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Lame Deer - Native American Indians - The Great Mystery



Type of Spiritual Experience


This portion of the Great Gallery, found in Horseshoe Canyon, is an example of a Barrier Canyon Style pictograph (painted rock art). The full panel is 200 feet long, 15 feet high and the paintings are life-sized human figures. The largest figure pictured is about 7 feet tall.  Horseshoe Canyon, also known as Barrier Canyon, is a detached part of Canyonlands National Park in Utah, west of the Green River, and north of the National Park's Maze unit.

A description of the experience

Lame Deer Seeker of Visions – John Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes

Nothing is so small and unimportant but it has a spirit given to it by Waken Tanka.  Tunka is what you might call a stone god, but he is also part of the Great Spirit.

The gods are separate beings, but they are all united in Waken Tanka.  It is hard to understand.... you can't explain it except by going back to the 'circles within circles' idea, the spirit splitting itself up into stones, trees, tiny insects even, making them all wakan by his ever-presence.  And in turn all these myriad of things which makes up the universe flowing back to their source, united in the one Grandfather spirit.

Tunkan – the stone god – is the oldest spirit, we think, because he is the hardest.  …..  Hard, upright, piercing – like the lance and arrowheads fashioned from it in the old days.

Tunkan is the stone spirit; Wakinyan, the thunder spirit; Takuskanska, the moving spirit; Unktehi, the water spirit – they are all wakan; mysterious wonderful, incomprehensible, holy.  They are all part of the Great Mystery.

The source of the experience

Native American Indians

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Science Items

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