Even Mother of All Needs a Break

Creating the World Takes a Lot of Energy

Creating the World Takes a Lot of Energy

Hosteen Klah, wonderful Navajo storyteller and keeper of the Old Stories, referred to the Creation Myth and Changing Woman:

“Great Water of the sunset… When all the Indian tribes had been established on this present earth, the Sun said to Changing Woman, `Your work here is finished.  You may now go to the place of the sunset, where, far out over the great waters, I have built a house for you. I will send powerful guards with you — the Hail, the Thunder, the Lightning, and the Water Ruler.

“‘The Wind, the Rain, the Clouds, and the Light have helped me make a beautiful house for you, and I wish you to live where I can meet you in the evening.’

“This house was built on a beautiful island called `Land that Floats on the Water.’ In it were four rooms and on each was on floor.  And, for each floor there were ladders of black jet, white shell, turquoise, and abalone on all four sides. On top of the house there was a multicolored thunderbird, larger than any that has ever been seen, who was the chief of all thunderbirds.

“On his back he carried small thunderbirds of all the ceremonial colors. In the center of this palace was a large room with an altar decorated with all the colors of every flower that had bloomed and faded on earth, and with the spirits of all the birds. The main entrance was toward the east and was guarded by a white-shell rattle which gave the alarm whenever a visitor approached.

“To this place Changing Woman came to live forever and meet the Sun in the evenings.” — Hosteen Klah, Navajo Medicine Man and Sand Painter.

A nice rendezvous home for a woman who had done her work well and deserved a nice second place to live!

Navajo Wind Energy Basket and Healing

Navajo Wind Energy Basket Relates to Holy Wind, our Breath, and Kinship

Navajo Wind Energy Basket Relates to Holy Wind, our Breath, and Kinship

Just like the Western notion of the soul, Holy Wind exists everywhere. Every living thing is part of it.

The basket pictured is made by Navajo artist Chris Johnson.  As a member of the Betty Rock Johnson family, Chris has been schooled by the finest. Using richly traditional colors of red and black and a wind energy theme, Chris had made an interesting crossover piece. Chris’ weavings do not last long so don’t hesitate.

Holy Wind is the underlying element that unifies all beings. People, deer, buffalo, spiders, stars, clouds, goatheads, fish and pinon trees — everything — are all united by breath and wind. The singe soul sings within it, and us, all.

Because we have kinship with all living beings, we also have the responsibilities that come along with those connections. This means that the earth, animals and plants that live on it (as well as the sky with its entities and phenomena) are related and will take care of us. And, they will provide for us as long as we recognize that we’re responsible for being part of the earth and the sky, too. It’s a two-way street.

Breath and speech are intimately related to the concept of Holy Wind, or nilch’i. There is a holy quality to breath that we don’t often recognize in our culture. Traditional Navajos think of breathing as a sacred act that unite all living beings.

It is possible for a patient in a healing ceremony to breathe in the life-giving power of the sun outside of the hogan, because the chanter’s breath rolls inside the hogan. The intimate relationship between speech and breath is a life principle that makes the very act of speech act sacred.

Words have a sacred, creative power. In Navajo creation stories, the Holy People spoke, sang, and prayed the world into existence. The uniting power of Holy Wind is the same force that fills the Holy People themselves with life, movement, speech, and behavior.

We have direct access to the thought and speech of the Holy Ones through breath and words. That Holy Wind, or soul, is our inner form, and so it is with all living beings. Beautiful.

The basket above is made by Navajo artist Chris Johnson.  As a member of the Betty Rock Johnson family, Chris has been schooled by the finest. Using richly traditional colors of red and black and a wind energy theme, Chris had made an interesting crossover piece. Chris’ weavings do not last long so don’t hesitate.

The Origin of Navajo Ceremonial Baskets

Sacred Navajo ceremonial baskets tell the beginning of the world and other Navajo stories from the Southwest United States

Navajo Medicine Man, John Holiday

Navajo Jewel Baskets contain all the elements of a ceremonial basket and you can find them at Twin Rocks Trading Post

Navajo Jewel Baskets have all elements of a ceremonial basket

This is how the Navajo World begins, not with a bang but with the patient working of two hands to create sacred art in the form of baskets.

According to Navajo Medicine man, John Holiday, ceremonial baskets tell the story of the Southwest and when the world was created. From John Holiday, Monument Valley, Utah, April 16, 2001:

“Before the earth was created as we know it now, there were the jewel baskets–one of white shell, one of turquoise, one of jet, one of abalone, and two others.  When First Man and First Woman were created, then the regular ceremonial basket came after these baskets.  This ceremonial basket is all of the jewel baskets combined into one.”

It’s true.  The original of the ceremonial basket reaches back into the deepest parts of Navajo history.  The basket’s place is firmly embedded in the first stories of the people and their gods.

In order to understand the basket’s importance in ceremonial and everyday life, we turn to these stories to learn about its role in providing a sacred, protected space.  It also gives visual instruction about a person’s own life, and the history of the Navajo people.

Here we see jewel baskets, the foundation of all ceremonial baskets throughout Navajo history.  And, to understand the origin of these baskets, we must journey back to the origins of the Navajo people, back to their First World.

But… That story is for another time.  For now, enjoy John Holiday’s words, his beautiful spirit, and his infectious joy of life.

(We would like to thank Georgiana Simpson, author of Navajo Ceremonial Baskets, Sacred Symbols, Sacred Space for the astonishing amount of work she has put into capturing the old stories and art in books for all time!)