Tag Archive: hopi


Goddess Sakwa Mana

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“Blue Corn Maiden” by Cher Lyn

“Sakwa Mana’s themes are prayer, communications, cycles, harvest, health and joy. Her symbols are the color blue, corn, prayer sticks and pine. The Hopi Blue Corn Maiden, this Goddess participates in the Soyal festival by carrying a tray of blue corn and spruce bows, both of which represent the Goddess’s ongoing providence, no matter the reason.

The Zuni and Hopi gather in kivas today and celebrate Soyal, the winter solstice ceremony of the Zuni and Hopi. They celebrate in order to comfort and bring happiness to the old year so that the new one will be filled with earth’s and Sakwa Mana’s bounty. Several customary activities today are fun to try. First, offer the gift of a feather to a friend. This ensures them of a new year filled with health and joy. To invoke Sakwa Mana’s blessing on the gift, pack it with a few pine needles. Over time, the feather will absorb the Goddess’s aroma and disperse her power each time it’s fanned in ritual.

Making a sun shield brings victory in your life over any darkness holding you back. To create a simple one, cut out a round piece of paper and decorate it with your creative vision of the sun. Either keep this with you or put it in a predominant spot in your home. When success comes, burn the paper with a thankful heart.Finally, find a fallen pine twig outside and attach a small feather to it. This represents both the Goddess and your wish for a gentle voice in prayer.”

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

Gilbert-Atencio-Blue-Corn-Maiden

“Blue Corn Maiden” by Gilbert Atencio

According to Hopi legend, Blue Corn Maiden was the prettiest of the corn maiden sisters. The Pueblo People loved Her very much, and loved the delicious blue corn that She gave them all year long. Not only was Blue Corn Maiden beautiful, but She also had a kind and gentle spirit. She brought peace and happiness to the People of the Pueblos.

One cold winter day, Blue Corn Maiden went out to gather firewood. This was something She would not normally do. While She was out of Her adobe house, She saw Winter Katsina. Winter Katsina is the spirit who brings the winter to the earth. He wore his blue and-white mask and blew cold wind with his breath. But when Winter Katsina saw Blue Corn Maiden, he loved Her at once.

He invited Her to come to his house, and She had to go with him. Inside his house, he blocked the windows with ice and the doorway with snow and made Blue Corn Maiden his prisoner. Although Winter Katsina was very kind to Blue Corn Maiden and loved Her very much, She was sad living with him. She wanted to go back to Her own house and make the blue corn grow for the People of the Pueblos.

Winter Katsina went out one day to do his duties, and blow cold wind upon the earth and scatter snow over the mesas and valleys. While he was gone, Blue Corn Maiden pushed the snow away from the doorway, and went out of the house to look for the plants and foods She loved to find in summer. Under all the ice and snow, all She found was four blades of yucca.

She took the yucca back to Winter Katsina’s house and started a fire. Winter Katsina would not allow Her to start a fire when he was in the house.

When the fire was started, the snow in the doorway fell away and in walked Summer Katsina. Summer Katsina carried in one hand fresh corn and in the other many blades of yucca. He came toward his friend Blue Corn Maiden.

Just then, Winter Katsina stormed through the doorway followed by a roar of winter wind. Winter Katsina carried an icicle in his right hand, which he held like a flint knife, and a ball of ice in his left hand, which he wielded like a hand-ax. It looked like Winter Katsina intended to fight with Summer Katsina.

As Winter Katsina blew a blast of cold air, Summer Katsina blew a warm breeze. When Winter Katsina raised his icicle-knife, Summer Katsina raised his bundle of yucca leaves, and they caught fire. The fire melted the icicle.

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“Corn Maiden” by Hrana Janto

Winter Katsina saw that he needed to make peace with Summer Katsina, not war. The two sat and talked.

They agreed that Blue Corn Maiden would live among the People of the Pueblos and give them Her blue corn for half of the year, in the time of Summer Katsina. The other half of the year, Blue Corn Maiden would live with Winter Katsina and the People would have no corn.

