Then He Is Hurried On To The Antelope Kiva, Where Another Priest
Gives To Him The Sacred Gourd Full Of Water And A Sack Full Of Sacred
Meal, With Certain Ceremonial Prayer Sticks, Which, Placed And Used In His
Cornfield, Ensure To Him An Extra Fine Crop At The Next Harvest.
In the meantime, a number of young men and boys have followed the rest of
the racers, bearing in their hands cornstalks, melon vines and fruit.
soon as they reach the level mesa top, the women and girls dart upon them,
and a most good-natured but exciting scuffle takes place. For five to ten
minutes this scramble lasts, and when every corn or vine carrier is rid of
his gifts, the play is at an end, and all retire to await the great event
of the whole ceremony, - the open-air dance, when the deadly reptiles are
carried in the mouths of the priests.
Preparation for Snake Dance. At noon a secret ceremony takes place in the
dark recesses of the kiva, viz.: the washing of the elder brothers (as the
snakes are called), which I have fully described in "The Indians of the
Painted Desert Region." When the afternoon shadows lengthen, every
available place in the dance plaza is speedily occupied by the villagers
and visitors, who wait the march of the antelope priests. The photographers
present must keep within a certain line.
Arrival of Snake Priests. After circling in front of the kisi (a cottonwood
bower in which the snakes are kept) the antelope priests line up with their
faces fronting from the kisi.
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