, and therefore the one whose victory was to be celebrated. In the Hočąk Victory Dance, the slack-jawed, severed heads held in the hands of the triumphant dancers are made by the bouncing motion of the dance to open and close their mouths, and so it is said, "they made them sing their own songs (nąkárawą)."9

The Headsman theme is also found on two copper plates known as the "Rogan Plates," which were discovered by John P. Rogan in 1884.10 Their style, alien to Etowah, was so exquisitely sophisticated that the archaeologists of the time thought that they must be of European provenance, or at the very least, from one of the high civilizations of Mexico.11 Their actual story is far more interesting.

... it is clear that the Rogan Plates actually were decorated in the Classic Braden style. This means that the plates functioned as heirloomed objects of power and that the images they carried were foreign to Etowah as well as being at least a century old by the time they were interred in the Early Wilbanks phase (AD 1250-1325) stages at Etowah's Mound C. Undoubtedly, as heirloomed items, the Rogan Plates functioned as significant objects of power that helped to visualize and validate the elite position of Etowah's ruling linearge.12

So these plates were in reality from Cahokia and had been preserved as ancient heirlooms from a glorious past. They were then buried with someone whose worth made them an appropriate tribute.

The Birdmen of the Rogan Plates

The Rogan Plates unquestionably depict the Birdman. Given that the severed head has the same raptorial nose that the victorious Birdman possesses, one must conclude that there are at least two Birdmen in the Cahokian pantheon. There can be little doubt, on the Hočąk model, that the victorious Birdman is Morning Star and the head belongs to Evening Star.

A badly weathered version of "The Headsman" (Ga-Brt-E10) shows an odd discoidal object apparently fastened to the back of his head. He has the five piece shell necklace, six wing vanes, and the standard eight circle-dot motifs on his breechcloth. He is unique in lacking antlers; furthermore, he has a nose markedly hooked like that of the raptor and the Birdmen of Cahokian inspiration. It should be noted here that Etowah follows the Hočąk rather than the Osage model of the relationship between Evening Star and Morning Star. The Osage view Morning Star and Evening Star as pileated woodpeckers, not as birds of prey. More striking still, is that the kenning for Morning Star is "the male star," whereas Evening Star is "the female star."13 Given the difference in sex, among the Osage the relationship cannot be one of clashing warriors one of whom takes the head of the other with his flint weapon, as we find so dramatically developed among both the Hočągara and at Etowah.

§2.2.3. Morning Star as Thunderbird, Evening Star as Waterspirit.The Osage identification of Morning Star with the pileated woodpecker, although not exemplified in the Etowah Morning Star, turns out not to be entirely irrelevant. The obvious thing about the woodpecker, as its name implies, is that it pecks on wood. In nature there are not too many things that make a sharp cracking noise, but the loud impact of the woodpecker's bill is without doubt one of those sounds. Therefore, it makes a good analogue to thunder, with the bird's forward-slamming, flaming red head contributing to the same image. However, the pileated woodpecker has something else that sets it apart.

A peculiar construction, permitting of the extreme protrusion of the tongue in woodpeckers, is the great length of the roots of that organ, in some species extending from the base of the tongue around the back of the head, on either side of the neck, over the top of the skull, with the ends resting close to the base of the upper mandible.14

The tongue is capable of protruding four inches beyond its already long bill.15 The Etowah Morning Star, of course, does not have a woodpecker's bill; but among the gorgets are numerous representations of not only the enormously long tongue associated with woodpeckers, but a tongue that splits into a number of branches. We see this feature depicted in some of the gorgets shown here (Ga-Brt-E8 , Tenn-Mi-X5 , Okla-Lf-S109 [length of tongue] ). It's very hard to imagine that such a multifurcated tongue could represent anything other than lightning. Other Mississippian gorgets from the Tennessee River area and the Alabama junction attribute similar lingual attributes to the "Hero Twins," who are among the Hočągara, by inference, the nephews of Morning Star (inasmuch as they are the nephews of his brother Evening Star). Lankford argues that given the rich weather symbolism found on these gorgets, the tongue-like structures emanating from their mouths are surely lightning.16 Since almost without exception they come from the mouths of the Twins, have a rounded tip, and a central groove, it is hard not to conclude that they are tongues. Such a concept of the Twins survives to the present day. The Caddo myths of the Twins, which in other respects bear great similarity to those of the Hočągara, recognize the Twins as Weather Spirits, and call them "Lightning Boy" and "Thunder Boy." In one story, the wild Lightning Boy has given his brother certain powers, "The boy told his brother to show him what kind of power he had, and then the little boy began making a loud noise that sounded like thunder when it rains, and then the unknown boy let his tongue out and it looked like a flash of lightning."17 They serve as a model for what is going on with the presumed Morning Star gorgets that show the central figure with a branching tongue. The Hočąk word meaning "to flick one's tongue out," rezi nąną́p, oddly enough also is said to mean "to blaze."18* More importantly, the Hočąk concept of lightning harkens back to the idea of a tongue of fire. The widespread contemporary notion that Thunderbirds shoot lightning with their eyes conceals an older idea, as Menaige tells us (ca. 1850):

It is one of the old traditions that when the Thunder Birds or Winaxí first appeared, they lit fires (by lightning) somewhat indiscriminately, striking everything they came across, even to the Wakčéxi or Spirits of the Water and Under Earth, whom they killed and eat of — that is the Indians say whenever the lighting kills or blasts anything, they "eat it"; as a pasture field being struck the grass turns yellow or is "eaten" by the Thunders; that is the substance is extracted and taken up. They say that whenever a hill is struck by lightning, as hills often are on account of their altitude above surrounding objects, it is because a Wakčéxi is concealed under it (that is in its water-springs) whom the Thunders thus kill and eat.19

So it is an "old tradition" that the Thunders used lightning to eat what they struck, just as fire is thought of as eating whatever combustible is thrown into it. Eating is done with the mouth, and extracting the food is done with the tongue. Therefore, the most natural image would be of the Thunders shooting lightning with their tongues and lapping up whatever they struck, not just Waterspirits, but even grass. As will be seen, Morning Star probably functioned as a proto-Thunderbird, having both a raptor manifestation, and appropriate to lightning, a serpent form as well. The Hočąk model makes it clear that if he cast lightning in his role as a god of winds (and by extension, weather), he did so by using the organ by which he would eat whatever he struck. Thus, we find what we would expect, viz. that the ancient Morning Star shot lightning from his mouth in the form of a tongue of fire.

It is not especially unusual for Morning Star to share this association with lightning, as we find it one of his most conspicuous traits in Western Mexico.20 On the other hand, the Hočąk Morning Star is never spoken of as firing lightning from his mouth, or darting his tongue out as a lightning bolt, no doubt because Thunderbirds have taken over that function entirely. Nevertheless, the Hočąk Morning Star has a strong connection to the Thunderbirds. As the youngest brother of Bladder (the sky vault), Morning Star had a confrontation with One Legged One, who had turned all his brothers into bladders. These brothers later became clouds.21 Rain clouds are the only kind of clouds that are also bladders, the very clouds otherwise identified with the Thunders. The kenning by which Morning Star is known is "Girded in Blankets" (Waįkipíraka) a reference to the clouds that hang low upon the horizon when the star is near the dawning sun. The contemporary Hočąk Morning Star, while not identical in body to his matrix of clouds, is still strongly connected to them. He yet retains at least one property of a Weather Spirit: he can command the wind.22* His twin, the Red Star, would knock down trees as he ran.23* In one myth, Morning Star himself intimidates the Giants by merely warming up for a wrestling match. He stepped up to a full grown oak tree, fastened on to it, and promptly wrestled it (hokinąk) to the ground.24 This exhibits that same power of the wind to uproot even the greatest of trees; but the oak is not only well rooted, it is the tree most often struck by lightning.25* More striking is his connection to the founding of the Thunderbird Clan: "[One Legged One] had many wives and some say that their children were adopted by Nah-ghee-gho-no-neenk [Morning Star] to be the Spirit clan or Spirit family [Thunderbird Clan]."26 The Hočąk Thunders, like the Etowah Morning Star, are also lightning wielding raptors. Although the corpus of mythology so far obtained from the Hočągara does not explicitly portray Morning Star as a raptor,27* the standard account of the founding of the Bird Clans says that their ancestors were initially avian counterparts of the Thunderbirds, and that over time "their feathers wore off (Mąšúna sojeraíreną)."28 The founder of the Thunderbird Clan proper is Blackhawk, who obviously answers to the celestial chief of the Thunderbirds, Great Blackhawk. This makes the competing founder of the clan, Morning Star, an alternant to raptorial Thunderbirds. Morning Star's role as a Thunder gives us a clearer view of why he wears the shell of the lightning whelk. "The young shells are bright with zigzag brown lightning streaks that radiate from the spire ..."29 Morning Star's own sacerdotal Quetzalcoatl pendant shell also carries natural symbols of his power to spit lightning. So it is not at all improbable that a preform of the Hočąk Morning Star was also a Weather Spirit who, on the model of the pileated woodpecker, made thunder with his mouth, and lightning with his enormous tongue. This is further reinforced by the Lakota, who say that the yellow-winged woodpecker is an associate of the Thunders, and when a storm approaches, he make a shrill whistle which they interpret "as speaking to the thunder." Its feathers are found on whistles designed to summon the aid of the Thunderbirds.29.1* The Etowah Morning Star's relationship to this bird can be discovered in their shared facial markings. The marking that runs from the mouth in an oval down over the throat, as we see in Ga-Brt-E12 (), Mo-Py-SM2 (), and the severed head of Ga-Brt-E8 (), replicates that of the pileated woodpecker, as shown in the inset. The established facial markings on some of the representations of the Etowah Morning Star may, therefore, reflect an esoteric identity with the thundering woodpecker, an identity that eventually became exoteric among the Osage. This goes some way towards unifying both the Hočąk and the Osage reflexes of the ancient Morning Star preform.

Before moving to the Dakotan take on Birdman-like figures, something should be said about a strange anomaly in the Hočąk model. In the Lower Moiety, the primordial clansmen were the animals that gave their name to the clan. These animals metamorphosed into human beings. Applying this model to the Thunderbird Clan would mean that its founders were Thunderbirds. The members of the Hawk Clan, for instance, intimate indirectly that they descended from Thunderbirds, but the members of the Thunderbird Clan proper are very careful to avoid making such a claim.30 A similar disjunction exist between the Thunderbird Clan and Morning Star. Morning Star is not the father of the Thunderbird Clan, but their step-father. The first human chief of the Thunderbird Clan was Blackhawk, an obvious counterpart to Great Blackhawk, the chief of the celestial Thunderbirds. The latter is portrayed in the Xth century as an American swallow-tail kite (a black hawk) on the walls of the Gottschall Rockshelter (q.v.). Did the Thunderbird Clan once claim to have been the descendants of a Thunderbird who was the son of Morning Star?

Cup 203

Turning now to the third leg of the Central Siouan edifice, some remarkable convergences are found between the Dakota Thunderbird, Wakíŋyaŋ, and one portrayal of Birdman in particular. In 1895, a Dakota explained the concept of the Wakíŋyaŋ to a white man.

"What is thunder?" a white man asked a Sioux or Dakota Indian. "Thunder is a big bird flying in the air. It makes tracks like fire. You can hear it clap its wings. It is the young thunder-birds that hurt the Sioux. The old birds will not touch us. They are our friends." "Did you ever see a thunder-bird?" was asked by the white man. "I never did but my father's brother, Little Crow, saw one fall dead out of the sky. It had wings wide as a white man's house, and it had lightning on its wings. It had a face like a man; its nose was like an eagle's bill." ... "What do you call the thunder?" "Wahkeon [Wakíŋyaŋ].31 He and Unktahe [Uŋktéḣi] are always fighting. It is a great battle; when there is a storm Unktahe sends the thunder-birds back to the sky, sometimes."32

This description resonates with the image of Birdman found at Spiro on Cup 203.33 The arch of jagged lines may suggest two things: lightning (as from cloud to cloud) and the stylized representation of clouds known as a "cloud terrace" (). Under either interpretation (or both at once), this eagle-nosed Birdman would certainly pass muster as a Dakota Wakíŋyaŋ. This Dakotan example, from the third branch of Central Siouan, gives added strength to the idea that Birdman as Morning Star is also a (proto-)Thunderbird.

The older archaeologists were of the view that Birdman was aëtomorphic, perhaps under the influence of the Greek exemplar of the Thunderbird, the eagle of Zeus, who carried and retrieved his thunderbolts; but opinion has now swung in favor of the hawk. The founder of the Hočąk Hawk Clan was Wonáǧire Wąkšik, "Man of War." Like Morning Star, he was an important war deity. The Wonáǧire Wąkšigera were one and the same as the Bad Thunderbirds, who were responsible for the rain, and who, from time to time, just like the members of their eponymous clan, would eat people. In many respects, they are like the young Wakíŋyaŋ of the Dakota. The Hočąk Hawk Clan recalls in many ways the Men of Mystery among the Osage. The Man of Mystery wielded the thunder. He too was connected to the hawk. If Morning Star were not identical to these figures, the version that we find of him at Etowah certainly suggests some affinities.

Evening Star represents a greater challenge. Two of the gorgets displaying oral lightning show a figure facing to his left, the direction that we would expect Evening Star to assume. On the Hočąk model, we should expect Evening Star to be the perfect doppelgänger of Morning Star; but the Hočąk model is hardly consistent. There is another tradition which is quite firmly established, that identifies the Hočąk Evening Star, Bluehorn, as a Waterspirit.

Then their [Twin's] uncle went back under the earth and clear to the bottom of the earth he went and lay. He was one of the chief Waterspirits, that was why he was called "Bluehorn." He was a Buffalo Spirit. He was the chief of the buffaloes, but he was a Waterspirit, it is said.34

Here the buffaloes symbolize the stars, and given the brilliance of Evening Star, it seems appropriate that he should be the chief of the stars.35* As a doppelgänger, Evening Star should be as Thunderbird-like as Morning Star, but in fact, he is said to be the opposite. The paradox can be easily resolved by allowing that Bluehorn could simply assume the raptorial form, a necessity given the received opinion that Waterspirits don't fly. Here again, the recent Hočąk theology is presented with a contradiction, since "Waterspirit Bluehorn" obviously does fly, and to the very height of the stars, over whom he is chief. Because they exist in such sharp contradistinction to Thunderbirds, the Hočąk Waterspirit is never said to have wings; yet we cannot avoid the conclusion that esoterically one of the greatest of them actually flies into the sky. Therefore, for Waterspirits to have wings is not only possible, but must be appropriate in at least one prominent case. In the past, at least the Mississippian past, one form of Waterspirit was the winged Piasa. Asserting such an identity is a bold statement, but it is explicitly supported in the mythology of Bluehorn, which contradicts the notion that a winged Waterspirit is a conceptual oxymoron. At Spiro, where we have such a wealth of material, and at Moundville, there are a great many winged Piasas. Many of these portray the Great Serpent, a Serpent Waterspirit (at least in part) that represents an important asterism in the vicinity of the Path of Souls.36 The Great Serpent has wings for the same reason that we can impute them to the Hočąk Evening Star.

There are some winged Waterspirits (Piasas) that do not represent asterisms. The scene below, from Spiro Cup 229, shows four winged, Serpent-Panther Waterspirits, whose bodies form a swastika around a central cross.37 There is no petaloid surround indicating that the action takes place in the Above World. In the Below World, the cross of the center and the four cardinal points can stand for the earth as a whole. The scene therefore is satisfied by the Hočąk creation story (q.v.) in which Earthmaker (whose own emblem is precisely this "Greek" cross), fashions the world and casts it into the void below, where it spins ceaselessly. In order to bring the earth to rest, he sends down four Waterspirits to act as Island Weights (Wič-hirawasewe). In other variants, he sends four serpents. The scene of Cup 229 shows both of these variants fused into one. The Waterspirits have wings because they have descended from the Above World. As they touch down, the world is still spinning. In the sister composition (Cup 228),38 four wingless Waterspirits are shown in the same arrangement, but lacking any expression of motion. In the myth, the four Waterspirits succeed in stabilizing the newly created earth, and assume their permanent positions at the cardinal points. Whatever interpretation we give to it, Cup 229 does at least show winged Waterspirits.

Cup 229

The essence of the Waterspirit, not surprisingly, is water: "If there was no Wakčexi there would be no water."39 Needless to say, sky water is embodied in clouds. It is said that all the brothers of Morning Star were turned into clouds, and since Evening Star was his nearest brother, he too ought to have been of this same character. Flying Waterspirits lead to an awkward theological problem of the sort that would have been particularly abhorrent to Occam. This otherwise strange intrusion of Waterspirits into the sky could be easily explained as Mexican influence at the temporal root of Mississippian culture. The Nahua tribes do not have Thunderbirds. Instead they have Tlalocs, spirits of the water, not only the water of the earth, but that of the underworld and the sky. They are the ones who fire lightning, and the god of rain is their leader, the eponymous Tlaloc. Besides the Hočąk identity of Piasa and Waterspirit, there are other reasons for seeing the recent Waterspirits as having come under the influence of the Tlalocs. In Hočąk theology, the Waterspirits live in an upside down world, and when they rise to the surface, all kinds of things are first ejected; but the last things to appear are the glowing embers of fire.40 When the Waterspirits were fighting their enemies, "the fire jetted upwards (pejera resinanąp wągera howahuže)."41 Fire is not found in the waters of the world below, but only in the clouds. As winged Piasas in the not too distant past, they must have been shooting fire from the clouds just like Tlalocs. The set of antlers sported by both the Piasa and the Etowah Morning Star may have served, probably polyvalently, as symbols of the radiating branches of lightning. Intimate to lightning is the thunder stone, a hot black rock that forms the tip of the lightning bolt.42 Waterspirit Bluehorn is also chief of the black rocks.43 If simple deduction were permitted, we should be able to say that he is also chief over the thunder stones. In the past, it may have been more explicit. We may conclude that in the Hočąk past, Evening Star may have been a wielder of lightning every bit as much as his identical twin Morning Star. It is this parity that we see represented on the Etowah gorgets. However, what we do not see is the portrayal of Piasas at in the Etowah gorgets. Furthermore, we do not see a combat between a raptorial Morning Star and a Tlaloc-like Piasa, although Morning Star is seen struggling with a wingless Waterspirit (Ga-Brt-E50).

The struggle between Morning Star and Evening Star is, ex hypothesi, the struggle between two raptorial spirits. Yet despite all apparent contradictions, it is clear that the Hočąk Evening Star was perfectly identical in every respect to Morning Star, including the fact that "his arms were inlaid with knives (ara mąhi hot’ųpše)."44 The knives that ran down his arms would have been made of flint in earlier times. Having flint-like markings down the wings is a feature of many predatory birds. The most pronounced exemplar in this respect is a relatively rare bird in Wisconsin, the Gyrfalcon [inset].45 Many predatory birds sport these flint-like markings that resemble the hooked knives being wielded in the Mortal Combat scene. The fact that Flint himself was turned into a Great Horned Owl whose body is likewise covered in a flint-like pattern, shows that the black pointed markings common to owls and certain other raptors were explicitly homologized to flint points. This should mean that the flint-armed Evening Star also had an esoteric alloform as a raptor.

§2.2.4. The Waterspirit Combat. This plot thickens when we consider another gorget whose content I shall term, "The Waterspirit Combat."46

The Waterspirit Combat
Herakles Breaks the Horn of Acheloos

This has been called, "Dances with Snakes."47 First we should observe that this is hardly a snake simpliciter, since it has a human head and a fish tail. In this respect, it hardly differs at all from the Greek Acheloos, shown above. On these grounds, Morning Star's opponent may best be described as a "Waterspirit."48* However, it is not a simple matter, since it would be a Serpent-Waterspirit, each genus of Waterspirit exhibiting some features of a particular animal, as for instance the attested Elk-Waterspirit (Hųwa-Wakjexi) and the Bear-Waterspirit (Hųč Wákčexi). As against this view, he has no horns, which are an important element in the make-up of Waterspirits. Also the figure has some correspondence to human-headed snakes seen at both Spiro, Oklahoma and Hollywood, Georgia.49 Such anthropocephalic serpents are consistent with being Waterspirits, but we have to keep open the possibility that they are instead some kind of were-snake.

The scene reminds us somewhat of Įčorúšika's fight with the Waterspirits, except that in this instance, the combat appears to be one on one, and does not involve fire. There is a story from the rather distant Arapaho that better fits the content of the "Waterspirit Combat." In this story the victor is precisely Morning Star himself, whom they call, ironically, "Little Star." In the Arapaho tales about Little Star, the battle with the Waterspirit is transposed into the heavens. Old Woman Night, who takes care of Little Star, lives in a lean-to that appears to be Orion (Belt Stars and Algiebba). Just beyond lives a two-horned monster whose serpentine body extends past this lean-to all the way to the water (Milky Way). Such a context suggests that its horns are the "V" shaped Hyades. He eats the food that Old Woman Night sends his way (the planets), so Little Star kills him by knocking off his horns.50 The Blackfeet, kindred to the Arapaho, have a similar episode in their Star Boy story. Star Boy is the son of Morning Star, and his opponent is a giant serpent with two great yellow eyes, both of which he shoots out.51 As the story progresses, we discover that his step-mother, Old Woman, has an alloform as a spider.52 It may be recalled that Star Boy had been lowered through the hole in the sky by Spider Man, a connection recalled in the spider web tail element on Morning Star in "Seated in Display" (). If the Etowah "Waterspirit Combat" is on the Arapaho model, then the Waterspirit represents a series of fixed stars that lead to the Milky Way. If this is true, then the Etowah version is flipped horizontally with the head in the Milky Way, and the tail representing the "V" shaped Hyades. Although the Hyades are correctly portrayed as being behind Morning Star, it fails to represent their proper orientation.

It seems likely, given the dominance otherwise of this language group, that the Arapaho story was transmitted by a Central Siouan source. There is, in fact, an Assiniboine story about Morning Star that shows some similarities. Most of the story is a fairly straightforward allegory about the two Venuses and the moon.

A man and his wife were camping by themselves. She was pregnant. While her husband was away, another man would come and embrace her. Her lover wished to elope with her, but he did not like to take her with the baby in her womb. So he once entered her lodge and said, "I want to eat food from your belly." She asked, "How shall I sit?" "Lie down on your back, and place the dish on your belly." She obeyed. When he was done eating, he stuck a knife into her, and took out the child, which he left in the lodge. Then the lovers fled underground, entering the earth under the fireplace. When the woman's husband returned, he found the child's body, and saw that his wife was gone. He split trees and dried up the creeks where he thought she might have fled. When the lovers came above ground again, he tracked them. They turned into snakes and crawled into a hollow tree. He followed in pursuit, and saw the snakes, but did not recognize them as the fugitives. He thought the lovers had gone up the tree. He climbed up, but could not find them. At last he climbed higher still, reached the sky, and became the Morning Star.53

The first part of this story is very similar to the widespread account (found also among the Hočągara) of the birth of the Twins, although here it is the stillbirth of a single child. The esoteric identity of this child is not obvious. While Evening Star is in the sky, the moon's former lover, Morning Star, is not. At some point Evening Star descends into conjunction with the sun, which in this case, occurs at the same time that the moon is also in conjunction, which explains their residence below the fireplace (sun and earth). When Evening Star is in inferior conjunction, so too is Morning Star. The Evening Star and Moon are snakes because, like serpents, they shuffle off their skin and are thus periodically "reborn." The tree that Morning Star climbs is probably the Milky Way as axis mundi. When he is in the sky, he leaves behind Evening Star, and the new moon resides in the west with Evening Star. The snakes in this myth are reptilian forms of otherwise anthropomorphic spirits. The Etowah were-snake may capture the same idea by portraying both reptile and human simultaneously. At the very least, the Assiniboine story shows the identity of Evening Star as a were-snake; however, it explicitly lacks a confrontation in which Morning Star kills Evening Star in this form.

When we turn to the Hočągara, this lack is made good. Here both Evening Star (Bluehorn) and Morning Star (his unnamed doppelgänger) transform themselves into serpents.

(2) Once a man [Morning Star] did come and he said that he came to contend with him [Bluehorn]. The man said that he would like that. The other man told the man when he would come, and the man came the next morning. The man said to the other man that he would cut off his head. The other man said, "All right!" The man said he came to contend with him. He said that first he would try to cut off his head with a knife. He said that they would do it at a log in this very place. The man in the lodge said that he would go under it first. (3) The other one confronted him with a knife. When the other became a serpent, he entered into the log. The other man stood there waiting a long time. He had said that he would try to come out very rapidly. Soon when the man under the log was coming out, the other man [Morning Star] hit him in the neck and cut his head off. After he took the head, he put the head behind him. After he had done so, he went home.54

Thus, he became the Janus-like "Man with Two Heads." In this story, the man with two heads is Morning Star, who is both victor and antagonist. The implicit assumption here is that the head taken was in human form. In the rest of the story, Bluehorn lives as a headless man, until his nephews, the Twins, retrieve his head and successfully reunite it with his torso. It is hardly a snake's head that is added to the living body of Bluehorn to make him whole again — therefore, when the snake was beheaded, its head and body reverted to their human form. It remains possible, however, that the serpent had Bluehorn's head, and after its decapitation, the body reverted to natural form. In either case, it satisfies the criterion that Evening Star be a were-snake that is defeated by Morning Star. However, unlike the Arapaho example, the action must take place on the ground when Morning Star and Evening Star are both in inferior conjunction with the sun. (In this connection, it appears that the Etowah were-snake has eight target markings on his body, equal both to the number of days of inferior conjunction, and the number of years of the Venus Cycle.) As in the Assiniboine tale, Evening Star becomes the animal of second birth, but uniquely in the Hočąk case, Morning Star also shares this metamorphosis. The gorget's skull might not serve as a locative of the sky, but of the situation in which both Morning Star and the were-snake are in the realm of stellar death, the Beneath World where skulls lie buried.55* The skull, minus other bones, may also serve to recapitulate the severed head theme, since the outcome in every Hočąk story portraying this conflict is the beheading of the losing opponent. The beheading of this opponent, with his fish tail, would also recapitulate the Hawk Clan conquest theme of the Bisected Sacrifice, in which the victor stands between the head and the tail of his victim, presenting himself as the Centre in contradistinction to the Periphery (for which, see below). A counterpart of this theme is the contrast between the Upper and the Lower, metaphors for hierarchy. The snake-fish (and Waterspirit) is lower by nature, as shown in the etching, where the raptorial Morning Star drives the were-snake downward. The symmetry of Morning Star and Evening Star both being serpents is broken in the illustration by the depiction of the fish tail on the were-snake, which uniquely identifies him as Evening Star, since of the two, only he is associated with Waterspirits. On this model, we may understand the Etowah Waterspirit Combat scene as a variant of the same conflict seen in "Mortal Combat," just as the Hočąk were-snake story is just a variant of their standard myth of combat between the anthropomorphic versions of Evening Star and Morning Star.

We should not leave this topic without making a short remark about the Mexican counterpart to Morning Star.

Radin also saw that the Water Spirit — envisioned as a huge serpent, the word rendered in bold type in Foster's account — once played a much more significant role in Ho-Chunk cosmology. During his 1957 stay at Lurie's home, he mused with a smile that perhaps it was half of Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed Serpent, separated as it moved out of Middle America from its other half that became syncretized with the northern Thunderbird.56

We now see that Morning Star and Evening Star were in body both raptor (Thunderbird) and serpent, not simultaneously, but in succession. This may reflect an adoption, in an original way, of the Mexican notion that Morning Star at least had a dual nature that at once embraced the opposite attributes of both bird and snake.

§2.3. Mothra.

Morning Star has another opponent, a giant moth nicknamed "Mothra."1  

Mothra Images
Mothra Combat, Ga-Brt-E12
The Willoughby Disk, Ala-Tu-M2

The scenes shown above all share the "Mothra" theme.2 The Willoughby Disk, however, is not from Etowah, but from the rather different culture at Moundville, which demonstrates, in any case, that Mothra is not just a local phenomenon. The opponent of Mothra is the same figure that we have seen hitherto, which is no doubt Morning Star. In the scene depicted in Ga-Brt-E12, Morning Star is about to make a victorious strike with his flint sword. The blade is in his left hand, forced by the fact that as Morning Star he must face right, since that is the direction of the sun, the direction that Morning Star usually faces. So this particular Mothra is partly between him and the sun, if we take the picture to be a faithful allegory in that respect. The other scene found in Mo-Py-SM2 shows a more leisurely Morning Star parting two mothras (or perhaps a double-Mothra) rather like one spreads foliage apart to clear a pathway or obtain a view. It should be clear that Mothra represents a different opponent from the doppelgänger enemy that he fights in the Mortal Combat scene. It hardly seems likely that Mothra is Evening Star. Therefore, Morning Star has at least two distinct (types of) opponents: his doppelgänger (Evening Star), and one or two giant moths.

We must first observe that no two depictions of Mothra(s) are at all consistent, although they are similar enough to be viewed as variants of one another.

... they have in common a segmented body, differentiated by dorsal and ventral patterning and ending in a forked tail; a head area reduced to a large eye represented by a dotted circle; a short truncated form emanating from the eye area; a rayed spiral anterior to the eye and projected forward and downward; and finally, overlapping, fan-like wings connected to the thorax and decorated with a circle-and-dot border.3

However, the Moundville Mothra (Ala-Tu-M2) is strikingly different from its Etowah counterpart (Ga-Brt-E12): it lacks antennæ, has a relatively short proboscis, its wing patterns are different,4 with the underside also differing from its dorsal side, it has exaggerated serrations on its wing edges, a bulbous abdomen and thorax, no segments in its thorax or abdomen, a larger eye and head, and is depicted without legs (perhaps a stylistic choice). However, the Moundville exemplar is not purely the product of an individual artist's mind — the ventral wing pattern's nested arched lines, with a dark central strip carrying a series of white dots, as well the absurdly serrated proboscis, are both depicted as separated elements in several pots.5* In the scene in which Morning Star grabs two mothras, which was found in Missouri, this Mothra has the same body and proboscis as the other exemplar, but its wings are very much more like those of the Moundville type, with its pronounced serrations and nested arch pattern. However, instead of dots falling within this pattern, the Missouri Mothra has ovals with bars inside them. There is no moth in nature remotely like this, so we must conclude that it is mythological.6*

There are two examples of mythological lepidoptera in the Central Siouan traditions. One is found in the Osage adoption ritual, where the candidate must take an oath to do no harm to his adopted people. Here, as is typical of religions worldwide, supernatural powers are invoked to sanction the vows. One of these deities who punishes oath breakers is the Great Butterfly (Dsinthá Tonga).7 This deity "... moves amidst the winds that precede the storm."8

Amidst the winds of the north, the great butterfly, my grandfather, moves and travels with a power from which no evil act can be concealed. He it is who was chosen to guard with watchful care the penalties. He is ever at the back of the man who makes the vow, he ever hovers around his head.9

This butterfly is not mentioned as an enemy of Morning Star, whereas the lepidopteran of Etowah is almost defined by this relationship. If the Great Butterfly is cognate to Mothra at all, it certainly reflects a substantial devolution of its once mighty role.

Rather closer is a butterfly mentioned by the Dakota in 1895. He is mentioned in the context of a brief description of the Sioux Thunderbird, the Wakíŋyaŋ.

