Continuing the neglected epic myth of the Navajo war god Nayanazgeni battling the evil gods called the Anaye. This was originally presented on Balladeer’s Blog in 2010.
4. IN THE HOUSE OF THE SUN GOD – When Nayanazgeni and Tobadzistsini reached the ocean, the feathers which they wore in their headbands (and which were gifts from the spider goddess) enabled them to walk across the water as if it was still land, and they continued their journey for days. At last the Heroic Twins had reached the four-sided turquoise home of their father Tsohanoai, located in the abstract place where the oceanic horizon meets the sky.
A giant serpent (or serpents) and a giant bear (or bears) were guarding the entrance to the sun god’s house, but Nayanazgeni and his brother overcame them thanks to the feathers that cause enemies to submit. (I like to think they used the feathers to tickle them into submission but I’m kind of weird) Entering their father’s house the Heroic Twins beheld the sun god’s court – Nandzgai, the god of daybreak; Chahalgel, the god of nightfall (plus these 2 were considered the inventors of song); as well as two spirit-wives of Tsohanoai (I can’t find their names) and in some versions, their half-sister, Doklizstsi. The new arrivals are welcomed and then the two wives (or their half-sister, depending which version you read) wrap the Heroic Twins in a bundle and hide them.
At the end of the day, Tsohanoai arrives home, riding his sky-blue horse, hangs his shield (the sun), up on a peg on the wall and, being a god, he senses foreign presences in his house and demands to know who they are. The twins come out and declare their identities, but this being mythology, their father insists on subjecting them to tests to prove they are his sons. First he impales them both on stalagmites, or, since the bodily size of gods im mythology seems to change from moment to moment, impales them on jagged mountain peaks. The boys endure this for hours without crying out in pain.
Next, Tsohanoai subjects his sons to the hottest sweat lodge his wives can muster, but the twins survive that ordeal as well (in some versions with help from the wind god Niltsi). Next, Tsohanoai tried to poison them with deadly tobacco from his turquise pipes, but Yebitsai, the talking god, spoke to them through a caterpillar who warned them how to survive this trap in a bit similar to part of the Mayan epic myth Popol Vuh.
At last satisfied that the Heroic Twins are indeed his sons, Tsohanoai calls for a general celebration in his household, including comical entertainment provided by Tonenili, the rain god (sort of a Celestial Court Jester). Eventually, with daybreak approaching, the sun god opened the door on the eastern wall of his house and the twins beheld a limitless herd of horses. They refused them. Tsohanoai then opened the door on the southern wall and they beheld mountains of fine clothing. They refused them. (What is this? The Last Temptation of Nayanazgeni?) Next he opened the door on the western wall and his sons beheld miles of jewels and turquoise and brightly-colored shells but they refused them. Finally he opened the door on the northern wall and they beheld all the animals desired by hunters and after they refused them as well Tsohanoai asked them what gifts he could provide them with.
The Heroic Twins indicated they wanted weapons to help them wage war on the Anaye, so Tsohanoai gave Nayanazgeni an unbreakable bow and a quiver full of an inexhaustible supply of lightning-bolt arrows. He then gave Tobadzistsini a knife made out of petrified sunlight. (In some versions they both get arrows and a knife and in others they also get a wind charm that comes in handy at story’s end.) To test his lightning-bolt shaped arrows Nayanazgeni fired one at far-off Tsoodzil Mountain (Mount Taylor) and the lightning bolt arrow struck with such force that it formed the large cleft that remains in the mountain to this day. Armed at last with the weapons they would both become equated with, the Heroic Twins were ready to take on the Anaye.
CONTINUED NEXT TIME AS THE HEROIC TWINS BATTLE ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL ANAYE . FOR THE COMPLETE STORY AS WELL AS MORE DETAILS ON ALL THE OTHER NAVAJO GODS MENTIONED IN THIS EPIC CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/navajo-myth-clear/
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