Thunderbird, Wayward Sun, Bear dance Idaho 2
Little known cultures have usual a short history. In Scandinavia it begins with Christianity with the allowed Catholic Church and not the early Arians or like other continents it begins when the Europeans discovered them. In reality every mans history starts with the first human beings
Rock carvings, rock art, Dream Time, space-time, thunderbird, thunderstorm, Romans, Sumerians, Scandinavian Thor, Same Drum, Wayward Sun, Rocky Mountains, Sun Dance, hare-god, Utes, patronising, spring equinox, zodiac, animal round, Flood, Bear Dance, Honeypaw, Bearwatcher, moon year,Thunderbird | Wayward Sun | Bear dance | Idaho 1 | Idaho 2 | Idaho 3 | Idaho 4 | Randall | Indus 5 | Indus culture | Early ships | Law of The Naked | Time Law | Bronze Age | Megalith Ideas | Interpreting Script | Scandinavian Golden Age | Kimberley Girls | Sitemap | Home | Links | Family pages |
Thanks to rock art and other artistic artefacts we know a little about human mind approximately 30000 years back. That gives us an open thread back from every age we look at. Too often science thinks that history began with the earliest known cultural artefact from the particular place. But there is always a beginning far back since people and culture does not appear suddenly.
With knowledge our early ancestors get intelligence in our imagination. It is my method to look at them expecting the same size of brains and intelligence as I have. Naturally their symbolism looks simple to us, but we are not dealing with aesthetic matters, but how mankind survived and the ideas were created and altered in the pace they needed.
These Australian idols are expected to be Weather and Thunderstorm
The Australian art have been were individualistic until our time. The artist mirror himself in his painting and the motifs are often archetypes and local idols. To go into the Dream Time is always a personal matter since you look inward. They mean space-time with everything happening in time and space. It seems odd to us, but in fact we act in the same way. When problems were to be solved in Sumer the hero fell into "bull dreams", which means he was thinking. Sometimes it is hard work and to isolate the outer world is better.
The individual style surely depends on the sparsely populated continent with few artists representing the culture and people. Still to us their art look consistent. Much of the Australian rock art is 15000 - 26000 years old
We have to know about the local environment to really understand what they are picturing. They have three seasons and as always in the tropics with big difference between cold and warmth. We can expect violent thunderstorms during the monsoon. The rain and storm goes on for weeks and the forces of nature you should fear.
… We find Him also in the sandy Australian desert as the true evil force in sandstorm. They call him Witdukurra in some dialect and they warn for the Kadairaman in the storm since he eats people and especially children. Naturally mankind needs powerful metaphors so that the children can look out.
The weather is not those hard in Scandinavia but we have the old Tjatse, storm, fog, frost and snow in the mountains. In southern Scandinavia I we have the fall and well god Necken that plays his fiddle and lure especially young girls to the deeps. Many years ago I heard a mother warn her youngest children for the Old Well-Ek
It was important for people all over the world to keep track of the behaviour of thunderstorms and bad weather just for safety but also for knowledge of the dynamic biosphere. Their method was to give it a name and abstracting some features in it to get hold on the devil. For us it seems odd but how should we describe the gruesome storm, thunder and lightning. The great Mights of Nature are the oldest deities and demons among mankind I suppose.
At the time of these rock-carvings in Idaho the Hittitian king Mursilis wrote a treaty in which he invoked the important deities of northern Mesopotamia and Anatolia. We can note that the stormgod Teshub is the most frequent and a dynasty of king used the god name … seeLingua Franca
Most of the so-called thunder gods are furnished with and axe. Perhaps because they knew that they stone against stone made lightning. In places with volcanoes they naturally told that the home of the storm god is in the volcano. Naturally it is so if we instead for the mythic name set in the actual phenomenon. It is matters of our way of in detail describe the phenomenon or like our ancestors speak in allegories. With our way of being superior comes that scientists too often include some misplaced valuing in "high and low" culture.
Romanstelling how the weather god helped them to victory
In my younger days we should be Latinos or Grecos studying either of the languages since it was the real high culture. Later we were taught that Egyptian is the root and for some reason they often forget the Sumerian culture and few know about the Indus culture.
