Friday, January 03, 2014

Crater Lake Rock Pile References

My Friend Alyssa writes: 
"Power is sought in lonely spots in the mountains, in mountain pools, in eddies in the rivers, in all places where spirits are known to dwell. A boy is sent into the mountains on a vigil of several days, perhaps five. ... He must fast and must not touch his hands to his face, but must use a scratcher instead. He must sleep without covering and warm himself only occasionally by a little fire. He runs about constantly throughout the night, piling rocks into high piles... and swimming in the mountain pools. He prays, calling loudly to the spirits, and finally gets an answer. (Spier 1930:95)

Verne Ray noted that in both Klamath and Modoc cultures, there was considerable emphasis on "making artificial rock piles for religious or commemorative purposes and for attributing mythological significance to rock piles of unknown origin" (Ray 1963:xiii).

The Klamath Indians of Southern Oregon"
And then there's this that I came across:

 "A fuller (is that a word?) account of the quest for spirit power is recorded in a manuscript by Jeremiah Curtin: "Indians used to believe. Doctors said "we begin to be doctors by swimming and camping on top the mountains where there is a pond of lake and breaking willows and piling rocks on top the mountains and swimming in the lake." On ***** Mountain they used to camp. And at Crater Lake they used to say they got to the water and swam. And after swimming and camping and keeping awake all night piling rocks and breaking up twigs and tying them together till daylight [then] they would sleep. They sit down and slept, then they would dream. And whatever they dreamed of, Grizzly Bear, Black Bear or Wolf, Coyote, Skunk or all kinds of birds. Whatever they dreamed of became their medicine and they doctored with it and snakes, fishes[,] everything became their medicine. (Curtin, n.d.) (2)" - Belief and Ritual of Crater Lake - Klamath Indians of Southern Oregon Cascades

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