Okay, it wasn’t really the Ohio Northern Polar Bears mascot who was the giant bear in question. I just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to show a cool logo for one of the teams Balladeer’s Blog covers. This post is just to let readers know I have once again updated my Navajo mythology page. I added the next segment of the war god Nayanazgeni’s battles with the Anaye. I titled this segment “The Bear Who Pursues”. 

10. THE BEAR WHO PURSUES – Next Nayanazgeni set out to slay the Anaye known as The Bear Who Pursues. As you would expect this alien or foreign god was depicted as an enormous, several-story tall bear.

I favor those myths which depict it as a polar bear (which the ancient Navajo would know about from their time in the north with the Athapascans) since the polar bear is the only known bear to actually hunt down humans and will actually chase its prey of any species until their quarry collapses from exhaustion. To me an animal with such habits would certainly merit the name The Bear Who Pursues. I can’t believe the pro-polar bear camp never cites this argument to support their contention.

At any rate, Nayanazgeni traveled northward, to the land where the cold weather goddess Hazke Estsan held sway. In some versions this goddess, always depicted naked and sitting in the snow, appears to Nayanazgeni and tells the war god where he can find this Anaye.

Seeking his prey throughout the frigid northland, Nayanazgeni and The Bear Who Pursues stalked each other, in some versions in the middle of a snow storm. When they at last closed in combat, the Anaye’s thick, furry hide proved invincible to even the most rapid-fire onslaught of the war god’s lightning-bolt arrows. The goddess Hazke Estsan appeared again to Nayanazgeni and told him the only way to defeat this Anaye was to behead the creature. In other versions he decides for himself to try that since nothing else is working.
Nayanazgeni now took careful aim and hit the Anaye directly in the throat, the subsequent lightning blast tearing the head from the body, killing it. In those versions of the Heroic Twins story in which the sun god Tsohanoai gave both Twins lightning-bolt arrows AND a knife made of petrified sunlight, he uses the knife to behead the giant bear. Nayanazgeni now divided the head into three pieces; one piece he transformed into yucca bacatta, AKA the banana yucca (in the Apache version  the Heroic Twin turns it into the Mojave yucca), one piece he transformed into soapweed yucca and the third piece he transformed into mescal beans and/or peyote, to be used for oracular and divination purposes. Now Nayanazgeni turned his attention to the sole remaining Anaye at large: the chief of them all, Yeitso himself.

© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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  1. Pingback: here now

  2. You have made me a Navajo myth fanatic! Nobody has all the details you do, though. I’ve had to buy about a dozen books on their myths just to find half the stuff you combine all in one convenient place.

  3. Well I truly enjoyed reading it. This article provided by you is very helpful used for truthful planning.


  5. The fact that a monster that lived in the frigid northern regions, which died in the frigid northern regions, and whose body was scattered across the frigid northern regions is cited as the origin of two plants that grow exclusively in the scorching southwestern deserts and could never in a million years survive in the frigid northern regions bothers me more than it probably should

    Otherwise, really digging the story.

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