Now I define at least my own science and then there is no high or low culture in an equal world. Like other non-verbal sciences we should use same names and categories for similar things and phenomenons. If we use priest for ritual officials in Egypt we should use the same for the ritual leader and yearman elsewhere in the ancient world.
The only difference is the size of the temple. In fact many rural cultures used the very big one, namely nature as their temple. It is more democratic than closed temples of course since everyone can follow what happens in the open air.
The Romans were naturally affected by the Greeks and earlier by the big cultures in Egypt and Mesopotamia and often via the Levant. In that age they personified phenomenon in nature and made archetypes to grip their world. Some of the words are just like icons in our computing world other were just words for the phenomenon. It is easier to understand ancient texts if we change to the real name. Then Toth = moon, Horus = time, Re = sun, Inanna = new moon, rain, thunderstorm. The texts get the real dimension then and that is science of ideas.
We get the expression that the Romans ruled even nature since their gods and idols were human. In their world the strongest forces were the volcanoes and they erupted so seldom that people forgot it from time to time. The Sumerians show the first on earth Enki with the Eagle of Fire in hand. The rain goddess drives sometimes the wagon of thunderstorm and she has lightning from her shoulders.
The Scandinavian Thor from the sagas was the thunder and lightning. The lightning came from his hammer and the sound when he drove away in his special chariot. It was special since the draft animals were goats … I tried the goat-chariot at my friends home as a child. After that I wondered how Thor got his big butt in the seat and how there could be a big noise out of that … maybe things are bigger in his world.
On the other hand they told that I have a Thor-stone in my eye since they think I have been in battle with him. Anyway the tales about the Scandinavian thunder god is naiv and more like tales for children. Surely it depends of the fact that our period of thunderstorms in July is light and do not occur every year. Neither do the autumn storms and very seldom we experience a real hurricane. Another god was Tjatse the cold fog and night frost that was a threat to agriculture and of course in the mountains in North he ruled most of year
With this I point out that the gods or concepts for thunderstorm were created depending on the local climate and environment. Surely the Thunderbird or thunder-idol is one of the oldest concepts among mankind.
In Scandinavia we are fortunate having the Same culture in Lapland and it was documented from 17th century onward. In spite of that especially the Church wanted to wipe out the "pagans" and even the Kingdom wanted to get the Sames under the boot. Still less than 100 old drums were saved for us to analyse.
The first investigators saw them from the point of view of the Church. Then they were naturally pagan and some of the idols were the Devil Himself they told. They laughed at the primitive culture and did not realise that it was at least 10000-year-old culture that suited the strange environment in north. The Sames and Indian have much in common I think. The drum gives us an image of the culture just in a nutshell. But let us have a quick look at the old Same Drum that is representative for small tribes with 20 - 100 members.
This painted drum was documented in 1723 AD and it gives a very good picture of their world order. It also makes their world intelligible as soon as we understand the composition and the icons.
The Upper World is above the double line and that is the starry sky with some asterisms shown. The idols are from left Thundering with hammer and "anvil" to get the sound. Next is Rainbow and in the middle World Order with hoe of fertility. Third is Wind with shovel and near the border the heavenly Yearman with drum and drumstick ...in Sumer it was the scribe Nidaba and in Egypt Thot I suppose.
Th Cock is symbol for the offer and the branch is the Messenger of the gods. The heavenly Reindeer was a big asterism consisting of Orion as back and the horns in Cassiopeja. Some star in that could have been used as fix-star of spring equinox by moving from one to another due to precision for around 6000 years. There is also the Big Bear.
As far as I know all cultures in the world have their great gods in the sky. Christianity has rationalised it to the patriarchal trio, the Catholic Church has the same and I suppose the Saints dwells there too. In ancient cultures their word of ideas and World Order was painted in the sky. They have found 8000 year old burials with a bird wing maybe symbolising the last flight of the soul or mind. There are maybe agnostics too in the world but they soon discover that the real Might of Nature come from above.