Blue Corn Maiden went away with Summer Katsina, and he was kind to Her. She became the sign of springtime, eagerly awaited by the People.

Sometimes, when spring has come already, Winter Katsina will blow cold wind suddenly, or scatter snow when it is not the snow time. He does this just to show how displeased he is to have to give up Blue Corn Maiden for half of the year.

 

 

 

Sources:

Firstpeople.us, “Blue Corn Maiden and the coming of Winter“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Brownielocks.com, “The History of the Soyaluna (Soyal, Soyala, Sol-ya-lang-eu)“.

Great-spirit-mother.org, “Corn Mother creation story“.

Lyn, Cher. Mysticartmedicine.com, “Blue Corn Maiden“.

Pyramidmesa.com, “The Revenge of Blue Corn Ear Maiden“.

Also see my previous posts on Yellow Woman, First Woman, Selu, Corn Mother, and Iyatiku.

Nuvak’chin Mana

Snow Maiden Kachina by Wilmer Kaye

Nuvak’chin Mana’s themes are ghosts (spirits), blessings, weather and winter. Her symbols are cold items, white, and moisture.  This Goddess’s name means ‘Snow Maiden’. In the Niman Festival, Nuvak’chin Mana is a kachina who appears to pray for the return of cold weather so the moisture in the earth gets replenished. In our lives, She comes to replenish the well of our spirits and cool any overheated tempers that erupt with summer’s heat.

In Hopi tradition, Kachinas are spirits that help the tribe in all matters of life. Each year the Kachinas emerge around February to remind people of their blessings and to teach the sacred rituals that bring rain. Around this time of year, the Kachinas return to their rest, escorted out of the human realms by the Niman ritual.

To bring Nuvak’chin Mana’s coolheadedness and refreshing energy to your entire day, drink a glass of milk on the rocks at breakfast, lunch and dinner (or anytime in between). It’s very refreshing and the appearance of the beverage honors the Goddess. If your region has been suffering from a dry spell, pour out a little of the milk and ice on the ground as an offering to Nuvak’chin Mana so She might carry your need for rain to the nature spirits.

Last, take a moment at some point during the day to thank the Powers for all your blessings. A grateful heart is one ready to give and recieve more of the Goddess!”

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

“Kachin’ Mana” by Sally Hall

According to Heather Marseillan: “Shortly after Summer Solstice each year the Hopi ceremony called the Niman Kachina, also known as ‘The Going Home of the Kachina’ or ‘The Niman Festival’ will begin. Typically this Native American festival starts 4-5 days after the solstice and runs for about sixteen days. It is a very important time for the Hopi and they still celebrate it today.  The Niman Kachina is more or less a drawn out good bye ceremony to the winter and spring Kachinas.

The Kachia are a spirits in the western Pueblo cosmology and religious practices of the Native American Tribes of the region. Western Pueblo, Native American cultures which are located in the southwestern region of the United States, include the Hopi, Zuni, Tewa Village, Acoma Pueblo, and the Laguna Pueblo. The Kachina has spread to the more eastern Pueblos as well.

“Magnificent Seven” by Sally Hall

A Kachina can represent anything that exists in the natural world or the cosmos including an ancestor to an element (earth, air, fire, water or spirit), a place, a quality that one can have, a natural phenomenon (drought, flood, tonado), or even an idea. There are over than 400 different Kachinas in Hopi and Pueblo cultures. The local pantheon of Kachinas will vary depending on the pueblo community. There may be Kachinas for the sun, stars, thunder storms, wind, plants, bugs, and many other such things. Kachinas are thought of as having human like relationships with each other.” [1]

Nuvak’chin Mana or Snow Maiden

“Nuvak’ Chin Mana Kachina is essentially the Snow Kachina. She is part of the Niman ceremony…which closes the Kachina season after the summer solstice. She is meant to be white. Her snow white hair is done up in small knots on either side of Her head and in ceremony She has painted black eyes and small dots above the eyes. On either side of Her cheeks She carries black warrior marks…In ceremony, She brings gifts to the audience and gives prayer for snow for the coming year.  [Shown left] She kneels, ready to begin playing the gourd rasp, as She normally would during the Niman Ceremony.” [2]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Marseillan, Heather. Examiner.com, “Niman Kachina Festival“.

