Moon

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The Navajo say that "the moon was given to the whites . . . in the beginning of life on this earth." They reason that "it belongs to the white people" because it "has a nose and mouth with a face of a white man;" also it "is like the white people's skin, transparent." Pg. 45

They Sang for Horses: The Impact of the Horse on Navajo and Apache Folklore; 1966, La Verne Harrell Clark.


First Man appointed . . . He-Who Returns-Carrying-One-Corn-Kernel to be the bearer of the moon disk, Tl'ehonaa'ei. Another primary contrast, that of birth and death, came into existence because of the sun bearer's demand for payment for carrying the celestial disk across the sky. The moon carrier, when asked his opinion, says, "I am now in control of this night [part]! . . . births in the future including any and every kind of birth will mostly occur at night, births will be more frequent at night. That will be a cause for rejoicing. Oppositely too, deaths will occur only at night." The sun and moon, in addition to supplying illumination, provide the orderly arrangement of time periods proposed by First Man: The moon is in charge of nightly events as well as vegetation and the monthly cycle. Pgs. 74, 75

Earth is my Mother, Sky is my Father: Space, Time, and Astronomy in Navajo Sandpainting; 1992, Trudy Griffen-Pierce.

Both the sun and the moon are borne across the skies by divinities. Trails, thirty-two in number, have been created for their travels, and summer and winter solstice occur as the divinities complete the total number and start their return from the northern- or southern-most trail, respectively. Pg. 37

An eclipse is caused by the death of the orb, which is revived by the immortal bearers of the sun and moon. During an eclipse of the moon the family is awakened to await its recovery. Similarly, a journey is interrupted and work ceases during an eclipse of the sun. Songs referring to the Hozhoji, or rite of blessing, are chanted by anyone knowing them, otherwise the passing of an eclipse is awaited in silence. It is not considered auspicious to have a ceremony in progress during an eclipse of the sun or moon, and a ceremony is often deferred on this account. The rising generation, however, pays little or no attention to this custom. Pg. 41

An Ethnologic Dictionary of the Navaho Language; 1910, The Franciscan Fathers.

Moon (tIe'xona'ai) (P) is the weaker of the Sun-Moon pair. Little is known about the person that carries the moon. He is said to be either the maternal uncle (bida'i) or the father of Sun. In sandpaintings, Moon is usually represented as the orb. The difference between Moon and Sun is primarily one of color-white for the moon and blue for the sun orb. The moon-bearer of the emergence picture is just like the sun-bearer, except that he is white and carries a moon and a cloud (Ch. 4; Reichard, Shooting Chant ms.; Matthews 1897, pp.75, 80; Newcomb-Reichard, p.56, PI. II, XI, XVIII; Wheelwright 1942, Set II, 1).

Navajo Religion, Vol II; Gladys A. Reichard, 1950

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