(Hints for Identifying Indigenous Stonework continues...)
I suppose I should start with the smallest of Stone Serpents that I’ve come across because that would be the easiest thing to do. The photos aren’t great, some cell phone photos from the only visit I took to the spot along a dirt road named for a Native American person who once lived there – just where and when I don’t know.
There’s an interesting spot just past the tail of this snake, a particular sort of placement of stones my friend Alyssa calls a “wave,” or a “crawl” of cobbles over a larger stone:
The Head Stone:
“It's not the most "dramatic" of serpent heads, but it's longer than wider, triangular like an actual snake's head - maybe Scuppo, about whom I know nothing else about other than the fact that he was "an Indian" who lived here on this hill somewhere, might have constructed this Serpent and never got around to finishing the head stone, but that's just a fanciful guess...” from: http://wakinguponturtleisland.blogspot.com/2012/06/serpent-surprise.html
A much more interesting Serpent is this one:
“Three Faces Theory: head-on, it's a snake. Looking south - second of the 3 views - it's asleep. Looking north, open jaws, perhaps the Egg in the Mouth deal, as in the Ohio Mound???”
Link to Bing imagery of this smaller segment Stone Serpent: http://binged.it/1fS1XXy
These two are “short” (or ‘shorter,’ you might say, even at almost 100 feet long) segments of rows of stones and are much like photos I’ve seen (or been sent photos of), such as a group PWAX once posted up all together here: http://rockpiles.blogspot.com/2009/09/serpent-mounds-of-stone.html
and I'll repeat them here
and I'll repeat them here
This one, with a possibly pecked and polished headstone, seems to be a very long Snake Petroform:
The white dot in the inset is the boulder head stone of the Snake or Serpent. The body and tail, partially a long zigzag stone row, forms a present day border at the Nonnewaug Falls Preserve.
The ingredients to make a Snake Effigy are pretty simple – a large stone for the head, often quite triangular, with smaller stones to create the body and tail. But what about all those other zigzag rows of stone in that above aerial photo from 1934, you might ask. What’s to say that they aren’t all carefully constructed Serpent Effigies? I’ve pondered that: http://wakinguponturtleisland.blogspot.com/2009/09/snakes-end-stones-and-some-re-thinking.html
Often these rows end up near water and this one is no exception, barely a few hundred feet from that grinning serpent head stone, another triangular head stone on something that could be another snake or serpent-like petroform:
(An experimental try at making two bad photos into one semi-good illustration:)
Elsewhere on Turtle Island, you find references to snakes and serpents and zigzags:
Avanyu (also Awanyu), is a Tewa deity, the guardian of water. Represented as a horned or plumed serpent with curves suggestive of flowing water or the zig-zag of lightning, Avanyu appears on the walls of caves located high above canyon rivers in New Mexico and Arizona. Avanyu may be related to the feathered serpent of Mesoamerica— Quetzalcoatl and related deities. Avanyu is a frequent motif on Native American pottery of the Southwestern United States.
"The Avanyu, as it is pronounced in Tewa, or horned serpent, is not a myth. The pueblo people of Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico, believe that the great horned serpent lives in the waters and tributaries of the Rio Grande river. It is a common belief that there a vast underwater tunnel systems that run under the ground and that natural springs are "sipapu," or gateways to these underground places where the serpents live. These are not unlike the great anaconda of South America, often depicted and described as being more than a hundred feet long when fully grown, the difference being that the Avanyu has a single or several horns protruding from the back of its head. Judging from several eyewitness accounts, it is my personal theory that the younger ones have one horn and grow more as they age, with the adult specimens having several. Sometimes the serpent is depicted as being "feathered," although, those that have claimed to see the creature describe it as having smooth or scaly surfaces, no feathers being noted. Many important and trustworthy people among the descendants of the people known as the "anasazi" have seen this legendary creature with their own eyes, my great-grandmother, Margaret Tafoya, being one of them. They are often described as having a horse-like head, and grey skin with red markings running over the front of its face to under its eyes. The common belief is that they are able to release energy in the form of lightning from their mouths, as well as control the water in which it resides…” ~ Ryan Roller-Kha'-Po' Owingeh, Santa Clara Pueblo, NM - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Awanyu
The Great Serpent (or Horned Serpent) is the most well-known mythological figure from the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (S.E.C.C.). Its roots go back to Hopewell times, if not earlier. It usually is described as horned and winged, although the wings are more an indicator of its celestial origin than an essential form of the creature. In some versions of Shawnee myths, the serpent is described as a multi-headed monster with one green and one red horn, horns being a manifestation or marker of its power. In other myths, it is described as a one-eyed buffalo with one green and one red horn. The Piasa figure of the Miami was painted on a bluff near present-day Alton, Illinois. It was described as having the body of a panther, four legs, a human head, an impossibly long tail and horns.
Mishibizhiw, the Ojibwa underwater panther, was a combination of rattlesnake, cougar, deer, and hawk. Other native peoples also gave descriptions of the being, sometimes now referred to as the Spirit Otter, with the majority seeming to belong to one of two extremes, and a multitude in between.
Older related posts:
and try a blog search for serpent or snake for much more information and speculation: