Iroquois Cosmogony: The tribes who compose this group of the Indians, concur in locating the beginning of creative power in the upper regions of space. Neo, or the Great Spirit of Life, is placed there. Atahocan is the master of heaven. Tarenyawagon, who is thought to be the same as Michabou, Chiabo, Manabozho, and the Great Hare, is called the keeper of the Heavens. Agreskoe is the god of war. Atahentsic is the woman of heaven. The beginning of the creation, or of man, is connected with her history. One of the six of the original number of created men of heaven was enamored of her immediately after seeing her. Atahocan, having discovered this amour, cast her out headlong to the earth. She was received below on the back of a great turtle lying on the waters, and was there delivered of twins. One of them was Inigorio, or the Good Mind; the other Anti-inigorio, or the Bad Mind. The good and the evil principles were thus introduced into the world. Both were equally active, but the latter perpetually employed himself in counteracting the acts of the former.
The tortoise expanded more and more, and finally became the earth. Atahentsic afterwards had a daughter, who bore two sons, YOS-KE-KA and THO-IT-SA-RON. YOS-KE-KA in the end killed his brother, and afterwards, Atahentsic, his grandmother, resigned the government of the world to him.
The Iroquois affirm that Atahentsic is the same as the moon, and YOS-KE-KA, the same as the sun.
These things are elements of the earliest and best authenticated relations. They appear to denote a mixture of some of the dogmas of Zoroaster, as the ancient sun worship, with the idolatry, perhaps, of the “Queen of Heaven.”
(↵ returns to text)
- Charlevoix sees a Greek root, as the origin of the word Agreskoe.↵