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THE TOP FIFTEEN DEITIES IN IROQUOIS MYTHOLOGY

Iroquois Confederacy

Iroquois Confederacy

The original five tribes of the Iroquois Confederation were the Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga and Cayuga. They were later joined by the Tuscarora.

As with Inuit mythology the exact names and roles of the major Iroquois deities varied a bit from tribe to tribe but there is an overall pantheon that is recognized as belonging to the Iroquois belief system. I will be using deity names selected from each of the nations of the Iroquois League so be aware that when looking into the beliefs of one particular tribe the names may be different from the ones I use here.

As always my goal is to restore the figures from these neglected pantheons to their rightful place alongside other world deities like Isis, Odin, Aphrodite and others. The following entries are done in the same style as my examination of gods and goddesses of the Navajo, Choctaw, Polynesians, Vietnamese and many others.

15. DOENDZOWES – The Iroquois earthquake goddess. She lived in a longhouse lodge in a large crack in the ground caused by one of the tumultuous tremors she controlled. Earthquakes were caused by the wild dancing that often took place in her lodge. Her son Thagonhsowes had a handsome face that was split down the middle by a scar like the crevices that Doendzowes’ earthquakes tore in the ground.

The swan goddess Oweeyegon had her two daughters bake Marriage Bread and sent them to marry the earthquake goddess’ son. After a suitable time Doendzowes invited Oweeyegon to come live in the longhouse lodge with them and join in the raucous dancing that causes earthquakes. “Doendzowes’ parties are NUTS, dude!” 

14. OTGOE – The wampum god. Otgoe’s tears, mucous and vomit were wampum, like the white shells found in sandy deposits near bodies of water. When he smoked from his pipe and then spit the spittle also turned into wampum.

As highly prized as wampum was Otgoe was a very valuable deity and was once kidnapped by an evil and very powerful medicine man to provide wampum for him and the malevolent tribe he ruled over. The tribe did this by prodding him with firebrands to make him cry wampum tears.

Eventually he was freed by his brother, Hodadeion the god of magic. Later Otgoe was devoured by a gigantic bird, who Continue reading

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