Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/202

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192
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ment of the subject—the conventional system of pictographs whereby the Zuñi sacred orders illustrate their mythological ideas. It is first to a close study of the mythology and theogony of the Zuñis, and then to that of the conventional forms of art among these and kindred peoples, that we are to look for the key to the mysterious and unnumbered pictographs of the great Southwest.

Interesting for comparison with Eastern mythology is the study of the phallic and the serpent symbolism as they occur in highly developed forms among the Zuñi Indians. Yet, again, interesting because of the light that it throws upon the development of human religions and mythologies is the study of the influence of environment, physical, biologic, and sociologic, as exemplified by the religion and mythology of the Zuñis.

I regret most deeply that in the limited time allowed me today I can not go into a discussion of these various questions, and into a production of the hundreds of facts illustrative of them which I have in my possession; but that I have time only to add that, as further illustrative of the connection between the Zuñi sociologic and the Zuñi mythologic systems is the fact that no general names for chiefs of all the departments—ecclesiastical, martial, and political—are to be found in their language, nor is there a general name for their god-priests, hero, demon, animal, elemental, celestial, or tutelar. Yet the term awa nu thla includes the political and martial chiefs in Zuñi government, just as does the name k’ia pin a hâ i include their representatives, the sacred water and prey-gods, of Zuñi mythology.

 

ASTRONOMICAL PANICS.
By DANIEL KIRKWOOD.

WHEREVER science has not been cultivated, all new and startling appearances in the sky are regarded as supernatural. But a few years since a shower of meteoric stones fell in India, the fall being attended by terrific explosions. The alarmed inhabitants of the district believed these masses of rock to have been thrown by their deities from the Himalaya Mountains, and with great veneration gathered up the fragments to be kept as objects of religious worship. Nor need we smile at this example of recent superstition. In the most civilized countries of the ancient world such phenomena as the aurora borealis, total eclipses, comets, and meteoric showers, were viewed as miraculous displays of divine power, and generally as forerunners of impending disasters. A brief account of some of the panics thus produced may not be without interest.

No one who has seen the more brilliant displays of the northern