Tuesday, September 11, 2018

September 11, 1609

An "Unlikely Place" for a Ceremonial Stone Landscape Part 02

The Second Pinned (North) Serpent Pair

     Another narrow entrance, another variation of a Stone Snake head, a raised and perhaps ready to strike open mouth perhaps, an idea that took years to suggest itself to me, pondering this other "wall," also in Woodbury, which also leads to a bedrock outcrop:  
Thinking of that, I'll suggest this: 
Elsewhere in Orenaug Park, there's other examples of the Raised Head or Striking Serpent variation:

(Outlined Snake Head, Eye Overlay:)
Again, outlines and overlay eye added:)
Back to the outcrop at the beginning of this piece, the surrounding stones are very low to the ground but suddenly a segment rises higher:
If you are wondering about the Blue Diamond in the photo above, I'll speculate that someone sometime in the last 300 years, heard tales of a jewel sometimes referred to as a "carbuncle" behind the seventh scale of an Uktena, possibly illustrated in stone as a rhomboidal "diamond - and that someone moved these stones looking for that non-existent treasure:
(To be continued...)

Monday, September 10, 2018

An "Unlikely Place" for a Ceremonial Stone Landscape Part 01

Stone Walls or Uktena Qusukqaniyutôk at Orenaug Park?
    “This is a serpent effigy - and the serpent effigies are quite often in dispute because the presumption is that they are stone walls. Most often, they are too low to pen anything in, but we identify them by other means. Usually they do have a head, such as the one you see here. This particular one, just behind the head, also has a space and an orange stone, because we believe that they are related to the serpent effigy that is in the area of Scorpius that the Cherokee referred to as the Uktena, that is, a serpent with an orange stone. In its terra form, it’s (it has) a jewel and it is horned, but this is, as below, so above...” Doug Harris
   Note: DH is likening the Orange stone (as below/in the stone "wall") to the orange colored bright star Antares that is the Jewel on the head of the Great Serpent constellation (as above in the sky), part of what Europeans came to call Scorpius.

The complete text and video can be seen here at the National Park Service website:
This presentation was part of the Proceedings of the Maritime Cultural Landscape Symposium, October 14-15, 2015, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    I agree with Doug Harris that this is a Ceremonial Stone Landscape Feature that, diagnostically speaking, represents a Spirit Being from the Underworld, related to water and weather, particularly in its aspect as a protective spirit against the Upperworld (Sky) “Thunder Beings” or “Thunderbirds” who could shoot lightening from their eyes and cause wild fires:
Beenaysee eshkotay – Thunderbird fire, comes from the thunderbirds’ eyes and strikes whatever it is looking at. Renewal begins with the roots that remain underground. (Figure 5.2 from: Living with Boreal Forest Fires; Anishinaabe Perspectives on Disturbance and Collaborative Forestry Planning, Pikangikum First Nation, Northwestern Ontario. Accessed from http://umanitoba.ca/institutes/natural_resources/pdf/theses/PhD%20Thesis%20Miller%202010.pdf)

     I’m unsure about the orange stone mentioned (having only the still capture from the video as reference) – and I would offer a guess that the “jewel” (on the head of the Uktena) may be the stone I have labelled as “The Jewel” or Ulun’suti. I’ve taken the liberty to add horns, observing another repeated feature that in my experience suggests a “horn or antler rest” that I imaginatively conjecture may have been used to further “decorate” or enhance the stone feature to convey that this is a Horned or Antlered Snake, with the power or abilities of a Great Snake to control both a wildfire or a humanly set fire (of Renewal). This presumed stone wall may be better described as a snake petroform and a fuel break as well on a landscape once tended by low ground fires.

    The Uktena is the “Stronger Looker:" 
     "According to (James) Mooney (1900:458-459), the name Uktena is derived from akta, or eye, and implies being a “strong looker,” as everything is visible to it (i.e., it can see thoughts). From the same root is derived akta’tĭ, “to see into closely” which is also the Cherokee word for a magnifying lens and telescope. So the name Uktena implies that it sees thoughts and it does so in an accurate way; knowledge that comes in useful to predict enemy tactics (Jannie Loubser - E-mail communication July 21, 2015). "
   I would further qualify the “stone wall” as an Uktena Qusukqaniyutôk because the head is bent at an angle from the “body” of the “wall” or Qusukqaniyutôk ~ ‘stone row, enclosure’ (Harris and Robinson, 2015:140)
    This tilted head motif can be observed in many other “stone walls” that I suspect to be Uktena Qusukqaniyutôk:
An enhanced drawing with embarrassing horns or antlers:
I once came upon an unauthorized photo of Jannie Loubser at a suspected malicious website and learned in a personal communication with him that this was a photograph of an unidentified “squiggle” at the Painted Bluff site in Alabama, at the time Jannie was writing up his report that was not classified as a Snake/Uktena because of a lack of a head on one end or the other: 
     I suggested that the squiggle may be two Uktena, head to head, guarding the circular shape that may be a sort of "gateway" or "doorway" to the Underworld. I sent along a better photo overlay:
  There's an outcrop at Orenaug, surrounded by "stone walls" that also might bear some similarity to the Petroglyph, but perhaps it's more related to the Upper or Sky World and the Thunder Beings/Birds (maybe). It's just as possible that it's a place where a Great Horned Snake lives - or emerges from the Underworld.
     I've overlaid some of that stolen image above onto a photograph of that Orenaug outcrop, illustrating the similarity to the petroglyph at Painted Bluff in these two different forms of Indigenous Rock Art. Both can be seen as a person about to enter a Sacred Space, guarded by two Uktena or Great Serpents/Snakes, one in paint, the other in solid stone...
The "Gateway" is very narrow and a person would perhaps brush up against the Uktena, head turned slightly toward the person entering this space:
Overlay (including a surveyors pin at orange arrow):
As the person leaves that (probable) Sacred Space, another Uktena watches on, "knowing the person's intentions," as he or she leaves the site of suspected Ceremony:

Perhaps a person might be seeking the protection of the Great Snake before climbing to a higher point, it suddenly occurs to me. The survey pins (and some inaccurate yellow lines) tell us exactly where this feature of the Ceremonial Stone Landscape is located:
(To be continued...)


