Changing Woman

January 10th, 2008 by sabrina

Changing Woman is the Navaho Goddess of time and the changing of the seasons. She is also known as Estsanatlehi (pronounced es-tan-AHT-lu-hee). She is the daughter of the Sky and the Earth, and wife of the Sun. She lives in the West with the Sun, in a house that she built with Wind and Light. The East part of the house is made of white shell; the West of yellow abalone; the North of black jet; and the South of turquoise.

Changing Woman and the Sun had twin boys, Monster Slayer and Child of the Water. They grew to adulthood in only eight days, as Changing Woman herself had. They left their mother to go and fight the monsters that populated the world at the time. One day, feeling lonely without her sons, Changing Woman decided to create some company for herself. She brushed some dust from her breasts—from the right came flour and from the left came cornmeal. She used the flour and cornmeal to make a paste, which she formed into four pairs of men and women, who became the ancestors of the four Navaho clans.

Changing Woman represents the turning of the wheel of time. When she grows old, she walks to the East until she sees her young self walking towards her, and merges with her. Changing Woman reminds us that life is a circle, always moving, always changing. She sings:

Beauty before you,
Beauty behind you,
Beauty above you,
Beauty below you.
Walk now with Beauty around you
and your way will be beautiful.

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