Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Buffalo Head

Buffalo Head, photo c. John Everett Till

Far to the north of Xochiquetzatlan, the great continent widens into a vast land called Turtle Island. There, the continent is divided by the Great River, along which the people of Cahokia have built their towns, cities, temples, and burial mounds. North of the Cahokians, prairie lands unfold in all directions.

Keep going north, but head west, and eventually the prairies give way to a dense circle of mountains. There are mountains within mountains, and riverine valley trails run between them. The local tribes call these mountains the Black Hills, because pines make the mountains' slopes look black. There are rocks and minerals everywhere - gold, quartz and much, much more. It is as if the gods of Earth disgorged their treasuries here.

This entire land is sacred to the peoples of the north. Few live in the Black Hills but many come here to experience the spirits and have visions. One can easily step into the spirit world here, go on HeroQuests, and relive (and sometimes alter) the myths of one's ancestors.

One of the many sacred places here is the Buffalo Head, a mountain whose peak resembles a bison.

It is said that a buffalo god touched down here, and left the shape of its head. At that same moment, the faces of the Nameless Autarchs cracked, crumbled, and cascaded into the abyss of granite shards below the faces. After praying below the Buffalo Head, many descend into the Valley of Fallen Faces to wonder at the broken faces of these lost and forgotten kings.

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