Coyote Stealing Fire

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A yellow bar going north to south and ending in white crosses intersects a white bar extending from east to west with yellow crosses on the ends. In this set of paintings these bars ending in crosses occur often. They probably typify a spiritual condition, as the cross symbol stands for the spirit element in other sandpaintings. There is a white circle in the center, and in all of these paintings yellow seems to denote the state of initiation of the patient, while the white denotes the higher initiation of the priest. The black figure lying near a round, many-colored house, with the fire symbol beside him, is Hashjeshjin, the Fire God, who possessed the first fire. The zig-zag crossing his shoulders is the Milky Way. He holds the fire stick in one hand, and his food and a big red medicine pouch in the other. From the fire symbol, a red line leads to Coyote, who is shown bringing to Estsay-Hasteen and Estsa-Assun, First Man and First Woman, the fire which he stole from the sleeping Hashjeshjin. First Man is sitting near his round black house, dressed in checked garments. First Woman is dressed in brown - the color of the earth. The fire is shown in the door of their hogan. In the section with Coyote, the white moon is shown, with a rainbow and constellation of stars. In the fourth part of the painting is an eagle over a rainbow and the blue symbol of the sun. Stars and constellations occur in all four quarters of the painting.

 

 

From Navajo Creation Myth; 1942, Hasteen Klah, Recorded by Mary C. Wheelwright.

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This site was last updated on November 19, 2017.

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