American Mound Builders’ Beliefs About Death? 15 September 2014
By: Dr. Greg Little
According to recent conclusions made by a large group of mainstream archaeologists, Native American mound builders believed that the journey of the “free soul,” the part of us that we identify as our memories and consciousness, usually began a few days after death.
It involved a journey to the west until a vast body of water was reached. There, the soul waited until a precise moment in the early morning hours—just before the sun rose. The soul then made a leap toward a specific spot in the western sky located just below what Native Americans called the “Hand” constellation.
The Hand was a “severed hand” with the fingers dangling down toward the horizon. In the hand itself was a colorful, fuzzy star (a nebula), today known as Messier-42. The wrist of the severed hand was formed by three stars—what is known today as the Belt of Orion. Assuming that the soul made the leap successfully, it quickly transitioned to the Milky Way, which was seen as a horizontal band of stars located just above the Hand. At this point, the Hand and the Milky Way were seen to sink below the horizon just as the sun rose.
|The transition to the Milky Way allowed the soul to safely make the trip through the underworld as the night sky (a dome) was thought to pass around and under the physical world—called the “Middle World.” Just after sunset on the next day, the Milky Way reappeared as a vertical band, and the soul made its way on the “Path of Souls” (the Milky Way) encountering various creatures and tasks as it traveled from point to point. Eventually the soul reached a spot on the path where it had to make a choice—to go left or right.|
This was at the place where the Milky Way was seen to split into two bands—the Dark or Great Rift. One of the two paths at the split is a dead end, the other path continues. At this spot, a creature usually depicted as a raptor bird (an eagle, hawk, or falcon) was also encountered. The raptor bird was seen as an Adversary that “tested” the worthiness of the soul. The Adversary was the star Deneb. If the soul was worthy and chose the correct path it could gain access to a portal in the sky dome where it moved through the sky dome into the realm of the ancestors.
Many people are aware that the concept behind the Ancient Aliens® phenomenon is that Earth has been visited by advanced interstellar travelers in ancient times. The ancient astronauts are thought to have brought certain knowledge to the less advanced inhabitants of Earth and perhaps to have even performed some sort of genetic manipulation in an effort to create more advanced life forms. Modern humans are often said to have resulted from these genetic manipulations, perhaps resulting in hybrid populations. A lot of the evidence presented in favor of the ancient astronaut idea includes various megalithic structures, stories and legends about visitors from the sky, and artifacts depicting what appear to be flying saucers, creatures in spacesuits, and various craft with fire coming from the underside of craft.
Native American Myths & Giants in Mounds: Visitors from the Stars
American archaeologists spent years coming to their conclusions about the mound builder’s death journey concepts. Two types of evidence were primarily used in their analyses. The first type of evidence came from ethnological studies of a host of Native American tribal beliefs and legends. Many of these were collected in the 1700s, 1800s, and early 1900s. These legends tell of visitors from the stars in the ancient time sometimes referred to as the beginning. Some tribes have legends that their ancestors originated from the stars or that the people of the world were somehow saved from interstellar visitors. Nearly every tribe had some sort of legend involving star people. But almost every tribe also had legends of “giants.”
Many tribal legends relate that an invasion of giants happened in tribal lands in ancient times; the same legends go on to relate how the giants became their rulers. The invading “giants,” hereditary bands of people who were much taller than the indigenous populations, had advanced knowledge about weapons and food cultivation that gave the hunter-gatherer tribes a major leap to help them become more settled and secure.
America’s ancient Mound Builders left behind thousands of pyramid-shaped and conical burial mounds, complex geometric earthworks, effigy mounds, and incredible artifacts depicting mysterious symbols. When the first European explorers began reporting their discovery of these enigmatic structures (over 400 years ago) no one knew who built them. No one seemed to know the meaning of the symbols, and the ritualistic purposes of the complex geometric earthen shapes were a complete mystery. That forgotten knowledge is explained by the decimation of Native American populations by explorers and gold-seeking Spanish conquistadores. Within a generation after the Spanish entered America, Native American populations decreased by over 90 percent from disease and war. It is now known that many ancient earthworks were used to assist souls of the dead in their journey to the sky world and the mysterious symbols were used in rituals by an elite ruling class of priests and chiefs.
Souls journeyed to the west where they made a leap of faith to the sky. The souls then made a journey along the Milky Way until they reached the most important spot on the path. This was at the Great Rift of the Milky Way, where they encountered an enigmatic Adversary located at the Constellation of Cygnus.
