The Creation Story of three of the Nations of the Haudenosaunee - Part 2
Many people may be familiar with the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Creation Story, at least in its short version - Submitted by Kyle Delisle
In the previous article, we left off at the very opening of the Creation Story that describes the female and male man-beings and the lodge that they live in and the fact that the female man-being combs the hair of the male man-being. We also identified the female man-being as represented by Sagittarius, the male man-being represented by Boötes, and their lodge being represented by Ophiuchus. I had failed to mention that the constellation outlines that I am using are those suggested by the author H.A. Rey. Also, in the previous article, I said that the comb that the female-man being uses to comb the hair of the male man-being could be represented by the constellation Corona Borealis. This is incorrect. The constellation that I meant was Corona Australis.
What occurs next in the story in the Buck and Newhouse versions is that the other villagers begin to note that the female man-being appeared to become pregnant. It was asked which one of the male man-beings was the father of the child, but the female man-being would not mention a word of who the father was. Eventually she does end up giving birth to a daughter. Even after the child was born, the female man-being still refused to say who the father was. In the Gibson version, the story begins with the daughter already born and she has a young brother as well.
Next, the male man-being, Rate’seróntie’s, notices that he is becoming ill and after a time, he tells the people that he is going to die, which confuses them as they do not know what dying means. It then mentions that they are confused by this because no one ever before had died in the Skyworld. He tells them that his body will grow cold and then gives his sister/mother (depending on the version) specific instructions on what she is to do. She is to place her hands on either side of him and then stare at him until the time that she thinks he is nearly dead. Once she notices that his breathing is becoming shallower, then, and not until then, she will know that he is about to die. Once that time comes, she is to place her hands on both his eyes. He also instructs her to build a burial case, place his body in it, and then place it up in a high place.
His sister/mother follows his instructions and once she believed that he was about to die she placed her hands on his eyes. Once she did this she began to cry, as did everyone else who was in the lodge. After that, they built a burial case and place his body in it and place it up in a high place at the top of a large tree in the Gibson version or at the high place inside the lodge in the Newhouse version (the Buck version just mentions that the burial case was put in a high place). Also, in the Buck version, Rate’seróntie’s dies before the daughter is born while in the other two versions, he dies after she is born.
I believe that once Rate’seróntie’s dies, he is no longer represented by Boötes. He now becomes the constellation Hercules and depending on the version, Ophiuchus either continues to represent the lodge or the large tree that the burial casket is placed upon as Hercules sits atop Ophiuchus. Another clue is that Rate’seróntie’s means “He throws lightening.” Lightening-throwing gods, such as Zeus and Thor, are represented by the constellation Hercules. As well, I believe that Sagittarius no longer represents female man-being, but rather the constellation now represents her daughter.
All three stories mention that one day when the daughter was very young, she suddenly burst into tears and cried for several days. Regardless of what her mother did to soothe her, she could not get her to stop crying. It was suggested that they bring her up to see the dead Rate’seróntie’s. When they did so, she stopped crying. This continued for most of her childhood, that she would cry and then had to be brought to the body of the elder to calm her down and stop her crying, until she became old enough that she could go see him on her own. In the Newhouse version, it says that they built a ladder for her so she could climb it to go see her father. In the Gibson version, her brother at first carries her up the tree to see her uncle until she is able to climb the tree on her own. In the Buck version, it also mentions that in one instance she comes down holding the armlet that was worn by her father and another time she comes down holding his necklace that she says that he gave to her.
So as mentioned previously, we can envisage the young girl as Sagittarius, standing at the bottom of the tree or the lodge, which is being played by Ophiuchus, that she climbs to get to her dead father/uncle, Rate’seróntie’s, who is represented by the constellation Hercules. Possibly, the armlet and necklace that she brings down from her father/uncle is represented by the constellation Corona Borealis when he has it, which is right beside Hercules and often plays the role of a crown, and when she comes down from seeing him the armlet and necklace is represented by the constellation Corona Australis, which is directly to the right of Sagittarius.
As she became older, she also started conversing with the deceased Rate’seróntie’s, although people could only hear her side of the conversation. When she reaches a certain age, she tells her mother that her father/uncle has told her that she is to be married and tells her who she is to marry and what she will be required to do for her husband to accept her as his wife. Her mother prepares bread for her to bring to her future husband and she leaves her village to go to the village of her soon to be husband. And so, we will then move on to the next three constellations of the Zodiac.
(To be continued)
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