Wahkeontonka [Wakíŋyaŋ Táŋka] is the father of all the birds. He is Big Thunder. He lives on a great mountain in the west. His wigwam has four doors. A caribou stands at the north door. He is swift like the north wind. At the south door is a red deer; he is very beautiful. His eyes are like the little lakes in summer. A butterfly watches at the east door of the wigwam. He is like the morning light. A bear watches the west door, and when the wind blows from the west even the white people can hear the bear growling. This is true.10

Since it too is a guardian, this supernatural butterfly has at least a remote resemblance to the Osage Dsinthá Tonga. What is particularly interesting is that it is found in the east where Morning Star dwells, and is even connected to dawn. This butterfly is subordinate to the Chief of the Thunders, a role in the distant past that conceivably could have been played by Morning Star himself ().

Nevertheless, none of the lepidoptera that we have found among the Central Siouans has much resemblance to Mothra. The Hočągara, as far as we know, have nothing to say about a powerful butterfly or moth; but we have already seen what had taken its place. Flint, grandfather of the Forked Men, and a masculine counterpart of Itzpapalotl, both of whom seem to represent the Hyades, is an enemy of Redhorn. Flint's animal alloform is the Great Horned Owl; that of Itzpapalotl is the Saturnian moth that bears her name. These two alloforms are strangely isomorphic: they are nocturnal, of a similar color, fly, have markings on their body that look like flint, and have a prominent configuration of body parts that recall the "V" shape of the Hyades. However, most importantly, the Obsidian Butterfly and Flint function as counterparts in mythology. Since the ītzpāpā́lōtl moth is restricted in its range to a small area of central Mexico, of the two, Flint's alloform is most likely the innovation, since the absence of the orizaba moth in the boreal regions forces some kind of replacement. At Etowah, Morning Star also has a role as the enemy of the flint-winged, nocturnal flyer. In Hočąk mythology, Morning Star is just such a "flyer" himself, with arms fringed with flint knives, very much like Itzpapalotl.

Itzpapalotl with Moth Attributes
Codex Telleriano-Remensis, 18v
Codex Rios, 29 (27v)

We might expect that at Etowah the Hočąk model would involve an opponent who was an owl, but strangely, we have an opponent who appears to have been directly inspired by the Mexican figure of Itzpapalotl without the expected "middle man." However, like Flint and like the Great Butterfly, Mothra appears to be masculine. This is based upon just one feature: all pictures of the moth show at the end of its abdomen a pair of claspers (prehensores).11 These are used to grip the female during mating, and are therefore found only on males. Nevertheless, the matter is complex. We have seen that Itzpapalotl had masculine characteristics, the most notable being that she had stag horns in her cervid incarnation. Like the stag horns, the prehensores exemplified the "V" theme that expresses the structure of the Hyades. At Etowah, too, we see what may be the same theme represented on Mothra in the "V" shaped claspers. The "V" shape is seen repeated numerous times in the proboscis, and in the wing edge of the doubled Mothra scene. This is highly significant because there are no lepidoptera that have serrated (or scalloped) probosces, so the pronounced "V" shaped supplements to the edge of the proboscis are not based on empirical observation. This means, of course, that they are fictitious and may serve a symbolic function. The "V" pattern is repeated in the edges of the wings in two of the three exemplars of Mothra. There are a number of lepidoptera whose wings have serrated edges, however, they do not even remotely approach the degree of angular acuteness nor depth of indentation. The serrated projections and indentations form a series of interlocking "V's" that once again would be expected to symbolize the shape of the Hyades. The edge of the wing is therefore shaped like a series of arrowheads, recalling the flint knives that project from the edge of the Obsidian Butterfly's wings. Among the Hočągara, these knives run down the length of each arm in both sets of the Children of the Sun. Flint himself was covered in what were to become arrowheads. The triangular section of the (unserrated) wing shown in Ga-Brt-E12, forms a "Λ" shape with a circle-dot at its apex, succeeded by four other such symbols following the outline of the wing edge. These may well represent the five major stars of the Hyades: γ Tauri (apex), δ Tauri (left center), θ Tauri (right center), ε Tauri (left bottom), and Aldebaran (right bottom). In the Moundville Mothra of the Willoughby Disk, the wing serrations form five "Λ's" each with a circle-dot symbol, forming what is likely a synonymous representation of these same five stars. In the picture "Morning Star Grasping Two Mothras" (Mo-Py-SM2), we see the lepidoptera forming a "V" through which Morning Star steps. Ex hypothesi, the "V" is the Hyades where Morning Star occasionally travels between the two legs of its triangle. Both the Etowan and Mexican versions replicate over and over again the "V" shape characteristic of the Hyades.

There are no surviving myths in the north of a Mothra figure, let alone a giant moth enemy to Morning Star in particular. The only myths that come close to satisfying this criterion are Mexican, where the Obsidian Butterfly (Itzpapalotl) is slain by Mixcoatl, the father of Morning Star (Quetzalcoatl). The north's shift from father to son was dictated by events that took place in the heavens from 1054 to 1056, as will be shown later. In the gorget Mo-Py-SM2, we see what appear to be two mothras whose probosces are gripped by Morning Star and held apart. We cannot see their prehensores, assuming that they have any. It is not clear, therefore, whether there are really two of them, or whether they are a single entity joined together at their tails. If they are conjoined, they would be what the Mexicans term a quaxolotl. We hear of this strange creature when we are told that a two headed stag fell from heaven. Camaxtli (Mixcoatl) ordered it captured and treated as a god. He took this quaxolotl with him as a talisman, and as a result was victorious on every occasion that battle was joined.12 Elsewhere, he gains victory by a Warbundle formed of the ashes of Itzpapalotl, acquired in the way described by the story that we here offer as cognate to that depicted in the Mothra gorgets.13 These correspondences suggest what is made explicit in another version of the myth, that the two-headed deer is Itzpapalotl.14 The story is told that two such quaxolotl stags fell from heaven. They were pursued as game by two of the Mimixcoa. In the end, they proved to be women. One of the Mimixcoa was seduced only to have his heart eaten out of his chest. The other, Mimich, fled. The other quaxolotl, explicitly said to be Itzpapalotl, pursued him; but when she caught up to him, she died at the hands of the assembled Mimixcoa just as she had in other versions of the story. That Itzpapalotl herself turns out to have had two heads, or a complementary being of the same type, falls into a nice alignment with the dual (headed) Mothra(s) of the Etowah-style gorget.

The material that we have examined so far begins to suggest that Mothra is a reflex of Itzpapalotl in her form as a moth. The Mexican mothra can be extracted from some the symbolically composite paintings of Itzpapalotl.

The Mothra of Itzpapalotl
 Codex Telleriano-Remensis, 18v 
Codex Rios, 29 (27v)
Codex Tonalamatl, 13

In rendering the moth of Itzpapalotl, we know that the Mexicans took no pains to faithfully reproduce the moth of Orizaba, as we can see in the iconography of codices which fully express her moth nature. The carnivorous character of this moth is expressed not with a rasping proboscis, but a mouth equipped with a set of sharp teeth. These gaping jaws recall the Hyades, the star cluster capable of swallowing Morning Star. One odd feature of almost all depictions of the Itzpapalotl mothra is that she has two arms, but no other limbs. The Mothra of Ga-Brt-E12 also shares this very unusual feature. However, no Mexican mothra has been found so far that possesses the masculine claspers of its Etowah counterparts. The relative scarcity of the ītzpāpā́lōtl moth itself, allowed the Mexican iconographers to be quite free in their representations of the deity in her moth form. These engravings upon stone show a wide range of variation in the way this Nahuatl mothra is depicted.

The Mothra of Itzpapalotl (Stone Carvings)
Altar of Itzpapalotl16

The only pure "mothra" style depiction of Itzpapalotl is that of her altar. The carving shows two human hands each grasping a sacrificed heart. There is nothing in its symbolism that references the Hyades. The carving from Tula shows the typical defleshed human head of Itzpapalotl, although she sports two feather-like antennae. Both of these give her teeth rather than the typical lepidopteran proboscis. The exemplar from Teotenago is much more like the Mississippian Mothra. It has wings with large circles on them, serrated wings, a segmented abdomen, and just two arms that end in appendages more appropriate to a moth. However, it has the head of a king vulture (Sarcoramphus papa). The term for vulture in Nahuatl is cozcaquauhtli, from cōzcatl, "necklace," and cuāuhtli, "eagle," making it the "necklaced eagle."18 This explains the necklace of 12+ beads worn on the figure. The circles on the wings and thorax are standard symbols for stars, and counting those out of view on the other wing, there would be five of them, the number of principal stars in the Hyades. This would also explain the set of five beads seen at the top of her head.

Connecting the Etowah moth with Itzpapalotl may help us to understand a peculiar association found in burials.

Three Dances with Mothra gorgets were recovered from Mound C (Burials L-137, L-223, and L-27) at Etowah [cp. Ga-Brt-E12 ]. In all three cases the minimal investigation of the skeletal remains listed the grave occupants as adult females. In only one case (Burial L-223), a stone-box grave, was the type recorded. Burials L-137 and L-223 date to the Early Wilbanks phase (AD 1250-1325), while Burial L-27 dates to the Late Wilbanks phase (AD 1325-1375). All the Dances with Mothra gorgets are buried with adult females, indicating the potential for associating specific grave objects with a specific sex.19*

Itzpapalotl is a Great Mother goddess, but also a deity of death. The vulture, being bald, is a symbol of old age.20* Her other associations with death are expressed in her grisly defleshed human head, and even in the butterfly, a form taken by the departed souls of warriors.21* Her special emphasis was on women who died in childbirth, since such women were considered the female equivalents of men who had died in war.22* These women in death formed a cadre called the Cihuateteo who took up that half of the sky opposite that occupied by the souls of those who died in war or sacrifice. This was variously the west or the south. The male souls escorted the rising sun to the zenith, and the female souls escorted the sun to its setting in the west. We probably cannot discover whether these women of Etowah died in childbirth (unless some are too old), but inasmuch as Itzpapalotl was a lunar goddess, she had a general association with women rather than men. What we have been finding is a Mexican element blended or mirrored in the Hočąk, but with the latter generally predominating. If Mothra had a lunar valence, then in terms of Hočąk mythology, she would have been the sister of Evening Star, and the victim of some abuse by the Morning Star, even though by implication, he should have been her brother as well. In the stories of the Morning Star-Evening Star struggle, she seems to be in ignorance of the very existence of Evening Star's doppelgänger. Her sympathies as expressed in the mythology line up well with an antagonism towards Morning Star. Itzpapalotl wars against Mixcoatl and the Mimixcoa, just as Flint does against Redhorn (Redman). This too is consistent with Hočąk theology, as Redhorn and Morning Star are clearly allied, even though their relationship is obscure and goes undeveloped in the corpus of stories known to us.

When it comes to the Mothra of Etowah, the Hočąk model is both too evolved and too lacking in detail to be very illuminating. Of all models available, it is the Mexican that forms the best fit. The Mexicans at least have their own mothra. Nevertheless, at this point in our explorations we are left wondering why the Mexican mothra, redeveloped in Etowah in clearly original ways, found a role in the mythology of Morning Star. We will revisit the subject of Mothra once we have established the role of the Hyades in the cult of Morning Star. It will then become clear that the relationship between the northern mothras and the mothras of Mexico are not accidental.

§2.4. The Bilobed Arrow.

Since Redhorn and his sons can transform themselves into arrows, it can hardly be controversial to call them "Arrow Spirits." As such they are members of the Heroka, the lilliputian race of Hunting Spirits. They are ruled over by Redhorn (as Hérokaga), and were an important aid to Morning Star during his sojourn on earth. Their emblem, the crossed bow and arrow, is shown below. So we must ask ourselves, Among the many artifacts uncovered, why was the emblem of the Heroka not found on the followers of Redhorn or on the person of Morning Star? The simple answer may be that it was. One odd device seen in many headdresses, and which seems to have been universal to the Mississippian world, is known as the "bilobed arrow."1 Its standard structure resembles an arrow flanked on each side by an oval. Phillips and Brown show with clear examples that the ovals originated as feather fans attached to the bow upon which the arrow rests.2 Below are a number of bilobed devices, including some in which a drooping plume replaces the original arrowhead. This variant, the bilobed plume,3 is commonplace in the iconography of Morning Star. In addition, the illustrations include other artifacts and symbols that may be related to the bilobed arrow.

Hočąk Devices
Bow & Cruciform Arrow
Bilobed Arrow
Bilobed Plumes
The Wind
of Wolf
Emblem of
the Heroka
The Black Warrior
Picture Cave
Morning Star

It is possible to see the bilobed arrow as just an earlier version of the emblem of the Heroka. Both of these symbols have complementary eccentricities. The bilobed arrow, as we see in the very conservative version presented on the Willoughby Disk, has its arrow strung, but the cross piece upon which the arrow rests, which can only be the bow, is unbowed. Something similar is true of the emblem of the Heroka. There the bow is arched because it is strung, but the arrow, oddly, is not nocked in the string, but lies across the bow as though they were both set upon the ground in this configuration. To understand these peculiarities, we need to explore some of the theological aspects of the bow and arrow.

In Hočąk culture, the sacred attributes of the bow are expressed in the symbolism of the Forked Man (q.v.). The Forked Man has four arms and two heads. This actually describes the bowman, whose first head is his own, and whose second head is that of the arrow (pa = "head, point"). The four arms are the two of the bowman, and the two segments of the bow string, bifurcated by the arrow, which are tied to opposite ends of the bow. The tied string acts as a hand that grips its end of the bow, and when the arrow is drawn, each half of the string is like an arm that pulls the bow back. This gives the bowman the four arms necessary to shoot the arrow. The Forked Man is also said to be a forked-tailed bird. This is readily seen in the emblem of the Heroka. The tail of the arrow belongs to a bird, since the fletchings are made of bird feathers. They are swept back at an angle, thus creating a forked tail, an effect enhanced by the notch of the arrow's nock. In the Heroka emblem, the arched bow with the straight string, creates the appearance of wings on either side of the arrow shaft that bisects it. So the arrow-head (mą-pa) is the head (pa) of the bird, and the bow itself, thus configured, makes up its wings, with the opposite end of the arrow displaying the forked tail. The bow and string are necessarily its wings, since without them, the arrow does not fly. This is the way in which the bow and arrow may be said to be a species of bird. This symbolism seems to be replicated in the bilobed arrow of the ancient Redhorn and Morning Star as well. In the representation of the bow in that symbol, the ends of the bow have feather fans attached to them. Clearly, a bow with ornamental feather fans is not a functioning hunter's bow, since they would interfere with shooting, and the fans would be subject to damage from the brush encountered in the wilderness. So the bow of the bilobed arrow symbol is ceremonial, made for display only. The feather fans at the ends of the bow can be seen as performing the same symbolic function, reiterating the status of the bow as the wings for the arrow-bird.

However, the most conspicuous thing that the bilobed arrow and the Heroka emblem have in common is a central cross. For the former, it is a cross formed by the arrow as it lays upon the counterfactually straight bow; for the latter, it is the cross formed by the unnocked arrow as it lays across the tight cord of the strung bow. In order to make a cross, the bow of the bilobed arrow cannot be bent; to make a cross in the Heroka emblem, the arrow cannot be strung. This accounts for the complementary oddity of both symbols. Stranger than either of these is a bow and arrow that may antedate them both. This is the odd "bow and cruciform arrow" of Picture Cave in Missouri, not too far from Cahokia.4 Needless to say, it is hard to fathom just what a "cruciform arrow" is exactly. Yet what is seen in the table above is a trace of what is found on a wall of Picture Cave. It is held, if indeed we can characterize it that way, by a figure nicknamed "the Black Warrior." He is, as his name suggests, drawn and painted completely in black, as are his weapons. Another bizarre feature, at least from an American Indian point of view: he, and the figure drawn in his background, appear to have beards. He faces to his right, and in his left hand is the standard mace associated with the Morning Star cult. Again, strange to say, with his right hand he grips the nock of the cruciform arrow, leaving no hand to hold the bow, which nevertheless remains upright as if floating in air.5* The arrow is not pulled back, and right in the middle of it at a right angle is another clear and distinct line which crosses it, thus creating a kind of half-way house between the cross of the bilobed arrow, and the cross of the symbol of the Heroka. In this context, there can be no doubt that some kind of cross made with the arrow as the object of the depiction, but what this means is not at all obvious.

In the context of bows and arrows — of hunting and war — what religious purpose does the symbolic cross serve? To find out, we must turn to a Redhorn myth in which a like cross serves as a talisman for the most human of all hunting animals, the wolf. The Warleader, who turns out to be Redhorn (Herokaga), asks each participant in a raid against the bad spirits to contribute a sacred object of power to their collective Warbundle.

The next morning before they were to set out, the Warleader said, "Now then, my attendants, whatever you have brought to strengthen yourselves, that you must now present." Therefore they placed before him all the things that they had that were wákąčąk (holy). Turtle stuck his two edged knife there with the rest of the holy things, and Trickster placed his warclub there. Wolf set down a circle of wood with a cross of string within it; and attached to the center of this cross was a shrunken piece of buckskin. ... The holy object that he owned derived its power from this: the circle was the earth, and the cross was the path to anywhere on its surface. The shrunken leather at the center meant that whatever the distance to any place on earth, Wolf could shrink it so that there was no place that he could not quickly reach.6

In this very same myth, it is Wolf who wins the First War Honor and along with it the daughter of Redhorn-Herokaga. The marriage intimately ties the hunter-warrior Wolf to the Heroka in the person of their chief. Like all the Heroka, Wolf's new wife is lilliputian, since she is an Arrow Spirit. Therefore, appropriately, Wolf puts her in his quiver. As son-in-law to the Heroka, we should not be surprised to find that Wolf's special object of power — the talisman of a predator — has symbolism that overlaps with that of the emblem of the Heroka. Wolf's cross, since it is the intersection of two paths, can be expected to represent the center. Here the arms of the cross extend to the edges of the earth, symbolized by the circular rim. This valence of the cross is seen in the cross of Earthmaker, since he was the creator of the earth and its temporal beginning from which time itself found its origins. The paths of the cross reach to the four quarters, which here stand for everywhere. It is not merely incidental that the central knot is made from buckskin. The deer represents, above all else, the center. When the first members of the Deer Clan were still cervids, they emerged on earth and traveled over its whole extent. When they concluded their journey, they discovered that they had arrived back at the place at which they had started.7 There, at the end and the beginning of their circular pilgrimage, they found a chief's medallion. This discovery is meant to reconfirm that they started in the center of the earth, and ended up there, as the chief occupies the center both literally and metaphorically. When the Thunderbird Clansmen arrived, they demonstrated their entitlement to sovereignty by starting the first fire. However, according to the Deer Clan, this fire did not fully light up until a Deer Clansman blew upon it. Only then did a proper flame appear. Therefore, the Deer Clan says, it has a claim to "partial sovereignty."8 The claim to sovereignty is also a claim to the social and political center. In the anatomy of the deer itself, the legs represent the four quarters. Therefore, if a Deer Clansman were to move one of his limbs suddenly, the disequilibrium in the cosmic balance of things could be enough to cause someone to die. The very center of the deer's anatomy is its lungs. This centrality is reflected in sound, which radiates out to the four quarters from its central source. Sound is intimately associated with air/wind, and the pre-modern mind may be excused for confusing 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. Weeping loudly can have the same effect as well as summoning forth gale force winds. For similar reasons, they must be careful not to sing the clan song too loudly. This song is four repetitions of the line, "I use the cries of the four directions."9 Deer people can have a lethal impact on the meteorological and anatomical vapors because air and sound, being part of the spiritual constitution of deer, make up both the essence of weather and the essence of human life, the breath (ni). To create too much of this power, which apparently subsists in a finite reservoir, is to draw it away from some other spiritual reservoir, such as a human being; or in nature, a mass of air.

How does the cross and the deer pertain to the Hočąk deity Redhorn? The depiction of Herokaga at Picture Cave shows him with a single deer antler mounted on his forehead,10 just as described in the myth "The Baldheaded Warclub" (q.v.). Perhaps of greater significance, as Hall has noted,11 is a name associated with Redhorn — "Hit with Deer Lungs."12 In his natal village, everyone knew the young Redhorn by this name, as it was the general supposition that his eldest brother had the habit of throwing deer lungs at him. As ružíč (physical teasing), his joking relation (sister-in-law) threw deer lungs at him in the presence of his eldest brother, Kunuga. Kunuga, however, explained to his wife that he had once tossed deer lungs at Redhorn for a compelling reason: he refused to fast, and he merely meant to offer him these organs as food.13 Those who feed upon deer lungs are destined to become fleet of foot14 — and Redhorn was certainly that, since he won the great race against all the fastest spirits15 — but there may be a great deal more afoot here than that. To receive deer lungs is to become the owner of the most paradigmatic of all expressions of centrality. Like his son-in-law Wolf whose talisman has a deerskin knot at the center of his earth-cross, Hit with Deer Lungs personally possesses (in his very name) the cervid symbol of the control of the center (deer lungs). Furthermore, as one of the Heroka, and indeed as their chief, he would receive the sacrificial emblem of that race, an arrow that crosses a bow. The cross of the arrow and bowstring of the deities of the hunt signifies the same thing as the string cross of their in-law Wolf: that they may go everywhere on earth that deer go. Instead of Herokaga's bow and arrow cross being dysfunctionally bound together with buckskin, the chief of the Heroka instead obviates this by directly possessing deer lungs himself. In this context, the crossed bow and arrow symbolic of the Heroka expresses the same hunting prowess as possessed by the wolf, whose cruciform talisman could serve as the prototype for the emblem of the very deities of the hunt. The same cross is found in the bilobed arrow, with its status as a forked tailed bird supplied by feather fans at the ends of the unbent bow. The bow is unbent because it must supply the other limb of the cross. The Black Warrior's crossed arrow ought, therefore, to represent the power of the arrow to go anywhere within the quarters of the earth, a power that implies the inerrancy also found in the invisible arrows of the Heroka.

So Wolf has a talisman which expresses his power to go anywhere that the deer can go, which is to say everywhere, inasmuch as whoever controls the center controls the four quarters. The token rawhide strip knotted in the center belongs to the deer in every conceivable way. It has the same valence as the deer's lungs, which represent the center of the animal of the center. The wind of the lungs is the source of both sound and light (the fire of sovereignty). The Hočągara appreciate the homology of sound and light, an isomorphism owing to their shared form as radiating waves. The lungs are the ultimate origin of the loud sounds made by deer, and the primordial progenitors of the Deer Clan are responsible for the ignition of the first fire of sovereignty, since it was the air from their lungs that set the smoldering embers ablaze. So the breath of the center is the ultimate source of the powers of light and sound associated with that center. In Hočąk, hąp literally means "light, day," but in the Medicine Rite it functions as a metaphor meaning "Light-and-Life." Ni is Hočąk for "breath, to breathe," and metaphorically means, "to live."16 So to say ni, "he breathes," is another way of saying "he lives." As kindred languages show, the concept of *Ni is an old Central Siouan idea. Ioway has ñi, "to live, exist, be; to be alive"; and , ni-haⁿ, "breath, to breathe, inhale."17 In Osage, the word ni means "alive," and "to live."18 An expansion of this stem gives us ni-óⁿ, "breath."19 Similarly, in Dakota we have ni-yá, "to breathe; breath, life";20 and ni, "to live."21 So in Central Siouan, *ni meant "to live," and probably derived from the more basic sense of "to breathe." It is the *Ni that resides in the center — breath-and-life — that is responsible for the spiritual powers of whoever controls that center.22*

An identical form of Wolf's talisman, minus the buckskin knot, is found among the Central Siouan Lakota. The missing symbol of *Ni and wind residing in Wolf's buckskin knot finds compensation in the ideology behind the Lakota sacred design. The rim of the design represents the horizon, and the four lines that meet in the center represent the four winds. For this reason, it is called a "Wind Center." The origin point of the two axes is represented by a simple small circle.23 It too exemplifies a connection to the fire of the center, since the design is inscribed upon the ground used for the Sun Dance.24 Similar forms are found in Mesoamerica.25 Related to this is the face design employed in the Huŋka adoption ceremony of the Oglala Lakota. The design

was a full circle facing forward with additional lines on the cheeks, chin, and forehead. The nose thus coincided with the "wind center" of a sacred hoop in an optimal position to receive a quickening breath, and Black Elk is explicit in saying that an Oglala thus painted had been born anew.26

Here we see the concept of *Ni as the absolute focal point. Similar facial designs are found in cognate ceremonies among the Omaha (Húⁿga), Osage (Hóⁿga), and by nearby non-Siouan tribes such as the Pawnee and Cheyenne.27 The Osage paint the symbol of the hóega or snare (discussed above) on the face of an adoptee (Hóⁿga). The center line of the hóega terminates at the tip of the nose in conformity with the general identification of the pa (nose) with the ni (life-breath).28 This coincides with the web of the spider who guards the hole in the sky, and on whose back is frequently displayed the cross or even the circled cross. This comports well with what we would expect given the spider's presumed supervision of that center from which the transmigration of souls takes place. On the Hidatsa model, Spider Man controls the hole in Orion through which these souls travel. It is this hole which Morning Star tears in two and displays on his Hyades-shaped, bifurcated tail. Orion, of course, is the next asterism in the series towards which faces the open ">" of the Hyades. In tearing the hóega snare in two, he eliminates the impediment to immortality, as the purpose of the snare is to keep living things on earth trapped within the realm of mortality. As a symbol, the Osage hóega is cognate to the Lakota Wind Center, and therefore to the talisman of Wolf. The latter can be seen as the foundation for the cross of the Heroka emblem. In the various *Hųka adoption ceremonies, the wand used in the final sanctification of the adoptee, which is his rebirth, is in fact a modified arrow. It displays the three fletchings of an arrow using the wing feathers of the golden eagle.29 The destructive arrow point is replaced by another kind of head, that of a mallard duck. The wand also doubles as a kind of (symbolic) pipe, which when pointed at the adoptee in the course of the ceremony, presents him with the quickening *ni by which he is reborn.30 So it is a transformed arrow that effects the renewal of life represented by the adoptee. The bilobed arrow draws upon this theology as an emblem of rebirth. In the Omaha Húⁿga ceremony, dual arrow-pipes are moved together to create a striking effect, as Alice Fletcher witnessed:

The movements simulated the eagle rising from its nest and making ready for flight. ... The feather appendages moved like wings as the pipes were swayed ..."31

This must recall the forked bird model of the Hočągara upon which the link between the bilobed arrow and the emblem of the Heroka in part rests.

§2.5. Morning Star and the Bilobed Plume.

Redhorn and his sons are Arrow Spirits, and as Herokaga, Redhorn is the God of the Hunt who commands the arrow of the Heroka which they launch as an invisible and inerrant weapon. That the bilobed arrow is at least a subspecies of arrow would seem to make it an expression of Redhorn's nature, yet it, or rather a version of it, seems to be associated with Morning Star at Etowah. Does this force the paradoxical identity of Redhorn and Morning Star? Clearly not. Recent Hočąk mythology, in which a distinction is made between Redhorn and Morning Star, does give Morning Star the same inerrant arrow of the Heroka that is possessed by Redhorn. This is told in the story "Morning Star and His Friend." In this waiką, Morning Star suddenly awakens into consciousness, not knowing who or where he is. Yet he had a bow and arrow in his possession, and after experimenting with them, he fired a "blind shot" out the door of his lodge and felled a deer that happened by. Then it is related that

Afterwards he went there. Then he met four men who said to him, "With these arrows we bless you. You will not miss anything to the fourth hill." "I have some too, and they are the same, but because you said that, I am going to take them." He took them.1

So Morning Star was born with the equivalent of the Heroka arrows, then is blessed by the Heroka with four of their own arrows. These redundant arrows he gives to his friend, one of the Little Children Spirits, who are just like the Heroka. These spirits are ruled over by the second son of Redhorn, just as the Heroka are ruled over by Redhorn and his first son with whom he is identical. So Morning Star owns the inerrant arrows of the Heroka in his own right without himself being one of the Redhorns. Morning Star's possession of this weapon may have something to do with his connection to the Thunders, since the Dakota Wakíŋyaŋ Táŋka, Chief of the Thunders, "... showed them how to use the bow and arrow."2 If the bilobed arrow (and the cruciform arrow) is a preform of the emblem of the Heroka, as we have argued, it is reasonable to conclude that Morning Star should also possess the bilobed arrow otherwise associated with Redhorn as Chief of the Heroka. A closer examination reveals, however, that there are no cases in Etowah where the Morning Star figure wears what may be precisely termed a bilobed arrow. In every gorget, he is shown wearing the bilobed plume, in a number of cases attached to his arms (q.v.). It may even be true that the bilobed plume is unique to Morning Star, but we have so few iconographic examples of Redhorn, or those dressed in his livery, that we can make no definitive pronouncements on the matter.3*

The bilobed plume is related to the pipe or wand used in the several *Hųka adoption ceremonies of the Central Siouan tribes and their neighbors. In the Omaha Wáwaⁿ (another adoption ceremony) and the Pawnee Hako, the pipe bowl is replaced by a mallard duck head, or even most of its body.4* This is a puzzle — why a mallard? In the Winnebago-Chiwere-Dhegiha branch, the word for "breath, life" is the same as the word for water: *ni.5 The mallard captures the homonymous dimension of *ni by being a creature of the water like the Hočąk Twin Ghost himself, yet we still have not entirely answered the question of why the arrow-pipe's head has been replaced by a mallard, let alone why the bilobed plume is a variant in the bilobed arrow. The word *hųka is not only Common Central Siouan, but as Hall has shown, its constituents trace all the way back to Common Siouan. The first element, hu, is a word that meant "mother"; the second element, -ka, is a suffix that meant "quasi-" or "rather like a ...". So in Common Siouan, as well as Common Central Siouan, *hųka would have meant, "rather like a mother."6 Since the adoptee is called *Hųka, it is he or she, usually a child, who is said to be, paradoxically, "rather like a mother." How could such an adoptee be like a mother? Hall has shown that the essential element of the answer is found in the role of maize in the ritual. In the Omaha rite the quartered circle pattern that we have seen in Wolf's talisman and in the Lakota Wind Center, is painted on the tobacco pouch and rattles. In addition, it is painted in green on the upper part of a white ear of maize.7 At other times, the ear of maize is merely painted green on its top, the color of the mallard head on the arrow-pipe.8 Hall observes,

The earth is a metaphorical mother and in the Hako or Pawnee Calumet ceremony the ear of Mother Corn also symbolizes the earth. During the Hako the identity of the Mother Corn as Earth is in effect ritually transferred from the corn ear to the child being honored by adoption, making the child "a kind of mother." Being a language of the Caddoan family, Pawnee does not use any variant of the word Hunka in its ritual, but the word "mother" is used to refer to the ear of corn in the Hako as in the Omaha Wáwaⁿ.9

The child's head was painted in some form of the quartered circle in almost all of these rites. As the Ponca put it, this places the child "in the center of the life-giving forces."10 The fact that the maize itself is painted in this pattern makes it cognate to Wolf's talisman, where the knot of buckskin is theologically equivalent to deer lungs, the expression of the Wind Center where all winds are concentrated, and where the spiritual power of *ni is likewise manifest in its greatest power. The painting of the maize also, therefore, is a counterpart of the deer lungs of the arrow-pipe. In the Hako ceremony, the adoptee wore a downy eagle feather on his head, and at its base, he also wore a small green feather which was his own symbol.11 The child himself is a "kind of mother," specifically, Mother Corn as Earth. A white eagle feather was inserted at the tip of the ear, and among the many things it symbolized was the tassel of the maize plant.12 In the Lakota version of the *Hųka, as Black Elk tells us, the eagle feather was taken from where it had been originally inserted at the top of the ear of sacred maize.13 This is just another way of identifying the child with Mother Corn. The white feather of the Hako placed upon the adoptee's head is also said to represent the breath of his spiritual father, the white eagle. The Lakota feather is a maize-feather, and the counterpart of the Pawnee white eagle feather. This feather expresses *ni, but also the tassel of the maize plant. The little green feather is not mentioned in the Siouan context, but this too is supplied by the mallard whose whole head is full of small green feathers. In the arrow-pipe, the part that would have born the arrowhead now bears a green mallard's head. The mallard's head, therefore, is a counterpart of the green feather that symbolizes the maize plant. This makes it probable that the mallard head was chosen not just because it is a representative water bird, but because its strikingly green head expresses the same valence as the green head-feather of the Hako. In the Hočąk Heroka emblem, which we derived from the quartered circle in part, the head of the arrow corresponds to one of the heads of the Forked Man. The Forked Man is also a bird whose head is the arrow point. So the bilobed arrowhead corresponds to the mallard head of the arrow-pipe. Consequently, the arrowhead of the bilobed arrow corresponds to the green feather representing the fecundity of the maize plant. It is the sharpened arrow tip that enables the arrow to be lethal, which superficially seems to be the opposite of fecund; but it is by its penetrating power that meat is secured. What springs from the arrow point is faunal food. So the feather of the bilobed plume symbolizes a botanical alloform to what the corresponding point of the bilobed arrow symbolizes. That a pipe (often non-functional) is used in this connection can also be appreciated from the standpoint of Hočąk theology. When Grandmother Earth reveals to Hare her two transcending gifts to mankind, she exposes her breasts as Hare watches a maize plant grow from the one, and a tobacco plant grow from the other.14 Just as the bilobed plume is the floral alloform of the bilobed arrow, so the tobacco plant, and the pipe by which its essence is delivered, is the spiritual complement to the physical maize plant.15*

Turning our attentions now to Morning Star, how does he fit into this nexus of symbols? In examining the Mesoamerican sources of influence that seem to have been operative at the root of the Mississippian nascence, we do see a good connection between the bilobed plume emblem and Morning Star. The basic idea of the *Hųka and Hako ceremonies is that a child taken to be the embodiment of Mother Corn as Earth is reborn. We find at Etowah and at Cahokia (via the Rogan Plates) that Morning Star wears a bilobed plume, an emblem that encapsulates some of the symbolism of these adoption-rebirth rites. That would make Morning Star himself a counterpart to the maize plant and the child who is its embodiment. How can Morning Star be a maize-child? Is this not a reductio ad absurdum? We should recall that among the Nahuatl states there is a festival which is designed to revitalize food itself. This is the Atamalcualiztli. It is celebrated on the birth date (1-Flower) of Cinteotl, whose name means "Maize." To say that the revitalizing birth of Cinteotl is of astronomical importance is quite literal. When Cinteotl was born, he rose as Morning Star. So for the Mexicans, Morning Star is the maize-child. The wearing of the bilobed plume labels Morning Star as a counterpart of maize, a nativist reflection of the stronger tie embodied in the Mexican god Cinteotl. There may even be a trace of this left in Hočąk Morning Star mythology.16*

§2.6. Where is Redhorn?

