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Multiple Morning Stars in Oral Cosmological Traditions

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The Seneca tribe of the Iroquois confederation told an astral myth involving the installation of the mortal So-son-do-wah and his lover Gěn-deñ'-wit-hă into the morning sky. While the relation of the latter to the morning star has never been in doubt, the astronomical identity of So-son-do-wah has remained unclear. It is argued that the recognition of two morning stars, as familiar also from the Pawnee and the Blackfoot nations, offers a solution to this question. The notion of multiple morning stars also clarifies some supposedly “confused” observations of Jupiter and Venus. And the attribution of a mythical “erratic” prehistory to the morning star finds a counterpart in the mythologies of, for example, the Pawnee and the Greek Phaethon.

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