The Circle and the Wheel and the Sundoor

The sundoor as the opening in the sky is paraphrased in the smoke hole in primitive huts, in igloos, tipis, and in chimneys even though people are unconscious of the symbolism embedded in their daily lives. The opening is the channel for the movement of light and energy in both directions. Light comes down with all the symbolic power of light and smoke escapes upward cleaning the contaminated atmosphere. Perhaps some characterizations of ghosts as wisps of smoke only partially seen, may come from the memory of the smoke of the fire, since the movement of spirit has shifting fluid forms, as does smoke.
A hundred year old totem pole of the Tshimshian Indians in Kitwancool is named "The Hole in the Sky." The round doorway at the bottom of the pole is surrounded with human and animal figures, in handsome relief carving. Some totem poles like this one were doorways into ceremonial houses where the low door is a transition from one world to another, a clear analogy of the birthcanal. Its vertical dimension pierces the sky, and the shaman moves up and down the poles through the three levels of existence meeting the animal spirits on the way.
The dome of the sky parallels the skull of the human body. Since the bones at the top of the skull, the fontenelle, close after birth, some primitive tribes practiced ritual perforation of the skull after death to allow the spirit to escape from the shell of the body, "Analogous to the perforation of skulls is that of bowls, vases which in the case of examples from Mimbres Valley were generally perforated or 'killed' before being buried with the dead...the thought as we know from certain Pueblo Indians being to allow the escape of the breath body or spirit of the bowls to permit it to accompany that of the former owner to the land of shades. When the body is buried sitting such bowls are placed on the cranium like a cap."20