Path of Souls details this amazing death journey and how it was revealed in recent times by archaeologists. It is also thought that the newly revealed Native American death journey explains much about ancient Egyptian ideas of death. Where did these ideas about the death journey come from and when did they arrive in America? Who were the elite rulers of the Mound Builders? Hundreds of newspaper articles from the 1800s and early 1900s reported giant skeletons found in large stone tombs buried deep inside burial mounds. Were these tall leaders the elite? Today the Smithsonian asserts that there we no giants in the ancient world but in their actual published mound excavation reports, they detailed the discovery of many skeletons at least seven feet tall. Path of Souls explores all of these issues and is lavishly illustrated with over 150 maps, photos, and illustrations. Read more
The legends also say that these giants became the elite rulers of the society because they held “secrets” and the power over life and death. The elite eventually organized the indigenous people into work groups so that mounds, earthworks, and cities could be created. The mounds and earthworks were made to give the elite a more obvious status in the society as well as being used as a means of literally controlling the death journey. In essence, the mounds and geometric earthworks were earthen machines employed in death rituals. It is also known that the elite passed their power down from one generation to another through heredity. Many of the “giant” skeletons that have been excavated from America’s mounds were these elite individuals.
The same legends also tell of the end of the giants’ reign. Over many generations, these elite rulers became increasingly corrupt. They demanded more and more from the people. When they finally became “sexually depraved,” the legends relate that the people rose against them and exterminated them. This occurred at site after site, and with tribe after tribe. By the time the first Europeans entered the Americas, most—but not all—of the giants had been eliminated and the mound building cultures had declined in many areas.
Alien Iconography on Artifacts From Mounds
The other type of evidence used by archaeologists in discerning the beliefs about the death journey came from symbols consistently found on exquisite artifacts that had been excavated from mounds. Among the symbols were stars, the sun, a “plus” or cross sign, skulls, bones, the eye in hand, raptor birds, humans dressed in bird garb, and many more. However, some of the imagery, usually referred to as “Mississippian Iconography,” looks alien.
The most prolific of all mound excavators was a wealthy Harvard graduate named Clarence B. Moore. Between 1891 and 1918 Moore excavated more mounds in America’s southeast than the Smithsonian did during its entire long-running Mound Survey Project. One of the first mounds Moore obliterated was the Mt. Royal Mound along the St. John’s River in Florida. Inside the massive 16-foot high, 555-foot circumference mound, Moore pulled out a bizarre 10.6-inch square copper sheet.
The sheet had several embossed engravings on it. In the center was a set of 7 concentric rings. Surrounding the rings was a series of curious symbols that Moore wrote were of “great interest.” He later found the same symbols on many other artifacts at many mound sites but he never gave an explanation of what he thought it represented.
On the copper sheet were four “flying saucer-like” engravings with a fork-like extension coming from them. Between these four objects were four other elongated saucer-like objects. The overall appearance of the objects is that they are moving around the concentric rings in the center. The objects do look oddly like flying saucers and the two fork-like extensions can easily be interpreted as exhaust fire. Archaeologists believe that the saucer-shaped objects represent an “ogee”—a portal into the sky. The small hole or indentation in the objects represents the actual portal. The two fire-like extensions are thought to be representations of the Dark Rift of the Milky Way, where it splits into to paths. The hole inside the ogee (the saucer) would be the star Deneb. A photo of this odd object is below.
The idea that Cygnus is the final destination (or the final portal) of souls on the death journey will be foreign to many. For some years many people who embrace the ancient astronauts’ idea have seen Orion as a stellar destination. But it is clear that the mound builders saw Orion as only the first jumping off point. The same may well be true in Egyptian beliefs. It was like the first stop on a long plane trip where one might make several stops to change planes. From Orion, there was a jump to the Milky Way and then a long journey to Cygnus. Amazingly, Cygnus does, in fact, have support from NASA as a place where life may exist.
There is no doubt that many Native American tribes saw their origin as somewhere in the sky world. And there is no doubt that many of them believed that beings from the stars visited in ancient times. In essence, the souls’ death journey was a return to the origin. It is clear to American archaeologists that the ancient mound builders believed in the literal truth of this idea.
Written by Dr. Greg Little – MessageToEagle.com Contributor
|About the author:
Dr. Greg Little – is author or co-author of nearly 50 books and over a thousand articles. He is part Seneca and is author of The Archetype Experience, People of the Web, and Grand Illusions as well as several other books on ancient history. He has also published numerous articles on America’s mound builder culture and specific mound sites. He has been featured in documentaries on The History Channel, Discovery, The Learning Channel, National Geographic Channel, MSNBC, and SciFi.