There were also Kalle Pardna and his dog that is Bearwatcher. His twin brother with a bow is the bear hunter Leib at left under the sky. Maybe he was put on the drum when the Bearwatcher was current as fix-star. But we se on the oldest rock carvings that they followed the bear from its dent in spring. They surely wanted to know where Honeypaw was all the summer. But it would seem to be best hunting it in autumn or in dent when it is fat. This principle counts for all hunting, fishing and gathering that it should be done when "it is season" for that.
The figure in the centre is the astronomical square with the cardinal directions west at left and north down. The oldest I have found at Alta, Norway is from around 4000 BC. But the best of them is from ca 3600 BC and it has sticky figures in all directions. One of them is shown as the birth-giving lady, i.e. Virgo in night sky. On another side there is a reindeer.
On some of the drums we see a reindeer at the left wing, but at this drum it is the thundering idol with wings showing the virtual nature of the concept. On top there is the World Order and sometimes a pair of fertility compare with the early mentioned Virgo.
At right is the Wind and down is the earth and perhaps symbolising the lowest point of the sun, since in north it is invisible for along time at midwinter. The bend symbol means "turning point" On the drums from Christian times there are "three kings" on the stroke and probably those we celebrate in beginning of January. In southern Scandinavia we have the time-wheel instead.
We can follow the year from Leib and the awakened bear in spring to the fishing lake in spring and summer. The bow in left corner is the settlement and place of the women, children and old folks. They were not allowed to be in the dangerous parts of nature and should look at it through a ring as ritual gesture. After that follows the season of growth with the three midwives used as idols for women fertility as well as for the nature.
Within the right side bow was the "the deaths' place" symbolising offers place and even harvest time. The vertical row of animals and the church is the novelty of Christianity. The horse was symbol of offering and probably after the autumn slaughter. The yearman goes out since he is not needed in the winter.
I chose this drum since it contains the essentials that we find in all drums with variations of course. This short characteristic could be derived even from the complex Egyptian society and also from our times. To this come holy mountains and offer places maybe with a "seit", i.e. holy stone representing ancestors' spirit. When I see a picture of a Same in front of a stone I think of old people at our graveyard as well as of the pope in Rome in front of the altar in St Peter. I think we should look at them with same respect for the dignity of such happenings. It is a sacred world for the individual.
Another stone from Idaho with in centre wings of the Thunderbird maybe
In Rocky Mountains we can expect that the Thunderbird was an important image for the weather. However there are finds of the Thunderbird in many places. We cannot know if the first Americans brought it with them or if it is their own invention and in second hand import. There is no point in speculating about their poems describing the various natures of the storm and hurricane since it is local. Even fishermen and sailors were depending on knowing much about the weather.
They tell that in old days people were watching the birds before travelling out. It is natural since nature reacts on the momentary climate and it is good to foresee things … In my childhood five miles from the sea we knew when bad weather was coming since the gulls came in from the seas. Another occasion was as soon as a peasant set his plough into the soil. Big Brother sees you from above!
"Listen now, on this feast of the Sun-Dance, to the Utes' myth of the taming of the sun-god:
Once upon a time Ta-wats, the hare-god, was sitting with his family by the campfire in the solemn woods, anxiously waiting for the return of Ta-va (the wayward sun-god). Wearied with long watching, the hare-god fell asleep, and the sun-god came so near that he scorched the naked shoulder of Ta-wats. Foreseeing the vengeance which would be thus provoked, he fled back to his cave beneath the earth."
Cut from The Wayward Sun by Rand and Rose Flam-AthApollonius.Net - The Wayward Sun
This short cut is from the Utes in British Columbia. America is like a few places fortunate to have still living tradition among natives. Naturally it has changed much and much has been forgotten but it has been so in all ages that myths are living and changing.
The biggest step between normal westerners and old native tribes is the language. We have lost the bonds to allegories and metaphors and do not really understand the pragmatic rural world behind the myths and legends. We are thinking in words while we should think in pictures and allegories. We should see their language as poetry.
The natives outside Europe have all reason to distrust Europeans and our aims. Knowledge could be used wrongly or as the Sumerians told it depends if the onlooker has "a good or an evil eye". The imperialism in every sense is born in Europe and we have told the rest of the world that only we European know the truth. Patronising is naturally a way of ruling.
