Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/200

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
190
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

government are finally represented by the sacred animal gods of the ocean.

Let me give, as illustrations of the deistic conceptions of the Zuñis, without special reference to their rank in this governmental system of the gods, the names and supposed attributes of a few of the principal gods of Zuñi mythology. Hâno ona wilona, or the "holder of the roads of our lives," the supreme priest-god of Zuñi mythology, is supposed to hold as in his hands the roads of the lives of his human subjects, is believed to be able (to use the language of a Zuñi) to see (or perceive) not only the visible actions of men, but their thoughts, their prayers, their songs and ceremonials, to will through his lesser deities whether a thing shall be or shall not be in the course of a human life. I once asked a priest in Zuñi, who was about to go forth on a hunt, "Do you think you will lay low a deer this day?" and he said, "Oothlat hâno ona wilona" (as wills or says the holder of the roads of life). Immediately below Hâno ona wilona are the gods Ahai in ta and Ma 'tsai le ma, the two great deities of the priesthood of the bow, anciently known as Ua nam atch pi ah ko'a, the beloved both who fell (for the salvation of mankind). They are supposed to be twin children of the sun, Hâno ona wilona—mortal, yet divine. They were the guiders of mankind from the four great wombs of earth, the birth-place of the human family, far eastward toward the middle of the world; but, on reaching the eastern portion of Arizona, in the great exodus of the Pueblo races, they are supposed to have been changed by the will of their grandfathers—four great demon-gods—into warriors, and ever since have been the great gods of the order of the priesthood of the bow, and the rulers of the mountain-passes, and enemies of the world. Just so the young man, in modern Zuñi life, who lives for years in peaceful industrial pursuits, and all at once becomes chosen as a proper person for membership in the Order of the Bow, is induced to take a scalp, and henceforth becomes a ruler of his people and his world, a warrior and a member of that most powerful of priesthoods. These two gods are supposed to have been the immediate ancestors of the two lines of priests who are now their representatives, the high-priests of the Order of the Bow; from them, in one unbroken line, has been breathed the breath of sa wa nikia, or the medicine of war, from one to the other of the members of their household, the a si schlan shi we ni, or their children, the priests of the bow, just as has been in the belief of the Roman Catholics the unbroken apostolic succession. Through their wills over the kia sin a hai, or annual gods, with the consent of Hâno ona wilona, or the "holder of the roads of life," are the roads of man's life divided, or the light of his life cut off—figurative expressions for death in the highly poetic language of the Zuñis. Prior to their creation war seems to have been a secondary element in the existence of the Pueblo race; such as it previously was, however, it was represented by the great ancient god of war, the hero