Wednesday, June 17, 2020

I am Telling You the Story She Is Thinking

"Take a deep breath of all the stories that live here. A re-ligious act, to be true to the origin of the word “re-ligios”- to re-tie, re-link - is to find ways to re-connect, re-turn, re-imagine.”


In the winter season, we are allowed to say,

“Ts' its' tsi' nako,
Thought-Woman, the Spider
named things and as she named them they appeared.
She is sitting in her room thinking of a story now
I'm telling you the story she is thinking.”
-  Keresan Pueblo introduction









Strings on Your Fingers by Mike Garofalo

Spider Grandmother weaves the Grand Cosmic Web and then spins off the planets and stars in the Navaho myths.  Zuni myths say the Spider Grandmother gave the art of string figures into the hands of the children.  Spider Grandmother is a powerful earth spirit being, the primary Creatrix of the cosmos and mind, a source of boundless imagination and the creation of the new.  An archaic Goddess of Weaving is essential to a pleasant life for all our people. 

Many Stars, Son-thlani, or Spider Grandmother’s Web is one of my favorite Navaho string figures to make.  I usually do the Spider Web (Jayne SF51) string figure first, for ritual purposes, to remind myself of my debt to all the people who have helped me learn to make string figures, everyone past and present are here symbolized as the Cosmic Web of Spider Grandmother.  

The image above is of the string figure called The Apache Door (Jayne SF12) known to many string players.  A different Navaho string figure, with a criss-crossing web pattern, is called Many Stars (Jayne SF51).    


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