Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Piling Rocks - Belief and Ritual of Crater Lake

Alyssa Alexandria RunswithWolves Photo

     "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)"

1 comment :

Tim MacSweeney said...

"Crater Lake exemplifies the concept of a sacred place or sacred landscape, embodying in a specific location the qualities of mystery, power, and danger. (7) Traditionally Crater Lake served as an important site for Indian spirit quest activities, and continues to be used for spiritual purposes today. (8)

A sacred landscape entails a correlation of physical place and cultural meaning, existing within a larger body of tradition. Its physical elements (a piled rock site, Wizard Island, the lake bottom) have associations with various culturally postulated events, some in a mythic time (for example the myth of Le*w and Sqel), others (such as spirit quest rituals) still occurring today. Traditional knowledge of such a landscape--of the myths which recount its origins, and the rituals by which its powers are encountered--shapes one's experience. Some appreciation of the myths and rituals associated with Crater Lake allows the Euro-American visitor to have some understanding of the traditional Indian experience of Crater Lake National Park, of its spiritual powers and the possibilities for personal transformation which it affords."
7 For a comparative perspective, see Rudolf Otto, The Idea of the Holy, 1958. For further consideration of Crater Lake as a sacred landscape, see R. and K. Winthrop 1993.

8 For example, at a meeting with Park personnel (8/31/89), information was given regarding indian individuals seeking exemption from the Park entrance charge for visits having a religious or spiritual purpose.