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Blood for the Gods: Pawnee fertility sacrifice.

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posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 04:51 AM
Recently I was reading on how the ancient Greek king Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter to the goddess Artemis.

I guess it goes with the sacrificial theme of Easter, and how the dawn goddess Easter (Ishtar) changed herself into an egg-laying rabbit!

I saw a Discovery Channel program recently which said the last human sacrifice by Native Americans in the US took place in 1838.
The Pawnee would capture a woman and slowly shoot her to death with arrows.
Her blood was thought to make the earth fertile.
The "horrible" Christians eventually stopped such practices, and they taught that "sacrifice" was symbolic, unless you send your boy-children to bloody wars.

Of course such sacrifices for fertility and the "earth mother" are not unusual across cultures.
What is interesting is that it connects the Pawnee directly to Cahokia, and they may be direct descendants of the vanished city dwellers.

But I'm wondering, how much proof is there connecting the Pawnee to Cahokia, and how do we know what went on in Cahokia?

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 06:00 AM
I think a link between Cahokia, the Mayans and a plain's tribe is really quite exciting in anthropological terms.

It might suggest a vast pre-Columbian civilization that split up, and undermines the current view of isolated "city states".
It might even show connections to Europe via "Atlantis".
edit on 21-4-2011 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 06:14 AM
Considering Pangea, similarities in building, rituals, folk tales, archeological discoveries out of plac- such as Egyptian relics in the Grand Canyon, and oral history etc. I would have to say I believe wholeheartedly that there are many connections among the ancient peoples. Interesting thread, I will have to keep up!

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 06:23 AM
It's quite interesting, we don't find evidence of such sacrifices amongst hunter-gatherers (although historically, a lot of them were cannibals).

However, as soon as people are settled and engage in agriculture there is this need to find a "scape-goat" for all the people, and the idea that "our daily bread" requires blood-sacrifice.
edit on 21-4-2011 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 07:18 AM
reply to post by halfoldman

Not sure if I saw the same program or not. I was just mentioning it recently. Are the Pawnee thought to be descendants of the ancient Mayans, who vanished without a trace?
The researchers determined this Indian tribe (the Pawnee?) were really direct descendants of earlier Mayan tribes because the human sacrifice ritual displayed as a part of their culture was almost identical. They did not kidnap anyone, they had people volunteer or were chosen but it was thought to be a great honor to be chosen. They offered a "living" sacrifice to the Gods by removing their still beating heart and offering it up to the heavens.

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 07:25 AM
Leave it to the Discovery channel to change the truth - the Pawnee did not make sacrifices to the Earth mother but to the planet Venus. Sacrifices that you describe occurred only during years when Venus was especially bright as they (like the Aztecs) believed that Venus had caused past cataclysms on Earth.
Any supposed connection of the Pawnee to the Cahokia mounds is pure speculation.

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 07:41 AM
reply to post by Asktheanimals

Very interesting.
I always thought cultures only performed human sacrifice sparingly.
It was not something that really defined daily life.
(I'm not so sure about the Aztecs though.)

Is there any literature backing the "Venus" argument on sacrifice?

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 09:24 AM
As far as one see, the Pawnee are given a bad image in Western movies.
In Dances with Wolves they are represented as a gang of bullies.
Yet, historically they farmed the plains, and the Sioux tried to colonize them.

Well, the story that's told now is that the Lakota people actually lived in the forests, and they adopted the horse-culture on the plains fairly recently.

The true "Plains Indians" were farmers.

I'm not sure on this however.
There's conflicting information.

edit on 21-4-2011 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 01:11 PM
I'm getting really confused - can somebody with some knowledge of Native American civilization perhaps HELP?

How far were the Maya from Cahokia, and the Pawnee?

In any case, isn't it strange that Western belief is blood-based (at least symbolically), and so were the Americas?

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 01:28 PM
I'm very disenchanted with the Discovery Channel and its (often) low quality programs, so I went off to see what was really said about the ceremony. This is a report that dates from the late 1800's/early 1900's about human sacrifice of the Skidi Pawnee and is presumed to be a sacrifice that happens when Mars is the "Morning Star" and someone has a medicine dream that the "Morning Star" needs a sacrifice.

Here's a free PDF of an article that appeared in the 1926 American Anthropologist magazine about it (note that this is a very readable article, and not full of scientific jargon):
American Anthropologist article about sacrifice

A lot of details in this paper don't jive with what people are reporting from the Discovery Channel. The young woman was apparently shot with only one arrow and that by the person who caught her. Except for some scalps said to have come from this sacrificial practice, there's no real evidence that it occurred beyond the reports of Whites. The author of this paper makes the case that if this did occur, the sacrifical practices probably did not come from Mexico (he reviews papers where those authors thought it was Mexican(Aztec) in origin.)

There's an article that I don't see online, titled: A Case of Historical Mythology: The Skidi Pawnee Morning Star Sacrifice of 1833 MD Thurman - Plains Anthropologist, 1970 that delves into it more. From what I can tell checking earlier sources, the first reports of this is by Alphonso Wetmore, who claims to have seen one that was canceled and talked to a Frenchman who saw two others.

Wetmore kept detailed journals of his life on the plains

Books about this topic are old, and I'm not sure how good the science was in many of them. There was a cultural attitude of "they're all just naked brown savages" in the writing about the Native Americans at that time, and quite a few books of "Indian tales" from that time appear to be made up by people of European descent (includes details that would make NO sense to any member of a tribe.)