In science maybe some feel better and superior when he can tell others that "we are the best". Western man has many sins in this aspect and maybe wake up when he realises that the technological "superior" cultures destroys the biosphere. We have nothing to be proud of. Next generation in science must see true all the wrong conclusions former generations have made.
No wonder that many times natives fooled the European researcher and within his tribe made fun of him. That is the method of giving "the Bear foreign names". The result is that we cannot trust much in tales and myths. On the other hand the systematic scepticism and check of source is quite new in science.
Another hindrance is that we use some specific terms about other cultures. At least in science we should describe a concept with the same words in Egyptian and Navaho culture. Still we accept the Egyptian strange and ugly gods as almost natural. But among Indians we use concepts like spirit and call the priests medicine-man. However the function of them is precisely the same in Egypt and in small tribes around the world.
Now back to the above example that I found some weeks ago. If we see some practical and rational allegory in it we could see the Hare as the asterism that was current at spring equinox around 6000 years ago. It was normal to tie the yearly calendar and ritual to the sunrise in east as for instance "Sun in Hare" or the topical star at the time.
At Alta North Norway there is rock carvings showing the four seasons as a square. The rock carvings are dated to around 4000 BC when the new animal round was made. In the carvings there are also two hares of all animals in nature. Why chose that animal. The asterism Hare is below Orion and spring equinox was in that asterism for more than third millennium BC. Then we can at least ask if that particular picture is about spring equinox.
We have to borrow another short cut from the legend of Wayward Sun. In fact that gives us much evidence that parts of the legend originate from the making of the calendar we still use
"The sun-god was now conquered, and he appeared before a council of the gods to await sentence. In that long council were established the days and the nights, the seasons and the years, with the length thereof and the sun was condemned to travel across the firmament by the same trail day after day till the end of time"
In the Scandinavian Edda we find the same situation in Voluspa especially in verses 6 - 9 they tell about gathering the assembly of gods to bring order in chaos. Here they use the expression "wayward" to tell there were no order and that was the reason for making a new start. Naturally for instance a simple thing as deciding the seasons and how to follow the sun was bringing some order. A greater order was when they tied the moon to the sun ecliptic and the stars. We have only fragments left in the sagas and early tales.
It is no wonder that the Indians do not see the very beginning of their myths. In Scandinavia we have the memory of the Maypole but in Sweden we celebrate the Midsummerpole. In some landscapes it is just a pole while others have a crossbar with two or four rings. Not many know that the rings symbolised quarters and that the feast was between quarters at summer solstice. The Maypole was after the Celtic season order based on beginning of the months February, May, August and November with respective feasts called Irminsul, Beltaine, Lugnasad and Samain.
In Sweden all feasts have nowadays in common that "they must", i.e. the children dance the "frog dance". They jump on their heels and sing "Small frog , small frog are looking funny, hoo kvack ack, hoo kvack ack, no ears no tail they have, hoo kvack ack, hoo kvack ack" … Since we have old place names on Frog- maybe we have got this song from the Indus culture. In Rigveda they sing about the Frog as messenger of the monsoon time after midsummer … seeIndus-symbols
Surely some scientists disagree since I have read that they tell we imported these things in 18th century. But we see the pole in our rock-carvings and we have even a volador we know from different places in the world for instance Mexico. We have also an old place name "Ruangstungur" that should be "Windpole" in plain English. It seems that all these have in common that they celebrate midsummer or another turning point of year. Often they have four wings.
This is an example how we get small fragments of customs and folk memory telling about something we can try to understand as rational. We have no proof and a text in English telling it is so and so. But there should be some enigma in life … and the scientist should have something to quarrel about.
In Finnish legend the smith made the earth cover of copper and he also made the food mill Sampo. It is an allegory for making order in society. The zodiac or Animal Round is not reality but a plan of how people can use it as the "Big Clock" programming the year after that. The sun was the long hand and the moon the short hand on that clock. The asterisms were originally chosen as icons for the works during seasons. That was depending on what labours were appropriate locally.
