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Estanatlehi

by Dr Anthony E. Smart
The sky goddess, wife of the sun. The twin sister of Yolkai Estsan, wife of the moon. The most respected goddess of the Navaho Indians, she is seen as the goddess of change, and it is said that she progresses through age to become an old woman, then becomes a young woman again. She passes through an endless stream of lives, always changing but never dying. Estanatlehi created the primeval pair of humans from maize. Afterwards she became the ruler of the realm of the dead, in the west, from where only the good things for humans come from.

The Navaho tales tell how the first man and woman observed a black cloud descend onto a mountain, and perceiving great portents therein, approached the mountain, where they found a baby girl. This was Estanatlehi, who grew into a full-grown woman within eighteen days of the couple taking her home. It is also said that the goddess, feeling lonely, fashioned men and women out of small pieces of her own skin, to keep her company.


Article details:

  • Also known as:
    Estsanatlehi
    Estasanatlehi

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