Traditional Navajo mythology is intended to teach and entertain their children. Such is the legend of Spider Woman, who according to legend, first wove a web of the universe, then taught the Dineh (Navajo) the art of weaving and how to create beauty in their own life. Called the “Beauty Way,” this teaches balance within the mind, body, & soul.
In the Navajo creation myth there are four worlds. The first world was dark, where only land, air, water and, surprisingly, language existed. The holy people were created there.
The holy people created animals in the second world, including Spider Woman and Spider Man. At first, they were only spirits; their physical forms were made later, as with all living beings, in the future worlds.
In the third world, the holy ones told Spider Woman she was capable of weaving a map of the universe and the spirit beings in the night sky. She had no idea how to do this until one day, when she was out gathering food, she paused by a young tree and wrapped her fingers around one of the branches. When she removed her hand, a string was attached from the palm of her hand to the tree branch. Unsure what it was, she shook her hand to detach the string, but it would not come loose. She wrapped the string around the small branch time after time, thinking to break it, without success.
Spider Woman ran the string to other branches, creating a pattern. After a while she realized this weaving was what the holy people had wished her to do. She broke the string with her left hand and thought about this amazing gift. After experimenting with it all day, she hurried home with her gathered food and showed her husband, Spider Man, her new skill. And she began weaving within her home.
The holy people came to view spider Woman’s work, and they instructed Spider Man to build a loom and the various tools used for weaving. Spider Woman sang the weaving song, given to her by the holy ones to empower the woven cloth.
The forth world, called the “Glittering World,” is where human beings were created in the form of First Man and First Woman. They received their bodies in Dinah tah, the center of the world, a sacred place to the Dineh.
Dineh men became the makers of weaving looms and tools. They would sing songs as instructed by Spider Man and Spider Woman and offer prayers, instilling a sense of purpose in each tool.
Weaving tools were made from trees. The weaving fork used to push down the weft was made from the juniper tree. The sound of the fork hitting the weft is considered the heartbeat of the textile.
The loom itself was created from the main trunk of a young juniper. Two main support beams stand upright, one on each side of the loom frame. They represent pillars holding up the sky to secure mother earth. A third beam placed at the base of the pillars embodies the earth. The forth, top beam signifies sunbeams and rainbows that protect mother earth, as well as the sky and universe.
In the heart of Navajo country in northeastern Arizona, is Canyon de Chelly (pronounced de Shay) National Monument which is an important component in my Romancing the Guardians series. The main canyon and its offshoots, Canyon del Muerto and Monument Canyon, together with the surrounding plateau, are home to many Dineh families. At the junction of Canyon de Chelly and Monument Canyon towers Spider Rock. I was thrilled to view this iconic double spire during my recent visit to the canyon complex.
The Dineh believe that Spider Woman makes her home on top of the tower. As children they are told by elders that if they are mischievous and disobedient, Spider Woman will weave them in a tight web and take them to her home where she will boil and eat them. As proof of this, there are white bands at the top of Spider Rock, where bones of bad children are said to bleach the rocks. So, Dineh kiddies, you’d better behave!
This is a condensed version of a story by Adam Teller and Grandma Thompson found here: http://www.canyondechelly.net/story_teller.html
Quoting the authors:
“Today young weavers are instructed to find a spider web in the early morning dew glistening with sunlight and sparkles and place the palm of their right hand upon the spider’s webbing without destroying or damaging the web, and the gift of weaving will be transposed into the young weaver’s spirit forever.”
About the author
Lyn Horner resides in Fort Worth, Texas – “Where the West Begins” – with her husband and a pair of very spoiled cats. Trained in the visual arts, Lyn worked as a fashion illustrator and art instructor before she took up writing. She loves crafting passionate love stories, both historical and contemporary. Lyn also enjoys reading, gardening, genealogy, visiting with family and friends, and cuddling her furry, four-legged children.
The author’s Texas Devlins series blends authentic Old West settings, steamy romance and a glimmer of the supernatural. This series has earned multiple awards and nominations, including Crowned Heart reviews and a Rone Award nomination from InD’Tale Magazine.
Lyn is now racing to finish her paranormal romantic suspense series, Romancing the Guardians. These books combine her trademark flashes of psychic phenomena with Irish folklore, chilling apocalyptic prophesies and captivating, far-flung settings. Along the way, readers are treated to thunderous action, terrifying suspense and sizzling romance.
