Yei Bi Chei (Yebichai) Night Chant-Second Day

The Navajo conduct this Ceremony under the name of Kléj? Hatál, Night Chant, or Yéb?chai Hatál, The Chant of Paternal Gods.

Second Day Night Chant Sandpainting Photo

Just at sunrise the patient is given the first ceremonial sweat. This is probably given more as a spiritual purification than in anticipation of any physical benefit. To the east of the hogán a shallow hole is dug in the earth, in which are placed hot embers and ashes, covered with brush and weeds, and sprinkled with water, upon which the patient takes his place.

He is then well covered with blankets. The medicine-man, assisted by Hasché?lt? and Hasch?baád, places about the patient a row of feathered k?dán, and then commences to sing while the patient squirms on the hot, steaming bed. After singing certain songs the medicine-man lifts the blanket a little and gives the patient a drink of medicine from a ceremonial basket. He is again covered, and the singing goes on for a like time.


A little one now is prepared. A little one now is prepared.
For Hastsehogan, it now is prepared.
A little message now is prepared,
Toward the trail of the he-rain, now is prepared,
As the rain will hang downward, now is prepared.
A little one now is prepared. A little one now is prepared.
For Hastsealti, it now is prepared.
A little kethawn now is prepared,
Toward the trail of the she-rain, now is prepared,
As the rain will hang downward, now is prepared.

Kethawn arranged in ceremonial basket

Kethawn arranged in ceremonial basket

Later the blankets are removed and Hasché?lt? and Hasch?baád perform over the patient, after which he goes to the hogán. The brush and weeds used for the bed are taken away and earth is scattered over the coals.

This sweating, begun on the second day, is repeated each morning for four days: the first, as above noted, taking place east of the hogán, and the others respectively to the south, west, and north. The ceremonies of the second night are practically a repetition of those held the first night.

During the third song Hasché?lt? enters with the Hasché?lt? balíl, placing it four times in the prescribed order and giving his call; then he goes out, re-enters, and takes from the medicine basket four sacred reed k?dán.

These he carries in ceremonial order to the four cardinal points: first east, then south, next west, lastly north.

Next stick k?dán are taken out of the basket, which holds twelve each of the four sacred colors. These also are carried to the four cardinal points—white, east; blue, south; yellow, west; black, north. After all the k?dán are taken out, Hasché?lt? again enters with the Hasché?lt? balíl, using it in directional order and giving medicine as on the night before.



Haschélti – Talking God Mask – Yebichai Ceremony



The mask of Haschélti is the only white one seen in the ceremony. It is the caplike or baglike mask common to all male characters.


The circular holes for mouth and eyes are each surrounded with a peculiar symbol.

Haschelti - Talking God - MaskMask representing Haashch?éé?ti?í, Talking God, used in Night Chant Ceremony, recorded by Matthews in 1902

This is said to represent a mist arising from the ground and a rain-cloud hanging above. Ascending from the mouth toward the top of the mask is the symbol of a corn-stalk with two ears on it.

At the bottom of the mask is a transverse band of yellow, to represent the yellow evening light, crossed by eight vertical black strokes to represent rain.

When worn in the dance, it has a fringe of hair from side to side over the top; two tails of the black-tailed deer hanging over the forehead; at the back a fanlike ornament of many (6 to 12) eagle-plumes, and, at the base of this, a bunch of owl feathers. A large collar of spruce conceals the yellow band under the chin.