the Male Being or Substance. He was the Dawn, the Light Which Awakens, of the First World.
In the East, at the place where the Black Cloud and the White Cloud met, First Man, was formed; and with him was formed the white corn, perfect in shape, with kernels covering the whole ear. Dohonotini is the name of this first seed corn, and it is also the name of the place where the Black Cloud and the White Cloud met.
The First World was small in size, a floating island in mist or water.
On it there grew one tree, a pine tree, which was later brought to the present world for firewood.
Man was not, however, in his present form. The conception was of a male and a female being who were to become man and woman.
The creatures of the First World are thought of as the Mist People they had no definite form, but were to change to men, beasts, birds, and reptiles of this world.
My wife (Mandi) helped out lots on this one as I got her interested in these quizzes.
Thanks again for an interesting quiz this week. As always, we or at least I will be trying to keep up. Much fun.
Daniel and Mandi Dean
Another legend from the Navajo culture is that of the Navajo Skinwalker. According to Navajo legend, a skinwalker is a person who has attained the highest level of priesthood in the tribe, but chose to use his or her power for evil by taking the form of an animal to inflict pain and suffering on others.
Grace Hertz and Mary Turner The Fabulous Flecthers
Your Genesis recap just reminded me of Haydn's Creation (the intro has a little chorus at the end with those words, one of my favorite parts). Funny thing is that even the Big Bang theory is extremely similar (there was nothing and then the matter was so compressed in the middle of that nothing that started expanding at exponential speeds and within a few millions of years, the stars were created......)
it is interesting to note the similarities: creation proceeding from chaos to order, the dark to light, the first man, first woman, good and evil, etc.
Let's face it, skinwalkers are really interesting.
Have you read the Hopi creation myth? It's incredibly similar to Genesis, right down to the flood (well, it wasn't a flood, but the world was destroyed and remade). I agree, I have also found it really interesting how similar so many of the stories are; it makes one wonder if they all developed in one place and were spread very early, then morphed each into their own. I wonder if anthropologists have made any connection between creation myths and migration patterns.
I also have found it somewhat surprising that essentially every culture has one. I guess it's pretty hard to imagine, when you know nothing of how the universe is structured, any creation other than some external living creating force.
That whole area of the country is really beautiful. A few years back we visited Bandelier N.M. near Albuquerque, an old Anasazi settlement, then eventually Mesa Verde and Four Corners; we drove west out through Navajo country and Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon. Just beautiful, and still completely empty, country.
When I first saw this, I thought it was from the Navajo creation stories, thanks to Tony Hillerman's mystery novels. It was fun to search for the image and read the stories.
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At first, I saw the corn, and I immediately thought it was a pre-hispanic nation. Being Mexican, of course, I thought about aztecs, but the drawings did not resemble aztecs or any other mezoamerican culture that I could recall. Since corn is tied to life this symbol was in a circle, I thought was a legend about origin. Googling "pre-hispanic legends origin" gave me the image. Finding a complete Navajo legend that was not related to the 4 worlds was a little tougher and required some scrolling through several pages in google, but finally I found this one:
My favorite Coyote story is about how the constellations came to be. After the Great Spirit created the Earth, Moon and Sun and all the plants and animals, He and the animals sat down to watch the Sun move across the sky and the Moon come up. Some of the animals remarked at how lonely the Moon looked. Others pointed out some bits of light scattered on the ground, probably pieces that fell out of the Great Spirit’s bag when He was making the Sun and Moon. The Badger suggested they collect the pieces of light and put them up in the sky to shine with the moon. “We could make pictures of ourselves!” said the Bear. The Great Spirit told the
animals to pick up all the light and said that in the morning they would all climb the mountain to the sky and make their pictures. The light collected and safely in the bag, everyone went to sleep.
Everyone, except Coyote. Coyote was very excited at the idea of making pictures in the sky, but he thought that bears and badgers and eagles would be too pedestrian. What the sky really needed was the word “COYOTE” spread across the sky. He planned to steal the bag of light and go up the mountain alone, but he too fell asleep and was still asleep when dawn came. When he awoke it was almost noon. Panicked, he raced to the mountain only to meet the animals coming down. There were only a few crumbs of light left. Desperately Coyote snatched the bag, making a little tear in its side. As Coyote raced across the sky trying to spell his name, the crumbs of light fell out. You can see them still, a broad swath of little lights across the night sky. White people call it the Milky Way, but we know that it was Coyote writing his name. That’s why the coyotes howl at night. They look up and see what might have been.
