The Blessing Way (1970)

The Blessing Way (1970)


A trioxigenic gas that is light blue in color and has a distinctive sharp smell. Ozone is a form of oxygen, but while an oxygen molecule contains two atoms, an ozone molecule contains three, which makes it less stable. Ozone is part of the earth's stratosphere, creating a protective layer that absorbs ultraviolet radiation. Occasionally it also occurs in the lower atmosphere, especially during thunderstorms. Ozone molecules are formed when electric charges pass through dry air, and although not visible, the gas will give the air a slightly pungent smell.


Chowilawu, which means "terrible power," is a Hopi kachina that is considered invisible and so is not often represented by kachina dolls or seen in public. This kachina only appears just before the Niman Kachina Dance when a boy is initiated into the Pawamu fraternity.

Dung Carrier

In the Hopi tradition, Dung Carrier, or Kwiranonoa, is one of many runner kachinas (Wawarus) that challenge men to races. If the men are caught, Dung Carrier smears his victims' faces with human excrement. Often, the Dung Carrier appears as a female kachina (Kachin-mana), although they are still personated by men. Dung Carriers can appear singly or paired in the kachina parade at the Powamu Ceremony and in mixed dances of spring and early summer. Sometimes between 15 to 30 Dung Carrier kachinas may appear in one-day ceremonies that can occur any time of year.

long-barreled rifle

One of the first firearms to be used in warfare, the long-barreled rifle is characterized by its extended barrel, and is an early example of modern rifling technology in which spiral grooves inside the barrel's bore allow for greater accuracy and increased stability of bullet trajectory. It used to be a common personal weapon utilized in warfare, but now is mostly used for hunting.

Salt Cedar Clan

A Navajo clan mentioned in several of Tony Hillerman's Navajo detective novels, with land near the fictional No Agua Wash, which may be imagined to be somewhere in the vicinity of Teec Nos Pos, Arizona. Because the salt cedar, or tamarisk, is an invasive species introduced into the Southwestern US at the turn of the 20th century for the purpose of erosion control along river banks, it is highly unlikely that the Diné would have named one of their kinship groups after a plant that didn't appear in their territory until after Euroamerican settlement.

The Navajo, or Diné, are comprised of more than forty family lineages, or clans, that claim common ancestry.

Hopi mythology

A cultural mythology consists of the collected body of narratives that form the base for a world view, philosophy, and religion of a particular culture. Such narratives, or myths, tell stories that often mix supernatural or legendary beings and events with recorded historical ones to allegorically explain the origin, shared history, customs, and religious practices of a given group of people. These stories are passed on through the generations, providing a unifying cultural frame of reference, as well as a basis for social structures, spiritual beliefs, moral standards, and behavior models.

The Hopi people of what is today northern Arizona have a distinct belief system that is based on an origin story and provides the basis for spiritual traditions and the moral codes of social life. In some versions of the Hopi belief system, it is said that the ancestors of the Hopi traveled through three caves into the fourth world, Earth. In each cave they found different important portions of their religion and lifeways. In the first cave they found agriculture, in the second manufacturing, and in the third spirituality. They emerged into the fourth world in the Grand Canyon, which was covered in water. This water was cleared by deities, and the Hopi followed a path set for them by Maasaw, god of death, into the land where they now reside.

Similar to many people, with living traditions that are thousands of years old, Hopi can be very tradition-oriented, incorporating a deep ceremonialism into their lifeways. This practice entails a faith that if their ceremonials are performed with precision, regularity, and faith,the natural cycle will bring rain and all living beings will prosper. Without the necessary observances and living practice of their traditions, the consequence could be a lack of rain and the destruction of the fourth (current) world.

There is a specific Hopi calendar that is based on the splitting of the year and the world into halves that represent opposites such as day/night, summer/winter, and birth/death. These opposing forces define the belief in the coexisting of mirroring worlds. The progression of seasons in the upper (visible) world is reversed in the lower world, where people are reborn after death and occupy a different, invisible realm. The opposing forces also dictate the appearance of the kachinas (and the masked dancers who represent them) in ceremonies throughout the year. For the most part, the calendar is the same across the major villages, but small differences exist with regards to some rituals.


The werewolf is a mythological creature in common in folklore traditions around the world, and the term generally refers to a man who can change form at night and turn into a wolf. Werewolves are considered evil and dangerous, as they are believed to bite, injure, and kill people and livestock. Hillerman borrows the term werewolf to refer to a Navajo wolf (also known as skinwalker), a member of the community who is believed to engage in black magic that is associated with shapeshifting, manipulating supernatural forces, and harming people.

death hogan

In Navajo culture, when a person dies inside a hogan, the traditional Navajo house, it is believed that the person’s spirit, known as “chindi,” can remain trapped in the built structure and potentially cause ghost-sickness, an affliction that can manifest in physical or mental illness. Because the Navajo take great care to avoid any contact with dead bodies and the deceased person’s possessions, generally when people are nearing the moment of death they are brought outside of the hogan to die in the open, which will release the chindi into world to disperse. In the case that someone does die indoors, the dwelling must then be vacated and abandoned, and the family constructs a new hogan elsewhere. In order to enable the release of the lingering chindi in the old hogan, a hole is created in the northern wall of the hogan. This hole also functions as a mark indicating that the structure is contaminated by death and is never to be inhabited again.


Sometimes referred to as the "safety button" or "catch," on a firearm the safety, when engaged, prevents the firearm from accidentally firing. In order to discharge a round, the safety must be disengaged, enabling the firing mechanism to work.

spark plug

In an internal combustion engine, the spark plug is a small device that produces electric sparks when the ignition key is turned. The electric sparks ignite the air/fuel combination in the combustion chamber, initiating the combustive force that powers the engine.


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