Orders of the Dreamed









George Nelson's Letter-Journal



Dramatis Personae



Northern Algonkin Religious and Mythic Themes



Text & Documents







p. 26 phonetic aequivalences

Saulteau (Ojibway) /c^/ = Cree /ts/ (written /c/)

{A single phoneme, /kw/ would apparently derive from */q/.}

p. 26 historic sound-shifts

in Nelson's era, in Woods Cree /s^/ was not, as of yet, distinct from /s/; and

/e/ (IPA /e/) had not, as of yet, become /i/ (IPA /i/).

{This latter shift (as, of Latinate Hellenic /e/ to /i/) hath occurred in modern Hellenic.}

{In some words, Cree /p/ = Ojibway /k/ : possibly the etymon is */</.}



George Nelson's Letter-Journal


IIA.4 pp. 35-6 pronounciation of vowels

p. 35

Vowel /a/ is to be pronounced as in the transliteration of <ibri vowels : thus, "Wee-suck-a-jaak (the last a's [G.N.'s "aa"] being pronounced as in, all, hawk, &c ...; the first

p. 36

[G.N.'s "a", i.e., IPA /e/, the /e/ of /Wisahkecahk/] as ale, bail, &c ...)".

IIA.1 pp. 30-2 proof, to an unbeliever, of the reality of deities, by means of their haunting of such unbeliever

p. 30

[Asseverating through the mouth of a spirit-medium ("conjuror") :] ""What?" says he, i.e., the Spirit, "again! Thou art very skeptical -- dost thou not believe? Now thou art fond {foolishly nai:ve} of, thou wantest {lackest} to be haunted, well, thou shalt have thy desire."

At these dreadful words, which were uttered in ... reproving manner, every soul was struck with terror ... . This was no pleasant information to the conjuror who ...

p. 31

undertook this job but with the greatest reluctance, nay indeed, even ... horror ... .

At the time appointed ..., Yes," replies one of the spirits, "that which thou dread[e]dest is near, and is drawing on apace." ...

At last one of them {scil., deities appearing in animal-guise}, who goes by the name of the ... Buffaloe (thro' the conjuror ...) asked the indian if he remembered of a dream he made whilst yet a young man?

"Yes," replies the indian - "... I dreamed I saw one just like yourself, who told me that when advanced in life I should ... by a certain sacrifice ... be relieved; but ... I have no stones." ...

"Fool, put them in the fire ... -- we shall go four of us (spirits) ... upon the road ... ."

At this the Interpreter burst out laughing and exclaimed, "... nonsense?"

"You doubt too," says a voice addressing him (the In[terpreter]) from the inside : "go out of the tent and listen ... ."

He did indeed go out ... and after awhile heard as a distant hollow noise, which increased ... -- it even startled the dogs.

"Mahn!" (an indian ... exclamation signifying haste), said the spirits from within, "they [the 4 spirits] have turned him off the road, as soon as the noise was heard ... : he is sent ... up out from the Deep ... . But ... if those four will not do, there are yet a vast many of us, so that between {among} us all ... we will perplex and bewilder him : ...

p. 32

but he is of monstrous size, ferocious and withal enraged ... . Observe! ... if we succeed, ... with a terrible gust of wind, ... he'll then return to his home.""

IIA.2 p. 34 sites whereat to dream of deities

"If they want to Dream of of the Spirits above, their bed must be made at some distance from the Ground -- if of Spirits inhabiting our Earth, ... on the Ground. Here they ly {read "lie"} for a longer or shorter time, according to ... the orders of the Dreamed. ...

They sometimes lie ... their head to some one of the Cardinal Points."

IIA.3 p. 35 deity's indicating of identity (in dream)

"They dream they meet a man who asks them ..., "Dost thou know me? (who or what I am?)" "No" ... "Follow me then," replies this stranger. The indian follows -- the other leads him to his abode ... . Then the Stranger assumes his proper form, which is perhaps that of a Tree, as Stone, a fish, &c, &c. and after rechanging several times in this manner ..., then this stranger ... learns {teacheth} him his Song, &c, thus addressing him : "... remember my Song? ... Whenever you wish to call upon me, Sing this Song, and ... I will come and do for you what you require."

They know many of these spirits as soon as they see them (in their dreams) by the description the other indians have given to them ... . When the Snow addresses them -- he {him} they know, because he is perfectly white. The Ice also. The Sun and Moon from their beautifull brilliancy and the elegance of their abode."

