Osage Hopewell Bird Effigies:The Newark Circle Decoded

Osage Hopewell Bird Effigies: The Newark Circle Decoded

In the center of the large circular earthwork at Newark is a bird effigy that is pointed to the gateway that is aligned to the May 1st, sunrise.  May 1 represents the beginning of life in the spring. It is from the birds that the Osage Sioux received their souls and bodies as the ascended from the lower to upper worlds.

From the gateway of the circle, looking back at the bird effigy.

     The journey of the Osage Sioux people began at a point below the lowest upper world, on the left side of the chart. Then the people had neither human bodies nor souls, though they existed in some unknown manner.
 They ascended from the lowest upper world, on the left, to the highest. There they obtained human souls in the bodies of birds, according to Sadeki¢e. ʞahiʞe-waʇayiñʞa said that there they met a male red bird, to whom they appealed for aid.  This was distinct from the female Red Bird, who gave them human bodies. They descended to the first world, and from that they traveled until they alighted on the red oak tree. The ground was covered with grass and other kinds of vegetation. Then the paths of the people separated: some marched on the left, being the peace gentes that could not take life; they subsisted on roots &c.; while those on the right killed animals. By and by the gentes exchanged commodities.

Osage drawing of their journey from the lower to upper world