The Three Worlds


This piece was inspired by the following legend and a story told to me by a Cherokee woman named Lizzie...

In the beginning of existence everything was water. The supreme god, who is made of three entities, created the sun, the moon, and the three worlds. After these creations, they returned to the upper most part in the seventh heaven. All the animals also lived in the upper world called Ga-lv-la-ti. It was very crowded. They wondered what was below and the tiny water beetle volunteered to find out.

The beetle dove from the heaven above into the water below. It swam from place to place but could find nowhere to rest. Finally it went to the bottom of the water and came back up with some soft mud. The mud began to grow and spread and became the earth. This land was fastened to the sky with four ropes becoming the four principal directions. This became the middle world.

There is another world below this one. It has the same plants, animals and people but the seasons are in reverse. The streams flowing from the mountains are the roads by which we can reach this other place and the springs at the beginning of the streams are the doorways. But you must have an underground person be your guide and be very fast to enter. They say we know that the seasons are in reverse because the water flowing from these springs is always warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than the surrounding air.

Lizzie told me that the upper world is a place of supreme peace and harmony. The lower world is in reverse to this one, a place of chaos. The middle world is a constant struggle for balance between the two. Each person lives with this battle everyday. This can be seen in the vessel at the left. On the top globe is the shooting stars pattern representing the upper world. The bottom globe is etched with a random swirl pattern of chaos. The middle globe is left untouched showing that each person must create the pattern that will fill this space.



The Three Worlds Photo

10.5"H X 5"D

Medium: Hand coiled native clay. Pit fired.

Description: Deep terra cotta color with a medium stone polish. The upper globe and the lower globe have been etched after firing. Inquiries are welcome concerning the purchase of this signed piece.

(Private Collection)