IIA.5 p. 36 [Cree] Kis^i-kohkew = [Ojibway] Kis^i-kokke

""Key-jick-oh-kaiw." ... this name ... appears ... to mean "he who made the Day or Skies or resides in the Sky," &c."

IIA.7 p. 38 lightning-bird

"The Thunder also appears to them, in the Shape and form of a most beautiful bird

(The Pea-Cock)."

{This bird could be aequated with the Sasanian mythic Sen-murw, having (EI"S") "the tail of a peacock." But in the Awesta this bird is the /Saena/ = Skt. /s`yena/ 'falcon (hawk)'; alike as the AmerIndian Thunderbird is usually the hawk or eagle.}

EI"S" = ENCYCLOPEDIA IRANICA, article "SimorG". http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/simorg

IIA.8 p. 38 spirits of medicines teach votaries medicine in their dreams

"Roots and herbs ... such as are medicinal, appear, and teach their votaries their respective Songs -- ... what ceremonies they must do in taking them out of the Ground, their different applications, &c, &c. But these roots, herbs, &c (medecins) ... appear in their Dreams".

IIA.9 p. 39 Cree & Ojibway aequivalent to the Sioux Yuwipi

"The Conjuror is bound hand and foot, ... so ... cross-corded ... -- his "she-she-quay" ["Ojibwa s^is^s^ikwe 'rattlesnake' : ... a metaphor"] or rattler with him. ... Here they remain, some several hours, others not 5 minutes, before a fluttering sound is heard. The rattler is shaked {shaken} at a merry rate and all of a Sudden, ... away flies {fly} the cords by which the indian was tied into the lap of he {his} who tied him."

{N.B. Varun.a is the god who untieth prisoners, according to the R.c Veda.}

IIA.10 pp. 39-41 sequel, in the shaking-lodge, to the miraculous untying of the prisoner : the animal-spirits successively enter

p. 39

"Every instant some one or another [spirit] enters, which is known to those outside by ... the fluttering ... . When any enter,

the hut moves in a most violent manner --

{This movement is likely the doing of god Mitra, who, according to the Veda, is usually in company with Varun.a.}

I have frequently thought that that it would be knocked down, or torn out of the Ground.

{This hut may be Aztec day-sign Calli, whose highland Maya aequivalent is Kat 'Net' : the net for the catching of salmon-Loki, who, while tied down with the guts of his own son, shaketh the world. Thus, the guts of Ioudas Iskariotes are pertinent to the shaking of Golgotha on Good Friday.}

The first who enters is commonly Meek-kay-nock

(the Turtle), a Jolly Jovial sort of fellow,

{"Turtle ... is always making jokes" (HE"TK") : cf. "Humorous story about Turtle" (Pawnee -- "PLM&S")} {Ayotl 'Turtle" is Pipil variant to Azec day-sign Quiahuitl 'Rain' : for, there is "a turtle" in an ear of "Rain Leader" who "figures in the myth of the god ... Jest Much" (CM&S, p. 250).}

who, after disencumbering his votary, ... jokes with those outside ... . ...

The Thunder also frequently comes but he is

p. 40

desired to remain outside as he would break all.

{perhaps also because Turtle rejected Hawk ("BTWP") : "Thunder" being a bird (supra p. 38), perhaps originally a hawk}

It is reported that he once entered and split one of the Poles into shivers.

The Flying Squirrel also enters -- ... but you must take everything he says as ... the opposite ... . ...

[infra p. 114 : "parallel to the discourse of the Oglala Sioux Heyoka or "Contrary" society" {This a society of sacred clowns.}]

The Loon also enters -- he is known by his usual cry -- "nee-weah-wee-wey" ["Ojibwa niwiwiw 'I want to have a wife'"] ... . ... {cf. how another bird "tattooed the loon" ("SBIC", p. 107, #9)}

{perhaps an allusion to NIWa-reka, who was wished to return to him as wife, by Mata-ora ("SN&M") : in order induce her to return to him, he was tattooed (MM&LT).}

Strong Neck ... cannot come invisible as the others do, or will not, but he still does not chuse to be seen."

p. 41

"O-may-me-thay-day-ace-cae-wuck" [p. 110 : Cree /omemihdetehesiwak/ "hairy-heart beings"]

"The Sun also enters ... . He is a ... watch-maker, or at least can repair them. ...

{When the likes of Uri Geller miraculously "repair watches and clocks" (HA21CA, p. 47), are they employing the Sun-god to do the repair-work for them?}

When he is entered there is commonly a beautiful clear light visible ... . ...

