Drawing depicting the Navajo god Coyote.
According tho the Navajo mythology, the
was created by the misbehavior
of the mischievous deity, Coyote. When the world was created, the Holy People
gathered around Black God to place the stars in the sky according to a rational order related to the seasons
. But Coyote grew annoyed by the slowness of the
creation process. He first chose with anger a red star, called Ma'iio, that he
placed in the south to symbolize himself. Ma'iio is a name often given to Coyote, which means 'the one who roams'.
This star, of which we do not know the precise identification, appears for only a short period of time during the year, and it is said to announce trouble. Thereafter, Coyote took the bag full of stars
not yet placed and threw it over his head forming the Milky Way. Since the stars of the Milky Way could not be properly placed, they could not be named.
Coyote was a trickster, and would often use this to get what he wanted. In one story, Coyote turned a hero into a coyote, and in turn became the man. He went to the hero's home and slept with his wife. Coyote smelled very bad. When the wife visited her mother, she smelled the Coyote on the wife. They then knew that Coyote had tricked them.
In yet another story, Coyote falls in love with a beautiful woman. In order to marry her, he had to kill the giant, Gray Big Ye'i. Afterwards, the woman attempts to kill Coyote four times, but each time he hides his vital organs so he could come back to life. The woman eventually marries him.
Later we find that coyote is killed while hunting with the wife's brothers. Coyote's wife turns into a bear and kills all but one of the brothers. The last brother kills her, and brings his brothers back to life. This story explains why bears are often considered the female counterparts of coyotes.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes fun classroom activities
for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!
You might also be interested in:
The Earth travels around the sun one full time per year. During this year, the seasons change depending on the amount of sunlight reaching the surface and the Earth's tilt as it revolves around the sun....more
Ahsonnutli was the sky father and chief deity of the Navajo Indians. He created heaven, Earth, and the sky. Each of the four cardinal directions was supported by a giant. Each direction was also associated...more
Amphitrite was one of the fifty Nereids, the attendants of the sea-god Poseidon. Poseidon (Neptune) had fallen in love with Amphitrite after seeing her dancing on the island of Naxos. Amphitrite rejected...more
Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She was known to the Romans as Venus. There were actually two different Aphrodites, one was the daughter of Uranus, the other the daughter of Zeus and...more
In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Jupiter(in Greek Zeus) and Leto (Letona). He was the god of the Sun, logic, and reason, and was also a fine musician and healer. Leto travelled all over Greece...more
According to an ancient Greek legend, the figure of a gigantic crab was placed in the nighttime sky by the goddess Hera to form the constellation Cancer. Hera was the jealous wife of the sky god, Zeus....more
In the Northern Hemisphere sky is the constellation Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, and that of his wife Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia claimed that she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than the sea nymphs,...more