A side effect of the overwhelming response to my post on the neglected Chinese epic myth about Yi the Divine Archer has been a huge demand for an encore of my look at the neglected Navajo epic myth about their war god taking on the evil gods called the Anaye. My readership was much smaller back in 2010 when I first ran it, so it will seem like new to most of you –

And by the way, for my look at Yi the Divine Archer click here:

GOD SLAYER –  The story of the Navajo god of war, Nayanazgeni ( “Foreign God Slayer”) and his brother battling the Anaye, meaning “foreign or alien gods” is one of my favorite mythological tales, partly  because of  how it ties in with the larger subject of Native American mythology as a whole. Many Native American pantheons have monster-slayers, many of them also twins, who battle one or more of the same beings the Navajo war god Nayanazgeni destroys and/or transforms.
This underscores why Navajo myths are my favorite from all the myths of the Americas. The Navajo’s migration led them from the far north where they interacted with the Athapascan Indian tribes on down through their current location in and around present-day Arizona. The Navajo myths therefore contain elements from the pantheons of many of the other Native American tribes they interacted with on their way south. Their myths even incorporate elements of Aztec and Mayan myths from Mexico. After I finish my synopsis of the story of Nayanazgeni I will cover the parallel myths from other Native American belief systems, especially their version of Heroic Twins.
Bear in mind that even among the Navajo story-tellers accounts of Nayanazgeni’s battle with the Anaye vary, not only in what order he destroys them in but also in how many he and his brother Tobadzistsini have to fight. The same variety applies to the exact order and number of menaces the Heroic Twins face on their way to their father, the sun god Tsohanoai’s house.   
There are a few different versions of how the Anaye that Nayanazgeni slew came into being. One version has some of them as the offspring of the seasonal goddess Estsanatlehi, others as the offspring of Yebaad and still others as the offspring of Naste Estsan, the spider goddess. Those versions state that Naste Estsan gives birth to the chief of the Anaye, Yeitso, after a union with the sun god Tsohanoai, and that Yeitso then coupled with his own mother the spider goddess to  produce the rest of the Anaye.
The most detailed description of the birth of the Anaye is as follows: There was a time when the Navajo men and Navajo women were arguing over which sex needed the other more. They decided to separate, with all of the men on one side of a river and all of the women on the other side. Whichever side gave in first and tried to swim to reach the gender group on the other side would be the loser. In some versions of the story the men lost. In others the women were the eventual losers and while they were without male sex partners they were using some odd items to pleasure themselves with  and this resulted in the birth of the Anaye in this version of the story.
A woman who used a stag’s horn on herself gave birth to the Anaye Deelgeth, who was an enormous antelope stag (in some versions a giant buffalo), a woman who used a clump of bird feathers on herself (a woman using a clump of bird feathers for release is a desperate woman!) gave birth to the Anaye called the Thunderbirds. Other women used bones, cacti (Don’t blame me! Its in the story!) and other objects that resulted in the birth of other Anaye.
Still other versions of the story say that while the women were  separated from the men the god Begochidi took advantage of the situation to practice “unnatural sex acts” with the women and supposedly that is why they spawned such monstrous creatures. Still another version says it was Coyote who had sex with the women during this period and that he was the father of the Anaye.

© 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.


Filed under Mythology

52 responses to “NAVAJO MYTHS: GOD SLAYER

  1. This story kicks total ass! Everybody should read the whole thing at that link u gave!

  2. Woman

    I tell you what, both of them can keep the horn and the feathers and all the other stuff too. Cacti? Really. Seriously?

    Ummm… I cannot say thank-you for this post as I think you’ve scared my brain!!!

  3. u r a terrific story teller. i coud read ur version of ancient myths all day long u make them so interesting

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  5. I love the way u rite about these myths! so much fun!

  6. This story is so cool! This is like the labors of hercules or something!

  7. Savage and beautiful! God Slayer would make an awesome movie! You should write it@

  8. Really wonderful! This story sounds better than some fantasy novels I’ve read lately!

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  10. Very nice! I like Native American lore.

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  27. Broderick

    I like your translation of it as Godslayer.

  28. Just a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw great style and design. “The price one pays for pursuing a profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.” by James Arthur Baldwin.

  29. H Riebeling

    Nayanazgeni needs to be a major motion picture! Enough comic book crap already.

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  31. Heidy

    The Navajo world is changing.

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