The Pike or Jack fish also enters ... . When there are 2 or 3 on the outside ... and address him together ... -- he is very familiar too.

The ... Buffaloe is understood only by the Conjuror ... -- his language is quite foreign. The Conjuror must interpret when any thing is wanted of him."

CM&S = Anne Birrell (translatrix & annotatrix) : The Classic of Mountains and Seas. Penguin Bks, London, 1999.

HE"TK" = HOTCAK ENCYCLOPEDIA, article "Turtle (Kec^an,ge'ga)". http://www.hotcakencyclopedia.com/ho.Turtle.html

"PLM&S" = "Pawnee Legends, Myths, and Stories" http://www.native-languages.org/pawnee-legends.htm

"BTWP" = "Big Turtle's War Party" http://www.native-languages.org/pawneestory.htm

"SBIC" = J. G. Oosten : "Symbolism of the Body in Inuit Culture". VISIBLE RELIGION, Vol. 1 = Commemorative Figures. E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1982. pp. 98-112. https://encrypted.google.com/books?id=uC8VAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA107&lpg=PA107&dq=

"SN&M" = "Story of Niwareka and Mataora" http://teaohou.natlib.govt.nz/journals/teaohou/issue/Mao50TeA/c12.html

MM&LT = A. W. Reed : Maori Myths and Legendary Tales. Auckland : New Holland Publ, 1999. http://mythsofthemaoriunderworld.blogspot.com/2011/08/mataora-and-niwareka-in-underworld.html

HA21CA = William J. Birnes & Joel Martin : The Haunting of Twenty-First-Century America. Tom Doherty Assoc, NY, 2013. https://encrypted.google.com/books?id=qWu4AQAAQBAJ&pg=PA47&lpg=PA47&dq=

IIA.11 pp. 43-4 reposing upon a bed of nails

p. 43

"Some conjurors are so powerful that the hut they enter, must be doubled; that is two rows of Setts of Poles one on the outside [of] the other ... . ...

p. 44

I have been told that those who enter these Double ones are so powerful that ... they [the huts] are shaken with uncommon violence. ...

On the Points of these Sticks is the conjuror placed ...; and when he comes off no marks of injury appear ... . "Their familiars (their Dreamed, or those who appear to them in their dreams and Promise them their assistance and Protection) support them so that no injury happens {befalleth} them!!!""

IIA.12-16 pp. 44-9 mythology

p. 44

The North Wind warned his own daughter

p. 45

never to walk countreclockwise. Disregarding his advice, however,

she died; and while dead gave birth to male twins,

{This is the commencement of the widely-known South-AmerIndian heroic-twin-brethren myth-cycle.}

named "Wee-suck-a-jock" and " Meeshaw-bo^se". Afterwards, a pursued "carriboeuf" "fled to a rock on the edge of the waters and plunged in. Mishabo^se and the Wolf followed : but they all three became prey to the Michi-Pichoux, or Great Lynx, i.e., water Lynx"; which event was told by a "Kings-fisher" to Mis^a-bose's elder twin-brother "Wee-suck-a-jock".

Wisahkecahk "made himself a large Canoe, on board of which he embarked the Moose, Deer, Bear, otter, Beaver, muskrat, wolf, &c, &c, ... to the place where the Sea Lynxes used to resort to sleep".

{cf. the sailing-abroad of Mene-la[w]os, and his advent (Odusseia IV:77-592 -- GM 169.a) at the cave of sleeping seals}

p. 46

Wisukajak amputated the deadly "Iron-tail" of Water-Lynx.

{cf. the deadly rayfish-tail wielded by Tele-gonos (GM 171.k); while Odusseus begat (GM 171.l) Le[w]onto-phonos ('Lion-slayer').}

p. 47

Wisahkecahk broke out the deadly teeth of Beaver; and thereupon commissioned the diving to retrieve the sunken Earth (which had been deluged on account of the slaughter of the sleeping -- supra pp. 45-6). The first such diver, Otter, was unsuccessful and died in the attempt (and was afterwards resuscitated); but the 2nd diver, "musk rat", was successful.

pp. 47-8

At the behest by Wisahkecahk, Wolf two-and-one-half times circumambulated the Earth.

{Walking around the Earth is done by a hound in Maori myths.} {It was the task of Talos "to run thrice daily around the island of Crete" (GM 92.m).}

p. 48

"The Moon formed the Female ..., hence the reason of the Periodical return of their [i.e., women's] sickness {menstruation} with that of the moon,

"as also among the Sluts" (Bitches)."

