Saturday, October 20, 2012


We rock art enthusiasts are generally very excited by an image that combines traits, and perhaps meanings. It illustrates the change of belief patterns wherein one or more separate ideas are melding into a new combined belief or idea.  On August 11, 2012, I posted a column about my belief that the origin of the Star Kachina (or Chasing Planet Kachina) was prompted by the appearance of Halley’s Comet and by the melding of the images of the eagle and a star.

Eagle/Star/Rattlesnake petroglyph, from West Mesa,
Albuquerque, N.M. Photo: Peter Faris, 1988.

This idea is taken further by one of my favorite petroglyphs from West Mesa at Albuquerque. This shows the eagle and star combined as before but in this example the combined image also serves as the head of a rattlesnake. While I have not found any references to this combined three-way image I would not be terribly surprised to hear of one in ancestral pueblo mythology. Indeed, the artist who produced this image must have had something in mind when it was being created, and what an interesting story it must be.

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