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Sketch of the Mythology of the North American Indi

John Wesley Powell

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The sun, traveling by an appointed way across the heavens with the never-ending succession of day and night, and the ever-recurring train of seasons, is one of the subjects of every philosophy. Among all peoples, in all times, there is an explanation of these phenomena, but in the lowest stage, way down in savagery, how few the facts discerned, how vague the discriminations made, how superficial the resemblances by which the phenomena are classified! In this stage of culture, all the daily and monthly and yearly phenomena which come as the direct result of the movements of the heavenly bodies are interpreted as the doings of some one—some god acts. In civilization the philosopher presents us the science of astronomy with all its accumulated facts of magnitude, and weights, and orbits, and distances, and velocities—with all the nice discriminations of absolute, relative, and apparent motions; and all these facts he is endeavoring to classify in homologic categor. . . Read More