Gunung Padang: the Javanese "Mountain of Light", between (fanta) archeology and folklore

We went to the island of Java in Indonesia to visit Gunung Padang, an enigmatic archaeological site that some have called "the oldest pyramid in the world". From the “Out of Sunda” theory to the recent surveys with the carbon-14 method, we will try to give a historical location to the “Mountain of Light”, between (fanta) archeology and folklore.

Bada Valley: the “xenomorphic” megaliths in the jungle

We visited the island of Sulawesi, in the Indonesian archipelago, and ventured into the rainforest of Lore Lindu in search of the mysterious Patung, megalithic sculptures of only partly anthropomorphic aspect which constitute for archaeologists (but also for natives) a real enigma. Taking into account the various hypotheses regarding the cults of ancestors, those of fertility and supposed human sacrifices, we will try to connect them in a framework as coherent as possible.

Viracocha and the myths of the origins: creation of the world, anthropogenesis, foundation myths

di Marco Maculotti

We have set our sights on this cycle of essays classified as "Andean Notebooks" to focus on the most significant aspects of the tradition of ancient Peru, which was much more extensive than the present, also including parts of Ecuador, northern Chile and Bolivia. Having previously treated the doctrine of the "Five Suns" and pachacuti [cf. Pachacuti: cycles of creation and destruction of the world in the Andean tradition] let us now analyze the main numinous figure of the Andean pantheon: the creator god Viracocha (or Wiracocha or Huiracocha). For the purposes of this investigation, we will mainly use ancient chronicles (Garcilaso Inca de la Vega, Sarmiento de Gamboa, Cristobal de Molina, Bernabé Cobo, Guaman Poma, Juan de Betanzos, etc.) and the manuscript of Huaru Chiri, translated only recently, which we will integrate from time to time with the stories of rural folklore (collated by the anthropologist Mario Polia) and with some of the most recent hypotheses, if noteworthy.

The "myths of emergence" in the traditions of Native Americans

di Marco Maculotti

According to many mythical traditions, in the beginning the first members of the human race were generated in the bowels of the Earth, within underground worlds similar to cavernous wombs. The myths of emergence, particularly prevalent among Native American populations, provide us with the best examples of such subterranean realms. The mythical tales tell of how the first humans were brought to the surface to live in the sunlight only after they remained for a long time under the earth's surface, in the - so to speak - "larval" state, and after developing a rudimentary physical form. and a human conscience. According to native peoples, this emergence from the underworld marks the birth of man in the present era - or, to use a typical American term, the "Fifth Sun" - and also represents the transition from childhood and dependence on womb of Mother Earth to maturity and independence.

The mysterious Natchez Indians, Children of the Sun

Among the myriad of populations that once inhabited the vast prairies of North America, the Natchez of the Southern Mississippi Valley. In fact, although belonging to the confederation of Cree tribes of the Muskogee language, they spoke a peculiar dialect and very distinct from that of the other populations of the South-East, called Natchesan. From the few sources that history has handed down to us it seems that their culture, of a sedentary type, was born around 700 AD and that it was strongly influenced by the great Mesoamerican civilizations, especially as regards the cult of the Sun — and of the deified ruler as his son—And the voluntary practice of immolation as a practice worthy of the highest honor.

A cosmogonic reading of the pantheon of the Mexica tradition, in a perspective of religious syncretism

According to mexica mythology, each star embodies a certain character: the deities have so to speak "sacrificed" themselves in illo tempore to reincarnate in the stars. Thus, for example, Quetzalcoatl transformed himself into the planet Venus, the morning star, which therefore can be worshiped in the triple symbolic form of dynamic energy, of star and personified, as a cultural hero. In turn, the Sun, the main source of the tona or vital heat, arises from the immolation of Nanahuatzin.

The Aztec religion is a Mesoamerican religion that combines elements of polytheism, shamanism and animism, as well as aspects related to astronomy and the calendar. Aztec cosmology divided the world into three levels: an upper one, seat of the celestial gods, a lower one, seat of the underworld powers, and a middle one, in which the human consortium lives, equidistant from the gods and demons of nature and the subsoil. The concept of Theotl it is fundamental in the Aztec religion. In language Nahuatl it is often considered synonymous with "God", even if, to be more precise, it refers to a more general concept, which refers to the immaterial dynamic energy of divinity (tona), similar to the Polynesian concept of mana. As the Tapas of the Indo-Aryans, this tona it is not always beneficial, since an overabundance of it brings death and destruction [Torres 2004, p.14].

The "Little People" in Southeast Native American folklore

The folklore of the native peoples of North America provides a vast recurrence of legends about a "little race of men" living deep in the woods, near ancient burial mounds or rocks near streams or the Great Lakes. In mythic narratives, they are often described as "hairy-faced dwarfs", while some petroglyphs depict them with horns traveling in a canoe in groups of five or seven. Among the Amerindian peoples, people refer to them with the names of Kanaka'wasa, Nuh-na-yie, Iyaganasha and others. According to traditional narratives, it is a population of very small beings, less than a meter tall. Apart from information about their small size, little is known about their physical appearance (however, many testimonies describe them as having long white beards and wearing very old-fashioned clothing - similar to the European tradition of Gnomes et al), as they remain mostly invisible, except for the people to whom they spontaneously decide to show themselves (children or medicine men).

The belief in the Little People is widespread not only in Europe, but also among the native peoples of North America. In this article we analyze the body of beliefs relating to the "hidden people" in the traditions Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole and Chickasaw