Part 3 of the 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 –
3. VISIONS OF THE SPIDER GODDESS – On their way west toward their father Tsohanoai’s house, Nayanazgeni and Tobadzistsini passed the Grand Canyon, which in Navajo mythology was the Place Of Emergence through which the Navajo people entered this world after escaping the previous one. (Navajo emergence myths and their stories of the previous worlds are too lengthy to get into right now) Reaching a stretch of desert, they soon noticed puffs of smoke emerging from the ground.
On closer inspection they realized they had come across the underground lair of Naste Estsan, the spider goddess, who lived underground in similar fashion to a trap-door spider. She welcomed the Heroic Twins in and assumed her form as an elderly woman. In addition to feeding them she informed them she knew all about their plans to rid the world of the menace of the Anaye. She revealed to them that she herself was the mother of the chief Anaye, Yeitso, with their own father Tsohanoai as the father. (In some versions she goes on to tell them that Yeitso then joined with her over and over to spawn the rest of the Anaye.)
She also related to them about her visions of the perils they would face on their quest to reach their father’s house. (Since those perils are covered in my next paragraph I won’t bother detailing them here) As a final gift to the two young gods she gave them each two eagle feathers to wear in their head-bands: one to make them virtually invulnerable and another that would lull opponents into meek submission. Nayanazgeni and Tobadzistsini then resumed their journey.
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