Navajo Religion – The Sweat House Song

The Sweat House Song

(Tah’tsay Bee-yeen)

Navajo Men near sweat house 1909-1914

Navajo Men near sweat house 1909-1914
View is east across Hamblin Valley to the Echo Cliffs, opposite Hidden Springs, about eight miles north of the Tuba City junction off today’s U.S. Highway 89.

 

THIS celebrates the building of the first house when the people emerged from the Underworld. It was built for a purification ceremony, and the different animals of this world were asked for the wood, the water-washed rocks, the fire, the water, and the cover for the door. This last was given by the Owls, who are thought of as wearing a thick robe of feathers which they put over little children, lost at night.
THE SWEAT — BATH SONG

(As sunng by YELLOW POLICEMAN)

FIRST MAN SINGS:

Nah-yeh-nez-gha’ni will spread the earth
With beautiful flowers.
An everlasting world and a peaceful world.

Tso-ah-naht’le-he spreads the heavens
Spreads the different-colored stars.
An everlasting heaven and a peaceful heaven.

Kley-yah-nay-ya’ni made the she-mountains
Made the horned animals of different colors.
Everlasting mountains and peaceful mountains.

Brought the water. Brought the water.
Toh-ba’ad-zi-zi’ni brought down the she-rain
From heaven to make water.
And the iron-flakes make the edge of the stream glitter.
Everlasting water and peaceful water.

He put it down. He put it down.
First Man put down the sweat-house.
On the edge of the hole where they came up.
He built the son of the She-dark.
He built it of valuable soft materials.
Everlasting and peaceful, he put it there.
He put it there.

She put it down. She put it down.
First Woman, she put it down.
She built it with the early dawn.
She built it with valuable hard materials.
Everlasting and peaceful, she put it down.
She put it down.

No wood, no wood, no wood, no wood.
No wood — I went to Beaver Man.
We talked together about the wood,
And I got some wood from him.
I got the wood, I got the wood,
And made the house complete.
I got the wood. I got the wood.

No rock, no rock, no rock, no rock.
No rock — I went to Otter Man.
We talked together about the rock,
And I got some rock from him.
I got the rock, I got the rock,
And made the house complete.
I got the rock. I got the rock.

No fire, no fire, no fire, no fire.
No fire — I went to the Fire Fly.
We talked together about the fire,
And I got some fire from him.
I got the fire, I got the fire,
And made the house complete.
I got the fire. I got the fire.

No water, no water, no water, no water.
No water — I went to Beaver Girl.
We talked together about the water,
And I got some water from her.
I got the water, I got the water.
And made the house complete.
I got the water. I got the water.

The cover, the cover, the cover, the cover.
The Black Owl Man gave me his robe
To cover the dark door.
He gave me his robe, he gave me his robe,
He gave me his robe. The Black Owl gave me his robe.
To cover the dark — and I saw it done.
He gave me his robe, he gave me his robe, he gave me his robe.
The White Owl gave me his robe, to cover me.

Source: : Book Title: The Navajo Indians. Contributors: Dane Coolidge – author, Mary Roberts Coolidge – author. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company. Place of Publication: Boston. Publication Year: 1930. Page Number: 32.

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