|G a l l e r y||
The Southeastern tribes believed that the world was divided into three different realms. The sky was the realm of purity, strength and light. The earth was a complex middle realm where humans, most animals, birds and plants played out their lives. The underworld, including the underwater realm, was a place of chaos, strangeness, but also the source of fertility and growth. Southeastern peoples held especially sacred those animals that habitually moved between two or more of these different realms.One such was the anhinga, an ancient bird that dives for fish like the cormorant, then holds its wings up in the sun to dry, for it lacks the feather oil of most water birds. The anhinga was also singled out for reverence because it sometimes congregates in flocks that slowly circle far up into the sky, like a prayer winding up toward the Great Sun.