The Cayuga refer to the Seven Thunders
as 'okisot hegakwes tenetkwa hadiwenotadyes',
'Grandparents from the sunset coming sounding their voices'.
According to oral tradition, there were originally six Thunders,
and the seventh one was a man that joined them from this earth:
Iroquois mortar and pestle
Many years ago there were three brothers that wanted to find the place of the setting sun. Along the path to the setting sun, a spider had spun a web across the trail. In their efforts to get through the web, two of the brothers became trapped in the web and could not free themselves. The third brother somehow managed to free himself, followed the trail and finally reached the sky world and the place of the setting sun.
The man was greeted by the Six Thunders, who asked this man if he would like to join their world and help them work in the service of the Creator. The Thunders told him that if he agreed he would have to change his outward form. When the man agreed, the Thunders placed him in a corn mortar, ground the man to corn mush, and took him out and remolded him. With his body reformed the man joined the Thunders, and they taught him to be gentle, never to be too harsh with the people.
The Thunders create different sounds. If you notice, one sound is like two sticks hitting each other; that is the sound of the Seventh Thunder, the one from this earth. The Thunders protect the people by waging war against the snakes and monsters, keeping them under the earth where they live. The Thunders also work to cleanse this earth with their rain and winds.
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Text and Graphics
© 1994 - Tara Prindle
unless otherwise cited.