Hall appreciated that the prosopic maskettes worn on the ears had an irrefutable historical connection to the figure whose very name commemorates them: Wears Faces on His Ears, also known as "Redhorn." Naturally, when looking over the material legacy of the heyday of these maskettes, the thought is that the deity to whom they were tied would be prominently recognized. There should be abundant depictions of Redhorn in the iconography. When the various images of Morning Star were unearth, it was concluded that they must represent Redhorn, and that therefore, Redhorn and Morning Star were one and the same, as Radin himself once conjectured. However, there proved to be two profound difficulties with the obvious conclusion. The first of these is that in Hočąk mythology, Redhorn and Morning Star are different personages, having different mythologies (see the Appendix). They sometimes even appear together in the same myth. Second, in Mississippian relicts, depictions of those wearing prosopic maskettes do not appear to be Morning Star; and there are no instances of Morning Star in which he is shown wearing prosopic maskettes. This last consideration makes an ancient identification of Redhorn and Morning Star prohibitively unlikely; and the historical divergence of the two would imply that sometime in late prehistory, such a composite figure, like a mythographic amoeba, must have undergone a strange meiosis. Consequently, the iconography of Morning Star is not that of Redhorn, leaving Redhorn with nothing to represent him except his maskettes. This result is nothing short of paradoxical.

So where is Redhorn? First we must be clear on who Redhorn is. Redhorn and his two sons are chiefs over the diminutive Hunting Spirits, who like them, are Arrow Spirits. Their ability to change into arrows seems to be an old and native feature of their mythology. However, perhaps surprisingly, most of the rest of Redhorn's attributes show strong similarities to his Mexican counterpart, Mixcoatl-Camaxtli. The larger essay from which the present work was detached, shows their extensive isomorphism, although Redhorn always retains some measure of originality. The following table lists these shared attributes of Redhorn (R) and Mixcoatl-Camaxtli (M).

Attributes and Life Events R M
God of the Hunt
Can transform himself into an arrow
Is red all over
Is a candy-cane striped god
Rules over a race of hunting spirits bearing his name (Heroka, Mimixcoa)
Is a god of war
One of the five sons of the primordial god
Ambiguous with respect to being a mortal or an immortal
Is a dying god
Has a special relationship to deer, including the possession of their outer form
His wife has the form or role of a deer
Has a lunar wife
Spares a woman that his people plan to kill, then marries her
(Makes an attempt) to kill his own wife
Is attacked by a rejected consort
Champion of the ball court
National god
Has some control over the sun or its light
Has a special connection to Orion
Has an close connection (kinship ?) with Morning Star
Some of his brothers try to kill him
Has good and bad brothers
His enemy has a body with flint points projecting from it
Made a warbundle of burnt human remains
Has a two-headed being as a talisman of victory
He has fathered himself
His son creates humans from the powdered bones of Giants
His child commits incest
Waterspirits steal food from his son

These several points of comparison will be explored in detail in the larger essay forthcoming.

Not mentioned in this list is the legacy of the departed God of the Hunt. There is an episode in the Redhorn Cycle which we might call the "Departure Scene," in which the 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

What does this mean? Superficially, it certainly means that in terms of their bodily appearance, they resembled their father in that, at the very least, they possessed his red hair and his living faces on their bodies. Yet there is a deeper meaning to this. What is the paradigm in Mexico with Mixcoatl? In the Annals of Cuauhtitlan there is a similar scene in which Mixcoatl takes his leave.

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

The Cuauhtitlan Chichimec warriors, like other Nahua tribes, adorned themselves in the garb of Mixcoatl,3 the god of war, who was their founder and national deity. Part of the reason for this, according to mythology, is so that they might look like real soldiers, as it say here:

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.4

Tlaxcalan Soldiers

So the legacy of Mixcoatl to the Chichimecs is very much like that of Redhorn to his successors: 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 inset. To go forth in the likeness of Redhorn was to have most particularly his maskette 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 elsewhere). 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. This makes clear the connection to adoption rituals: when auxiliaries were adopted into the armies of the leading state, their leaders were adopted into this aristocracy and given the livery of the god Redhorn. This at least suggests that Redhorn played a role similar to that of Mixcoatl as the god of the warrior elite. Mixcoatl was often treated as the pater patriæ, and like Redhorn, was among the five divine beings first created by the primordial god. None of the Hočąk Ur-spirits took on the role of founding the nation. Although the historical national god of the Hočągara is Hare, it is Redhorn who enjoyed a special status as the interpretatio septentrionalis of the Mexican god Mixcoatl, and as such once enjoyed a special tie to the nation and its aspirations.

We noted at first that the only physical remains of Redhorn's influence is the collection of his prosopic maskettes. This is not quite true. The bilobed arrow also belongs to Redhorn. As we have seen, the bilobed arrow is a variant of the emblem of the Heroka, and therefore of Herokaga (Redhorn) himself. Since it is the prehistoric version, we should conclude that the emblem of the Heroka evolved from it. Its essential elements are the cross, which has the same theological meaning as the cross of the talisman of Wolf; and the "lobes" which represent the bow's "wings." In historical times, this was made both more elegant and more parsimonious in execution by crossing the arrow with the string; and by using the arrow as the body which bisects the curved bow, creating the two segments that form the wings of the "forked tailed bird." As the precursor to the historical emblem of the Heroka, the bilobed arrow when made into a physical artifact, rather than a mere drawing as it is today, was equally the mark of the Heroka, labeling its wearer as a follower of Redhorn. Thus, it was also one of the pieces of livery along with the prosopic maskettes. Therefore, the bilobed arrow should mark the wearer as an aristocrat and soldier, attired as his god, the god of his special weapon, the bow and arrow. Morning Star, as we see him now among the Hočągara, possessed the arrow of the Heroka, and therefore could have been adorned with the bilobed arrow, but instead is more appropriately presented as the Maize Child, and typically bears the emblem of the bilobed plume.

Given the important role of livery on the Mexican model, we immediately realize how difficult it would be to identify a picture of Redhorn among a fair number of depictions of soldiers and prominent warleaders, real or mythological. There are many pictures of heads that have the bilobed arrow, but a proper rendering of Wears Faces on His Ears could hardly be made without his prosopic maskettes. There seems to be only one picture that might be of Redhorn himself (shown below). Since it is an engraving, it cannot reproduce black and white, so the band across his eyes may actually represent a fair approximation to a Mixcoatl "lone ranger" mask. Burnett, in describing a similar piece says, "The lines running from the forehead, above the eyes, and the nose bridge, below it, to the temporal hair line and ear, probably represent a broad band of paint."5 Pictures of prosopic maskettes are rare, and here again, how are we to tell them apart from portraits of soldiers dressed in the livery appropriate to their rank? Indeed, given the wide distribution of the maskettes themselves, we cannot be certain whether an enemy warrior is being portrayed, since just as in Mexico, when one Nahuatl state fought against another, its prisoners will also have been dressed as the God of the Hunt.

Redhorn (?)7 A Sacrifice at Spiro8 An Aztec Sacrifice9

In Mexico the human sacrificial victim was always arrayed as Mixcoatl, painted in a base of white with red pinstripes and the "lone ranger" style mask (as well as other accouterments), as we see in the inset.6 In a parallel sacrifice in the north, we should expect the victim to be dressed in the livery of Redhorn. We appear to find just such a thing in a shell engraving from Spiro. This presumed enemy warrior is dressed with the basic livery of Redhorn, with a prosopic maskette, and a bilobed arrow surmounting his head. The unique maskette may have been parodied, as it was worn in the hair near the ear, and has a clown-like face with a diabolical grin. To add an element of irony, he was shot dead with an arrow, the weapon over which his god has special providence. This kind of arrow sacrifice was known to the Mexicans as tlacacaliztli, and Durán mentions its use in the Nahuatl city of Chalco.

The Chalcas always sacrificed in this way: as their god Camaxtli [Mixcoatl] was the deity of hunting they killed their victims with arrows.10*

The fact that the Spiro captive was a victim of tlacacaliztli, coupled with the presence of the prosopic maskette in his hair rather than on his ear, and the flood of tears draining down his face, leads to the conviction that this is not Redhorn himself. This forces the conclusion that certain sacrificial victims wore insignias that belong to the realm of Redhorn, and that as in Mexico, the sacrificial victim was arrayed in the livery of the God of the Hunt and even dispatched according to the rite of tlacacaliztli. That "a" Redhorn captive should be ritually dispatched is actually chartered by a variant Hočąk myth in which Redhorn and his colleagues were captured by their Waterspirit enemies, and put to death at their leisure.11 Regrettably, nothing is said of precisely how they were dispatched.

This gives a new meaning to the Departure Scene in the myth of Redhorn. The sons of Redhorn receive from the hands of Storms as He Walks the Thunderbird Warclub, and from the hands of Turtle, the broken knife used to make arrows. These represent the two major weapon systems used in war: the arrow and the club. Redhorn gives them of his own being, which is to say the most important weapon system of all: the warrior himself. The very appearance of Redhorn is passed on to the "Sons of Redhorn," a metaphor for the warrior aristocracy. It is they who, like their Mexican mentors, dress in the livery of Redhorn and become his "sons."

We now return to the stubborn conundrum of the present-but-absent Redhorn. Today we have knowledge of Redhorn largely because of the preservation and publication of a cycle of stories about him; but outside this cycle, Redhorn is not exactly ubiquitous. More common in the stories of other figures are Hare, Turtle, and Trickster (with only Bladder being rarer than Redhorn). These three are, on the whole, more important than Redhorn, although their relative status may have been reversed in the more distant past. So, where indeed do we find Turtle,12* Hare, or Trickster in the library of gorgets and cups? Where are the Thunderbirds and their chiefs? Today such figures are all but universal, so if Morning Star is nearly ubiquitous in the ancient iconography, where is everyone else? We can readily see that our problem with Redhorn is just a special case of a wider problem with even more familiar and popular figures. Their absence may have more to do with the ill-defined function of the gorgets and other vehicles of iconography. In addition we must acknowledge that what amounts to an essentially Hočąk version of Morning Star had become unusually prominent, perhaps carried on the wave of an enthusiastic new cult (cf. the Ghost Dance). Unlike Redhorn, this Morning Star is not especially Mexicanized. Just as Redhorn, presumably under Mexican influence, eclipsed both Hare and Turtle, as the national god and god of war, so it seems that Morning Star may have also eclipsed Redhorn.


§3.1. The Theological Mystery of Cahokia and Etowah.

§3.1.1. The Big Bang. It was ca. 1050 that the "Big Bang" took place in Cahokia, a time and place where the cult of the Birdman (Morning Star) seems to have found its origins. It was then that the enormous building program began at Cahokia. Such episodes in prehistory have occurred over and over again at many different locales in North America for contingent reasons lost in the haze of deep time. Since we lack records, we cannot reconstruct the history that led to these many earlier cultural revolutions. However, paradoxically, there are some well known historical events that took place in prehistory. They are not written in stone, or even on parchment. They were written in the sky. The archaeologist Timothy Pauketat has taken note of an important historical event that took place about the time of the "Big Bang" at Cahokia. This was the appearance in the day sky of a rare supernova1* whose remnant we now recognize as the Crab Nebula (M1).2* It has been suggested that this exciting event may be at least partly responsible for the burst of activity that suddenly took place at this time.3

The supernova was duly recorded by the Chinese astronomers of the day.

In the 1st year of the period Chih-ho (1054), the 5th moon, the day chi-ch’ou (July 4th) (a "guest-star") appeared approximately several inches south-east4* of T’ien-kuanTauri). After more than a year it gradually became invisible.5*

Earlier, during the first year of the Zihihe reign period, fifth lunar month, it appeared (chu) at daybreak (chen) at the eastern direction, guarding (shou) TianguanTauri]. It was seen in the daytime, like Venus. It had pointed rays in the four directions, and its color was reddish white. In total it was seen for 23 days.6

The event was recorded earlier in Kyoto, Japan, although the text of this record suffers from anomalies.

Tenki reign period of Emperor Go-Reizei, second year, fourth lunar month, after the middle ten-day period.7* At the [double] hour ushi (0100-0300), a guest star appeared in the degrees of Shi(ken) and Shin. It was seen in the eastern direction and emerged [at] the star TenganTauri). It was as large as Jupiter.8*

The confusion over the lunar period affects the estimated date of its discovery. It is accepted that "fourth lunar month" is a transcription error for "fifth lunar month," so that with this emendation, the adjusted dates for the ten day period would be 19-28 June 1054.9* The star was said to have been seen after this period, which places it in the last 10 day period, 29 June - 8 July. During this period, M1 (SN 1054) rose around the middle of this chou period from 0241 (on June 29) to 0205 (on July 8).10* These numbers are for where SN 1054 would have been had it existed on that date, based on its identity with M1 (the Crab Nebula), whose proto-star's position on this scale is the same as it's nebula. Since it was discovered no later than 0300 hours, and its altitude was very low on the horizon at Kyoto, it is more likely to have been found later than earlier. We must conclude from this, "Since the exact date of the first sighting in Japan is not stated and since July 4 lies in the middle of the last 10-day period of the fifth lunar month, there thus appears to be no valid reason for assuming an earlier discovery in Japan."11* Therefore, it turns out that there is no disagreement with the Chinese date of 4 July for the first observation of SN 1054. Despite the apparent consistency with the Chinese, the Japanese text has so many anomalies that it appears to be the product of obfuscation.12* When SN 1054 first appeared, it had a magnitude about that of Jupiter, ca. -2.0, just enough to make it visible during the day, and thereafter for a number of days increased in magnitude until it reached its maximum of about -3.5 to as much as -5,13* then gradually declined to the edge of daytime visibility on 26 July. This maximum brightness can be compared to Evening Star's magnitude of -4.15 on 4 July 1054. On "Jiayou reign period, first year, third lunar month, xinwei [8] [6 April 1054] ... it has vanished (mo)."14* This date in American time (5 April) was 5-Jaguar of the year 5-Reed; so the last day that it was seen was 1-Atemoztli, 4-Reed of 5-Reed, "Four Reed" being the calendar name of Xiuhtecuhtli, the god of fire and the calendar.

We can make some interesting deductions about what was visible at Cahokia at the same time. One of the Chinese sources mentions that the star was seen there at daybreak (chen), which is understood to mean a time between first light and sunrise.15 This observation was made at the city of Bian, the modern Kaifeng (longitude 114.3° E).16 Since the longitude of Cahokia is 90.2° W, the difference is 155.9°. Calculating purely on longitude, the time difference between the two cities is (east to west) +10:24 (minus one day). Daybreak took place around 0330 hours in Kaifeng, and sunrise occurred at 0414 hours. So in Cahokia this time period would fall between 1354 and 1438 hours on 3 July.17* On that day, the sun set at 1926, 2:46 after SN 1054 slipped below the horizon. Since SN 1054 set at 1640 hours, this leaves a window of opportunity of only 2:02 - 2:46. Nevertheless, people without clocks tend to take more notice of the sun's position near sunset in order to get some sense of when it will become dark, so this would improve the chances of its detection. On the other hand, its altitude at 1354 hours was 31° 12', and given obstructions on the horizon, not to mention cloud cover, the viewing time could have been even more limited, or even nonexistent. Also, in its initial appearance, the star was not much brighter than Jupiter, and generally, as Stephenson and Green suggest, "the brightness of the star should not be overestimated."18 The panels shown below attempt to reconstruct the appearance of the sky at Cahokia during this time period.

Cahokia, 1432 Hours, 3 July 1054
Cahokia, 1540 Hours, 3 July 1054
Cahokia, 0425 Hours, 4 July 1054

On July 4, this star was not only near the ecliptic, but was very close to the moon. Once it had reached this level of brightness, its time in the sky was lengthy making it very easy to observe. Given the short viewing time on 3 July, and the fact that the star was just crossing the threshold of visibility, even if ideal conditions obtained, it is quite possible that no one noticed this star during its ca. two hours of visibility. As will be shown, we have some grounds for believing that it was on 4 July 1054 that this supernova was first seen in Cahokia. Those who witnessed the supernova would not have approached the matter with the detachment of a modern bystander. The border between astronomy and theology did not exist, and humans were not mere spectators in the affairs of the gods. We see this even in the Chinese account, where the astrologers tried to put a favorable "spin" on the appearance of this star.

Prostrating myself, I have observed the appearance of a "guest-star"; on the star there was slightly an iridescent yellow colour. Respectfully, according to the dispositions for Emperors, I have prognosticated, and the result said: The "guest-star" does not infringe upon Aldebaran; this shows that a Plentiful One is Lord, and that the country has a Great Worthy!19

Yellow is the imperial color. From a Mexican point of view, the sudden appearance of such a bright star would be an event of ill omen pregnant with baneful consequences. As such it would be a cause for alarm and worry, as it was in the Arab world.20 So it would seem puzzling that so much of a very positive nature could come out of this event.

Besides a detailed account of how SN 1054 could set in motion important cultural changes, the problem with the Pauketat Conjecture is that it has a competing celestial event in the not too distant past. An even greater supernova — the greatest ever recorded — occurred not too many years prior, on 1 May 1006,21* during the youth of a few people still living in 1054; yet that brilliant super-star seems to have had no cultural impact whatever. This cosmic event occurred away from the ecliptic in the constellation Lupus, low on the horizon, but certainly high enough to be seen at Cahokia (q.v.).22* SN 1006 was the brightest of all the historically known supernovæ, with an estimated magnitude of -9.23 The Chinese recognized it as a Zhoubo star, a yellow guest star of extraordinary luminance. The courtiers tried to put the best "spin" upon it that they could,24 but not everyone agreed that it was beneficent,25* including at one point, the Emperor himself.26* It was the impressive brightness of the star that had made its meaning so important.27* Japanese observers said,

Of the above mentioned fourth, which was detected on the second [day] of the fourth Moon [1 May] 1006, it was so luminous that the people could see it without any difficulty. It looked like the Moon at is quarter phase.28

The Arabs found the star to be "spectacular."

I shall now describe a spectacle which I saw at the beginning of my studies. ... This spectacle was a large circular body, 2½ to 3 times as large as Venus. The sky was shining because of its light. The intensity of its light was a little more than a quarter of that of moonlight.29

It had dazzling rays and a rippling [effect], and brilliant light like the light of the moon, and it continued four months like that and disappeared.30

... a star like Venus ... [that] showed great turbulence as though in disturbed water. Its light rays were similar to the rays of the sun.31

In spite of its incredible brilliance, and evidence of Toltec influence in Cahokia at this time,32 SN 1006 does not seem to have given rise to a cult, let alone to a cultural revolution.

§3.1.2. Morning Star’s Day in the Sun. So in addition to a supernova of 1054, there were likely other elements involved in the cultural ignition of the "Big Bang" in Cahokia. When we look at the details of this cultural explosion, we see that it was accompanied by a cult of a figure known as "Birdman," whose identity, most contend, is to be found in the deity and planet Morning Star (of Venus).33 So what gave rise to such an intense interest in Morning Star, and is this obsession bound up with the supernova? Given the circumstances of observation, it seems likely that the supernova was not seen until the fourth of July, when it was very conspicuous, both in the dark of early morning and the blue sky of day. When we view this from a Toltec point of view and note this date on their calendar, it immediately reveals to us why at least they would connect this supernova to Morning Star. The appearance of the new star on 4 July 1054 would have occurred as day 1-Reed of the solar date 5-Tlacaxipehualiztli (III) in the year 4-Rabbit. It may be immediately appreciated that this day is, in Nahuatl, Ce Acatl, and it is by the name Ce Acatl that the euhemerized Quetzalcoatl, the great founding priest of Tula, was known. It was he who had been transformed at death into the Morning Star.34 A calendar name usually marks the day that a deity was born. This very great star was born on the same 1-Reed day that marked the birth date of the god Quetzalcoatl. So this supernova was the star of One Reed, an unknown stellar deity whose own calendar name was identical to that of Morning Star. This meant, to anyone educated in the Mexican calendar, that the great new star had something to do with Morning Star, as it came into being on Quetzalcoatl's day. Exactly what it had to do with Morning Star was no doubt a matter of theological controversy.

It is hard to say what the natives thought of this sudden brilliant intrusion into the night sky (and indeed into the day sky as well). Something like it had happened before elsewhere in the sky (in 1006). The frightened response of those who held Mexican beliefs and their insistence that the star had some obscure connection to Morning Star might well have been met with justifiable skepticism. When SN 1054 first appeared, Morning Star was not even in the sky, and although Evening Star was in the sky until October 5, it always set long before the brilliant supernova "star" appeared above the opposite horizon. So the brute facts seemed to show that SN 1054 was completely unconnected with either phase of Venus. Yet at some point subsequent events set off a sudden native obsession with Morning Star. Somehow, the Mexican perspective had acquired a profound credibility. How did they "prove" that this intrusive star was theologically bound to Morning Star?

So the supernova had, to those who had a Mexican perspective, some inexplicable but undeniable identity with One Reed, Morning Star; and as it happened, events unfolded in a way that seemed to confirm this. On 11 October 1054 (9-Grass of 4-Rabbit), Morning Star rose with the sun (Mʰ I) while SN 1054 was still in the sky. On 13 January (12-Death of 4-Rabbit), Venus achronically rose with the diurnal setting of the new star.

The Achronical Setting of M1 with Respect to Venus
12 Jan 1055
13 Jan 1055
14 Jan 1055
Time Time Δt Time Δt Time Δt
Venus Rises 05:01:44
+3' 27"
-1' 55"
-7' 19"
M1 Sets 05:05:11 05:01:16 04:57:20

Not only were their motions in opposition, but they were on almost exactly opposite sides of the horizon: SN 1054 had an azimuth of 297° 55.234', whereas Morning Star had an azimuth of 115° 16.969', a difference of 182° 38.265'. Great significance will have been attached to the day 12-Death, since the coefficient 12 is governed by Tlahuixcalpantecuhtli, "Lord of the Dawn," the title of Morning Star. That the rising or diurnal "birth" of Morning Star should occur at the moment of the new star's setting or "death" brings great significance to the day sign Death. That both 12 and Death should occur at this juncture is an extraordinary coincidence, which, would certainly not have been dismissed as such by those of Mexican education. Death days are, perhaps needless to say, days of ill omen. The setting of the new star was at least its temporary "death," and that its discoordination with Morning Star was something bad, would seem to imply that the coordination between this star and Morning Star was something beneficent. Around mid-May, since the new star was very close to the ecliptic, the sun passed by it, causing it to heliacally set for a short period of time. It disappeared into the sun around 16 May 1055, in the trecena of Snake, which is governed by Xiuhtecuhtli, the god of fire and the calendar. However, of greater interest is the solar calendar, whose date read 1-Nenmontemi, the first of the five unlucky, "useless" intercalary days. So the disappearance of the new star into the sun was an ill omen, which, by double negation, strengthened the case that the star itself was beneficent. While it was absent from the sky, the trecena of the Snake gave way to that of Flint, which is governed by Mictlantecuhtli, the god of death and the underworld. Thus, the loss of the new star was once again correlated with death, and as it happened, it was at the end of this reign of Death that it reemerged from the other side of the sun to be seen once again in the morning sky of the east.

No sooner had it escaped death and resurrected itself into the dawn than something quite extraordinary happened. On 10 June 1055 (0409 hours), as Morning Star was about to leave the sky, it passed right by the rising supernova with only 1° 01' angular separation, quite nearly in right ascension conjunction.35*

The Path of Morning Star Past the Crab Nebula
11 October 1054 - 3 August 1055

The near melding of these "stars" must have created quite an impression. What had been the bizarre contention of the respected proponents of the Mexican point of view that the strange intruder had something to do with the absent Morning Star was suddenly "proven" when Morning Star ascended on a long journey ending in the physical meeting of these two stars. What the Mexican educated men had said in the absence of all evidence had now been made strikingly manifest. The subsequent behavior of the Cahokians shows that they came to give a very great deference to the Mexican scheme of things, but that they also retained their own original interpretations. Although they had greatly changed their thinking, they had not abandoned their own religion(s). Who was this star? Was it Wakaⁿda-Earthmaker come to bestow some special providence upon Morning Star over all other deities? The strange star had disappeared into the sun only to rise again just as Morning Star was about to reenact the same fate of falling into the sun. The celestial omen seemed to prophesy an enigmatic promise of rebirth, just as the star itself, like the advance of old age, had begun a steady march to oblivion. Morning Star very soon afterwards plunged back into the sun and earth as he always had, and the unknown star faded away before Morning Star's return. If it had been Wakaⁿda, he had returned to being otiose. Yet it seemed that he had left something behind for Morning Star. We are often mesmerized by the name "SN 1054" into linking the "star" with that year alone. However, with gradually lessening brightness, it remained in the sky from 3 July 1054 (Julian day 2106214) to 4 April 1056 (Julian day 2106856), a span of 642 days.

§3.1.3. Morning Star in the House of the Obsidian Butterfly, Part I. When the new star first appeared, it was very near the moon, so it had decidedly lunar associations. One of the demons most feared by the Mexicans was the goddess of the disk of the Moon, of the Earth, and of the Hyades. This was Itzpapalotl, the Obsidian Butterfly. She was feared most as the leader of the eclipse demons, the Tzitzimime. When this peculiar misfortune befell the Sun, she and her minions would descend from the sky and partake of what human flesh they could procure by ambush. There had been an eclipse in 1051, a rather substantial partial eclipse of .98 magnitude as viewed from Cahokia, and 50 miles to the northeast, the eclipse was annular, with .998 magnitude.36 Had knowledge of Mexican astronomy been able to predict it? This is a question that perhaps we can never answer, but such an eclipse would undoubtedly have brought to mind Itzpapalotl and her danger as a predator.

About the time of the "Big Bang" at Cahokia, Morning Star began a strange affair with the Hyades, the star cluster that the Mexicans had identified with Itzpapalotl. In the octennials prior to 1056, Morning Star during its Mʰ II course () would leave conjunction with the sun and proceed upwards towards the Hyades. When it reached this star cluster, it would suddenly stop, turn around, and undertake the long journey back to the sun. It's hard to know what people made of this strange stellar behavior in prehistoric times. In a rather striking divergence from his normal behavior, in the period from 14 June 1056 to 19 June of that year, Morning Star suddenly reversed course and ventured inside the "jaws" or "horns" of the Hyades, only to "escape" days later. This sudden, unexpected, intrusion into the House of Itzpapalotl, the eclipse demon, must have seemed alarming and theologically earthshaking, given what had so recently happened in connection with the Great Star. Yet, as if infused with a renewed vigor after its contact with the mysterious luminary, Morning Star proceeded to fight his way out of the House of the Obsidian Butterfly, and return safely to his own lodge with the Sun and the Earth (conjunction). After that date, Morning Star's heroic Hyades Intrusion continued for a span of two centuries. The table below shows when Morning Star passed in and out of the jaws of the Hyades (as seen from the northern latitudes). The equivalent years in the Central Mexican calendar are indicated in parentheses.

Dates inside the Hyades   Dates inside the Hyades
June 12-18, 1056 (6-Flint) June 27, 1160 (6-Flint)
June 17-22, 1064 (1-Flint) June 27, 1168 (1-Flint)
June 20-23, 1072 (9-Flint) June 27, 1176 (9-Flint)
June 21-24, 1080 (4-Flint) June 27, 1184 (4-Flint)
June 23-25, 1088 (12-Flint) June 27, 1192 (12-Flint)
June 24-26, 1096 (7-Flint) June 27, 1200 (7-Flint)
June 25-26, 1104 (2-Flint) June 27, 1208 (2-Flint)
June 25-27, 1112 (10-Flint) June 27, 1216 (10-Flint)
June 26-27, 1120 (5-Flint) June 27, 1224 (5-Flint)
June 26-27, 1128 (13-Flint) (June 26-27, 1232 [13-Flint])*
June 27, 1136 (8-Flint) (June 26-27, 1240 [8-Flint])*
June 27, 1144 (3-Flint) (June 26-27, 1248 [3-Flint])*
June 27, 1152 (11-Flint) (June 26-27, 1256 [11-Flint])*
  June 26, 1264 (6-Flint)†
*above the Hyades on June 26, outside on June 27 —
its passage through can be inferred.
†appears to occlude ε Tauri.

