Thursday, February 23, 2012

Zigzag Medicine Lines

"The sign for the concept conventionally translated into English as "medicine" is shown in the inset. This is not the sense of "medicine" applying to physical remedies, but the sense that expresses sacred power. [25] In sign language this concept is expressed by forming a "V" with the index and middle fingers, then moving the hand upwards in a circular, clockwise motion. [26] It may be observed that the tips of the fingers inscribe a double spiral. The advantage of the sign is that it expresses the concept in three dimensions with the inclusion of motion. The sign at once expresses duality, circularity, and vertical motion. In Hočąk thought, for instance, creation is from above. The earth itself was cast down by Earthmaker (Mą'ųna) from above, and its seas were his tears of loneliness that fell from on high. Offerings to the spirits in the other direction are made by sending the articles through the smoke hole of the lodge in which the rite takes place. Some offerings (such as tobacco) are placed in the fire, which is the "messenger of the spirits" since its smoke rises to the upper regions carrying the offerings to the spirits. So there is a double pathway of creation and effect, both upward and downward.
Sometimes, though less frequently, it is represented by several straight lines emanating from the head of a supernaturally powerful person, such as a medicine man. More usually, however, the rays take on the form of sine waves, as we see in the Lakota pictographic symbol meaning "medicine man" [inset]. [28.3.1] The term "rays" is appropriate, since such depictions attempt to capture an invisible power, a supernatural force, that radiates outwards from a sacred nodal point. It is a person's or object's holiness expressed as an invisible field of supernatural potency. The sine wave is the two-dimensional representation of a twisting motion, since it is of the nature of radiating supernatural power to configure itself in this circular form, the circle being an exemplar of perfection.

We see such a "power line" emanating from a star in the Micmac pictograph above. More importantly, we have relatively modern pictorial evidence of both the power line and the kapemni double helix that are reified in the form of concrete ritual artefacts..."
     Gottschall: A New Interpretation by Richard L. Dieterle

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