The Sacred Lake (Devil's Lake)

by Dorothy Moulding Brown


"On the west bluff of Devil's Lake, near Baraboo, are the Great Stone Face, and near it the Turk's Head. Devil's Lake, called Ta-wah-cun-chuk-dah [Te Wákącąk] (Sacred Lake) by the Winnebago Indians, was to them a water of mystery, the abode of water demons, wa-kja-kee-ra [wakjexira]. All of its fantastic rocks—now named Balanced Rock, Cleopatra's Needle, Elephant Rock, and the Devil's Doorway—are associated with the former worship of these malevolent water spirits."1

Commentary. "demons" — the Waterspirits were not always demonic or malevolent, but were more often than not "difficult" (jexi).

Comparative Material. ...

Links: Devil's Lake, Waterspirits.

Stories: set at Devil's Lake (Te Wákącąk): Devil's Lake — How it Got its Name, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, The Green Waterspirit of Wisconsin Dells, Traveler and the Thunderbird War (vv. 1, 5), The Lost Blanket; in which Waterspirits occur as characters: Waterspirit Clan Origin Myth, Traveler and the Thunderbird War, The Green Waterspirit of Wisconsin Dells, The Lost Child, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Bluehorn's Nephews, Holy One and His Brother, The Seer, The Nannyberry Picker, The Creation of the World (vv. 1, 4), Šųgepaga, The Sioux Warparty and the Waterspirit of Green Lake, The Waterspirit of Lake Koshkonong, The Waterspirit of Rock River, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, Devil's Lake — How it Got its Name, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Waterspirit of Sugar Loaf Mounds, Lakes of the Wazija Origin Myth, Waterspirits Keep the Corn Fields Wet, The Waterspirit Guardian of the Intaglio Mound, The Diving Contest, The Lost Blanket, Redhorn's Sons, The Phantom Woman, Įcorúšika and His Brothers, Great Walker's Warpath, White Thunder's Warpath, The Descent of the Drum, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, Snowshoe Strings, The Thunderbird, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (v. 2), The Two Children, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, Paint Medicine Origin Myth, Waruǧábᵉra, Ocean Duck, The Twin Sisters, Trickster Concludes His Mission, The King Bird, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Heną́ga and Star Girl, Peace of Mind Regained, The Story of the Medicine Rite, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Spiritual Descent of John Rave's Grandmother, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Shaggy Man, The Woman who Married a Snake (?), Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, Lost Lake.

Themes: ...

Map: Devil's Lake.

Pictures: of Devil's Lake: Scene 1, Scene 2, Balanced Rock.


1 Dorothy Moulding Brown, "Legends of Wisconsin Rocks," Wisconsin Archeologist, 19, #1 (Sept., 1938): 10.