In the years 1240 and 1248, it is difficult to tell whether Morning Star had cleared the "jaws" of the Hyades; but in 1256 Morning Star almost occluded the highest star of the cluster, ε Tauri, and in 1264, appeared to fully occlude it. Beginning in the year 1272, after a century and a half, the Morning Star in this phase of the retrograde Venus Cycle ceased to pass within the "jaws" of the Hyades. If records were being kept — even if they were purely mnemonic — it must have become increasingly clear during the XIIIᵀᴴ century, that Morning Star was destined to work its way out of the Hyades again.

The Path of Morning Star (Green) through the Hyades (Red)

Path of Morning Star 

The Path of Morning Star (Green) through the Hyades (Red)

As the reconstructions of the sky show, prior to 1056 Morning Star had always retreated before the Hyades, but now it suddenly lurched into the formation, where it had never ventured before in its retrograde course (Mʰ II). To students of Morning Star, it must have seemed like a revolution had taken place in the heavens where before predictable order and regularity had reigned. It entered into the House of the Obsidian Butterfly during the trecena of the Eagle, which is governed by Xochiquetzal, the goddess of flowers and love. There is, however, a co-governor, the devilish Tezcatlipoca, the chief enemy of Quetzalcoatl (Morning Star).37 There seems to be a "fossil" of Tezcatlipoca that remains in Hočąk mythology. This is what is now an avatar of Herešgúnina called "One Legged One." One Legged One approximates a Mesoamerican deity who is called by the same name.

The creator gods are versions of major Mesoamerican deities. Hurakán's name can be understood as "one-leg" and he is associated with the Classic Period Maya deity Tahil ("Obsidian Mirror" or "Torch Mirror"), a one-legged god who was honoured in carving at the city of Palenque. Through this connection, Hurakán can be identified with the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca ("Lord of the Smoking Mirror") who, among many attributes, was a divinity of hurricanes, wore an obsidian mirror and was said to be one-legged (in some accounts, because he lost a leg while fighting the Earth Monster Tlaltecuhtli).38

Hu[n]racán (Jun Rakan), whose name means "One Leg,"39 is one of the three aspects of Heart of the Sky.40 His colleague in creating the world was Plumed Serpent, the Mayan counterpart of Quetzalcoatl.41 Like One Legged One, Tezcatlipoca is one of the primal gods. In many ways he recalls Herešgúnina, the spirit behind One Legged One, whose name is often translated as "the Devil." Tezcatlipoca is the master of the dark arts of sorcery (obsidian mirrors had a role in witchcraft), and "causes discord and conflict everywhere he passes."42 This Nahuatl deity is an embodiment of evil, and the prime opponent of Quetzalcoatl (Morning Star). In the Hočąk tale, Morning Star is the youngest brother of the haughty Bladder who is identified with the vault of the sky. Morning Star is ambushed by One Legged One, but manages to wound the evil spirit with two of his arrows. Nevertheless, One Legged One triumphs and drives Morning Star home by whipping him with a nettle bush. This home is the sun where Venus enters into conjunction. As the planet nears the sun at the horizon it frequently appears red, just as does the skin of one who is stung with a nettle bush. The episode that follows this incident is isomorphic to an Aztec myth (see the Appendix, "The Devil's Sun"). A fight between Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl (Morning Star) is recorded among the Aztecs. Tezcatlipoca challenged Quetzalcoatl to a contest in the arena, and to enhance his chances, changed himself into his nahualli, the jaguar. Although defeated, Quetzalcoatl survived. Nevertheless, his supporters lost heart and this euhemerized Quetzalcoatl was forced into exile.43

Tezcatlipoca, as we have noted, co-presides over the Eagle trecena. This trecena came with the Hyades Intrusion of Morning Star on 12 June 1056, a mere 58 days after the strange star's disappearance, the day after the anniversary of their "melding" in 1055, and almost on the second anniversary of the vanished star's spectacular debut. In fact, the latter anniversary happened precisely one veintena (20 days) after the Hyades Intrusion.44* It should also be noted that this time period in Mexico was not entirely uneventful either.45* The twelfth of June, clearly inauspicious, was none other than the day 8-Ehecatl. Ehécatl is the god of wind, and a form of Quetzalcoatl. The coefficient eight is an important Venus number. The exit date of 18 June 1056 is a 1-Rabbit day, which means that just as it was to break free from the Hyades, a new trecena dawned. The Rabbit trecena is governed by the god of the calendar itself, the fire god Xiuhtecuhtli.46* The trecena Rabbit is also the last in the sequence of trecenas,47* and as such defines the whole, just as the last day of the Year One of the Toltec calendar became the first year-bearer as year 1-Rabbit. Therefore, as the preëminent trecena, the Rabbit trecena was identified with the completion of the sacred tonalpohualli calendar. Consequently, Morning Star's liberation from the Hyades occurred at a time that symbolized the instauration of sacred time itself. This fact made the odd occurrence all the more theologically significant. As the octennials progressed through time, the looping course of Morning Star shifted farther and farther above the Hyades before it turned around and descended through them. By the 1080's, the turn-around point was just below the Pleiades, which many Central Siouan tribes call the "Deer Head." This could certainly have reinforced the depiction of Morning Star as having deer antlers on his head. At this point, the "V" shaped tail was behind him. In 1104, Morning Star crossed as close to the apex and center as it would ever get, only about halfway down at the star δ Tauri. Thereafter, it entered into the star cluster higher and higher up, until finally, in 1272, it ceased to enter the Hyades at all. It was sometime after 1250 that these gorgets began to appear in Etowah.48 This is precisely when Etowah was reoccupied and reinvigorated with new construction.49

How common were Hyades Intrusions by Morning Star? Investigating this subject yields surprising answers. The Venus Hyades Intrusions form cycles that repeat themselves at regular intervals. All of the Hyades Intrusion Cycles from 335 a.D. to 1769 are plotted on the table. The expression, "Vc + Yrs.," represents the number of Synodic Venus Cycles in the time interval between succeeding dates, plus the number of years. For instance, "30 + 3" is 30 Venus Cycles of 8 years each for 240 years, plus 3 more years, for a total of 243 years.

MnS Apparition Initial Date Aztec Date Julian Day # Vc + Yrs. Concluding Date Vc + Yrs. Aztec Date Julian Day #
Mʰ I 6 June 335 10-Dog of 12-Rabbit 1843572 - 22 June 543 - 13-Flint of 12-Rabbit 1919560
Mʰ III 11 June 578 7-Monkey of 8-House 1932333 30 + 3 23 June 786 30 + 3 6-Eagle of 8-House 2008317
Mʰ V 5 June 813 9-Rain of 9-Flint 2018161 29 + 3 24 June 1029 30 + 3 12-Grass of 5-House 2097074
Mʰ II 14 June 1056 10-Lizard of 6-Flint 2106926 30 + 3 25 June 1272 30 + 3 5-Water of 1-Flint 2185831
Mʰ IV 8 June 1291 11-Monkey of 7-Reed 2192753 29 + 3 27 June 1515 30 + 3 11-Death of 10-Reed 2274588
Mʰ I 13 June 1534 10-Jaguar of 3-Rabbit 2281514 30 + 3 9 July 1758† 30 + 3 4-House of 6-Rabbit 2363345
Mʰ III 21 June 1769* 13-House of 4-House 2367345 29 + 3 13 July 2001‡ 30 + 3 11-Cayman of 2-House 2452103
*10 June 1769 (OS)
† 28 June 1758 (OS)
‡ 30 June 2001 (OS)

The Hyades Intrusion repeats itself every 243 years (30 synodic cycles plus 3 years), except in alternate cycles, where it is 235 years (29 synodic cycles plus 3 years). This represents an alternance of 88,761 ~ 85,828 days, with a few days variance due to the slight irregularity of the synodic Venus cycle. The date on which Morning Star passes by ε Tauri without occluding it is very constant at 88,757 days, with only the last date of 13 July 2001 being one day longer. This span of 88,757 days is exactly 243 years plus 1.25 days. The Morning Star apparitions (heliacal cycles) that succeed each other in the course of Morning Star's Hyades Intrusions, repeat themselves in the following pattern:

Mʰ V   Mʰ IV   Mʰ III   Mʰ II   Mʰ I  
  Mʰ II   Mʰ I   Mʰ V   Mʰ IV   Mʰ III

This shows that the retrograde motion of Morning Star towards the Hyades is handed off at periodic intervals from one Morning Star apparition to another in a regular and systematic pattern. For people without written records, this level of knowledge would be nearly impossible. More to the point, would they even take such a strong interest in how Morning Star related to the Hyades at all? Indeed, what seems to have prompted this interest was the unusual activities that took place in the celestial field of action. The last Hyades Intrusion had ended in 1029, just 10 days short of exactly 27 years prior (9,852 days). However, the end of a Hyades Intrusion sees the star only graze the edge of the star cluster. It would most probably have been seen as fitting in with Morning Star's usual behavior with respect to the Hyades in its other apparitions. What is likely is that the Hyades Intrusions had, if they were noticed at all, been of passing interest. The span from the beginning of one to the beginning of the next exceeded several generations. However, there is nothing like a crisis to focus the mind. Since some had connected the medicine star to Morning Star, some attention was newly paid to its activities. The appearance of the strange star (SN 1054) belonging to the Great Star would have made people far more attentive to what Morning Star was about in the sky. By sheer coincidence of timing, this attention almost immediately paid dividends. Even if the Hyades Intrusion cycle of 243 years was known, which seems improbable, under the circumstances, the sudden new activity by Morning Star would not have been taken (after our fashion) as a coincidence. All these strange and momentous events would have to be explained theologically. Making sense of all this was the true theological project of the age, an age now infused with the power of hybrid vigor.

It is probably a matter of importance that within the year 1056 (and 6-Flint) a rather large comet (X/1056 R1),50 said to have started at around 2° in length,51 but later reaching 20°,52 and white in color,53 passed from the polar region (loosely in the vicinity of Polaris) to the constellation Hydra before disappearing.54 It may have appeared as early as 5 September,55 but 10 September (7-Grass) is the likely date gleaned from oriental sources.56 It disappeared on 25 September 1056 (9-Deer of 6-Flint), about the time of the equinox.57 The sources have insufficient agreement to allow for a reconstruction of its orbital path.58 The comet appeared in the trecena of Death, whose lord is Tonatiuh, the god of the sun and calendar.59 The next trecena, that of Rain, which is governed by Tlaloc, fell on 17 September. On the first or second day of the year 6-Flint, Morning Star had become visible in the sky. Therefore, the comet had occurred within the same year that Morning Star's intrusion into the Hyades had first occurred. It is hard to say what omens were adduced from the appearance of this comet which had emerged in this same year, but we can little doubt that they drew some interesting theological conclusions.

Ex hypothesi, the striking ascendancy of Morning Star in the years 1054-1056 required some theological adjustment to the role of Redhorn, now that Morning Star was struggling with the Hyades figure. From a Mexican point of view, Redhorn makes a satisfactory interpretatio septentrionalis of Mixcoatl, as we have seen by their extensive alignment of attributes and stories. It would be very hard to disentangle those convergent attributes with respect to whether they owed to common heritage, or common function (allegorical "logic"), or direct influence. For whatever reason, both Aztec and Hočąk mythology agree that the God of the Hunt (Mixcoatl-Redhorn) fought the flint-like Hyades figure. In the end, the God of the Hunt, through the aid of his brothers, is triumphant, and they shatter the Hyades figure into countless pieces of multicolored flint (one of which they keep as special). His alternative fate is to have been turned into the kind of owl which has flint-like markings all over its body. The Mexican counterpart is a moth with the same characteristics, the itzpapalotl moth found only in Central Mexico (most particularly in the town of Orizaba). Variant myths of Flint being transformed into a moth, or being female, are not (any longer) extant in Hočąk mythology. However, judging from Etowah, such a competing Mexican version must once have existed. It is this concept of the Hyades into which the ascendant Morning Star was integrated. It is with this sexually ambiguous Great Mother moth that Morning Star must struggle. At Etowah, the fight between Redhorn and Flint had become theologically passé. In its place is the alternative Central Siouan concept of Orion as a detached hand. Nowhere in evidence is the figure with living heads on his ears; instead we find the hawk-like Morning Star who wears conventional ear spools. We need not think that Redhorn has disappeared at Etowah, but that he has been eclipsed and displaced by Morning Star whose struggle with the Hyades figure has become the all important concern.

§3.1.4. The Hyades Intrusion in Hočąk Myth. So what did happen to the memory of the great Hyades Intrusion in the Hočąk tradition? The Hočągara recount a fight between Flint and Redhorn, but do they remember the conflict between Flint and Morning Star, the battle that shook the world? We might well think that with the decline of the cult and the culture in which it was so prominent, that its attendant mythology simply withered away. Surprisingly, perhaps, this is not the case. Flint is the unnamed Grandfather in the myth of another important figure, Wears White Feather, known to other Siouan tribes as "White Plume." As I have argued elsewhere (1, 2, 3), Wears White Feather is the star Sirius. He is said to be the chief of the white peją́. This term is usually translated as "crane," but Jipson was right when he more broadly construed it as denoting herons. There are three sorts of white herons: whooping cranes, the white variety of the blue heron, and most particularly the egret, which is solid white. The name "Wears White Feather," in Hočąk is given as, m doAo rK A Ke se K (= Mąšųska-hakerega). Mąšų-ska means "white feather"; hakere means, according to Miner, "to wear on the head vertically." However, in a lexical note to "The Birth of the Twins," Radin has, "hakere = wear on scalp lock."60 The prefix ha- means "on," and the stem keré generally applies to long objects (Miner), which if not set upright, are at least situated vertically. A more precise rendering of the name of the Chief of the White Herons might be, "White Feather Set Vertically at the Scalp Lock." There can be little doubt that it is he who is shown at Picture Cave from a time not too long before the ascendancy of nearby Cahokia.

Redhorn-Herokaga (Orion) Pulling Wears White Feather (Sirius)
Above the Horizon. Picture Cave, Missouri.

His long aigrette is worn vertically from where his scalp lock would be, and the filaments of the feather are painstakingly etched out in white. The figure behind him is without doubt Redhorn as Herokaga, Chief of the Heroka. He is also Wears Faces on His Ears, and as such represents Orion. The sequence of rising stars in that sector of the sky is: Pleiades, Hyades, Orion, Sirius. So the picture shows Orion pulling Sirius up above the horizon; or to put it in Hočąk terms, Herokaga is lifting Wears White Feather. There can be little doubt that the white herons represent stars, since they are the enemies of the Nightspirits, who sow darkness into the sky to produce night. The white herons are said to "scar the faces" of the Nightspirits with their bills (q.v.), which is to say, that they attack and perforate the darkness with their brilliant white light, leaving peck marks across the face of the firmament. Sirius, as the most brilliant non-planetary star, is the chief among these. He is said to be the brother of the Forked Men, and therefore, by inference, the grandson of Flint.

The grandfather has a role to play in an important episode of the Wears White Feather myth.

(39) One day they said, "The island is about to be overflowed. Look across the waters," they said. So they looked across the waters and there, unexpectedly, (40) [was] a man with his body painted red and he was standing in the water and singing. It was him that was about to come [and] overflow the island. So they told their grandfather [Flint] about it. "Let your little grandfather that you had to come after the boat for you, go after him," he said. So they took it out and (41) sent it after him. They threw it in the water and right away it was bringing him. When it brought him back, they killed him, and they boiled his head and ate it. The old man's wife partook with them. The old man got angry, saying, "You have gone so far as to join in their bad affair. (42) You must [have] made the kettles bad," he said, but he said it so they would not hear it.61

Prior to this episode, it was said that Flint had gone out on a warpath, but later returned to his brother (the "old man" of this episode). In stellar terms, the Hyades sally forth once they have risen with the sun, eventually returning to where they started, which is in conjunction with the sun. So the old man is the sun, and we know from other Hočąk myths that the Sun is married to the Moon. The Moon, who offends the Sun by participating in the cannibal repast, can eat the "heads" (stars) by its crescent "jaws" merely occluding them, as if they had been swallowed. For Flint as the Hyades, a star ("head") would merely have to fall within his "jaws" to be "eaten." The only stars subject to this fate are planets, since only they can wander among the star clusters astride the ecliptic. Among these, neither Jupiter nor Saturn stray far enough from the ecliptic to fall into the jaws of the Hyades, and it is unusual for either of them to be thought of as red. Someone who is decidedly red, Redman (Redhorn = Herokaga = Įčorúšika), is not a planet at all,62* and therefore it cannot be his head that Flint "eats." Redman's head, we may recall, was placed under the flames (sun) in the fireplace (earth), since the ecliptic does not run through Orion but above it. However, Redman is not the only being whose body is red. The most obvious candidate for a red planet would be Mars. An exhaustive examination of the path of Mars with respect to the Hyades from 1048-1915, shows that it comes closest to the Hyades just before its retrograde motion, but it never approaches much less than 1° of angular separation from ε Tauri, and can therefore never actually enter into the "jaws" of the Hyades.63* Another candidate, the Red Star, as the Evening Star is called, is red precisely because the star is bathed in the light of the sunset when it is close to the sun. Prima facie, it would certainly seem reasonable to suppose that Evening Star is completely symmetrical with Morning Star. However, perhaps counter-intuitively, this proves not to be the case. Unlike the prevailing situation of Morning Star, the Evening Star is on the other side of the ecliptic path from the Hyades.64* As a result, the Evening Star never crosses into the Hyades. Furthermore, over time the point at which Evening Star enters into retrograde motion with respect to the ecliptic, shifts down the ecliptic line, until, in many of its apparitions, it eventually drifts away from the Hyades altogether.65* Therefore, Flint as the Hyades can never "swallow" Evening Star. So Evening Star is not perfectly symmetrical with Morning Star, and its route through the sky is rather different, especially with respect to the Hyades. This is the fundamental reason why there is not equal and corresponding emphasis upon Evening Star in the astro-theological matters that thrust themselves center stage in the XIᵀᴴ century.

Since all other planets have been excluded, this leaves the Morning Star as the only possible celestial object remaining for Flint's culinary attentions. As to being red, this other "half" of Venus is of exactly the same character as the Evening Star (vide 1).66* When he is near the solar disc, the "star" may actually turn red from the refraction of light low on the horizon; but in any case, he too is bathed in the red glow of the sunrise. The red painted man, who must be Morning Star, is hauled in by means of a magical hook. The hook, given the code as thus far understood, could only be the hook-shaped Pleiades. In 1056, when the Pleiades rose, it seemed to drag up Morning Star behind it. At other times, when Morning Star approaches the Hyades from "behind," it has to first pass by the Pleiades. So in either case, it is as though it were snared by the hooked Pleiades and dragged to the Hyades. The crescent moon also passes nearby Morning Star, and on occasions (but not 1056), it has occluded Venus. The "boiling" to which the myth refers is a familiar symbol (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) that expresses the coincidence of the sun (fire) and the Ocean Sea at the edge of the world (kettle of water), whence Morning Star's head ascends. Morning Star is "boiled" as it emerges from conjunction, and in the year 1056 it immediately proceeded towards the Pleiades, then fell into the "jaws" of the Hyades (Flint). So Flint ate the boiled head of Morning Star.

As a result of this analysis, we can now see that the historical Hočągara had a myth about a Morning Star Hyades Intrusion. This myth, however, leaves Morning Star dead without ever naming him. Anonymity is a typical way of handling a negative myth about a powerful spirit. Although spirits are often divided between the good and the bad, there is a pronounced ambiguity in the treatment of many spirits whose actions cannot so easily be categorized on the moral continuum. The Meteor Spirit, for instance, is the hero of several myths in which he is a champion and benefactor to mankind (1, 2, 3), yet in the "Green Man" (q.v.), he appears among the Bad Spirits. Evening Star, who turns up in the artifacts of Etowah as an opponent of the heroic Morning Star, is among the historical Hočągara, elevated to the level of a Good Spirit, and Morning Star, his often unnamed twin opponent, is made into the "bad guy." Despite all, Morning Star himself often appears in Hočąk mythology as one of the Good Spirits, rescuing humans from the cannibalistic machinations of the Giants. So is Morning Star a Good Spirit or a Bad Spirit? The jury is out and never expected back. Hočąk myths are told from a point of view. The story of the red man whose head was eaten is told from the point of view of the Čaručge. This term was translated as "Deer Eaters," but ča not only means "deer," but "upper body, head." The Čaručge are, therefore, as they seem: the Head Eaters. This is not an expression of an unpleasant revelation, but a recognition of their high standing, since in ritual feasts the head is reserved for the greatest warrior (q.v.). Eating and swallowing are symbols of conquest, and since this myth is told from the point of view of the Čaručge, it ends with their feast. Flint is hardly washed clean of blame, since the Sun expresses quiet disapproval of his cannibalistic repast. There is no public knowledge of its complementary waiką in which a victorious Morning Star of the Etowah mold escapes the clutches of Flint, who elsewhere more commonly plays the role of the sinister antagonist. Nevertheless, this counter-myth preserves the idea of the intrusion into the Hyades as a military confrontation, and a trap where Morning Star is at a distinct disadvantage. With the decline of the ancient cult, this opposing point of view has become salient. Morning Star's great and ancient soteriology vanished along with the grand testimonial once writ for it in the sky.

§3.2. Attribute Transference: Morning Star, Itzpapalotl, and Mothra.

This strange, and striking, temporary capture of Morning Star at once suggests both a struggle and a union. Knight and Franke observe that

Here [Ga-Brt-E7 ()], in seated position, is a Birdman ... Instead of bird wings shown in the conventional manner as a range of feathers depending from an anterior wing bar, we now have fan-like wings, decorated with dotted circles. Since we have just identified fan-like wings bearing dotted circles as one of the identifying traits of the butterfly supernatural, this leads rather inevitably to the conclusion that we have before us a personage that is a combination of both Birdman and butterfly. ... Birdman in some sense becomes [the] butterfly supernatural, or vice versa.1 ... Also, by approaching the imagery of Hightower style shell gorgets as an iconographically intelligible set, we have concluded that the series taken together transfigures Birdman into its antithesis, the butterfly supernatural.2

Yet the gorgets seem to tell a story of a Morning Star who violently grasps and controls Mothra, or even attempts to kill it with his sword. It is precisely this ambivalent relationship between Morning Star and Mothra, upon reflection, that becomes complicated and problematic.

All deities share certain attributes, and probably for different reasons, Morning Star and Itzpapalotl have cervid and raptorial features in common. However, when we subtract the typical Morning Star attributes from the sum of his attributes as revealed in the Morning Star gorgets, we are left with a large remainder that are not ordinarily associated with Morning Star at all. An examination, especially of the "Seated in Display" ("Buddha") scene, reveals a startling fact: all of these "extraneous" attributes actually belong to Itzpapalotl. This oddity can be seen at a glance in the following table of parallel attributes.

Itzpapalotl Etowah Morning Star
Moth Form Butterfly Attributes
    Wings     Wings
    Spots on Wings     Spots on Wings
    Segmented Abdomen     Segmented Tail
Bat Bat Wings
Eagle Raptor
    Eagle Wings     Raptor Wings
    Eagle Tail Feathers     Raptor Tail Feathers
    Eagle Podia for Feet and Hands     Raptor Podia for Feet or Hands
        Tridactyly         Tridactyly
Deer Antlers Deer Antlers
Somatic Duality (Double Head) Somatic Duality (Split Tail)
Spider Form Orb Web on Tail
Flint Knives on Wing Edges Flint Knives and Swords in Hands
“V” Theme “V” Shaped Tail

In addition, we have at least one case where a Birdman has a nose that looks like an extended lepidopteran proboscis.3* So we have an interesting equation: "(the Etowah 'Buddha' Birdman - the standard Birdman) = Itzpapalotl." This "standard Birdman" is of the sort found on the Cahokian Rogan Plates and the non-Buddha pose gorgets. At Cahokia (and Spiro) we find neither the Birdman of the "Buddha" display, nor the moth. The attributes added to the Etowah Morning Star are those that belong to the Mexican Obsidian Butterfly, Itzpapalotl.4* It is as if all the other attributes of the Mexican Itzpapalotl have been stripped from her and conjoined to the Etowah Morning Star, leaving little to Itzpapalotl but her purely lepidopterous form. At the very least, the gorgets reveal a fusion of the characteristics of the Hyades deity with those of Morning Star. The most striking of these is his "V" shaped, bifurcated tail. Where does this bizarre appendage come from? It is precisely when Morning Star makes his retrograde turning motion above the Hyades, that its stars trail behind him in the form of the distinctive Hyades "V" . This allows us to explain the "Buddha" display pose, where some of Itzpapalotl's attributes are presented in the form of a split tail. As any casual observer can appreciate, in a retrograde cycle there is a point at which, like a pitched yo-yo, it reaches an apogee at which all motion ceases, however momentarily. In that moment of suspended animation, Morning Star neither moves towards nor away from the Hyades. For that moment, he sits still in his "Buddha" pose. It is at this very moment that he resolves to plunge into this dangerous cleft, represented by his grasp of the ends of his own double tail. He holds the spider's snare apart with his raptor podia, symbolic of his warrior prowess; his wings begin to unfurl, as the powers of Itzpapalotl, now integrating with him, allow him to plunge through the cleft of life and death, and to reset his course for the light of the Sun. Having been swallowed up in the Hyades, Morning Star now becomes all the things that Itzpapalotl is: a moth, bat, eagle, spider, stag, a creature of somatic duality, and a wielder of a ritual flint weapon.

This odd attribute transference is not without precedent. We have also seen this strange transfer of attributes (but in both directions) between the Crow Red Woman (cognate to Itzpapalotl) and Flint-like Young Man (cognate to Redhorn) (q.v.). In at least some portrayals, the flint tecpatl knives that ran down the edge of Itzpapalotl's wings are not in evidence at Etowah. However, a closer look at Mo-Py-SM2 shows wings with pointed edges, as does the Willoughby Disk (Ala-Tu-M2), perhaps not only an expression of the "V" theme, but a reflex of the sacrificial knives that extended from the edges of Itzpapalotl's wings. These knives are actually found to have been transferred to the historical version of the Hočąk Morning Star; and not only to Morning Star, but to Evening Star and his nephews, the Twins, each of whom sports a set of knives that runs down from his elbows to his wrists. In Mexico, many of the same figures with whom we have been dealing have also experienced "attribute transference." As Milbrath points out, the eagle form of Itzpapalotl most likely arose initially from her conjunction with the sun in her role as a Moon and Earth goddess.5 In conjunction, the sun and moon fuse, and this unity is reflected in the fact that now both possess the bird of the sun. We can from our present perspective appreciate how Itzpapalotl as a goddess of the Hyades doubly associates herself with the sun, since the ecliptic passes only 2° 43' 57" from ε Tauri at the open wedge of the Hyades, thus creating another such fusion. In Mexico, Venus too has been subject to the same process of attribute transference that its Morning Star phase has in the north. Klein argues that

As was the case with all stars and planets, including the sun, Venus was believed to be "born" in the east as the Morning Star and, as the god Xólotl, the Evening Star, to "die" upon its descent to and disappearance at the western horizon. Upon entering the body of the female earth monster Tlaltecuhtli, Venus, like the sun, assumed that goddess's associations and insignia. Accordingly, the Evening Star of the west and the planet in inferior conjunction in the south or center of the world appear occasionally in Postclassic two-dimensional imagery in the frontal form of Tlaltecuhtli, with displayed limbs, upturned head, clawed hands and feet, round, ringed, or banded eyes, large teeth, and a protruding tongue.6

Because Venus falls into the earth at conjunction, it now arrogates to itself the attributes of the earth monster. This is exactly what we see occurring with Venus (as Morning Star) when it falls into the body of the Hyades moth goddess, only the attributes transferred are those that we know belong to the moth goddess of Mexico, Itzpapalotl. "Proof" is not a thing of which the study of folklore and related disciplines can boast, but this comes as close to proving that Mothra was a reflex of Itzpapalotl as we are likely to get. This whole host of attributes which quite nearly define the outward appearance of Itzpapalotl, are found in the context of a conjunction between Morning Star and the Hyades, and fuse with the attributes of Morning Star by a well known process. Indeed, Mothra may have even been Itzpapalotl, with a little local "spin" needed because the Rothschildia orizaba moth is never seen outside central Mexico. We may add in this connection, that the flint knives, which survive in modern Hočąk as acquired attributes of Morning Star et alia, were not present at Etowah any more than the horrendous and extensive practice of human sacrifice with which the identity of these tecpatl knives were bound. Were these attributes stripped from the donor during transference? The attributes of Tlaltecuhtli acquired by Evening Star were not taken away from the earth monster, but were merely borrowed by Venus. This may be what is occurring as the product of the fusion of Morning Star with the Hyades. In this case, they seem very literally to be added on to Morning Star. The wings attach to his back (and in some cases to his arms as well), and his tail exemplifies duality by bifurcating into the "V" shaped wedge of the Hyades. Just as we have seen the neighboring Deer Head star cluster reversed by the Hočągara into the Deer Rump asterism, so we find the two headed Itzpapalotl of Aztec myth, which reflects the two limbs of the Hyades "V," converted into a "V" shaped tail by the ethnically unknown elites of Etowah.

The central attributes of the itzpapalotl moth were not transferred to Morning Star. We can now see that the "windows" on the itzpapalotl moth, which can be identified with obsidian blades, are also of the requisite "V" shape needed to graphically represent the Hyades. A description of the R. orizaba would include mention of having these "V's" on its wings, and of its having circles (some with dots in them) running near the edge of the wings. The antennae are "fuzzy," and in the male, the tail terminates in "V" shaped claspers (prehensores). In Ga-Brt-E12 from Etowah, we find the corner of the wing presented in its natural rounded "V" form with dotted circles following along its edge. These circles number five, the number of major stars in the Hyades (ε Tauri, δ Tauri, γ Tauri, θ Tauri, and Aldebaran). At Moundville, Mothra has a series of "V's" at its wing edge, recalling both the "windows" of the original moth, and the description of Itzpapalotl herself as having knives at the edge of her wings. At the base of each wing edge wedge is a circle, there being five such total, once again exemplifying the number of stars in the Hyades. The Etowah version has the filamentous antennae, but the Moundville version does not show the antennae at all. Both have prehensores at the distal end of their abdomens. Without any living specimens of the original moth, most of the design eventually fell to artistic license.

