Water Creatures


A set of four creatures associated with water and rainfall are the main themes of two of the reproductions of Beautyway sandpaintings. These are White Water Monster, Blue Thunder, Big Otter, and variegated (or Many-colored) Water Monster ("Cloud Monster," "Land Monster"). White Water Monster lives underground, a denizen of the lower worlds, and spurts up springs, wells, and streams ("something like a whale"). Blue Thunder, like all of his kind, is associated with storms; he sends "good rain from above" (the "thunder bird"). Otter is an inhabitant of the rivers. Variegated Water Monster sends "cloudbursts and evil rain from above." In paintings he substitutes for a black being in the north. Sandpaintings of water creatures appear in the repertoires of Waterway, of Shootingway, and of Plumeway, but the rotund form of the Water Monsters Seems to be peculiar to Beautyway. Younger sister visited these creatures, who were living at Scattered Spring in Wilito Wilson's myth. Their picture is used for a person injured by lightning or water. In Singer Man's description of the prototype ceremonial, the second sandpainting is the "Water Horse painting"; but since this beast is mentioned. only in the water-bottom strung songs of this version and no picture of Water Horses has been collected for Beautyway, it seems likely that the water creature painting was meant. Singer Man admitted that he was none too familiar with the sandpainting ceremonies.

Frogs (Toads) as main themes in sandpaintings have been seen only in Beautyway. In the single reproduction by Wilito Wilson, they are accompanied by corn that they had planted when they were people. This picture commemorates younger sister's encounter with Frog (Toad) Man, the injury she received from him, and her restoration (by him, in one myth).

 

White Water Monster is male, blue Thunder is female, Otter is male, variegated Land Monster is female, she wears armor, and her head and feet are clouds. Corn, beans, squash, and tobacco have their roots in the central pool of water, which has bands of suds (foam), pollen, and rainbow around it. This sandpainting is used when a person has been thrown by lightning, drowned, or harmed in a corn, bean, squash, or tobacco field.