Listening Woman (1978)

Listening Woman (1978)


An individual who is a follower of the Catholic faith, one of the three major branches of Christianity, with the other two being Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism. The Greek term “Catholic,” which originated in early Christianity, was first used in the 2nd century A.D. in reference to an orthodox view of the New Testament, one that advocated a literal approach to the scriptures. When the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as it official religion in the 4th century, The Roman Catholic Church developed a strict system of religious and political hierarchy headed by the Pope, who is considered the ultimate authority ruling over all the churches around the globe. Roman Catholicism was the unquestioned, prevailing faith across Europe throughout the middle Ages, and did not become a distinct entity until the rise of Protestantism in the 16th century. The split caused by the Protestant Reformation, which opposed and challenged the dogmatic rule of Catholicism, in effect created what is now perceived as two separate religions. With nearly 1.2 billion followers throughout the world, Catholicism is still the largest Christian denomination.

In general, a Catholic, or practitioner of the Roman Catholic faith, must subscribe to specific beliefs and adhere to the structural operations, rituals, and functions of the Church. Some of the core beliefs include the acceptance of Jesus Christ as a divine savior, the Church’s doctrine as the definitive truth as it was professed by Jesus in the 1st century, and transubstantiation—the belief that during the ritual of the Holy Sacrament the wine and bread consumed by the devotees actually become the blood and flesh of Jesus Christ. A severe observance to moral rules is also a central component of the religion. The confession of sins to an ordained priest is required as a regular practice, along with active worshiping by attending mass, reciting prayers, and promoting missionary initiatives.


Sun-Father or Father Sun is one of the first five beings of Zuni origin stories living above a layer of fog, and created by A'wonawilona, or the living sky that symbolizes the essence of breath, life and the container of all. A'wonawilona's most interior thoughts and ideas eventually manifested externally, and he appeared as he had imagined himself in the form of the Sun. As he appeared, darkness brightened with his light, and he filled the emptiness with great clouds of mist that thickened together and fell as water on the emerging vastness that was taking shape as the Earth. In this way, A'wonawilona became the Sun and created 'father-sky,' 'mother-moon,' and all living creatures.

Revered and prayed to in ceremony, Father Sun created human beings when impregnating bits of foam who became his sons. The sons split the earth with lightening arrows and, finding life four levels down, the sons emerged with the people into daylight and founded the place of their permanent abode, the middle place, Ha'wi-k'uh.

In the Navajo origin story, Sun is the father to the Hero Twins, Born of Water and Monster Slayer; their mother is Changing Woman. The Hero Twins leave their mother to find their father, and eventually the Sun sends them on their way, offering his instruction and support for the task ahead of them: killing monsters. By eliminating the monsters, the Hero twins help move the People into the next world.

Ute people and culture

The Ute are a Native American group living in southern Colorado, northern New Mexico, and eastern Utah, a state which is named after them. The name Ute means "land of the sun." They speak the Ute language, which belongs to the Numic branch of Uto-Aztecan language family, suggesting a connection between the Ute tribes and other indigenous groups found throughout what is now northern and central Mexico. The Ute were known to be expert horsemen and hunters; however, prior to European, specifically Spanish, contact, they primarily lived by collecting plants and other wild foods. The Ute have been considered traditional enemies of the Navajo, as well as other tribes in the U.S. Southwest, because of their practice of capturing women and children and then selling them to European settlers and other indigenous groups as slaves. Today, the Ute are found in three distinct groups on three separate reservations: the Uintah-Ouray Ute in Utah, the Ute Mountain Ute along the Colorado-New Mexico border, and the Southern Ute.


A rock formation that commonly ascends from cave floors. Stalagmites form when sandstone has been stripped away, exposing limestone. The mixture of water and calcium carbonate (found in limestone) forms stalactites, which when they drip to the cave floor create stalagmites. When the two "cave decorations," called speleothems, meet in the middle, they form a column or pillar.


A rock formation commonly found suspended from the ceilings of caves. The mixture of water and calcium carbonate (found in limestone) forms stalactites, which when they drip to the cave floor create stalagmites. When the two "cave decorations," called speleothems, meet in the middle, they form a column or pillar.

hand trembler

In the Navajo tradition, before a singer, or medicine man (called a hataałii in Navajo), is requested to perform a healing ceremonial, a hand trembler, or ndilniihii, usually a woman, will diagnose the source of illness. Through prayer, concentration, and sprinkling of sacred pollen, her hand will tremble and pinpoint the source of an illness, which then determines the proper ceremonial cure.

A hand trembler is one of three different types of diagnosticians among the Navajo who may be consulted to diagnose the cause of an illness and recommend the proper ceremony to cure it. Star gazers and listeners are the other two types of diagnosticians. Any of these specialists may be consulted for advice about sickness, identifying witchcraft, dreams, lost items, or any unusual happenings.


Sheep are hoofed mammals, classified as ovis aries. They are usually domesticated and kept as livestock by various cultures throughout the world. Sheep are raised for their wool, which is used to weave textiles, and they are also kept on farms for their milk and meat.

Sheep are dearly cherished among the Navajo people of the American southwest. Sheep husbandry and herding has been an integral part of Navajo life for centuries, and according to Navajo belief, the reciprocal relationship between humans and their sheep symbolizes balance, unity, and living in harmony with the land. The Navajo-Churro sheep is of particular importance to the Navajo spiritually, agriculturally, and economically. The Churro’s wool is used to make intricately-designed blankets and rugs, and the sheep’s meet is a staple of the Navajo diet. This breed was on the brink of extinction after the American government conducted a livestock reduction as one of many colonization efforts to push the Navajo off their land and interrupt their way of life. The Navajo Sheep Project has since set out to breed and preserve the Navajo-Churro sheep so that man and animal can live in harmony once again.


Talus is the sloping pile of loose rock fragments that accumulate along the edge of a steep cliff or other landform.


A hard layer of rock that overlies a softer more easily eroded layer of rock. Caprocks often occur on the top of hills and mesas and sometimes also on the beds of streams and rivers. Caprocks can control rates of erosion and when eroded to the point of being unstable, the edge of a formation can break off, which is known as scrape retreat. Sandstone and ultramafic igneous rocks often make up caprocks.

Oxford, England: Isis Audio Books, 1992.


Subscribe to RSS - Listening Woman (1978)