{allusion to the canine propensity for baying at the Moon?}

p. 49

Wisahkecahk "took a [female] partner to himself, by whom he had a son. This son got to man's estate, but had a great aversion to the female Sex ... .

At last the father ... transformed himself into a most beautiful woman ... ."

{It hath been my own experience that, if a dream-woman is wished for in order to enjoy sexual intercourse with her in a dream (but no dream-woman can be found, but only dream-men instead), then any overtures by the [male] dreamer to dream-man, will result in sudden replacement of that dream-man by a dream-woman. [It could be imagined (though improbably so) that in such a case the man hath become a woman.]}

GM = Robert Graves : The Greek Myths. 1955.

IIA.17 p. 50 personified Sickness (cf. pp. 37-8)

"the one I mentioned above [ pp. 37-8], is Sickness, or the Plague. There are four of them : two walking in the air as I mentioned and two in the earth; i.e., in the bowels of the earth at a certain moderate distance from the surface,

perhaps in the same proportion as those who are above.

{Would this imply direct beneath each live persons feet, walking upside-down underground, with soles against live person's soles? There is a Siberian tribe believing this.}

The indian thus relates of him : "When I was a young man, he appeared to me, and told me his name was Sickness; and that every time a general sickness was to take place among us he would come and for[e]warn me. ...""

IIA.18 p. 51 dreamed-of familiar-spirits (cf. supra p. 35)

"These ... seldom appear (in dreams) less that 4 times, but commonly 6 times, and each time in a different form

{Are these transformations into different forms intended as tests to determine whether the mortal dreamer is able to detect (on the basis of similarity of behaviour by each of the forms) that they are all variant disguises of one and the same deity?}

till the last, when he makes himself known and ever after appears ... in the same uniform manner. It is then, after they have made themselves completely known to their votaries, that they communicate their power &c, &c, &c, and teach their songs ... . For every one of these spirits ..., have each their {his or her} own Song, which they communicate to their votaries, as well as explain also their power. Hence it is, that when any one [votary] amongst them has dreamed of a certain number, commonly a good many ..., that they [the votaries] can conjure when they please : for these, like the guardian Genii in the fables, keeps {keep} always near them, and protect them from too much injury".

IIA.19 pp. 51-3 praeternatural wrestling at night {cf. Ya<qob & the ma>lak} with a living green skeleton-monstre

p. 51

"this indian was sleeping in an old {haunted?} house I [had] sent him to, when ... he was pulled most violently out of his bed; so that his wife that was lying beside him awoke ..., tho' he also struggled himself ... : and the house shook violently. ...

p. 52

Upon enquiry he told me thus. "It was a Skeleton ... ; but they ... think ... of carrying off an indian and throwing him in some distant place, dangerous precipice, or other place where he must perish if not succored by some other more kind{ly} one [spirit]." ...

p. 53

This sort they term Pa^h-ka`ck, i.e., Skeletons, ... that die extremely lean ... from ... sickness. ... This band or congregation have a head or chief.

Their color is commonly green, tho' sometimes black;

{Huitzil-opochtli, who is described as a living skeleton, hath the hummingbird (which is green) as his animal-guise.} {There is an apparently green Skeleton-goddess (perhaps a sister of Huitzil-opochtli?) depicted in CBM, p. 75 (upper left).}

and it is extremely uncommon when one has any hair, being bald".

{The "little green men" (usually hairless) from flying saucers may be related.}

CBM = Codex Borgianus Mexicanus.

IIA.20-21 pp. 54-5 festivals in honor of Skeleton-deity

p. 54

"Some of them have a small board ... with ... a head made to it ..., other small pieces ... are stuck in each side ... the ribs ... .

{At Roman traditional banquets (derived from Etruscan prototypes), a figurine repraesenting a skeleton was on display.}

After ... some speeches, in which these Ghosts are addressed, he who makes the feast waves it ..., crying,

"he! he!,"

{This repeated interjection is pronounced "haya" (or the like) in the powwows of Great-Plains tribes.}

very loud for a good many times, and then presents it to this board, which is intended as a representation of the Pah-kack, desiring him to accept it".

p. 55

"But their cries of he! he! and ha! ha!, so repeated and vociferous ... had entered ... these men to give me an idea of their Pandaemonium below."


MANITOBA STUDIES IN NATIVE HISTORY, III = Jennifer S. H. Brown & Robert Brightman (edd.) : "The Orders of the Dreamed" : George Nelson on Cree and Northern Ojibway Religion and Myth, 1823. Minnesota Historical Society Pr, St. Paul, 1988.