Rosie Yellowhair "Emergence Story of the Five Worlds" Sandpainting
Rosie Yellowhair "Emergence Story of the Five Worlds" Sandpainting

Rosie Yellowhair "Emergence Story of the Five Worlds" Sandpainting

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Emergence Story of the Five Worlds

By: Rosie Yellowhair

Sand on board, 24"h x 12"w, 37"h x 25"w Framed

This is a story told by the Navajo people by word of mouth to the young and old.The Navajo believe there are Five Worlds. We are presently in the fifth world.

The first world was a small, dark and water filled world. It was known as the Red World where the flying insects were the first and only people.

The second world was blue with the air. The spirit people here were swallows.

The third world was yellow. The locusts were known as the air people.

The people lived along the river flowing through their land. There was nothing but darkness in the north. These worlds had people who defiled themselves, their bodies, and the land.  The Chief within each group of people forced the defiler (spoiler who ruined their land) to leave. The people asked the Water People to help to chase out the defiler. All the people took flight from their world, into each world until they reached the Fourth World.

As they approached the Fourth World, they noticed other people. The four-legged people who had very nice coats – the animals. The people greeted on another as friends, kinsmen as in previous worlds. They settled in as if they never left any other world.

Days passed when at a far distance they heard the wind, a whistle. Faint at first and then grew louder as it got closer. Then very soon, the whistle was upon them. Four Yeis of spiritual guidance came to tell the people of the Fourth World that there was going to be a great “Happening.”  Three Yeis left to return to the Holy One. One Yei was asked to stay to prepare the people until the other Yeis returned.

First Man and Fist Woman, the five finger people were made. The buckskins of antelope, a feather, white corn and yellow corn were brought by the three Yeis who returned from the Holy One. They sand and danced until the Holy One brought the breath of life.

The five-fingered people were told to expand and multiply within the Four Sacred mountains of the Holy One.

Within the Fourth World, Coyote was one person who was nosy, mischievous and always wanting to be a part of the growth of the Fourth World. One day he stole Water Creature’s baby, which caused a great flood.

The Great Flood caused the people to rush into the reed to be safe from the flood.  The Fourth Yei, the Black Yei, was their mentor and mediator. The reed grew and grew until they reached the clouds to enter the Fifth World.

The last onto the reed was the Turkey Person who packed seeds of corn, squash, beans and melons within his feathers.

The Fifth World. The Air people (locusts and beetles), the Holy Guidance Yeis, Bear and Lynx entered the Fifth World followed by First Man and First Woman. Coyote was forced to return Water Creature’s Baby back to the water. When all was well again and to this day, the Navajo have these beliefs. Water People are ancestors and for this reason most Navajos will not eat sea food. Turkey is given respect within most ceremonies for supplying food for seeds to be replanted in the new world. The Navajos wear turkey feathers on their head as a representation of appreciation and remembrance. The Navajos use the corn and zig zag on it as their travel from the Fourth World into the new Fifth World. The passage of travel was blessed by the Holy One.  This is known as the Blessing Way.

There are many more stories linked to the Emergence of the Five Worlds and many more paintings are needed. Many more winters needed for the stories to be retold.