In rock carvings all over the world we see they also use animals from the local environment. Often they tied the year to some particular animals and their behaviour. Indians and Scandinavians have in common the Crow moon in mars. Here on Dal is a saying about "When we hear the snipe there is enough grass for the mare and filly" … If they used such metaphors and old language today when city-dwellers on visits in the "chlorophyll " they should soon realise they are in "another world"
Practical astronomy following the sun and moon was their calendar tied to events like the equinoxes and solstices or halfway between them … especially in India they practised the trisected year according to their seasons. The early myths seem simple to us, but remember that they were told so that even a little child could understand something in it. Adults understood the allegory when they needed to guide their year.
We can hardly know for how long time spring equinox have been used by observing the sun rising in east and also observing in which star that happens. They used the opposite star for aligning the moon orbit at the nearest full moon. But it seems to have been used all over the world, besides observing winter and summer solstice and also related to the stars. By following the asterism they could decide which time of year it was besides counting days and moons.
The sun is often object in myths of this kind. For people living on harvesting animals, fishes, plants and what nature gave it was enough to have four seasons and some myth that explained the yearly circulation and some other big phenomenon. But for cultivators harvesting planned growth it was not enough. They needed to explain growth and the circulation of water symbolised by the moon.
In European language they use man = moon and even Latin "luna" seems to come from the Sumerian word LU = man. Toth, the moon ruled the season in Egypt. In our rock carvings we see the Sumerian symbol LU for the beginning of the year. For us it was convenient to symbolise the season and seven moons with male figures and sometimes with some attribute to separate the different moons.
I avoid using words like "god" and "spirit" in my scientific and popular texts, since I want to describe the practical uses and needs. They needed to make abstractions understandable for all. It takes about a day to knock in a meter high figure into the rock. I have been laying on the rocks for an hour or two. I understand perfectly that they wanted to make the figure fast and did not care much for unnecessary details.
This is my general description of studying rock-carvings and the rural life of those days. We have top know their environment and kind of society before we go into their world. In America it is a question of knowing as much as possible about the Indian culture at the particular localities. That can help when interpreting abstract figures, since in some places they invented symbols that were like a script but normally only for the important events and labour of the year.
We have to understand that they dramatised even these natural things. It was their method of remembering and with time they added more and more to the story as conditions changed. In the legends are also mixed folk memory and we cannot know for how long back. Folk memory has no time line.
So we meet the concept Flood that many takes too seriously before analysing what our ancestors really meant. Natural floods are part of life through ages. It is just normal however some occasions are exceptional. Mankind is believed to have lived for at least a million and a half years as thinking humanlike being. Most of the world shares the memory of some flood. Except in Scandinavia they are telling about the Fimbul Winter = Great Winter and maybe Ice Age and in Greece they tell Chronos = Time chased people to the caves.
Another explanation within the past 6000 years is the Flood Watergate and even the other Eridanus, but that seems to symbolise the tamed Flood. Mankind is a living memory as long as the legends make sense or are in use. Another manifestations are rock carvings and megalith monuments they are stable and sometimes intelligible.
Rock with three bear-paws
Occasionally local people today call the stone "grass moons". Why would they use such a name? It sounds like speaking bear paws from the very past. According to the Ute legend and year ritual they celebrate/ celebrated the Bear Dance in spring, i.e. at spring equinox. If they followed the moon and the asterism Bearwatcher it would be in May by now due to the precession. But four thousand years ago it would have been in March. The climate has also altered and was maybe warmer then.
At Alta we see they followed the bear in season. It was the "high game" and the bear was King of the Forest with many names. Outside hunting season that lovely animal was Honeypaw and people admired it for its strength and men wanted to be like Great One. Besides that the Reindeer and Elk were the high game for food.
In hunting season they gave Him foreign names and women were not allowed in the game. They should look after the hunters through a ring that was the symbolic gateway between "our World" and that of "Him". Naturally that was also educating children to not be alone in the forests.
I have a special love for Honeypaw since my Grandpa was the last great bear hunter in last century. He got 63 nose rings on his wall since the bears came from the great wilderness in Russia into North Karelia were he lived. Naturally I have studied the old hunting rituals in the Karelian epos Kalevala and other literature.
