Navajo Weaving depicting Yei (Holy Deities)
by Alice Segina (1935-2020)
natural sheep wool, aniline dye
35.5" tall x 48" long
In the Navajo cosmology there are two forces, divine (the Yei or Holy Deities) and human (Dineh or Navajo). Both are governed by a set of rules as expressed in their origin stories, and if one abides by those rules they will be safe. If not, the Yei, who have great powers, must be supplicated, convinced or coerced through a medicine man (hitaalii), to return beauty and set things in harmony (hozho). Yei control elements such as the rain, snow, wind and sun and control the night and day. Most of the Navajo deities can be either beneficial or harmful to the Dineh, depending on their mood, impulse, or on how they are approached. The Yei is also believed to be associated with the rainbow goddess.
Collection of Cliff Heselton, Corvallis, OR
Collection of Cecil Quintana, Portland, OR