WYNONA is at the approximate center of the old Osage culture, and for a long time ancient customs and rites could best be studied there. One of these, "Sending away the Spirit", was held the fourth day after the death of a warrior at a selected tree, the bark of which was cut away by the master of ceremonies and the surviving warriors. When the tree trunk stood bare it was stained red, and as a symbol of the spirit of the dead man, was bidden to travel with the God of Day on its endless journey.
Another ceremony for the dead warrior took place on the return of the war party to the town. Within sight and sound of the tepees, they sat down in a circle and began to wail for their lost companion. Then from the town came the master of ceremonies and the people; and in the smoke of fragrant cedar boughs the warriors, their cast-aside clothes, weapons, saddles -- even their horses -- were purified. All their discarded property was then distributed to those of the three clans of the Osages who took part in the rites.
As a final precaution, the returning warriors marched in procession around the encampment in order to establish a line across which the spirit of death could not pass.
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.