Page:American Anthropologist NS vol. 1.djvu/588

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priests sang in chorus. As the Bird-man danced, he raised the bow, fitted an arrow to it, faced the north, and drew the bow- string as if to shoot. This was repeated six times, the performer pointing the arrow to the cardinal directions in prescribed sinistral sequence.

At the close of this part of the performance the songs ceased and the Bird-man took a seat before the altar, while a priest at his right lit a conical pipe and blew through it, on the body of the Bird-man, clouds of tobacco smoke. This smoke was not taken into the mouth, but the smoker placed the larger end between his lips, and blew through the tube, causing the smoke to issue from a small hole at the pointed end. 1 After prayers by one or more of the priests, the Bird-man again danced before the altar, at the same time imitating the movements of wings with his arms and bird-calls with a whistle in his mouth. He then left the room and the calls could be heard as he went outside.

This proceeding is interpreted as a symbolic dramatization or representation of the fertilization of the earth, and is an example of highly complicated sympathetic magic by which nature powers of sky and earth are supposed to be influenced." The Bird-man, called Kwdtaka or Kwdtoka* is an old war-god, and possibly a sun god, the return of whom the Winter Solstice ceremony commemorates.

1 A similar method of smoking has previously been described in an account of the sixteen songs sung by the Antelope priests in their kiva on each day of the Snake dance at Walpi.

■* A pantomimic prayer or symbolic representation by which man shows his wishes to the gods by acting out what he desires instead of verbally petitioning them. This ceremony comes fairly within a definition of religious rites found in Tylor's Primitive Culture (p. 363) : "In part they [religious rites] are expressions and symbolic per- formances, the dramatic utterance of religious thought, the gesture language of the- ology." The interpretation of savage rites as a sign language to the gods, and the relation of the altar to primitive ceremony have been ably discussed by Major Powell, to whom the writer is greatly indebted for a proper understanding of the significance of primitive altars. (See American Anthropologist, N. S., vol. I, p. 26 et seq )

3 The word Kwdtaka admits of the following derivation : Kwdhu, eagle ; tdka, man,= Eagle-man ; or, more probably, kwdhu, eagle ; tokpela, the cross, symbol of the sky. This cross or four-pointed star appears on many ancient pictures of Kwdtaka, (See Smithsonian Report, i8q6, pi. xlviii.)

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