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Overview of the series so far: There are seven Guardians, each possessing a psychic gift and a precious scroll containing a secret prophecy handed down from ancient Irish seers. Not to be revealed until mankind is ready to listen, the prophesies are in danger of being seized by vicious “Hellhounds” who want to use them for their own evil ends.
Rescuing Lara (Book 1), winner in the 2015 Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers Choice Awards, is set in Ireland and Texas. It stars Lara Spenser, the injured niece of the murdered high Guardian, and Connor O’Shea, a hunky ex-Special Forces soldier Lara hires as her bodyguard. Lethal villains, hot romance and a few surprises make this a wild ride.
Decoding Michaela (Book 2) features a heroine who can read minds. Stunned by news that her revered leader, the High Guardian, has been murdered, Michaela Peterson is attracted to Dev Medina, the handsome messenger, but fears he may be out to steal the scroll she guards. Can Dev win her trust and unlock her heart before the Hellhounds capture her?
Capturing Gabriel (Book 3) is set in Colombia. Gabriel Valdez refuses to believe the feisty Navajo beauty who tracks him down with a message to meet the other Guardians in the United States. Instead, he takes her prisoner. Josie doesn’t count on falling for him. Gabriel doesn’t intend to trust her with his secrets or his love, but the heart has a mind of its own.
Touching Charlotte (Book 4) Introduces Charlotte Dixon, an empathic Guardian, and Tristan Jameson, an ex-NYC cop burdened by grief. He needs healing and love, but how can a man romance a woman who can’t stand to be touched? Breaking through Charlotte’s barriers while protecting her from Hellhounds proves his ultimate challenge.
Profiling Nathan (Book 5)
The fifth book in the series is a chilling murder mystery/sexy romance. Guardian and ex-con Nathan Maguire just wants to make a living inking tattoos in Tampa, Florida, but when FBI profiler Talia Werner walks into his shop, she turns his life upside down. To save her pretty neck, he must help catch a serial killer. His deadly psychic gift may come in handy.
Beguiling Delilah (Book 6)
She’s a sexy genius in a race with him across France.
Delilah Moreau, the glamorous French Guardian, possesses a miraculous mathematical talent that provides her a privileged life, but it can’t give her what she truly wants: lasting love. Leon Tseda, a Navajo whose homeland serves as a hidden gathering place for the Guardians, vows to bring Delilah to safety, thwarting thugs sent to capture her and the valuable scroll she guards. Opening in Paris, the story whisks the pair in a life-and-death chase across France to Nice and Monte Carlo on the breathtaking Côte d’Azur. Both Delilah and Leon have lost loved ones, and they’re no longer youngsters, but they are not too old for a second chance at love. Their journey is fraught with danger, excitement and steamy, mature romance. Will it lead to love – if they live long enough?
He walked away from her once meaning to protect her and broke her heart.
Can she forgive him and overcome his stubborn resistance to love?
Guardian of Danu, Adam Dvorak has the power to make plants grow with a mere touch, but will he allow love to grow? An agronomist teaching better farming methods in a semi-desert region of northern Kenya, he has an accident and ends up in the local hospital where, to his shock, his former love Ellie Graham is a nurse. He’d never expected to see her again.
Ellie is equally shocked to see him. How could fate be so cruel, putting her in Adam’s path again? Her bruised heart tells her to avoid him, but circumstances dictate otherwise, and their mutual attraction soon flares to life. Will the temptation to accept Ellie as his mate conquer Adam’s fear for her? The High Guardian’s arrival and the pernicious Hellhounds may force him into a difficult decision as this saga builds toward a climax in the eighth and final book, A Might Chieftain.
Series conclusion, A Mighty Chieftain coming in autumn 2018
Also by Lyn Horner
Psychics in the Old West? Yes indeed! Meet Lyn Horner’s Texas Devlins, a trio of siblings descended from Irish Celtic Druids. Each one is blessed with a rare psychic gift. Available individually or as a box set.
How did your granny predict the weather? What did your great uncle Albert tell you about the little green men he saw in the woods that night? What strange creature stalks the woods in your area?
So many of these old stories are slipping away for want of being recorded. legendary creatures, odd bits of folklore, folk remedies and charms, and all the old stories that brought our landscape to life…
Tell me a story, share memories of the old ways that are being forgotten, share the folklore of your home. I am not looking for fiction with this feature, but for genuine bits of folklore, old wives tales, folk magic and local legends. Why not share what you know and preserve it for the future?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put ‘Living Lore’ in the subject line. All I need is your article, bio and links, along with any of your own images you would like me to include and I’ll do the rest.