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Sint Holo

by Gerald Musinsky
Sint Holo is an invisible, great horned serpent, having spiritual and cultural significance among the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and adjacent tribes. This "snake" might reveal its presence to any male youth who had demonstrated a marked degree of wisdom or intelligence beyond his peers. According to certain but vague accounts, Sequoya, regarded as the primary inventor and developer of the Cherokee written language, "must have seen Sint Holo, the horned reptile" in order to create the alphabet for the Cherokee.

Deep in a cave below the water, Sint Holo dwelled. He brought on heavy rains and could make a noise like thunder but could not make thunder, like the Thunderer spirit, its enemy. Only to those who showed they were wiser than the others, would he show himself and offer his old wisdom.

The Catawba also had many "snake tales".

[note: Certain South Eastern tribes were collectively known as the "Civilized Tribes" and claim their lineage to perhaps Mayan and Aztec or Toltec origins, where the myths of the Great Eagle (Thunder Bird) and Great Snake have varied significance. Other various "origin tales" are disputed whether the Chickasaw or the Creek where the "source" tribe. This connection of the Great Eagle and Great Serpent is prevalent throughout all of Native America. See Thunder Bird.]

[Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chicasaw. South Eastern Woodlands, Florida]


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  • Also known as:
    Sint-holo

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