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trance to Eden, or of St. Michael chasing the discomfited Lucifer down into the depths of Hell.
“These preliminaries occupied a few moments only; at the end of that time the medicine-men advanced to where a squaw was holding up to them a little baby sick in its cradle. The mother remained kneeling while the medicine-men frantically struck at, upon, around, and over the cradle with their wooden weapons.
“The baby was held so as successively to occupy each of the cardinal points and face each point directly opposite; first on the east side, facing the west; then the north side, facing the south; then the west side, facing the east; then the south side facing the north, and back to the original position. While at each position, each of the medicine-men in succession, after making all the passes and gestures described, seized the cradle in his hands, pressed it to his breast, and afterwards lifted it up to the sky, next to the earth, and lastly to the four cardinal points, all the time prancing, whistling, and snorting, the mother and her squaw friends adding to the dismal din by piercing shrieks and ululations.
“That ended the ceremonies for that night so far as the baby personally was concerned, but the medicine-men retired down to the parade and resumed their salutation, swinging, bending, and spinning with such violence that they resembled, in a faint way perhaps, the Dervishes of the East. The understanding was that the dance had to be kept up as long as there was any fuel unconsumed of the large pile provided; any other course would entail bad luck. It was continued for four nights, the colors and symbols upon the body varying from night to night.
“There were four medicine-men, three of whom were dancing and in conference with the spirits, and the fourth of whom was general superintendent of the whole dance, and the authority to whom the first three reported the result of their interviews with the ghostly powers.
“The mask and headdress of the first of the dancers, who seemed to be the leading one, was so elaborate that in the hurry and meager light supplied by the flickering fires it could not be portrayed. It was very much like that of number three, but so fully covered with the plumage of the eagle, hawk, and, apparently, the owl, that it was difficult to assert this positively. Each of these medicine-men had pieces of red flannel tied to his elbows and a stick about four feet long in each hand. Number one's mask was spotted black and white and shaped in front like the snout of a mountain lion. His back was painted with large arrow-heads in brown and white, which recalled the protecting arrows tightly bound to the backs of Zuni fetiches. Number two had on his back a figure in white, ending between the shoulders in a cross. Number three's back was simply whitened with clay.
"All these headdresses were made of slats of the Spanish bayonet, unpainted, excepting that on number two was a figure in black, which could not be made out, and that the horizontal crosspieces on number three were painted blue.
“The dominos or masks were of blackened buckskin, for the two fastened around the neck by garters or sashes; the neckpiece of number three was painted red; the eyes seemed to be glass knobs or brass buttons. These three dancers were naked to the waist, and wore beautiful kilts of fringed buckskin bound on with sashes, and moccasins reaching to the knees. In this guise they jumped into the center of the great circle of spectators and singers and began running about the fire shrieking and muttering, encouraged by the shouts and the singing, and by the drumming and incantation of the chorus which now swelled forth at full lung power.
“As the volume of music swelled and the cries of the onlookers became fiercer, the dancers were encouraged to the enthusiasm of frenzy. They darted about the circle, going through the motions of looking for an enemy, all the while muttering, mumbling, and singing, jumping, swaying, and whirling like the dancing Dervishes of Arabia.
"Their actions, at times, bore a very considerable resemblance to the movements of the Zuñi Shálako at the Feast of Fire. Klashidn told me that the orchestra was singing to the four willow branches planted near them. This would indicate a vestige of tree worship, such as is to be noticed also at the sun dance of the Sioux.
“At intervals the three dancers would dart out of the ring and disappear in the darkness, to consult with the spirits or with other medicine-men seated a considerable distance from the throng. Three several times they appeared and disappeared, always dancing, running, and whirling about with increased energy. Having attained the degree of mental or spiritual exaltation necessary for communion with the spirits, they took their departure and kept away for at least half an hour, the orchestra during their absence rendering a mournful refrain, monotonous as a funeral dirge. My patience became exhausted and I turned to go to my quarters. A thrill of excited expectancy ran through the throng of Indians, and I saw that they were looking anxiously at the returning medicine-men. All the orchestra now stood up, their leader (the principal medicine-man) slightly in advance, holding a branch of cedar in his left hand. The first advanced and bending low his head murmured some words of unknown import with which the chief seemed to be greatly pleased. Then the chief, taking his stand in front of the orchestra on the east side of the grove or cluster of trees, awaited the final ceremony, which was as follows: The three dancers in file and in proper order advanced and receded three times; then they embraced the chief in such a manner that the sticks or wands held in their hands came behind his neck, after which they mumbled and muttered a jumble of sounds which I cannot reproduce, but which sounded for all the world like the chant of the 'hooter' at the Zuni Feast of Fire. They then pranced or danced through the grove three times. This was repeated for each point of the compass, the chief medicine-man, with the orchestra, taking a position successively on the east, south, west, and north, and the three
dancers advancing, receding, and embracing as at first.
“This terminated the ‘medicine' ceremonies of the evening, the glad shouts of the Apache testifying that the incantations of their spiritual leaders or their necromancy, whichever it was, promised a successful campaign. These dancers were, I believe, dressed up to represent their gods or kan, but not content with representing them, aspired to be mistaken for them.'