When the Great Flood Deluged Navajoland

Many cultures have a story about a Great Flood

The Great Flood Hits Bluff

Most people around the world hold the story of the Great Flood as part of their basic belief system.  And, every tribe’s story is somewhat similar to our own tribe’s story of the Great Flood told in the Bible.

Water, in the legends, is a primary world, a preworld, a world that gives birth to the present one. Through the energy of water, man is forced or driven to rise to a higher plane. In many origin stories, The People are (as in the Biblical tale) indifferent to their plight, and thus only the worthy, the “listeners” — men, animals, birds, and insects —  are brought up into the next world.

The Great Flood, as known the world around, is a purifier which illustrates that the earth’s creatures are out of balance. In the Creek Indian legend, The People fish from their housetops until they are drowned. Later, they are turned into mosquitoes.

The Navajo version shows how Coyote stole two Water Monster babies and brought on the flood by stealing from the Water Monster mother. Water, in all of the stories, is a complement to Fire, a mysterious power that must be understood in order to be used properly.

Luana Tso, magnificent weaver, presents her own interpretation of the Hero Twin known to us mortals as Monster SlayerWith his brother, Born-for-Water, this brave warrior became a hero in legend to the Navajo.  Directed by their father, the Sun Bearer, and with some very nasty implements of war, the boys purged the most dastardly beasts to extinction. 

No wonder this bad-boy-hero-of-the-desert inspired the mellow weaver, Luana.  Might there be more untapped emotion beneath her tranquil surface than we guess? We would say a large YES!, and we can’t wait to see what Simpson weaving Luana conjures up next on her loom!

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The Tree of Life Weaving Makes Life Beautiful

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The Tree of Life — Interview with Navajo Weaver, Rena Begay, Master Weaver of Tree of Life

Unusual Tree of Life Weaving with Birds

Unusual Tree of Life Weaving with Birds

The Tree of Life is one of the most unique and interesting among Navajo myths and legends.

It is the story about where the people came from and their beliefs in the progression and movement of life.  It also sings about their connections with natural surroundings and the involvement of their gods in daily life.  It is the story of who the Navajo people are today and the rhythm of their lives.

Most Tree of Life weavings have a stalk of corn in the center.  And, at the base of this stalk, there is a symbol for the emergence of the people into this world.  It is a story about the center of life.

Is it any wonder that it is beautiful?

Bugs and birds, flowers and butterflies create flights of fancy in Rena Begay’s “Tree of Life” rugs.

Bugs are about who the Navajo people were in the first creation story. Butterflies represent personal creativity, and birds are our  connection with the gods.  Flowers are our way of remembering that life is beautiful, and a climbing vine refers to the upward moving way.

These are simple, gorgeous images woven in wool that recall our most basic hopes, wishes and needs.   Look closely at this rug… Remember that life is good and smiles upon us all.  A true miracle.

Miss Navajo is Much More than a Sexy Bathingsuit

Miss Navajo Nation will carry on the tradition of Beauty and Pride in Womanhood

New Miss Navajo Nation, 2012 – 2013

We at Twin Rocks are proud of the young women who are our treasured neighbors, artists and storytellers.  We’ve published photos of Miss Navajo over the years, and we’d like to share with you a different cultural perspective on Beauty.

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Welcome (ya’at’eeh)  This, from:  www.missnavajonaton.com:

In keeping with Navajo culture and tradition, the role of Miss Navajo Nation is to exemplify the essence and characters of First Woman, White Shell Woman and Changing Woman and to display leadership as the Goodwill Ambassador.

Miss Navajo Nation represents womanhood, and she fulfills the role of ‘grandmother, mother, aunt, and sister’ to the Navajo people. And so, she can speak as a leader, teacher, counselor, advisor and friend.’

In March 1999, the Branch Chiefs of the Navajo government agreed that the tone of the fundamental principles of the Navajo government should be the preservation of the Navajo culture. It shall be the mission of the Office of Miss Navajo Nation to encourage every Navajo to assist in the preservation of Navajo culture, and Miss Navajo Nation will represent the importance of Navajo women with respect and honor.    From the Current Miss Navajo, Leandra Thomas:

“My name is Leandra Thomas. I am Naakaii Dine (Mexican/Spanish people) born for Tsi’naajinii (Black streak people). My maternal grandparents are Kiiya’aanii (Towering house people), and my paternal grandparents are Honagha’nii (Ones who walk around). I come from a small community called Steamboat Canyon, Arizona. I received my bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University in elementary education. I am pursing my master’s degree in bilingual multicultural education, also from NAU.

“I have two loving parents, Anderson and Bernice Thomas. I’m the youngest of four, with three older brothers Andy, Arlo, and Leander. The teachings that are instilled within me come from my family, grandparents, relatives, and our livestock. (Yes, she said livestock — we can certainly learn from other animals.)

“As an educator and a student, I feel the students are the ones who will be carrying on our Dine teachings. Our elders are the ones who share the stories, and from them we learn about our Navajo culture and language. Therefore, throughout the year, my focus is on our youth and our elders. Together, our Navajo Nation is able to reach great heights, and together we are able to walk in beauty.”

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Together… That’s how we all walk in Beauty.  Thank you, Leandra, an extraordinary young woman.  You make us all proud.

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.