NAVAJO MYTHS: CLIFFDWELLER

Welcome back to Balladeer’s Blog, the site where everything that is unjustly neglected gets its well-deserved due! The Navajo myth about the god of war Nayanazgeni battling the dark gods called the Anaye was first covered here back in 2010, but I have a much larger readership now than then so this will seem like new to most of you.

8. CLIFFDWELLERNayanazgeni now turned his attention to a cliff-dwelling Anaye called Tsetahotsiltali. In those myths which featured the Thunderbirds’ nest as being at the top of a mountain he traveled along the same mountain range to reach this foe.
 
Tsetahotsiltali lurked in a high mountain pass where he would kick (or in some versions butt with his head) passersby off the trail to their deaths on the rocks below, where his scavenger children (in some myths 12 in number) would feed on the corpses. This Anaye was immune to plummeting to his own death by the fact that his long hair grew into the mountainside like roots, safely anchoring him.
 
Coming upon the Anaye unexpectedly  around a sharp turn in the narrow ledges, Nayanazgeni  was taken by surprise and kicked with such force by  Tsetahotsiltali that even with his strength he was nearly knocked off the cliff wall. The next kicks sent the war god’s bow and lightning arrows plummeting to the ground before he could bring them to bear against his Anaye foe. The 4th kick Nayanazgeni blocked and struck his attacker with such force that the Anaye would have been sent to his doom except for his incredibly long hair rooting him to the mountainside. 
 
The battle continued in this way, with the 2 combatants savagely fighting at close range and the Anaye’s long hair allowing him to just swing back to the ledges from which Nayanazgeni tried to knock him. Eventually the war god wrenched the monster’s rooted hair from the cliff walls and one last blow sent it to its doom far below. While the creatures own children (and in some versions its mate) devoured its corpse, ravenously fighting over the eyes, arms and liver, Nayanazgeni rapidly made his way down the cliff to his fallen bow and lightning-bolt arrows.
 
The Anaye’s monstrous children had finished their gruesome meal by this point and scattered in panic from the being that had slain their parent. Shooting his lightning bolts at the fleeing Anaye, Nayanazgeni killed them all and  transformed them into buzzards because of their taste for corpse-flesh. In some versions 1 of them manages to elude Nayanazgeni briefly and when the war god catches it he contemptuously decides it is too filthy, small and ugly to kill so he lets it live and the myth, proving once again that bigotry is universal, goes on to say that this Anaye became the father of the Paiutes, whom the Navajo considered a ragged and dirty people who lived on the vermin of the desert.
 

CONTINUED NEXT TIME AS NAYANAZGENI STANDS ALONE AGAINST MORE OF THE 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/ 

© 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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16 Comments

Filed under Mythology

16 responses to “NAVAJO MYTHS: CLIFFDWELLER

  1. Woman

    Eating the dead… why is it always eating the dead?

    That actually reminds me of a movie. OH!!! “Snakes, why is it always snakes!” I love that line!

  2. Ha! I know what you ean! You’re always such a character!

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