Teyjah. Art in Petroglyphs by Teyjah, “Nuvak’ Chin Mana Kachina“.

Butterfly Maiden

"Butterfly Maiden" by Kristi Davis

“Butterfly Maiden’s themes are rebirth, beauty, fertility, balance, freedom, and nature.  Her symbols are  butterflies, seedlings, rainwater, and spring flowers.  In Hopi tradition, the Butterfly Maiden is a kachina (spirit) who rules the springtime and the earth’s fertility. Butterfly Maiden flutters into our lives today to reconnect us with nature and to help us rediscover that graceful butterfly within each of us – the one that effortlessly rises above problems, making the world its flower.

In magical traditions, the equinox celebrates the sun’s journey back to predominance in the sky and the return of fertility to the earth. It is a joyous fire festival when the elements are in balance, giving us the opportunity to likewise balance our lives. If anything has held you back from real spiritual growth, now is the time to banish it and move on. Visualize yourself as the caterpillar who becomes a becomes a butterfly, then let the Butterfly Maiden give you wings with which to overcome anything!

To inspire Butterfly Maiden’s beauty within and without, wash your face and chakras (near pulse points as well as at the top of the head, in the middle of the forehead, over the heart, near the groin, behind the knees and at the bottom of the feet) with rainwater first thing in the morning (dawn is best). Go outside afterward and toss some flower petals into a spring breeze, saying:

‘Butterfly Maiden, liberate me
Let me mind and spirit ever be free!’

The winds will carry your wish to heaven/the Goddess.”

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

“The Butterfly Maiden, is a Hopi Kachina that governs the Spring.  Kachinas’ are supernatural beings who control nature and have the spirits of living things such as animals and plants within them.  Some Kachinas also hold the spirits of the non-living as well–wind, rain, thunder, lightning, clouds, etc.

            

Examples of Native made Butterfly Maiden kachina dolls.  Click on each picture to be taken to the artist’s site.  

Although most Kachinas’ are not considered to be gods, Butterfly Maiden is believed to be a fertility Goddes who brings about transformation, new beginnings, and fresh starts in life.  She is often pictured as a young Native American woman dressed in and surrounded by butterflies.   She lives within the plants, animals, and female ancestors who  link the human with the Divine.  It is said that She pollinated the world with our nighttime dreams, carrying the life force from Dreamtime into reality; in essence, She makes our dreams come true.  She is a creative force and a symbol of rebirth and regeneration.

"Butterfly Maiden" by Sharon George

In the Native American world, we find that each animal, plant, and insect is said to have energy and spirit.  Their healing qualities are referred to as medicine.   Because butterflies are deeply symbolic of our own unique struggle to grow, butterfly medicine represents transformation and our personal power to heal and transform ourselves.  The butterfly begins its life as an unappealing larva which one day goes into seclusion and emerges  as a beautiful winged creature  which spreads the rest of its life spreading beauty and joy as it flits from one flower to the next.  And as we move through our daily lives which are filled with chaos and challenge, it would do well for us to remember that each of us has one of these beautiful winged creatures inside of us…just waiting to emerge from the darkness.  And, like the butterfly, we need only to enter the stillness and solitude, to look within ourselves.  There we will find this wise inner self waiting to transform us.” [1]

“Butterflies have a complex social meaning to the Hopi people.  They are a symbol of renewal and spring.  Butterflies adorn Hopi basketry,  textiles, pottery and jewelry.  Butterflies are associated with much needed rain for growing corn and other crops.  The butterfly dance, a social dance that occurs at the end of every summer, has spiritual significance.  The dance is a prayer to bring rains and also is a community celebration in the gathering of dancers, singers, and families.” [2]

Sources:

An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Butterfly Maiden“.

