For seven days, a band of Arapaho warriors followed a small herd of buffalo into the mountains of Colorado. The buffalo, who stood 8 feet tall with white hides and large light blue eyes, all along the route sang "like thunder that would not stop." Having reached the highest summit, one of the Indians, who was close to starving, reached through the mist and killed a buffalo before the herd vanished into the clouds.

    In its swells and peaks, in its rounded earth and rocks,
    a mountain is belly and teeth, it devours the cloudy sky;
    it swallows storms, bones and all, and even bronze thunderbolts.

Six decades later, a group of Native Americans was invited by an organization of new residents to tell them the history of the land. After relating this strange story, the Indians were asked its purpose. "The Arapaho said this was the first time the buffalo tried to show them how to climb out through the sky."

The 'opening' in the sky has its counterpart in the opening
in the earth, which permits passage to the underworld, in accordance with a schema characteristic of North Asia.

When it comes to Southwestern and Western tribes, what I find fascinating is the primitive psyche of man borders on the life of the animal soul, just as the caves of prehistoric times were usually inhabited by animals before men laid claim that Amerindian religious conservatives are as fundamentalist in their beliefs as their monotheistic counterparts. For example, traditional Hopi contend that their people actually arose from a lower world into this one, the Fourth World, which is expressed in two diagrams that together are symbolic of Mother Earth. Interestingly, they are "identical with the diagram of the Labyrinth said to have been built by Daedalus in Crete to hide the Minotaur, the result of an unnatural union of Queen Pasiphaë with a sacrificial bull."