Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Emergence Myth

These ladders are a common architectural reference and decorating item throughout the Southwest. Nearly everybody uses them here in the Southwest. If you don't have one, you probably wished you did (I don't have one and I wish I did!).

What perplexes me is, what does this ladder really mean? I mean, they are everywhere here! But, I do wonder how many people really stop and think about the significance of the ladder.

I'm not entirely sure and I've been researching it and haven't really found anything conclusive. Just vague references. I do know that it is connected to the use of ladders in ceremonial kivas. Obviously, there is the function of the ladder in the kiva as a way to get in and out. But, why bother with digging a large hole in the ground for the kiva so that you have to climb in and out of it?

Based on what I could figure out from researching, it seems to be connected with the Native American Myth of Emergence (how the earth was created and how they got there). Every Native American group has their rendition of how the world was created and how man came to be. The kiva and it's structural arrangement represents this myth; a small hole or indentation in the center of the floor symbolizes the portal in which their ancestors emerged. There is a common theme of a three part arrangement: the underworld, the Earth and the sky.

Hence, the significance of the ladder; transitioning back and forth between these three domains.

If anyone has more to add to this, please do so! I think it odd that something often used as a design element and has become an icon in Southwestern architecture is not so readily understood!

More Shadow Shot Sunday images can be found at Shadow Shot Sunday.

11 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Perfect shadow shot!! and a very interesting and informative post! Thanks for sharing, enjoy your weekend!

Hot Fudge said...

I love thihs shot, and thank you for your interesting story.

Sweet Repose said...

What a cool shot, I love the lore of the Native Americans. The structures of the Southwest are just so awe-inspiring, blending perfectly with the landscape, leaving a small footprint on the desert...beautiful!

Have a wonderful, sunny Sunday!

That is the chicken said...

Fascinating information...emerging from the dark into the sun...though this ladder is all in the sun and looks just glorious!

Hey Harriet said...

That's one sensational shot! I love it! Ladders over here are generally stored away in the garage or garden shed and brought out as needed. They're more functional than anything else. I rarely see ladders propped up anywhere unless somebody happens to be climbing it to clean the leaves from their roof gutters or something.

Shannon said...

love the colors... especially the sky... looks like a beautiful day!

Richie's 2ts Inspires said...

What a lovely & artistic shot! Can't ask for more.

U rock, girl! Cheers...

twobarkingdogs said...

Great photo, thanks for sharing!

Raven said...

Great shadow. I love the flat roofed southwestern architecture. I googled a bit on kivas and couldn't find much more than you mention here, but it occurs to me that in a very hot climate there may have been a pragmatic purpose to creating underground meeting and ceremonial spaces. As well as the symbolism of emergence, they are probably much cooler than an above ground space would be. I just made that up, but it might be true.

Sarah said...

Fascinating and a lovely shot too!

ahab said...

Fascinating background to a beautiful shadow. Thanks for sharing!

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