Cantley, Janet. It’s a Bug’s World…Insect Motifs in American Indian Art,  Heard Museum West in the Heard Museum Journal

Suggested Links:

Anderson-Childers, Molly J. Creativity Portal, “Soaring with the Hopi Butterfly Maiden“.

Fewkes, J. Walter. American Anthropologist, “The Butterfly in Hopi Myth and Ritual“.

Lavanee. Goddess School, “Butterfly Maiden“.

Martise, Cloe. “The Nine Native Holy Women”.

Sacred Space Sister Goddess Circle Blog, “Butterfly Maiden: Transformation“.

Taphorn, Sharon. Lightworkers.org, “Butterfly Maiden ~ Working with Butterfly Medicine“.

Venefica, Avia. What’s-Your-Sign.com, “Butterfly Animal Symbolism“.

Goddess Iyatiku

"Corn Dawn Mother" by Marti Fenton

“Iyatiku’s themes are Earth, the harvest, providence, health and weather.  Her symbols are corn, beans, seeds and soil. Iyatiku is the Pueblo corn and underworld Goddess who protects not only future crops but the future in general by safeguarding children. During the early months of the year, Iyatiku extends arms of compassion to embrace us with nurturing support, just as the earth nurtures seeds.

If you have a garden, today is an excellent time to dance on the land and invoke Iyatiku’s blessings on your crops or flowers. The Pueblo and Hopi Indians have spirit dancers waltz around the land to instill the crops with energy through sacred movements.

The Hopi also plant beans on top of underground ritual rooms called kivas, which house Iyatiku’s nurturing energy. When children go into kivas for rites of passage, they emerge as adults thanks to the Goddess’s care and guidance within.

Using this symbolism to foster maturity or any other of Iyatiku’s attributes today, go today to some place close to the earth, taking a bean with you. Plant the bean, then sit on top of the ground covered with a blanket (a mock cave/ womb/ kiva). Meditate here, focusing on the bean, the rich earth below you and the earth’s generative energy. Allow Iyatiku to meet you in this sacred space and begin manifesting what you most need.”

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

Iyatiku is the corn Goddess of the Keresan Puebloes. From shipap, Her underground realm, mankind first ermerged, from there infants today are born and tither go the dead. To provide food for them, She plants bits of her heart in fields to the north, west, south, and east. Later the pieces of Iyatiku’s heart grow into fields of corn. The Cochiti Puebloes regard Mesewi as the hero who had led the ancestors of the tribe out of shipap. [1]

Click here for further information on Her titles and variants.

Spider Woman

"Spider Woman" by Susan Seddon Boulet

“Spider Woman’s themes are magical charms and growth.  Her symbols are spiders and woven items.  Spider Woman appears in the myths of the south-western Native Americans as a resourceful helper who spins magical charms and each person’s fate. No matter what problems or obstacles you face, Spider Woman creates the right network of energy to put you on the road toward accomplishment.

In metaphysical traditions, all life is seen as a network within which each individual is one strand. Spider Woman reveals the power and purpose of each strand psychically and keeps you aware of those important connections in your life. To augment this, get a Native American dream catcher, which looks like a web, and hang it over your bed so Spider Woman can reveal her lessons while you sleep. Or, carry a woven item with you today. It will strengthen your relationship with this ancient helpmate and extend positive energy for success in all you do.

 In Mexico, the Native Americans perform the Hikuli dance today, searching for peyote for their religious rites. As part of this ceremony, worshippers dance to reach altered states of awareness, honor the ancestors and help crops to grow. So, if your schedule allows, put on some music and boogie! Visualize a web as you move, and empower your future path with the sacred energies of Spider Woman’s dance.”

