The Swastika: The Earliest Known Symbol & its Migrations
Dispersion of the Swastika
morning, the bears again offered food, which he again declined, saying he was not hungry. Then they showed him how to make the bear ketháwns, or sticks, to be sacrificed to the bear gods, and they drew form one corner of the cave a great sheet of cloud, which they unrolled, and on it were painted the forms of the "yays" of the cultivated plants.
In Dr. Matthew's memoir (marked third, but described on p. 447 as the second picture), is a representation of the painting which the prophet was believed to have seen at the home of the bears in the Carrizo Mountains. This is here reproduced as pl. 17. In the center of the figure is a bowl of water covered with black powder; the edge of the bowl is garnished with sunbeams, while outside of it and forming a rectangle are the four ca'bitlol of sunbeam rafts on which seem to stand four gods, or "yays," with the plants under their special protection, which are painted the same color as the gods to which they belong. These plants are represented on their left hand, the hand being open and extended toward them. The body of the eastern god is white, so is the stalk of corn at his left in the southwest; the body of the southern god is blue, so is the beanstalk beside him in the southwest; the body of the western god is black, so is the tobacco plant in the northeast. Each of the sacred plants grows from five white roots in the central waters and spreads outward to the periphery of the picture. The figures of the gods form a cross, the arms of which are directed to the four cardinal points; the plants form another cross, having a common center with the first, the arms extending to the intermediate points of the compass. The gods are shaped alike, but colored differently; they lie with their feet to the center and heads extended outward, one to each of the four cardinal points of the compass, the faces look forward, the arms half extended on either side, the hands raised to a level with the shoulders. They were around their loins skirts of red sunlight adorned with sunbeams. They have ear pendants, bracelets, and armlets, blue and red, representing turquoise and coral, the prehistoric and emblematic jewels of the Navajo Indians. Their forearms and legs are black rain clouds. In the north god these colors are, for artistic reasons, reversed. The gods have, have respectively, a rattle, a charm, and a basket, each attached to his right hand by strings. This basket, represented by concentric lines with a Greek cross in the center, all of the proper color corresponding with the god to whim each belongs, has extending from each of its quarters, arranged perpendicularly at right angles to each other, in the form of a cross, four white plumes of equal length, which at equal distances from the center are bent, all to the left, and all of the same length. Thus are formed in this chart four specimens of the Swastika, with the cross and circle at the intersection of the arms. The plumes have a small black spot at the tip end of each.
Dr. Matthews informs me that he has no knowledge of any peculiar meaning attributed by these Indians to this Swastika symbol, and we