Quest for Manitou

Looking toward the tail of the Great Serpent,





In my own story in Marked by Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way, I told a big dream I had as a young adult in which I was introduced to the word manitou. The word was so compelling I began a search to understand it and the dream. Over time I learned that manitou is not translatable into English, but was very important to native peoples living in the area in which I grew up and to the east, as well as in some areas of California. Two scientists who studied the manitou stones of New England described manitou “as the spiritual quality possessed by every part or aspect of nature, animate or inanimate. Things relate to each other by means of this quality…”(Mavor and Dix, Manitou, 22). Furthermore, it was surmised that so-called manitou stones were often placed to increase the manitou of a place or area. You can read more fully about this in “The Soul is a Riddlemaker: Three Lessons,”  Marked by Fire.

The riddle has continued for me. In September I visited the Serpent Mound in Adams County, Ohio, a site, it turns out, that was part of what author Ross Hamilton describes as a manitou system involving a four state area. The quarter mile long Serpent is the largest earth effigy in the world, arguably 5000-6000 years old, the estimate based on the accumulation of top soil on the mound and on the fact it was oriented to the north star at the time, Thuban, not our current North Star. The effigy is an earthly reflection of the constellation Draco, the dragon or serpent. It is also an area of many lightening strikes and is on the Great Magnetic Energy Ley, one of two running through continental United States. Some say it may have been an important site used to work with subtle energies of the earth in influencing weather and fertility.

In the coming months I will write more about this site and Hamilton’s work, including a second book in which he collaborated with Vine Deloria, Jr., Sioux scholar, in collecting stories relating to the manitou system of mounds in southern Ohio, largely destroyed in the early 1800’s by western Europeans. These stories were passed down by trained storytellers from times called “a golden age period extending more than 1000 years when the mentality and spirituality of the indigenous people was very much on the ascendent,” (Star Mounds: Legacy of A Native American Mystery, 69-71). Suffice it to say, the Serpent, which appeared in flesh, dreams, and in the stories I heard in my early childhood, then compelling me to write my first novel Snakes; and manitou, that enigmatic dream word that opened a path of search for me, converged in Adams County, Ohio. Once again, I am on a quest. The path is still very much alive!

On Sunday, October 7, three authors from Marked by Fire will read from their own stories, all unique, all with common threads of learning to negotiate fields of “mentality and spirituality,” something C.G. Jung brought into the 20th century with his own work. If you are in the area, please come. For more information or registration, contact the Collin Eyre at 415.771.8055 extension 210 or e-mail Collin at

More About Marked By Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way:

Edited by Patricia Damery and Naomi Ruth Lowinsky
When Soul appeared to C.G. Jung and demanded he change his life, he opened himself to the powerful forces of the unconscious. He recorded his inner journey, his conversations with figures that appeared to him in vision and in dream in The Red Book. Although it would be years before The Red Book was published, much of what we now know as Jungian psychology began in those pages, when Jung allowed the irrational to assault him. That was a century ago.
How do those of us who dedicate ourselves to Jung’s psychology as analysts, teachers, writers respond to Soul’s demands in our own lives? If we believe, with Jung, in “the reality of the psyche,” how does that shape us? The articles in Marked By Fire portray direct experiences of the unconscious; they tell life stories about the fiery process of becoming ourselves.
Product Details
Paperback: 190 pages
Publisher: Fisher King Press; 1st edition (April 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1-926715-68-3
ISBN-13: 978-1926715681

Also available as an eBook from:
Marked By Fire - Patricia Damery, Naomi Ruth Lowinsky, Jerome S. Bernstein, Jean Kirsch, Claire Douglas, Robert D. Romanyshyn, Henry Abramovitch, Dennis Patrick Slattery, Gilda Frantz, Sharon Heath, Karlyn M. Ward, Chie Lee & Jacqueline Gerson icon