One of my first memories is my Grandma dancing in front of me her skirt sweeping around. She showed how she danced when she became the Bear's Bride at her wedding. In those days the wedding ritual was similar to the Bear Feast when they brought home the bear. At the wedding the bridegroom was sent to the woods while the bride was dressing. Then the young men went out and caught the "bear" and brought him to the wedding.
It was naturally mostly precaution to follow the bear or at least know were it was. We do not know too much about their hunting season. Generally they harvested nature when "it was time". That means all kind of stuff should be harvested at the right time to get the best product like skin, meat, wood, vegetables, fat fish and whatever they needed. In the northern climate they were forced to store food for the winter. That means for instance autumn slaughter when the animals were fat.
Year-Ritual calendar from Alta Norway from around 4000 BC
We see they "Followed the Bear" from the dent at left. Above the bears are 7 sticky figures in the same way as we see in "the suite of season" in many rock carvings of Europe. In this small scale we do not recognise that a couple dances the Scottish above the suite. The end of season is the slaughter in the fence. Maybe they also used to drive them over a cliff, since the open bit in the fence is like a "cliff" in the rock. The rock carvings are on a big rock dateable by the elevation of land. We get a god feeling for their normal year from this.
According to the folk memory of the Utes there are different opinions about the Bear Dance. According to some of the elders, this was usually around the middle of March. All the bands would come and set up camp and prepare for the dance. Maybe we should stick to that memory since another legend connects it to the Pleiades that once were stars of spring equinox.
The legends how Bear's Lodge got the name tell about seven girls being trapped to a rock by a bear. Some variant tells that they flew to heaven and became the Pleiades. When we put together this with the spring feast we are back in time after 2000 BC when the Pleiades were stars of spring equinox. We see the bear symbols / bear paws also in Scandinavian rock carvings at that time.
Opposite to Pleiades we have the Bearwatcher with Arcturus as the bright star. Depending on local methods in describing spring we have to look also at the opposite star at spring equinox. Among peasants he was the idol as guard for the fields during season. In Sumer they pictured him as Archer. In Scandinavia we know from medieval times the Meadow Guard. Maybe he was guarding the animals as well as the sown fields against the night frost in a wetter climate than ours. His duty was to light fires if needed to keep away the frost and predators.
Cut with the bear paws
The long claws tell us it is something bear-like. The strokes on the paws tell that it is not for real. Besides that there are only three of them and not in the order of a wandering bear. If we think about astronomy of the time maybe the four oblong symbols are the cardinal points of seasons and the solar calendar markers.
The Indus method of parting the "moon year" in three depends on the three seasons in that climate. But the system was adapted in many places so for instance in Scandinavia we got three terminuses for things. It was normal method to use the opposite star of spring equinox for the moon year. So it is possible that these symbols were meant as memory of how to decide their calendar.
This seems to be Idaho Script
The rock is much cracked and we hardly see the wane moon symbol at left. The symbol in the middle is a bow crossed by a line with a bear paw under it. Next is the S-shape that is used for the mourning mother in Hittitian. Anyway this looks clearly like some text and tells us about educated people in the Snake River Valley. The bear paw and bow make us think about practical astronomy even when we do not really understand the text
When we see our ancestors as rational beings there is not much room for magic and cult without underlying meaning and use. We know for sure that in agriculture the myth was like operating instructions for the season. Maybe they used some rituals also during the season just for fun or marking the time … alternatively when some big job should be done and that demanded for preparations. It is just like the farming life I remember from the 1940:ies. Rituals are the means for the folk memory.
The real mystery begins when the practical use disappears and people practise the ritual as tradition and just for fun. In time the real legend fade out and none remember all concepts implied. I have borrowed only the rational bits from the legends to give rational explanations. However I know life is irrational and people need tradition as well as mystery.
That does not mean we should see all such things as odd behaviour … look at the Swedes dancing around the Midsummer Pole. In the "frog dance" they sit on their heels and jump like frogs and singing "kvak, kvack, kvack". At distance it looks quite strange.
Another strange thing is that the Swedes celebrate Celtic Beltaine or the fire at May 1st while the Danes have their fire at Midsummer. That tells us we cannot generalise too much since traditions are local. Locally we have still different season rituals compared to the "Rituals of State"next