Encyclopedia Article


Sayatasha is the Rain God of the North. According to the Zuni myths, each year, the Sayatasha title is given to a person chosen by the eldest female of the ceremonial host family. This person performs specific tasks that are part of the ritual. He is also responsible for the Zuni religious calendar, reckoned primarily by the position of the moon. He must notify all parties at the appropriate time to prepare for ceremonial occasions.

One of the members of the Zuni Council of the Gods, Sayatasha, or Longhorn, wears a mask that bears a long sweeping horn. The horn is evocative of the trailing walls of rain and virga that accompany the monsoonal flows that swing around from the North in the American Southwest, making the horned appearance of Sayatasha one associated with life-giving force and deep appreciation, rather than one of monstrosity.

Photo Credit: 

"Sayatasha and Hututu (rain priests) and two Yamuhakto (warriors)" by WM Sawyer is licensed under Public Domain.

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