The Zia Indians of New Mexico regard the Sun as a sacred symbol. Their symbol, a red circle with groups of rays pointing in four directions, is painted on ceremonial vases, drawn on the ground around campfires, and used to introduce newborns to the Sun.
Four is the sacred number of the Zia and can be found repeated in the four points radiating from the circle. The number four is embodied in:
• the four points of the compass (north, south, east, and west);
• the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, autumn and winter);
• the four periods of each day (morning, noon, evening and night);
• the four seasons of life (childhood, youth, adulthood and old age); and
• the Zia's philosophy that with life comes four sacred obligations one must develop (a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit, and a devotion to the welfare of others).