SOSONDOWAH – The Iroquois hunting god. From a very young age Sosondowah was able to stalk and kill any game that he set his mind on. The myths depicting him as a little boy godling include the “catechism of game animals” like the tales of various other Native American tribes included about their hunting god’s younger years. These catechetical stories would feature the mother of a tribe’s hunting deity subjecting the child to a series of descriptions of game animals and taboo animals with the young god having to correctly identify each animal.
Such myths recounted aloud to younger members of a tribe seem to have served the educational purpose of familiarizing the next generation of hunters with those animals the tribe preyed upon for food and which ones their belief system required them to regard as taboo. The myth of the Muscogee Creek hunting god Fayetu provides another quick example of this theme.
Sosondowah’s tracking skills were such that he could even trace the course an arrow had taken across the sky. A gigantic deer (in some versions an antelope) proved to be the most elusive quarry the hunting god ever attempted to track down. His obsession with hunting the beast prompted him to ignore the romantic overtures of the goddess of the dawn Doyadastethe. That goddess was the daughter of the chief deity Hawenneyu, and when Sosondowah ignored her flirtatious request that he guard her longhouse lodge in the heavens (and look at her etchings no doubt) Doyadastethe had her father leash the hunting god outside her lodge against his will.
This ancient b&d experiment also failed to win Sosondowah’s heart, however, and when he fell in love with the beautiful mortal woman Gendenwitha the dawn goddess spitefully elevated Gendenwitha to godhood as the deity of the Morning Star. She fixed her permanently in the heavens where Sosondowah and all the former mortal’s other lovesick admirers could forever see Gendenwitha but be unable to reach her.
FOR MY LIST OF FIFTEEN IROQUOIS DEITIES CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2013/01/28/the-top-fifteen-deities-in-iroquois-mythology/
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