Navajo origin stories begin with a First World of darkness (Nihodilhil). From this Dark World the Dine began a journey of emergence into the world of the present.
It had four corners, and over these appeared four clouds. These four clouds contained within themselves the elements of the First World. They were in color, black, white, blue, and yellow.
The Black Cloud represented the Female Being or Substance. For as a child sleeps when being nursed, so life slept in the darkness of the Female Being. The White Cloud represented
1. The creation of the earth.
3. Skinwalkers, The Lizards and the Coyote, the Creation of the Constellations and more. See below.
The Navajo skinwalker legend is one of the more complex and terrifying stories, steeped in mystery and evil intent.
navajo skinwalker legend Many Navajos believe firmly in the existence of skinwalkers and refuse to discuss them publicly for fear of retribution. They believe skinwalkers walk freely among the tribe and secretly transform under the cover of night.
The term yee naaldooshii literally translates to “with it, he goes on all fours.” According to Navajo legend, a
Navajos of the past were able to measure the months by the phases of the moon. Very few of our elders still living are still able to do this today. A very simplistic chart is shown below of the Navajo names of a few moon phases. More names exist for names between each of the phases shown. The moon itself is either called "T'éhonaa'éí" or "ooljéé."
The moon along with certain constellations were used to measure the coming of seasons, to signal when to plant, to harvest, when certain weather patterns were expected, and when certain ceremonies should occur. My relatives say that my great-grandfather, Dzitahnii Ray, was an expert at using the moon to tell when babies would be born. He used to be accurate to the day, dajiní (they say).
The first day of the month begins with the moon phase "Dahiitá", which is shown to the right, and ends with "Yi Deezh'áázh", which a complete disappearance of the moon. Yi Deezh'áázh literally means "traveling together." During this time (dah néítííh góne'), the moon is said to be visiting the sun, just as the sky visits the earth in the form of a fog. Click here to read the Navajo story of how the sun, moon, and stars were set by the Holy People.
A figure of the moon phases are shown below, followed by a table of their English translations.
The coming and going of years is also measured by the moon. Navajo "New Year" is marked with the start of October and the year ends with September. Planting was determined by both the position of the moon, along with the appearance of certain constellations.
River and on and the name of this place is tqoalna’osdli, the Crossing of the waters.
In this world there were six mountains. These are the mountains that are important to Navajos today.
The Four Sacred Mountains
In the East was Blanco Peak Sisnaajinii, the Standing Black Sash. Its ceremonial name is Yolgaidzil, the Dawn or White Shell Mountain.
In the South stood Mount Taylor Tsoodzil, the Great Mountain, also called Mountain Tongue. Its ceremonial name is Yodoltizhidzil, the Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain.
In the West stood the San Francisco Peaks Dook’oslid, Its ceremonial name is Dichi’li dzil, the Abalone Shell Mountain.
In the North stood the La Plata Mountains Debe’ntsa, Many Sheep Mountain. Its ceremonial name is Bash’zliinidzil. Obsidian Mountain.
Other Sacred Mountains
ln the middle was Huerfano Mesa. Dzilna’odili, the Upper Mountain. It was very sacred, and its name means also the Center Place, and the people moved around it. Its ceremonial name is Ntl’isdzil. Precious Stone or Banded Rock Mountain.
Near this was a cone-shaped mountain called Gobernador Knob, called Chori’i or Dzil na’odilicholi, and it was also a sacred mountain.
Different animals lived around these mountains. Squirrel, Chipmunk, Turkey, Deer, Snake and Lizard lived there. But these animals looked different from animals we see today. They were spirit beings.
The beings were happy in the Yellow World. Then one day something happened. Coyote took Water Monster’s baby. Water Monster was very angry. He was so angry that he decided to make it rain. lt rained and rained. The water rose higher and higher.
Then the water began to flood. The beings did not know where to go to escape the flood. First Man tried to help them. He told them to come to Blanco Peak. But the water kept rising. It rose higher than the mountain.
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The Second World (The Blue World)
The powerful swallow people lived there also, and these people made the Second World unpleasant for those who had come from the First World. There was fighting and killing.
