In Chinigchinich, Friar Geronimo Boscana (Fred Robinson translation, 1846) writes his observations of the life and practices of the first Southern Californians. It is a decidedly ethnocentric view---Boscana was not an objective party---but a few insights can be gleaned.
Boscana reports the belief that when the body died, the heart remained "to dwell among the stars, and like them throw its light upon the earth. For this reason, they said that the planets, and most luminous bodies, were their hearts, or in other words, they were themselves, in reality."
When they looked into the night sky, they saw themselves. They were part of the universe.
Wintersburg's Cole family
The "Universe Effigy" quietly resided at the Cole Ranch for over twenty-five years before being loaned to the Bowers Museum in 1936, catalog number 2878. Scholars recently took another look. In their 2009 paper for the Pacific Coast Archaeological Society Quarterly (PCAS), Henry Koerper and Paul Chace write, "the Universe Effigy is arguably the most esthetically spectacular of all California magico-religious artifacts" and that the Cole Ranch discovery was "the first Universe Effigy to come to modern attention.
Editor's note: Readers may wish to view the Universe Effigy at Cole Ranch and the Universe Effigy: Part Two at http://historicwintersburg.blogspot.com/2012/04/cole-ranch-and-universe-effigy-part-two.html
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