Estsanatlehi from The Book of Goddesses by Kris Waldherr.

“Estsanatlehi’s themes are fertility, beauty, blessing, summer, weather, time, and cycles.  Her symbols are apples, apple seeds, apple blossoms, and rainwater.  This Native American Goddess inspires the earth’s blossoming, and that of our spirits, with Her productive energies. Having the power of self-rejuvenation, She warms the earth with wind in the spring, then brings soft summer rains to keep the fields growing. As the seasons change, so does Her appearance, reminding us of time’s movement and the earth’s cycles.

The Apple Blossom Festival is the oldest flower fair in the United States and actually takes its conceptualization form a New Zealand custom of celebrating the apple orchards in bloom – a place filled with Estsanatlehi’s glory. When you get up today, check outside. If it’s sprinkling lightly, it is a very good omen, meaning Estsanatlehi is fertilizing the Earth. Gather a little of this rainwater and use it in a ritual for cleansing and blessing the sacred space, or as a libation.

If you can get outside to appreciate the spring flowers, it pleases Estsanatlehi and initiates Her renewal in your spirit. At some point in the day, have a tall glass of apple juice (apples plus water) to quaff a bit of Estsanatlehi’s resourcefulness. Or, enjoy a fruit salad that includes apples and a garnish of fresh flowers (many of which are edible) so Her beauty will grow within you.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Estsanatlehi (pronounced es-tan-AHT-lu-hee), or Changing Woman – “The Apache called the earth Goddess by this name, for She never grew old. When Her age began to show, She simply walked toward the east until she saw Her form coming toward herself. She kept walking until Her young self merged with Her aging self and then, renewed, returned to Her home. Among the Chiricahua Apache, the name of this eternal Goddess was Painted Woman. ‘Turquoise Woman’ was the Navaho sky-Goddess, wife of Tsohanoai, the sun. She lived in a turquoise palace at the western horizon, where each night she received her luminous husband. Sister (or twin or double) of Yolkai Estsan (also known as White Shell Woman), the moon’s wife, Estsanatlehi was able to make Herself young each time She began to age, thus Her name, which means the ‘self-renewing one.’

Here is Her story: the ancestral Goddess Atse Estsan (First Woman), discovering Estsanatlehi on the ground beneath a mountain, reared Her to be the savior of earth’s people. When She was grown, Estsanatlehi met a young man; each day they went to the woods to make love. When Her parents looked on the ground and saw only one set of footprints, they knew their daughter had taken the sun as a lover.

“Sacred Bond” by Lee Bogle

Delighted at the honor granted their family, they were delighted again when Estsanatlehi gave birth to twins, who grew so miraculously that eight days after birth they were men, ready to seek their father. But when they found his house, the twins found another woman there. Angry at the intrusion, She threatened them with their father’s anger as well.

Undeterred, the twins remained and won from their father magic weapons, which they needed to clear the earth of monsters. This they did. After dancing with their Mother in celebration, the twins built Estsanatlehi a magnificent home at the sky’s end, so that the sun could visit Her again.

But the twins’ wars with the monsters had depopulated the earth. Estsanatlehi brushed the dust from Her breasts. From the white flour that fell from Her right breast and the yellow meal from Her left, She made paste and molded a man and a woman. Placing them beneath a magical blanket, Estsanatlehi left them. The next morning they were alive and breathing, and Estsanatlehi blessed the creation. For the next four days, the pair reproduced constantly, forming the four great Navaho clans. But the creative urge of Estsanatlehi was not fulfilled. She made four more groups of people, this time from the dust of Her nipples-and the women of these clans were thereafter famous for their nipples.

“Changing Woman/ Estsanatlehi” by Hrana Janto

Feeling Her creation to be complete, Estsanatlehi retired to Her turquoise palace from which she continued to bestow blessings on her people: seasons, plants and food, and the tender sprouts of spring. Only four monsters survived her sons’ wars on evil: age, winter, poverty, and famine, which She allowed to live on so that Her people would treasure Her gifts the more.” [1]




Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines, “Estsanatlehi”.



Suggested Links:

American Studies at the University of Virginia, “Changing Woman: Myth, Metaphor, and Pragmatics“.

Auset, Brandi. RED ~ The Official Website of Brandi Auset, “Goddess of the Month: Estsanatlehi

Goddard, Carla. Shaman Medicine Woman, “The Story of Changing Woman – ‘Estsanatlehi’“.

Her Cyclopedia, “The Goddess Estsan-Atlehi“.

The Judicial Branch of the Navajo Nation, “How White Shell Woman Became Known as Changing Woman“.

Old and Sold: Turn-of-the-century wisdom for today, “The Navaho and Their Gods“.

Old and Sold: Turn-of-the-century wisdom for today, “The Navaho Creation Story“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Changing Woman“.

Sitarik, Jessica. Crystal Vaults, “Estsanatlehi: The Native American Goddess of Change“.

Stanton, Sandra M. The Goddesses in World Mythology, “ESTSAN–AH-TLEHAY (CHANGING WOMAN) & NATSEELIT