Native North American Mythologies

The Native American Great Goddess

Who is Changing Woman?

The Athabaskan peoples, the Navajo and the Apache, have a goddess known by several names. She can be called White Shell Woman or White Bead Woman, and especially for the Navajo, Changing Woman. Changing Woman plays an important role in the female puberty rite, which the Navajo call the kinaalda. Changing Woman provides women with the possibility of giving birth. It is said that one day First Man heard a baby crying and found the baby in a cradle of rainbows. He picked up the baby and took it to First Woman. After Talking God and House God told the first couple how important this baby was, the couple accepted the child as their own. After only two days the baby could sit up, and after four days she could talk. On the tenth day she appeared in a white shell and was named White Shell Woman and Changing Woman. Changing Woman became a virgin mother by the sun of the famous Navajo twin heroes, Monster Slayer and Born for Water. Their immaculate conception took place when a ray of the sun’s light passed through a waterfall and landed on Changing Woman.


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