The animals of the Blue World were at war with each other. First Man knew this, and he killed some of them. For doing this, First Man received certain songs and prayers. He said the prayers and sang the songs. When he did, the animals came to life again. Coyote also lived in the Blue World. Coyote traveled all over. He went to all four directions. On his trips, he saw that the beings were not happy. They wanted to leave the Blue World.
When First Man heard this, he tried to help them leave. He smoked some sacred tobacco. He blew the smoke in the four directions. This made the insects feel better, but all the beings still wanted to leave. First Man tried again to help them. He tried many things, but he could not find a way for them to leave.
Because of the strife in the First World, First Man (Atse Hastin), First Woman (Atse Estsan) , and the Coyote called First Angry, followed by all the others, climbed up from the World of Darkness and Dampness to the Second or Blue World.
Many beings lived in the Blue World. There was Blue Bird, Blue Hawk, Blue Jay and Blue Heron. Big insects also lived there. Wolves lived in a white house in the east. Wildcats lived in a blue house in the south. Kit foxes lived in a yellow house to the west. Mountain lions lived in a black house in the north.
On the wands, the beings passed into the Third World. Blue Bird was the first to come through. He found the world was yellow. After Blue Bird, First Man, First Woman, Coyote and one of the insects came. After that, the other beings entered the Yellow World.
The Yellow World was large. Many new things were there. A great river crossed this land from north to south. It was the Female River. There was another river crossing it from east to west, it was the Male River. This Male River flowed through the Female
The Fourth World (The Glittering or White World)
The Locust, was the first to reach the next world. He looked around, and saw that the world was covered with water that glittered and everything looked white. This is why they call it the Glittering World or White World.
The other beings followed Locust, and everyone came into the White World. The place where they came is called Hajinei. Many people say this place is somewhere in the La Plata Mountains, in Colorado. Note:(Locust also means grasshopper, cicada).
Even though they escaped the water in the Third World, the beings were not safe. The water kept rising up after them.
First Man asked the Water Buffalo why she had come and why she had sent the flood. She said nothing. Then the Coyote drew the two babies from his coat and said that it was, perhaps, because of them.
The Turquoise Boy took a basket and filled it with turquoise. On top of the turquoise he placed the blue pollen, from the blue flowers,and the yellow pollen from the corn; and on top of these he placed the pollen from the water flags, and again on top of these he placed the crystal, which is river pollen.
This basket he gave to the Coyote who put it between the horns of the Water Buffalo. The Coyote said that with this sacred offering he would give back the male child. He said that the male child would be known as the Black Cloud or Male Rain, and that he would bring the thunder and lightning. The female child he would keep.
She would be known as the Blue, Yellow, and White Clouds or Female Rain. She would be the gentle rain that would moisten the earth and help them to live. So he kept the female child, and he placed the male child on the sacred basket between the horns of the Water Buffalo. And the Water Buffalo disappeared, and the waters with her.
Soon, First Man and First Woman began to make things the way they were supposed to be. The Holy People helped them. Their first job was to rebuild the mountains. They had brought soil from the Yellow World. With this they made mountains in all four directions.
skinwalker is a medicine man or which who has attained the highest level of priesthood in the tribe, but chose to use his or her power for evil by taking the form of an animal to inflict pain and suffering on others.
To become a skinwalker requires the most evil of deeds, the killing of a close family member. They literally become humans who have acquired immense supernatural power, including the ability to transform into animals and other people.
According to the Navajo skinwalker legend, these evil witches are typically seen in the form of a coyote, owl, fox, wolf or crow – although they do have the ability to turn into any animal they choose.
Because it is believed that skinwalkers wear the skins of the animals they transform into, it is considered taboo to wear the pelt of any animal. In fact, the Navajo are only known to wear two hides, sheepskin and buckskin, both of which are only used for ceremonial purposes.
Those who have talked of their encounters with these evil beings describe a number of ways in which a skinwalker will try to inflict harm. Some describe hearing knocks on the window or banging on the walls.
Others have spotted an animal-like figure peering in through a window. According to Navajo skinwalker legend, they are seldom caught. Those who do track a skinwalker and learn of their true identity must pronounce the name of the evil one in full. Once this happens, the skinwalker will get sick or die for the wrongs they have inflicted against others.