Encyclopedia Article


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.

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