The process of attribute transference in connection with the Hyades Intrusion allows us to better understand the strangely counterfactual proboscis of Mothra. For lepidoptera, the proboscis is the feeding mechanism, serving as analogue to both tongue and mouth. It inserts this into the appropriate part of the flower in order to reach the nectar held inside. Consequently, it needs to be smooth for easy insertion and extraction. Mothra, on the other hand, has a proboscis lined with a series of what appear to be triangular teeth (the "V" theme again). These are pure invention and can function only as symbols. A moth uses its proboscis to swallow. Since Mothra is an opponent of Morning Star who tries to "swallow" him in its "jaws," the lepidopteran model has to be equipped with dangerous teeth on its eating mechanism to perform an analogous function. This swallowing takes place in the context of battle. Here again the Hočąk model is useful. Among the Hočągara the symbolism of swallowing is central to the ideology of war. Before a warparty goes out, it has a feast. During this feast there is a ritual known as the "Fast Eating Contest." Plates of food are put out for each warrior and at the signal, they all eat it as fast as they can. If they miss a morsel of food, then the missed item is thought to symbolize an enemy warrior who has escaped capture or death. All the food swallowed, therefore, represents the capture or death of all the enemy warriors promised the warparty by the spirits who have blessed the Warleader. Thus, any enemy who does not escape is "swallowed." Mothra, as a star cluster, tries to swallow Morning Star during his Hyades Intrusion. In some sense, Morning Star is captured by the mouth of the Hyades, having been drawn as by a moth's long, gripping proboscis. This process must remind us of the recent Hočąk myth in which Flint tells his grandson to draw the presumed Morning Star to them by using the animated hook and line. However, the ancient Morning Star fought his way out just like Hare in the widespread folktale, where the protagonist was lapped up by the tongue of a monster, only to cut his way out of its stomach with a flint knife. The knife (tecpatl) that belongs to Itzpapalotl is used to sacrifice captives, but Morning Star is able to neutralize its lepidopterous counterpart, the jagged proboscis, by grasping it in his hand and wielding his own flint knife or sword.

The "V" shaped "tail" of Morning Star is rather like the two (or dual) mothras whom he seems to push aside. Its segments are the segments of Mothra's abdomen, now behind him as he makes good his escape, yet forming the same "V" as the two mothras that he holds in his grasp. He has become ensnared in a web of the Hyades spider, but this web he tears into its two parts as he leaves it behind, trailing him, yet in union with him, like a tail. In the Mothra gorget Mo-Py-SM2, we see him emerge holding the ends of the Hyades "V" in each hand, ε Tauri in his right hand, and Aldebaran in his left. When first discovered, the scene in this gorget struck people as being a figure holding stars in each hand.7* We now see that they are counterfactual probosces each of whose unnaturally serrated sides curls over in a circle of radiant "Λ's" whose form suggests the image of a star. And indeed, that is what they are. Just as the tongue of Morning Star creates the hot lightning of fire, so the cold blooded "tongue" of Mothra creates the cold light of the "exit" stars. The passage of Morning Star through the Hyades after the retrograde pause can be expressed as pushing aside ε Tauri and Aldebaran the way one pushes aside bushes to view a clearing; or it can be seen in military terms as the Morning Star fighting his way out. In the latter scenario (Ga-Brt-E12), Morning Star only attacks one of the mothras, since he enters into the Hyades by occluding only the stars in the upper arm of the asterism. His power of occultation is a form of conquest, as he treads these stars, and the moth made from them, under foot (or raptor podium).

Among the Hočągara, it is the raptorial Thunderbirds treading under foot the earth that made the metaphorical hills and valleys, that is, hierarchy (q.v.). Thus, the raptor's podium is an instrument of subordination and an important element in the combat scene shown in the gorget.8* The Hawk or Warrior Clan (Wonáǧire Wąkšik) expresses conquest in another way, through bisection. The traditional predatory enemy of the hawk is the fish. The making of food into the enemy is of a piece with the making of the enemy into food, as the members of the Hawk Clan are paradigmatically the practitioners of cannibalism. Their victory is symbolized when they eat the center of the fish and leave the ends on the sides of their plates. Just as the Thunders reduce their enemies to the Low while occupying the High, so their kinsmen the Hawks reduce their enemies to the Periphery, while they occupy the Centre (q.v., 1, 2). In a Morning Star myth, something similar happens in a lacrosse game (q.v.). So when the Etowah Morning Star, himself identified with a raptor, perhaps even a hawk, walks between the two mothras whom he has pushed to the side, he is merely repeating in synonymous symbolism the Hočąk Hawk Clan theme of victory portrayed more literally in the complementary gorget (Ga-Brt-E12).

§3.3. Morning Star in the House (Calli) of the Obsidian Butterfly, Part II.

§3.3.1. Cup 202 from Spiro and Its Mexican Affinities. There is a strange Mexican element found in a few cups from Spiro that will prove relevant to our investigation. Phillips and Brown take note of this in a section entitled, "Bird-Man in Structure Resembling Mexican Day Sign Calli Meaning 'House'."1 Krieger first noticed that the birds depicted on one cup from Spiro seem to be emerging from a structure resembling the Mexican day sign Calli.2 There are six repetitions of the alleged bird-in-calli theme engraved on this cup, the best preserved of which is redrawn and shown below.

From Cup 202 (Spiro)3

The bird in question is a raptor exhibiting a falcon's eye surround as well as its upright threat display.4* The tongue protrudes at great length, recalling what was said about lightning in connection with tongue protrusions found in the Morning Star gorgets from Etowah. We might have had more difficulty relating this to Morning Star were it not for two other depictions of a being amalgamated with a Calli sign, in these cases it is Birdman himself. Therefore, it is highly likely that we are dealing with Morning Star in Cup 202 as well. What is striking and should be familiar, is the inverse scallop design on the roof of the alleged Calli sign. This is the same inverse scalloped design characteristic of the proboscis of Mothra. We had identified Mothra with the Hyades as a likely reflex of the Obsidian Butterfly, Itzpapalotl. This not only reinforces the identity of the raptor inside as Morning Star, but seems to be a reference to the Morning Star Hyades Intrusion. There are exactly eight scalloped indentations over each instance of this structure, consistent with a reference to the eight years of the Venus Cycle. The emerging Morning Star passes beyond the last of these inverse scallops and into the ninth year in which the next Venus Cycle begins. There are also four lattice patterns on the "plinth" of the structure that are of unknown significance. They may perhaps represent the four previous Morning Star Apparitions (Mʰ III > Mʰ IV > Mʰ V > Mʰ I) that took place before his emergence from the Hyades in the fifth apparition (Mʰ II). However, as will be shown (), a quadripartite design (of circles) on a calli plinth is found multiple times in one Mexican codex. There are six calli-like structures portrayed on the cup, although some of the structures cannot be seen in full because of erosion. As we have already shown (), the number six is the resurrection number of Morning Star based upon the initiation of a new Venus Cycle with the sixth apparition of the planet. It can be immediately appreciated that the alleged Calli sign does not have the wedge (<) of the Hyades themselves, although it does loosely approximate it by angling up slightly towards the opening. During the Hyades Intrusion by Morning Star, it is fair to say that Morning Star is "housed" in the Hyades, so such a representation is appropriate enough on those grounds alone.

However, is this "house" really a Mexican calli? The tables show a number of Calli day signs taken from Mexican codices.

Double Columns
Single Column, Squared Γ/T Forms
Laud 32
 Tonalamatl 15 
 Vindobonensis 62 
Cospi 13
 Borbonicus 5 
 Féjerváry-Mayer 16 
 Tonalamatl 10 
Ríos 29

Single Column, Squared Γ/T Forms
Single Column, Rounded Γ Forms
 Nombres geográficos 56 
 Magliabecchiano 11v 
 Magliabecchiano 15v 
 Borbonicus 18 
 Féjerváry-Mayer 9 
 Vaticanus B 61 
Vaticanus B 49

The Calli signs are merely miniature versions of stylized representations of houses. In Laud 32 we see a very detailed representation of such a dwelling, with others being more or less schematized for ease of execution. This process led to a standard form along the lines of Codex Féjerváry-Mayer 16. The central features are a foundational slab ("plinth") and a roof beam forming a gamma (Γ) or tau (T) with a rear column, most often painted red in contrast to the rest of the Calli sign. Nevertheless, Calli signs have a wide variation in form, and may vary considerably even within a single codex. One variation from Nombres geográficos de México 56, shows a wrap-around symbol of water attached to a Calli sign. This stands for Apan-cale-can, "the Place of the Lord of the House where the Water Reeds Grow."5 So without the locative context, it identifies the house of a person, which ex hypothesi, is what Cup 202 also does. The rounding off of the Γ, as in our Cup 202, occurs in Vaticanus B 49. As we can see from the many examples presented here, the Spiro version is a rather elongated form of calli, having a rounded Γ shape. Even though our calli is a bit elongated, it could be recognized as a passable exemplar of this latter type. Another feature, however, that is not captured by the rounded Γ form is Cup 202's transformation of the continuous wall to roof design as a symbol, in this case, ex hypothesi, of the scallops of the Mothra proboscis. However, even in this case, we can find a fair number of paintings of elongated houses (or perhaps covered daises) with a curved Γ shape, whose wall to roof continuum forms a symbolic object. These (which are either callis or daises) are found in Codex Laud (10-16),6* one of which is presented here.

Tlaloc Redrawn from Codex Laud 12

The central figure is easily identified as the rain god Tlaloc. The design concept is strikingly similar in several respects to our Mississippian cup. The wall-roof continuum is formed by a representation of water, the element over which the god has special command. In keeping with its theme, rain drops may be seen falling over it. The plinth has four target designs painted on it. These seem to correspond to the four lattice designs on the plinth of Cup 202, which are spaced in the same fashion. These four design elements are common on the plinths of several calli representations in Codex Laud.7* Like the raptor sticking its head out of the calli of Cup 202, Codex Laud 12 shows a water bird, fish in bill, sticking his head out beyond the end of the structure. Given the range of variation within this format in Codex Laud 10-16, we would be hard pressed to deny that the artistic, and to some extent even the theological, concept of Cup 202 is based upon such a Mexican exemplar.

The most pertinent question at this point would be, Is the house of Cup 202 out of which the raptor looks just a calli or is it a Calli day sign? Why would Birdman (or his purely avian alloform) be found passing through a structure shaped like the Mesoamerican sign Calli (House)? House is one of the 20 day signs in many Mesoamerican calendars, and as a kind of emergent property of the mathematics of the calendrical system, it also functions as one of the four year-signs (House, Rabbit, Reed, Flint). The tonalpohualli or ritual calendar of 260 days, is divided into twenty 13 day periods, called by the Spanish name trecenas. Since there are 20 day signs and only 13 days to a trecena, it follows that successive trecenas begin with different day signs. Each trecena has its own day sign, since 20 x 13 = 260, the span of the tonalpohualli period. Each trecena has a patron deity. The patron of the trecena that begins with the day sign Calli is none other than Itzpapalotl.8* This makes it nearly certain that the calli of Cup 202 is that of the Calli day sign. As we might have predicted, the calli that has the Mothra serrations for its wall-roof continuum, belongs to Itzpapalotl. Given the identity of Itzpapalotl with the Hyades, and the Hyades Intrusion of 1056 et sequens, it is to be expected that emerging from the Calli sign is none other than the Birdman in raptor form, exhibiting a raptor's upright threat display as he emerges out of this asterism inside of which he had been held. The long tongue, also encountered at Etowah, is the lightning over which this older form of Morning Star had command. That this calli is a trap for Morning Star is expressed in a design element not in evidence among Mexican exemplars. In addition to the vertical line that seems to close the structure, there is a "double-lined quadrant bridging the angle between the front and the plinth ..."9 Let us briefly consider the vertical line first. Phillips and Brown say, "... the important feature of the boxlike structures ... is the single line closing the front, which has no counterpart in Mexican callis."10 This is false, as it happens, since there are a fair number of examples not only of such callis, but of callis containing a raptor, often with its head protruding out the exit beyond the vertical line.11*

Codex Vindobonensis 16

In light of these two elements, especially the unique double-lined quadrant in Cup 202, Krieger suggested that if the structure were not a Calli sign, that it might instead be a cage.12 Our new perspective makes it seem quite likely that it is both. The idea that the exit door is blocked is in keeping with the idea that the Hyades have captured Morning Star.13* In the theological terms of Etowah, this is the capture of the deity Morning Star by Mothra, the counterpart of the Obsidian Butterfly. However, here the itzpapalotl moth is replaced by the abstract calendrical symbol of the goddess, expressing the fundamental idea that contributed to the rise of the Morning Star Cult, the theme of his unexpected capture by the Hyades, and his subsequent break out. Here the weapon is not the flint sword of the (quasi-)anthropomorphic versions of Etowah, but the lightning expressed in the form of this raptor's long, serpentine tongue. Leading with this, he is able to thrust his head out of the Hyades trap.

Given that the Raptor is emerging from a Calli day sign and not just a house of foreign structure, we may infer that at least whoever commissioned this art work knew what a Calli day sign was, and its astronomical (and theological) significance in connection with the widespread Southern cult. Such a conclusion implies that at least some among the elite, perhaps priests, were using a Mesoamerican calendrical system; and not only that, but since the sign employed was Calli, they will have been using a style of calendar found in Central Mexico (and some adjacent areas). Given the time frame, the source of influence was most likely Toltec.

As we have already noted (), there are in fact Mexican examples of a raptor sticking its head out of a calli (sign ?). This theme is a commonplace in the Mixtec codex in Vienna.14 One painting of an eagle inside a House sign shows the same upright threat display with protruding tongue that we find in Cup 202. However, this example appears to be a place name hieroglyph.15

§3.3.2. Cup 200, the Headsman Theme. Cup 202 is not the only picture relating Morning Star to Itzpapalotl as the Hyades and the patroness of the House trecena. Cup 200, redrawn and oriented horizontally, exhibits another such picture.

From Cup 200 (Spiro)16

Phillips and Brown, who are to be commended as much for their boldness as for their caution, give a description of the engraving on Cup 200.

In cup 200 (fig. 184) bird-man seems to be inside the box (a safer term than calli) with head, arms, legs, and tail sticking out. This is the first and most obvious guess. It is perhaps equally possible that the whole thing (no other word for it) is a composite human-avian monstrosity with the box serving as a torso.17

We can now see, however it is configured, that we have a representation of the Birdman, who is Morning Star, passing through the House day sign of Itzpapalotl as the Hyades. The interior of the House is filled with small circles with dots in their centers. These probably represent stars.They opine, "Dotted circles on the box, in the multiple arrangement seen here, are probably feline."18 I take them to be making reference to the spotted coat of the wildcat. However, since among the Pawnee and others the wildcat skin denotes the stars of the firmament,19 it drops out of the equation. Phillips and Brown then make an important observation,

There are no belts that are decorated like this plinth ... which instead recalls the striped panels of some of our Craig confronted figure gorgets ... only here the dotted circles are turned into "eyes."20

In the Mexican codices stylized eyes represent stars. Since there are eight of them on the plinth, they may make reference to the eight years of the Venus Cycle.The orientation of all these figures is up, as opposed to that of Etowah, where the Morning Star figure is oriented to the left. It can be appreciated that when the contents of the cup are poured out, the cup inverts, and the figures point downward. Downward is the direction that Morning Star travels as it passes through the Hyades after its retrograde motion, although the composition is flipped along its long axis. The confronting figures which Phillips and Brown reference include Okla-Lf-S109 (), which we identified with the Mortal Combat Theme at Etowah. Hočąk myth describes the confrontation that Morning Star and Evening Star have at inferior conjunction, when Morning Star takes Evening Star's head, and runs across the sky with it. The head which Morning Star carries in Cup 200 should be that of Evening Star, although we do not have the advantage of seeing his features which have been eroded. When Morning Star meets the Hyades, especially in the early years (1056, 1064, etc.), he has just left inferior conjunction where he has, on the Hočąk model, just taken the head of Evening Star. So everything about this cup fits into what has already been said of the relationship between Morning Star, Evening Star, and the Hyades. Cup 200 is especially useful in showing that the raptor of Cup 202 is in fact Birdman, since the latter cup has a substantial mix of human and raptorial attributes.

§3.3.3. Cup 201 and the Plumed Serpent of Ehécatl. The third exemplar of the Calli theme, Cup 201, displays other attributes associated with the Hočąk Morning Star.

From Cup 201 (Spiro)21
Nuttall 54

This engraving had on its Calli roof a feathered wing arm holding a mace just as with Cup 200. Although we can't be certain, due to the fragmentary nature of the cup, it looks as if there is nothing more of the giant version of Birdman than his wing segment. This was reconstructed with six wing feathers, the "resurrection number" for Morning Star. However, this roof addendum seems to be a stylistic variation of a Mexican prototype, where the Calli (or perhaps dais) roof (and back wall) have symbols attached to them appropriate to the deity seated within. This is seen at Codex Laud 10, 11, 12 (), 13, and 15; and in a different style at Vaticanus A 7v. The roof symbol here is likewise appropriate to the god standing inside the Calli. This miniature figure within is a purely anthropomorphic version of Morning Star save for his incredibly long, extended tongue. Attached to his belt, and trailing behind him all the way to the back wall of the Calli, are what we might describe as "spaghetti" strands. Something very similar is seen in connection with the weather Twins, where the spaghetti represents wind.22 This would be its obvious valence here, since Morning Star among the Hočągara is, like his Mexican counterpart Quetzalcoatl-Ehécatl, a god of wind. In the Mexican codices, Vaticanus B 89 shows a Calli with a slightly different style of "spaghetti" extending out the front from the jaguar inside. So here again we have a plausible exemplar of the Morning Star figure trapped inside the Calli sign of Itzpapalotl, with what may be a symbolic One Reed arrow embedded in its posterior wall. As Phillips and Brown point out, this arrow segment is done in the style of a rattlesnake tail.23 The wall and roof taken together make up a feathered serpent, a synonymous reiteration of the identity of the being inside the structure.

1-House of 1-House,
Sunset, 8 Nov 765
Starry Night Software, Set at Tula

§3.3.4. The Astronomical Origins of the Relationship between Morning Star, Itzpapalotl, and Calli. This is a good point at which to explore how Itzpapalotl came to be the patron of the Calli trecena. In addition, this will serve as a third proof that Itzpapalotl has an esoteric stellar identity as the Hyades. All House trecenas begin with the day 1-House (Ce Calli), since the trecena takes its name from its initial day sign. Particularly paradigmatic in this respect would be a year that ends with the beginning of a House trecena. Such a year would take its name from the day 1-House. What happened on the first 1-House day of the first 1-House year? The very first such year was 765 a. D. (OS), based on the Toltec initial year of 1-Rabbit, which began on 11 August 726.24* The year 1-House of 765 began on 1 August, the seventh day of the trecena Rain.25* The day 1-House marked the beginning of the ninth trecena of the year 1-House, and fell on 8 November 765. The reconstruction of the sky for that date shows that the Hyades, which we have already shown to be the stellar identity of Itzpapalotl, rose with the setting sun. This achronical rising took place when the lead star of the cluster, δ-1 Tauri, rose at 05:00:34 hrs., with sunset occurring at 04:59:31, one minute, three seconds prior. The sun is setting just at the edge of the Milky Way near Antares (α Scorpii) at azimuth 251° 6'. The star ε Tauri sits at an azimuth of 72° 55', 178° 11' from the sun, almost exactly on the opposite horizon. So in terms of position, the sun is also opposed to the Hyades, just as it is when it sinks below the horizon at the same moment as the Hyades emerge above it. As an eclipse demon, Itzpapalotl's coincidence with the sun is not friendly, any more than her relationship with Mixcoatl, who uses the sun at conjunction to burn her alive, as we saw (⤊). So once again, the hypothesis that Itzpapalotl has a stellar identity as the Hyades correlates nicely with a calendar element that belongs to her exclusively. Using the tentative conclusion that Itzpapalotl = Hyades, we have been able to explain her primary calendar name of "Four Flower," the borrowed calendar name of "Four Flint," her patronage of the day sign Vulture, and her status as the patron of the trecena House. The conclusion arrived at has worked out pragmatically to show the operation in some detail of the Mexican influence in the "Chichimec" lands of the far north, where the role of the Hyades has been crucial in understanding the rise of the new cult.

A late source tells us that Tezcatlipoca had manifest himself in four forms as shown in this chart.26

God Color Point Year
Camaxtli Red East Flint
Tezcatlipoca Black North Reed
Quetzalcoatl White West House
Huitzilopochtli Blue South Rabbit

The ritual sequence, east ➢ north ➢ west ➢ south, is the same as used by the Hočągara (), and the colors are the same, but differently assigned. Here Quetzalcoatl is seen as the White Tezcatlipoca, which is mirrored in the Hočąk, where Morning Star is seen by one school of thought as a form of Herešgúnina. However, this is just as likely to be the result of European influence, inasmuch as Morning Star was identified with Lucifer, who was himself equated with the Hočąk Herešgúnina. Of immediate relevance is the interesting association of Quetzalcoatl with the year Calli. Such a relationship would have given the Morning Star's Calli entrapment an added depth. The sources for this scheme are very weak, but may be buttressed by astronomy. In searching for the origin of this association, we turn to the first Calli year of the Toltec calendar. Following the course of Morning Star (Mʰ V) in that year, we see that it rose on the morning of 15 December 765 (12-Flower of 1-House) completely occluded by the nearly dark moon. The earth-moon is a manifestation of Itzpapalotl. An occultation of Venus by the moon, shown in this film, occurs on average about twice a year,27 so it is not particularly extraordinary.

 The Occultation of Morning Star by the Moon
0230-0700 hours
12-Flower of 1-House
15 December 765

However, a different scheme of the deities of the four quarters is advanced in connection with the skybearers. All the gods of the quarters are different save one: Ehécatl-Quetzalcoatl, who is still tied to the west and more significantly, to the year Calli. These four skybearers are bound to Itzpapalotl by virtue of being Tzitzimime, the night demons who descend during an eclipse.28* This shows that there is at least some chance that Quetzalcoatl and Itzpapalotl-as-Calli may have already had a close association before the Mississippian culture of the far north also drew them together in a similar context (that of the Calli sign) in response to the theological dictates of the astronomy with which they were confronted on 16 June 1056.

§3.4. Mothra Revisited.

§3.4.1. The Origin of Mothra. This is a good point at which to précis the fundamental argument. There are three major events in the mid-XIᵀᴴ century that brought Morning Star into great prominence. In 1054 the precursor star to what is now the Crab Nebula blew up, creating a very bright star in the sky on the edge of the Taurus Milky Way, almost on the ecliptic. This brilliant star appeared on the day 1-Reed of the Central Mexican calendar, the name day of Morning Star (Quetzalcoatl). While it was still in the sky, Morning Star passed so close to it that the two stars would have looked as if they had melded. Not long afterwards, on its very next apparition, Morning Star suddenly reversed course and, for the first time during that apparition, fell into the Hyades.

We have shown that there survives a Hočąk myth that is an allegory about the Hyades intrusion of Morning Star in which Flint represents the Hyades and a completely red man stands for Morning Star. Flint's triumph over Morning Star is cast in the standard conquest symbolism of eating the vanquished. Flint, as we showed, is almost certainly the Hyades. It was also shown that in a set of cognate myths, the agent of the God of the Hunt (Mixcoatl ~ Hare) shatters the flint Hyades figure, supplying the means for hunters and warriors to triumph in the future through their access to the fragments. The Hyades figure is "played" by Itzpapalotl in the Mexican version, since the Hyades are her stellar identity. This was demonstrated by taking the calendar name of Itzpapalotl, "Four Flower," and showing that a significant astronomical event occurred in connection with the Hyades on 4-Flower of the first year of the Toltec calendar (1-Rabbit). Significant astronomical events would be: the Hyades beginning/completely rising or setting with or against (achronically) the sun, transiting at sunrise or sunset; and rising or setting with (or achronically) a mythologically significant star or planet. Let us pretend, for the ease of the arithmetic, that there are 36 such possible significant events in a year. This would mean that the Hyades being randomly involved in one of these events on any given day has a probability of roughly one in ten. The same holds for the derivation of her patronage of the day sign Vulture. It may also be recalled that her name "Four Flint" could be derived twice, once from 4-Flint1 of Year I, and again from 4-Flint1 of 4-Flint1. Since we used the same method to show the origin of the borrowed calendar name "Four Flint," and a similar method to establish the origin of Itzpapalotl as the patroness of the trecena House (Calli) and the day sign Vulture, each of these last four could also be assigned the same probability of being an accidental coincidence. The probability of all five derivations coinciding randomly would then be,

10-1 x 10-1 x 10-1 x 10-1 x 10-1 = 10-5

or one in one-hundred-thousand. In fact, we can be confident that it is even more improbable than this result suggests. So on the basis of probability, it is demonstrated that Itzpapalotl "is" the Hyades.

Therefore, in 1056, in Mexican terms, Morning Star fell into the "grasp" of Itzpapalotl. Itzpapalotl, the Obsidian Butterfly, has an alloform as an ītzpāpā́lōtl moth as well as numerous fictional lepidoptera, some of which are mothras in their own right, equipped with gaping jaws and sharp teeth. Since, in these Mexican terms, Morning Star fell into the power of Itzpapalotl, he was therefore captured by a supernatural and dangerous moth. Given the events of 1054-1056, it seems likely that at Etowah the portrayal of the conflict between Morning Star and the lepidopterous figure nicknamed "Mothra" is a mythological expression of the Obsidian Butterfly's capture of Morning Star. This would be merely a plausible hypothesis were it not for the fact that at Spiro this same astronomical process is expressed in another more ingenious and abstract way. There Itzpapalotl-Hyades traps Morning Star in a House (Calli) day sign, the symbol of the trecena over which she is the patroness. His imminent escape is expressed by having his head protrude from the end of the House, the opening having been made by his lightning-tongue. This is portrayed in an interesting hybrid of standard Mexican techniques and original native symbolic expressions. This can be seen in Cup 202, where the stellar, rasping proboscis of the papálotl of Etowah and Moundville, when added to the roof of the Calli after the Mexican style, identifies the Calli as the cage-trap of Itzpapalotl's Hyades into which the raptorial Morning Star has fallen. We can now see that Birdman's breaking out of the Calli-cage with lightning is a counterpart to the Etowan scene of his conquest of Mothra with his flashing flint sword. The isomorphism of these two portrayals rests upon a deep structure satisfied by the great Hyades Intrusion of 1056 et sequens.

At Spiro we actually have the Mississippian Birdman, Morning Star, being captured by Itzpapalotl-as-Calli. The Birdman Morning Star is the same figure in both Etowah and Spiro, but in the one case he confronts a mothra, and in the other he is trapped in a Calli. Is the same figure really struggling against two different opponents? We may deduce that the Hyades is a mothra on the Mexican model, which is being employed at Spiro to express the trapping of Morning Star by Itzpapalotl's star cluster, the Hyades. Are we really to suppose that the association of Itzpapalotl-mothra, who is the patroness of the Calli day sign, with the Etowah Mothra through the same Morning Star figure is a sheer coincidence? Given the events of 1056, such a contention seems absurd. The scalloping of the Spiro engraving shown arched over the Calli-trap may seem too little and too isolated a representation of Mothra, but we need only reflect upon the fact that the proboscis exists in Moundville as a detached synecdoche. That would mean that scalloping over the Calli day sign is identical with part of the Mothra of Etowah-Moundville. The shared metonymic symbol expresses the identity statement, "the mothra of Itzpapalotl = the Mississippian Mothra." Since Itzpapalotl is temporally prior, it follows that the Mesoamerican mothra would have been the prototype of the Mississippian Mothra. Therefore, the Mothra of Etowah is a reflex of the mothra of Itzpapalotl.1* Even if we reject the scalloping on the Spiro engraving as being the proboscis of the Mississippian Mothra, the capture of Morning Star by the Hyades still looms as the obvious explanation to the storyline that appears in both the Etowah gorgets and the Spiro Calli cups.

This conclusion can be reinforced by another method. In Mexico, we see that a process of attribute transference can take place when two divine realms physically merge. When Itzpapalotl goes into conjunction with the sun, she picks up the attributes of the Sun Eagle; when Xolotl (Evening Star) descends to earth, he acquires the attributes of the Earth Monster. When Morning Star descends into the Hyades, in Etowah he acquires the attributes of Itzpapalotl, tacked on to the basic Birdman design by a "V" shaped tail and modifications to his wings. This shows that Mothra had to have had the basic attributes of Itzpapalotl in order to pass them on to Morning Star. Therefore, Mothra originated as its Mexican counterpart, Itzpapalotl.

§3.4.2. The Whirlwind Moth. There may be more to the role of Mothra than what we have hitherto established. In Hočąk symbolism, swallowing is a form of conquest, and in astronomical terms, Mothra seems to have swallowed and therefore conquered Morning Star. The Spiro portrayal of serrated lines from the wall across the roof of the Calli sign indicates that Morning Star has been swallowed by the mechanism used by moths for the intake of food: the proboscis. Yet swallowing may take on another role as well, as we see from the myth of Hare.

The fourth one [created by Earthmaker] was the Hare who came and sat at a spring of water where one of the daughters 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.2

The implication is that he has been swallowed, as his counterparts ("Stone Boy") are in other isomorphic Siouan myths.3 What is of particular interest here is that this is the way in which Quetzalcoatl (Morning Star) himself was conceived.4 His mother also died soon after giving birth. We have argued that Quetzalcoatl's mother, Chimalman, is a euhemerized form of Itzpapalotl. If this is correct, then Morning Star was born from the womb of the Hyades goddess. Is this not just another description of the Morning Star Hyades intrusion? Even if this identity does not prove out, it is an interesting possibility that Itzpapalotl's Calli trap doubles as a cocoon, the other "womb" of the moth. The scalloped form associated with Mothra's proboscis, may also have a double meaning attached to the duality of swallowing (conquest/conception). As Knight and Franke have noted,

... another aspect of moth/butterfly [is its] emergence from a cocoon or chrysalis, and in this connection we note that the scalloped form bears a resemblance to some butterfly pupae.5

So the scalloping that we also noted on the Calli cage out of which Birdman was emerging at Spiro, may double to indicate that the house in which he was contained was a cocoon or chrysalis. The very "tongue" by which Mothra swallowed Morning Star contains in its structure the symbolism of his transformation. His being swallowed was both death and conception, and his eclosure was both a victory and a rebirth through metamorphosis. Mothra would then become more like Itzpapalotl, a Great Mother goddess who as Chimalman not only swallows Morning Star, but becomes his living cocoon through which he is born again as though he himself were a moth. If this is true, it's no wonder the whole episode was a favorite theme for women.

The cocoon plays an important role in the Dakotan branch of Central Siouan. There is a cocoon called a wamni(y)omni, which is said to embed itself in the small of the back of some buffaloes.6 Riggs defines wamniomni as, "a small worm, perhaps a chrysalis; a whirl of wind, a hurricane."7 We know that this "chrysalis" is actually a cocoon, because it is the moth, rather than the butterfly, that has an intimate connection to the whirlwind.

The Dakota believe that there is a close relation between the whirlwind and the fluttering wings of a moth. The cocoon is regarded as the bundle or mysterious object from which a power similar to that of the whirlwind emanates. I was told that the observed facts as to the emergence of the moth from this bundle were in themselves evidences of the sacred character of the moth because it had power to escape from an enclosure. Like the wind it could not be confined.8

The Lakota Symbol of the Cocoon (Top)9
A Lakotan Representation of a Cocoon (Bottom)10

One way of displaying devotion to the mystery of the whirlwind is to take a cocoon, couch it in a setting of down feathers, and wear it in the hair as a perpetual prayer.11 The Arapaho have a similar belief that the whirlwind (governed by a female deity) mechanically arises from a caterpiller.12* Among the Sioux, the buffalo has a special relationship to the wamniomni whirlwind. The Lakota believe that when the buffalo bull kicks the ground before he launches his attack, he is giving a prayer to the whirlwind, since the rising dust that he shoots up into the air looks just like the dust devils raised by the wind.13* A man going into battle might mimic the same action by taking a handful of dirt and casting it upwards as a prayer to the whirlwind.14 The nature of the whirlwind, which whizzes around in circles, effects a power that can do the same to the mind, rendering the enemy confused and disoriented; or in the sphere of love, it can cause the mind of a woman to spiral out of control so that she cannot resist seduction.15 It is no wonder, then, that the Sioux god Whirlwind (Yum, Yomn, Yomni) is a deity of chance, games, and most particularly love.16 The moth is a natural exemplar of the vortex, since it circles a flame in a tightening spiral, and some species of moths also spiral downward to escape bats.17 Another predator of moths, the spider, is in an obscure way involved with the whirlwind. In Lakota apotropaic designs, the spider silk web indicates the whirlwind as much as does the silk cocoon.18* This may be because both the web and the whirlwind are circular, and form a trap.