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

“Grandmother Spider is an important Goddess amongst the many Native American tribes.  They call Her the “Great Teacher” and “The Creator of Life”.  She has also been called ‘Spider Woman’ which is a metaphor for She who creates from a central source. Her webs represents the matrix of our societies.  She is the guardian of everything that exists on Earth and uses Her magickal power to weave the fabric of time.  Although She can occasionally be destructive, She is almost always portrayed the beneficent Goddess who created everything that there is with Her thoughts and dreams.  It is She who brought the sun and the fire; She taught pottery, weaving, and the making of ceremonial magic.  She created the Moon.

Her legends are a part of the creation mythology for several southwestern tribes including the Hopi, Pueblo, and Navajo.  One myth says that in the beginning of time only two beings were in existence…Tawa, the Sun God, who held all the powers from above, and Grandmother Spider, the Earth Goddess, with all the powers from below.

It was Tawa who imagined all of the creatures of Earth and Grandmother spider who turned these thoughts into living things.  And, for every person She created, She spun a fine line of spider silk that She attached to their heads so they would always be connected to Her and have access to Her wisdom and Her teachings. And for as long as they kept the doorway from the top of their heads open, to let the spider silk in, they would be protected by Her.” [1]

The legend of Spider Woman in the Americas goes back to Pre-Columbian times. In fact, as far back as the Maya, Olmec, and pre-Toltec civilizations. Teotihuacan is an archaeological site in Mexico, and early city there, that existed from about 200 BCE until the 7th or 8th century CE (AD).  The Great Goddess of Teotihuacan (or Teotihuacan Spider Woman) is thought to have been a Goddess of the underworld, darkness, the earth, water, war, and possibly even creation itself. To the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica, the jaguar, the owl, and especially the spider were considered creatures of darkness, often found in caves and during the night. The fact that the Great Goddess is frequently depicted with all of these creatures further supports the idea of her underworld connections.  However, we know Her to be a goddess of both creation and destruction. It is possible that Coatlicue is a later version of this Spider Woman. Coatlicue is the Aztec Goddess who gave birth to the Sun and the Stars, and is the patron goddess of women who die in childbirth. She is also the giver of death, by Her knife that cuts the cords or strand of the Web that ties one to the Web of Life. She gives life, and She takes life. [2]

In many murals, the Great Goddess is shown with many of the scurrying arachnids in the background, on her clothing, or hanging from her arms. It has been concluded that the figures in these murals represented a vegetation and fertility Goddess that was a predecessor of the much later Aztec goddess Xochiquetzal. The Great Goddess is often seen with shields decorated with spider webs, further suggesting her relationship with warfare. Her nosepiece is the single most recognizable adornment of the deity, finalizing her transformation into the arachnid-like goddess.

Mural from the Tepantitla compound showing what has been identified as an aspect of the Great Goddess of Teotihuacan, from a reproduction in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

In the Tepantitla and Tetitla murals, the Great Goddess wears a frame headdress that includes the face of a green bird, generally identified as an owl or quetzal.  She is shown among several spiders and with a yellow body coloration, further distinguishing Her from other Mesoamerican deities. Her single most distinguishing feature is a nosepiece consisting of a rectangular bar with three circles. Immediately below this bar hang three or five “fangs”. The outer fangs curl away from the center, while the middle fang points down.

In the depiction from the Tepantitla compound, the Great Goddess appears with vegetation growing out of her head, perhaps a world tree or hallucinogenic morning glory vines.  Spiders and butterflies appear on the vegetation and water drips from its branches and flows from the hands of the Great Goddess. Water also appears to be flowing from her lower body. It was these many representations of water that led Caso to declare this to be a representation of the rain god, Tlaloc. [3]

If you’re interested in researching Spider Woman further, I highly suggest visiting Michelle Phillip’s site, Sacred Spirituality and read Spider Woman and Spider Symbolism.  It packed full of great information, how Spider Woman has had an impact on her life, links to Spider Woman’s many stories and Native American lore.

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