Navajo Mountain Chant Ceremony Mountain Chant Ceremony Fourth Day

The Fourth Picture represents the kátsoyisçàn, or great plumed arrows. These arrows are the especial great mystery, the potent healing charm of this dance. The picture is supposed to be a fac simile of a representation of these weapons, shown to the prophet when he visited the abode of the Tsilkè¢igini, or young men gods, where he first saw the arrows.

There are eight arrows. Four are in the center, lying parallel to one another—two pointing east and two others, alternate, pointing west. The picture is bordered by the other four, which have the same relative positions and directions as the bounding serpents in the first picture.

The shafts are all of the same white tint, no attention being paid to the colors of the cardinal points; yet in drawing and erasing the picture the cardinal points are duly honored.

Among the central arrows, the second from the top, or north margin of the design, is that of the east; it is drawn and erased first. The next below it is the arrow of the south; the third is that of the west. The one on top belongs to the north; it is drawn and erased last.

The heads are painted red to represent the red stone points used; the fringed margins show the irregularities of their edges. The plumes at the butt are indicated, as are also the strings by which the plumes are tied on and the notches to receive the bowstring.

Navajo Sandpainting Mountain Chant Ceremony Fourth Day

Navajo Sandpainting Mountain Chant Ceremony Fourth Day

The ground of this picture is crossed with nebulous black streaks. These were originally present in all the pictures. I have omitted them in all but this, lest they might obscure the details of the reduced copies. It has been explained to me (although in the myth it is expressly stated only in one case,) that all these pictures were drawn by the gods upon the clouds and thus were shown to the Navajo prophet.

Men cannot paint on the clouds, but according to the divine mandate they do the best they can on sand, and then sprinkle the sand with charcoal, in the manner indicated, to represent the cloudy scrolls whereon the primal designs of the celestial artists were painted.

Speak Your Mind