The buffalo's cocoon and the whirlwind-moth that it contains, figure in an important myth. In an Oglala Lakota story isomorphic to much of "Įčorúšika and His Brothers,"19* a figure named "Iron Hawk" attempts to ferry a woman across a stream. She is in fact an Uŋḣćéġila, a female Uŋktéḣi, the the latter being the counterpart of the Hočąk Wakčéxi or Waterspirit. One of the alloforms of Iron Hawk is the buffalo. Since she mounts his back, it is not too surprising in this context that she sprouts wings and the two of them are sucked up into the Above World by the force of a great whirlwind. Red Calf, his son, seeks his father by going to the same location. He too has an alloform as a buffalo, as his name suggests. In the form of a hawk, he follows the whirlwind through the hole in the sky. From this point on, the story goes like that of the Hero Twins of the Crow,20* as they eventually overcome the lord of the Above World, and escape back through the hole in the sky. So Iron Hawk was captured by what emerges from the cocoon found on his own back, a situation very similar to the Mothra-Itzpapalotl capture of Morning Star; although in this case, the action belongs in the domain of Redhorn. The reason for this is clear enough. The set of myths dealing with the establishment of the hole in the sky, set out how those who first went through it (usually the Hero Twins) inaugurated the pathway for the transmigration of souls in both directions. For the Hidatsa this hole is located in Orion, the constellation of Redhorn; but for both the Crow and the Lakota, the hole has migrated to the Trapezium of the Big Dipper, where the way to the Path of Souls (the Milky Way) is a right turn. Here we find most of the elements that we see in the Moundville Willoughby Disk (): the hole in the sky, the Hand asterism, the moth, and the transmigration of souls (heads) in the twisting, whirlwind-like malinalli.21

Why should a whirlwind be associated with the transit of souls through the perforation in the celestial vault? The answer may be found among the Pawnee, who were an important component in the make-up of Cahokia. A Pawnee priest told Alice Fletcher that the souls of the dead appeared at a certain (unknown) North Star, and there begin their journey along the Milky Way until they reach the South Star, the resting place of the dead. The souls were propelled by the North Wind, called Huturíkottsaru, "Wind of the Shadows (Ghosts)," until they reached the South Star (possibly Celbalrai = β Ophiuchi). Others say that those who died of disease under the power of the Star of Disease, are sent by him to the land of the South Star,22* which is located at the end of the short path where the Milky Way splits (at Deneb). Otherwise, the fate of all other souls is determined by Morning Star.23 He decides whether these souls shall go with him, head to the South Star, or be reborn on earth. The warriors who died in battle were wafted down the other fork of the Milky Way by the Huturíkottsaru.24 These north winds accumulate in the south and were expected at some future time to break out and return in a very destructive way to their proper place in the north. These accumulated winds are counted among the Rarituru, the "South Winds."25 Of these winds, the Pawnee priest had an interesting observation:

In the old days we did not know cyclones; but when we came to know them, we called them Ra-ri-tu-ru. We remembered what we had been told of the return of the south wind from the star of the dead, and we offered tobacco.26

Among the Lakota, the charter myth for transiting the hole in the sky identifies the mechanical means of entering through it as being the whirlwind. It would suggest that the whirlwind, whose identity is bound up with the moth, is the means by which the soul takes flight through the hole in the Trapezium of the Big Dipper.27* This idea may find expression in the Crow notion of the whirlwind ghost. From fear of wandering ghosts (a‘parā́ax∊), they take the precaution to say to an approaching whirlwind, "Where you are going is wrong, go off by yourself!"28 The Pawnee also believed that whirlwinds were ghosts, and that a ghost would vanish from sight in the form of a whirlwind.29 Farther afield, the Eastern Shoshone believed that a whirlwind was caused by someone dying.30 In the Ghost Dance, Whirlwind is to bear the dancers "upward to the new spirit world."31 This apparently works in reverse. Human beings originated out of Paruksti's whirlwind bag according to the Pawnee.32 In a Blackfoot tale, the soul of a child appeared to his future mother in the form of a whirlwind, but when she grasped him, she found nothing in her hand except a caterpiller.33 When this boy grew up, he wished to leave for the spirit world, but because his mother insisted on going with him, he became a whirlwind into which both disappeared.34 The mere identity of Mothra as moth would also be sufficient to associate it with the whirlwind as the transporter of ghosts; and the fact that Morning Star is a god of winds, would seem to implicate him as well.

Moundville does not seem to have viewed the integration of the Hyades Mothra and Morning Star in the same way as most other participants in the subsequent cult. In the love-death relationship between the Hyades deity and Morning Star, Moundville may have understood the Hyades Intrusion in terms of the former: that Morning Star was reborn from the cocoon of the moth.35* This would fit in with the subsequent Dakotan idea that the first beings to go through the hole in the firmament did so by the aid of a whirlwind, and that the whirlwind had an intimate identity with the moth and therefore with the deity who is the great paradigm of this creature. In addition to the conflict between Mothra and Morning Star, what is also lacking at Moundville is Morning Star's integration with Mothra. Nevertheless, the important observation of Knight and Franke on the acquisition of Mothra's attributes by Morning Star, here seen as a special case of "attribute transference" (), finds an unexpected resonance with the most distant quarter in which we can hope to find reflexes.

The Gros Ventre decorate the backs of their tents with a cross representing the Morning Star. The Blackfoot use the same decoration but are confused as to its significance. Some of them claim that it represents the moth and is the symbolic prayer for sleep and mystic dreams, others that the symbol is the Morning Star. The latter is doubtless correct because it figures in the Blackfoot myths as such. Yet the same symbol is often used to represent the moth.36

It is certainly possible, after a long chain of transmission, that the theological and context-dependent fusion of Mothra and Morning Star ended up at a distant time and place as a "confusion."

§3.4.3. The Plumed Serpent of Moundville. We find Mothra well developed at both Etowah and Moundville. However, Moundville has always seemed a bit odd, since it does not appear to have a Birdman to go along with its Mothra. It does, however, have a raptor. This raptor has the usual dual falconoid eye surround, but has a tongue with a prominent "lump" on it which Moore assures us demonstrates that he is an eagle, although in fact it is found in all raptors.37* Another depiction of a Moundville raptor shows him with the unique "tooth" of the falcon, making his identification with that bird unimpeachable.38 The Moundville raptor is associated in iconography with all the major mortuary symbols, which led Lankford to argue that he has a role in the peregrinations of the departed on the Milky Way Path of Souls.39 In looking into local mythology, specifically that of the Alabama and the Seminole, some confirmation seems to be found in the belief held by these tribes in an eagle that must be confronted and overcome on the Path of Souls.40 However, there is at least one problem with this view. In fact, Moundville has at least two such raptors, which Moore showed to be distinct long ago.

Vessel No. 71 from the ground south of Mound D, a broad-mouthed water-bottle (as were so many of the vessels found at Moundville), has for decoration an eagle's head and the open hand and eye, alternating each four times (Fig. 9). The pointed projections extending behind the eagle's eye are two in number in two opposite heads, and three in the other two.41

Moundville Vessel O9/M542
Moundville Vessel SD71/M743
Moundville Vessel SD54/M744

Today it is the habit to talk of "the Raptor" of Moundville, but to Moore, it seemed obvious that in relation to SD71/M7, there must be at least two of them. On this vessel they were contrasted in two ways: one had cross-hatched feathers (indicating a dark color), and the other not; and the dark bird had a tripartite eye-surround. The dual eye-surround of the other raptor matches that of a falcon. However, it had taken on a life of its own, and when worn by men, it may have served to indicate the status of warrior. As the Hočągara say, the falcon kills its own (other birds), and therefore is the avian model for warriors. Furthermore, the eye-surround does not even indicate that a raptor is a falcon. At Gottschall the raptor is clearly an American Swallow-tail Kite (q.v.), what the Hočągara recognize as a Black Hawk. Yet it has the dual eye-surround of the falcon. The myth portrayed at Gottschall is the Lost Blanket, a story in which the Twins confront Great Black Hawk, chief of the Thunderbirds (q.v.). There the forked eye-surround would seem to indicate the forked lightning which Thunderbirds are said to shoot from their eyes. Therefore, we must keep in mind that giving a forked eye-surround to the Moundville raptors may serve to indicate that they wield lightning (from their eyes). The raptor swastika of vessel SD54/M7, may be a variant of the Dakotan Wind Center cross. Morning Star, on the Hočąk model, is a god of wind, as is his antagonistic brother Evening Star, and the cross is widely associated with Morning Star. In the Dakotan branch of Central Siouan, we find the whirlwind standing as an expression of the whirling center. This can be seen in its mythical origins in a counterpart to the Flint myth (), where it is related that the first whirlwind was born when Stone Boy () stomped on the chest (center) of the evil giant Iya.45 The contrast of light and dark in SD71/M7 is consistent with the contrast between Morning Star and Evening Star, since the former is the herald of the day, and the latter the herald of the night. However, the light and dark opposition does not correlate elsewhere with the eye-surrounds, as we see the dual eye-surround on the dark raptor of O9/M5.

Lankford has shown that it is likely that many diverse tribes see among the stars of Scorpius an asterism which he calls, "the Great Serpent.46* This "serpent," however, is what the Hočągara call (in English) a "Waterspirit." Lankford argues that his wings function merely as a locative to show that, although he is a Waterspirit, whose domain is the Beneath World, he nonetheless rises into the Above World in the form of an asterism.47* The leader of the Waterspirits, thus commemorated in the sky, is also the Chief of the Beneath World. Here the Hočąk model can prove quite illuminating. We have already seen that among the Hočągara, it is Bluehorn (Evening Star) who is one of the chief Waterspirits (and probably the chief). His mortal enemies include not only his doppelgänger Morning Star, but Thunderbirds generally.48* Hočąk Waterspirits have the power to shoot upwards jets of fire, and as a god of wind, Evening Star may once have had the same lightning-wielding power possessed by the water god Tlaloc. If at Moundville, the serpent-Waterspirit is the lord of the Beneath World, then on the Hočąk model, we should seek to identify him with Evening Star. At Etowah we see Evening Star as the mirror image and opponent of "the" Birdman (Morning Star). At Moundville, there is no Birdman, but there are raptors. There seem to be at least two, sometimes set apart by color, and other times by their eye-surrounds. The most obvious hypothesis is that they are Morning Star and Evening Star. One of these near doppelgängers must also be a Waterspirit. We see something similar to this among the Dakotan Assiniboine, who at least portray Evening Star as being capable of transforming himself into a snake. On the Hočąk model, both Morning Star and Evening Star can transform themselves into snakes, although only the latter maintains a strong identity as a Waterspirit. These identity assignments imply that Evening Star is both a raptor (as doppelgänger to Morning Star) and a Waterspirit (as arch-opponent to Morning Star). Is it possible to bridge this gap of opposites? Thanks to the work of Schatte on this very matter,49 we may conclude in the affirmative. Schatte showed that among the Moundville images of the winged "serpent" and the raptor, there is a continuum of gradation, so that the Waterspirit form appears to have gradually evolved through the modification of the raptor form. For our purposes, we need only establish that the Waterspirit form and the raptor form were not seen as incompatible, and at a minimum, this much seems to have been established.

In our examination of the transformations of Morning Star when he found himself in union with Mothra, we found that he acquired (at least contextually) many of the attributes of the Hyades god(dess). At least one raptor at Moundville, perhaps even both (if there are only two), have had the attributes of their superficial opposites, the Waterspirits, transferred to them. This process is particularly paradigmatic in the mythology of the Nahua. There it is even Evening Star himself who exhibits this process, although not in union with Tlaloc. There the dominant force of the Beneath World is the Earth Monster, and it is with her that he forms a union. We are told that Xolotl when he sank below the horizon went either to the south during inferior conjunction, or to the center.

Among the Mexicans, as among the Maya, the 584-day Venus cycle was divided into four phases, each of which corresponded to a specific world direction. The first phase was that of the Morning Star which appears at dawn in the east, the second was that of superior conjunction which was associated with the north, the third was that of the Evening Star which appears at dusk in the west, and the fourth was that of its disappearance in inferior conjunction in the south (or center) of the world.50

Since both the zenith and the nadir were regarded as part of the unifying central world direction, the two were often conceptually synonymous and, at times, even interchangeable.51

That the Evening Star occupies the nadir-center, once it has set into the Beneath World, is almost exactly what is told of the Hočąk Evening Star, Bluehorn:

Then he went back under the earth and clear to the bottom of the earth he went and lay. He was one of the chief Waterspirits, that was why he was called "Bluehorn." He was a Buffalo Spirit [star]. He was the chief of the buffaloes, but he was a Waterspirit, it is said.52

In the North, the serpent-Waterspirit with the attributes of a raptor, is most strongly associated with Evening Star. At Moundville, the Evening Star phase of Venus is the northern Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent.

The images of the two raptors on SD71/M7 alternate between depictions of the Hand asterism, the star group in which the hole in the sky serves as a conduit for the transmigration of souls. This means that the two raptors are set in a mortuary context. Therefore, in accord with Lankford, is this not the raptor that the Alabama and Seminole say must be confronted on the Path of Souls? The answer is complex. The Pawnee contend that it is Morning Star who determines the fate of those who proceed down the Path of Souls. So how is it that Morning Star comes to govern the Path of Souls? This is at least partly answered by the facts of astronomy. Venus in all its apparitions, always crosses the Milky Way. Therefore, not only is the raptorial Morning Star present in this context, standing astride the Path of Souls, but so too is his more dualistic alter ego, Evening Star. For this reason, we also find the raptor-serpent, a form of Evening Star, in every single apparition, standing among the stars of Scorpius on the Path of Souls.53* An isomorphic argument can be made concerning the identity of the dog that guards the Path.54* The Cahokia centered tribes whose mythology fits most of what we find, are the Pawnee and the Central Siouans, with early diffusion to the Western Siouans and their neighbors. The Alabama received only an exoteric, second-hand account of the role of Venus in the peregrinations of the departed soul, and viewed the eagle as simply an obstacle, rather than receiving the full theology behind this superficial view, a theology retained by foreign priests in command of the full, but partly esoteric, version. A judge is indeed an obstacle, but one that cannot be overcome by a knife. This does not really upset Lankford's theory, but as Aristotle would say, "saves the ϕαινομένα."55

Scholars involved in the decoding project will need to be very careful to avoid treating as competitive interpretations meanings that may be revealed, on examination, not to be mutually exclusive at all.56

That is precisely what we have found here.

§3.5. The Mace of One Reed.

Behind the Calli's back wall in Cup 201 is the posterior part of an arrow that strongly resembles the mace that the Morning Star symbol above the roof holds in its hand. Phillips and Brown take note of this.

The "tail" projecting from the end of the box, however, is not that of a bird [as in Cup 200], but a rattlesnake curiously modified to resemble the macelike club but provided with a nock which turns it into the feathered end of an arrow — one of many examples of convergence of mace and arrow feathering motifs in Spiro art.1

Before tackling the problem of the mace and arrow, it should first be remarked that a calli (or a Calli day sign) with an arrow embedded in its back wall is quite common in the Mexican codices. Codices Laud 15 and Nuttall 54 () have just such an arrow, its posterior segment the only part of it showing, just as in the Spiro example from Cup 201; and at Codex Féjerváry-Mayer 26, a whole arrow is seen penetrating a calli that has a jaguar inside. In Mexico arrows were made of reed, so it is not surprising that we find the day sign Reed represented at Codex Vaticanus B 49 and 65 as a whole arrow. At Vaticanus B 76, the Reed day sign is represented by an almost identical posterior arrow segment, as can be seen from a comparison of both.

At Vaticanus B 83 all thirteen Reed day signs are represented using only the posterior part of the reed arrow. Given that the Morning Star of the Nahua, Quetzalcoatl, has the calendar name "One Reed" (Ce Acatl), a rather obvious hypothesis suggests itself. In a Mississippian context, a single arrow sticking into the House day sign of Itzpapalotl may symbolize its contents: One Reed, Morning Star. Since the Reed sign is represented by an arrow or the posterior part of an arrow, one arrow would adequately represent both the Reed day sign and its coefficient. This way of thinking is very harmonious with the Hočąk language as we now find it, where the word means both "arrow" and "time." The idea that a single arrow shaft could stand for 1-Reed finds an even more striking confirmation among the Osage. There warriors count their war honors using a set of thirteen sticks, which are said to represent the 13 rays of the sun.2* How did the sun get 13 rays? Hall brings to our attention the fact that the birth name of the Sun (Tonatiuh) in Mesoamerica, among the Nahua and Maya alike, is "Thirteen Reed."3* It is profoundly unlikely that the Osage concept of the 13 sticks representing the rays of the sun did not come from a Mesoamerican source. We may note that since the apparent genesis scene of Cup 229 has 13 sticks at the base of the picture, that it may also represent the sun in these same terms. Since the sticks correspond to the reeds, and their number corresponds to the coefficient number of the Sun's calendar name ("Thirteen Reed"), on this model, one stick (an arrow, for instance) certainly could have stood for the calendar name of Morning Star ("One Reed").

This brings us to the matter of the mace, whose sagittary character has been noted already by Phillips and Brown. Clearly the mace wielded in the symbolic form of Morning Star on the roof of the Calli sign is essentially the base of an arrow. Since Morning Star (Quetzalcoatl) is One Reed, and the symbol on the Calli roof is the wing arm of Morning Star, ex hypothesi, the single arrow-mace is another symbol of One Reed. This is in keeping with the Mexican habit of placing more than one symbol on the Calli roof, although this particular way of doing it is original. This would make a certain style of mace a "Morning Star mace," originating in a sagittary representation of One Reed(-Arrow) as a mace. The highly stylized mace held in the hand of the Morning Star of the Rogan Plate Ga-Brt-E17 () appears to have evolved from another Mexican representation of the reed arrow.4*

In this first sequence, stylized representations of reeds are compared to stylized representations of arrows.

No. geo. 42
Laud 16
Nuttall 54
No. geo. 138
Nuttall 54

The representation of the plant is greatly influenced by the structure of the arrow made from it. The top tuft of the plant is shaped to look like the fletching, and the stem above it to look like the nock. On the other hand, the band that ties down the base of the fletching is made to look like the disk-shaped flowers that occur below the tuft of the plant. In Nuttall 54 (et alia), we even see that the fletching has been designed to replicate the pairs of leaves that flank the shaft of the plant. It will be appreciated that the reed of Nombres geográficos de México 138 terminates in an arrow point. The hieroglyph represents the place name Miacatla. The glyph is made from acatl, "reed," and mitl, "arrow," giving the meaning, "the Place where Arrow-Reeds Abound." The part above the point is not part of an arrow but is a reed plant complete with leaves. The arrow point of Nombres geográficos 138 has a feature which should not pass our notice without comment. The arrowhead, had it been found in Missouri would without hesitation have been identified as a Cahokian point with a slightly convex base.5*

In the next sequence, we compare the full expression of the reed-arrow (Nuttall 54) with the silhouettes of various mace heads.6

Codex Nuttall 54
Rogan Plate ()

 Nuttall 54 

It can be seen from this series that the mace can easily be derived from a Mexican reed arrow preform. The mace is probably less evolved than the bilobed arrow. Just as the emblem of the Heroka is a reflex of the bilobed arrow, so the mace is a reflex of the stylized Mexican arrow (or atlatl dart) used to represent the day sign Reed (Acatl). Not being a bundle of such arrows, it stands specifically for One Reed, the calendar name of the Mexican Morning Star. Therefore, those who hold such a mace or "baton" as it is often called, associate themselves with Morning Star. Therefore, either Morning Star himself may possess such a mace (), or those who have standing in his cult. Here again, as with the existence of the Calli day sign in reference to a reflex of Itzpapalotl, the founding of the mace symbol in the day sign 1-Reed implies some knowledge of the Central Mexican calendar by at least a subset of the elite.

Some of these maces have sides that have an odd step shape which in the past had been called a "terrace pattern," "cloud terrace," "cloud altar," or "rain altar."14 Often the angular character of the terrace is rounded off to look more like billowing clouds.15 Both in Mexico and the American Southwest, the terrace pattern originated as a stylized depiction of mountains used also to denote (rain) clouds, inasmuch as mountains were the place where clouds gathered, and therefore, whence the waters of the sky had their origins.16 Cloud terraces are found among the Hopi,17 Navaho,18 Zuñi,19 and in the Southwest generally,20* including exemplars on artifacts from the ruins of the ancient pueblos.21 They are also found among the Nahua.22 In the following tables, some of these are compared to the "keyed" profiles of the sides of Morning Star maces.23

Cloud Terrace Symbols
 Cod. Laud 12 

Mississippian Mace Profiles
 Key Marco30 

The Wulfing
This same design is seen on an agnathic head-rattle [inset] worn in the hair of the Wulfing Plate Birdman from Missouri.32 Here cloud terraces are found at both the top and bottom of the rattle. If the terrace designs on opposite edges of the maces and rattle represent clouds, they fit well with the Hočąk Morning Star, whose brothers were clouds,33 and who himself bore the name "Girded in Blankets (Clouds)."34 We should recall that Morning Star is the step-father of the Thunderbird Clan. The true Thunderbirds, of which Morning Star may once of been a member, have a lightning weapon in their possession known as the "Thunderbird Warclub." The modern exemplar is a warclub of a certain type, but this hardly excludes the idea that the maces of the Mississippian period were the Thunderbird Warclub of that time and cult. The Thunderbird Warclub is attached to notions of hierarchy, and therefore has a role to play in the myth of How the Hills and Valleys were Formed. This myth is a transparent allegory about how the Thunders came to be preëminent in society, how they created the high and the low. Thus it is said,

When the earth was young it had neither hill nor valley, but was without any contour. Then the Thunders strode forth upon the land, and where they stepped the valleys formed, and where they struck the land with the Thunderbird Warclub, great indentations were pressed upon it.35

Over the face of the land they wandered ceaselessly and struck the earth with their mighty warclubs until countless valleys and ravines were hammered into the ground.36

In the last account, the Thunderbirds created hierarchy on earth as an act of vengeance. They had been patrons to a certain Wakąjagišišika, "Bad Thunderbird," who was murdered by the son of a foreign chief. The Thunderbirds were outraged, and out of fear the villagers fled underground, where they became earthworms. To make their lesser status emphatic, the myth states, "The earthworm is the lowest of Earthmaker's creations, for they are food even for the fishes." We see in the Rogan Plate that Morning Star brandishes a large mace suitable for converting his foes into "worms." This is his mace and by extension, from numerous artifacts, the mace belonging to his devotees. It is his symbol among the mortals of earth. These men, as will be shown in the next section, are the upper class in a hierarchical society. So the mace of Morning Star is their mace, the symbol of how they and their ancestors created by force of arms under the sacred charter of their adopted father, Morning Star, the class society over which they rule. Therefore, as a club weapon, it is the exact counterpart to the Thunderbird Warclub, the collective possession of the highest clan of Hočąk society, the Thunderbird Clan. Ex hypothesi, the mace is Morning Star's own Thunderbird Warclub, symbolic of his power of lightning and of his residence in the clouds. Therefore, by Hočąk standards, it is appropriate for such a deity to have the mountain-cloud symbol incised into the profile of his warclub (mace).

It should be pointed out here that the "maces" are often called "batons," and that the overwhelming majority of them are far too small to function as any kind of weapon. Their diminution reflects their role as purely ceremonial objects. Their symbolic content is so rich that it affects the combat effectiveness of such maces and renders them inferior to simpler clubs in battle. Nevertheless, in some representations of deities or idealized warriors, the prototype is shown as a full sized mace wielded as a weapon.37 At the other extreme, many of them are represented in the form of small copper badges found in graves. Nevertheless, the design is certainly of the form appropriate to a mace or club weapon, even if these were purely ceremonial in actual use. The existence of miniature mace badges in graves, far from invalidating the connection with the Thunderbird Warclub, tends rather to confirm it. Miniature Thunderbird Warclubs are included among the grave goods, as Radin tells us:

When a member of the Thunderbird clan died a miniature war club was buried with him.38*

The Thunderbird clan possessed a type of war club called a bald-headed warclub, which was sacred to this clan alone, and a miniature of which was always buried with a dead body.39

Miniature warclubs were also placed inside Warbundles.40* When the Warbundle was opened, "The deer-tail headdress, the eagle feathers, and the war club ... were always worn when on the warpath."41 So the diminutive warclub functioned as a "badge" possessed of supernatural potency. In the grave they identified the deceased as a man of the highest clan. The practice of interring them with the body may have been a tradition handed down from the ancient Cult of Morning Star, where the miniature weapon also evoked the promise of life renewed. The baton badges of Etowah were more strongly associated with the cult of Morning Star, and as many as ten of these badges were found in a single grave.42 Nevertheless, there is enough resemblance to the Thunderbird Warclub to be worthy of note.

Some maces, including the early representation in one of the Rogan Plates (), have a cross inscribed upon their faces.43 On the Hočąk model, the cross represents Earthmaker, who corresponds to the Wakaⁿda of the Chiwere and Dhegiha Sioux. However, there are tribes in which the cross is the symbol of Morning Star. These include tribes as distant from one another as the Arapaho and the Zuñi.44 Most importantly, the cross is often used as a symbol of Quetzalcoatl as Morning Star.45 In the environs of Cahokia, the cross is placed upon the abdomen or thorax of the spider, whose image is common on gorgets. The historical counterpart of this spider seems to be the Spider Man who guards the hole in the sky through which souls transmigrate. At Etowah, only one spider gorget has been found, and that lacks any display of the cross. At Etowah, the cross is common as a design on the face of the Morning Star mace. This is also true in the Rogan Plates, whose origin can be traced to Cahokia. In the one surviving myth in which both Spider Man and Morning Star are involved with the hole in the sky, that of the Blackfeet, that hole is literally the center of the stellar procession (Polaris). The cross, since it forms an intersection of quarters, naturally becomes a symbol of the center, or the center plus the four quarters. It therefore is reasonable to suppose that the cross on the spider in the Cahokia region stands for that hole in the sky which the spider guards. The Morning Star of Etowah may have co-opted the spider, since he sports a tail that terminates in a split web, as though he himself were a spider. The appearance of the cross that elsewhere belongs to the arachnid guardian of the transmigration route, at Etowah belongs to Morning Star himself. In any case, the Morning Star of Cahokia also had this cross on his mace, and probably because he too was concerned with rebirth and therefore with the transmigration of souls through the hole in the sky. However, this is a topic better explored in the next section.

§3.6. Class, War, and Rebirth.

Redhorn is a god associated with warriors and hunters like his Mexican counterpart Mixcoatl. They also have a shared enemy in the deity of the Hyades, (Four) Flint. Morning Star is quite similar. He is almost universally a deity of war. However, unlike Redhorn, Morning Star is especially associated with the upper class in society. It is said after the death of One Legged One,

He had many wives and some say that their children were adopted by Nah ghee gho no neenk [Naǧixųnųnįka] to be the Spirit clan or Spirit family. And Nah ghee gho no neenk became the morning star, but his brothers became clouds.1

The Spirit Clan is the Thunderbird Clan called Wakąjá in Hočąk, with a cognate in the Quapah Wakaⁿda. These words mean "Divine Ones," which is to say, in the style of the XIXᵀᴴ century, "Spirits."2* So contemporary Hočąk mythology makes Morning Star the step-father of the Thunderbird Clan. In the day when Morning Star was the dominant figure in the pantheon, there can be little doubt that he was the reputed father of that clan. Under either possibility, he becomes the spiritual leader of the Thunderbird Clan, which we see in the ancient gorgets where he is portrayed as Birdman, whose tongue is the forked lightning. The fact that he is both a raptor and one who launches lightning from his own body, makes him by the standards now extant, a Thunderbird. Where we see a feathered serpent in his Mexican counterpart Quetzalcoatl, in the far north we have an alternance between his form as a raptor and as a snake. The gorgets show us an avian Morning Star; nevertheless, we have survivals in mythology of both Morning Star and Evening Star having the capacity to turn into serpents. As we have seen, the serpent alloform is also encountered among the Central Siouan Assiniboine. The reason why the emphasis was placed upon the raptorial form of Morning Star in the past was that he was particularly the god of the Upper Moiety. Among the Hočągara, the Upper Moiety is often simply called the "Bird Clan." It consists of the Thunderbird, Eagle, Pigeon, and Hawk Clans, in that order.3

The order is important, because the Hočągara had a socially stratified society even into the XIXᵀᴴ century. Even within the Upper Moiety class consciousness was acute. Foster, whose material was collected back in the 1850's, took special note of the relationship between the two divisions of the Bird Clan:

Those named from the Thunders or Elements, who "kindled the fire," are said to have the most power, and they claim to be superior to the others. ... Those belonging to the First Thunder Family or Elemental Family are not slow to remind even the Second Thunder Family, or Visible-Bird Family, of their right of precedence ... if two whose names are of the First and Second Thunders, get into a dispute with each other, the former will sometimes end the argument contemptuously by saying, "Why, you are nothing but a feather of mine," and some will go so far as to say, "you are nothing but the fuzz of my feathers;" and even the children learn early to retort in this wise.4*

From this old source we are given a glimpse into the class consciousness that subsisted within the Upper Moiety, the chief's moiety. We are left to imagine how the upper crust condescended to members of the Lower Moiety. That the Upper Moiety had a higher rank was established, according to myth, when its bird ancestors beat the animal ancestors of the Earth Moiety in a primordial game of lacrosse.5

The Hočąk model of social stratification shows some promise in helping us understand at least one important discovery made at Cahokia. This is a unique grave at the base of Mound 72 known as the "Beaded Burial."6 There two men are interred one on top of the other. The first appears to have been lain face down, then a cape made of 20,000 beads configured in the shape of a raptor were lain over the first body, and atop this cape was lain a second body, face up.7 Understandably, Pauketat and others try to understand this double burial in terms of the widespread duality expressed in the mythology of the Twins.8 However, as the reader will appreciate, there is another kind of duality that has been overlooked, the stratified duality of the moieties. The Thunderbird Clan contains the chief of the tribe and of any village in which the clan resides.9* This leader is a peace chief, but his rule is absolute. He has complete veto power over any war expedition, and may block a warparty by simply placing his pipe across its path. Any prisoner who flees to his lodge has complete immunity from all harm. If the grave before Mound 72 contains the highest ranking person in society during his lifetime, that person will have been, on the Hočąk model, the Thunderbird Chief. Inasmuch as his emblem is the Thunderbird, the beaded image of the raptor which appears to have formed his cloak, will have identified him as the Chief of the (proto-)Thunderbird Clan and therefore chief of the nation. In addition he, by virtue of being buried above, indicates his position as a member of the Upper Moiety. In this connection, it is worth reviewing Radin's remarks on the differing burial customs of the two moieties.

