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The Spider Woman and The Twins

A Hopi Legend

Sótuknang went to that which was to contain Tokpela, the First World, and out of it he created her who was to remain on the earth as his helper. Her name was Kótyangwúti, the Spider Woman.

When she awoke to life and received her name, she asked, "Why am I here?"

"Look around you," answered Sótuknang. "Here is the earth that we have created. It has shape and substance, direction and time, a beginning and an end. But there is no life upon it. We see no joyful movement. We hear no joyful sound. What is life without sound and movement? So you have been given the power to help us create this life. You have been given the knowledge, the wisdom, and the love to bless all the beings you create. That is why you are here."

Following his instructions, Kótyangwúti took some earth and mixed it with some túchvala (liquid from the mouth or saliva) and molded it into two beings. Then she covered them with a cape made of a white substance which was the creative wisdom itself, and she sang the creation song over them.

When she uncovered them, the two beings, twins, sat up and asked, "Who are we? Why are we here?"

To the one on the right, Spider Woman said, "You are Pöqánghoya. You are here to help keep this world in order when life is put upon it. Go now around all the world and put your hands upon the earth so that it will become solidified. This is your duty."

To the one on the left, Spider Woman said, "You are Palöngawhoya. You are here to help keep this world in order when life is put upon it. This is your duty now: go about all the world and send out sound so that it may be heard throughout all of the land. When this is heard you will also be known as 'Echo,' for all sound echoes the Creator."

Pöqánghoya, traveling throughout the Earth, solidified the higher reaches into great mountains. The lower reaches he made firm, but still pliable enough to be used by those beings to be placed upon it and who would call it their mother.

Palöngawhoya, traveling throughout all of the earth, sounded out his call as he was told to do. All of the vibration centers along the earth's axis from pole to pole resounded his call; the whole earth trembled, and the universe quivered in tune. Thus he made the whole world an instrument of sound, and sound is an instrument for carrying messages, resounding praise to the Creator of all.

"This is your voice, Uncle," Sótuknang said to Taiowa. "Everything is tuned to your sound.

"It is very good," said Taiowa.

Once they had finished their duties, Pöqánghoya was sent to the north pole of the world's axis, and Palöngawhoya to the south pole, where they were jointly commanded to keep the world properly rotating. Pöqánghoya was also given the power to keep the earth in a stable form of solidness. Palöngawhoya was given the power to keep the air in gentle ordered movement, and told to send out his call for good or for warning through the vibratory centers of the Earth.

"These will be your duties in time to come," said Spider Woman.

She then created from the earth the trees, bushes, flowers, and other plants. She created all kinds of seed-bearers and nut-bearers to clothe the earth, giving to each a life and a name. In the same manner, she created all kinds of birds and animals, molding them out of earth and covering each with her white-substance cape of wisdom, and singing over them.

Some she placed to the right, some to the left, and others she placed before her and in back of her, indicating how they should spread to all four corners of the world to live.

Sótuknang was happy, seeing how beautiful it all was: the land, the plants, the birds and the animals, and the power working through them all. Joyfully he said to Taiowa, "Come see what our world looks like now!"

"It is very good," said Taiowa. "It is now ready for human life, the final touch to complete my plan."

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