Creation: Dividing the waters


Mother Earth, Father Sky

Being an oral tradition, there are many variations in the creation stories of the Zuni. The following is one version, as recorded by Frank Hamilton Cushing.

“First, there was sublime darkness, which vanished not until Awonawilona, the “Ancient Father of the Sun” came, revealing universal waters. These were, save him, all that were.

“The Sun-father thought to change the face of the waters and cause life to replace their desolation.

“He rubbed the surface of his flesh, thus drawing forth yep-na (substance of living flesh).

“He rolled the yep-na into two balls. From his high and “ancient place among the spaces,” he cast forth one of these balls and it fell upon the surface of the waters. There, as drop of deer suet on hot broth, this ball melted and spread far and wide like scum over the great waters, ever growing until it sank into them.

“Then the Sun-father cast forth the other ball, and it fell, spreading out and growing even larger than had the first, and dispelling so much of the waters that it rested upon the first. In time, the first became a great being – our Mother, the Earth; and the second became another great being – our Father, the Sky.

“Thus was divided the universal fluid into the “embracing waters of the World” below, and the “embracing waters of the Sky” above. This is why the Sky-father is blue as the ocean which is the home of the Earth-mother, blue even his flesh, as seem the far away mountains – though they be the flesh of the Earth-mother.

About Running Elk

My given native name, Running Elk, was bestowed in 2008 as I took my first steps as a fully fledged Medicine Man of the Zuni tradition. A most unlikely candidate for the role, my journey as a healer began some four years prior. The detour onto the shamanic way was most unexpected, yet has been one of the most rewarding challenges to date.
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