There appear to have been two distinct methods of burial among the Winnebago — simple inhumation and platform burial. Within recent times, owing to the influence of their Algonquian neighbors, platform burial has entirely disappeared and inhumation alone is practiced. ... When the old culture was still intact inhumation was definitely associated with the lower phratry and platform burial with the upper phratry.10*

Burial at the top of a hill, on top within the burial, and facing upwards, all suggest the Upper Moiety associations of the beaded man. The lower burial, which immediately suggests a member of the Lower Moiety, has a couple of distinguishing features. It appears to have at its base, judging from the rotted remains, a flooring of animal pelts;11 and it also appears that the lower corpse was buried face down.12 The pelts, of course, would all belong to mammals, who in contradistinction to birds, are creatures of the earth and the Lower World (although some of them, such as squirrels and martins have a certain ambiguity). The pelts represent animals that are the lower world counterparts to the raptorial bird upon which the upper burial rests. By this means, the lower burial associates itself with the Lower World. The meaning of being oriented face down is made clear in a gloss to the very myth of the origin of the two moieties.

On the warpath it is customary for each person to fall in line in the order of his arrival at the meeting-place. A certain distance must also be observed between him and the next person. No person was permitted under any circumstances to pass in front of those ahead of him. When resting, it was the custom to look in the direction from which they had been coming. As the two partners had come last, they were the last in line. Then the head warrior's nephew — the one who serves him — was told to count the number of men in the party. This he did, and found the expected number. "The whole party is here," he said. Then the head warrior got up, and said, "Follow me!" and they all got up but one. Now one man was lying on his belly, who did not get up when the others did. Then some one said, "Who is that lying down?" And a few looked down on this fellow, and they saw it was the chief's son, — a very unusual thing among Indians.13

The narrator is trying to emphasize that the person lying face down is not following protocol, but is symbolizing something through his actions. Everyone is suppose to face the direction in which they had come, and since spiritually he had come from below, he therefore lay on his stomach. As it transpires in the story, this person came to be the progenitor of the Lower (Earth) Moiety of the Hočąk nation, and therefore it was wholly appropriate that he face towards the earth. So the face-down orientation of the lower burial expresses the idea, in Hočąk symbolism, that the man buried in the lower position is from the Lower Moiety. In this period of prehistory, given that Morning Star was once the deity most particularly associated with the Thunderbird Clan, the raptor luxuriously portrayed in beads may have represented not merely a generic Thunderbird, but Morning Star himself. For a parallel expression of the same ideas in iconography, see "The Tree" below.

The surviving identity of Morning Star with the chief's clan establishes him as most particularly the god of the upper classes. If we imagine a world in which a governing elite superimposed itself upon an indigenous people, on the Hočąk model, the highest ranking elites would belong to the Bird Clan, the (adopted or real) offspring of Morning Star himself. On a Mexican model, those of the ruling warrior elite who were killed in action or sacrificed, could join Mixcoatl in the night sky as stars. Among the Hočągara, the war dead have another kind of exceptional fate. A set of beliefs that seems to have preceded even the Medicine Rite, holds that a man killed in action assumes a very special status. He may, after death, partake of the rewards of paradise among the happy afterworld of his clansmen; but if he has the will to resist such temptations, he may ascend to the very lodge of Earthmaker himself, and there be given this exceptional option. He may live again.

It was into the lodge of the Maker of Things that they entered. "It is good, young men. Only once in a great while does someone reach here. You yourselves will choose what you want to do. ... The first one you started from, there that one is." He let them look at this earth: tribes speaking different languages, villages scattered about, where here and there they were fighting. "My friend, over here you said we would return. There it is, my friend, where we came from." "My children, that is the village that you came from; that is precisely the one." They looked at it, and he said, "If you choose to live in your own village, it will be done. Still, if you want to live somewhere else, that can be done. I give you command over your lives. Choose carefully. There it is." "My friend, there it is, thus we have come for what we came for." "My friend, did we not say that? So let's go back there." "This we choose: we will go back here."14

They invariably choose to be born again, usually in their own village and among their own clan. This is true and literal re-birth. This is not only as Brown suggests in his interpretation of the Redhorn mythology,15 the metaphorical immortality of descent, which will always figure in a warrior class; but the kind of literal immortality recognized by the historical Hočągara. The overlap between the related figures of Morning Star and Redhorn in this context is considerable. Morning Star is the god of the elite; Redhorn is the god of warriors generally. In the latter case, Mexican influence surely played a role. Given the overlap between the elite and the body of warriors, can it be surprising that the god of soldiers (Redhorn) is hard to distinguish from the god of the elite class (Morning Star)? The war dead (or their equivalents) fell under the leadership of Mixcoatl, reflected in the livery of soldiers and those who were sacrificed. As Camaxtli, Mixcoatl was often named as the founder of Nahua tribes,16* making the men of the tribe his literal sons. Whether literal or metaphorical, the sons of Mixcoatl-Redhorn, if they fall in action, have a fate reserved for no others. The exceptional fate among the Hočągara is rebirth. In this respect a warrior may become just like Redhorn: he may father himself. When he chooses to be reborn, it is he who is the ultimate author of his own being as an infant. Mixcoatl is (in some sense) the Milky Way, as we see in the meaning of his name, "Cloud Serpent."17 The Hočągara and other Central Siouan people considered the Milky Way to be the path of souls.18* The star of Redhorn is almost certainly Alnilam of Orion, and Orion among many Siouan tribes and their neighbors, is the Hand Constellation. It is the hole in this Hand that is the passageway to the Upper World, and the access portal to the Path of Souls. The Hand Constellation is seen among many Mississippian cultures in their iconography.19 So it appears that Redhorn once came rather close to Mixcoatl in being the one who presided over the souls who transmigrated from the worlds of the mortals and the immortals. It is his "sons," and they alone, who are able to pass through this hole back into the realm of the living. So it is that they once assumed his guise and livery, and he thus, as it says in his mythology, gave them of himself, and returned to his "sons" on earth the most valuable of all war powers, the very man for whom these war powers were given. The World Renewal of the Mesoamericans is here augmented and mirrored, or perhaps even replaced, by personal renewal. This may explain why Redhorn is not said to preside over a particular heaven like his brothers (Trickster, Turtle, Bladder): because of his placement he (once) presided over transmigration, which by its nature, is motion rather than settlement, change rather than static situation. The places of these brothers are places of no return.

The fact that Morning Star comes into being and disappears through conjunction with the sun is not enough to make him a paradigm of death and resurrection, since every non-circumpolar star, and every planet shares this life cycle. Why would this model not attach equally to Jupiter or Saturn, or more to the point, Evening Star? What makes Morning Star singular is the incident that sparked such interest in him in the first place. The sudden appearance of his stellar alter ego on his personal day of 1-Reed, the rendezvous with this great sidereal stranger in 1055, and upon its heals, the inexplicable entrapment and escape of Morning Star during the Hyades Intrusion of 1056, all pointed to the very special status of Morning Star in the theology of the heavenly spirits. When we contemplate the Intrusion, it becomes clear that by itself it suffices as a model for the warrior's fate. As we have seen in the Spiro Calli representations, the Hyades were represented as a trap, or what the Central Siouans picture as a snare like that of the spider's web. The Osage call this snare a hóega. We may recall that part of the symbolism of the Etowah Morning Star is his split tail in which the spider's hóega is torn asunder. There is a poetic hymn belonging to the Osage Isolated Earth Clan which bears repeating in this context.

In that time and place, verily they said,
        it has been said, in this house;
They said he [Isolated Earth] stood erecting a little house,
        it has been said, in this house;
"I have not erected this house without a purpose,"
        it has been said, in this house;
"I have erected it that the heads of animals might be broken,"
        it has been said, in this house;
"I have not erected this house without a purpose,"
        it has been said, in this house;
"It is an image of a spider,"
        it has been said, in this house;
"They say that animals — to whomever of the Little Ones they belong — "
        it has been said, in this house;
"As they travel the Path, they will throw themselves in it to be ensnared,"
        it has been said, in this house ...20
An Osage Spider Symbol

Here the hóega is a house. The Spiro trap is also a house, and we have seen that the occasionally arachnid Itzpapalotl is the patroness of the trecena House (Calli) in whose sign Morning Star is shown entrapped. In La Flesche's presentation of this hymn, he includes the illustration seen here as an inset. He remarks, "This design is tattooed on the back of both hands of a woman to whom is accorded the honor."21 In Mexico, the spider is associated with women, since it is they who do the weaving.22* The female associations call to mind the female orientation of Itzpapalotl, and the disproportionate wearing of these gorgets by women in Etowah. The spider symbol seen in the inset has eight legs starting from the pair in front. On the abdomen there is a triangle with a "V" inside. The abdomen is the origin of the web that trails behind the spider, its hóega, which the Etowah Morning Star has split into a bifurcated "V" shape. The hóega, there so pronouncedly cast by the goddess of the Hyades, is first and foremost a trap that keeps mortals from escaping the lethal bounds of earth, where their destiny is to die. The severing of the Hyades-hóega is a liberation from the constrains of the House of Mortality. Morning Star's victory is a symbol of this triumph, not over an implacably hostile deity, but over Death itself. He has acquired command over the powers of the spider, since his fusion with the Hyades has given him the attributes of Itzpapalotl. His journey is an 8-legged walk through space and time. As a wind god, he has the Wind Center cross inscribed on his thorax or abdomen.23* As a weather spirit, Morning Star uses his tongue of lightning as his special weapon of escape from the Calli hóega. He flees to the Sun, whom the Hočągara see as the step-father of Morning Star, and whose lodge they recognize as Morning Star's home. Is this not like a foreign prisoner escaping to the Hočąk Thunderbird chief, to be metaphorically reborn in that clan? His is the fire of sovereignty, the counterpart of lightning (where it finds its origin), and the counterpart of the Sun as well. Perhaps one of the features that Morning Star has carried away by attribute transference from the Hyades goddess is the very power of rebirth through metamorphosis. Rebirth for the Hočąk warrior is to become a new and different physical presence on earth tied by recessive memories to his past life, as if he had emerged from the chrysalis in a new form, but one which is connected to a past life in a different body. Morning Star's unexpected capture in a House of death, and his breaking free, gave an obvious script to make sense of all the extraordinary events that had taken place in those three years. The brilliant new star enacted a ritual in the night sky which played out the promise of Earthmaker-Wakaⁿda that those favored by Morning Star would achieve the two fundamental objectives sought by Hočąk suppliants: Life and Victory.

To the ancestors of the Hočągara in the XIᵀᴴ century, the striking events of astronomy were an affirmation of the dominance of their moiety and clan patronized by Morning Star, as well as, perhaps, a celestial charter for their rule over subject populations elsewhere. What may have been the very ancient and more egalitarian idea suggested by Brown that warriors of whatever moiety and clan reproduce themselves in their professional and genetic successors, was not invalidated by the ascension of Morning Star and his cult, but given a small Mexican tincture and made emphatic. The new cult made rebirth a very literal matter. As in Mexico, the slain warrior gets to ascend into the heavens to meet his god. When such a warrior is killed in action, he makes the long trek to Earthmaker's village, where he spends some time in the delights of this paradise before he answers the call of the Creator. Once it is agreed, he returns to earth as an infant. The pattern is like the life of Morning Star himself, who after a time in the sky, disappears for a period, only to restart his life cycle by being born again out of the sun and earth. When he dies, he returns to the sun, who by analogy, plays the role of Earthmaker. Morning Star is the paradigm for this form of resurrection: he is a warrior who dies only to be born again in the not too distant future. This whole cycle is performed on a more confined celestial stage, when the dangerous moth goddess (Four) Flint captures Morning Star in her spider-like trap, only to see him fight his way out. This is the divine exemplar of the breaking of the mortality-restricting hóega, and the rebirth of the warrior who had been caught in its snare. We can easily appreciate how the cult of Morning Star produced warriors of a fanatic bent who, like the Moslems and Christians of old, thought nothing of throwing away (hot’ų) their lives on the certain promise of its supernatural renewal. So it was with the Hot’ųra, the "Throw Aways," of historical times, the Hočąk devotios, whose title was bestowed on Hočąk warriors generally,24 and made them the fiercest of tribes to encounter in battle.25* It has become an axiomatic statement among the Hočągara of recent times that, "It is good to die in war."26* The heavy losses that they will have suffered were replenished by adoption, for those captives, even in recent times, who fled to the lodge of the Thunderbird chief, were granted clemency and adopted into that same Thunderbird Clan. So the upper class compensated itself for loss by increasing its numbers from the very element upon which its power rests: warriors.

In recent times the adoption of war captives seems to have been a very simple affair: the Hawk Clan could choose to spare him, or if a captive were able to escape from the prisoners' lodge to that of the Thunderbird chief, he was allowed to live as a member of the chief's clan. Given, however, that the *Hųka rite has such antiquity as evinced by our ability to reconstruct its name for Central Siouan, it would follow that in a deeper antiquity, the Hočągara also practiced this rite, if indeed, they did not do so in historical times to the ignorance of the exoteric. As we have seen, Morning Star wears the bilobed plume which connects him to such adoption rites. It also connects him to maize, the massive cultivation of which is the means by which the upper classes and the ruling ethnos could support the Mexicanized urban life to which they aspired. Morning Star was the focus of the two essentials of such a way of life: military and agricultural regeneration. In both he is a god of re-birth, re-generation. In the metaphorical rebirth of warriors into their new culture, Morning Star acts in his role of commanding *ni, expressed in the calumet ceremonies in ancient days, in which a breathing apparatus is used to symbolically effect this transformation. This was reflected in the conjoint appearance of cross and cloud terraces on his special weapon, the mace. The bilobed plume, which is a counterpart to the bilobed arrow typically possessed by warriors, represents his other "weapon." This is the pipe. In antiquity, Morning Star and Evening Star fight each other with flashing flint weapons, which in modern Hočąk mythology, are represented by the knives that grow down the sides of the forearms of each of these stars. In Hočąk myth, Morning Star and Evening Star meet around the fire (of solar conjunction). They then have a duel of pipes. Each tries to suck the other into the flames, and after four tries, Morning Star finally succeeds in doing so, whereupon, he uses his organic knives to sever the head of Evening Star. Evening Star's body lives on, but his head is carried away by Morning Star. In Hočąk theology, taking the head gives command over the ghost soul of a vanquished opponent. Therefore, Morning Star controls the head and soul of Evening Star. This makes Evening Star rather more like Xolotl, who is the nahualli of Quetzalcoatl. The symbol of the cross, which no doubt expressed many things depending on context, given its meaning as "center plus the four quarters," is frequently a symbol of Morning Star. This cross, as we have seen, was set on his mace, and properly belongs to him in his capacity as a god of winds. The winds emanate from the four quarters, so whoever controls them in some sense is the center that commands those quarters. Thus, we saw that the bilobed arrow and the bilobed plume were both fundamentally constructed on the cross. It is the latter that is particularly associated with Morning Star, and this is aptly expressed in contemporary Hočąk myth by the power that both Morning Star and Evening Star possess over the wind. Morning Star becomes a Wind Center, reflected in the cross of his bilobed plume, in origin a pipe, and indeed it is by his power to inhale, to draw the winds to him as he sits in the center of all centers, the Sun, that gives him victory over his archenemy. The Osage association of deer lungs to the pipe of the *Hųka ceremony no doubt has the same valence that it does in Hočąk theology: another expression of the Wind Center. As a god of winds, Morning Star is the god of breath (*ni), and therefore of life itself. Both Morning Star and Redhorn are associated with deer lungs, since they are gods of centers and of life. Redhorn inherited this association from his status as God of the Hunt, who like his in-law Wolf, can reach everywhere that deer can go. He too is a god of life and death, since his star stands over the opening to the heavens in the Orion Hand constellation. Yet Redhorn's symbol and weapon is the arrow, that of Morning Star is the mace; Redhorn has the animate heads on his earlobes, Morning Star does not; Morning Star is a god of wind, Redhorn is not; and although the two deities are closely intertwined, their differences are quite significant ().

On a very fundamental level, the appeal of Morning Star is that he is not just a god of resurrection, but of rebirth, a warrior god who periodically disappears from the sky into an earthen grave only to reëmerge months later; but more strikingly, he has his own five stages of life, the span of which is completed in eight years with his reappearance in "infancy" (first apparition) to start the cycle all over again. The moth too is a creature of rebirth. It is in its beginnings a worm-like creature that disappears into a cocoon, only to reëmerge months later as a winged creature of the night sky. Metamorphosis is equally a model of resurrection and even rebirth. If it is valid to see the Calli sign in which Birdman is trapped as doubling as a cocoon, Morning Star himself shares in the metamorphic powers of the moth who swallowed him. This would be in keeping with the Mexican tendency to see a merging of attributes of those deities whose physical realms come to coincide. In old Mexico Mixcoatl is the leader of the dead, the warriors who reside in the sky, who escort the sun to its midpoint; those women who have died giving birth, reside in the other half of the sky, and under the leadership of Itzpapalotl, escort the sun to its setting point. At Etowah the Hočąk-style Morning Star has become the warrior god of the elite dead, those who, as in Hočąk theology (as opposed to Mexican) may rediscover life in the flesh just as did their leader Morning Star. More in line with a Mexican model, we seem to have an equivalent for the female elite, who will recover life through metamorphosis under the leadership of their own papalotl, the complement and opponent of Morning Star. Natural events have given Morning Star a role rather like that of Mixcoatl in this instance. In the end, he seizes the warrior's way out: he bisects the two mothras that try to engulf him by pulling them apart; or he swings his shining flint broadsword to cut his way to freedom.



§4.1. The Hočąk World Renewal Rite.

This chapter is dependent largely on just one short statement made by Jonathan E. Fletcher (1806-1872), an Indian agent assigned to the Hočągara from 1846-1857.1 Fletcher achieved the rank of general in the Iowa militia, and was an officer in the Union army during the Civil War. He was later elected to the Iowa Senate, and was one of the commission who wrote the Constitution of the State of Iowa.2 Fletcher contributed the Hočąk material to Henry Schoolcraft's monumental work, Information Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States. Sometime prior to its publication date in 1856, Fletcher submitted this statement to Schoolcraft —

54. The opinion prevails among this tribe, that the Indians will be destroyed at the expiration of thirteen generations from the creation, or at the expiration of three generations after the present. They are now making extra feasts to propitiate the Great Spirit, and supplicate him to extend their time.3

No further elaboration or reference was ever made to this statement. What he has to say otherwise about the Hočągara agrees reasonably well with the ethnographies compiled by Foster, Dorsey, Radin, and Susman, so he is not noted for being highly divergent from the general consensus. Yet Radin and other later ethnographers mention nothing about such feasts. The lack of any reference to this unusual rite by any other ethnographer naturally leads to suspicions about its authenticity. The rather unpleasant possibility is that Fletcher simply made it up on a Mexican model, but the motive for this would be obscure to say the least, and it is generally agreed that General Fletcher, one of the Founding Fathers of Iowa, was a man of high moral character.4 However, it turns out that not everything depends on just this one source. Charles C. Trowbridge, himself a man of unimpeachable character, had this to say back in 1823:

The Sun is a circular plane, composed of wood, which burns perpetually. It is supposed to have life, to be furnished with heat by the great Spirit and to have for its resting place the eastern extremity of the earth before mentioned. It commences its journey every morning and having passed over the great earth & the island upon which they live, it moves suddenly under it and returns to the resting place, where it remains until another day. They suppose that the day is not far distant when this luminary will cease to burn, and that then the world will be reduced to chaos.4.1

The Central Mexican idea that the present sun, their Fifth Sun, is destined to come to an end is here quite clearly shared by the Hočągara. Not only that, but that its expected demise is "not far distant." The absence of any later reference to the rites of which Fletcher speaks may be due to the extinction of the ideas responsible for them. This will have been easily effected once the white educational system made it known that the history of the human race extended back at least thousands of years. In any case, the Hočąk World Renewal Rite is not essential to our present thesis, but it can be made to fit in well with its conclusions.

We have already seen () that some knowledge of the Central Mexican calendar was presupposed by the mythological content of certain Mississippian artifacts. The very idea of a World Renewal rite invites the same inference. We know that for the Mesoamericans, and this holds true for the Maya as well as the Central Mexicans, the fifth, last, and present age was due to expire on 5-House of the year 13-Flint, which falls on 22 September 2012 (Julian) or 5 October 2012 (Gregorian). Since it is the last day of the year 13-Flint, this day falls on 5-Nenmontemi on the solar calendar. The fundamental question is, Why 13 generations? The prime number 13 would ordinarily be considered a very odd selection, were we not cognizant of its key role in the sacred calendars of Mesoamerica. This number is not a random selection, nor an arithmetic coincidence generated by counting from a set date. Thirteen is the fundamental factor in generating the mathematics of the 260 day sacred Tonalpohualli calendar. The number 13 itself is the sum of the two Venus numbers, 5 (the number of distinct apparitions), and 8 (the number of solar years in which the whole cycle of apparitions occurs). The Tonalpohualli calendar is divided into 20 trecenas of 13 days each.5 The 13 generations are inspired by these 13 days that make up a fundamental unit of sacred time. Each generation, therefore, is like a day in the life of the world. The 13 generations represent a calendar that keeps the time allotted to the world.

Nevertheless, given the importance of the World Renewal ideology that seems to have prevailed in Cahokia, the idea that traces of it have survived in some form is not out of the question. In the early 1850's the Hočągara were counting three generations to the end. We can understand this to mean that they themselves were in generation 11, and that three more remained, counting themselves. That they were making extra feasts to "propitiate" the Great Spirit (Earthmaker) might suggest that they were at an anniversary. If there are three generations to the end of time, which in the Mesoamerican calendars would be Sept. 22, 2012 (OS), taking a "generation" as an even calendar round of 52 years leads to interesting results. It should be emphasized that the dates given are all from the Julian calendar.

End of
End of
Beginning Date
Beginning Date
Beginning Date
Julian Day
End Date
End Date
End Date
Julian Day
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 6 Oct. 1960 2437226
5-House of 13-Flint
22 Sept. 2012
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 19 Oct. 1908 2418246 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 5 Oct. 1960 2437225
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 1 Nov. 1856 2399266 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 18 Oct. 1908 2418245
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 14 Nov. 1804 2380286 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 31 Oct. 1856 2399265
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 27 Nov. 1752 2361306 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 13 Nov. 1804 2380285
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 10 Dec. 1700 2342326 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 26 Nov. 1752 2361305
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 23 Dec. 1648 2323346 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 9 Dec. 1700 2342325
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 5 Jan. 1597 2304366 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 22 Dec. 1648 2323345
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 18 Jan. 1545 2285386 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 4 Jan. 1597 2304365
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 31 Jan. 1493 2266406 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 17 Jan. 1545 2285385
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 13 Feb. 1441 2247426 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 30 Jan. 1493 2266405
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 26 Feb. 1389 2228446 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 12 Feb. 1441 2247425
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 11 Mar. 1337 2209466 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 25 Feb. 1389 2228445
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 24 Mar. 1285 2190486 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 10 Mar. 1337 2209465
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli Apr. 6, 1233 2171506 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 23 Mar. 1285 2190485
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 19 Apr. 1181 2152526 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 5 Apr. 1233 2171505
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 2 May 1129 2133546 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 18 Apr. 1181 2152525
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 15 May 1077 2114566 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 1 May 1129 2133545
6-Death of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 28 May 1025 2095586 5-House of 13-Flint 5-Nenmontemi 14 May 1077 2114565

The charm of this result is that it begins and ends on the same dates in the sacred calendar (6-Death of 13-Flint to 5-House of 13-Flint), and in the solar calendar (1-Izcalli to 5-Nenmontemi, News Year's Day to the last day of the year). The immediate problem is that it carries us back to the initial date of 11 March 1337, the date on which the time count (and the world itself) began. This date does correlate roughly with one derived by historical linguists for the separation of the Dhegiha Sioux and the Winnebago-Chiwere branches (1300 a.D.).6 A more valuable correlation, however, would be with the demise of one of the major Mississippian sites. As can be seen, this table was carried back 18 "generations" to a time interval containing the year 1054. Eighteen is the number of veintenas in a solar year, whereas 13 is the number of days in a trecena. An alternative scheme of 18 generations would suggest a change in the base number, which is hard to justify. Furthermore, the date of 1077 is a full 23 years after 1054. Another problem with this 13 generation scheme is that 52 years is far too long for a generation, but not a very generous allotment for a lifetime.7

However, there is another scheme which ties 1056 to a world renewal calendar that better matches a "generation" and does in fact take us back to the theologically important events of the XIth century. We have seen that the conclusions arrived at in the discussion of the Spiro Calli designs presupposed an acquaintance with the Central Mexican calendar. That they should employ such a Venus-obsessed calendar in the pursuit of their cult of Morning Star is wholly appropriate. Here again, with the evocation of the calendar number 13, we find an active connection to this same calendar. We are now confronted with the very difficult problem of trying to determine the Year I of this calendar. When did the "generation" count begin? The beginning of the first generation could have been back-dated to any time. However, the important events that gave rise to the whole Mexicanized cult of Morning Star took place at a definite time, and represent the natural starting point. The excitement of the XIᵀᴴ century began in 1054, and its involvement with Morning Star was completed in 1056. Either of these dates would make an appropriate Year I. However, if we select the supernova year of 1054 and subtract it from the last year of the epoch (2012), we arrive at a span of 958 years. If this span is divided by the number of generations (13), it yields 73.7 years per generation, a number that fails to fit into any calendrical pattern. The fraction beyond the 73 years represents 255½ days. Calculating generations by this scheme is a mathematical nightmare, and hardly represents a unit of time analogous to a day in the span of cosmic time.

The same holds for the year 1056, although this year holds the key. The year 1856 would have been exactly 800 years (100 Venus Cycles) from the important year of 1056, the first Hyades Intrusion year, an event that must have been a theological shock as well as a revelation. The ascendant role for Morning Star followed not just Mexican models, but developed in a fashion consistent with native myths, reflexes of which still exist today. Both the Mexicans and the native Siouans agreed that the Hyades god(dess) was both powerful and antagonistic. That Morning Star should endure such a collision directly after his rendezvous with the super-star had to be understood in religious terms, in this case of captivity, escape, and triumph. Knowing that Morning Star would return to roughly the same spot in the sky 8 years hence, they must have waited with eager anticipation for a replay of this sky-written charter. During these 8 years of anticipation, certain Mexican ideas about World Renewal were bound to have gained ascendancy. It was also time to contemplate their own original calendrical cycle. The momentous year of 1064 began as all years on the solar day 1-Izcalli, which fell on 6-rain of the year 1-Flint (18 May 1064). By a high fortuitous coincidence, it was probably on this day that Morning Star first appeared in the sky. This was the same apparition (Mʰ II) that had caused the excitement of 1056. Rising with the new year itself, Morning Star appeared at the same time that the Hyades star, θ 1 Tauri, rose with the sun. So Morning Star and the Hyades slowly rose together gaining altitude while traveling in tandem. Morning Star gracefully looped over the Hyades, and on 3 June, it made a sharp dive straight for the star cluster. On 14 June, after making a very steep and tight curve, Morning Star saw the crescent moon pass by. On 16 June, Morning Star entered the Hyades by occluding the star δ 1 Tauri. By a happy coincidence, this was the very day of the summer solstice, in the Mexican calendar, 9-Rabbit of 1-Flint. Finally, by 22 June, after 7 days inside the Hyades, Morning Star stuck its head out the opening between Aldebaran and ε Tauri. The events of the year 1064 confirmed that the deity of the super-star had directed Morning Star onto a new path, a revolution in the sky soon to be matched on earth. 1064 was an important year in history elsewhere, since it saw the abandonment of the great city of Tula (according to tradition), and the collapse of the Toltec hegemon.8

The Sky at Dawn on the Summer Solstice of 1064
The II Hyades Intrusion of Morning Star

This year also has a striking feature: when subtracted from the date of the end time, 2012, it yields a span of 949 years. When we divide this number by 13, it does indeed yield a whole number — not just any whole number, but a number that is an important factor in the Mesoamerican calendar. This is the number 73. Since 13 and 73 are factors in the calendar, they are able to reproduce much of the "number magic" inherent in the mathematics of that calendar. We can see what happens when we plot the Mexican calendar dates thus obtained on a table.

End of
Beginning Date
Beginning Date
Julian Calendar
Beginning Date
Julian Day
End Date
End Date
Julian Calendar
End Date
Julian Day
11-Rain of 6-Flint 1-Izcalli 12 Oct. 1939
5-House of 13-Flint
22 Sept. 2012
3-Jaguar of 11-Reed 1-Izcalli 30 Oct. 1866
10-Flint of 5-Reed
11 Oct. 1939
8-Water of 3-Rabbit 1-Izcalli 17 Nov. 1793
2-Reed of 10-Rabbit
29 Oct. 1866
13-Lizard of 8-House 1-Izcalli 5 Dec. 1720
7-Rabbit of 2-House
16 Nov. 1793
5-Rain of 13-Flint 1-Izcalli 24 Dec. 1647
12-House of 7-Flint
4 Dec. 1720
10-Jaguar of 5-Reed 1-Izcalli 11 Jan. 1575
4-Flint of 12-Reed
23 Dec. 1647
2-Water of 10-Rabbit 1-Izcalli 29 Jan. 1502
9-Reed of 4-Rabbit
10 Jan. 1575
7-Lizard of 2-House 1-Izcalli 16 Feb. 1429
1-Rabbit of 9-House
28 Jan. 1502
12-Rain of 7-Flint 1-Izcalli 6 Mar. 1356
6-House of 1-Flint
15 Feb. 1429
4-Jaguar of 12-Reed 1-Izcalli 25 Mar. 1283
11-Flint of 6-Reed
5 Mar. 1356
9-Water of 4-Rabbit 1-Izcalli 12 Apr. 1283
3-Reed of 11-Rabbit
24 Mar. 1283
1-Lizard of 9-House 1-Izcalli 30 Apr. 1210
8-Rabbit of 3-House
11 Apr. 1210
6-Rain of 1-Flint 1-Izcalli 18 May 1064
13-House of 8-Flint
29 Apr. 1137
11-Jaguar of 6-Reed 1-Izcalli 6 June 991 2083176
5-Flint of 13-Reed
17 May 1064
- - - -
8-Rabbit of 3-House
20 May 1054

It may be appreciated that the ending of every generation at 73 year intervals follows the same pattern as successive years: Flint ➢ House ➢ Rabbit ➢ Reed. So each such interval is not only like a day in cosmic time, but like a year as well. By the peculiarity of the arithmetic and the traditional end date, every generation begins on 1-Izcalli (New Year's Day), and ends 73 years later on a 5-Nenmontemi (the last day of the solar year). Given what is argued here, the year 1064 would surely have been appropriate as the first generation of the 13, with each generation beginning on New Year's day, and concluding on the very last day of the year, until they reached the last day of time itself. The use of the factors 13 and 73 fed into the mathematics of the calendar in a way that must have seemed miraculous.9* This year, so important in its own right, could be seen as the starting point for a complete (13 part) series of mega-years each of which behaved calendrically much as a single year, beginning on 1-Izcalli and ending on 5-Nenmontemi, but whose duration spanned a lifetime of 73 solar years. As a result, we see that it is plausible that the ancient ancestors of the Hočągara made 1064 their Year I on the adopted Mexican calendar. This is the only whole number solution that yields the end date of 22 September 2012 (OS) while fitting the cult that we have shown to have given expression to the ancient Mexican connections in the first place. By the 1850's the Year I of the calendar had become confused with the Year I of the cosmos, so that time itself was considered to have begun with the beginning of the calendar.

