TREE OF LIFE/CORN POLLEN CHANT, A NAVAJO SANDPAINTING DESIGN

By Sammy Myerson

The following is a description of the design elements used in the Tree of Life / Corn Pollen Chant Navajo sandpainting:

At the center is a Cornstalk which is one of the four sacred plants of the Navajo people –

          1.  Corn (used in wedding and healing ceremonies)

          2.  Squash

          3.  Beans

          4.  Tobacco

The fanned feathers at the top of the Central Cornstalk symbolize the powers of clear thought and good judgment.

Two white figures on either side of the Central Cornstalk are Talking God Yeis (supernatural beings who lead the Yei-be-chai healing ceremony.  Hanging from ribbons from each Talking God figure is a squirrel.

Two blue figures above the Talking Gods are Big Thunder:  Considered to be very powerful and capable of finding missing objects.

Corn fields are above each Big Thunder figure on either side of the Central Cornstalk.

Moving towards the top of the sandpainting are the Four Sacred Peaks in turquoise, gold, black, and brown.  They represent the San Francisco Peaks in Arizona, Mt. Taylor in New Mexico, Mt. Hesperus and Sierra Blanca in Colorado.

The round symbol at the top of the sandpainting is the Sun with its rays radiating out.

There are three Rainbow Bars (protection bars for the sandpainting) in blue, brown, and white that are seen towards the bottom of the sandpainting and underneath the two Big Thunder figures.

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