Tag Archive: zuni


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.

“Frozen” by ~RuslanKadiev

“Mina Koya’s themes are weather, health, ghosts and blessings. Her symbol is salt. The salt Goddess of the Pueblo Native Americans, Mina Koya is often venerated during autumn festivals for Her power to cleanse, protect and preserve things, including our homes and traditions. Her healing power becomes all the more important as winter’s chilly hold gets stronger.

A New Mexican festival, Shalako is an all-night ritual of dancing and chanting to bless homes, commemorate the dead, bring good weather, and improve health for all participants. One tradition that honors Mina Koya and draws Her well-being into the sacred place of home is that of noise making. Take a flat-bottomed pan and sprinkle salt on it. Bang this once in every room of the house (so some of the salt shakes off). This banishes negativity and evil, replacing it with Mina Koya’s blessings. To improve the effect, chant and dance afterward, sweeping up the salt and keeping it for the weather charm that follows. Or, flush the salt down the toilet to flush out any maladies.

If it’s been wet or snowy and you need a reprieve, bind a little salt in a white cloth and bury it. The weather should change temporarily soon thereafter. This bundle will also protect your home and its residents from damage by harsh weather for as long as it stays in the ground nearby.”

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

I could find no information on a Goddess called Mina Koya.  I did however find a related Goddess (similar attributes – perhaps same Goddess, just a different name?) called Ma’l Oyattsik’i.  Ma’l Oyattsik’i is a Zuni Goddess and is called “The Salt Mother. Annual barefoot pilgrimages have been made for centuries on the trail to Her home, the Zuni Salt Lake.” [1]

Aerial photo of Zuni Salt Lake [AirPhoto]

On Preservationnation.org, it states: “Located in a remote region of western New Mexico, Zuni Salt Lake and the surrounding area (known as the Sanctuary Zone) are considered sacred ground by no less than six Native American tribes. The lake is particularly significant to members of the Zuni Tribe, who believe that it gives life to Ma’l Oyattsik’I, Salt Woman, one of the tribe’s central deities, and has long been an important source of salt for domestic and ceremonial use. In recognition of the sites’ significance, the National Park Service listed Zuni Salt Like on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.” It is currently on the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list. [2]

Art by josephxengraver

I found a lovely story on Sacred-texts.com about the Goddess of Salt that I’d like to share with you.  “Between Zuni and Pescado is a steep mesa, or table-land, with fantastic rocks weathered into tower and roof-like prominences on its sides, while near it is a high natural monument of stone. Say the Zunis: The Goddess of salt was so troubled by the people who lived near Her domain on the sea-shore, and who took away Her snowy treasures without offering any sacrifice in return, that She forsook the ocean and went to live in the mountains far away. Whenever She stopped beside a pool to rest She made it salt, and She wandered so long about the great basins of the West that much of the water in them is bitter, and the yield of salt from the larger lake near Zuni brings into the Zuni treasury large tolls from other tribes that draw from it.

Here She met the turquoise god, who fell in love with Her at sight, and wooed so warmly that She accepted and married him. For a time they lived happily, but when the people learned that the Goddess had concealed Herself among the mountains of New Mexico they followed Her to that land and troubled Her again until She declared that She would leave their view forever.

She entered this mesa, breaking Her way through a high wall of sandstone as She did so. The arched portal through which She passed is plainly visible. As She went through, one of Her plumes was broken off, and falling into the valley it tipped upon its stem and became the monument that is seen there. The god of turquoise followed his wife, and his footsteps may be traced in outcrops of pale-blue stone.” [3]

In another version of the story, Salt Woman gave salt to the priests who followed Her and instructed them in the proper way to gather salt.  According to the Navajo, Salt Woman was one of the Diyin Dineh, or Holy People. [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Native American Mythology A to Z, “Salt Woman“.

Preservationnation.org, “Zuni Salt Lake and Sanctuary Zone“.

Schubert, Rebecca. Zunispirits.com, “The Salt Woman“.

Skinnner, Charles M. Sacred-texts.com, “Goddess of Salt“.

Wikipedia, “Zuni Mythology“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Bastian, Dawn Elaine & Judy K. Mitchel. Handbook of Native American Mythology, “Salt Woman“.

Indianstories.awardspace.com, “Salt Mother Story“.

Skinner, Charles M. Myths and Legends of Our Own Land, Vol. 2, “Goddess of Salt“.

St. Clair, Jeffrey. Counterpunch.org, “The Battle for Zuni Salt Lake“.

Twinrocks.com, “Salt Woman“.

White Shell Woman

"White Shell Woman" by Hanehepi Mani Dylan

“White Shell Woman’s themes are magic, overcoming, spirituality, freedom, hope, success, protection, joy and dreams.  Her symbols are eagles, rattles and the color white.  In Native American tradition, White Shell Woman came to earth bearing elemental blankets and the sunshine of protection, dreams and renewed hope. When She arrived a rainbow appeared, banishing sadness with the promise of eventually reuniting humankind with the gods. Today She renews this promise to us, whispering Her message on March’s winds and bearing it on the wings of an eagle.

Sometime in spring, the Pueblos of New Mexico hold an Eagle Dance to bring rain and ensure the tribe’s success in difficult situations. The mimelike movements of the dance unite the dancers with the Eagle spirit, connecting them with the sacred powers.

To adapt this in your own life, grab a feather duster and dance a little of White Shell Woman’s hope into your heart while you clean up your house!

If you have young children in your life, work with them on a Shell Woman anti-nightmare blanket or happiness charm. Take four strips of cloth in elemental colors, or seven in the colors of the rainbow. Sew them together to form a blanket or portable swatch. Bless the charm. saying:

‘Love and joy within each seam brings me only happy dreams Shell Woman, shine through the night Keep me safe till dawn’s first light.'”

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

"White Shell Woman" by Susan Seddon Boulet

“White Shell Woman appears in the creation stories of various Native American tribes, including the Navajo, Zuni, and Apache. In Zuni myth, White Shell Woman is an ancestor of the Sun Father, a creator god and the source of life. She lives with him in the West.

In the Navajo creation story, White Shell Woman (Yoolgai asdzáá) is the sister of the Goddess Changing Woman and a wife of Water. Created when the Talking God and the Wind breathed life into two shells, the Sisters grew lonely and sought company—Changing Woman with the Sun and White Shell Woman with a mountain stream. Eventually They gave birth to two sons, who grew up to battle the monsters that roamed the earth. In some Navajo tales, White Shell Woman and Changing Woman become the same character.

According to the Navajo, when White Shell Woman went to live on Her own, the Talking God and other deities came to visit Her. They brought ears of corn that they covered with sacred blankets to create a man and a woman. White Shell Woman was overjoyed with this couple, who along with the descendants of Changing Woman became the ancestors of the Navajo people.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Myths Encyclopedia, “White Shell Woman“.

 

Suggested Links:

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

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


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