Positive/Negative Changing Woman Series, 2008, Elsie Holiday, ET513.26 Photo: Kirstin Roper, © NHMU

Changing Woman Story

Asdzą́ą́ Nádleehé (Changing Woman) is a deity with tremendous powers of creation. The life-giving qualities of the earth are associated with and derived from her. One part of her story illustrates the balance between opposites that results in harmony in the Diné (Navajo) universe. After her children, the Hero Twins, had slain the monsters terrorizing the Diné, the Twins’ father Jóhonaaʼéí, (Sun Carrier) asked Changing Woman to move to his home in the east. When Changing Woman refused and asked for a special house in the west, Sun Carrier asked why he should build it. "I will tell you why," she said to him. "You are male and I am female. You are of sky and I am of earth. You are constant in your brightness, but I must change with the seasons. You move constantly at the edge of heaven, while I must be fixed in one place . . . Remember, as different as we are, you and I, we are of one spirit. As dissimilar as we are, you and I, we are of equal worth . . . Unlike each other as you and I are, there can be no harmony in the universe as long as there is no harmony between us."