Friday, September 7, 2012

Cave Rock, Water Babies and the Washoe People

Cave Rock sits at the very edge of Lake Tahoe along its East side about 1/3 the way up from the southern tip of the lake.  It is a sacred place to the Washoe people and happens to be the place where the legendary Water Babies live.  In Washoe stories, the Water Babies actually live in all bodies of water, but apparently Cave Rock is their most frequented hangout.  They are very powerful and at times cause illness or even death to people, but can also be positive omens if you approach them carefully and treat them with respect.  It is mostly just the Washoe healers that interact with the Water Babies, though, as most people avoid them by choice.  This is why Cave Rock is always given a wide berth by most of Washoe people as they pass by.

And then there is Ong... The giant man-eating bird who nests in the middle of Lake Tahoe.   He's so strong and powerful that his wings bend the trees along the shore when he flies by.  Actually, legend has it that Ong was killed by a clever Washoe man just before being eaten, but his nest still remains just out of sight below the water surface.

These tales remind me of the Kelpies of England and Scandinavia - you know, those Water Horses with nefarious qualities?  I've blogged about them earlier (Kelpie Blog post link).  There 's no tellin' what'd happen if a Water Baby would jump on a Kelpie and the both of them chance upon Ong, but my thoughts are this is how the Artesians came to be.  Could be wrong, tho...

Finally, on the other side of Nevada (just into Utah) are where the Goshute People reside.  They don't speak of Water Babies, but to them water is just as powerful.  In their language "water" is referred to as a human being - a living entity.  It is described as such because the spirits of all their ancestors live in water.  What a great concept, and once again we see how important water is to humans throughout history. Today's mankind should treat it with more respect - if for no other reason than it contains Water Babies, Kelpies, sacred ancestors, and possibly....even Artesians.

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