Sunday, September 09, 2018

An "Unlikely Place" for a Ceremonial Stone Landscape (Intro)

   Between Main Street and the massive scar of an earth products quarry, in a town park associated with some names very familiar to local historians, is hardly the remote location deep in some untended second growth woods usually associated with a Ceremonial Stone Landscape. 
   Over the past 30 years, I've come to realize that Orenaug Park contains many features that are elements of an Indigenous Ceremonial Stone Landscape: 

"Ceremonial Stone Landscapes is the term used by USET, United Southern and Eastern Tribes, Inc.[1], a non-profit, intertribal organization of American Indians, for certain stone work sites in eastern North America. Elements often found at these sites include dry stone walls, rock piles (sometimes referred to as cairns), stone chambers, unusually-shaped boulders, split boulders with stones inserted in the split, and boulders propped up off the ground with smaller rocks. While neither the age of these sites nor the idea of their creation by indigenous peoples has been accepted generally, interest in the sites is increasing. This interest is generated in part by USET's Resolution #2007:037 [2], entitled Sacred Ceremonial Stone Landscapes Found in the Ancestral Territories of United Southern and Eastern Tribes, Inc. Member Tribes.
Sections of the USET resolution describing these sites read as follows:
"within the ancestral territories of the USET Tribes there exist sacred ceremonial stone landscapes and their stone structures which are of particular cultural value to certain member Tribes;"
"for thousands of years before the immigration of Europeans, the medicine people of the USET Tribal ancestors used these sacred landscapes to sustain the people's reliance on Mother Earth and the spirit energies of balance and harmony"
"whether these stone structures are massive or small structures, stacked, stone rows, or effigies, these prayers in stone are often mistaken by archaeologists and State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs) as the efforts of farmers clearing stones for agricultural or wall building purposes"
The resolution goes on to request that the federal government work to understand and preserve the stone landscapes."
   My  friend Diane Dix writes:
  "In 2008, members of the Nolumbeka Project were instrumental in proving the eligibility of the Turners Falls (MA) Sacred Hill Ceremonial Site for the National Register of Historic Places. Without this intervention, the site would have been destroyed by the extension of the airport’s runway. Nolumbeka Project members assisted by providing records from our Archives;  giving first person accounts verifying the sacred nature of the area; clearing brush;  monitoring  the site; and participating in important meetings.  [Visit http://www.nps.gov/nr/publications/guidance/TurnerFallsDOEDecision-Redacted.pdf  for details about this important preservation success]
   ...the lithic remains of the Native Americans of New England remained hidden in plain view for centuries.  Many of these features are constructed with stone and blend quietly and reverently into the natural surroundings. Yet, once one awakens to their presence they seem to be everywhere. Most were constructed hundreds, even thousands of years ago, when the Indians burned much of the land to control the vegetation and foliage did not obstruct the sightlines. Often these monuments lead the eyes to the place where the earth meets the sky..."

Ceremonial Stone Landscapes are also being recognized and preserved by some towns, through "Memoranda of Understanding" with Indigenous Peoples, such as Wendell MA:
   "A group of collaborating Native American tribes has offered to work with Massachusetts towns to identify landscapes of ceremonial or religious significance to their heritage, and Wendell is taking them up on that.
The history of indigenous ceremonial stone landscapes and the importance of maintaining their integrity and tranquility was explained to the Selectboard by Doug Harris, deputy tribal historic preservation officer for the Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office in Charlestown, R.I.
   The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and the Pequot, Mohegan and Narragansett tribes are collaborating on this and have signed a memorandum of understanding with Wendell to share authority of sites of an indigenous nature..."
Below: Snake Qusukqaniyutôk (‘stone row, enclosure) around outcrop at Orenaug.
An overlay illustration:
To be continued...


Saturday, September 08, 2018

A Place for a Prayer

These Stones are Pocasset Prayers
At a Pocasset Place for Prayers
   A Cathedral Open to the Sky
For as long as anyone can remember...
Cora Pierce photos, cropped to show details.

These Stones are a Pootatuck Prayer,
At a Pootatuck Place for Prayers,
  A Bear, a Deer and a fire starter
Sitting on a Hillside, hidden and almost forgotten...

These Stones are
A Guarding Big Snake, who knows your intentions
As you pause to pass, offer tobacco in a small stone bowl
       beside a small Manitou Stone...

These Stones are at a place called Hammonasset,
A Prayer for the Spirit of the Diamondback,
  Another Place for a shell full of tobacco,
On a hillside above where this Turtle was once found in great numbers...

(Please note: The shells in all of my photos were not found "in situ.") 
The Bear shown above was found "in situ" - which literally means "stationary" or "still" but it actually isn't always meant to stay still: