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16 17 dragons of the amerIcas The dragons of the North American Indians are more serpentine in shape than many of their European counterparts. They have a snakelike body and are nearly always portrayed with a horn or two, or a jewel, growing out of the tops of their heads. Large and immensely powerful, these serpents are again regarded as water deities and, like Chinese dragons, live mainly in lakes and rivers, creating storms and lightning. In many North American myths, from Mexico to Alaska, the path of lightning marks the swift darting of lightning snakes, and, also during storms, feathered reptiles sisiutl, haietlik or sea wolves rise out of rivers. These are depicted on masks worn by the Indians for ceremonial dances, symbolising the fertility associated with rain and lightning. The feathered serpent also appears widely throughout ancient South Americaas the central Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl literally quetzalbird snake, known to the Maya as Kukulkan, and in 3000 yearold Olmec representations. As the magical morning star, Venus, Quetzalcoatl emerges from the mouth of the earthbound feathered serpent. The inventor of the calendar, he is also, like the Chinese Yellow Dragon, credited with bringing the art of writing to mankind. Note the wind and water combination of feathers and serpent. Above Top Left Quetzalcoatl rising out of the serpents jaws Top Right Haietlik Serpent Lower above 19th century Pennsylvanian dragon, showing European influences. Opposite Quetzalcoatl from a manuscript Algonquian Indian rock painting discovered in 1675 beside the Mississippi Canadian 442 Squadron Haietlik Lightning Snake motif.
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