The "number magic" extends to the patterns formed by the coefficients of successive generational dates. Every 73ʳᵈ year ends with a different coefficient, until all 13 are used up. Here is a table showing how the year-coefficients relate to one another in a predictable pattern.

Flint House Rabbit Reed
1 -5/+8 = 9 -5/+8 = 4 -5/+8 = 12 -5/+8 =
7 -5/+8 = 2 -5/+8 = 10 -5/+8 = 5 -5/+8 =
13 = 0 -5/+8 = 8 -5/+8 = 3 -5/+8 = 11 -5/+8 =
6 -5/+8 = 1 -5/+8 = 9 -5/+8 = 4 -5/+8 =
12 -5/+8 = 7 -5/+8 = 2 -5/+8 = 10 -5/+8 =
5 -5/+8 = 13 = 0 -5/+8 = 8 -5/+8 = 3 -5/+8 =
11 -5/+8 = 6 -5/+8 = 1 -5/+8 = 9 -5/+8 =
4 -5/+8 = 12 -5/+8 = 7 -5/+8 = 2 -5/+8 =
10 -5/+8 = 5 -5/+8 = 13 = 0 -5/+8 = 8 -5/+8 =
3 -5/+8 = 11 -5/+8 = 6 -5/+8 = 1 -5/+8 =
9 -5/+8 = 4 -5/+8 = 12 -5/+8 = 7 -5/+8 =
2 -5/+8 = 10 -5/+8 = 5 -5/+8 = 13 = 0 -5/+8 =
8 -5/+8 = 3 -5/+8 = 11 -5/+8 = 6 -5/+8 =

As can be seen, there are 52 possible combinations of 73-year bearers and coefficients. They are exhausted in 52 x 73 = 3,796 years. Any number added to a coefficient's number that exceeds 13, has 13 subtracted from it. Therefore, if the coefficient is 1, 8 can be added to get to 9, which is the successor coefficient; and since 1 is equivalent to 14, subtracting 5 from the coefficient 1 also yields 9. Therefore, adding 8 or subtracting 5 yields the same result in this system. We should recall that 5 and 8 are the primary Morning Star numbers, and that 5 + 8 = 13. The next diagrams show the Venusian patterns in which these coefficients relate to one another.

The Sinistral, Pentagonal Pattern of Subtraction
The Dextral, Octagonal Pattern of Addition

So, ex hypothesi, the first generation began on New Year's day (1-Izcalli), 18 May 1064, the day 6-Rain of the year 1-Flint. Among the Aztecs, on New Years all fires are extinguished, and a new seeding fire is created by means of a fire drill. It may be recalled that Tezcatlipoca took on the form of Mixcoatl to create the first fire, which he ignited with a fire drill. The Fire Drill constellation is Orion, and Redhorn, who is the counterpart of Mixcoatl as god of the hunt (and in many other respects) also is a fixed star in Orion. The year 1064 bears the designation "1-Flint" which is also the calendar name of Mixcoatl. The choosing of this date, the year of the Second Hyades Intrusion, a year bearing the name "1-Flint," also served to express the prominence of both Morning Star and Redhorn.

We can now address a question that we have hitherto avoided: in what way does 73 years represent a "generation"? A generation runs about 30 years.10 Since there were 10 generations from creation and 3 remaining until the end of the world, this would mean that the genesis of the cosmos had occurred all of 300 years prior, or sometime around 1556. By 1856, we could well expect that at least some Hočągara knew the date 1492. With only 90 years to look forward to in the other temporal direction, they might indeed have had something to worry about. It should be clear that it is not our ordinary sense of "generation" that is being used in this context. More sensible is the idea of setting the generations end to end, so to speak. Consistent with this scheme, we find that the word used to translate "generation" into Hočąk at Exodus 20:5, is wąkšig-ho’į,11 which otherwise means "life, life span,"12 and even "epoch."13 The Arapaho, who have an eschatology, also speak of a unit of time as a "life," and reckon it as a hundred years in length.14* A century, however, has no temporal connection to the trecena. On the other hand, the kindred the Omaha-Ponka measure historical time in terms of how many "old men" (chiefs) they have had since some past event. Dorsey reports, "Among the Dakotas, according to some authorities, an 'old man' denotes a cycle of seventy years or more."15 This would make 73 years a fair Hočąk counterpart, allowing that "generation" could then be understood as synonymous with "lifetime" (wąkšig-ho’į) and the span of one "old man."

Whatever is thought of the 949 year scheme, the one that brings us close enough to what some hypotheses propose as the seeding event of Cahokia, is quite independent of the (alleged) fact that the Hočągara were conducting a ritual concerned with Mexican-like World Renewal. This alone prompts the question of where such notions could have arisen. Given the number 13 and the very idea of an imminent end to the world, it seems very probable that this ritual and the ideology that it expressed, derived from Mesoamerican sources.

§4.2. The Hį Tree.

The Tree, Cup 236

There is an interesting composition from a shell cup found at Spiro that appears to express the same ideas found in the structure of the Beaded Burial in Mound 72 at Cahokia. It contains a picture of a tree very similar to the "raccoon tree" discussed above (). The tree is a stylized composite, the right half of which has branches represented in the standard way in which feathers are depicted; the left side has its branches covered with small lines which elsewhere represent hair or fur. Thus, Phillips and Brown called it "the Tree of Fur and Feathers."1 Such a concept finds unified expression in the Hočąk language,2* and for that matter, Common Central Siouan, where the word means both at once.3* The Tree expresses unity within division, its left fur-bearing side being akin to the Lower (Earth) Moiety, and its feathered right side, to the Upper Moiety (Bird Clan). There are four birds perched on separate branches of the tree, one directly above the next. They are all of the same species, and their mythological function is not difficult to recognize. They recall the crested woodpeckers that we find elsewhere representing the four quarters,4 but in the present case they are clearly crested songbirds (passerines). The woodpeckers are inappropriate to this context, since they attack trees. Even though here they are not ordered in opposition according to their cardinal points, their number as well as their position at the peripheria ultimum of the branches, suggests that they should still represent the world quarters in relation to the profiled World Tree. As such they are positioned at the very edge of the earth, the side represented by the fur-bearing half of the tree. The songbirds should represent the four winds that arise from the cardinal points. The winds are songbirds since they fly through the air and can often be heard whistling as they go. They belong particularly to the Venus cult, since on the Hočąk model, both Morning Star and Evening Star are flying gods of wind.

The World Tree of the Hočągara is the red cedar,5* the tree of the Thunders, whose boughs they wear as garlands upon their bald heads. Alice Fletcher gives a description of it:

Upon the bluffs of the Missouri, on a promontory overlooking a stretch of landscape thirty miles in every direction, is a little depression cut in the ground, circular in form, with an elongated end at the east. The depression is one foot in diameter and about six inches deep. Placing my compass in the centre, the long end or entrance was found to be exactly to the east. To the south of this sacred spot, for it is cleared and cleaned by secret hands every year, stood a large cedar tree, now partly blown down. This was the sacred tree on which miraculous impersonation of visions lit; and here the spirits tarried as they passed from one resting place to another going over the country. About every fifty miles there is one of these strange, supernatural resting places.6

This sacred spot on the Missouri River is a Center that connects the Above World with the world of men. Its World Tree stands upon its own Cosmic Mountain. There are, as in any religion, many such Centers, yet the symbolism of this tree shows that the Hočągara also conceived the sacred in terms of a literal tree, the counterpart of the Spiro Hį Tree. The cedar tree has a peculiarity that suggests that it is the model for the Hį Tree. When the Juniperus virginiana or eastern red cedar is a juvenile tree, up to three years old, it is covered with needle-like leaves, which much more resemble the hair-like needles of conifers than the adult foliage. Adult trees are covered with appressed, scale-like leaves which lie on their stems like feathers on the body of a bird. An adult tree may have both kinds of leaves on it at the same time, but on rather slim authority,7 it is said that the juvenile pointed leaves tend to grow more on the shaded portions of the tree. This natural association nicely satisfies Hamilton's suggestion that the Spiro tree expresses the opposition of light versus dark.8 The light half would correspond to the luminous Above World of the Upper Moiety, and the dark side would express the nature of the Beneath World of the Lower Moiety. In any case, as we see from the photograph below, the red cedar tree can have both hair-like leaves and feather-like leaves on the same adult tree. If the Hį Tree is a mythological version of the red cedar, we can easily guess the identity of the songbirds perched in its branches. The crested passerine that is intimately tied to the red cedar is the "cedarbird" or cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum). They have a very strong preference for their eponymous tree as a nesting site,9* and they also like to feast on its berries.10*

Cedar Waxwings The Two Kinds of Juniper Leaves Red Cedar (Juniper) Tree
Audubon Paul Wray Keith Kanoti

Robert Hall related the Spiro tree to the sacred pole of the Omaha and Ponca tribes.11 The Omaha say that a man out hunting chanced upon this tree while trying to find a clearing from which to view the Pole Star. The tree shown with a fire that did not consume it, nor was it hot to the touch. After he had reported this, they came and cut the tree down and made a sacred pole out of it. "They made a basketwork receptacle of twigs and feathers and tied it about the middle. Then they said: 'It has no hair!' So they sent to get a large scalp lock and they put it on the top of the Pole for hair."12 Here we see all the basic elements of the Spiro engraving: branches, feathers, and hair. We also learn that the tree, once it was converted into the Sacred Pole (Umóⁿhóⁿti), was conceived as a man who in his person united not only the cosmic duality of the vertical axis, but the fundamental duality of his tribe.

The Omahas have always thought of themselves as a tribe composed of complementary halves, the Sky People (Inst’ashunda) and the Earth People (Hon’gashenu). Umoⁿ’hoⁿ’ti is a single person in whom these halves have joined.13

This exactly matches what we have said of the Spiro tree from a Hočąk perspective. The Earth People are represented by the fur bearing animals whose is the foliage of half the tree, and the Sky People are represented by the foliage of feathers. When the Umóⁿhóⁿti pole was set up, they inclined it 45° so that it pointed to the North Star. This shows that the tree was an axis mundi, and reinforces the idea that the birds in the Spiro version represented the four winds of the quarters. As it happens, there is an actual description of this state of affairs in connection to the Omaha's mythical luminous tree:

The Thunder birds come and go upon this tree, making a trail of fire that leaves four paths on the burnt grass that stretch towards the Four Winds. When the Thunder birds alight upon the tree it bursts into flame and the fire mounts to the top. The tree stands burning, but no one can see the fire except at night.14

This reinforces what we have already suggested about the connection of the Spiro birds to the four quarters and their respective winds.

Nevertheless, as Brown and Phillips put it, "It might be considered a difficulty that the birds are perched on the animal side of the tree ...".15 In Hočąk theology, the earth belongs to the Earth Moiety, and to the Bear Clan in particular. All matters pertaining to the occupation of territory, and treaties that codify boundaries, fall under the jurisdiction of the Bear Clan. So the four quarters of the earth must fall under the theological provenance of the Lower Moiety, as it says here,

[The] arrogance of the Thunders, however, is retorted back upon them whenever it comes to any dispute as to the disposal or occupancy of land; as the making of treaties to sell land, or even the making choice of camping grounds; when the Earth Totem, the head of which is the Bear Family, will give those of the Thunder Family to understand, that they must stand back and concede to the former the first place and consideration. ... In making treaties the Thunders are the speakers, etc. and are the chief warriors and peace makers; but must consult in treaties for the sale of land with the Bear or Quadruped Family, and the Water Family.16*

Therefore, the songbirds of the whistling wind are stationed in the Earth Moiety's portion of the Tree of Totality. They occupy the very periphery of four branches, the unoccupied uppermost, central fifth branch should therefore represent the center (the "fifth quarter" where top = center). The fur side has 10 branches, the feather side has 9, and there is one upward pointing pinnacle branch divided between fur and feather. This means that the totality is expressed in the Mexican base (vigesimal) number 20. Beside the spatial totality of the world which we would expect the World Tree to express, there is some indication that it expresses the totality of time as well. There are 20 trecenas (13 day periods) in the Mexican sacred calendar. If we examine the tree's root segments (partly reconstructed), we find that they strongly resemble, as Brown and Phillips noted, the tails of the raccoons in the sister Cup 237.17 The stripes indicated in the engraving therefore correspond to the stripes on the tail of the raccoon. The contemporary Hočągara hold that the black and white stripes on the back of another animal, the chipmunk, represent the 6 snow months and the 6 months without snow. However, there are three segmented roots, recalling an old tripartite division of the year into seasons. When we add up all the segmental stripes, we find that they total 18 (3 x 6). The 20 light and dark branches when multiplied by the 18 presumed light and dark roots yield 360, the Mexican solar year. The 20 day veintena produces each of the 18 Mexican months of the solar (Xiuhpohualli) year, making these months the "offspring" of the veintena. In Hočąk the word for root, rejų́, also means "descendents, offspring,"18* so the 18 segments are the offspring-roots of the tree of 20 branches. The presumed alternating dark and light bands of the raccoon tail-roots, would yield 9 snow veintenas, and 9 snow-free veintenas, which is the same time period as the 6 snow moons and the 6 snowless moons of the chipmunk's stripes.19* Therefore, the tree represents the totality of society (two moieties), the totality of space (the "five" quarters), and the totality of time (the 20 trecenas of the sacred calendar, and the 18 x 20 = 360 days of the solar calendar). The left side of this tree is the province of Evening Star, the great White Raccoon; the right side is that of Birdman, keeping to the left/ right distinctions that mark the difference between Morning Star and Evening Star, as we saw above (). Morning Star, as the deity of the upper class, belongs on the feathered side of the Tree, and Evening Star, who is a raccoon and Waterspirit, belongs on the Lower Moiety side. The Tree represents the classes of society as a unity of the moieties, with the lower on the left, and the upper on the right, which is in accord with the ideology of right vs. left found almost everywhere.20* The Tree is therefore a transposition of the Beaded Burial on Mound 72, the Center of the latter being a model of the Cosmic Mountain,21* and the Tree being the same reinterpreted in terms of the symbolically synonymous World Tree. Both function to characterize the society of the ruling elite (or ethnos) as a cosmically sanctioned Center and social axis mundi.

§4.3. Redhorn, Morning Star, and the Identity of the Birdman.

Since Radin suggested that Redhorn was either Morning Star or Evening Star,1 the archaeologists have been pleased to conclude that the Birdman of the Rogan Plates is both Redhorn and Morning Star.2 As I have shown thoroughly elsewhere, Radin was wrong.

Redhorn himself is said to be an acquaintance of Morning Star. 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.3 Given that Herokaga is Redhorn, here again 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.4 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.5* 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. 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 Giants, 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.

So Redhorn was not the same as Morning Star (in historical Hočąk mythology), nor is he Evening Star — an unconsidered hypothesis — since Redhorn is identified with a fixed star, a fact which alone is sufficient to exclude Venus altogether. Therefore, if the Birdman is any form of Venus, he is not Redhorn.

A point by point comparison is useful in showing both similarities and differences between the Hočąk Morning Star and Redhorn.

Attributes unique to Redhorn.
Attributes unique to Morning Star
Conflicting attributes of Redhorn and Morning Star
Shared attributes (at least in part) of Redhorn and Morning Star

(1) Redhorn is one of the five great culture heroes created by Earthmaker.
(2) Redhorn and his sons can turn into arrows.
(3) Redhorn, as Įčorúšika, has living faces on his ears.
(4) Redhorn, as his name suggests, has red hair.
(5) Redhorn has a single horn on his forehead. This is shown at Picture Cave.
(6) Redhorn sets the waters on fire with his single horn.
(7) Redhorn loses his only horn to become Herokaga, "Without Horns."
(8) Redhorn has a long queue which is identified as a metaphorical horn. Some Birdmen have long queues, as does the young man depicted in the pipe bowl "Big Boy," who is often identified with Redhorn. The Herokaga of Picture Cave does not possess such a queue.
(9) Redhorn is champion of the ball court.
(10) Redhorn is killed by the Giants.
(11) Redhorn is restored and revived by his sons.
(12) Redhorn is a healer.
(13) Redhorn is able to lengthen other people's hair.
(14) Redhorn is his own father.
(15) Redhorn exhibits a duality theme (2 + 1): he has two wives, two children (two sons, variant: a son and daughter), two faces one on each ear, two loyal brothers, two doppelgängers (Naked One and a mortal human friend), two defenders among the Waterspirits (Otter and Loon), and he is one among three stars bunched together.
(16) Evening Star is Morning Star's brother.
(17) Morning Star carries the head of Evening Star. This may also be shown in the iconography of Etowah.
(18) Morning Star is the step-father of the Thunderbird Clan. The Birdman seems to be a form of Morning Star.
(19) Some myths about Morning Star give him Venus numerology. Some gorgets from Etowah also exhibit Venus numerology.
(20) Morning Star's brothers are clouds.
(21) Morning Star can turn into a serpent.
(22) Redhorn is a friend of Evening Star, and is among those who try to help recover his head. Morning Star's enemies are Evening Star and a giant white raccoon. Iconography at Etowah shows Morning Star and Evening Star fighting, and raccoon parts in association with Morning Star.
(23) Redhorn has a positive relationship with the Twins, Morning Star is their principal enemy.
(24) Morning Star frightens the Giants with his prowess in wrestling. Redhorn is defeated and killed in a wrestling match with the Giants.
(25) Redhorn (as Redman) is rescued by Hare and Trickster. Morning Star is attacked under the leadership of Hare.
(26) Redhorn has the names "Redhorn,"  "Redman," "Young Man," "Only One Horn," "Without Horns," "Hit with Deer Lungs," and "Wears Faces on his Ears." Morning Star, on the other hand, is called "Girded in Blankets," and "The Great Star."
(27) Redhorn is identified with a fixed star. Morning Star is identified with a planet (Venus). The Birdman of Etowah has some attributes of Venus.
(28) Morning Star and Evening Star are step-children of the Sun; Redhorn has no family ties to the Sun.
(29) Redhorn is polygamous; Morning Star is unmarried.
(30) Redhorn has sons; Morning Star has no offspring.
(31) Redhorn's doppelgänger is his eldest son. Morning Star's doppelgänger is Evening Star, his arch-enemy. The Etowah iconography shows Morning Star's doppelgänger as his arch-enemy.
(32) Redhorn as Herokaga is god of the hunt. Morning Star is at least a skilled hunter.
(33) Both Redhorn and Morning Star possess the inerrant arrows of the Heroka. Some of the Birdmen in iconography possess the bilobed arrow, which may be a symbol of the same thing.
(34) Redhorn is the fastest of all runners, due to his association with the arrow. Morning Star seems also to have the same status owing to his identification with wind.
(35) Redhorn's friends are Turtle, Storms as he Walks, Wolf, Otter, Hare, Trickster; Turtle is also a friend of Morning Star. Morning Star has one of the Little Children Spirits as his friend. Redhorn's youngest son is chief of the Little Children Spirits.
(36) Redhorn fights Flint, who is cognate to Itzpapalotl (Obsidian Butterfly). The red man killed by Flint is probably Morning Star. In iconography, Morning Star fights Mothra, a giant moth.
(37) Both Redhorn and Morning Star fight Waterspirits (since Evening Star is a Waterspirit). This is found in the iconography of Etowah.
(38) Redhorn is killed by Bad Waterspirits; Morning Star is killed by Evening Star, who is a Waterspirit.
(39) Both Redhorn and Morning Star have at least one brother who tries to kill them.
(40) Redhorn is beheaded (by Flint), as is Morning Star (by the Twins and probably also by Flint).
(41) Both Redhorn and Morning Star come back to life.
(42) Redhorn can walk in the air. Morning Star is said to fly. In the iconography of Etowah, Morning Star has the wings of a bat, butterfly, and/or raptor.
(43) Bladder is the brother of both Redhorn and Morning Star.
(44) Redhorn is one of the eight Great Ones (Xetera). Since Morning Star is more powerful, he too must be one of the group.
(45) As Redman, Redhorn's whole body is red. Morning Star appears to be the unnamed red man who threatens the kinsmen of Flint.

It should be mentioned that the iconography of Etowah shows its Morning Star with a split tail formed by lobes, and terminating in a orb spider web. Neither the Hočąk Morning Star nor Redhorn have these attributes.

It is easy to see that the Etowah heroic spirit is not Redhorn. This should be obvious anyway. An examination of all the Birdman exemplars collected together by Brown reveals that not one of them has faces on his ears. One would think that if Birdman were Wears Faces on his Ears, that he would wear faces on his ears. Furthermore, of the three who do wear prosopic maskettes on their ears, not a one of them has Birdman features.6* This is not to say that Redhorn and Morning Star do not have things in common, but their mythologies diverge substantially. Redhorn has a doppelgänger in his eldest son, but they are not antagonists. So, if the Birdman is Redhorn, then who is his doppelgänger with whom he fights? Such an action is incompatible with the biography of Redhorn, but is easily understood as the central feature of Morning Star's mythology: his duel with Evening Star. The only point of contact between our Redhorn narratives and the Etowah iconography is the story of the harrowing of the underworld, where Redhorn emerges triumphant by an igneous annihilation of the whole host of Evil Waterspirits. At Etowah we see depicted a wrestling fight with a Waterspirit that recalls nothing so much as the battle between Herakles and Acheloos (). This is easily explained away: since both Orion and Morning Star set with the sun, they both necessarily harrow the underworld and its Waterspirit rulers. Even this can be understood in Hočąk terms: Evening Star is a major Waterspirit, and Evening Star and his doppelgänger Morning Star fight each other to the death; and, as we have seen, an account of this combat in which Morning Star beheads Evening Star portrays the latter as being in the form of a snake when this misfortune befell him. At an earlier time, the fight between the two of them may have made more explicit the Thunderbird-like, raptorial qualities of Morning Star, in contrast to his implacable Waterspirit opponent. Other portrayals of Morning Star at Etowah are all clearly Hočąk stories: the battle between Morning Star and Evening Star, the beheading of one by the other who then carries the head about (or even dances with it). The Morning Star figure of Etowah as portrayed in their iconography, does not display either the attributes of Redhorn nor the events of his life as portrayed in Hočąk (or Ioway) mythology. Not surprisingly, Etowah's protagonist exemplifies what the Hočągara tell of Morning Star. Only one portrayal of him could be in any way connected to the innumerable adventures of Redhorn, the major episodes of which do not show up in the iconography of Etowah at all. In fact we can say with some confidence that at Etowah Redhorn is simply absent. Those who who advance the thesis that the Etowah Morning Star is also Redhorn are as likely to succeed as they are to grow faces on their ears.

The conventional wisdom is that the iconographic Morning Star figure aligns with various were-hawks who are thought to be cognate to Redhorn. This puts him within the realm of the God of the Hunt. The Morning Star figure, in keeping with this valence, wears the antlers of a deer. As we have noted, Morning Star bears a complex and obscure relationship to the various Gods of the Hunt — in the case of Mixcoatl, Morning Star is his son, Quetzalcoatl; and in the case of Redhorn, although archaeologists have intensely desired to identify him with Morning Star, the two are clearly separate individuals, although there may have been some lost myth in which Morning Star was a brother or son of Redhorn. Certainly, whatever his relationship to other members of the pantheon, Morning Star among the Hočągara is a hunting god, as we learned from one myth in which he was tutored by the elfish deities of the hunt, the Heroka.7 The special complex associated with Redhorn is not just hunting, but his relationship to Orion. Anciently, Orion has contained the hole in the sky through which souls transmigrate; but many cultures locate this hole in other asterisms. The many similarities between Redhorn and Morning Star (should) create a conundrum for analysts; but just the same, at Etowah there can be no confusion between Morning Star and Redhorn any more than there can be among the Hočągara themselves.

§4.4. The Moundville Pendants.

There are a number of pendants from Alabama,1 whose design apparently originated in Moundville,2 that look as if they might represent the Hyades Intrusion of Morning Star. The inset shows one of these. If the eye has the usual sidereal valence that it does in Mexican iconography, it could represent Morning Star; and the shape of the pendant, which resembles a flint arrowhead, exemplifies that of the Hyades; although in West Mexico such a shape is associated directly with Morning Star. These are found in Morning Star offerings.

Notably, contemporary West Mexican indigenous perceptions of the Morning Star's visage shed light on identifying Morning Star imagery in the archaeological record of the Aztatlán tradition. For example, Huichol offerings to the Morning Star consist of triangular shaped pieces of bamboo that are painted to represent "the spirit of the arrow." These arrows are designated as his "face" or "aspect" (nealika). That the Morning Star‘s face is perceived of as an arrow lends support to the interpretation of skeletal faces adorned with stellar and arrow/knife imagery as depictions of the Morning Star in the Aztatlán tradition in West Mexico.3

Notice that the eye is asymmetrically placed, in this case in the upper right, the proper position at which Morning Star entered the Hyades. However, against this interpretation, most such pendants situate the eye on the opposite side (at the upper left). This may merely reflect a lack of precise knowledge on the part of artists, or a lack of concern for precision. One set of 13 (the trecena calendrical number) was found near the right elbow of the deceased which places it on a part of the body which naturally assumes the shape of the Hyades "V."4


Another kind of triangular pendant from Moundville can be divided into two fundamental elements: a disc and an optional dependent triangle.7 The disc and dependent triangle form appears to disarticulate what the arrowhead pendants had integrated. The dependent "V" shaped triangle, which opens onto the disc, usually contains a "V" shaped cut-out just below the disc, and may also contain a representation of a hand. The hand may contain a central hole, eye, or ogee. Morning Star can, as we have seen, be represented by a quadripartite cross or by a six- or eight-spoked figure. Sometimes these figures have an eye in the center. If Lankford's analysis of the hand is correct, it should represent the Hand asterism of Orion in which is found the hole in the sky through which souls transmigrate. The whole would represent Venus in the grip of the Hyades "V," with Orion below, just as they would appear in the sky. This seems reasonable enough at least from the standpoint of mere consistency, except for a couple of problems. The central figure in the disc is often a swastika, which is not the kind of cross ordinarily identified with Morning Star. More problematic is the presence of an ogee in the center of the cross or spoked figure. The ogee is frequently compared to an eye, but its "corners" are usually wrongly oriented, and its iris is often oval and lacking a pupil. The oval is very suggestive. Sometimes it is found on the sides of serpents with a line drawn on it lengthwise (). Snakes lay oval eggs of about the same proportions, and the hatched eggs are usually characterized by a longitudinal exit slit [inset]. The ogee itself resembles a slit that has been forced open. This would answer to the cloaca of a snake (or bird). If Brown is correct and the ogee is meant to be vulvaform, it may represent the opening of a birth canal.8 In this case, it may resemble the expanded cloaca of a snake laying its oval eggs. Oviparous snakes are among the animals that are "twice born." If this is correct, the ogee would perhaps be less likely to be associated with a male Morning Star. Another example of symbolism at tension with a Morning Star identity is a disc whose central cross has four eyes, one at the end of each limb of the cross.9 This recalls nothing so much as the Pawnee concept of the four cardinal stars. Nevertheless, these star-eyes (if that is what they are meant to be) may merely serve to help identify the cross as representing the center and the four quarters. The four-, six-, and eight-spoked figures or crosses can plausibly be understood as the four, six, or eight directions, although a six-spoked figure will not have its spokes properly oriented to their respective directions.10* Knight and Steponaitis exercise reasonable caution not to press the interpretation of these figures beyond mere representations of the center.11 The center symbol, among many other things, could represent the sun, since the ecliptic passes very close to the Hyades; yet the Hyades do not actually capture the sun, so the parallel with the Morning Star Hyades intrusion is inexact.

What seems most plausible is that the disc and the dependent triangle reduplicate one another. The hand can have a hole, an eye, or an ogee in its center. In the myth of Star Boy, his mother pulls up the plant that covers the hole in the sky and sees the world below. In other myths, the hand of the powerful star deity is ripped off as he tries to block this hole. Once the hole was unblocked, it became a passageway for the transmigration of souls. The eye in the center of this hand is the eye of the mother of Star Boy who first looked through this hole. The ogee is more interesting, since souls in the Above World coming to earth to be born or reborn, pass through this hole, which therefore functions as a birth canal. The Lakota, who have transferred this hole to the bowl of the Big Dipper, believe that it is governed by Blue Woman, the goddess of the birth process.12 This tends to make the celestial hole into a birth canal. Both the Lakota and the Hidatsa look for particular marks that identify a newborn as having descended through this hole from the Upper World.13 This brings to mind the Aztec idea, which probably differs little from that of other Nahua tribes, that a woman who has given birth has "captured" a soul from the upper world, and by this means has gained the status of a victorious warrior.14 Her patroness is the great Mother Goddess, the Obsidian Butterfly (). So the hand through which soul-stuff passes represents an important center through which the worlds communicate by making exchanges in the currency of life and death. Therefore, the disk represents the same set of ideas as the dependent triangle, but in a different format, that of the symbolism of the center. The center in question is not the axle-like axis mundi of the revolving host of stars, but the transmigratory Path of Souls, the Milky Way as a conduit of communication between the world levels, and therefore an axis mundi in its own right.

§4.5. The Devil's Sun.

Bladder is the sky vault in Hočąk mythology. Both he and Evening Star are depicted as having beheaded One Legged One or Herešgúnina, the counterpart of Tezcatlipoca. Bladder and One Legged One have a beheading contest, so in the Hočąk, both the sky vault and One Legged One are split in two. However, on the fourth beheading, as the evil spirit's head sailed skyward, Bladder pushed away the body of One Legged One, causing his head to bounce off the ground. Ever after, the head continued to bounce in the form of the solar disc.1 The Hočąk mythology surrounding the struggle between Venus and the Devil-Sun appears have a cognate version among the Nahua. Superficially, there seems not to be much resemblance to the Hočąk story, since Tezcatlipoca's foot was removed by a giant primordial Earth Monster (Tlaltecuhtli). However, she is rather like a Waterspirit: she is a monster often represented as having the skin of a caiman (cipactli), and multiple maws full of sharp teeth. In primordial times, she stood alone upon the waters, presenting a threat to all of creation. Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl split her in two and from one part of her body made the sky vault.2 In the Nahuatl myth, during the effort to create the sky vault by splitting the monster in two, the monster bit off Tezcatlipoca's foot, thus slicing him in two and making him functionally a "one legged one." After having split the monster in two, the satanic figure (Tezcatlipoca), like One Legged One's head, becomes the first Sun.3 The matter is rather complicated, as it is said, "Along with preparations for war, prayers to Tezcatlipoca often invoked Tlaltecuhtli as the sun."4 So both One Legged One and Tezcatlipoca become the sun after having become split in two, albeit at opposite ends of their bodies. The opposite ends in space are also reflected in time: the beginning of One Legged One's tenure as the Sun is replicated in the end of Tezcatlipoca's tenure. His time came to an end when one day Quetzalcoatl (Morning Star) struck Tezcatlipoca's body with a great stick, and knocked him into the sea.5 So in these two traditions, a blow to the body either causes, or brings to an end, the cycle of the Devil's Sun.


Version 3.1