Haschebaad – Female Deity, or Goddess

In Navajo mythology there are numerous references to benevolent female deities, who are personated in medicine rites by men wearing masks, as shown here. Haschebaad may be translated “female deity,” or “goddess.” The Mask is Used in Yebichai Night Chant Ceremony

Haschebaad -  female deity, or goddess

Source: The Night Chant, A Navajo Ceremony by Washington Matthews – Date = 1902


The mask differs much from the male mask. While the latter, like a bag inverted, covers the entire head and neck, and completely conceals the hair of the wearer, the former conceals only the face and throat and allows the hair to flow out freely over the shoulders.

The Yebichai actor never wears the hair bound up in a queue. While the male mask is soft and pliable, the female mask is stiff and hard, being made of untanned skin.

It is nearly square in shape; the top is always slightly rounded and ‘in some cases the base is a little broader than the top.

There is a flap or wing, called the -ear, on each side about two inches broad, as long as the margin of the mask proper, and indented or created on the outer margin. The margins are all alike in each. set of. masks but not in any two sets.

The hole for the mouth is square’ The holes for the eyes are triangular,-the apices pointing outwards. The mask is painted blue, the ears white, a square field around the mouth-hole and a triangular field around each eye-hole are black.

The kethawns and the dry-paintings represent the female mask as having a yellow horizontal stripe-.at the bottom, like the male masks ; but this has not been observed on any mask ; ‘instead there is sometime’s a horizontal line of bead-work, about two inches broad, not uniform in design on all masks.

From the bottom of the mask proper, i. e., the piece of raw-hide, a curtain of red flannel or red baize, or other material, usually hangs.

Sometimes this curtain ‘is covered with beads, or adorned with fragments of shell. No definite rules seem to prevail with regard to this curtain. There is always a piece of abalone (haliotis) shell secured with thongs in the center at the top, behind which feathers of turkey and eagle, or of red-shaved woodpecker, are stuck.

The mask is tied to the head by means of long buckskin strings. Sometimes there is a fringe of short hair at the upper margin.

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.