« PrejšnjaNaprej »
their faces were blackened from brow to upper lip, while mouth, lower lip, and chin looked ghastly by contrast with the kaolin daubed over them.Collars of the white seashell beads of their own manufacture hung around their necks, and nearly all wore abalone shells glistening on their breasts. Sashes of seashell beads covered their bodies from the right shoulder to the left hip.
“Their bodies, legs, and arms were naked and greenish-black, without mark or design. Kilts of painted cotton cloth hung from waist to knee, and dangling down to the heels in rear were skins of the fox and coyote. Red buckskin fringe hung from the waist in most cases; and in others, again, cotton-ball pendants ornamented the girdles. The feet were covered with red buckskin moccasins, fringed at ankles, and broad white armlets encircled the elbows.
"Each division marched solemnly around the sacred stone and between it and the sacred lodge and tree, the first division completing this formula shortly before the second.
“The first division aligned itself with back to houses, but quite close to them, and with its right abutting against the lodge and tree.
“The old “medicine-man,' or priest, whom for the sake of convenience we have called No. 1, stood in front of and facing the lodge, holding well before him the platter of water and eaglefeather wand.
“When the second division had finished its tour it formed in two ranks facing the first division, and not more than four paces from it.
When this alignment was perfected the men and boys of the first division shook their rattles gently, making the music of pattering showers. This movement was accompanied by the men of the second division who waved their eagle feathers from right to left in accord with the shaking of the rattles.
“This was repeated eight or ten times, all singing a refrain, keeping time by stamping vigorously with the right foot: Oh-ye-haw, oh-ye-haw, ha-yee-ha-ha-yee-ha-ha-yi-ha-a-a-a, chanted a dozen times or more with a slow measure and graceful cadence.
“This part of the ceremony over, the old man in front of the cottonwood tree and lodge began to pray in a well-modulated and perfectly distinct voice, and sprinkled the ground in front of him with more water, while the second medicine-man scattered cornmeal from the platter he was bearing.
“Except the water sprinkler, No. 1, and the sling-twirler, No. 8, all the first party wore red plumes in hair, red moccasins, and white cotton kilts; and their bodies, as already stated, were naked and greenish-black.
“The first division remained in place, while the second, two by two, arm in arm, slowly pranced around the sacred rock, going through the motions of planting corn to the music of a monotonous dirge chanted by the first division.
“A detachment of twenty squaws, maids and matrons, clad in rich white and scarlet mantles of cotton and wool, now appeared, provided with flat baskets and platters, from which they scattered cornmeal in every direction.
"This ended the first act.
“The first division remained aligned upon the sacred rock, the head priest, No. 1, intoning a long and fervent prayer, while the second division quietly filed off, going through the arcade. The interlude was very brief. The second division re-emerged from under the arcade, marching two and two as before; but in this section of the programme the left hand files carried snakes in their hands and mouths. The first five or six held them in their hands with the heads of the reptiles to the right. As the procession pranced closer and closer to where we were seated we saw that the dancers farther to the rear of the column were holding the slimy, wriggling serpents between their teeth! The head of the animal in this case also was held towards the right, the object of this being very manifest. The Indians in the right file of the column still retained the eagle wands which their companions had discarded. With these wands they tickled the heads, necks and jaws of the snakes, thus distracting their attention from the dancers in whose teeth they were grasped so firmly.
“The spectacle was an astonishing one, and one felt at once bewildered and horrified at this long column of weird figures, naked, all excepting the snake-painted cotton kilts and red buckskin moccasins; bodies a dark greenishbrown, relieved only by the broad white armlets and the bright yellowish-gray of the fox-skins dangling behind them; long elfin locks brushed straight back from the head, tufted with scarlet parrot or woodpecker feathers; faces painted black, as with a mask of charcoal, from brow to upper lip, where the ghastly white of kaolin began, and continued down over chin and neck; the crowning point being the deadly reptiles borne in mouth and hand, which imparted to the drama the lurid tinge of a nightmare.
“With rattles clanking at knees, hands clinched, and elbows bent, the procession pranced slowly around the rectangle, the dancers lifting each knee slowly to the height of the waist, and then planting the foot firmly upon the ground before lifting the other, the snakes all the while writhing and squirming to free themselves from restraint.
“When the snake-carriers reached the eastern end of the rectangle they spat the snakes out upon the ground and moved on to the front of the sacred lodge, tree, and rock, where they stamped strongly with the left foot twice, at the same time emitting a strange cry, half a grunt and half wail.
“The women scattering the cornmeal now developed their line more fully, a portion occupying the terrace directly above the arcade, two or three standing on ladders near the archway, the main body massing in the space between the sacred rock and the sacred lodge, and two or three, reinforced by a squad of devout old crones, doing effective work at the eastern end of the rectangle. Nearly all carried the beautiful, closely-woven, flat baskets, in red, yellow and black, ornamented with the butterfly, thunder bird or deer. These baskets were heaped high with finely-ground corn-flour, which from this on was scattered with reckless profusion, not, as previously, upon the ground, but in the air and upon the reptiles as fast as thrown down.
“This cornmeal had a sacred significance, which it might be well to bear in mind in order to thoroughly appreciate the religious import of this drama. Every time the squaws scattered it their lips could be detected moving in prayer.
“In the religious exercises of the neighboring Indians, the Žunis, the air is fairly whitened with the handfuls of the ‘Cunque,' as they call it, flung upon the idols, priests and sacred fluteplayers. In all the Pueblos along the Rio Grande, or near it, the same farinaceous mixture (since it is generally a mixture of cornmeal, pounded chalchihuitl, and other ingredients) is offered as a morning sacrifice to the god of day. Go into any house in Jemez, Zia, Santana, San Felipe, Acoma, or Zuni, and you will find in a convenient niche a small bowl or basket filled with it to allow each person in the family to throw a small pinch to the east upon rising in the morning. The Zunis and Moquis are never without it, and carry it in little bags of buckskin tied to their waist belts.
“The use of this sacred meal closely resembles the crithomancy of the ancient Greeks, but is not identical with it. Crithomancy was a divination, by throwing flour or meal upon sacred animals, or upon their viscera after they had been sacrificed; the forms or letters assumed by