The "shock value" of this ceremony (IF it's a real one) kept the English-speaking world babbling about the "savages" for about 100 years. More recently, scholars have started wondering just how real this tale was. It's pretty obvious that the basics (if there really WAS such a sacrifice) got quickly turned into Urban Legend, as this piece on Ethics (written in 1971) shows: (I'm PARTICULARLY skeptical because the name of the brave who rescues the lovely maiden ONLY appears in books on ethics and then only a few of them and never is mentioned in books on Native Americans.)

The Wikipedia articles are interesting:

Bottom line: I'm not sure how much of this is real practice and how much of it is traveler's tales. I suspect the truth is in there somewhere, but the Discovery Channel programs are SO bad that I'm not prepared to take what they say without a lot of further research.

Paper on how research on ancient Native American practice is done

Interesting find, though, and thanks for posting it here!
edit on 21-4-2011 by Byrd because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 01:37 PM
I suppose the Christians believe it's not necessary, because they believe that by killing a god and eating him (continuously), they are absolved of all sin.
Boy, are they in for a nasty shock.

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 01:46 PM

Originally posted by halfoldman
I'm getting really confused - can somebody with some knowledge of Native American civilization perhaps HELP?

How far were the Maya from Cahokia, and the Pawnee?

Maya: no connection. Their empire ended about a thousand years before the Skidi Pawnee tradition was reported.

Pawnee: a group of tribes that speak a language family called the "Caddoan language" of the North American plains:
family houses:

Skidi Pawnee (Wolf Pawnee) were the northern branch:

Cahokia - the name of a city that was built during the "Woodlands" era of North American civilizations. The Pawnee did not build it. It's built by the Mississippian Culture people, who were pretty much destroyed by Europeans before muich was recorded about them.

A list of Modern Nations (Native Americans) does not show the Pawnee as one of the tribes recognized as descendants of the Mississippian Culture group:

In any case, isn't it strange that Western belief is blood-based (at least symbolically), and so were the Americas?

(I'm going to assume you mean Christianity and not "North American" (which is "western" as opposed to "eastern") Not really. A lot of belief practices involve blood and most of them have no similarity to a Christian tradition other than something or someone gets killed and dedicated to a deity.

posted on Apr, 22 2011 @ 09:39 AM

Originally posted by halfoldman
reply to post by Asktheanimals

Is there any literature backing the "Venus" argument on sacrifice?

I had remembered that from Immanuel Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision. He probably footnoted his source but I can't locate my copy of the book right now.

Byrd did some nice checking on this. Good stuff there my man!

posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 02:39 PM
Thank you Byrd for all the clarification!

I do hope Discovery Channel offers some more proof on some of their claims.

Interesting piece on Cahokia from the 500 Nations documentary series:

What is fascinating is how expansive and far-reaching the trade routes were across Native America.
Sadly, I suppose the diseases imported by the Europeans would have traveled along the same routes.

By "Western" I do mean European (although it is a dogged term, since its religion and much else developed in the Middle East, and its taken from their geographical vantage point).
Whether one sees commonalities in blood sacrifice across cultures probably depends how one views the world, and whether one is seeking similarities or differences.
The same goes for pyramids across the globe.
Conspiracy theorists like David Icke (at least in The Biggest Secret) suggest that the reptilian bloodlines introduced sacrificial rites wheresoever they founded their kingdoms.
One theory is also that there was a collection of grand-civilizations which were destroyed by a major cataclysm, and the survivors founded new, scattered civilizations with similar practices.
According to such conspiracy theories human sacrifice in "The West" didn't disappear, it just went underground and continues to this day.
The archetype of the "scapegoat" certainly seems cross-cultural to a degree.
To my understanding it is a "flawless" beast (and sometimes a human) which was sent into the desert or mountains to be killed to atone for the people's sins, and to appease one or more deities to keep the land fertile.
Christianity certainly incorporated older fertility symbols, such as the wine and bread (arguably from Mithraism).
Another archetype seems to be the burnt-offering, which like clouds of incense rises symbolically to the heavens (one thinks of the Aztec custom of burning hearts, or Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac on the pyre).
Then there is personal blood-letting - known to the Central Americans and the Catholics (physical mortification), albeit for different given reasons. Where such customs continue in South America, it is often a mixture of native and Catholic elements.
Whatever the given reason, all such rites ultimately were to create negative energy for the feeding and materialization of the reptilians - or at least so goes the conspiracy theory.
In South Africa there is indigenous witchcraft. The beneficial and open "sangomas" only use plants and animal parts, but there is a big current problem of "muti murders". "Muti murders" refer to an illegal trade in body parts for sorcery. The cry of an animal about to be killed is thought to attract the ancestors. Just so the cries from a living person (usually a youngster - another frequent commonality in sacrificial rites) infuses the "muti" with power. The aim is to get a specific organ for sympathetic magic e.g. an open hand too attract money and good business. Fortunately most traditional black Africans despise people who practice this "black magic".
However once again, there is little difference to what is legally done with animal sacrifice, and illegally with humans.

Interestingly on the Mayas: the whole debate about their classical period and post-classical period (which still existed at the time of conquest) again became relevant in critiques of Mel Gibson's 2006 film Apocalyto, which used imagery from both:
Of course film is a different genre to documentary, but Discovery Channel is obfuscating the divide with its cartoonish depictions of the past.

edit on 23-4-2011 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

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