U is for Uktena
Uktena is from Lakota Native Americans and looks like a horned serpent and is a rain spirit. Many believe in the horned serpent. “The Horned Serpent appears in the mythologies of many Native Americans. Details vary among tribes, with many of the stories associating the mystical figure with water, rain, lightning and/or thunder. Horned Serpents were major components of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex of North American prehistory.
Horned serpents also appear in European and Near Eastern mythology.
Muscogee Creek traditions include a Horned Serpent and a Tie-Snake, estakwvnayv in the Muscogee Creek language. These are sometimes interpreted as being the same creature and sometimes different — similar, but the Horned Serpent is larger than the Tie-Snake. To the Muscogee people, the Horned Serpent is a type of underwater serpent covered with iridescent, crystalline scales and a single, large crystal in its forehead. Both the scales and crystals are prized for their powers of divination. The horns, called chitto gab-by, were used in medicine. Jackson Lewis, a Muscogee Creek informant to John R. Swanton, said, “This snake lives in the water has horns like the stag. It is not a bad snake. … It does not harm human beings but seems to have a magnetic power over game.” In stories, the Horned Serpent enjoyed eating sumac, Rhus glabra.
Yuchi people made effigies of the Horned Serpent as recently as 1905. An effigy was fashioned from stuffed deerhide, painted blue, with the antlers painted yellow. The Yuchi Big Turtle Dance honors the Horned Serpent’s spirit, which was related to storms, thunder, lightning, disease, and rainbows.
Among Cherokee people, a Horned Serpent is called an uktena.”8
- Horned serpent, feathered serpent
- Townsend, Richard F. (2004). Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-10601-7.
- F. Kent Reilly and James Garber, ed. (2004). Ancient Objects and Sacred Realms. University of Texas Press. pp. 29–34. ISBN 978-0-292-71347-5.
- Grantham 24-5
- Grantham 52
- Grantham 25
- Grantham 26